The Lord Appoints Ezekiel as a Lookout(A)
16 After the seven days had passed, the Lord spoke to me. 17 “Mortal man,” he said, “I am making you a lookout for the nation of Israel. You will pass on to them the warnings I give you. 18 If I announce that someone evil is going to die but you do not warn him to change his ways so that he can save his life, he will die, still a sinner, but I will hold you responsible for his death. 19 If you do warn an evil man and he doesn't stop sinning, he will die, still a sinner, but your life will be spared.
20 “If someone truly good starts doing evil and I put him in a dangerous situation, he will die if you do not warn him. He will die because of his sins—I will not remember the good he did—and I will hold you responsible for his death. 21 If you do warn a good man not to sin and he listens to you and doesn't sin, he will stay alive, and your life will also be spared.”
Ezekiel Will Be Unable to Talk
22 I felt the powerful presence of the Lord and heard him say to me, “Get up and go out into the valley. I will talk to you there.”
23 So I went out into the valley, and there I saw the glory of the Lord, just as I had seen it beside the Chebar River. I fell face downward on the ground, 24 but God's spirit entered me and raised me to my feet. The Lord said to me, “Go home and shut yourself up in the house. 25 You will be tied with ropes, mortal man, and you will not be able to go out in public. 26 I will paralyze your tongue so that you won't be able to warn these rebellious people. 27 Then, when I speak to you again and give you back the power of speech, you will tell them what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying. Some of them will listen, but some will ignore you, for they are a nation of rebels.”
Ezekiel Acts Out the Siege of Jerusalem
4 God said, “Mortal man, get a brick, put it in front of you, and scratch lines on it to represent the city of Jerusalem. 2 Then, to represent a siege, put trenches, earthworks, camps, and battering rams all around it. 3 Take an iron pan and set it up like a wall between you and the city. Face the city. It is under siege, and you are the one besieging it. This will be a sign to the nation of Israel.
4-5 “Then lie down on your left side, and I[a] will place on you the guilt of the nation of Israel. For 390 days you will stay there and suffer because of their guilt. I have sentenced you to one day for each year their punishment will last. 6 When you finish that, turn over on your right side and suffer for the guilt of Judah for forty days—one day for each year of their punishment.
7 “Fix your eyes on the siege of Jerusalem. Shake your fist at the city and prophesy against it. 8 I will tie you up so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until the siege is over.
9 “Now take some wheat, barley, beans, peas, millet, and spelt. Mix them all together and make bread. That is what you are to eat during the 390 days you are lying on your left side. 10 You will be allowed eight ounces of bread a day, and it will have to last until the next day. 11 You will also have a limited amount of water to drink, two cups a day. 12 You are to build a fire out of dried human excrement, bake bread on the fire, and eat it where everyone can see you.”
13 The Lord said, “This represents the way the Israelites will have to eat food which the Law forbids,[b] when I scatter them to foreign countries.”
14 But I replied, “No, Sovereign Lord! I have never defiled myself. From childhood on I have never eaten meat from any animal that died a natural death or was killed by wild animals. I have never eaten any food considered unclean.”
15 So God said, “Very well. I will let you use cow dung instead, and you can bake your bread on that.”
16 And he added, “Mortal man, I am going to cut off the supply of bread for Jerusalem. The people there will be distressed and anxious as they measure out the food they eat and the water they drink. 17 They will run out of bread and water; they will be in despair, and they will waste away because of their sins.”
Ezekiel Cuts His Hair
5 The Lord said, “Mortal man, take a sharp sword and use it to shave off your beard and all your hair. Then weigh the hair on scales and divide it into three parts. 2 Burn up a third of it in the city when the siege is over. Take another third and chop it up with your sword as you move around outside the city. Scatter the remaining third to the winds, and I will pursue it with my sword. 3 Keep back a few hairs and wrap them in the hem of your clothes. 4 Then take a few of them out again, throw them in the fire, and let them burn up. From them fire will spread to the whole nation of Israel.”
5 The Sovereign Lord said, “Look at Jerusalem. I put her at the center of the world, with other countries all around her. 6 But Jerusalem rebelled against my commands and showed that she was more wicked than the other nations, more disobedient than the countries around her. Jerusalem rejected my commands and refused to keep my laws. 7 Now listen, Jerusalem, to what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying. By not obeying my laws or keeping my commands, you have caused more trouble than the nations around you. You have followed the customs of other nations. 8 And so I, the Sovereign Lord, am telling you that I am your enemy. I will pass judgment on you where all the nations can see it. 9 Because of all the things you do that I hate, I will punish Jerusalem as I have never done before and will never do again. 10 (B)As a result, parents in Jerusalem will eat their children, and children will eat their parents. I will punish you and scatter in every direction any who are left alive.
11 “Therefore, as I am the living God—this is the word of the Sovereign Lord—because you defiled my Temple with all the evil, disgusting things you did, I will cut you down without mercy. 12 A third of your people will die from sickness and hunger in the city; a third will be cut down by swords outside the city; and I will scatter the last third to the winds and pursue them with a sword.
13 “You will feel all the force of my anger and rage until I am satisfied. When all this happens, you will be convinced that I, the Lord, have spoken to you because I am outraged at your unfaithfulness. 14 Everyone from the nations around you who passes by will sneer at you and keep their distance.
15 “When I am angry and furious with you and punish you, all the nations around you will be terrified. They will look at you with disgust and make fun of you. 16 I will cut off your supply of food and let you starve. You[c] will feel the pains of hunger like sharp arrows sent to destroy you. 17 (C)I will send hunger and wild animals to kill your children, and will send sickness, violence, and war to kill you. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
The Lord Condemns Idolatry
6 The Lord spoke to me. 2 “Mortal man,” he said, “look toward the mountains of Israel and give them my message. 3 Tell the mountains of Israel to hear the Sovereign Lord's word—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. 4 The altars will be torn down and the incense altars broken. All the people there will be killed in front of their idols. 5 I will scatter the corpses of the people of Israel; I will scatter their bones all around the altars. 6 All 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. 7 People 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, 9 where they will live in exile. There they will remember me and know that I have punished them and disgraced them,[d] 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. 10 They will know that I am the Lord and that my warnings were not empty threats.”
11 The 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 or of starvation or disease. 12 Those far away will get sick and die; those nearby will be killed in war; those who survive will starve to death. They will feel all the force of my anger. 13 Corpses will be scattered among the idols and around 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 burned sacrifices to their idols. Then everyone will know that I am the Lord. 14 Yes, I will reach out and destroy their country. I will make it a wasteland 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.”
4 Now, God has offered us the promise that we may receive that rest he spoke about. Let us take care, then, that none of you will be found to have failed to receive that promised rest. 2 For we have heard the Good News, just as they did. They heard the message, but it did them no good, because when they heard it, they did not accept it with faith. 3 (A)We who believe, then, do receive that rest which God promised. It is just as he said,
“I was angry and made a solemn promise:
‘They will never enter the land where I would have given them rest!’”
He said this even though his work had been finished from the time he created the world.
4 (B)For somewhere in the Scriptures this is said about the seventh day: “God rested on the seventh day from all his work.” 5 (C)This same matter is spoken of again: “They will never enter that land where I would have given them rest.” 6 Those who first heard the Good News did not receive that rest, because they did not believe. There are, then, others who are allowed to receive it. 7 (D)This is shown by the fact that God sets another day, which is called “Today.” Many years later he spoke of it through David in the scripture already quoted:
“If you hear God's voice today,
do not be stubborn.”
8 (E)If Joshua had given the people the rest that God had promised, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 As it is, however, there still remains for God's people a rest like God's resting on the seventh day. 10 (F)For those who receive that rest which God promised will rest from their own work, just as God rested from his. 11 Let us, then, do our best to receive that rest, so that no one of us will fail as they did because of their lack of faith.
12 The word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It cuts all the way through, to where soul and spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together. It judges the desires and thoughts of the heart. 13 (G)There is nothing that can be hid from God; everything in all creation is exposed and lies open before his eyes. And it is to him that we must all give an account of ourselves.
Jesus the Great High Priest
14 Let us, then, hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we have a great High Priest who has gone into the very presence of God—Jesus, the Son of God. 15 Our High Priest is not one who cannot feel sympathy for our weaknesses. On the contrary, we have a High Priest who was tempted in every way that we are, but did not sin. 16 Let us have confidence, then, and approach God's throne, where there is grace. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it.
24 Lord, you have made so many things!
How wisely you made them all!
The earth is filled with your creatures.
25 There is the ocean, large and wide,
where countless creatures live,
large and small alike.
26 (A)The ships sail on it, and in it plays Leviathan,
that sea monster which you made.[a]
27 All of them depend on you
to give them food when they need it.
28 You give it to them, and they eat it;
you provide food, and they are satisfied.
29 When you turn away, they are afraid;
when you take away your breath, they die
and go back to the dust from which they came.
30 But when you give them breath,[b] they are created;
you give new life to the earth.
31 May the glory of the Lord last forever!
May the Lord be happy with what he has made!
32 He looks at the earth, and it trembles;
he touches the mountains, and they pour out smoke.
33 I will sing to the Lord all my life;
as long as I live I will sing praises to my God.
34 May he be pleased with my song,
for my gladness comes from him.
35 May sinners be destroyed from the earth;
may the wicked be no more.
Praise the Lord, my soul!
Praise the Lord!