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Thoughts and Reflection

Today we continue the discussion of idolatry is represented as adultery. There are times when we are broken and turn away from God who loves us to pursue created things. In Isaiah, the image of adultery is used to condemn idolatry. The people were making offerings to false gods. We see the difference between true and false worship and proper and improper fasting.

We have to face God’s justice and how each of us will be judged by our own conduct. Each of us needs to choose to be either faithful or unfaithful to the Lord.

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 57

1 The upright person perishes and no one cares. The faithful is taken off and no one takes it to heart. Yes, because of the evil times the upright is taken off;

2 he will enter peace, and those who follow the right way will find rest on their beds.

3 But you, you children of a witch, come here, adulterous race prostituting yourselves!

4 At whom are you jeering, at whom are you making faces and sticking out your tongue? Are you not the spawn of rebellion, a lyingrace?

5 Lusting among the terebinths, and under every spreading tree, sacrificing children in the ravines, below the clefts in the rocks.

6 The smooth stones of the ravines will be your portion, yes, these will be your lot. To these you have poured libations, have brought your cereal offering. Can all this appease me?

7 On a mountain high and lofty you have put your bed. Thither, too, you have climbed to offer sacrifice.

8 Behind door and doorpost you have set your reminder. Yes, far from me, you exposed yourself, climbed on to your bed, and made the most of it. You struck a profitable bargain with those whose bed you love, whoring with them often, with your eyes on the sacred symbol.

9 You went to Molech with oil, you were prodigal with your perfumes; you sent your envoys far afield, down to Sheol itself.

10 Though tired by so much travelling, you never said, ‘It is no use.’ Finding your strength revive, you never gave up.

11 Who was it you dreaded, and feared, that you should betray me, no longer remember me and not spare a thought for me? Was I not silent for a long time? So you cannot have been afraid of me.

12 Now I shall expose this uprightness of yours, and little good it did you.

13 When you cry for help, let those thronging round you save you! The wind will carry them all away, one puff will take them off. But whoever trusts in me will inherit the country, he will own my holy mountain.

14 Then it will be said: Level up, level up, clear the way, remove the obstacle from my people’s way,

15 for thus says the High and Exalted One who lives eternally and whose name is holy, ‘I live in the holy heights but I am with the contrite and humble, to revive the spirit of the humble, to revive the heart of the contrite.

16 ‘For I do not want to be forever accusing nor always to be angry, or the spirit would fail under my onslaught, the souls that I myself have made.

17 ‘Angered by his wicked cupidity, I hid and struck him in anger, but he rebelliously went the way of his choice.

18 ‘I saw how he behaved, but I shall heal him, I shall lead him, fill him with consolation, him and those who mourn for him,

19 bringing praise to their lips. Peace, peace to far and near, Yahweh says, and I shall heal him.’

20 The wicked, however, are like the restless sea that cannot be still, whose waters throw up mud and dirt.

21 ‘No peace’, says Yahweh, ‘for the wicked.’

Isaiah 58

1 Shout for all you are worth, do not hold back, raise your voice like a trumpet. To my people proclaim their rebellious acts, to the House of Jacob, their sins.

2 They seek for me day after day, they long to know my ways, like a nation that has acted uprightly and not forsaken the law of its God. They ask me for laws that are upright, they long to be near God:

3 ‘Why have we fasted, if you do not see, why mortify ourselves if you never notice?’ Look, you seek your own pleasure on your fastdays and you exploit all your workmen;

4 look, the only purpose of your fasting is to quarrel and squabble and strike viciously with your fist. Fasting like yours today will never make your voice heard on high.

5 Is that the sort of fast that pleases me, a day when a person inflicts pain on himself? Hanging your head like a reed, spreading out sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call fasting, a day acceptable to Yahweh?

6 Is not this the sort of fast that pleases me: to break unjust fetters, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break all yokes?

7 Is it not sharing your food with the hungry, and sheltering the homeless poor; if you see someone lacking clothes, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own kin?

8 Then your light will blaze out like the dawn and your wound be quickly healed over. Saving justice will go ahead of you and Yahweh’s glory come behind you.

9 Then you will cry for help and Yahweh will answer; you will call and he will say, ‘I am here.’ If you do away with the yoke, the clenched fist and malicious words,

10 if you deprive yourself for the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, your light will rise in the darkness, and your darkest hour will be like noon.

11 Yahweh will always guide you, will satisfy your needs in the scorched land; he will give strength to your bones and you will be like a watered garden, like a flowing spring whose waters never run dry.

12 Your ancient ruins will be rebuilt; you will build on age — old foundations. You will be called ‘Breach-mender’, ‘Restorer of streets to be lived in’.

13 If you refrain from breaking the Sabbath, from taking your own pleasure on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath ‘Delightful’, and the day sacred to Yahweh ‘Honourable’, if you honour it by abstaining from travel, from seeking your own pleasure and from too much talk,

14 then you will find true happiness in Yahweh, and I shall lead you in triumph over the heights of the land. I shall feed you on the heritage of your father Jacob, for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken.

Ezekiel 17

1 The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows,

2 ‘Son of man, put a riddle, propound a parable to the House of Israel.

3 Say, “The Lord Yahweh says this: A great eagle with great wings, long-pinioned, rich with many-coloured plumage, came to the Lebanon.

4 He took the top of the cedar tree, he plucked off the top branch, he carried it off to the country of merchants and set it down in a city of shopkeepers.

5 Next, he took one of the country’s seeds and put it in a fertile field; by the side of a generous stream, like a willow tree, he placed it.

6 It grew and became a fruitful vine of modest size, grew up towards the eagle, its roots grew downwards. So it became a vine, branching out and sprouting new shoots.

7 But there was another great eagle with great wings and thick plumage. And now the vine twisted its roots towards him and stretched its branches towards him, for him to water it away from the bed where it was planted.

8 It was in a fertile field, by the side of a wide stream that the vine had been planted, to branch out and bear fruit and become a noble vine.”

9 Say, “The Lord Yahweh says this: Will it succeed? Will the eagle not tear out its roots and strip off its fruit, so that all the new leaves it puts out will wither, and no great strength is needed nor many people to pull it up by the roots?

10 Planted it may be — will it succeed? Will it not shrivel up when the east wind blows? It will wither in the bed where it was growing!” ‘

11 The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows:

12 ‘Say to that tribe of rebels, “Do you not know what this means?” Say this, ‘Look, the king of Babylon came to Jerusalem; he carried away the king and the princes, and took them to his home in Babylon.

13 He took a member of the royal family and made a treaty with him, forcing him to swear loyalty, having already deported the leading men of the country,

14 so that the kingdom would remain modest and without ambitions, and would keep and honour his treaty.

15 But the prince rebelled against him and sent envoys to Egypt to procure himself horses and a large number of troops. Will he succeed? Will a man who has done this go unpunished? Can he break a treaty and go unpunished?

16 As I live, I swear it — declares the Lord Yahweh — in Babylon, in the country of the king who put him on the throne, whose oath he has disregarded and whose treaty he has broken, there he will die.

17 Despite the pharaoh’s great army and hordes of men, he will not be able to save him by fighting, however many earthworks are raised, however many trenches dug to the loss of many lives.

18 He has disregarded the oath by breaking the treaty to which he had pledged himself and, having done all this, will not go unpunished.

19 “So, the Lord Yahweh says this: As I live, I swear it: my oath which he has disregarded, my treaty which he has broken, I shall make them both recoil on his own head.

20 I shall throw my net over him, he will be caught in my mesh; I shall take him to Babylon and punish him there for being unfaithful to me.

21 All the pick of all his troops will fall by the sword, and the survivors be scattered to all the winds. And you will know that I, Yahweh, have spoken.

22 “The Lord Yahweh says this: From the top of the tall cedar tree, from the highest branch I shall take a shoot and plant it myself on a high and lofty mountain.

23 I shall plant it on the highest mountain in Israel. It will put out branches and bear fruit and grow into a noble cedar tree. Every kind of bird will live beneath it, every kind of winged creature will rest in the shade of its branches.

24 And all the trees of the countryside will know that I, Yahweh, am the one who lays the tall tree low and raises the low tree high, who makes the green tree wither and makes the withered bear fruit. I, Yahweh, have spoken, and I will do it.” ‘

Ezekiel 18

1 The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows,

2 ‘Why do you keep repeating this proverb in the land of Israel: The parents have eaten unripe grapes; and the children’s teeth are set on edge?

3 ‘As I live — declares the Lord Yahweh — you will have no further cause to repeat this proverb in Israel.

4 Look, all life belongs to me; the father’s life and the son’s life, both alike belong to me. The one who has sinned is the one to die.

5 ‘But if a man is upright, his actions law-abiding and upright,

6 and he does not eat on the mountains or raise his eyes to the foul idols of the House of Israel, does not defile his neighbour’s wife or touch a woman during her periods,

7 oppresses no one, returns the pledge on a debt, does not rob, gives his own food to the hungry, his clothes to those who lack clothing,

8 does not lend for profit, does not charge interest, abstains from evil, gives honest judgement between one person and another,

9 keeps my laws and sincerely respects my judgements — someone like this is truly upright and will live — declares the Lord Yahweh.

10 ‘But if he has a son prone to violence and bloodshed, who commits one of these misdeeds-

11 even though the father never has — a son who dares to eat on the mountains, who defiles his neighbour’s wife,

12 who oppresses the poor and needy, robs, fails to return pledges, raises his eyes to foul idols, engages in loathsome practices,

13 lends for profit, or charges interest, such a person will by no means live; having committed all these appalling crimes he will die, and his blood be on his own head.

14 ‘But if he in turn has a son who, in spite of seeing all the sins that his father has committed, does not imitate him,

15 does not eat on the mountains or raise his eyes to the foul idols of the House of Israel, does not defile his neighbour’s wife,

16 oppresses no one, takes no pledges, does not rob, gives his own food to the hungry, his clothes to those who lack clothing,

17 abstains from evil, does not lend for profit or charge interest, respects my judgements and keeps my laws, he will not die for his father’s sins: he will most certainly live.

18 But his father, because he was violent, robbed others and never did good among his people, will most certainly die in his guilt.

19 ‘Now, you say, “Why doesn’t the son bear his father’s guilt?” If the son has been law-abiding and upright, has kept all my laws and followed them, most certainly he will live.

20 The one who has sinned is the one who must die; a son is not to bear his father’s guilt, nor a father his son’s guilt. The upright will be credited with his uprightness, and the wicked with his wickedness.

21 ‘If the wicked, however, renounces all the sins he has committed, respects my laws and is law-abiding and upright, he will most certainly live; he will not die.

22 None of the crimes he committed will be remembered against him from then on; he will most certainly live because of his upright actions.

23 Would I take pleasure in the death of the wicked — declares the Lord Yahweh — and not prefer to see him renounce his wickedness and live?

24 ‘But if the upright abandons uprightness and does wrong by copying all the loathsome practices of the wicked, is he to live? All his upright actions will be forgotten from then on; for the infidelity of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, he will most certainly die.

25 ‘Now, you say, “What the Lord does is unjust.” Now listen, House of Israel: is what I do unjust? Is it not what you do that is unjust?

26 When the upright abandons uprightness and does wrong and dies, he dies because of the wrong which he himself has done.

27 Similarly, when the wicked abandons wickedness to become law-abiding and upright, he saves his own life.

28 Having chosen to renounce all his previous crimes, he will most certainly live: he will not die.

29 And yet the House of Israel says, “What the Lord does is unjust.” Is what I do unjust, House of Israel? Is it not what you do that is unjust?

30 So in future, House of Israel, I shall judge each of you by what that person does — declares the Lord Yahweh. Repent, renounce all your crimes, avoid all occasions for guilt.

31 Shake off all the crimes you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why die, House of Israel?

32 I take no pleasure in the death of anyone — declares the Lord Yahweh — so repent and live!’

Proverbs 13:5-8

5 The upright hates a lying word, but the wicked slanders and defames.

6 Uprightness stands guard over one whose way is honest, sin causes the ruin of the wicked.

7 There are some who, on nothing, pretend to be rich, some, with great wealth, pretend to be poor.

8 The ransom for life is a person’s wealth; but the poor will not hear the reproof.

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