December 2 - Galatians 5.16-26, Ezekiel 1.1-28a and Psalm 148
The Spirit and Human NatureGalatians 5 16What I say is this: let the Spirit direct your lives, and you will not satisfy the desires of the human nature. 17For what our human nature wants is opposed to what the Spirit wants, and what the Spirit wants is opposed to what our human nature wants. These two are enemies, and this means that you cannot do what you want to do. 18If the Spirit leads you, then you are not subject to the Law.
19What human nature does is quite plain. It shows itself in immoral, filthy, and indecent actions; 20in worship of idols and witchcraft. People become enemies and they fight; they become jealous, angry, and ambitious. They separate into parties and groups; 21they are envious, get drunk, have orgies, and do other things like these. I warn you now as I have before: those who do these things will not possess the Kingdom of God.
22But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23humility, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature with all its passions and desires. 25The Spirit has given us life; he must also control our lives. 26We must not be proud or irritate one another or be jealous of one another.
The Book of
EZEKIEL'S FIRST VISION OF GOD (1.1--7.27)
God's ThroneEzekiel 1 On the fifth day of the fourth month of the thirtieth year, I, Ezekiel the priest, son of Buzi, was living with the Jewish exiles by the Chebar River in Babylonia. The sky opened, and I saw a vision of God. ( 2It was the fifth year since King Jehoiachin had been taken into exile.) 3There in Babylonia beside the Chebar River, I heard the LORD speak to me, and I felt his power.
4I looked up and saw a windstorm coming from the north. Lightning was flashing from a huge cloud, and the sky around it was glowing. Where the lightning was flashing, something shone like bronze. 5At the center of the storm I saw what looked like four living creatures in human form, 6but each of them had four faces and four wings. 7Their legs were straight, and they had hoofs like those of a bull. They shone like polished bronze. 8In addition to their four faces and four wings, they each had four human hands, one under each wing. 9Two wings of each creature were spread out so that the creatures formed a square, with their wing tips touching. When they moved, they moved as a group without turning their bodies.
10Each living creature had four different faces: a human face in front, a lion's face at the right, a bull's face at the left, and an eagle's face at the back. 11Two wings of each creature were raised so that they touched the tips of the wings of the creatures next to it, and their other two wings were folded against their bodies. 12Each creature faced all four directions, and so the group could go wherever they wished, without having to turn.
13Among the creatures there was something that looked like a blazing torch, constantly moving. The fire would blaze up and shoot out flashes of lightning. 14The creatures themselves darted back and forth with the speed of lightning.
15As I was looking at the four creatures I saw four wheels touching the ground, one beside each of them. 16All four wheels were alike; each one shone like a precious stone, and each had another wheel intersecting it at right angles, 17so that the wheels could move in any of the four directions. 18The rims of the wheels were covered with eyes. 19Whenever the creatures moved, the wheels moved with them, and if the creatures rose up from the earth, so did the wheels. 20The creatures went wherever they wished, and the wheels did exactly what the creatures did, because the creatures controlled them. 21So every time the creatures moved or stopped or rose in the air, the wheels did exactly the same.
22Above the heads of the creatures there was something that looked like a dome made of dazzling crystal. 23There under the dome stood the creatures, each stretching out two wings toward the ones next to it and covering its body with the other two wings. 24I heard the noise their wings made in flight; it sounded like the roar of the sea, like the noise of a huge army, like the voice of Almighty God. When they stopped flying, they folded their wings, 25but there was still a sound coming from above the dome over their heads.
26Above the dome there was something that looked like a throne made of sapphire, and sitting on the throne was a figure that looked like a human being. 27The figure seemed to be shining like bronze in the middle of a fire. It shone all over with a bright light 28that had in it all the colors of the rainbow. This was the dazzling light which shows the presence of the LORD.
A Call for the Universe to Praise GodPsalm 148 Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from heaven,
you that live in the heights above.
2Praise him, all his angels,
all his heavenly armies.
3Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, shining stars.
4Praise him, highest heavens,
and the waters above the sky.
5Let them all praise the name of the LORD!
He commanded, and they were created;
6by his command they were fixed in their places forever,
and they cannot disobey.
7Praise the LORD from the earth,
sea monsters and all ocean depths;
8lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
strong winds that obey his command.
9Praise him, hills and mountains,
fruit trees and forests;
10all animals, tame and wild,
reptiles and birds.
11Praise him, kings and all peoples,
princes and all other rulers;
12young women and young men,
old people and children too.
13Let them all praise the name of the LORD!
His name is greater than all others;
his glory is above earth and heaven.
14He made his nation strong,
so that all his people praise him--
the people of Israel, so dear to him.
Praise the LORD!
This reading is from The Holy
Bible, Today's English Version, Second Edition copyright © American
Bible Society, 1992;
Old Testament copyright © American Bible Society, 1976, 1992; New Testament © American Bible Society, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1992.
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