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Ezekiel 30; Ezekiel 31; Ezekiel 32; 1 Peter 4 (The Message)

1 God, the Master, spoke to me: 2 "Son of man, preach. Give them the Message of God, the Master. Wail: 3 "'Doomsday!' Time's up! God's big day of judgment is near. Thick clouds are rolling in. It's doomsday for the nations. 4 Death will rain down on Egypt. Terror will paralyze Ethiopia When they see the Egyptians killed, their wealth hauled off, their foundations demolished, 5 And Ethiopia, Put, Lud, Arabia, Libya - all of Egypt's old allies - killed right along with them. 6 "'God says: "'Egypt's allies will fall and her proud strength will collapse - From Migdol in the north to Syene in the south, a great slaughter in Egypt! Decree of God, the Master. 7 Egypt, most desolate of the desolate, her cities wasted beyond wasting, 8 Will realize that I am God when I burn her down and her helpers are knocked flat. 9 "'When that happens, I'll send out messengers by ship to sound the alarm among the easygoing Ethiopians. They'll be terrorized. Egypt's doomed! Judgment's coming! 10 "'God, the Master, says: "'I'll put a stop to Egypt's arrogance. I'll use Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to do it. 11 He and his army, the most brutal of nations, shall be used to destroy the country. They'll brandish their swords and fill Egypt with corpses. 12 I'll dry up the Nile and sell off the land to a bunch of crooks. I'll hire outsiders to come in and waste the country, strip it clean. I, God, have said so. 13 "'And now this is what God, the Master, says: "'I'll smash all the no-god idols; I'll topple all those huge statues in Memphis. The prince of Egypt will be gone for good, and in his place I'll put fear - fear throughout Egypt! 14 I'll demolish Pathros, burn Zoan to the ground, and punish Thebes, 15 Pour my wrath on Pelusium, Egypt's fort, and knock Thebes off its proud pedestal. 16 I'll set Egypt on fire: Pelusium will writhe in pain, Thebes blown away, Memphis raped. 17 The young warriors of On and Pi-beseth will be killed and the cities exiled. 18 A dark day for Tahpanhes when I shatter Egypt, When I break Egyptian power and put an end to her arrogant oppression! She'll disappear in a cloud of dust, her cities hauled off as exiles. 19 That's how I'll punish Egypt, and that's how she'll realize that I am God.'" 20 In the eleventh year, on the seventh day of the first month, God's Message came to me: 21 "Son of man, I've broken the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And look! It hasn't been set. No splint has been put on it so the bones can knit and heal, so he can use a sword again. 22 "Therefore, God, the Master, says, I am dead set against Pharaoh king of Egypt and will go ahead and break his other arm - both arms broken! There's no way he'll ever swing a sword again. 23 I'll scatter Egyptians all over the world. 24 I'll make the arms of the king of Babylon strong and put my sword in his hand, but I'll break the arms of Pharaoh and he'll groan like one who is mortally wounded. 25 I'll make the arms of the king of Babylon strong, but the arms of Pharaoh shall go limp. The Egyptians will realize that I am God when I place my sword in the hand of the king of Babylon. He'll wield it against Egypt 26 and I'll scatter Egyptians all over the world. Then they'll realize that I am God." 1 In the eleventh year, on the first day of the third month, God's Message came to me: 2 "Son of man, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt, that pompous old goat: "'Who do you, astride the world, think you really are? 3 Look! Assyria was a Big Tree, huge as a Lebanon cedar, beautiful limbs offering cool shade, Skyscraper high, piercing the clouds. 4 The waters gave it drink, the primordial deep lifted it high, Gushing out rivers around the place where it was planted, And then branching out in streams to all the trees in the forest. 5 It was immense, dwarfing all the trees in the forest - Thick boughs, long limbs, roots delving deep into earth's waters. 6 All the birds of the air nested in its boughs. All the wild animals gave birth under its branches. All the mighty nations lived in its shade. 7 It was stunning in its majesty - the reach of its branches! the depth of its water-seeking roots! 8 Not a cedar in God's garden came close to it. No pine tree was anything like it. Mighty oaks looked like bushes growing alongside it. Not a tree in God's garden was in the same class of beauty. 9 I made it beautiful, a work of art in limbs and leaves, The envy of every tree in Eden, every last tree in God's garden.'" 10 Therefore, God, the Master, says, "'Because it skyscrapered upwards, piercing the clouds, swaggering and proud of its stature, 11 I turned it over to a world-famous leader to call its evil to account. I'd had enough. 12 Outsiders, unbelievably brutal, felled it across the mountain ranges. Its branches were strewn through all the valleys, its leafy boughs clogging all the streams and rivers. Because its shade was gone, everybody walked off. No longer a tree - just a log. 13 On that dead log birds perch. Wild animals burrow under it. 14 "'That marks the end of the "big tree" nations. No more trees nourished from the great deep, no more cloud-piercing trees, no more earth- born trees taking over. They're all slated for death - back to earth, right along with men and women, for whom it's "dust to dust." 15 "'The Message of God, the Master: On the day of the funeral of the Big Tree, I threw the great deep into mourning. I stopped the flow of its rivers, held back great seas, and wrapped the Lebanon mountains in black. All the trees of the forest fainted and fell. 16 I made the whole world quake when it crashed, and threw it into the underworld to take its place with all else that gets buried. All the trees of Eden and the finest and best trees of Lebanon, well-watered, were relieved 17 - they had descended to the underworld with it - along with everyone who had lived in its shade and all who had been killed. 18 "'Which of the trees of Eden came anywhere close to you in splendor and size? But you're slated to be cut down to take your place in the underworld with the trees of Eden, to be a dead log stacked with all the other dead logs, among the other uncircumcised who are dead and buried. "'This means Pharaoh, the pompous old goat. "'Decree of God, the Master.'" 1 In the twelfth year, on the first day of the twelfth month, God's Message came to me: 2 "Son of man, sing a funeral lament over Pharaoh king of Egypt. Tell him: "'You think you're a young lion prowling through the nations. You're more like a dragon in the ocean, snorting and thrashing about. 3 "'God, the Master, says: "'I'm going to throw my net over you - many nations will get in on this operation - and haul you out with my dragnet. 4 'll dump you on the ground out in an open field And bring in all the crows and vultures for a sumptuous carrion lunch. I'll invite wild animals from all over the world to gorge on your guts. 5 I'll scatter hunks of your meat in the mountains and strew your bones in the valleys. 6 The country, right up to the mountains, will be drenched with your blood, your blood filling every ditch and channel. 7 When I blot you out, I'll pull the curtain on the skies and shut out the stars. I'll throw a cloud across the sun and turn off the moonlight. 8 I'll turn out every light in the sky above you and put your land in the dark. Decree of God, the Master. 9 I'll shake up everyone worldwide when I take you off captive to strange and far-off countries. 10 I'll shock people with you. Kings will take one look and shudder. I'll shake my sword and they'll shake in their boots. On the day you crash, they'll tremble, thinking, "That could be me!" To Lay Your Pride Low 11 "'God, the Master, says: "'The sword of the king of Babylon is coming against you. 12 I'll use the swords of champions to lay your pride low, Use the most brutal of nations to knock Egypt off her high horse, to puncture that hot-air pomposity. 13 I'll destroy all their livestock that graze along the river. Neither human foot nor animal hoof will muddy those waters anymore. 14 I'll clear their springs and streams, make their rivers flow clean and smooth. Decree of God, the Master. 15 When I turn Egypt back to the wild and strip her clean of all her abundant produce, When I strike dead all who live there, then they'll realize that I am God.' 16 "This is a funeral song. Chant it. Daughters of the nations, chant it. Chant it over Egypt for the death of its pomp." Decree of God, the Master. 17 In the twelfth year, on the fifteenth day of the first month, God's Message came to me: 18 "Son of man, lament over Egypt's pompous ways. Send her on her way. Dispatch Egypt and her proud daughter nations To the underworld, down to the country of the dead and buried. 19 Say, 'You think you're so high and mighty? Down! Take your place with the heathen in that unhallowed grave!' 20 "She'll be dumped in with those killed in battle. The sword is bared. Drag her off in all her proud pomp! 21 All the big men and their helpers down among the dead and buried will greet them: 'Welcome to the grave of the heathen! Join the ranks of the victims of war!' 22 "Assyria is there and its congregation, the whole nation a cemetery. 23 Their graves are in the deepest part of the underworld, a congregation of graves, all killed in battle, these people who terrorized the land of the living. 24 "Elam is there in all her pride, a cemetery - all killed in battle, dumped in her heathen grave with the dead and buried, these people who terrorized the land of the living. They carry their shame with them, along with the others in the grave. 25 They turned Elam into a resort for the pompous dead, landscaped with heathen graves, slaughtered in battle. They once terrorized the land of the living. Now they carry their shame down with the others in deep earth. They're in the section set aside for the slain in battle. 26 "Meshech-tubal is there in all her pride, a cemetery in uncircumcised ground, dumped in with those slaughtered in battle - just deserts for terrorizing the land of the living. Now they carry their shame down with the others in deep earth. They're in the section set aside for the slain. 27 They're segregated from the heroes, the old-time giants who entered the grave in full battle dress, their swords placed under their heads and their shields covering their bones, those heroes who spread terror through the land of the living. 28 "And you, Egypt, will be dumped in a heathen grave, along with all the rest, in the section set aside for the slain. 29 "Edom is there, with her kings and princes. In spite of her vaunted greatness, she is dumped in a heathen grave with the others headed for the grave. 30 "The princes of the north are there, the whole lot of them, and all the Sidonians who carry their shame to their graves - all that terror they spread with their brute power! - dumped in unhallowed ground with those killed in battle, carrying their shame with the others headed for deep earth. 31 "Pharaoh will see them all and, pompous old goat that he is, take comfort in the company he'll keep - Pharaoh and his slaughtered army. Decree of God, the Master. 32 "I used him to spread terror in the land of the living and now I'm dumping him in heathen ground with those killed by the sword - Pharaoh and all his pomp. Decree of God, the Master." 1 Since Jesus went through everything you're going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. 2 Then you'll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want. 3 You've already put in your time in that God-ignorant way of life, partying night after night, a drunken and profligate life. Now it's time to be done with it for good. 4 Of course, your old friends don't understand why you don't join in with the old gang anymore. But you don't have to give an account to them. 5 They're the ones who will be called on the carpet - and before God himself. 6 Listen to the Message. It was preached to those believers who are now dead, and yet even though they died (just as all people must), they will still get in on the life that God has given in Jesus. 7 Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. 8 Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. 9 Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless - cheerfully. 10 Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: 11 if words, let it be God's words; if help, let it be God's hearty help. That way, God's bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he'll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything - encores to the end of time. Oh, yes! 12 Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. 13 Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner. 14 If you're abused because of Christ, count yourself fortunate. It's the Spirit of God and his glory in you that brought you to the notice of others. 15 If they're on you because you broke the law or disturbed the peace, that's a different matter. 16 But if it's because you're a Christian, don't give it a second thought. Be proud of the distinguished status reflected in that name! 17 It's judgment time for Christians. We're first in line. If it starts with us, think what it's going to be like for those who refuse God's Message! 18 If good people barely make it, What's in store for the bad? 19 So if you find life difficult because you're doing what God said, take it in stride. Trust him. He knows what he's doing, and he'll keep on doing it.
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