Through The Bible Wednesday 11-14-18 Devotions
A Valley of Dry Bones
37 The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones. 2 He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. 3 Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?”
“O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.”
4 Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! 6 I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
7 So I spoke this message, just as he told me. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. 8 Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them.
9 Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’”
10 So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.
11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, ‘We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone. Our nation is finished.’ 12 Therefore, prophesy to them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the Lord. 14 I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live again and return home to your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken, and I have done what I said. Yes, the Lord has spoken!’”
Reunion of Israel and Judah
15 Again a message came to me from the Lord: 16 “Son of man, take a piece of wood and carve on it these words: ‘This represents Judah and its allied tribes.’ Then take another piece and carve these words on it: ‘This represents Ephraim and the northern tribes of Israel.’[a] 17 Now hold them together in your hand as if they were one piece of wood. 18 When your people ask you what your actions mean, 19 say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take Ephraim and the northern tribes and join them to Judah. I will make them one piece of wood in my hand.’
20 “Then hold out the pieces of wood you have inscribed, so the people can see them. 21 And give them this message from the Sovereign Lord: I will gather the people of Israel from among the nations. I will bring them home to their own land from the places where they have been scattered. 22 I will unify them into one nation on the mountains of Israel. One king will rule them all; no longer will they be divided into two nations or into two kingdoms. 23 They will never again pollute themselves with their idols[b] and vile images and rebellion, for I will save them from their sinful apostasy.[c] I will cleanse them. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God.
24 “My servant David will be their king, and they will have only one shepherd. They will obey my regulations and be careful to keep my decrees. 25 They will live in the land I gave my servant Jacob, the land where their ancestors lived. They and their children and their grandchildren after them will live there forever, generation after generation. And my servant David will be their prince forever. 26 And I will make a covenant of peace with them, an everlasting covenant. I will give them their land and increase their numbers,[d] and I will put my Temple among them forever. 27 I will make my home among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 And when my Temple is among them forever, the nations will know that I am the Lord, who makes Israel holy.”
A Message for Gog
38 This is another message that came to me from the Lord: 2 “Son of man, turn and face Gog of the land of Magog, the prince who rules over the nations of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him. 3 Give him this message from the Sovereign Lord: Gog, I am your enemy! 4 I will turn you around and put hooks in your jaws to lead you out with your whole army—your horses and charioteers in full armor and a great horde armed with shields and swords. 5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya[e] will join you, too, with all their weapons. 6 Gomer and all its armies will also join you, along with the armies of Beth-togarmah from the distant north, and many others.
7 “Get ready; be prepared! Keep all the armies around you mobilized, and take command of them. 8 A long time from now you will be called into action. In the distant future you will swoop down on the land of Israel, which will be enjoying peace after recovering from war and after its people have returned from many lands to the mountains of Israel. 9 You and all your allies—a vast and awesome army—will roll down on them like a storm and cover the land like a cloud.
10 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: At that time evil thoughts will come to your mind, and you will devise a wicked scheme. 11 You will say, ‘Israel is an unprotected land filled with unwalled villages! I will march against her and destroy these people who live in such confidence! 12 I will go to those formerly desolate cities that are now filled with people who have returned from exile in many nations. I will capture vast amounts of plunder, for the people are rich with livestock and other possessions now. They think the whole world revolves around them!’ 13 But Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish will ask, ‘Do you really think the armies you have gathered can rob them of silver and gold? Do you think you can drive away their livestock and seize their goods and carry off plunder?’
14 “Therefore, son of man, prophesy against Gog. Give him this message from the Sovereign Lord: When my people are living in peace in their land, then you will rouse yourself.[f] 15 You will come from your homeland in the distant north with your vast cavalry and your mighty army, 16 and you will attack my people Israel, covering their land like a cloud. At that time in the distant future, I will bring you against my land as everyone watches, and my holiness will be displayed by what happens to you, Gog. Then all the nations will know that I am the Lord.
17 “This is what the Sovereign Lord asks: Are you the one I was talking about long ago, when I announced through Israel’s prophets that in the future I would bring you against my people? 18 But this is what the Sovereign Lord says: When Gog invades the land of Israel, my fury will boil over! 19 In my jealousy and blazing anger, I promise a mighty shaking in the land of Israel on that day. 20 All living things—the fish in the sea, the birds of the sky, the animals of the field, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and all the people on earth—will quake in terror at my presence. Mountains will be thrown down; cliffs will crumble; walls will fall to the earth. 21 I will summon the sword against you on all the hills of Israel, says the Sovereign Lord. Your men will turn their swords against each other. 22 I will punish you and your armies with disease and bloodshed; I will send torrential rain, hailstones, fire, and burning sulfur! 23 In this way, I will show my greatness and holiness, and I will make myself known to all the nations of the world. Then they will know that I am the Lord.
The Slaughter of Gog’s Hordes
39 “Son of man, prophesy against Gog. Give him this message from the Sovereign Lord: I am your enemy, O Gog, ruler of the nations of Meshech and Tubal. 2 I will turn you around and drive you toward the mountains of Israel, bringing you from the distant north. 3 I will knock the bow from your left hand and the arrows from your right hand, and I will leave you helpless. 4 You and your army and your allies will all die on the mountains. I will feed you to the vultures and wild animals. 5 You will fall in the open fields, for I have spoken, says the Sovereign Lord. 6 And I will rain down fire on Magog and on all your allies who live safely on the coasts. Then they will know that I am the Lord.
7 “In this way, I will make known my holy name among my people of Israel. I will not let anyone bring shame on it. And the nations, too, will know that I am the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. 8 That day of judgment will come, says the Sovereign Lord. Everything will happen just as I have declared it.
9 “Then the people in the towns of Israel will go out and pick up your small and large shields, bows and arrows, javelins and spears, and they will use them for fuel. There will be enough to last them seven years! 10 They won’t need to cut wood from the fields or forests, for these weapons will give them all the fuel they need. They will plunder those who planned to plunder them, and they will rob those who planned to rob them, says the Sovereign Lord.
11 “And I will make a vast graveyard for Gog and his hordes in the Valley of the Travelers, east of the Dead Sea.[g] It will block the way of those who travel there, and they will change the name of the place to the Valley of Gog’s Hordes. 12 It will take seven months for the people of Israel to bury the bodies and cleanse the land. 13 Everyone in Israel will help, for it will be a glorious victory for Israel when I demonstrate my glory on that day, says the Sovereign Lord.
14 “After seven months, teams of men will be appointed to search the land for skeletons to bury, so the land will be made clean again. 15 Whenever bones are found, a marker will be set up so the burial crews will take them to be buried in the Valley of Gog’s Hordes. 16 (There will be a town there named Hamonah, which means ‘horde.’) And so the land will finally be cleansed.
17 “And now, son of man, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Call all the birds and wild animals. Say to them: Gather together for my great sacrificial feast. Come from far and near to the mountains of Israel, and there eat flesh and drink blood! 18 Eat the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of princes as though they were rams, lambs, goats, and bulls—all fattened animals from Bashan! 19 Gorge yourselves with flesh until you are glutted; drink blood until you are drunk. This is the sacrificial feast I have prepared for you. 20 Feast at my banquet table—feast on horses and charioteers, on mighty men and all kinds of valiant warriors, says the Sovereign Lord.
21 “In this way, I will demonstrate my glory to the nations. Everyone will see the punishment I have inflicted on them and the power of my fist when I strike. 22 And from that time on the people of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God. 23 The nations will then know why Israel was sent away to exile—it was punishment for sin, for they were unfaithful to their God. Therefore, I turned away from them and let their enemies destroy them. 24 I turned my face away and punished them because of their defilement and their sins.
Restoration for God’s People
25 “So now, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will end the captivity of my people[h]; I will have mercy on all Israel, for I jealously guard my holy reputation! 26 They will accept responsibility for[i] their past shame and unfaithfulness after they come home to live in peace in their own land, with no one to bother them. 27 When I bring them home from the lands of their enemies, I will display my holiness among them for all the nations to see. 28 Then my people will know that I am the Lord their God, because I sent them away to exile and brought them home again. I will leave none of my people behind. 29 And I will never again turn my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit upon the people of Israel. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”
37:16 Hebrew This is Ephraim’s wood, representing Joseph and all the house of Israel; similarly in 37:19.
37:23a The Hebrew term (literally round things) probably alludes to dung.
37:23b As in many Hebrew manuscripts and Greek version; Masoretic Text reads from all their dwelling places where they sinned.
37:26 Hebrew reads I will give them and increase their numbers; Greek version lacks the entire phrase.
38:5 Hebrew Paras, Cush, and Put.
38:14 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads then you will know.
39:11 Hebrew the sea.
39:25 Hebrew of Jacob.
39:26 A few Hebrew manuscripts read They will forget.
20 Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls.
Those led astray by drink cannot be wise.
2 The king’s fury is like a lion’s roar;
to rouse his anger is to risk your life.
3 Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor;
only fools insist on quarreling.
4 Those too lazy to plow in the right season
will have no food at the harvest.
5 Though good advice lies deep within the heart,
a person with understanding will draw it out.
6 Many will say they are loyal friends,
but who can find one who is truly reliable?
7 The godly walk with integrity;
blessed are their children who follow them.
8 When a king sits in judgment, he weighs all the evidence,
distinguishing the bad from the good.
9 Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart;
I am pure and free from sin”?
10 False weights and unequal measures[a]—
the Lord detests double standards of every kind.
20:10 Hebrew A stone and a stone, an ephah and an ephah.
Greetings from Peter
1 This letter is from Simon[a] Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ.
I am writing to you who share the same precious faith we have. This faith was given to you because of the justice and fairness[b] of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior.
2 May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.
Growing in Faith
3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.
10 So, dear brothers and sisters,[c] work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. 11 Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Paying Attention to Scripture
12 Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught. 13 And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live.[d] 14 For our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that I must soon leave this earthly life,[e] 15 so I will work hard to make sure you always remember these things after I am gone.
16 For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes 17 when he received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”[f] 18 We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain.
19 Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines[g] in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding,[h] 21 or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.
1:1a Greek Simeon.
1:1b Or to you in the righteousness.
1:10 Greek brothers.
1:13 Greek as long as I am in this tent [or tabernacle].
1:14 Greek I must soon put off my tent [or tabernacle].
1:17 Matt 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35.
1:19 Or rises.
1:20 Or is a matter of one’s own interpretation.
145 I pray with all my heart; answer me, Lord!
I will obey your decrees.
146 I cry out to you; rescue me,
that I may obey your laws.
147 I rise early, before the sun is up;
I cry out for help and put my hope in your words.
148 I stay awake through the night,
thinking about your promise.
149 In your faithful love, O Lord, hear my cry;
let me be revived by following your regulations.
150 Lawless people are coming to attack me;
they live far from your instructions.
151 But you are near, O Lord,
and all your commands are true.
152 I have known from my earliest days
that your laws will last forever.
153 Look upon my suffering and rescue me,
for I have not forgotten your instructions.
154 Argue my case; take my side!
Protect my life as you promised.
155 The wicked are far from rescue,
for they do not bother with your decrees.
156 Lord, how great is your mercy;
let me be revived by following your regulations.
157 Many persecute and trouble me,
yet I have not swerved from your laws.
158 Seeing these traitors makes me sick at heart,
because they care nothing for your word.
159 See how I love your commandments, Lord.
Give back my life because of your unfailing love.
160 The very essence of your words is truth;
all your just regulations will stand forever.
Thursday, November 15, 2018