December 5

Isaiah 40

1Give comfort, give comfort, to my people, says your God.

2Say kind words to the heart of Jerusalem, crying out to her that her time of trouble is ended, that her punishment is complete; that she has been rewarded by the Lord’s hand twice over for all her sins.

3A voice of one crying, Make ready in the waste land the way of the Lord, make level in the lowland a highway for our God.

4Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low, and let the rough places become level, and the hilltops become a valley,

5And the glory of the Lord will be made clear, and all flesh will see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has said it.

6A voice of one saying, Give a cry! And I said, What is my cry to be? All flesh is grass, and all its strength like the flower of the field.

7The grass becomes dry, the flower is dead; because the breath of the Lord goes over it: truly the people is grass.

8The grass is dry, the flower is dead; but the word of our God is eternal.

9You who give good news to Zion, get up into the high mountain; you who give good news to Jerusalem, let your voice be strong; let it be sounding without fear; say to the towns of Judah, See, your God!

10See, the Lord God will come as a strong one, ruling in power: see, those made free by him are with him, and those whom he has made safe go before him.

11He will give food to his flock like a keeper of sheep; with his arm he will get it together, and will take up the lambs on his breast, gently guiding those which are with young.

12In the hollow of whose hand have the waters been measured? and who is able to take the heavens in his stretched-out fingers? who has got together the dust of the earth in a measure? who has taken the weight of the mountains, or put the hills into the scales?

13By whom has the spirit of the Lord been guided, or who has been his teacher?

14Who gave him suggestions, and made clear to him the right way? who gave him knowledge, guiding him in the way of wisdom?

15See, the nations are to him like a drop hanging from a bucket, and like the small dust in the scales: he takes up the islands like small dust.

16And Lebanon is not enough to make a fire with, or all its cattle enough for a burned offering.

17All the nations are as nothing before him; even less than nothing, a thing of no value.

18Whom then is God like, in your opinion? or what will you put forward as a comparison with him?

19The workman makes an image, and the gold-worker puts gold plates over it, and makes silver bands for it.

20The wise workman makes selection of the mulberry-tree of the offering, a wood which will not become soft; so that the image may be fixed to it and not be moved.

21Have you no knowledge of it? has it not come to your ears? has not news of it been given to you from the first? has it not been clear to you from the time when the earth was placed on its base?

22It is he who is seated over the arch of the earth, and the people in it are as small as locusts; by him the heavens are stretched out like an arch, and made ready like a tent for a living-place.

23He makes rulers come to nothing; the judges of the earth are of no value.

24They have only now been planted, and their seed put into the earth, and they have only now taken root, when he sends out his breath over them and they become dry, and the storm-wind takes them away like dry grass.

25Who then seems to you to be my equal? says the Holy One.

26Let your eyes be lifted up on high, and see: who has made these? He who sends out their numbered army: who has knowledge of all their names: by whose great strength, because he is strong in power, all of them are in their places.

27Why do you say, O Jacob, such words as these, O Israel, The Lord’s eyes are not on my way, and my God gives no attention to my cause?

28Have you no knowledge of it? has it not come to your ears? The eternal God, the Lord, the Maker of the ends of the earth, is never feeble or tired; there is no searching out of his wisdom.

29He gives power to the feeble, increasing the strength of him who has no force.

30Even the young men will become feeble and tired, and the best of them will come to the end of his strength;

31But those who are waiting for the Lord will have new strength; they will get wings like eagles: running, they will not be tired, and walking, they will have no weariness.

Ezekiel 6

1And the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

2Son of man, let your face be turned to the mountains of Israel, and be a prophet to them, and say,

3You mountains of Israel, give ear to the words of the Lord: this is what the Lord has said to the mountains and the hills, to the waterways and the valleys: See, I, even I, am sending on you a sword for the destruction of your high places.

4And your altars will be made waste, and your sun-images will be broken: and I will have your dead men placed before your images.

5And I will put the dead bodies of the children of Israel in front of their images, sending your bones in all directions about your altars.

6In all your living-places the towns will become broken walls, and the high places made waste; so that your altars may be broken down and made waste, and your images broken and ended, and so that your sun-images may be cut down and your works rubbed out.

7And the dead will be falling down among you, and you will be certain that I am the Lord.

8But still, I will keep a small band safe from the sword among the nations, when you are sent wandering among the countries.

9And those of you who are kept safe will have me in mind among the nations where they have been taken away as prisoners, how I sent punishment on their hearts which were untrue to me, and on their eyes which were turned to their false gods: and they will be full of hate for themselves because of the evil things which they have done in all their disgusting ways.

10And they will be certain that I am the Lord: not for nothing did I say that I would do this evil to them.

11This is what the Lord has said: Give blows with your hand, stamping with your foot, and say, O sorrow! because of all the evil and disgusting ways of the children of Israel: for death will overtake them by the sword and through need of food and by disease.

12He who is far away will come to his death by disease; he who is near will be put to the sword; he who is shut up will come to his death through need of food; and I will give full effect to my passion against them.

13And you will be certain that I am the Lord, when their dead men are stretched among their images round about their altars on every high hill, on all the tops of the mountains, and under every branching tree, and under every thick oak-tree, the places where they made sweet smells to all their images.

14And my hand will be stretched out against them, making the land waste and unpeopled, from the waste land to Riblah, through all their living-places: and they will be certain that I am the Lord.

Ezekiel 7

1And the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

2And you, son of man, say, This is what the Lord has said to the land of Israel: An end has come, the end has come on the four quarters of the land.

3Now the end has come on you, and I will send my wrath on you, judging you for your ways, I will send punishment on you for all your disgusting acts.

4My eye will not have mercy on you, and I will have no pity: but I will send the punishment of your ways on you, and your disgusting works will be among you: and you will be certain that I am the Lord.

5This is what the Lord has said: An evil, even one evil; see, it is coming.

6An end has come, the end has come; see, it is coming on you.

7The crowning time has come on you, O people of the land: the time has come, the day is near; the day will not be slow in coming, it will not keep back.

8Now, in a little time, I will let loose my passion on you, and give full effect to my wrath against you, judging you for your ways, and sending punishment on you for all your disgusting works.

9My eye will not have mercy, and I will have no pity: I will send on you the punishment of your ways, and your disgusting works will be among you; and you will see that I am the Lord who gives punishment.

10See, the day; see, it is coming: the crowning time has gone out; the twisted way is flowering, pride has put out buds.

11Violent behaviour has been lifted up into a rod of evil; it will not be slow in coming, it will not keep back.

12The time has come, the day is near: let not him who gives a price for goods be glad, or him who gets the price have sorrow:

13For the trader will not go back to the things for which he had his price, even while he is still living:

14And he who has given a price for goods will not get them, for my wrath is on all of them.

15Outside is the sword, and inside disease and need of food: he who is in the open country will be put to the sword; he who is in the town will come to his end through need of food and disease.

16And those of them who get away safely will go and be in the secret places like the doves of the valleys, all of them will come to death, every one in his sin.

17All hands will be feeble and all knees without strength, like water.

18And they will put haircloth round them, and deep fear will be covering them; and shame will be on all faces, and the hair gone from all their heads.

19They will put out their silver into the streets, and their gold will be as an unclean thing; their silver and their gold will not be able to keep them safe in the day of the wrath of the Lord; they will not get their desire or have food for their need: because it has been the cause of their falling into sin.

20As for their beautiful ornament, they had put it on high, and had made the images of their disgusting and hated things in it: for this cause I have made it an unclean thing to them.

21And I will give it into the hands of men from strange lands who will take it by force, and to the evil-doers of the earth to have for themselves; and they will make it unholy.

22And my face will be turned away from them, and they will make my secret place unholy: violent men will go into it and make it unholy.

23Make the chain: for the land is full of crimes of blood, and the town is full of violent acts.

24For this reason I will send the worst of the nations and they will take their houses for themselves: I will make the pride of their strength come to an end; and their holy places will be made unclean.

25Shaking fear is coming; and they will be looking for peace, and there will be no peace.

26Destruction will come on destruction, and one story after another; and the vision of the prophet will be shamed, and knowledge of the law will come to an end among the priests, and wisdom among the old.

27The king will give himself up to sorrow, and the ruler will be clothed with wonder, and the hands of the people of the land will be troubled: I will give them punishment for their ways, judging them as it is right for them to be judged; and they will be certain that I am the Lord.

Ephesians 2

1And to you did he give life, when you were dead through your wrongdoing and sins,

2In which you were living in the past, after the ways of this present world, doing the pleasure of the lord of the power of the air, the spirit who is now working in those who go against the purpose of God;

3Among whom we all at one time were living in the pleasures of our flesh, giving way to the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and the punishment of God was waiting for us even as for the rest.

4But God, being full of mercy, through the great love which he had for us,

5Even when we were dead through our sins, gave us life together with Christ (by grace you have salvation),

6So that we came back from death with him, and are seated with him in the heavens, in Christ Jesus;

7That in the time to come he might make clear the full wealth of his grace in his mercy to us in Christ Jesus:

8Because by grace you have salvation through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is given by God:

9Not by works, so that no man may take glory to himself.

10For by his act we were given existence in Christ Jesus to do those good works which God before made ready for us so that we might do them.

11For this reason keep it in mind that in the past you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are looked on as being outside the circumcision by those who have circumcision, in the flesh, made by hands;

12That you were at that time without Christ, being cut off from any part in Israel’s rights as a nation, having no part in God’s agreement, having no hope, and without God in the world.

13But now in Christ Jesus you who at one time were far off are made near in the blood of Christ.

14For he is our peace, who has made the two into one, and by whom the middle wall of division has been broken down,

15Having in his flesh put an end to that which made the division between us, even the law with its rules and orders, so that he might make in himself, of the two, one new man, so making peace;

16And that the two might come into agreement with God in one body through the cross, so putting an end to that division.

17And he came preaching peace to you who were far off, and to those who were near;

18Because through him the two of us are able to come near in one Spirit to the Father.

19So then you are no longer as those who have no part or place in the kingdom of God, but you are numbered among the saints, and of the family of God,

20Resting on the base of the Apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief keystone,

21In whom all the building, rightly joined together, comes to be a holy house of God in the Lord;

22In whom you, with the rest, are united together as a living-place of God in the Spirit.

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