Today our passages are Ezekiel 29:1–30:26; Hebrews 11:32–12:13; Psalm 112:1-10; and Proverbs 27:17. The readings are from the Contemporary English Version. If you find these readings helpful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.
Ezekiel 29-30:26 (Contemporary English Version)
Judgment on the King of Egypt1Ten years after King Jehoiachin and the rest of us had been led away as prisoners to Babylonia, the LORD spoke to me on the twelfth day of the tenth month.a] He said: 2Ezekiel, son of man, condemn the king of Egypt. Tell him and his people 3that I am saying:
King of Egypt, you were like a giant crocodile lying in a river. You acted as though you owned the Nile and made it for yourself. But now I, the LORD God, am your enemy! 4I will put a hook in your jaw and pull you out of the water, and all the fish in your river will stick to your scaly body. b] 5I'll throw you and the fish into the desert, and your body will fall on the hard ground. You will be left unburied, c] and wild animals and birds will eat your flesh. 6Then everyone in Egypt will know that I am the LORD. You and your nation refused to help the people of Israel and were nothing more than a broken stick. 7When they reached out to you for support, you broke in half, cutting their arms and making them fall. d] 8So I, the LORD God, will send troops to attack you, king of Egypt. They will kill your people and livestock, 9until your land is a barren desert. Then you will know that I have done these things.
You claimed that you made the Nile River and control it. 10Now I am turning against you and your river. Your nation will be nothing but an empty wasteland all the way from the town of Migdol in the north to Aswan in the south, and as far as the border of Ethiopia. e] 11No human or animal will even dare travel through Egypt, because no sign of life will be found there for forty years. 12It will be the most barren place on earth. Every city in Egypt will lie in ruins during those forty years, and I will scatter your people throughout the nations of the world. 13Then after those forty years have passed, I will bring your people back from the places where I scattered them. 14They will once again live in their homeland in southern Egypt. But they will be a weak kingdom 15and won't ever be strong enough to rule nations, as they did in the past. 16My own people Israel will never again depend on your nation. In fact, when the Israelites remember what happened to you Egyptians, they will realize how wrong they were to turn to you for help. Then the Israelites will know that I, the LORD God, did these things.
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia Will Conquer Egypt17Twenty-seven years after King Jehoiachin and the rest of us had been led away as prisoners to Babylonia, the LORD spoke to me on the first day of the first month. f] He said: 18King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia has attacked the city of Tyre. He forced his soldiers to carry so many heavy loads that their heads were rubbed bald, and their shoulders were red and sore. Nebuchadnezzar and his army still could not capture the city. 19So now I will hand over the nation of Egypt to him. He will take Egypt's valuable treasures and give them to his own troops. 20Egypt will be his reward, because he and his army have been following my orders. I, the LORD God, have spoken.
21Ezekiel, when Egypt is defeated, I will make the people of Israel strong, and I will give you the power to speak to them. Then they will know that I, the LORD, have done these things.
Egypt Will Be a Barren Desert1The LORD said:
2Ezekiel, son of man, tell the people of Egypt that I am saying:
Cry out in despair,
3because you will soon
That will be a time
of darkness and doom
for all nations.
4Your own nation of Egypt
will be attacked,
and Ethiopia g] will suffer. You will be killed in battle,
and your land will be robbed
and left in ruins.
5Soldiers hired from Ethiopia, Libya, Lydia, Arabia, Kub, as well as from Israel, h] will die in that battle. 6All of your allies will be killed, and your proud strength will crumble. People will die from Migdol in the north to Aswan in the south. I, the LORD, have spoken. 7Your nation of Egypt will be the most deserted place on earth, and its cities will lie in complete ruin. 8I will set fire to your land, and anyone who defended your nation will die. Then you will know that I am the LORD.
9On the same day I destroy Egypt, I will send messengers to the Ethiopians to announce their coming destruction. They think they are safe, but they will be terrified.
10Your Egyptian army is very strong, but I will send King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia to completely defeat that army. 11He and his cruel troops will invade and destroy your land and leave your dead bodies piled everywhere.
12I will dry up the Nile River, then sell the land to evil buyers. I will send foreigners to turn your entire nation into a barren desert. I, the LORD, have spoken.
Egypt's Proud Cities Will Lie in Ruins
The LORD said to the people of Egypt:13All the idols and images you Egyptians worship in the city of Memphis i] will be smashed. No one will be left to rule your nation, and terror will fill the land.14The city of Pathros will be left in ruins, and Zoan will be burned to the ground. Thebes, j] your capital city, will also be destroyed! 15The fortress city of Pelusium will feel my fierce anger, and all the troops stationed at Thebes will be slaughtered. 16I will set fire to your nation of Egypt! The city of Pelusium will be in anguish. Thebes will fall, and the people of Memphis will live in constant fear. k] 17The young soldiers in the cities of Heliopolis and Bubastis l] will die in battle, and the rest of the people will be taken prisoner. 18You were so proud of your nation's power, but when I crush that power and kill that pride, darkness will fall over the city of Tahpanhes. A dark, gloomy cloud will cover the land as you are being led away into captivity. 19When I'm through punishing Egypt, you will know that I am the LORD.
Egypt's King Is Powerless20Eleven years after King Jehoiachin and the rest of us had been led away as prisoners to Babylonia, the LORD spoke to me on the seventh day of the first month. m] He said: 21Ezekiel, son of man, I, the LORD, have defeated the king of Egypt! I broke his arm, and no one has wrapped it or put it in a sling, so that it could heal and get strong enough to hold a sword. 22So tell him that I am now his worst enemy. I will break both his arms--the good one and the broken one! His sword will drop from his hand forever, 23and I will scatter the Egyptians all over the world.
24-25I will strengthen the power of Babylonia's king and give him my sword to use against Egypt. I will also make the wounded king of Egypt powerless, and he will moan in pain and die in front of the Babylonian king. Then everyone on earth will know that I am the LORD. 26I will force the Egyptians to live as prisoners in foreign nations, and they will know that I, the LORD, have punished them.
- Ezekiel 29:1 Ten years. . . tenth month: Probably January of 587 B.C.
- Ezekiel 29:4 all the fish in your river will stick to your scaly body: All the king's officials will be removed from power and destroyed along with the king himself.
- Ezekiel 29:5 You will be left unburied: A proper burial in a royal tomb was extremely important to Egyptian kings, because they often thought of themselves as gods.
- Ezekiel 29:7 making them fall: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- Ezekiel 29:10 Ethiopia: The Hebrew text has "Cush," which was a region south of Egypt that included parts of the present countries of Ethiopia and Sudan.
- Ezekiel 29:17 Twenty-seven. . . first month: Probably March of 571 B.C.
- Ezekiel 30:4 Ethiopia: See the note at 29.10.
- Ezekiel 30:5 as well as from Israel: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- Ezekiel 30:13 Memphis: Hebrew "Noph."
- Ezekiel 30:14 Thebes: Hebrew "No."
- Ezekiel 30:16 the people of Memphis. . . constant fear: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- Ezekiel 30:17 Heliopolis and Bubastis: Hebrew "On and Pi-Beseth."
- Ezekiel 30:20 Eleven years. . . first month: Probably March of 587 B.C.
Hebrews 11:32-12:13 (Contemporary English Version)
32What else can I say? There isn't enough time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. 33Their faith helped them conquer kingdoms, and because they did right, God made promises to them. They closed the jaws of lions 34and put out raging fires and escaped from the swords of their enemies. Although they were weak, they were given the strength and power to chase foreign armies away.
35Some women received their loved ones back from death. Many of these people were tortured, but they refused to be released. They were sure that they would get a better reward when the dead are raised to life. 36Others were made fun of and beaten with whips, and some were chained in jail. 37Still others were stoned to death or sawed in two a] or killed with swords. Some had nothing but sheep skins or goat skins to wear. They were poor, mistreated, and tortured.38The world did not deserve these good people, who had to wander in deserts and on mountains and had to live in caves and holes in the ground. 39All of them pleased God because of their faith! But still they died without being given what had been promised. 40This was because God had something better in store for us. And he did not want them to reach the goal of their faith without us.
A Large Crowd of Witnesses1Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won't let go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us. 2We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete. He endured the shame of being nailed to a cross, because he knew that later on he would be glad he did. Now he is seated at the right side b] of God's throne! 3So keep your mind on Jesus, who put up with many insults from sinners. Then you won't get discouraged and give up. 4None of you have yet been hurt c] in your battle against sin.5But you have forgotten that the Scriptures say to God's children, "When the Lord punishes you,
don't make light of it,
and when he corrects you,
don't be discouraged.
6The Lord corrects the people
and disciplines those
he calls his own."
7Be patient when you are being corrected! This is how God treats his children. Don't all parents correct their children? 8God corrects all of his children, and if he doesn't correct you, then you don't really belong to him. 9Our earthly fathers correct us, and we still respect them. Isn't it even better to be given true life by letting our spiritual Father correct us?
10Our human fathers correct us for a short time, and they do it as they think best. But God corrects us for our own good, because he wants us to be holy, as he is. 11It is never fun to be corrected. In fact, at the time it is always painful. But if we learn to obey by being corrected, we will do right and live at peace.
12Now stand up straight! Stop your knees from shaking 13and walk a straight path. Then lame people will be healed, instead of getting worse.
Psalm 112:1-10 (Contemporary English Version)
God Blesses His Worshipers1Shout praises to the LORD!
The LORD blesses everyone
who worships him and gladly
obeys his teachings.
2Their descendants will have
great power in the land,
because the LORD blesses
all who do right.
3They will get rich and prosper
and will always be remembered
for their fairness.
4They will be so kind
and merciful and good,
that they will be a light
in the dark
who do the right thing.
5Life will go well for those
who freely lend
and are honest in business.
6They won't ever be troubled,
and the kind things they do
will never be forgotten.
7Bad news won't bother them;
they have decided
to trust the LORD.
8They are dependable
and not afraid,
and they will live to see
their enemies defeated.
9They will always be remembered
and greatly praised,
because they were kind
and freely gave to the poor.
10When evil people see this,
they angrily bite their tongues
They will never get
what they really want.
Proverbs 27:17 (Contemporary English Version)
17Just as iron sharpens iron,
friends sharpen the minds
of each other.
Verse of the Day
“Christ died once for our sins. An innocent person died for those who are guilty. Christ did this to bring you to God, when his body was put to death and his spirit was made alive.” - 1 Peter 3:18
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.
Thought for the Day
German theologian, philosopher and mystic, Meister Eckhart wrote, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”