Ezekiel 18; Ezekiel 19; James 4

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Ezekiel 18

1 The LORD spoke his word to me. He said,
2 "What do you mean when you use this proverb about the land of Israel: 'Fathers have eaten sour grapes, and their children's teeth are set on edge'?
3 As I live, declares the Almighty LORD, you will no longer use this proverb in Israel.
4 The life of every person belongs to me. Fathers and their children belong to me. The person who sins will die.
5 "Suppose a righteous person does what is fair and right.
6 He doesn't eat at the illegal mountain worship sites or look for help from the idols of the nation of Israel. He doesn't dishonor his neighbor's wife or have sexual intercourse with a woman while she is having her period.
7 He doesn't oppress anyone. He returns what a borrower gives him as security for a loan. He doesn't rob anyone. He gives food to people who are hungry, and he gives clothes to those who are naked.
8 He doesn't lend money for interest or make an excessive profit. He refuses to do evil things, and he judges everyone fairly.
9 He lives by my rules and obeys my laws faithfully. This person is righteous. He will certainly live," declares the Almighty LORD.
10 "But suppose this person has a son who robs and murders. The son does all the things
11 that his father never did. He eats at the illegal mountain worship sites. He dishonors his neighbor's wife.
12 He oppresses the poor and needy. He robs. He doesn't return the security for a loan. He looks to idols for help. He does disgusting things.
13 He lends money for interest and makes excessive profits. Will this person live? He will not live. He has done all these disgusting things. So he must die, and he will be responsible for his own death.
14 "But suppose this person has a son. The son sees all the sins that his father does. He is afraid, so he doesn't do such things.
15 He doesn't eat at the illegal mountain worship sites or look for help from the idols of the nation of Israel. He doesn't dishonor his neighbor's wife.
16 He doesn't oppress anyone. He doesn't keep the security for a loan. He doesn't rob anyone. He gives food to people who are hungry, and he gives clothes to those who are naked.
17 He refuses to hurt the poor. He doesn't charge interest or make excessive profits. He obeys my rules and lives by my laws. He won't die for his father's sins. He will certainly live.
18 But his father has oppressed others, robbed his relative, and done what is wrong among his people. So the father will die because of his sin.
19 "But you ask, 'Why isn't the son punished for his father's sin?' It is because the son has done what is fair and right. He obeyed my rules and followed them. He will certainly live.
20 The person who sins will die. A son will not be punished for his father's sins, and a father will not be punished for his son's sins. The righteousness of the righteous person will be his own, and the wickedness of the wicked person will be his own.
21 "But suppose a wicked person turns away from all the sins that he has done. He obeys all my laws and does what is fair and right. He will certainly live. He will not die.
22 All the rebellious things that he did will not be remembered. He will live because of the right things that he did.
23 I don't want wicked people to die." declares the Almighty LORD. "I want them to turn from their evil ways and live.
24 "But suppose a righteous person turns away from doing right and he does evil things. He does all the disgusting things that the wicked person did. Will he live? All the right things that he has done will not be remembered because of his unfaithfulness and because of his sin. He will die because of them.
25 "But you say, 'The Lord's way is unfair.' Listen, nation of Israel, isn't my way fair? Isn't it your ways that are unfair?
26 When a righteous person turns away from doing right and does evil things, he will die. He will die because of the evil things he has done.
27 When a wicked person turns away from the wicked things that he has done and does what is fair and right, he will live.
28 He realized what he was doing and turned away from all the rebellious things that he had done. He will certainly live. He will not die.
29 "But the nation of Israel says, 'The Lord's way is unfair.' Isn't my way fair, nation of Israel? Isn't it your ways that are unfair?
30 "That is why I will judge each of you by what you have done, people of Israel," declares the Almighty LORD. "Change the way you think and act. Turn away from all the rebellious things that you have done so that you will not fall into sin.
31 Stop all the rebellious things that you are doing. Get yourselves new hearts and new spirits. Why do you want to die, nation of Israel?
32 I don't want anyone to die," declares the Almighty LORD. "Change the way you think and act!"

Ezekiel 19

1 Sing a funeral song for the princes of Israel.
2 Say: Your mother was like a lioness. She lay down among the lions. She fed many cubs.
3 One of the cubs she raised became a young lion. He learned to tear apart the animals he hunted. He ate people.
4 The nations heard about him, caught him in their pit, and brought him with hooks to Egypt.
5 The lioness waited until she saw that there was no more hope. Then she took another one of her cubs and raised him into a young lion.
6 He became a young lion, and he prowled among the lions. He learned to tear apart the animals he hunted. He ate people.
7 He destroyed fortresses and turned cities into wastelands. The land and everyone living in it were terrified by the sound of his roar.
8 The nations from every region came together against him. They spread their net over him and caught him in their pit.
9 With hooks they put him in a cage and brought him to the king of Babylon. They put him in prison so that his roar wouldn't be heard anymore on the mountains of Israel.
10 Your mother was like a grapevine that was planted near water. It had a lot of fruit and many branches because there was plenty of water.
11 Its branches were strong. They were used to make scepters for kings. It grew to be tall with many branches around it, and everyone saw it because of its many branches.
12 But in anger it was uprooted and thrown to the ground. The east wind dried up its fruit. Its strong branches broke off. They withered and were burned.
13 Now it is planted in the desert, in a dry and waterless land.
14 Fire has spread from the vine's main branch. Fire has destroyed its fruit. It no longer has any strong branches that could be used as a king's scepter. This is a funeral song. It is to be used as a funeral song.

James 4

1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Aren't they caused by the selfish desires that fight to control you?
2 You want what you don't have, so you commit murder. You're determined to have things, but you can't get what you want. You quarrel and fight. You don't have the things you want, because you don't pray for them.
3 When you pray for things, you don't get them because you want them for the wrong reason--for your own pleasure.
4 You unfaithful people! Don't you know that love for this [evil] world is hatred toward God? Whoever wants to be a friend of this world is an enemy of God.
5 Do you think this passage means nothing? It says, "The Spirit that lives in us wants us to be his own."
6 But God shows us even more kindness. Scripture says, "God opposes arrogant people, but he is kind to humble people."
7 So place yourselves under God's authority. Resist the devil, and he will run away from you.
8 Come close to God, and he will come close to you. Clean up your lives, you sinners, and clear your minds, you doubters.
9 Be miserable, mourn, and cry. Turn your laughter into mourning and your joy into gloom.
10 Humble yourselves in the Lord's presence. Then he will give you a high position.
11 Brothers and sisters, stop slandering each other. Those who slander and judge other believers slander and judge God's teachings. If you judge God's teachings, you are no longer following them. Instead, you are judging them.
12 There is only one teacher and judge. He is able to save or destroy you. So who are you to judge your neighbor?
13 Pay attention to this! You're saying, "Today or tomorrow we will go into some city, stay there a year, conduct business, and make money."
14 You don't know what will happen tomorrow. What is life? You are a mist that is seen for a moment and then disappears.
15 Instead, you should say, "If the Lord wants us to, we will live and carry out our plans."
16 However, you brag because you're arrogant. All such bragging is evil.
17 Whoever knows what is right but doesn't do it is sinning.