Ezekiel 22; Ezekiel 23; 1 Peter 1

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Ezekiel 22

1 The LORD spoke his word to me. He said,
2 "Will you judge, son of man? Will you judge the city of murderers? Then tell it about all the disgusting things that it has done.
3 Tell it, 'This is what the Almighty LORD says: [Jerusalem,] you are the city that murders people who live in you. Your time has come. You dishonor yourself with disgusting idols.
4 You are guilty because of the people you have killed. You are dishonored because of the disgusting idols you have made. You have brought an end to your days, and you have come to the end of your years. That is why I will make you a disgrace to the nations and a joke in every land.
5 Those near and those far away will mock you. Your name will be dishonored, and you will be filled with confusion.
6 "'See how all the princes of Israel who live in you have used their power to murder people.
7 People in you hate their fathers and mothers. They oppress foreigners in you. They oppress orphans and widows in you.
8 You have despised my holy things and dishonored the day to worship me.
9 Some of your people slander. They want to kill people. People who live in you eat food sacrificed to idols at the worship sites on the hills, and they sin sexually.
10 Men have sex with their father's wives. They have sex with women when the women are having their periods and are unclean.
11 Men do disgusting things with their neighbors' wives. Some men sexually dishonor their daughters-in-law. Other men who live in you have sex with their sisters, their father's daughters.
12 Other people take bribes to murder people. You collect interest and make excessive profits. You make profits by mistreating your neighbors. You have forgotten me, declares the Almighty LORD.
13 "'I will use my power against you because of the excessive profits you have made and the murders you have committed.
14 Will you still be brave? Will you remain strong when I deal with you? I, the LORD, have spoken, and I will do it.
15 I will scatter you among the nations and force you into other countries. I will put an end to your uncleanness.
16 You will be dishonored in the sight of the nations. Then you will know that I am the LORD.'"
17 Then the LORD spoke his word to me. He said,
18 "Son of man, the people of Israel have become worthless to me. All of them are like copper, tin, iron, and lead in a smelting furnace. They are like the impurities left from silver.
19 This is what the Almighty LORD says: All of you have become worthless. That is why I'm going to gather you in Jerusalem.
20 People gather silver, copper, iron, lead, and tin together in a smelting furnace to melt them with a fiery blast. In the same way, in my anger and fury I will gather you and put you in the city. I will melt you there.
21 Yes, I will gather you, breathe on you with my fiery anger, and melt you in the city.
22 You will be melted in the city like silver that is melted in a furnace. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have poured out my fury on you."
23 The LORD spoke his word to me. He said,
24 "Son of man, tell the city, 'You are an unclean land that has not had rain during the day of my anger. You have not been made clean.
25 Your princes are like roaring lions who tear their prey into pieces. They eat people and take their treasures and precious belongings. They turn many women into widows.
26 Your priests violate my teachings and dishonor my holy things. They don't distinguish between what is holy and what is unholy. They don't teach the difference between what is clean and what is unclean. They ignore the days to worship me. So I am dishonored among the people.
27 Your leaders are like wolves that tear their prey into pieces. They murder and destroy people to make excessive profits.
28 Your prophets cover up these things by seeing false visions and by prophesying lies. They say, "This is what the Almighty LORD says." Yet, the LORD hasn't spoken.
29 The common people oppress and rob others. They do wrong to humble people and to poor people. They oppress foreigners for no reason.
30 "'I looked for someone among you who could build walls or stand in front of me by the gaps in the walls to defend the land and keep it from being destroyed. But I couldn't find anyone.
31 So I will pour out my anger on you, and with my fiery anger I will consume you. This is because of all the things you have done,'" declares the Almighty LORD.

Ezekiel 23

1 The LORD spoke his word to me. He said,
2 "Son of man, there were once two women, daughters of the same mother.
3 They became prostitutes in Egypt when they were young. There men fondled and caressed their breasts.
4 "The older girl was named Oholah, and the younger girl was named Oholibah. I married them, and they gave birth to sons and daughters. Oholah represents Samaria, and Oholibah represents Jerusalem.
5 Oholah acted like a prostitute, although she was my wife. She lusted after her Assyrian lovers who lived nearby.
6 They were governors and commanders clothed in purple. They were all handsome young men who rode on horses.
7 She became a prostitute for all the important men in Assyria. She dishonored herself with the idols of all those with whom she fell in love.
8 She continued the prostitution that she started in Egypt. When she was young, men went to bed with her, caressed her breasts, and treated her like a prostitute.
9 "That is why I handed her over to her lovers, to the Assyrians whom she lusted after.
10 They stripped her naked, took away her sons and daughters, and killed her with a sword. Women gossiped about how she was punished.
11 "Even though her younger sister Oholibah saw this, Oholibah lusted after men more than her sister did. Oholibah's prostitution became worse than her sister's prostitution.
12 She lusted after the Assyrians who were nearby. They were governors and commanders in full dress. They were mounted horsemen, all of them desirable young men.
13 I saw that she was dishonoring herself. Both sisters acted the same way.
14 Yet, she carried her prostitution even further. She saw pictures of men carved on walls. They were figures of Babylonian men, painted in bright red.
15 The men had belts around their waists and flowing turbans on their heads. All of them looked like Babylonian officers who were born in Babylon.
16 She fell in love with them at first sight and sent messengers to them in Babylonia.
17 So these men came from Babylon, went to bed with her, and dishonored her with their lust. After they had dishonored her, she turned away from them in disgust.
18 "She carried out her prostitution openly, and she lay around naked. I turned away from her in disgust as I had turned away from her sister.
19 She remembered how she had been a prostitute in Egypt when she was young. So she took part in even more prostitution.
20 She lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose semen was like that of horses.
21 So she longed to do the sinful things she did when she was young in Egypt, when young men caressed and fondled her breasts.
22 "Oholibah, this is what the Almighty LORD says: I'm going to stir up your lovers against you. They are the lovers you turned away from in disgust. I will bring them against you from every side.
23 I will bring men from Babylon and from all Babylonia, men from Pekod, Shoa, and Koa, as well as all the Assyrians. They are desirable young men, governors and commanders, military officers and important men. All of them ride on horses.
24 They will attack you from the north, with chariots and wagons and with a large number of troops. They will attack you from all around with small and large shields and with helmets. I have handed you over to them for punishment. They will punish you with their own kind of punishment.
25 I will direct my burning anger against you so that they will deal with you in anger. They will cut off your nose and ears and kill everyone who remains. They will take your sons and your daughters and burn down whatever is left.
26 They will rip off your clothes and take away your beautiful jewels.
27 I will put a stop to your sinning and to your prostitution, which you began in Egypt. You won't desire these things anymore or remember Egypt anymore.
28 "This is what the Almighty LORD says: I'm going to hand you over to those you hate and to those you turned away from in disgust.
29 They will treat you hatefully and take away everything that you have worked for. They will leave you naked and bare. The shame of your prostitution will be revealed.
30 Your sinning and your prostitution have done this to you, because you lusted after the nations and dishonored yourself with their idols.
31 You've acted the same way as your sister. That is why I will put her cup in your hand.
32 This is what the Almighty LORD says: You will drink from your sister's cup, a cup that is deep and wide. You will be scorned and mocked, because this cup holds so much.
33 The cup of your sister Samaria will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow.
34 You will drink from it and drain it. You will break it into pieces and tear your breasts off your body. I have spoken, declares the Almighty LORD.
35 "This is what the Almighty LORD says: You have forgotten me and turned your back on me. So you will be punished for your sinning and prostitution."
36 The LORD said to me, "Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah and tell them about their disgusting practices?
37 They have committed adultery. Their hands are covered with blood. They commit adultery with their idols. They have sacrificed the children they gave birth to for me as burnt offerings to idols.
38 They have also done this to me: They have polluted my holy places when they do these things and dishonored the days to worship me.
39 When they sacrificed their children to their idols, they came into my holy place and dishonored it. That is what they've done in my temple.
40 "They even sent messengers to invite men to come from far away. When the men arrived, they washed themselves for the men, painted their eyes, and put on their jewels.
41 They sat on their fine couches with tables in front of them. They put my incense and my olive oil on their tables.
42 "I heard the noise from a carefree crowd. A large number of people came from the desert, and they put bracelets on the women's wrists and beautiful crowns on their heads.
43 Then I said, 'She is worn out from her acts of adultery.' Yet, men continued to have sex with her.
44 Men slept with her. They slept with those sinful women, Oholah and Oholibah just as they slept with a prostitute.
45 Righteous people will punish these women for adultery and for murder, because these women have committed adultery and their hands are covered with blood.
46 "This is what the Almighty LORD says: Bring together a mob [against the people of Samaria and Jerusalem]. Hand them over to terror and looting.
47 Then the mob will stone them and kill them with swords. The mob will kill their sons and daughters and burn their homes.
48 So I will put a stop to the sinning in the land, and all the women will be warned not to sin as they do.
49 They will be punished for their sins, and they will pay for their sin of idolatry. Then they will know that I am the Almighty LORD."

1 Peter 1

1 From Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. To God's chosen people who are temporary residents [in the world] and are scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.
2 God the Father knew you long ago and chose you to live holy lives with the Spirit's help so that you are obedient to Jesus Christ and are sprinkled with his blood. May good will and peace fill your lives!
3 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! God has given us a new birth because of his great mercy. We have been born into a new life that has a confidence which is alive because Jesus Christ has come back to life.
4 We have been born into a new life which has an inheritance that can't be destroyed or corrupted and can't fade away. That inheritance is kept in heaven for you,
5 since you are guarded by God's power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed at the end of time.
6 You are extremely happy about these things, even though you have to suffer different kinds of trouble for a little while now.
7 The purpose of these troubles is to test your faith as fire tests how genuine gold is. Your faith is more precious than gold, and by passing the test, it gives praise, glory, and honor to God. This will happen when Jesus Christ appears again.
8 Although you have never seen Christ, you love him. You don't see him now, but you believe in him. You are extremely happy with joy and praise that can hardly be expressed in words
9 as you obtain the salvation that is the goal of your faith.
10 The prophets carefully researched and investigated this salvation. Long ago they spoke about God's kindness that would come to you.
11 So they tried to find out what time or situation the Spirit of Christ kept referring to whenever he predicted Christ's sufferings and the glory that would follow.
12 God revealed to the prophets that the things they had spoken were not for their own benefit but for yours. What the prophets had spoken, the Holy Spirit, who was sent from heaven, has now made known to you by those who spread the Good News among you. These are things that even the angels want to look into.
13 Therefore, your minds must be clear and ready for action. Place your confidence completely in what God's kindness will bring you when Jesus Christ appears again.
14 Because you are children who obey God, don't live the kind of lives you once lived. Once you lived to satisfy your desires because you didn't know any better.
15 But because the God who called you is holy you must be holy in every aspect of your life.
16 Scripture says, "Be holy, because I am holy."
17 So if you call God your Father, live your time as temporary residents on earth in fear. He is the God who judges all people by what they have done, and he doesn't play favorites.
18 Realize that you weren't set free from the worthless life handed down to you from your ancestors by a payment of silver or gold which can be destroyed.
19 Rather, the payment that freed you was the precious blood of Christ, the lamb with no defects or imperfections.
20 He is the lamb who was known long ago before the world existed, but for your good he became publicly known in the last period of time.
21 Through him you believe in God who brought Christ back to life and gave him glory. So your faith and confidence are in God.
22 Love each other with a warm love that comes from the heart. After all, you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth. As a result you have a sincere love for each other.
23 You have been born again, not from a seed that can be destroyed, but through God's everlasting word that can't be destroyed. That's why [Scripture says],
24 "All people are like grass, and all their beauty is like a flower of the field. The grass dries up and the flower drops off,
25 but the word of the Lord lasts forever." This word is the Good News that was told to you.