December 8

Isaiah 43

1But now, says the Lord your Maker, O Jacob, and your life-giver, O Israel: have no fear, for I have taken up your cause; naming you by your name, I have made you mine.

2When you go through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not go over you: when you go through the fire, you will not be burned; and the flame will have no power over you.

3For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your saviour; I have given Egypt as a price for you, Ethiopia and Seba for you.

4Because of your value in my eyes, you have been honoured, and loved by me; so I will give men for you, and peoples for your life.

5Have no fear, for I am with you: I will take your seed from the east, and get you together from the west;

6I will say to the north, Give them up; and to the south, Do not keep them back; send back my sons from far, and my daughters from the end of the earth;

7Every one who is named by my name, and whom I have made for my glory, who has been formed and designed by me.

8Send out the blind people who have eyes, and those who have ears, but they are shut.

9Let all the nations come together, and let the peoples be present: who among them is able to make this clear, and give us word of earlier things? let their witnesses come forward, so that they may be seen to be true, and that they may give ear, and say, It is true.

10You are my witnesses, says the Lord, and my servant whom I have taken for myself: so that you may see and have faith in me, and that it may be clear to you that I am he; before me there was no God formed, and there will not be after me.

11I, even I, am the Lord; and there is no saviour but me.

12I gave the word, and made it clear, and there was no strange god among you: for this reason you are my witnesses, says the Lord.

13From time long past I am God, and from this day I am he: there is no one who is able to take you out of my hand: when I undertake a thing, by whom will my purpose be changed?

14The Lord, who has taken up your cause, the Holy One of Israel, says, Because of you I have sent to Babylon, and made all their seers come south, and the Chaldaeans whose cry is in the ships.

15I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Maker of Israel, your King.

16This is the word of the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, and a road through the deep waters;

17Who sends out the war-carriages and the horses, the army with all its force; they have come down, they will not get up again; like a feebly burning light they are put out.

18Give no thought to the things which are past; let the early times go out of your minds.

19See, I am doing a new thing; now it is starting; will you not take note of it? I will even make a way in the waste land, and rivers in the dry country.

20The beasts of the field will give me honour, the jackals and the ostriches: because I send out waters in the waste land, and rivers in the dry country, to give drink to the people whom I have taken for myself:

21Even the people whom I made to be the witnesses of my praise.

22But you have made no prayer to me, O Jacob: and you have given no thought to me, O Israel.

23You have not made me burned offerings of sheep, or given me honour with your offerings of beasts; I did not make you servants to give me an offering, and I did not make you tired with requests for perfumes.

24You have not got me sweet-smelling plants with your money, or given me pleasure with the fat of your offerings: but you have made me a servant to your sins, and you have made me tired with your evil doings.

25I, even I, am he who takes away your sins; and I will no longer keep your evil doings in mind.

26Put me in mind of this; let us take up the cause between us: put forward your cause, so that you may be seen to be in the right.

27Your first father was a sinner, and your guides have gone against my word.

28Your chiefs have made my holy place unclean, so I have made Jacob a curse, and Israel a thing of shame.

Ezekiel 12

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

2Son of man, you are living among an uncontrolled people, who have eyes to see but see not, and ears for hearing but they do not give ear; for they are an uncontrolled people.

3And you, O son of man, by day, before their eyes, get ready the vessels of one who is taken away, and go away from your place to another place before their eyes: it may be that they will see, though they are an uncontrolled people.

4By day, before their eyes, take out your vessels like those of one who is taken away: and go out in the evening before their eyes, like those who are taken away as prisoners.

5Make a hole in the wall, before their eyes, and go out through it.

6And before their eyes, take your goods on your back and go out in the dark; go with your face covered: for I have made you a sign to the children of Israel.

7And I did as I was ordered: I took out my vessels by day, like those of one who is taken away, and in the evening I made a hole through the wall with a tent-pin; and in the dark I went out, taking my things on my back before their eyes.

8And in the morning the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

9Son of man, has not Israel, the uncontrolled people, said to you, What are you doing?

10You are to say to them, This is what the Lord has said: This word has to do with the ruler in Jerusalem and all the children of Israel in it.

11Say, I am your sign: as I have done, so will it be done to them: they will go away as prisoners.

12And the ruler who is among them will take his goods on his back in the dark and go out: he will make a hole in the wall through which to go out: he will have his face covered so that he may not be seen.

13And my net will be stretched out on him, and he will be taken in my cords: and I will take him to Babylon to the land of the Chaldaeans; but he will not see it, and there death will come to him.

14And all his helpers round about him and all his armies I will send in flight to every wind; and I will let loose a sword after them.

15And they will be certain that I am the Lord, when I send them in flight among the nations, driving them out through the countries.

16But a small number of them I will keep from the sword, from the need of food, and from disease, so that they may make clear all their disgusting ways among the nations where they come; and they will be certain that I am the Lord.

17Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

18Son of man, take your food with shaking fear, and your water with trouble and care;

19And say to the people of the land, This is what the Lord has said about the people of Jerusalem and the land of Israel: They will take their food with care and their drink with wonder, so that all the wealth of their land may be taken from it because of the violent ways of the people living in it.

20And the peopled towns will be made waste, and the land will become a wonder; and you will be certain that I am the Lord.

21And the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

22Son of man, what is this saying which you have about the land of Israel, The time is long and every vision comes to nothing?

23For this cause say to them, This is what the Lord has said: I have made this saying come to an end, and it will no longer be used as a common saying in Israel; but say to them, The days are near, and the effect of every vision.

24For there will be no more false visions or smooth use of secret arts in Israel.

25For I am the Lord; I will say the word and what I say I will do; it will not be put off: for in your days, O uncontrolled people, I will say the word and do it, says the Lord.

26Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

27Son of man, see, the children of Israel say, The vision which he sees is for the days which are a long way off, and his words are of times still far away.

28Say to them then, This is what the Lord has said: Not one of my words will be put off any longer, but what I say I will do, says the Lord.

Ezekiel 13

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

2Son of man, be a prophet against the prophets of Israel, and say to those prophets whose words are the invention of their hearts, Give ear to the word of the Lord;

3This is what the Lord has said: A curse on the foolish prophets who go after the spirit which is in them and have seen nothing!

4O Israel, your prophets have been like jackals in the waste places.

5You have not gone up into the broken places or made up the wall for the children of Israel to take your place in the fight in the day of the Lord.

6They have seen visions without substance and made use of secret arts, who say, The Lord has said; and the Lord has not sent them: hoping that the word would have effect.

7Have you not seen a vision without substance and have you not falsely made use of secret arts, when you say, The Lord has said; though I have said nothing?

8So this is what the Lord has said: Because your words are without substance and your visions are false, see, I am against you, says the Lord.

9And my hand will be against the prophets who see visions without substance and who make false use of secret arts: they will not be in the secret of my people, and they will not be recorded in the list of the children of Israel, and they will not come into the land of Israel; and it will be clear to you that I am the Lord.

10Because, even because they have been guiding my people into error, saying, Peace; when there is no peace; and in the building of a division wall they put whitewash on it:

11Say to those who put whitewash on it, There will be an overflowing shower; and you, O ice-drops, will come raining down; and it will be broken in two by the storm-wind.

12And when the wall has come down, will they not say to you, Where is the whitewash which you put on it?

13For this reason, the Lord has said: I will have it broken in two by a storm-wind in my passion; and there will be an overflowing shower in my wrath, and you, O ice-drops, will come raining angrily down.

14So I will let the wall, which you were covering with whitewash, be broken down; I will have it levelled to the earth so that its base is uncovered: it will come down, and destruction will come on you with it; and it will be clear to you that I am the Lord.

15So I will let loose my passion on the wall in full measure, and on those who put whitewash on it; and I will say to you, Where is the wall, and where are those who put whitewash on it?

16Even the prophets of Israel who say words to Jerusalem, who see visions of peace for her when there is no peace, says the Lord.

17And you, son of man, let your face be turned against the daughters of your people, who are acting the part of prophets at their pleasure; be a prophet against them, and say,

18This is what the Lord has said: A curse is on the women who are stitching bands on all arms and putting veils on the heads of those of every size, so that they may go after souls! Will you go after the souls of my people and keep yourselves safe from death?

19And you have put me to shame among my people for a little barley and some bits of bread, sending death on souls for whom there is no cause of death, and keeping those souls living who have no right to life, by the false words you say to my people who give ear to what is false.

20For this cause the Lord has said: See, I am against your bands with which you go after souls, and I will violently take them off their arms; and I will let loose the souls, even the souls whom you go after freely.

21And I will have your veils violently parted in two, and will make my people free from your hands, and they will no longer be in your power for you to go after them; and you will be certain that I am the Lord.

22Because with your false words you have given pain to the heart of the upright man when I had not made him sad; in order to make strong the hands of the evil-doer so that he may not be turned from his evil way and get life:

23For this cause you will see no more foolish visions or make false use of secret arts: and I will make my people free from your power; and you will be certain that I am the Lord.

Ephesians 4:17-32

17This I say, then, and give witness in the Lord, that you are to go no longer in the way of the Gentiles whose minds are turned to that which has no profit,

18Whose thoughts are dark, to whom the life of God is strange because they are without knowledge, and their hearts have been made hard;

19Who having no more power of feeling, have given themselves up to evil passions, to do all unclean things with overmuch desire.

20For this was not the teaching of Christ which was given to you;

21If in fact you gave ear to him, and were given teaching in him, even as what is true is made clear in Jesus:

22That you are to put away, in relation to your earlier way of life, the old man, which has become evil by love of deceit;

23And be made new in the spirit of your mind,

24And put on the new man, to which God has given life, in righteousness and a true and holy way of living.

25And so, putting away false words, let everyone say what is true to his neighbour: for we are parts one of another.

26Be angry without doing wrong; let not the sun go down on your wrath;

27And do not give way to the Evil One.

28Let him who was a thief be so no longer, but let him do good work with his hands, so that he may have something to give to him who is in need.

29Let no evil talk come out of your mouth, but only what is good for giving necessary teaching, and for grace to those who give ear.

30And do not give grief to the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were marked for the day of salvation.

31Let all bitter, sharp and angry feeling, and noise, and evil words, be put away from you, with all unkind acts;

32And be kind to one another, full of pity, having forgiveness for one another, even as God in Christ had forgiveness for you.

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