the First Week of Advent
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Bible Reading Plan
Daily Bible Reading
December 6 - Bible-in-a-Year
Idolatry in the Temple
1 In the sixth year, in the sixth month on the fifth day, while I was sitting in my house and the elders(a) of Judah were sitting before(b) me, the hand of the Sovereign Lord came on me there.(c) 2 I looked, and I saw a figure like that of a man.[a] From what appeared to be his waist down he was like fire, and from there up his appearance was as bright as glowing metal.(d) 3 He stretched out what looked like a hand(e) and took me by the hair of my head. The Spirit lifted me up(f) between earth and heaven and in visions(g) of God he took me to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the north gate of the inner court,(h) where the idol that provokes to jealousy(i) stood. 4 And there before me was the glory(j) of the God of Israel, as in the vision I had seen in the plain.(k)
5 Then he said to me, "Son of man, look toward the north." So I looked, and in the entrance north of the gate of the altar I saw this idol(l) of jealousy.
6 And he said to me, "Son of man, do you see what they are doing—the utterly detestable(m) things the Israelites are doing here, things that will drive me far from my sanctuary?(n) But you will see things that are even more detestable."
7 Then he brought me to the entrance to the court. I looked, and I saw a hole in the wall. 8 He said to me, "Son of man, now dig into the wall." So I dug into the wall and saw a doorway there.
9 And he said to me, "Go in and see the wicked and detestable things they are doing here." 10 So I went in and looked, and I saw portrayed all over the walls(o) all kinds of crawling things and unclean(p) animals and all the idols of Israel.(q) 11 In front of them stood seventy elders(r) of Israel, and Jaazaniah son of Shaphan was standing among them. Each had a censer(s) in his hand, and a fragrant cloud of incense(t) was rising.(u)
12 He said to me, "Son of man, have you seen what the elders of Israel are doing in the darkness,(v) each at the shrine of his own idol? They say, ‘The Lord does not see(w) us; the Lord has forsaken the land.'" 13 Again, he said, "You will see them doing things that are even more detestable."
14 Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the Lord , and I saw women sitting there, mourning the god Tammuz.(x) 15 He said to me, "Do you see this, son of man? You will see things that are even more detestable than this."
16 He then brought me into the inner court(y) of the house of the Lord , and there at the entrance to the temple, between the portico and the altar,(z) were about twenty-five men. With their backs toward the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east, they were bowing down to the sun(aa) in the east.(ab)
17 He said to me, "Have you seen this, son of man? Is it a trivial matter for the people of Judah to do the detestable things(ac) they are doing here? Must they also fill the land with violence(ad) and continually arouse my anger?(ae) Look at them putting the branch to their nose! 18 Therefore I will deal with them in anger;(af) I will not look on them with pity(ag) or spare them. Although they shout in my ears, I will not listen(ah) to them."
Judgment on the Idolaters
1 Then I heard him call out in a loud voice, "Bring near those who are appointed to execute judgment on the city, each with a weapon in his hand." 2 And I saw six men coming from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with a deadly weapon in his hand. With them was a man clothed in linen(a) who had a writing kit at his side. They came in and stood beside the bronze altar.
3 Now the glory(b) of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim,(c) where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then the Lord called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side 4 and said to him, "Go throughout the city of Jerusalem(d) and put a mark(e) on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament(f) over all the detestable things that are done in it.(g)"
5 As I listened, he said to the others, "Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity(h) or compassion.(i) 6 Slaughter(j) the old men, the young men and women, the mothers and children,(k) but do not touch anyone who has the mark.(l) Begin at my sanctuary." So they began with the old men(m) who were in front of the temple.(n)
7 Then he said to them, "Defile the temple and fill the courts with the slain.(o) Go!" So they went out and began killing throughout the city. 8 While they were killing and I was left alone, I fell facedown,(p) crying out, "Alas, Sovereign Lord !(q) Are you going to destroy the entire remnant of Israel in this outpouring of your wrath(r) on Jerusalem?(s)"
9 He answered me, "The sin of the people of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great; the land is full of bloodshed and the city is full of injustice.(t) They say, ‘The Lord has forsaken the land; the Lord does not see.'(u) 10 So I will not look on them with pity(v) or spare them, but I will bring down on their own heads what they have done.(w)"
11 Then the man in linen with the writing kit at his side brought back word, saying, "I have done as you commanded."
The Helper of Israel
1 "Be silent(a) before me, you islands!(b)
Let the nations renew their strength!(c)
Let them come forward(d) and speak;
let us meet together(e) at the place of judgment.
2 "Who has stirred(f) up one from the east,(g)
calling him in righteousness(h) to his service[a]?(i)
He hands nations over to him
and subdues kings before him.
He turns them to dust(j) with his sword,
to windblown chaff(k) with his bow.(l)
3 He pursues them and moves on unscathed,(m)
by a path his feet have not traveled before.
4 Who has done this and carried it through,
calling(n) forth the generations from the beginning?(o)
I, the Lord —with the first of them
and with the last(p)—I am he.(q)"
5 The islands(r) have seen it and fear;
the ends of the earth(s) tremble.
They approach and come forward;
6 they help each other
and say to their companions, "Be strong!(t)"
7 The metalworker(u) encourages the goldsmith,(v)
and the one who smooths with the hammer
spurs on the one who strikes the anvil.
One says of the welding, "It is good."
The other nails down the idol so it will not topple.(w)
8 "But you, Israel, my servant,(x)
Jacob, whom I have chosen,(y)
you descendants of Abraham(z) my friend,(aa)
9 I took you from the ends of the earth,(ab)
from its farthest corners I called(ac) you.
I said, ‘You are my servant';(ad)
I have chosen(ae) you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear,(af) for I am with you;(ag)
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen(ah) you and help(ai) you;
I will uphold you(aj) with my righteous right hand.(ak)
11 "All who rage(al) against you
will surely be ashamed and disgraced;(am)
those who oppose(an) you
will be as nothing and perish.(ao)
12 Though you search for your enemies,
you will not find them.(ap)
Those who wage war against you
will be as nothing(aq) at all.
13 For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand(ar)
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help(as) you.
14 Do not be afraid,(at) you worm(au) Jacob,
little Israel, do not fear,
for I myself will help(av) you," declares the Lord ,
your Redeemer,(aw) the Holy One(ax) of Israel.
15 "See, I will make you into a threshing sledge,(ay)
new and sharp, with many teeth.
You will thresh the mountains(az) and crush them,
and reduce the hills to chaff.(ba)
16 You will winnow(bb) them, the wind will pick them up,
and a gale(bc) will blow them away.(bd)
But you will rejoice(be) in the Lord
and glory(bf) in the Holy One(bg) of Israel.
17 "The poor and needy search for water,(bh)
but there is none;
their tongues are parched with thirst.(bi)
But I the Lord will answer(bj) them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake(bk) them.
18 I will make rivers flow(bl) on barren heights,
and springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert(bm) into pools of water,(bn)
and the parched ground into springs.(bo)
19 I will put in the desert(bp)
the cedar and the acacia,(bq) the myrtle and the olive.
I will set junipers(br) in the wasteland,
the fir and the cypress(bs) together,(bt)
20 so that people may see and know,(bu)
may consider and understand,(bv)
that the hand(bw) of the Lord has done this,
that the Holy One(bx) of Israel has created(by) it.
21 "Present your case,(bz)" says the
"Set forth your arguments," says Jacob's King.(ca)
22 "Tell us, you idols,
what is going to happen.(cb)
Tell us what the former things(cc) were,
so that we may consider them
and know their final outcome.
Or declare to us the things to come,(cd)
23 tell us what the future holds,
so we may know(ce) that you are gods.
Do something, whether good or bad,(cf)
so that we will be dismayed(cg) and filled with fear.
24 But you are less than nothing(ch)
and your works are utterly worthless;(ci)
whoever chooses you is detestable.(cj)
25 "I have stirred(ck) up one from the north,(cl) and he comes—
one from the rising sun who calls on my name.
He treads(cm) on rulers as if they were mortar,
as if he were a potter treading the clay.
26 Who told of this from the beginning,(cn) so we could know,
or beforehand, so we could say, ‘He was right'?
No one told of this,
no one foretold(co) it,
no one heard any words(cp) from you.
27 I was the first to tell(cq) Zion, ‘Look, here they are!'
I gave to Jerusalem a messenger of good news.(cr)
28 I look but there is no one(cs)—
no one among the gods to give counsel,(ct)
no one to give answer(cu) when I ask them.
29 See, they are all false!
Their deeds amount to nothing;(cv)
their images(cw) are but wind(cx) and confusion.
God's Marvelous Plan for the Gentiles
1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner(a) of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—
2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God's grace that was given to me(b) for you, 3 that is, the mystery(c) made known to me by revelation,(d) as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight(e) into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophets.(f) 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs(g) together with Israel, members together of one body,(h) and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.(i)
7 I became a servant of this gospel(j) by the gift of God's grace given me(k) through the working of his power.(l) 8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord's people,(m) this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles(n) the boundless riches of Christ,(o) 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery,(p) which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God(q) should be made known(r) to the rulers and authorities(s) in the heavenly realms,(t) 11 according to his eternal purpose(u) that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God(v) with freedom and confidence.(w) 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.
A Prayer for the Ephesians
14 For this reason I kneel(x) before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches(y) he may strengthen you with power(z) through his Spirit in your inner being,(aa) 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts(ab) through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted(ac) and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people,(ad) to grasp how wide and long and high and deep(ae) is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge(af)—that you may be filled(ag) to the measure of all the fullness of God.(ah)
20 Now to him who is able(ai) to do immeasurably more than all we ask(aj) or imagine, according to his power(ak) that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.(al)