Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ezekiel, Day 4 Readings

The Lord Is Israel's Shepherd and Coming Renewal 

Today's first reading is a longer exploration of the description of God as a shepherd of Israel.  It goes into greater depth than the famous 23rd Psalm.  First, it compares God's care to the Jewish leaders who were bad shepherds, known for their selfishness and faithlessness.  Now, like a shepherd, God will go out and seek His sheep (the Jews) who are scattered in exile and bring them to a place of safety and comfort.  It is a prophecy of both the reasons for suffering in exile and the reasons for hope.

Read Ezekiel 34:1-31  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

The second reading provides the ultimate rationale for why the Jews will have another chance to live freely.  In many ways, the sinfulness of the Jews has embarrassed God in the eyes of the world.  In order to restore respect, God had to punish these people for failing to actually treat God as God.  Before they can be allowed to live freely, they must learn to be faithful.  God will have to forgive their previous sins and give them hearts capable of following God's laws.  After that, and only after that, they can return to inhabit God's promised land.

Read Ezekiel 36:16-38  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

Reading the Bible in Its Entirety

If you are planning to read the Bible in its entirety, you should read Ezekiel 29-39 today.