Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 191

Ezekiel 6–10, Proverbs 27

Bible text(s)

The LORD Condemns Idolatry

1The LORD spoke to me. 2“Mortal man,” he said, “look towards the mountains of Israel and give them my message. 3Tell the mountains of Israel to hear the word of the LORD — to hear what I, the Sovereign LORD, am telling the mountains, the hills, the gorges, and the valleys: I will send a sword to destroy the places where people worship idols. 4The altars will be torn down and the incense altars broken. All the people there will be killed in front of their idols. 5I will scatter the corpses of the people of Israel; I will scatter their bones all round the altars. 6All the cities of Israel will be destroyed, so that all their altars and their idols will be smashed to pieces, their incense altars will be shattered, and everything they made will disappear. 7People will be killed everywhere, and those who survive will acknowledge that I am the LORD.

8“I will let some escape the slaughter and be scattered among the nations, 9where they will live in exile. There they will remember me and know that I have punished them and disgraced them, because their faithless hearts deserted me and they preferred idols to me. And they will be disgusted with themselves because of the evil and degrading things they have done. 10They will know that I am the LORD and that my warnings were not empty threats.”

11The Sovereign LORD said, “Wring your hands! Stamp your feet! Cry in sorrow because of all the evil, disgusting things the Israelites have done. They are going to die in war, by famine, and by disease. 12Those far away will fall ill and die; those near by will be killed in war; those who survive will starve to death. They will feel all the force of my anger. 13Corpses will be scattered among the idols and round the altars, scattered on every high hill, on the top of every mountain, under every green tree and every large oak, in every place where they burnt sacrifices to their idols. Then everyone will know that I am the LORD. 14Yes, I will stretch out my hand and destroy their country. I will make it a waste from the southern desert to the city of Riblah in the north, not sparing any place where the Israelites live. Then everyone will know that I am the LORD.”

The End is Near for Israel

1The LORD spoke to me. 2“Mortal man,” he said, “this is what I, the Sovereign LORD, am saying to the land of Israel: this is the end for the whole land!

3“Israel, the end has come. You will feel my anger, because I am judging you for what you have done. I will pay you back for all your disgusting conduct. 4I will not spare you or show you any mercy. I am going to punish you for the disgusting things you have done, so that you will know that I am the LORD.”

5This is what the Sovereign LORD is saying, “One disaster after another is coming on you. 6It's all over. This is the end. You are finished. 7The end is coming for you people who live in the land. The time is near when there will be no more celebrations at the mountain shrines, only confusion.

8“Very soon now you will feel all the force of my anger. I am judging you for what you have done, and I will pay you back for all your disgusting conduct. 9I will not spare you or show you any mercy. I am going to punish you for the disgusting things you have done, so that you will know that I am the LORD, and that I am the one who punishes you.”

10The day of disaster is coming for Israel. Violence is flourishing. Pride is at its height. 11Violence produces more wickedness. Nothing of theirs will remain, nothing of their wealth, their splendour, or their glory.

12The time is coming. The day is near when buying and selling will have no more meaning, because God's punishment will fall on everyone alike. 13No merchant will live long enough to get back what he has lost, because God's anger is on everyone. Those who are evil cannot survive. 14The trumpet sounds, and everyone gets ready. But no one goes off to war, for God's anger will fall on everyone alike.

Punishment for Israel's Sins

15There is fighting in the streets, and sickness and hunger in the houses. Anyone who is out in the country will die in the fighting, and anyone in the city will be a victim of sickness and hunger. 16Some will escape to the mountains like doves frightened from the valleys. All of them will moan over their sins. 17Everyone's hands will be weak, and their knees will shake. 18They will put on sackcloth and they will tremble all over. Their heads will be shaved, and they will all be disgraced. 19They will throw their gold and silver away in the streets like refuse, because neither silver nor gold can save them when the LORD pours out his fury. They cannot use it to satisfy their desires or fill their stomachs. Gold and silver led them into sin. 20Once they were proud of their beautiful jewels, but they used them to make disgusting idols. That is why the LORD has made their wealth repulsive to them.

21“I will let foreigners rob them,” says the LORD, “and lawbreakers will take all their wealth and defile it. 22I will not interfere when my treasured Temple is profaned, when robbers break into it and defile it.

23“Everything is in confusion — the land is full of murders and the cities are full of violence. 24I will bring the most evil nations here and let them have your homes. Your strongest men will lose their confidence when I let the nations profane the places where you worship. 25Despair is coming. You will look for peace and never find it. 26One disaster will follow another, and a steady stream of bad news will pour in. You will beg the prophets to reveal what they foresee. The priests will have nothing to teach the people, and the elders will have no advice to give. 27The king will mourn, the prince will give up hope, and the people will shake with fear. I will punish you for all you have done, and will judge you in the same way as you have judged others. This will show you that I am the LORD.”

Ezekiel's Second Vision of God


Idolatry in Jerusalem

1On the fifth day of the sixth month of the sixth year of our exile, the leaders of the exiles from Judah were sitting in my house with me. Suddenly the power of the Sovereign LORD came on me. 2I looked up and saw a vision of a fiery human form. From the waist down his body looked like fire, and from the waist up he was shining like polished bronze. 3He stretched out what seemed to be a hand and seized me by the hair. Then in this vision God's Spirit lifted me high in the air and took me to Jerusalem. He took me to the inner entrance of the north gate of the Temple, where there was an idol that was an outrage to God.

4There I saw the dazzling light that shows the presence of Israel's God, just as I had seen it when I was by the River Chebar. 5God said to me, “Mortal man, look towards the north.” I looked, and there near the altar by the entrance of the gateway I saw the idol that was an outrage to God.

6God said to me, “Mortal man, do you see what is happening? Look at the disgusting things the people of Israel are doing here, driving me farther and farther away from my holy place. You will see even more disgraceful things than this.”

7He took me to the entrance of the outer courtyard and showed me a hole in the wall. 8He said, “Mortal man, break through the wall here.” I broke through it and found a door. 9He said to me, “Go in and look at the evil, disgusting things they are doing there.” 10So I went in and looked. The walls were covered with drawings of snakes and other unclean animals, and of the other things which the Israelites were worshipping. 11Seventy Israelite leaders were there, including Jaazaniah son of Shaphan. Each one was holding an incense burner, and smoke was rising from the incense. 12God asked me, “Mortal man, do you see what the Israelite leaders are doing in secret? They are all worshipping in a room full of images. Their excuse is: ‘The LORD doesn't see us! He has abandoned the country.’ ”

13Then the LORD said to me, “You are going to see them do even more disgusting things than that.” 14So he took me to the north gate of the Temple and showed me women weeping over the death of the god Tammuz.

15He asked, “Mortal man, do you see that? You will see even more disgusting things.” 16So he took me to the inner courtyard of the Temple. There near the entrance of the sanctuary, between the altar and the passage, were about 25 men. They had turned their backs to the sanctuary and were bowing low towards the east, worshipping the rising sun.

17The LORD said to me, “Mortal man, do you see that? These people of Judah are not satisfied with merely doing all the disgusting things you have seen here and with spreading violence throughout the country. No, they must come and do them here in the Temple itself and make me even more angry. Look how they insult me in the most offensive way possible! 18They will feel all the force of my anger. I will not spare them or show them any mercy. They will shout prayers to me as loud as they can, but I will not listen to them.”

Jerusalem is Punished

1Then I heard God shout, “Come here, you men who are going to punish the city. Bring your weapons with you.” 2At once six men came from the outer north gate of the Temple, each one carrying a weapon. With them was a man dressed in linen clothes, carrying something to write with. They all came and stood by the bronze altar.

3Then the dazzling light of the presence of the God of Israel rose up from the winged creatures, where it had been, and moved to the entrance of the Temple. The LORD called to the man dressed in linen, 4“Go through the whole city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the forehead of everyone who is distressed and troubled because of all the disgusting things being done in the city.”

5And I heard God say to the other men, “Follow him through the city, and kill. Spare no one; have mercy on no one. 6Kill the old men, young men, young women, mothers, and children. But don't touch anyone who has the mark on his forehead. Start here at my Temple.” So they began with the leaders who were standing there at the Temple.

7God said to them, “Defile the Temple. Fill its courtyards with corpses. Get to work!” So they began to kill the people in the city.

8While the killing was going on, I was there alone. I threw myself face downwards on the ground and shouted, “Sovereign LORD, are you so angry with Jerusalem that you are going to kill everyone left in Israel?”

9God answered, “The people of Israel and Judah are guilty of terrible sins. They have committed murder all over the land and have filled Jerusalem with crime. They say that I, the LORD, have abandoned their country and that I don't see them. 10But I will not have pity on them; I will do to them what they have done to others.”

11Then the man wearing linen clothes returned and reported to the LORD, “I have carried out your orders.”

The Glory of the LORD Leaves the Temple

1I looked at the dome over the heads of the living creatures and above them was something that seemed to be a throne made of sapphire. 2God said to the man wearing linen clothes, “Go between the wheels under the creatures and fill your hands with burning coals. Then scatter the coals over the city.”

I watched him go. 3The creatures were standing to the south of the Temple when he went in, and a cloud filled the inner courtyard. 4The dazzling light of the LORD's presence rose up from the creatures and moved to the entrance of the Temple. Then the cloud filled the Temple, and the courtyard was blazing with the light. 5The noise made by the creatures' wings was heard even in the outer courtyard. It sounded like the voice of Almighty God.

6When the LORD commanded the man wearing linen clothes to take some fire from between the wheels that were under the creatures, the man went in and stood by one of the wheels. 7One of the creatures put his hand into the fire that was there among them, picked up some coals, and put them in the hands of the man in linen. The man took the coals and left.

8I saw that each creature had what looked like a human hand under each of its wings. 9-10I also saw that there were four wheels, all alike, one beside each creature. The wheels shone like precious stones, and each one had another wheel which intersected it at right angles. 11When the creatures moved, they could go in any direction without turning. They all moved together in the direction they wanted to go, without having to turn round. 12Their bodies, backs, hands, wings, and wheels were covered with eyes. 13I heard a voice calling out, “Whirling wheels”.

14Each creature had four faces. The first was the face of a bull, the second a human face, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle. 15(They were the same creatures that I had seen by the River Chebar.) When the creatures rose in the air 16and moved, the wheels went with them. Whenever they spread their wings to fly, the wheels still went with them. 17When the creatures stopped, the wheels stopped; and when the creatures flew, the wheels went with them, because the creatures controlled them.

18Then the dazzling light of the LORD's presence left the entrance of the Temple and moved to a place above the creatures. 19They spread their wings and flew up from the earth while I was watching, and the wheels went with them. They paused at the east gate of the Temple, and the dazzling light was over them. 20I recognized them as the same creatures which I had seen beneath the God of Israel at the River Chebar.

21Each of them had four faces, four wings, and what looked like a human hand under each wing. 22Their faces looked exactly like the faces I had seen by the River Chebar. Each creature moved straight ahead.

Ezekiel 10GNBOpen in Bible reader

1Never boast about tomorrow. You don't know what will happen between now and then.

2Let other people praise you — even strangers; never do it yourself.

3The weight of stone and sand is nothing compared to the trouble that stupidity can cause.

4Anger is cruel and destructive, but it is nothing compared to jealousy.

5Better to correct someone openly than to let him think you don't care for him at all.

6Friends mean well, even when they hurt you. But when an enemy puts an arm round your shoulder — watch out!

7When you are full, you will refuse honey, but when you are hungry, even bitter food tastes sweet.

8Anyone away from home is like a bird away from its nest.

9Perfume and fragrant oils make you feel happier, but trouble shatters your peace of mind.

10Do not forget your friends or your father's friends. If you are in trouble, don't ask a relative for help; a neighbour near by can help you more than relatives who are far away.

11Be wise, my child, and I will be happy; I will have an answer for anyone who criticizes me.

12Sensible people will see trouble coming and avoid it, but an unthinking person will walk right into it and regret it later.

13Anyone stupid enough to promise to be responsible for a stranger's debts deserves to have his own property held to guarantee payment.

14You might as well curse your friends as wake them up early in the morning with a loud greeting.

15A nagging wife is like water going drip-drip-drip on a rainy day. 16How can you keep her quiet? Have you ever tried to stop the wind or ever tried to hold a handful of oil?

17People learn from one another, just as iron sharpens iron.

18Take care of a fig tree and you will have figs to eat. Servants who take care of their master will be honoured.

19It is your own face that you see reflected in the water and it is your own self that you see in your heart.

20Human desires are like the world of the dead — there is always room for more.

21Fire tests gold and silver; a person's reputation can also be tested.

22Even if you beat fools until they're half dead, you still can't beat their foolishness out of them.

23Look after your sheep and cattle as carefully as you can, 24because wealth is not permanent. Not even nations last for ever. 25You cut the hay and then cut the grass on the hillsides while the next crop of hay is growing. 26You can make clothes from the wool of your sheep and buy land with the money you get from selling some of your goats. 27The rest of the goats will provide milk for you and your family, and for your servant women as well.

Proverbs 27GNBOpen in Bible reader
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