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Thoughts and Reflection

We read that Cyrus will be the king of Persia in the distant future. The Lord warned his people that they will experience terrible things because they have turned away from him, but they should not fear because they are his. God tells them this before the exile so they should know they aren’t abandoned when it happens. He knows all of our stories and no matter what happens in our lives, we should not fear.

In Ezekiel, the prophet acts out a vision given to him. He cuts off his hair and beard and divides them into thirds. The first third is burned up, the second is destroyed by the sword and the third is scattered into the winds and lost into history. Ezekiel is enacting what will happen to God’s people because they rebelled against him. He uses the pain of the exile to bring them back to his heart.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

Isaiah 43

1 And now, thus says Yahweh, he who created you, Jacob, who formed you, Israel: Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name, you are mine.

2 Should you pass through the waters, I shall be with you; or through rivers, they will not swallow you up. Should you walk through fire, you will not suffer, and the flame will not burn you.

3 For I am Yahweh, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour. I have given Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you.

4 Since I regard you as precious, since you are honoured and I love you, I therefore give people in exchange for you, and nations in return for your life.

5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I shall bring your offspring from the east, and gather you from the west.

6 To the north I shall say, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back!’ Bring back my sons from far away, and my daughters from the remotest part of the earth,

7 everyone who bears my name, whom I have created for my glory, whom I have formed, whom I have made.

8 Bring forward the people that is blind, yet has eyes, that is deaf and yet has ears.

9 Let all the nations assemble, let the peoples gather here! Which of them has proclaimed this and revealed things to us in the past? Let them bring their witnesses to justify themselves, let others hear and say, ‘It is true.’

10 You yourselves are my witnesses, declares Yahweh, and the servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that it is I. No god was formed before me, nor will be after me.

11 I, I am Yahweh, and there is no other Saviour but me.

12 I have revealed, have saved, and have proclaimed, not some foreigner among you. You are my witnesses, declares Yahweh, I am God,

13 yes, from eternity I am. No one can deliver from my hand; when I act, who can thwart me?

14 Thus says Yahweh, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: For your sake I have sent to Babylon, I shall knock down all the prison bars, and the Chaldaeans’ shouts of joy will change to lamentations.

15 I am Yahweh, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your king.

16 Thus says Yahweh, who made a way through the sea, a path in the raging waters,

17 who led out chariot and horse together with an army of picked troops: they lay down never to rise again, they were snuffed out, put out like a wick.

18 No need to remember past events, no need to think about what was done before.

19 Look, I am doing something new, now it emerges; can you not see it? Yes, I am making a road in the desert and rivers in wastelands.

20 The wild animals will honour me, the jackals and the ostriches, for bestowing water in the desert and rivers on the wastelands for my people, my chosen one, to drink.

21 The people I have shaped for myself will broadcast my praises.

22 But, Jacob, you have not invoked me; no, Israel, you have grown weary of me.

23 You have not brought me lambs as your burnt offerings and have not honoured me with your sacrifices. I have not subjected you to cereal offering, I have not wearied you by demanding incense.

24 You have not bought expensive reed for me or sated me with the fat of your sacrifices. Instead by your sins you have trected me like a slave, you have wearied me with your crimes,

25 I, I it is who blot out your acts of revolt for my own sake and shall not call your sins to mind.

26 Remind me, and we will judge this together; state your own case and justify yourself.

27 Your first ancestor sinned, your interpreters revolted against me.

28 That is why I deposed the chief men of my sanctuary, why I put Jacob under the curse of destruction and subjected Israel to insult.

Isaiah 44

1 And now listen, Jacob my servant, Israel whom I have chosen.

2 Thus says Yahweh who made you, who formed you in the womb; he will help you. Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen.

3 For I shall pour out water on the thirsty soil and streams on the dry ground. I shall pour out my spirit on your descendants, my blessingon your offspring,

4 and they will spring up among the grass, like willows on the banks of a stream.

5 One person will say, ‘I belong to Yahweh,’ another will call himself by Jacob’s name. On his hand another will write ‘Yahweh’s’ and be surnamed ‘Israel’.

6 Thus says Yahweh, Israel’s king, Yahweh Sabaoth, his redeemer: I am the first and I am the last; there is no God except me.

7 Who is like me? Let him call out, let him affirm it and convince me it is so; let him say what has been happening since I instituted an eternal people, and predict to them what will happen next!

8 Have no fear, do not be afraid: have I not told you and revealed it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God except me? There is no Rock; I know of none.

9 The makers of idols are all nothingness; the works they delight in serve no purpose. And these are the witness against them: they see nothing, they know nothing; and so they will be put to shame.

10 Who ever fashioned a god or cast an image without hope of gain?

11 Watch how all its devotees will be put to shame, and the men who made it too, who are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forward and feel both fear and shame!

12 The blacksmith makes an axe over the charcoal, beats it into shape with a hammer, works on it with his strong arm. Then he feels hungry and his strength deserts him; having drunk no water, he is exhausted.

13 The wood carver takes his measurements, outlines the image with chalk, executes it with the chisel, following the outline with a compass. He makes it look like a human being, with human standards of beauty, so that it can reside in a house.

14 He has cut down cedars, has selected an oak and a terebinth which he has grown for himself among the trees in the forest and has planted a pine tree which the rain has nourished.

15 Once it is suitable to burn, he takes some of it to warm himself; having kindled it, he bakes bread. But he also makes a god and worships it; he makes an idol from it and bows down before it.

16 Half of it he burns on the fire, over this half he roasts meat, eats it and is replete; at the same time he warms himself and says, ‘Ah, how warm I am, watching the flames!’

17 With the remainder he makes a god, his idol, bows down before it, worships it and prays to it. ‘Save me,’ he says, ‘for you are my god.’

18 They know nothing, they understand nothing, since their eyes are incapable of seeing and their hearts of reflecting.

19 Not one of them looks into his heart, not one of them has the knowledge and wit to think, ‘I burned half of it on the fire and cooked food over the embers. Am I right to make something disgusting out of what is left? Am I right to bow down before a block of wood?’

20 He hankers after ashes, his deluded heart has led him astray; he will not save himself, he will not think, ‘What I have in my hand is nothing but a lie!’

21 Remember these things, Jacob, and Israel, since you are my servant. I formed you, you are my servant; Israel, I shall not forget you.

22 I have dispelled your acts of revolt like a cloud and your sins like a mist. Come back to me, for I have redeemed you.

23 Heavens, shout for joy, for Yahweh has acted! Underworld, shout aloud! Shout for joy, you mountains, forests and all your trees! For Yahweh has redeemed Jacob and displayed his glory in Israel.

24 Thus says Yahweh, your redeemer, he who formed you in the womb: I, Yahweh, have made all things, I alone spread out the heavens. When I hammered the earth into shape, who was with me?

25 I, who foil the omens of soothsayers and make fools of diviners, who confound sages turning their knowledge into folly,

26 who confirm the word of my servant and make the plans of my envoys succeed; who say to Jerusalem, ‘You will be inhabited,’ and to the towns of Judah, ‘You will be rebuilt and I shall restore the ruins of Jerusalem’;

27 who say to the ocean, ‘Dry up! I shall make your rivers run dry’;

28 who say to Cyrus, ‘My shepherd.’ He will perform my entire will by saying to Jerusalem, ‘You will be rebuilt,’ and to the Temple, ‘You will be refounded.’

Ezekiel 4

1 ‘For your part, son of man, take a brick and lay it in front of you; on it scratch a city, Jerusalem.

2 You are then to besiege it, trench round it, build earthworks, pitch camps and bring up battering-rams all round.

3 Then take an iron pan and place it as though it were an iron wall between you and the city. Then fix your gaze on it; it is being besieged and you are besieging it. This is a sign for the House of Israel.

4 ‘Lie down on your left side and take the guilt of the House of Israel on yourself. You will bear their guilt for as many days as you lie on that side.

5 Allowing one day for every year of their guilt, I ordain that you bear it for three hundred and ninety days; this is how you will bear the House of Israel’s guilt.

6 And when you have finished doing this, you are to lie down again, on your right side, and bear the guilt of the House of Judah for forty days. I have set the length for you as one day for one year.

7 Then fix your gaze on the siege of Jerusalem, raise your bared arm and prophesy against her.

8 Look, I am going to tie you up and you will not be able to turn over from one side to the other until the period of your seclusion is over.

9 ‘Now take wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet and spelt; put them all in the same pot and make them into bread for yourself. You are to eat it for as many days as you are lying on your side — three hundred and ninety days.

10 Of this food, you are to weigh out a daily portion of twenty shekels and eat it a little piece at a time.

11 And you are to ration the water you drink — a sixth of a hin — drinking that a little at a time.

12 You are to eat this in the form of a barley cake baked where they can see you, on human dung.’

13 And Yahweh said, ‘This is how the Israelites will have to eat their defiled food, wherever I disperse them among the nations.’

14 I then said, ‘Lord Yahweh, my soul is not defiled. From my childhood until now, I have never eaten an animal that has died a natural death or been savaged; no tainted meat has ever entered my mouth.’

15 ‘Very well,’ he said, ‘I grant you cow-dung instead of human dung; you are to bake your bread on that.’

16 He then said, ‘Son of man, I am going to cut off Jerusalem’s food supply; in their extremity, the food they eat will be weighed out; to their horror, the water they drink will be rationed,

17 until there is no food or water left, and they fall into a stupor and waste away because of their guilt.’

Ezekiel 5

1 ‘Son of man, take a sharp sword, use it like a barber’s razor and run it over your head and beard. Then take scales and divide the hair you have cut off.

2 Burn one-third inside the city, while the days of the siege are working themselves out. Then take another third and chop it up with the sword all round the city. The last third you are to scatter to the wind, while I unsheathe the sword behind them.

3 Also take a few hairs and tie them up in the folds of your cloak;

4 and of these again take a few, and throw them on the fire and burn them. From them fire will come on the whole House of Israel.

5 ‘The Lord Yahweh says this, “This is Jerusalem, which I have placed in the middle of the nations, surrounded with foreign countries.

6 She has rebelled more perversely against my observances than the nations have, and against my laws than the surrounding countries have; for they have rejected my observances and not kept my laws.”

7 ‘Therefore, the Lord Yahweh says this, “Because your disorders are worse than those of the nations round you, since you do not keep my laws or respect my observances, and since you do not respect even the observances of the surrounding nations,

8 very well, the Lord Yahweh says this: I, too, am against you and shall execute my judgements on you for the nations to see.

9 Because of all your loathsome practices I shall do such things as I have never done before, nor shall ever do again.

10 Those of you who are parents will eat their children, and children will eat their parents. I shall execute judgement on you and disperse what remains of you to the winds.

11 For, as I live — declares Lord Yahweh — as sure as you have defiled my sanctuary with all your horrors and all your loathsome practices, so I too shall reject you without a glance of pity, I shall not spare you.

12 A third of your citizens will die of plague or starve to death inside you; a third will fall by the sword round you; and a third I shall scatter to the winds, unsheathing the sword behind them.

13 I shall sate my anger and bring my fury to rest on them until I am avenged; and when I have sated my fury on them, then they willknow that I, Yahweh, spoke out of jealousy for you.

14 Yes, I shall reduce you to a ruin, an object of derision to the surrounding nations, in the eyes of all who pass by.

15 You will be an object of derision and insults, an example, an object of amazement to the surrounding nations, when I execute judgement on you in furious anger and furious punishments. I, Yahweh, have spoken.

16 On them I shall send the deadly arrows of famine, which will destroy you — for I shall send them to destroy you; then I shall make the famine worse and cut off your food supply.

17 I shall send famine and wild animals on you to rob you of your children; plague and bloodshed will sweep through you, and I shall bring the sword down on you. I, Yahweh, have spoken.” ‘

Proverbs 12:5-8

5 The plans of the upright are honest, the intrigues of the wicked are full of deceit.

6 The words of the wicked are snares to shed blood, what the honest say keeps them safe.

7 Once thrown down, the wicked are no more, but the house of the upright stands firm.

8 Prudence wins praise, but a tortuous heart incurs only contempt.

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