Ezekiel 33; Ezekiel 34; 1 Peter 5

1 The Lord spoke to me. 2 "Mortal man," he said, "tell your people what happens when I bring war to a land. The people of that country choose one of their number to be a lookout. 3 When he sees the enemy approaching, he sounds the alarm to warn everyone. 4 If someone hears it but pays no attention and the enemy comes and kills him, then he is to blame for his own death. 5 His death is his own fault, because he paid no attention to the warning. If he had paid attention, he could have escaped. 6 If, however, the lookout sees the enemy coming and does not sound the alarm, the enemy will come and kill those sinners, but I will hold the lookout responsible for their death. 7 "Now, mortal man, I am making you a lookout for the nation of Israel. You must pass on to them the warnings I give you. 8 If I announce that an evil person is going to die but you do not warn him to change his ways so that he can save his life, then he will die, still a sinner, and I will hold you responsible for his death. 9 If you do warn an evil person and he doesn't stop sinning, he will die, still a sinner, but your life will be spared." 10 The Lord spoke to me. "Mortal man," he said, "repeat to the Israelites what they are saying: "We are burdened with our sins and the wrongs we have done. We are wasting away. How can we live?' 11 Tell them that as surely as I, the Sovereign Lord, am the living God, I do not enjoy seeing sinners die. I would rather see them stop sinning and live. Israel, stop the evil you are doing. Why do you want to die? 12 "Now, mortal man, tell the Israelites that when someone good sins, the good he has done will not save him. If an evil person stops doing evil, he won't be punished, and if a good man starts sinning, his life will not be spared. 13 I may promise life to someone good, but if he starts thinking that his past goodness is enough and begins to sin, I will not remember any of the good he did. He will die because of his sins. 14 I may warn someone evil that he is going to die, but if he stops sinning and does what is right and good - 15 for example, if he returns the security he took for a loan or gives back what he stole - if he stops sinning and follows the laws that give life, he will not die, but live. 16 I will forgive the sins he has committed, and he will live because he has done what is right and good. 17 "And your people say that what I do isn't right! No, it's their way that isn't right. 18 When someone righteous stops doing good and starts doing evil, he will die for it. 19 When someone evil quits sinning and does what is right and good, he has saved his life. 20 But Israel, you say that what I do isn't right. I am going to judge you by what you do." 21 On the fifth day of the tenth month of the twelfth year of our exile, someone who had escaped from Jerusalem came and told me that the city had fallen. 22 The evening before he came, I had felt the powerful presence of the Lord. When the man arrived the next morning, the Lord gave me back the power of speech. 23 The Lord spoke to me. 24 "Mortal man," he said, "the people who are living in the ruined cities of the land of Israel are saying: "Abraham was only one man, and he was given the whole land. There are many of us, so now the land is ours.' 25 "Tell them what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying: You eat meat with the blood still in it. You worship idols. You commit murder. What makes you think that the land belongs to you? 26 You rely on your swords. Your actions are disgusting. Everyone commits adultery. What makes you think that the land is yours? 27 "Tell them that I, the Sovereign Lord, warn them that as surely as I am the living God, the people who live in the ruined cities will be killed. Those living in the country will be eaten by wild animals. Those hiding in the mountains and in caves will die of disease. 28 I will make the country a desolate wasteland, and the power they were so proud of will come to an end. The mountains of Israel will be so wild that no one will be able to travel through them. 29 When I punish the people for their sins and make the country a wasteland, then they will know that I am the Lord." 30 The Lord said, "Mortal man, your people are talking about you when they meet by the city walls or in the doorways of their houses. They say to one another, "Let's go and hear what word has come from the Lord now.' 31 So my people crowd in to hear what you have to say, but they don't do what you tell them to do. Loving words are on their lips, but they continue their greedy ways. 32 To them you are nothing more than an entertainer singing love songs or playing a harp. They listen to all your words and don't obey a single one of them. 33 But when all your words come true - and they will come true - then they will know that a prophet has been among them."
1 The Lord spoke to me. 2 "Mortal man," he said, "denounce the rulers of Israel. Prophesy to them, and tell them what I, the Sovereign Lord, say to them: You are doomed, you shepherds of Israel! You take care of yourselves, but never tend the sheep. 3 You drink the milk, wear clothes made from the wool, and kill and eat the finest sheep. But you never tend the sheep. 4 You have not taken care of the weak ones, healed the ones that are sick, bandaged the ones that are hurt, brought back the ones that wandered off, or looked for the ones that were lost. Instead, you treated them cruelly. 5 Because the sheep had no shepherd, they were scattered, and wild animals killed and ate them. 6 So my sheep wandered over the high hills and the mountains. They were scattered over the face of the earth, and no one looked for them or tried to find them. 7 "Now, you shepherds, listen to what I, the Lord, am telling you. 8 As surely as I am the living God, you had better listen to me. My sheep have been attacked by wild animals that killed and ate them because there was no shepherd. My shepherds did not try to find the sheep. They were taking care of themselves and not the sheep. 9 So listen to me, you shepherds. 10 I, the Sovereign Lord, declare that I am your enemy. I will take my sheep away from you and never again let you be their shepherds; never again will I let you take care only of yourselves. I will rescue my sheep from you and not let you eat them. 11 "I, the Sovereign Lord, tell you that I myself will look for my sheep and take care of them 12 in the same way as shepherds take care of their sheep that were scattered and are brought together again. I will bring them back from all the places where they were scattered on that dark, disastrous day. 13 I will take them out of foreign countries, gather them together, and bring them back to their own land. I will lead them back to the mountains and the streams of Israel and will feed them in pleasant pastures. 14 I will let them graze in safety in the mountain meadows and the valleys and in all the green pastures of the land of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will find them a place to rest. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken. 16 "I will look for those that are lost, bring back those that wander off, bandage those that are hurt, and heal those that are sick; but those that are fat and strong I will destroy, because I am a shepherd who does what is right. 17 "Now then, my flock, I, the Sovereign Lord, tell you that I will judge each of you and separate the good from the bad, the sheep from the goats. 18 Some of you are not satisfied with eating the best grass; you even trample down what you don't eat! You drink the clear water and muddy what you don't drink! 19 My other sheep have to eat the grass you trample down and drink the water you muddy. 20 "So now, I, the Sovereign Lord, tell you that I will judge between you strong sheep and the weak sheep. 21 You pushed the sick ones aside and butted them away from the flock. 22 But I will rescue my sheep and not let them be mistreated any more. I will judge each of my sheep and separate the good from the bad. 23 I will give them a king like my servant David to be their one shepherd, and he will take care of them. 24 I, the Lord, will be their God, and a king like my servant David will be their ruler. I have spoken. 25 I will make a covenant with them that guarantees their security. I will get rid of all the dangerous animals in the land, so that my sheep can live safely in the fields and sleep in the forests. 26 "I will bless them and let them live around my sacred hill. There I will bless them with showers of rain when they need it. 27 The trees will bear fruit, the fields will produce crops, and everyone will live in safety on his own land. When I break my people's chains and set them free from those who made them slaves, then they will know that I am the Lord. 28 The heathen nations will not plunder them any more, and the wild animals will not kill and eat them. They will live in safety, and no one will terrify them. 29 I will give them fertile fields and put an end to hunger in the land. The other nations will not sneer at them any more. 30 Everyone will know that I protect Israel and that they are my people. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken. 31 "You, my sheep, the flock that I feed, are my people, and I am your God," says the Sovereign Lord.
1 I, who am an elder myself, appeal to the church elders among you. I am a witness of Christ's sufferings, and I will share in the glory that will be revealed. I appeal to you 2 to be shepherds of the flock that God gave you and to take care of it willingly, as God wants you to, and not unwillingly. Do your work, not for mere pay, but from a real desire to serve. 3 Do not try to rule over those who have been put in your care, but be examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the glorious crown which will never lose its brightness. 5 In the same way you younger people must submit yourselves to your elders. And all of you must put on the apron of humility, to serve one another; for the scripture says, "God resists the proud, but shows favor to the humble." 6 Humble yourselves, then, under God's mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time. 7 Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you. 8 Be alert, be on watch! Your enemy, the Devil, roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Be firm in your faith and resist him, because you know that other believers in all the world are going through the same kind of sufferings. 10 But after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who calls you to share his eternal glory in union with Christ, will himself perfect you and give you firmness, strength, and a sure foundation. 11 To him be the power forever! Amen. 12 I write you this brief letter with the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful Christian. I want to encourage you and give my testimony that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it. 13 Your sister church in Babylon, also chosen by God, sends you greetings, and so does my son Mark. 14 Greet one another with the kiss of Christian love. May peace be with all of you who belong to Christ.
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