December 9

Isaiah 44

1And now, give ear, O Jacob my servant, and Israel whom I have taken for myself:

2The Lord who made you, forming you in your mother’s body, the Lord, your helper, says, Have no fear, O Jacob my servant, and you, Jeshurun, whom I have taken for myself.

3For I will send water on the land needing it, and streams on the dry earth: I will let my spirit come down on your seed, and my blessing on your offspring.

4And they will come up like grass in a well-watered field, like water-plants by the streams.

5One will say, I am the Lord’s; and another will give himself the name, Jacob; another will put a mark on his hand, I am the Lord’s, and another will take the name of Israel for himself.

6The Lord, the King of Israel, even the Lord of armies who has taken up his cause, says, I am the first and the last, and there is no God but me.

7If there is one like me, let him come forward and say it, let him make it clear and put it in order before me: who has made clear in the past the things to come? let him make clear the future to me.

8Have no fear, be strong in heart; have I not made it clear to you in the past, and let you see it? and you are my witnesses. Is there any God but me, or a Rock of whom I have no knowledge?

9Those who make a pictured image are all of them as nothing, and the things of their desire will be of no profit to them: and their servants see not, and have no knowledge; so they will be put to shame.

10Whoever makes a god, makes nothing but a metal image in which there is no profit.

11Truly, all those who make use of secret arts will be put to shame, and their words of power are only words of men: let them all come forward together; they will all be in fear and be put to shame.

12The iron-worker is heating the metal in the fire, giving it form with his hammers, and working on it with his strong arm: then for need of food his strength gives way, and for need of water he becomes feeble.

13The woodworker is measuring out the wood with his line, marking it out with his pencil: after smoothing it with his plane, and making circles on it with his instrument, he gives it the form and glory of a man, so that it may be placed in the house.

14He has cedars cut down for himself, he takes an oak and lets it get strong among the trees of the wood; he has an ash-tree planted, and the rain gives it growth.

15Then it will be used to make a fire, so that a man may get warm; he has the oven heated with it and makes bread: he makes a god with it, to which he gives worship: he makes a pictured image out of it, and goes down on his face before it.

16With part of it he makes a fire, and on the fire he gets meat cooked and takes a full meal: he makes himself warm, and says, Aha! I am warm, I have seen the fire:

17And the rest of it he makes into a god, even his pictured image: he goes down on his face before it, giving worship to it, and making prayer to it, saying, Be my saviour; for you are my god.

18They have no knowledge or wisdom; for he has put a veil over their eyes, so that they may not see; and on their hearts, so that they may not give attention.

19And no one takes note, no one has enough knowledge or wisdom to say, I have put part of it in the fire, and made bread on it; I have had a meal of the flesh cooked with it: and am I now to make the rest of it into a false god? am I to go down on my face before a bit of wood?

20As for him whose food is the dust of a dead fire, he has been turned from the way by a twisted mind, so that he is unable to keep himself safe by saying, What I have here in my hand is false.

21Keep these things in mind, O Jacob; and you Israel, for you are my servant: I have made you; you are my servant; O Israel, I will not let you go out of my memory.

22I have put your evil doings out of my mind like a thick cloud, and your sins like a mist: come back to me; for I have taken up your cause.

23Make a song, O heavens, for the Lord has done it: give a loud cry, you deep parts of the earth: let your voices be loud in song, you mountains, and you woods with all your trees: for the Lord has taken up the cause of Jacob, and will let his glory be seen in Israel.

24The Lord, who has taken up your cause, and who gave you life in your mother’s body, says, I am the Lord who makes all things; stretching out the heavens by myself, and giving the earth its limits; who was with me?

25Who makes the signs of those who give word of the future come to nothing, so that those who have knowledge of secret arts go off their heads; turning the wise men back, and making their knowledge foolish:

26Who makes the word of his servants certain, and gives effect to the purposes of his representatives; who says of Jerusalem, Her people will come back to her; and of the towns of Judah, I will give orders for their building, and will make her waste places fertile again:

27Who says to the deep, Be dry, and I will make your rivers dry:

28Who says of Cyrus, He will take care of my sheep, and will do all my pleasure: who says of Jerusalem, I will give the word for your building; and of the Temple, Your bases will be put in place.

Ezekiel 14

1Then certain of the responsible men of Israel came to me and took their seats before me.

2And the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

3Son of man, these men have taken their false gods into their hearts and put before their faces the sin which is the cause of their fall: am I to give ear when they come to me for directions?

4For this cause say to them, These are the words of the Lord: Every man of Israel who has taken his false god into his heart, and put before his face the sin which is the cause of his fall, and comes to the prophet; I the Lord will give him an answer by myself in agreement with the number of his false gods;

5So as to take the children of Israel in the thoughts of their hearts, because they have become strange to me through their false gods.

6For this cause say to the children of Israel, These are the words of the Lord: Come back and give up your false gods and let your faces be turned from your disgusting things.

7When any one of the men of Israel, or of those from other lands who are living in Israel, who has become strange to me, and takes his false gods into his heart, and puts before his face the sin which is the cause of his fall, comes to the prophet to get directions from me; I the Lord will give him an answer by myself:

8And my face will be turned against that man, and I will make him a sign and a common saying, cutting him off from among my people; and you will be certain that I am the Lord.

9And if the prophet, tricked by deceit, says anything, it is I the Lord by whom he has been tricked, and I will put out my hand against him, and he will be cut off from among my people Israel.

10And the punishment of their sin will be on them: the sin of the prophet will be the same as the sin of him who goes to him for directions;

11So that the children of Israel may no longer go wandering away from me, or make themselves unclean with all their wrongdoing; but they will be my people, and I will be their God, says the Lord.

12And the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

13Son of man, when a land, sinning against me, does wrong, and my hand is stretched out against it, and the support of its bread is broken, and I make it short of food, cutting off man and beast from it:

14Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, only themselves would they keep safe by their righteousness, says the Lord.

15Or if I send evil beasts through the land causing destruction and making it waste, so that no man may go through because of the beasts:

16Even if these three men were in it, by my life, says the Lord, they would not keep safe their sons or daughters, but only themselves, and the land would be made waste.

17Or if I send a sword against that land, and say, Sword, go through the land, cutting off from it man and beast:

18Even if these three men were in it, by my life, says the Lord, they would not keep safe their sons or daughters, but only themselves.

19Or if I send disease into that land, letting loose my wrath on it in blood, cutting off from it man and beast:

20Even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, by my life, says the Lord, they would not keep son or daughter safe; only themselves would they keep safe through their righteousness.

21For this is what the Lord has said: How much more when I send my four bitter punishments on Jerusalem, the sword and need of food and evil beasts and disease, cutting off from it man and beast?

22But truly, there will still be a small band who will be safe, even sons and daughters: and they will come out to you, and you will see their ways and their doings: and you will be comforted about the evil which I have sent on Jerusalem, even about everything I have sent on it.

23They will give you comfort when you see their ways and their doings: and you will be certain that not for nothing have I done all the things I have done in it, says the Lord.

Ezekiel 15

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

2Son of man, what is the vine-tree more than any branching tree which is among the trees of the woods?

3Will its wood be used for any work? do men make of it a pin for hanging any vessel on?

4See, it is put into the fire for burning: the fire has made a meal of its two ends and the middle part of it is burned; is it good for any work?

5Truly, before it was cut down, it was not used for any purpose: how much less, when the fire has made a meal of it and it is burned, will it be made into anything?

6For this cause the Lord has said: Like the vine-tree among the trees of the woods which I have given to the fire for burning, so will I give the people of Jerusalem.

7And my face will be turned against them; and though they have come out of the fire they will be burned up by it; and it will be clear to you that I am the Lord when my face is turned against them.

8And I will make the land a waste because they have done evil, says the Lord.

Ephesians 5:1-20

1Let it then be your desire to be like God, as well-loved children;

2And be living in love, even as Christ had love for you, and gave himself up for us, an offering to God for a perfume of a sweet smell.

3But evil acts of the flesh and all unclean things, or desire for others’ property, let it not even be named among you, as is right for saints;

4And let there be no low behaviour, or foolish talk, or words said in sport, which are not right, but in place of them the giving of praise.

5Being certain of this, that no man who gives way to the passions of the flesh, no unclean person, or one who has desire for the property of others, or who gives worship to images, has any heritage in the kingdom of Christ and God.

6Do not be turned from the right way by foolish words; for because of these things the punishment of God comes on those who do not put themselves under him.

7Have no part with such men;

8For you at one time were dark, but now are light in the Lord: let your behaviour be that of children of light

9(Because the fruit of the light is in all righteousness and in everything which is good and true),

10Testing by experience what is well-pleasing to the Lord;

11And have no company with the works of the dark, which give no fruit, but make their true quality clear;

12For the things which are done by them in secret it is shame even to put into words.

13But all things, when their true quality is seen, are made clear by the light: because everything which is made clear is light.

14For this reason he says, Be awake, you who are sleeping, and come up from among the dead, and Christ will be your light.

15Take care then how you are living, not as unwise, but as wise;

16Making good use of the time, because the days are evil.

17For this reason, then, do not be foolish, but be conscious of the Lord’s pleasure.

18And do not take overmuch wine by which one may be overcome, but be full of the Spirit;

19Joining with one another in holy songs of praise and of the Spirit, using your voice in songs and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

20Giving praise at all times for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God, even the Father;

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