Read the Bible in a Year

The Complete Bible in a Year Readings

The Complete "Bible in a Year" program - both text and audio versions.
Just click on the day of the month and start reading ... or listening.

>Download a PDF of the readings for all of 2016


January:
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29 30 31 

February:
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29 

March:
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30 31 

April:
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30 

May:
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30  31  

June:
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30

July:
1  2  3  4  5  6  7 8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30  31  

August:
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30  31  

September:
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30 

October:
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30  31  

November:
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30 

December:
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29 30 (Readings completed on December 30th)


Zion equips, educates, and encourages believers in Christ, sending them into the world to share the Gospel.

Reading for December 3rd

Revelation 6-8 (Listen)

The Seven Seals

Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer.

When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not harm the oil and wine!”

When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider's name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

The 144,000 of Israel Sealed

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:

 

12,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed,

12,000 from the tribe of Reuben,

12,000 from the tribe of Gad,

12,000 from the tribe of Asher,

12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali,

12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh,

12,000 from the tribe of Simeon,

12,000 from the tribe of Levi,

12,000 from the tribe of Issachar,

12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun,

12,000 from the tribe of Joseph,

12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed.

 

A Great Multitude from Every Nation

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

 

“Therefore they are before the throne of God,

and serve him day and night in his temple;

and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.

They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;

the sun shall not strike them,

nor any scorching heat.

For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,

and he will guide them to springs of living water,

and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

 

The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censer

When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.

The Seven Trumpets

Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them.

The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.

The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter.

The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night.

Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!”

Reading for November 8th

Micah 4-7 (Listen)

The Mountain of the Lord

It shall come to pass in the latter days

that the mountain of the house of the Lord

shall be established as the highest of the mountains,

and it shall be lifted up above the hills;

and peoples shall flow to it,

and many nations shall come, and say:

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,

to the house of the God of Jacob,

that he may teach us his ways

and that we may walk in his paths.”

For out of Zion shall go forth the law,

and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

He shall judge between many peoples,

and shall decide for strong nations far away;

and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,

and their spears into pruning hooks;

nation shall not lift up sword against nation,

neither shall they learn war anymore;

but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree,

and no one shall make them afraid,

for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.

For all the peoples walk

each in the name of its god,

but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God

forever and ever.

 

The Lord Shall Rescue Zion

In that day, declares the Lord,

I will assemble the lame

and gather those who have been driven away

and those whom I have afflicted;

and the lame I will make the remnant,

and those who were cast off, a strong nation;

and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion

from this time forth and forevermore.

 

And you, O tower of the flock,

hill of the daughter of Zion,

to you shall it come,

the former dominion shall come,

kingship for the daughter of Jerusalem.

 

Now why do you cry aloud?

Is there no king in you?

Has your counselor perished,

that pain seized you like a woman in labor?

Writhe and groan, O daughter of Zion,

like a woman in labor,

for now you shall go out from the city

and dwell in the open country;

you shall go to Babylon.

There you shall be rescued;

there the Lord will redeem you

from the hand of your enemies.

 

Now many nations

are assembled against you,

saying, “Let her be defiled,

and let our eyes gaze upon Zion.”

But they do not know

the thoughts of the Lord;

they do not understand his plan,

that he has gathered them as sheaves to the threshing floor.

Arise and thresh,

O daughter of Zion,

for I will make your horn iron,

and I will make your hoofs bronze;

you shall beat in pieces many peoples;

and shall devote their gain to the Lord,

their wealth to the Lord of the whole earth.

 

The Ruler to Be Born in Bethlehem

Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops;

siege is laid against us;

with a rod they strike the judge of Israel

on the cheek.

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,

who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,

from you shall come forth for me

one who is to be ruler in Israel,

whose coming forth is from of old,

from ancient days.

Therefore he shall give them up until the time

when she who is in labor has given birth;

then the rest of his brothers shall return

to the people of Israel.

And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,

in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.

And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great

to the ends of the earth.

And he shall be their peace.

 

When the Assyrian comes into our land

and treads in our palaces,

then we will raise against him seven shepherds

and eight princes of men;

they shall shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword,

and the land of Nimrod at its entrances;

and he shall deliver us from the Assyrian

when he comes into our land

and treads within our border.

 

A Remnant Shall Be Delivered

Then the remnant of Jacob shall be

in the midst of many peoples

like dew from the Lord,

like showers on the grass,

which delay not for a man

nor wait for the children of man.

And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations,

in the midst of many peoples,

like a lion among the beasts of the forest,

like a young lion among the flocks of sheep,

which, when it goes through, treads down

and tears in pieces, and there is none to deliver.

Your hand shall be lifted up over your adversaries,

and all your enemies shall be cut off.

 

And in that day, declares the Lord,

I will cut off your horses from among you

and will destroy your chariots;

and I will cut off the cities of your land

and throw down all your strongholds;

and I will cut off sorceries from your hand,

and you shall have no more tellers of fortunes;

and I will cut off your carved images

and your pillars from among you,

and you shall bow down no more

to the work of your hands;

and I will root out your Asherah images from among you

and destroy your cities.

And in anger and wrath I will execute vengeance

on the nations that did not obey.

 

The Indictment of the Lord

Hear what the Lord says:

Arise, plead your case before the mountains,

and let the hills hear your voice.

Hear, you mountains, the indictment of the Lord,

and you enduring foundations of the earth,

for the Lord has an indictment against his people,

and he will contend with Israel.

 

“O my people, what have I done to you?

How have I wearied you? Answer me!

For I brought you up from the land of Egypt

and redeemed you from the house of slavery,

and I sent before you Moses,

Aaron, and Miriam.

O my people, remember what Balak king of Moab devised,

and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him,

and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal,

that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.”

 

What Does the Lord Require?

“With what shall I come before the Lord,

and bow myself before God on high?

Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,

with calves a year old?

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,

with ten thousands of rivers of oil?

Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,

the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”

He has told you, O man, what is good;

and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

and to walk humbly with your God?

 

Destruction of the Wicked

The voice of the Lord cries to the city—

and it is sound wisdom to fear your name:

“Hear of the rod and of him who appointed it!

Can I forget any longer the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked,

and the scant measure that is accursed?

Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales

and with a bag of deceitful weights?

Your rich men are full of violence;

your inhabitants speak lies,

and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.

Therefore I strike you with a grievous blow,

making you desolate because of your sins.

You shall eat, but not be satisfied,

and there shall be hunger within you;

you shall put away, but not preserve,

and what you preserve I will give to the sword.

You shall sow, but not reap;

you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil;

you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine.

For you have kept the statutes of Omri,

and all the works of the house of Ahab;

and you have walked in their counsels,

that I may make you a desolation, and your inhabitants a hissing;

so you shall bear the scorn of my people.”

 

Wait for the God of Salvation

Woe is me! For I have become

as when the summer fruit has been gathered,

as when the grapes have been gleaned:

there is no cluster to eat,

no first-ripe fig that my soul desires.

The godly has perished from the earth,

and there is no one upright among mankind;

they all lie in wait for blood,

and each hunts the other with a net.

Their hands are on what is evil, to do it well;

the prince and the judge ask for a bribe,

and the great man utters the evil desire of his soul;

thus they weave it together.

The best of them is like a brier,

the most upright of them a thorn hedge.

The day of your watchmen, of your punishment, has come;

now their confusion is at hand.

Put no trust in a neighbor;

have no confidence in a friend;

guard the doors of your mouth

from her who lies in your arms;

for the son treats the father with contempt,

the daughter rises up against her mother,

the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;

a man's enemies are the men of his own house.

But as for me, I will look to the Lord;

I will wait for the God of my salvation;

my God will hear me.

 

Rejoice not over me, O my enemy;

when I fall, I shall rise;

when I sit in darkness,

the Lord will be a light to me.

I will bear the indignation of the Lord

because I have sinned against him,

until he pleads my cause

and executes judgment for me.

He will bring me out to the light;

I shall look upon his vindication.

Then my enemy will see,

and shame will cover her who said to me,

“Where is the Lord your God?”

My eyes will look upon her;

now she will be trampled down

like the mire of the streets.

 

A day for the building of your walls!

In that day the boundary shall be far extended.

In that day they will come to you,

from Assyria and the cities of Egypt,

and from Egypt to the River,

from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain.

But the earth will be desolate

because of its inhabitants,

for the fruit of their deeds.

 

Shepherd your people with your staff,

the flock of your inheritance,

who dwell alone in a forest

in the midst of a garden land;

let them graze in Bashan and Gilead

as in the days of old.

As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt,

I will show them marvelous things.

The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might;

they shall lay their hands on their mouths;

their ears shall be deaf;

they shall lick the dust like a serpent,

like the crawling things of the earth;

they shall come trembling out of their strongholds;

they shall turn in dread to the Lord our God,

and they shall be in fear of you.

 

God's Steadfast Love and Compassion

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity

and passing over transgression

for the remnant of his inheritance?

He does not retain his anger forever,

because he delights in steadfast love.

He will again have compassion on us;

he will tread our iniquities underfoot.

You will cast all our sins

into the depths of the sea.

You will show faithfulness to Jacob

and steadfast love to Abraham,

as you have sworn to our fathers

from the days of old.

November 8, 2012

Micah 4-7 (Listen)

The Mountain of the Lord

It shall come to pass in the latter days

that the mountain of the house of the Lord

shall be established as the highest of the mountains,

and it shall be lifted up above the hills;

and peoples shall flow to it,

and many nations shall come, and say:

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,

to the house of the God of Jacob,

that he may teach us his ways

and that we may walk in his paths.”

For out of Zion shall go forth the law,

and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

He shall judge between many peoples,

and shall decide for strong nations far away;

and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,

and their spears into pruning hooks;

nation shall not lift up sword against nation,

neither shall they learn war anymore;

but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree,

and no one shall make them afraid,

for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.

For all the peoples walk

each in the name of its god,

but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God

forever and ever.

 

The Lord Shall Rescue Zion

In that day, declares the Lord,

I will assemble the lame

and gather those who have been driven away

and those whom I have afflicted;

and the lame I will make the remnant,

and those who were cast off, a strong nation;

and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion

from this time forth and forevermore.

 

And you, O tower of the flock,

hill of the daughter of Zion,

to you shall it come,

the former dominion shall come,

kingship for the daughter of Jerusalem.

 

Now why do you cry aloud?

Is there no king in you?

Has your counselor perished,

that pain seized you like a woman in labor?

Writhe and groan, O daughter of Zion,

like a woman in labor,

for now you shall go out from the city

and dwell in the open country;

you shall go to Babylon.

There you shall be rescued;

there the Lord will redeem you

from the hand of your enemies.

 

Now many nations

are assembled against you,

saying, “Let her be defiled,

and let our eyes gaze upon Zion.”

But they do not know

the thoughts of the Lord;

they do not understand his plan,

that he has gathered them as sheaves to the threshing floor.

Arise and thresh,

O daughter of Zion,

for I will make your horn iron,

and I will make your hoofs bronze;

you shall beat in pieces many peoples;

and shall devote their gain to the Lord,

their wealth to the Lord of the whole earth.

 

The Ruler to Be Born in Bethlehem

Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops;

siege is laid against us;

with a rod they strike the judge of Israel

on the cheek.

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,

who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,

from you shall come forth for me

one who is to be ruler in Israel,

whose coming forth is from of old,

from ancient days.

Therefore he shall give them up until the time

when she who is in labor has given birth;

then the rest of his brothers shall return

to the people of Israel.

And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,

in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.

And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great

to the ends of the earth.

And he shall be their peace.

 

When the Assyrian comes into our land

and treads in our palaces,

then we will raise against him seven shepherds

and eight princes of men;

they shall shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword,

and the land of Nimrod at its entrances;

and he shall deliver us from the Assyrian

when he comes into our land

and treads within our border.

 

A Remnant Shall Be Delivered

Then the remnant of Jacob shall be

in the midst of many peoples

like dew from the Lord,

like showers on the grass,

which delay not for a man

nor wait for the children of man.

And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations,

in the midst of many peoples,

like a lion among the beasts of the forest,

like a young lion among the flocks of sheep,

which, when it goes through, treads down

and tears in pieces, and there is none to deliver.

Your hand shall be lifted up over your adversaries,

and all your enemies shall be cut off.

 

And in that day, declares the Lord,

I will cut off your horses from among you

and will destroy your chariots;

and I will cut off the cities of your land

and throw down all your strongholds;

and I will cut off sorceries from your hand,

and you shall have no more tellers of fortunes;

and I will cut off your carved images

and your pillars from among you,

and you shall bow down no more

to the work of your hands;

and I will root out your Asherah images from among you

and destroy your cities.

And in anger and wrath I will execute vengeance

on the nations that did not obey.

 

The Indictment of the Lord

Hear what the Lord says:

Arise, plead your case before the mountains,

and let the hills hear your voice.

Hear, you mountains, the indictment of the Lord,

and you enduring foundations of the earth,

for the Lord has an indictment against his people,

and he will contend with Israel.

 

“O my people, what have I done to you?

How have I wearied you? Answer me!

For I brought you up from the land of Egypt

and redeemed you from the house of slavery,

and I sent before you Moses,

Aaron, and Miriam.

O my people, remember what Balak king of Moab devised,

and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him,

and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal,

that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.”

 

What Does the Lord Require?

“With what shall I come before the Lord,

and bow myself before God on high?

Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,

with calves a year old?

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,

with ten thousands of rivers of oil?

Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,

the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”

He has told you, O man, what is good;

and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

and to walk humbly with your God?

 

Destruction of the Wicked

The voice of the Lord cries to the city—

and it is sound wisdom to fear your name:

“Hear of the rod and of him who appointed it!

Can I forget any longer the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked,

and the scant measure that is accursed?

Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales

and with a bag of deceitful weights?

Your rich men are full of violence;

your inhabitants speak lies,

and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.

Therefore I strike you with a grievous blow,

making you desolate because of your sins.

You shall eat, but not be satisfied,

and there shall be hunger within you;

you shall put away, but not preserve,

and what you preserve I will give to the sword.

You shall sow, but not reap;

you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil;

you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine.

For you have kept the statutes of Omri,

and all the works of the house of Ahab;

and you have walked in their counsels,

that I may make you a desolation, and your inhabitants a hissing;

so you shall bear the scorn of my people.”

 

Wait for the God of Salvation

Woe is me! For I have become

as when the summer fruit has been gathered,

as when the grapes have been gleaned:

there is no cluster to eat,

no first-ripe fig that my soul desires.

The godly has perished from the earth,

and there is no one upright among mankind;

they all lie in wait for blood,

and each hunts the other with a net.

Their hands are on what is evil, to do it well;

the prince and the judge ask for a bribe,

and the great man utters the evil desire of his soul;

thus they weave it together.

The best of them is like a brier,

the most upright of them a thorn hedge.

The day of your watchmen, of your punishment, has come;

now their confusion is at hand.

Put no trust in a neighbor;

have no confidence in a friend;

guard the doors of your mouth

from her who lies in your arms;

for the son treats the father with contempt,

the daughter rises up against her mother,

the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;

a man's enemies are the men of his own house.

But as for me, I will look to the Lord;

I will wait for the God of my salvation;

my God will hear me.

 

Rejoice not over me, O my enemy;

when I fall, I shall rise;

when I sit in darkness,

the Lord will be a light to me.

I will bear the indignation of the Lord

because I have sinned against him,

until he pleads my cause

and executes judgment for me.

He will bring me out to the light;

I shall look upon his vindication.

Then my enemy will see,

and shame will cover her who said to me,

“Where is the Lord your God?”

My eyes will look upon her;

now she will be trampled down

like the mire of the streets.

 

A day for the building of your walls!

In that day the boundary shall be far extended.

In that day they will come to you,

from Assyria and the cities of Egypt,

and from Egypt to the River,

from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain.

But the earth will be desolate

because of its inhabitants,

for the fruit of their deeds.

 

Shepherd your people with your staff,

the flock of your inheritance,

who dwell alone in a forest

in the midst of a garden land;

let them graze in Bashan and Gilead

as in the days of old.

As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt,

I will show them marvelous things.

The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might;

they shall lay their hands on their mouths;

their ears shall be deaf;

they shall lick the dust like a serpent,

like the crawling things of the earth;

they shall come trembling out of their strongholds;

they shall turn in dread to the Lord our God,

and they shall be in fear of you.

 

God's Steadfast Love and Compassion

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity

and passing over transgression

for the remnant of his inheritance?

He does not retain his anger forever,

because he delights in steadfast love.

He will again have compassion on us;

he will tread our iniquities underfoot.

You will cast all our sins

into the depths of the sea.

You will show faithfulness to Jacob

and steadfast love to Abraham,

as you have sworn to our fathers

from the days of old.

Reading for November 6th

Obadiah (Listen)

The vision of Obadiah.

Edom Will Be Humbled

Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom:

We have heard a report from the Lord,

and a messenger has been sent among the nations:

“Rise up! Let us rise against her for battle!”

Behold, I will make you small among the nations;

you shall be utterly despised.

The pride of your heart has deceived you,

you who live in the clefts of the rock,

in your lofty dwelling,

who say in your heart,

“Who will bring me down to the ground?”

Though you soar aloft like the eagle,

though your nest is set among the stars,

from there I will bring you down,

declares the Lord.

 

If thieves came to you,

if plunderers came by night—

how you have been destroyed!—

would they not steal only enough for themselves?

If grape gatherers came to you,

would they not leave gleanings?

How Esau has been pillaged,

his treasures sought out!

All your allies have driven you to your border;

those at peace with you have deceived you;

they have prevailed against you;

those who eat your bread have set a trap beneath you—

you have no understanding.

 

Will I not on that day, declares the Lord,

destroy the wise men out of Edom,

and understanding out of Mount Esau?

And your mighty men shall be dismayed, O Teman,

so that every man from Mount Esau will be cut off by slaughter.

 

Edom's Violence Against Jacob

Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob,

shame shall cover you,

and you shall be cut off forever.

On the day that you stood aloof,

on the day that strangers carried off his wealth

and foreigners entered his gates

and cast lots for Jerusalem,

you were like one of them.

But do not gloat over the day of your brother

in the day of his misfortune;

do not rejoice over the people of Judah

in the day of their ruin;

do not boast

in the day of distress.

Do not enter the gate of my people

in the day of their calamity;

do not gloat over his disaster

in the day of his calamity;

do not loot his wealth

in the day of his calamity.

Do not stand at the crossroads

to cut off his fugitives;

do not hand over his survivors

in the day of distress.

 

The Day of the Lord Is Near

For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations.

As you have done, it shall be done to you;

your deeds shall return on your own head.

For as you have drunk on my holy mountain,

so all the nations shall drink continually;

they shall drink and swallow,

and shall be as though they had never been.

But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape,

and it shall be holy,

and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions.

The house of Jacob shall be a fire,

and the house of Joseph a flame,

and the house of Esau stubble;

they shall burn them and consume them,

and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau,

for the Lord has spoken.

 

The Kingdom of the Lord

Those of the Negeb shall possess Mount Esau,

and those of the Shephelah shall possess the land of the Philistines;

they shall possess the land of Ephraim and the land of Samaria,

and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.

The exiles of this host of the people of Israel

shall possess the land of the Canaanites as far as Zarephath,

and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad

shall possess the cities of the Negeb.

Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion

to rule Mount Esau,

and the kingdom shall be the Lord's.

 

Jonah 1-4 (Listen)

Jonah Flees the Presence of the Lord

Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.

But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up. Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep. So the captain came and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.”

Jonah Is Thrown into the Sea

And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, “Tell us on whose account this evil has come upon us. What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” And he said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, “What is this that you have done!” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.

Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea grew more and more tempestuous. He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them. Therefore they called out to the Lord, “O Lord, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you.” So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.

A Great Fish Swallows Jonah

And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Jonah's Prayer

Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, saying,

 

“I called out to the Lord, out of my distress,

and he answered me;

out of the belly of Sheol I cried,

and you heard my voice.

For you cast me into the deep,

into the heart of the seas,

and the flood surrounded me;

all your waves and your billows

passed over me.

Then I said, ‘I am driven away

from your sight;

yet I shall again look

upon your holy temple.’

The waters closed in over me to take my life;

the deep surrounded me;

weeds were wrapped about my head

at the roots of the mountains.

I went down to the land

whose bars closed upon me forever;

yet you brought up my life from the pit,

O Lord my God.

When my life was fainting away,

I remembered the Lord,

and my prayer came to you,

into your holy temple.

Those who pay regard to vain idols

forsake their hope of steadfast love.

But I with the voice of thanksgiving

will sacrifice to you;

what I have vowed I will pay.

Salvation belongs to the Lord!”

 

And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.

Jonah Goes to Nineveh

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days' journey in breadth. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.

The People of Nineveh Repent

The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”

When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.

Jonah's Anger and the Lord's Compassion

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?”

Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city. Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”

Reading for November 5th

Amos 6-9 (Listen)

Woe to Those at Ease in Zion

“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion,

and to those who feel secure on the mountain of Samaria,

the notable men of the first of the nations,

to whom the house of Israel comes!

Pass over to Calneh, and see,

and from there go to Hamath the great;

then go down to Gath of the Philistines.

Are you better than these kingdoms?

Or is their territory greater than your territory,

O you who put far away the day of disaster

and bring near the seat of violence?

 

“Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory

and stretch themselves out on their couches,

and eat lambs from the flock

and calves from the midst of the stall,

who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp

and like David invent for themselves instruments of music,

who drink wine in bowls

and anoint themselves with the finest oils,

but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!

Therefore they shall now be the first of those who go into exile,

and the revelry of those who stretch themselves out shall pass away.”

 

The Lord God has sworn by himself, declares the Lord, the God of hosts:

 

“I abhor the pride of Jacob

and hate his strongholds,

and I will deliver up the city and all that is in it.”

 

And if ten men remain in one house, they shall die. And when one's relative, the one who anoints him for burial, shall take him up to bring the bones out of the house, and shall say to him who is in the innermost parts of the house, “Is there still anyone with you?” he shall say, “No”; and he shall say, “Silence! We must not mention the name of the Lord.”

 

For behold, the Lord commands,

and the great house shall be struck down into fragments,

and the little house into bits.

Do horses run on rocks?

Does one plow there with oxen?

But you have turned justice into poison

and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood—

you who rejoice in Lo-debar,

who say, “Have we not by our own strength

captured Karnaim for ourselves?”

“For behold, I will raise up against you a nation,

O house of Israel,” declares the Lord, the God of hosts;

“and they shall oppress you from Lebo-hamath

to the Brook of the Arabah.”

 

Warning Visions

This is what the Lord God showed me: behold, he was forming locusts when the latter growth was just beginning to sprout, and behold, it was the latter growth after the king's mowings. When they had finished eating the grass of the land, I said,

 

“O Lord God, please forgive!

How can Jacob stand?

He is so small!”

The Lord relented concerning this:

“It shall not be,” said the Lord.

 

This is what the Lord God showed me: behold, the Lord God was calling for a judgment by fire, and it devoured the great deep and was eating up the land. Then I said,

 

“O Lord God, please cease!

How can Jacob stand?

He is so small!”

The Lord relented concerning this:

“This also shall not be,” said the Lord God.

 

This is what he showed me: behold, the Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand. And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said,

 

“Behold, I am setting a plumb line

in the midst of my people Israel;

I will never again pass by them;

the high places of Isaac shall be made desolate,

and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste,

and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.”

 

Amos Accused

Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel. The land is not able to bear all his words. For thus Amos has said,

 

“‘Jeroboam shall die by the sword,

and Israel must go into exile

away from his land.’”

 

And Amaziah said to Amos, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, and eat bread there, and prophesy there, but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king's sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.”

Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, “I was no prophet, nor a prophet's son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. But the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ Now therefore hear the word of the Lord.

 

“You say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel,

and do not preach against the house of Isaac.’

 

Therefore thus says the Lord:

 

“‘Your wife shall be a prostitute in the city,

and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword,

and your land shall be divided up with a measuring line;

you yourself shall die in an unclean land,

and Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land.’”

 

The Coming Day of Bitter Mourning

This is what the Lord God showed me: behold, a basket of summer fruit. And he said, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the Lord said to me,

 

“The end has come upon my people Israel;

I will never again pass by them.

The songs of the temple shall become wailings in that day,”

declares the Lord God.

“So many dead bodies!”

“They are thrown everywhere!”

“Silence!”

 

Hear this, you who trample on the needy

and bring the poor of the land to an end,

saying, “When will the new moon be over,

that we may sell grain?

And the Sabbath,

that we may offer wheat for sale,

that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great

and deal deceitfully with false balances,

that we may buy the poor for silver

and the needy for a pair of sandals

and sell the chaff of the wheat?”

 

The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob:

“Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.

Shall not the land tremble on this account,

and everyone mourn who dwells in it,

and all of it rise like the Nile,

and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt?”

 

“And on that day,” declares the Lord God,

“I will make the sun go down at noon

and darken the earth in broad daylight.

I will turn your feasts into mourning

and all your songs into lamentation;

I will bring sackcloth on every waist

and baldness on every head;

I will make it like the mourning for an only son

and the end of it like a bitter day.

 

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God,

“when I will send a famine on the land—

not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,

but of hearing the words of the Lord.

They shall wander from sea to sea,

and from north to east;

they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord,

but they shall not find it.

 

“In that day the lovely virgins and the young men

shall faint for thirst.

Those who swear by the Guilt of Samaria,

and say, ‘As your god lives, O Dan,’

and, ‘As the Way of Beersheba lives,’

they shall fall, and never rise again.”

 

The Destruction of Israel

I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and he said:

 

“Strike the capitals until the thresholds shake,

and shatter them on the heads of all the people;

and those who are left of them I will kill with the sword;

not one of them shall flee away;

not one of them shall escape.

 

“If they dig into Sheol,

from there shall my hand take them;

if they climb up to heaven,

from there I will bring them down.

If they hide themselves on the top of Carmel,

from there I will search them out and take them;

and if they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea,

there I will command the serpent, and it shall bite them.

And if they go into captivity before their enemies,

there I will command the sword, and it shall kill them;

and I will fix my eyes upon them

for evil and not for good.”

 

The Lord God of hosts,

he who touches the earth and it melts,

and all who dwell in it mourn,

and all of it rises like the Nile,

and sinks again, like the Nile of Egypt;

who builds his upper chambers in the heavens

and founds his vault upon the earth;

who calls for the waters of the sea

and pours them out upon the surface of the earth—

the Lord is his name.

 

“Are you not like the Cushites to me,

O people of Israel?” declares the Lord.

“Did I not bring up Israel from the land of Egypt,

and the Philistines from Caphtor and the Syrians from Kir?

Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom,

and I will destroy it from the surface of the ground,

except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob,”

declares the Lord.

 

“For behold, I will command,

and shake the house of Israel among all the nations

as one shakes with a sieve,

but no pebble shall fall to the earth.

All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword,

who say, ‘Disaster shall not overtake or meet us.’

 

The Restoration of Israel

“In that day I will raise up

the booth of David that is fallen

and repair its breaches,

and raise up its ruins

and rebuild it as in the days of old,

that they may possess the remnant of Edom

and all the nations who are called by my name,”

declares the Lord who does this.

 

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord,

“when the plowman shall overtake the reaper

and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed;

the mountains shall drip sweet wine,

and all the hills shall flow with it.

I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel,

and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them;

they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine,

and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit.

I will plant them on their land,

and they shall never again be uprooted

out of the land that I have given them,”

says the Lord your God.

Reading for August 27th

Job 16-18 (Listen)

Job Replies: Miserable Comforters Are You

Then Job answered and said:

 

“I have heard many such things;

miserable comforters are you all.

Shall windy words have an end?

Or what provokes you that you answer?

I also could speak as you do,

if you were in my place;

I could join words together against you

and shake my head at you.

I could strengthen you with my mouth,

and the solace of my lips would assuage your pain.

 

“If I speak, my pain is not assuaged,

and if I forbear, how much of it leaves me?

Surely now God has worn me out;

he has made desolate all my company.

And he has shriveled me up,

which is a witness against me,

and my leanness has risen up against me;

it testifies to my face.

He has torn me in his wrath and hated me;

he has gnashed his teeth at me;

my adversary sharpens his eyes against me.

Men have gaped at me with their mouth;

they have struck me insolently on the cheek;

they mass themselves together against me.

God gives me up to the ungodly

and casts me into the hands of the wicked.

I was at ease, and he broke me apart;

he seized me by the neck and dashed me to pieces;

he set me up as his target;

his archers surround me.

He slashes open my kidneys and does not spare;

he pours out my gall on the ground.

He breaks me with breach upon breach;

he runs upon me like a warrior.

I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin

and have laid my strength in the dust.

My face is red with weeping,

and on my eyelids is deep darkness,

although there is no violence in my hands,

and my prayer is pure.

 

“O earth, cover not my blood,

and let my cry find no resting place.

Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven,

and he who testifies for me is on high.

My friends scorn me;

my eye pours out tears to God,

that he would argue the case of a man with God,

as a son of man does with his neighbor.

For when a few years have come

I shall go the way from which I shall not return.

 

Job Continues: Where Then Is My Hope?

“My spirit is broken; my days are extinct;

the graveyard is ready for me.

Surely there are mockers about me,

and my eye dwells on their provocation.

 

“Lay down a pledge for me with you;

who is there who will put up security for me?

Since you have closed their hearts to understanding,

therefore you will not let them triumph.

He who informs against his friends to get a share of their property—

the eyes of his children will fail.

 

“He has made me a byword of the peoples,

and I am one before whom men spit.

My eye has grown dim from vexation,

and all my members are like a shadow.

The upright are appalled at this,

and the innocent stirs himself up against the godless.

Yet the righteous holds to his way,

and he who has clean hands grows stronger and stronger.

But you, come on again, all of you,

and I shall not find a wise man among you.

My days are past; my plans are broken off,

the desires of my heart.

They make night into day:

‘The light,’ they say, ‘is near to the darkness.’

If I hope for Sheol as my house,

if I make my bed in darkness,

if I say to the pit, ‘You are my father,’

and to the worm, ‘My mother,’ or ‘My sister,’

where then is my hope?

Who will see my hope?

Will it go down to the bars of Sheol?

Shall we descend together into the dust?”

 

Bildad Speaks: God Punishes the Wicked

Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:

 

“How long will you hunt for words?

Consider, and then we will speak.

Why are we counted as cattle?

Why are we stupid in your sight?

You who tear yourself in your anger,

shall the earth be forsaken for you,

or the rock be removed out of its place?

 

“Indeed, the light of the wicked is put out,

and the flame of his fire does not shine.

The light is dark in his tent,

and his lamp above him is put out.

His strong steps are shortened,

and his own schemes throw him down.

For he is cast into a net by his own feet,

and he walks on its mesh.

A trap seizes him by the heel;

a snare lays hold of him.

A rope is hidden for him in the ground,

a trap for him in the path.

Terrors frighten him on every side,

and chase him at his heels.

His strength is famished,

and calamity is ready for his stumbling.

It consumes the parts of his skin;

the firstborn of death consumes his limbs.

He is torn from the tent in which he trusted

and is brought to the king of terrors.

In his tent dwells that which is none of his;

sulfur is scattered over his habitation.

His roots dry up beneath,

and his branches wither above.

His memory perishes from the earth,

and he has no name in the street.

He is thrust from light into darkness,

and driven out of the world.

He has no posterity or progeny among his people,

and no survivor where he used to live.

They of the west are appalled at his day,

and horror seizes them of the east.

Surely such are the dwellings of the unrighteous,

such is the place of him who knows not God.”

Reading for August 23rd

Job 4-6 (Listen)

Eliphaz Speaks: The Innocent Prosper

Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

 

“If one ventures a word with you, will you be impatient?

Yet who can keep from speaking?

Behold, you have instructed many,

and you have strengthened the weak hands.

Your words have upheld him who was stumbling,

and you have made firm the feeble knees.

But now it has come to you, and you are impatient;

it touches you, and you are dismayed.

Is not your fear of God your confidence,

and the integrity of your ways your hope?

 

“Remember: who that was innocent ever perished?

Or where were the upright cut off?

As I have seen, those who plow iniquity

and sow trouble reap the same.

By the breath of God they perish,

and by the blast of his anger they are consumed.

The roar of the lion, the voice of the fierce lion,

the teeth of the young lions are broken.

The strong lion perishes for lack of prey,

and the cubs of the lioness are scattered.

 

“Now a word was brought to me stealthily;

my ear received the whisper of it.

Amid thoughts from visions of the night,

when deep sleep falls on men,

dread came upon me, and trembling,

which made all my bones shake.

A spirit glided past my face;

the hair of my flesh stood up.

It stood still,

but I could not discern its appearance.

A form was before my eyes;

there was silence, then I heard a voice:

‘Can mortal man be in the right before God?

Can a man be pure before his Maker?

Even in his servants he puts no trust,

and his angels he charges with error;

how much more those who dwell in houses of clay,

whose foundation is in the dust,

who are crushed like the moth.

Between morning and evening they are beaten to pieces;

they perish forever without anyone regarding it.

Is not their tent-cord plucked up within them,

do they not die, and that without wisdom?’

 

“Call now; is there anyone who will answer you?

To which of the holy ones will you turn?

Surely vexation kills the fool,

and jealousy slays the simple.

I have seen the fool taking root,

but suddenly I cursed his dwelling.

His children are far from safety;

they are crushed in the gate,

and there is no one to deliver them.

The hungry eat his harvest,

and he takes it even out of thorns,

and the thirsty pant after his wealth.

For affliction does not come from the dust,

nor does trouble sprout from the ground,

but man is born to trouble

as the sparks fly upward.

 

“As for me, I would seek God,

and to God would I commit my cause,

who does great things and unsearchable,

marvelous things without number:

he gives rain on the earth

and sends waters on the fields;

he sets on high those who are lowly,

and those who mourn are lifted to safety.

He frustrates the devices of the crafty,

so that their hands achieve no success.

He catches the wise in their own craftiness,

and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end.

They meet with darkness in the daytime

and grope at noonday as in the night.

But he saves the needy from the sword of their mouth

and from the hand of the mighty.

So the poor have hope,

and injustice shuts her mouth.

 

“Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves;

therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty.

For he wounds, but he binds up;

he shatters, but his hands heal.

He will deliver you from six troubles;

in seven no evil shall touch you.

In famine he will redeem you from death,

and in war from the power of the sword.

You shall be hidden from the lash of the tongue,

and shall not fear destruction when it comes.

At destruction and famine you shall laugh,

and shall not fear the beasts of the earth.

For you shall be in league with the stones of the field,

and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with you.

You shall know that your tent is at peace,

and you shall inspect your fold and miss nothing.

You shall know also that your offspring shall be many,

and your descendants as the grass of the earth.

You shall come to your grave in ripe old age,

like a sheaf gathered up in its season.

Behold, this we have searched out; it is true.

Hear, and know it for your good.”

 

Job Replies: My Complaint Is Just

Then Job answered and said:

 

“Oh that my vexation were weighed,

and all my calamity laid in the balances!

For then it would be heavier than the sand of the sea;

therefore my words have been rash.

For the arrows of the Almighty are in me;

my spirit drinks their poison;

the terrors of God are arrayed against me.

Does the wild donkey bray when he has grass,

or the ox low over his fodder?

Can that which is tasteless be eaten without salt,

or is there any taste in the juice of the mallow?

My appetite refuses to touch them;

they are as food that is loathsome to me.

 

“Oh that I might have my request,

and that God would fulfill my hope,

that it would please God to crush me,

that he would let loose his hand and cut me off!

This would be my comfort;

I would even exult in pain unsparing,

for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.

What is my strength, that I should wait?

And what is my end, that I should be patient?

Is my strength the strength of stones, or is my flesh bronze?

Have I any help in me,

when resource is driven from me?

 

“He who withholds kindness from a friend

forsakes the fear of the Almighty.

My brothers are treacherous as a torrent-bed,

as torrential streams that pass away,

which are dark with ice,

and where the snow hides itself.

When they melt, they disappear;

when it is hot, they vanish from their place.

The caravans turn aside from their course;

they go up into the waste and perish.

The caravans of Tema look,

the travelers of Sheba hope.

They are ashamed because they were confident;

they come there and are disappointed.

For you have now become nothing;

you see my calamity and are afraid.

Have I said, ‘Make me a gift’?

Or, ‘From your wealth offer a bribe for me’?

Or, ‘Deliver me from the adversary's hand’?

Or, ‘Redeem me from the hand of the ruthless’?

 

“Teach me, and I will be silent;

make me understand how I have gone astray.

How forceful are upright words!

But what does reproof from you reprove?

Do you think that you can reprove words,

when the speech of a despairing man is wind?

You would even cast lots over the fatherless,

and bargain over your friend.

 

“But now, be pleased to look at me,

for I will not lie to your face.

Please turn; let no injustice be done.

Turn now; my vindication is at stake.

Is there any injustice on my tongue?

Cannot my palate discern the cause of calamity?

Reading for August 17th

Nehemiah 7-9 (Listen)

Now when the wall had been built and I had set up the doors, and the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed, I gave my brother Hanani and Hananiah the governor of the castle charge over Jerusalem, for he was a more faithful and God-fearing man than many. And I said to them, “Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot. And while they are still standing guard, let them shut and bar the doors. Appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, some at their guard posts and some in front of their own homes.” The city was wide and large, but the people within it were few, and no houses had been rebuilt.

Lists of Returned Exiles
Then my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles and the officials and the people to be enrolled by genealogy. And I found the book of the genealogy of those who came up at the first, and I found written in it:

These were the people of the province who came up out of the captivity of those exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried into exile. They returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his town. They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, Baanah.

The number of the men of the people of Israel: the sons of Parosh, 2,172. The sons of Shephatiah, 372. The sons of Arah, 652. The sons of Pahath-moab, namely the sons of Jeshua and Joab, 2,818. The sons of Elam, 1,254. The sons of Zattu, 845. The sons of Zaccai, 760. The sons of Binnui, 648. The sons of Bebai, 628. The sons of Azgad, 2,322. The sons of Adonikam, 667. The sons of Bigvai, 2,067. The sons of Adin, 655. The sons of Ater, namely of Hezekiah, 98. The sons of Hashum, 328. The sons of Bezai, 324. The sons of Hariph, 112. The sons of Gibeon, 95. The men of Bethlehem and Netophah, 188. The men of Anathoth, 128. The men of Beth-azmaveth, 42. The men of Kiriath-jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, 743. The men of Ramah and Geba, 621. The men of Michmas, 122. The men of Bethel and Ai, 123. The men of the other Nebo, 52. The sons of the other Elam, 1,254. The sons of Harim, 320. The sons of Jericho, 345. The sons of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, 721. The sons of Senaah, 3,930.

The priests: the sons of Jedaiah, namely the house of Jeshua, 973. The sons of Immer, 1,052. The sons of Pashhur, 1,247. The sons of Harim, 1,017.

The Levites: the sons of Jeshua, namely of Kadmiel of the sons of Hodevah, 74. The singers: the sons of Asaph, 148. The gatekeepers: the sons of Shallum, the sons of Ater, the sons of Talmon, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hatita, the sons of Shobai, 138.

The temple servants: the sons of Ziha, the sons of Hasupha, the sons of Tabbaoth, the sons of Keros, the sons of Sia, the sons of Padon, the sons of Lebana, the sons of Hagaba, the sons of Shalmai, the sons of Hanan, the sons of Giddel, the sons of Gahar, the sons of Reaiah, the sons of Rezin, the sons of Nekoda, the sons of Gazzam, the sons of Uzza, the sons of Paseah, the sons of Besai, the sons of Meunim, the sons of Nephushesim, the sons of Bakbuk, the sons of Hakupha, the sons of Harhur, the sons of Bazlith, the sons of Mehida, the sons of Harsha, the sons of Barkos, the sons of Sisera, the sons of Temah, the sons of Neziah, the sons of Hatipha.

The sons of Solomon's servants: the sons of Sotai, the sons of Sophereth, the sons of Perida, the sons of Jaala, the sons of Darkon, the sons of Giddel, the sons of Shephatiah, the sons of Hattil, the sons of Pochereth-hazzebaim, the sons of Amon.

All the temple servants and the sons of Solomon's servants were 392.

The following were those who came up from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer, but they could not prove their fathers' houses nor their descent, whether they belonged to Israel: the sons of Delaiah, the sons of Tobiah, the sons of Nekoda, 642. Also, of the priests: the sons of Hobaiah, the sons of Hakkoz, the sons of Barzillai (who had taken a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite and was called by their name). These sought their registration among those enrolled in the genealogies, but it was not found there, so they were excluded from the priesthood as unclean. The governor told them that they were not to partake of the most holy food until a priest with Urim and Thummim should arise.

Totals of People and Gifts
The whole assembly together was 42,360, besides their male and female servants, of whom there were 7,337. And they had 245 singers, male and female. Their horses were 736, their mules 245, their camels 435, and their donkeys 6,720.

Now some of the heads of fathers' houses gave to the work. The governor gave to the treasury 1,000 daricsof gold, 50 basins, 30 priests' garments and 500 minas of silver. And some of the heads of fathers' houses gave into the treasury of the work 20,000 darics of gold and 2,200 minas of silver. And what the rest of the people gave was 20,000 darics of gold, 2,000 minas of silver, and 67 priests' garments.

So the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, some of the people, the temple servants, and all Israel, lived in their towns.

And when the seventh month had come, the people of Israel were in their towns.

Ezra Reads the Law
And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month. And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand, and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam on his left hand. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places. They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.

This Day Is Holy
And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved.” And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.

Feast of Booths Celebrated
On the second day the heads of fathers' houses of all the people, with the priests and the Levites, came together to Ezra the scribe in order to study the words of the Law. And they found it written in the Law that the Lord had commanded by Moses that the people of Israel should dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month, and that they should proclaim it and publish it in all their towns and in Jerusalem, “Go out to the hills and bring branches of olive, wild olive, myrtle, palm, and other leafy trees to make booths, as it is written.” So the people went out and brought them and made booths for themselves, each on his roof, and in their courts and in the courts of the house of God, and in the square at the Water Gate and in the square at the Gate of Ephraim. And all the assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and lived in the booths, for from the days of Jeshua the son of Nun to that day the people of Israel had not done so. And there was very great rejoicing. And day by day, from the first day to the last day, he read from the Book of the Law of God. They kept the feast seven days, and on the eighth day there was a solemn assembly, according to the rule.

The People of Israel Confess Their Sin
Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the people of Israel were assembled with fasting and in sackcloth, and with earth on their heads. And the Israelites separated themselves from all foreigners and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day; for another quarter of it they made confession and worshiped the Lord their God. On the stairs of the Levites stood Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani; and they cried with a loud voice to the Lord their God. Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, “Stand up and bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.

“You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. You are the Lord, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham. You found his heart faithful before you, and made with him the covenant to give to his offspring the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite. And you have kept your promise, for you are righteous.

“And you saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt and heard their cry at the Red Sea, and performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants and all the people of his land, for you knew that they acted arrogantly against our fathers. And you made a name for yourself, as it is to this day. And you divided the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on dry land, and you cast their pursuers into the depths, as a stone into mighty waters. By a pillar of cloud you led them in the day, and by a pillar of fire in the night to light for them the way in which they should go. You came down on Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven and gave them right rules and true laws, good statutes and commandments, and you made known to them your holy Sabbath and commanded them commandments and statutes and a law by Moses your servant. You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger and brought water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and you told them to go in to possess the land that you had sworn to give them.

“But they and our fathers acted presumptuously and stiffened their neck and did not obey your commandments. They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them. Even when they had made for themselves a golden calf and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,’ and had committed great blasphemies, you in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud to lead them in the way did not depart from them by day, nor the pillar of fire by night to light for them the way by which they should go. You gave your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst. Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell.

“And you gave them kingdoms and peoples and allotted to them every corner. So they took possession of the land of Sihon king of Heshbon and the land of Og king of Bashan. You multiplied their children as the stars of heaven, and you brought them into the land that you had told their fathers to enter and possess. So the descendants went in and possessed the land, and you subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gave them into their hand, with their kings and the peoples of the land, that they might do with them as they would. And they captured fortified cities and a rich land, and took possession of houses full of all good things, cisterns already hewn, vineyards, olive orchards and fruit trees in abundance. So they ate and were filled and became fat and delighted themselves in your great goodness.

“Nevertheless, they were disobedient and rebelled against you and cast your law behind their back and killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you, and they committed great blasphemies. Therefore you gave them into the hand of their enemies, who made them suffer. And in the time of their suffering they cried out to you and you heard them from heaven, and according to your great mercies you gave them saviors who saved them from the hand of their enemies. But after they had rest they did evil again before you, and you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they had dominion over them. Yet when they turned and cried to you, you heard from heaven, and many times you delivered them according to your mercies. And you warned them in order to turn them back to your law. Yet they acted presumptuously and did not obey your commandments, but sinned against your rules, which if a person does them, he shall live by them, and they turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck and would not obey. Many years you bore with them and warned them by your Spirit through your prophets. Yet they would not give ear. Therefore you gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands. Nevertheless, in your great mercies you did not make an end of them or forsake them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.

“Now, therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love, let not all the hardship seem little to you that has come upon us, upon our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers, and all your people, since the time of the kings of Assyria until this day. Yet you have been righteous in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly. Our kings, our princes, our priests, and our fathers have not kept your law or paid attention to your commandments and your warnings that you gave them. Even in their own kingdom, and amid your great goodness that you gave them, and in the large and rich land that you set before them, they did not serve you or turn from their wicked works. Behold, we are slaves this day; in the land that you gave to our fathers to enjoy its fruit and its good gifts, behold, we are slaves. And its rich yield goes to the kings whom you have set over us because of our sins. They rule over our bodies and over our livestock as they please, and we are in great distress.

“Because of all this we make a firm covenant in writing; on the sealed document are the names of our princes, our Levites, and our priests.

Reading for July 4th

2 Samuel 7-9 (Listen)

The Lord's Covenant with David
Now when the king lived in his house and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” And Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.”

But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling. In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’ Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’” In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.

David's Prayer of Gratitude
Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord God. You have spoken also of your servant's house for a great while to come, and this is instruction for mankind, O Lord God! And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord God! Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have brought about all this greatness, to make your servant know it. Therefore you are great, O Lord God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears. And who is like your people Israel, the one nation on earth whom God went to redeem to be his people, making himself a name and doing for them great and awesome things by driving out before your people, whom you redeemed for yourself from Egypt, a nation and its gods? And you established for yourself your people Israel to be your people forever. And you, O Lord, became their God. And now, O Lord God, confirm forever the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house, and do as you have spoken. And your name will be magnified forever, saying, ‘The Lord of hosts is God over Israel,’ and the house of your servant David will be established before you. For you, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have made this revelation to your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house.’ Therefore your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. And now, O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant. Now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you, O Lord God, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.”

David's Victories
After this David defeated the Philistines and subdued them, and David took Metheg-ammah out of the hand of the Philistines.

And he defeated Moab and he measured them with a line, making them lie down on the ground. Two lines he measured to be put to death, and one full line to be spared. And the Moabites became servants to David and brought tribute.

David also defeated Hadadezer the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, as he went to restore his power at the river Euphrates. And David took from him 1,700 horsemen, and 20,000 foot soldiers. And David hamstrung all the chariot horses but left enough for 100 chariots. And when the Syrians of Damascus came to help Hadadezer king of Zobah, David struck down 22,000 men of the Syrians. Then David put garrisons in Aram of Damascus, and the Syrians became servants to David and brought tribute. And the Lord gave victory to David wherever he went. And David took the shields of gold that were carried by the servants of Hadadezer and brought them to Jerusalem. And from Betah and from Berothai, cities of Hadadezer, King David took very much bronze.

When Toi king of Hamath heard that David had defeated the whole army of Hadadezer, Toi sent his son Joram to King David, to ask about his health and to bless him because he had fought against Hadadezer and defeated him, for Hadadezer had often been at war with Toi. And Joram brought with him articles of silver, of gold, and of bronze. These also King David dedicated to the Lord, together with the silver and gold that he dedicated from all the nations he subdued, from Edom, Moab, the Ammonites, the Philistines, Amalek, and from the spoil of Hadadezer the son of Rehob, king of Zobah.

And David made a name for himself when he returned from striking down 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. Then he put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom he put garrisons, and all the Edomites became David's servants. And the Lord gave victory to David wherever he went.

David's Officials
So David reigned over all Israel. And David administered justice and equity to all his people. Joab the son of Zeruiah was over the army, and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder, and Zadok the son of Ahitub and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar were priests, and Seraiah was secretary, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites, and David's sons were priests.

David's Kindness to Mephibosheth
And David said, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?” Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David. And the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” And he said, “I am your servant.” And the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?” Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.” The king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “He is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar.” Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar. And Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage. And David said, “Mephibosheth!” And he answered, “Behold, I am your servant.” And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.” And he paid homage and said, “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?”

Then the king called Ziba, Saul's servant, and said to him, “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master's grandson. And you and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him and shall bring in the produce, that your master's grandson may have bread to eat. But Mephibosheth your master's grandson shall always eat at my table.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king commands his servant, so will your servant do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David's7 table, like one of the king's sons. And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Mica. And all who lived in Ziba's house became Mephibosheth's servants. So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate always at the king's table. Now he was lame in both his feet.

Reading for July 2nd

2 Samuel 1-3 (Listen)

David Hears of Saul's Death
After the death of Saul, when David had returned from striking down the Amalekites, David remained two days in Ziklag. And on the third day, behold, a man came from Saul's camp, with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. And when he came to David, he fell to the ground and paid homage. David said to him, “Where do you come from?” And he said to him, “I have escaped from the camp of Israel.” And David said to him, “How did it go? Tell me.” And he answered, “The people fled from the battle, and also many of the people have fallen and are dead, and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead.” Then David said to the young man who told him, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?” And the young man who told him said, “By chance I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and there was Saul leaning on his spear, and behold, the chariots and the horsemen were close upon him. And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called to me. And I answered, ‘Here I am.’ And he said to me, ‘Who are you?’ I answered him, ‘I am an Amalekite.’ And he said to me, ‘Stand beside me and kill me, for anguish has seized me, and yet my life still lingers.’ So I stood beside him and killed him, because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown that was on his head and the armlet that was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord.”

Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and so did all the men who were with him. And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son and for the people of the Lord and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. And David said to the young man who told him, “Where do you come from?” And he answered, “I am the son of a sojourner, an Amalekite.” David said to him, “How is it you were not afraid to put out your hand to destroy the Lord's anointed?” Then David called one of the young men and said, “Go, execute him.” And he struck him down so that he died. And David said to him, “Your blood be on your head, for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, ‘I have killed the Lord's anointed.’”

David's Lament for Saul and Jonathan
And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and Jonathan his son, and he said it should be taught to the people of Judah; behold, it is written in the Book of Jashar. He said:

 

“Your glory, O Israel, is slain on your high places!

How the mighty have fallen!

Tell it not in Gath,

publish it not in the streets of Ashkelon,

lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice,

lest the daughters of the uncircumcised exult.

 

“You mountains of Gilboa,

let there be no dew or rain upon you,

nor fields of offerings!

For there the shield of the mighty was defiled,

the shield of Saul, not anointed with oil.

 

“From the blood of the slain,

from the fat of the mighty,

the bow of Jonathan turned not back,

and the sword of Saul returned not empty.

 

“Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely!

In life and in death they were not divided;

they were swifter than eagles;

they were stronger than lions.

 

“You daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,

who clothed you luxuriously in scarlet,

who put ornaments of gold on your apparel.

 

“How the mighty have fallen

in the midst of the battle!

 

“Jonathan lies slain on your high places.

I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan;

very pleasant have you been to me;

your love to me was extraordinary,

surpassing the love of women.

 

“How the mighty have fallen,

and the weapons of war perished!”

 

David Anointed King of Judah
After this David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?” And the Lord said to him, “Go up.” David said, “To which shall I go up?” And he said, “To Hebron.” So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. And David brought up his men who were with him, everyone with his household, and they lived in the towns of Hebron. And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.

When they told David, “It was the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul,” David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead and said to them, “May you be blessed by the Lord, because you showed this loyalty to Saul your lord and buried him. Now may the Lord show steadfast love and faithfulness to you. And I will do good to you because you have done this thing. Now therefore let your hands be strong, and be valiant, for Saul your lord is dead, and the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.”

Ish-bosheth Made King of Israel
But Abner the son of Ner, commander of Saul's army, took Ish-bosheth the son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim, and he made him king over Gilead and the Ashurites and Jezreel and Ephraim and Benjamin and all Israel. Ish-bosheth, Saul's son, was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David. And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.

The Battle of Gibeon
Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. And Joab the son of Zeruiah and the servants of David went out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. And they sat down, the one on the one side of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool. And Abner said to Joab, “Let the young men arise and compete before us.” And Joab said, “Let them arise.” Then they arose and passed over by number, twelve for Benjamin and Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David. And each caught his opponent by the head and thrust his sword in his opponent's side, so they fell down together. Therefore that place was called Helkath-hazzurim, which is at Gibeon. And the battle was very fierce that day. And Abner and the men of Israel were beaten before the servants of David.

And the three sons of Zeruiah were there, Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. Now Asahel was as swift of foot as a wild gazelle. And Asahel pursued Abner, and as he went, he turned neither to the right hand nor to the left from following Abner. Then Abner looked behind him and said, “Is it you, Asahel?” And he answered, “It is I.” Abner said to him, “Turn aside to your right hand or to your left, and seize one of the young men and take his spoil.” But Asahel would not turn aside from following him. And Abner said again to Asahel, “Turn aside from following me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How then could I lift up my face to your brother Joab?” But he refused to turn aside. Therefore Abner struck him in the stomach with the butt of his spear, so that the spear came out at his back. And he fell there and died where he was. And all who came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died, stood still.

But Joab and Abishai pursued Abner. And as the sun was going down they came to the hill of Ammah, which lies before Giah on the way to the wilderness of Gibeon. And the people of Benjamin gathered themselves together behind Abner and became one group and took their stand on the top of a hill. Then Abner called to Joab, “Shall the sword devour forever? Do you not know that the end will be bitter? How long will it be before you tell your people to turn from the pursuit of their brothers?” And Joab said, “As God lives, if you had not spoken, surely the men would not have given up the pursuit of their brothers until the morning.” So Joab blew the trumpet, and all the men stopped and pursued Israel no more, nor did they fight anymore.

And Abner and his men went all that night through the Arabah. They crossed the Jordan, and marching the whole morning, they came to Mahanaim. Joab returned from the pursuit of Abner. And when he had gathered all the people together, there were missing from David's servants nineteen men besides Asahel. But the servants of David had struck down of Benjamin 360 of Abner's men. And they took up Asahel and buried him in the tomb of his father, which was at Bethlehem. And Joab and his men marched all night, and the day broke upon them at Hebron.

Abner Joins David
There was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. And David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul became weaker and weaker.

And sons were born to David at Hebron: his firstborn was Amnon, of Ahinoam of Jezreel; and his second, Chileab, of Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; and the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; and the sixth, Ithream, of Eglah, David's wife. These were born to David in Hebron.

While there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner was making himself strong in the house of Saul. Now Saul had a concubine whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah. And Ish-bosheth said to Abner, “Why have you gone in to my father's concubine?” Then Abner was very angry over the words of Ish-bosheth and said, “Am I a dog's head of Judah? To this day I keep showing steadfast love to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers, and to his friends, and have not given you into the hand of David. And yet you charge me today with a fault concerning a woman. God do so to Abner and more also, if I do not accomplish for David what the Lord has sworn to him, to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan to Beersheba.” And Ish-bosheth could not answer Abner another word, because he feared him.

And Abner sent messengers to David on his behalf, saying, “To whom does the land belong? Make your covenant with me, and behold, my hand shall be with you to bring over all Israel to you.” And he said, “Good; I will make a covenant with you. But one thing I require of you; that is, you shall not see my face unless you first bring Michal, Saul's daughter, when you come to see my face.” Then David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth, Saul's son, saying, “Give me my wife Michal, for whom I paid the bridal price of a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.” And Ish-bosheth sent and took her from her husband Paltiel the son of Laish. But her husband went with her, weeping after her all the way to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, “Go, return.” And he returned.

And Abner conferred with the elders of Israel, saying, “For some time past you have been seeking David as king over you. Now then bring it about, for the Lord has promised David, saying, ‘By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines, and from the hand of all their enemies.’” Abner also spoke to Benjamin. And then Abner went to tell David at Hebron all that Israel and the whole house of Benjamin thought good to do.

When Abner came with twenty men to David at Hebron, David made a feast for Abner and the men who were with him. And Abner said to David, “I will arise and go and will gather all Israel to my lord the king, that they may make a covenant with you, and that you may reign over all that your heart desires.” So David sent Abner away, and he went in peace.

Just then the servants of David arrived with Joab from a raid, bringing much spoil with them. But Abner was not with David at Hebron, for he had sent him away, and he had gone in peace. When Joab and all the army that was with him came, it was told Joab, “Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he has let him go, and he has gone in peace.” Then Joab went to the king and said, “What have you done? Behold, Abner came to you. Why is it that you have sent him away, so that he is gone? You know that Abner the son of Ner came to deceive you and to know your going out and your coming in, and to know all that you are doing.”

Joab Murders Abner
When Joab came out from David's presence, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the cistern of Sirah. But David did not know about it. And when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into the midst of the gate to speak with him privately, and there he struck him in the stomach, so that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother. Afterward, when David heard of it, he said, “I and my kingdom are forever guiltless before the Lord for the blood of Abner the son of Ner. May it fall upon the head of Joab and upon all his father's house, and may the house of Joab never be without one who has a discharge or who is leprous or who holds a spindle or who falls by the sword or who lacks bread!” So Joab and Abishai his brother killed Abner, because he had put their brother Asahel to death in the battle at Gibeon.

David Mourns Abner
Then David said to Joab and to all the people who were with him, “Tear your clothes and put on sackcloth and mourn before Abner.” And King David followed the bier. They buried Abner at Hebron. And the king lifted up his voice and wept at the grave of Abner, and all the people wept. And the king lamented for Abner, saying,

 

“Should Abner die as a fool dies?

Your hands were not bound;

your feet were not fettered;

as one falls before the wicked

you have fallen.”

 

And all the people wept again over him. Then all the people came to persuade David to eat bread while it was yet day. But David swore, saying, “God do so to me and more also, if I taste bread or anything else till the sun goes down!” And all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them, as everything that the king did pleased all the people. So all the people and all Israel understood that day that it had not been the king's will to put to death Abner the son of Ner. And the king said to his servants, “Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? And I was gentle today, though anointed king. These men, the sons of Zeruiah, are more severe than I. The Lord repay the evildoer according to his wickedness!”

Reading for April 14th

2 Corinthians 8-10 (Listen)

Encouragement to Give Generously
We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.

I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”

Commendation of Titus
But thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same earnest care I have for you. For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest he is going to you of his own accord. With him we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel. And not only that, but he has been appointed by the churches to travel with us as we carry out this act of grace that is being ministered by us, for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our good will. We take this course so that no one should blame us about this generous gift that is being administered by us, for we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord's sight but also in the sight of man. And with them we are sending our brother whom we have often tested and found earnest in many matters, but who is now more earnest than ever because of his great confidence in you. As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker for your benefit. And as for our brothers, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. So give proof before the churches of your love and of our boasting about you to these men.

The Collection for Christians in Jerusalem
Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints, for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them. But I am sending the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be. Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—for being so confident. So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction.

The Cheerful Giver
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written,

“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;

his righteousness endures forever.”

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

Paul Defends His Ministry
I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!—I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

Look at what is before your eyes. If anyone is confident that he is Christ's, let him remind himself that just as he is Christ's, so also are we. For even if I boast a little too much of our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be ashamed. I do not want to appear to be frightening you with my letters. For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.” Let such a person understand that what we say by letter when absent, we do when present. Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.

But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you. For we are not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach you. For we were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of Christ. We do not boast beyond limit in the labors of others. But our hope is that as your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged, so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another's area of influence. “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.

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Psalm 104 (Listen)

O Lord My God, You Are Very Great

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

O Lord my God, you are very great!

You are clothed with splendor and majesty,

covering yourself with light as with a garment,

stretching out the heavens like a tent.

He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters;

he makes the clouds his chariot;

he rides on the wings of the wind;

he makes his messengers winds,

his ministers a flaming fire.

 

He set the earth on its foundations,

so that it should never be moved.

You covered it with the deep as with a garment;

the waters stood above the mountains.

At your rebuke they fled;

at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.

The mountains rose, the valleys sank down

to the place that you appointed for them.

You set a boundary that they may not pass,

so that they might not again cover the earth.

 

You make springs gush forth in the valleys;

they flow between the hills;

they give drink to every beast of the field;

the wild donkeys quench their thirst.

Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;

they sing among the branches.

From your lofty abode you water the mountains;

the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.

 

You cause the grass to grow for the livestock

and plants for man to cultivate,

that he may bring forth food from the earth

and wine to gladden the heart of man,

oil to make his face shine

and bread to strengthen man's heart.

 

The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly,

the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.

In them the birds build their nests;

the stork has her home in the fir trees.

The high mountains are for the wild goats;

the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers.

 

He made the moon to mark the seasons;

the sun knows its time for setting.

You make darkness, and it is night,

when all the beasts of the forest creep about.

The young lions roar for their prey,

seeking their food from God.

When the sun rises, they steal away

and lie down in their dens.

Man goes out to his work

and to his labor until the evening.

 

O Lord, how manifold are your works!

In wisdom have you made them all;

the earth is full of your creatures.

Here is the sea, great and wide,

which teems with creatures innumerable,

living things both small and great.

There go the ships,

and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it.

 

These all look to you,

to give them their food in due season.

When you give it to them, they gather it up;

when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.

When you hide your face, they are dismayed;

when you take away their breath, they die

and return to their dust.

When you send forth your Spirit, they are created,

and you renew the face of the ground.

 

May the glory of the Lord endure forever;

may the Lord rejoice in his works,

who looks on the earth and it trembles,

who touches the mountains and they smoke!

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;

I will sing praise to my God while I have being.

May my meditation be pleasing to him,

for I rejoice in the Lord.

Let sinners be consumed from the earth,

and let the wicked be no more!

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Praise the Lord!

Reading for April 13th

2 Corinthians 5-7 (Listen)

Our Heavenly Dwelling
For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

The Ministry of Reconciliation
Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says,

“In a favorable time I listened to you,

and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”

Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.

We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also.

The Temple of the Living God
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,

and I will be their God,

and they shall be my people.

Therefore go out from their midst,

and be separate from them, says the Lord,

and touch no unclean thing;

then I will welcome you,

and I will be a father to you,

and you shall be sons and daughters to me,

says the Lord Almighty.”

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

Paul's Joy
Make room in your hearts for us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.

For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter. So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the one who did the wrong, nor for the sake of the one who suffered the wrong, but in order that your earnestness for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God. Therefore we are comforted.

And besides our own comfort, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. For whatever boasts I made to him about you, I was not put to shame. But just as everything we said to you was true, so also our boasting before Titus has proved true. And his affection for you is even greater, as he remembers the obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling. I rejoice, because I have complete confidence in you.

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Psalm 103 (Listen)

Bless the Lord, O My Soul

Of David.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

and all that is within me,

bless his holy name!

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

and forget not all his benefits,

who forgives all your iniquity,

who heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit,

who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

who satisfies you with good

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

 

The Lord works righteousness

and justice for all who are oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,

his acts to the people of Israel.

The Lord is merciful and gracious,

slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

He will not always chide,

nor will he keep his anger forever.

He does not deal with us according to our sins,

nor repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;

as far as the east is from the west,

so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

As a father shows compassion to his children,

so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

For he knows our frame;

he remembers that we are dust.

 

As for man, his days are like grass;

he flourishes like a flower of the field;

for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,

and its place knows it no more.

But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,

and his righteousness to children's children,

to those who keep his covenant

and remember to do his commandments.

The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,

and his kingdom rules over all.

 

Bless the Lord, O you his angels,

you mighty ones who do his word,

obeying the voice of his word!

Bless the Lord, all his hosts,

his ministers, who do his will!

Bless the Lord, all his works,

in all places of his dominion.

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Reading for March 5th

Numbers 28-30 (Listen)

 Daily Offerings
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Command the people of Israel and say to them, ‘My offering, my food for my food offerings, my pleasing aroma, you shall be careful to offer to me at its appointed time.’ And you shall say to them, This is the food offering that you shall offer to the Lord: two male lambs a year old without blemish, day by day, as a regular offering. The one lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight; also a tenth of an ephah of fine flour for a grain offering, mixed with a quarter of a hin of beaten oil. It is a regular burnt offering, which was ordained at Mount Sinai for a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the Lord. Its drink offering shall be a quarter of a hin for each lamb. In the Holy Place you shall pour out a drink offering of strong drink to the Lord. The other lamb you shall offer at twilight. Like the grain offering of the morning, and like its drink offering, you shall offer it as a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord.

Sabbath Offerings
“On the Sabbath day, two male lambs a year old without blemish, and two tenths of an ephah of fine flour for a grain offering, mixed with oil, and its drink offering: this is the burnt offering of every Sabbath, besides the regular burnt offering and its drink offering.

Monthly Offerings
“At the beginnings of your months, you shall offer a burnt offering to the Lord: two bulls from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old without blemish; also three tenths of an ephah of fine flour for a grain offering, mixed with oil, for each bull, and two tenths of fine flour for a grain offering, mixed with oil, for the one ram; and a tenth of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering for every lamb; for a burnt offering with a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the Lord. Their drink offerings shall be half a hin of wine for a bull, a third of a hin for a ram, and a quarter of a hin for a lamb. This is the burnt offering of each month throughout the months of the year. Also one male goat for a sin offering to the Lord; it shall be offered besides the regular burnt offering and its drink offering.

Passover Offerings
“On the fourteenth day of the first month is the Lord's Passover, and on the fifteenth day of this month is a feast. Seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten. On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, but offer a food offering, a burnt offering to the Lord: two bulls from the herd, one ram, and seven male lambs a year old; see that they are without blemish; also their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil; three tenths of an ephah shall you offer for a bull, and two tenths for a ram; a tenth shall you offer for each of the seven lambs; also one male goat for a sin offering, to make atonement for you. You shall offer these besides the burnt offering of the morning, which is for a regular burnt offering. In the same way you shall offer daily, for seven days, the food of a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord. It shall be offered besides the regular burnt offering and its drink offering. And on the seventh day you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work.

Offerings for the Feast of Weeks
“On the day of the firstfruits, when you offer a grain offering of new grain to the Lord at your Feast of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, but offer a burnt offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord: two bulls from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old; also their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for each bull, two tenths for one ram, a tenth for each of the seven lambs; with one male goat, to make atonement for you. Besides the regular burnt offering and its grain offering, you shall offer them and their drink offering. See that they are without blemish.

Offerings for the Feast of Trumpets
“On the first day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work. It is a day for you to blow the trumpets, and you shall offer a burnt offering, for a pleasing aroma to the Lord: one bull from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old without blemish; also their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for the bull, two tenths for the ram, and one tenth for each of the seven lambs; with one male goat for a sin offering, to make atonement for you; besides the burnt offering of the new moon, and its grain offering, and the regular burnt offering and its grain offering, and their drink offering, according to the rule for them, for a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the Lord.

Offerings for the Day of Atonement
“On the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation and afflict yourselves. You shall do no work, but you shall offer a burnt offering to the Lord, a pleasing aroma: one bull from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old: see that they are without blemish. And their grain offering shall be of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for the bull, two tenths for the one ram, a tenth for each of the seven lambs: also one male goat for a sin offering, besides the sin offering of atonement, and the regular burnt offering and its grain offering, and their drink offerings.

Offerings for the Feast of Booths
“On the fifteenth day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, and you shall keep a feast to the Lord seven days. And you shall offer a burnt offering, a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord, thirteen bulls from the herd, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old; they shall be without blemish; and their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for each of the thirteen bulls, two tenths for each of the two rams, and a tenth for each of the fourteen lambs; also one male goat for a sin offering, besides the regular burnt offering, its grain offering and its drink offering.

“On the second day twelve bulls from the herd, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish, with the grain offering and the drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, in the prescribed quantities; also one male goat for a sin offering, besides the regular burnt offering and its grain offering, and their drink offerings.

“On the third day eleven bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish, with the grain offering and the drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, in the prescribed quantities; also one male goat for a sin offering, besides the regular burnt offering and its grain offering and its drink offering.

“On the fourth day ten bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish, with the grain offering and the drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, in the prescribed quantities; also one male goat for a sin offering, besides the regular burnt offering, its grain offering and its drink offering.

“On the fifth day nine bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish, with the grain offering and the drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, in the prescribed quantities; also one male goat for a sin offering; besides the regular burnt offering and its grain offering and its drink offering.

“On the sixth day eight bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish, with the grain offering and the drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, in the prescribed quantities; also one male goat for a sin offering; besides the regular burnt offering, its grain offering, and its drink offerings.

“On the seventh day seven bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish, with the grain offering and the drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, in the prescribed quantities; also one male goat for a sin offering; besides the regular burnt offering, its grain offering, and its drink offering.

“On the eighth day you shall have a solemn assembly. You shall not do any ordinary work, but you shall offer a burnt offering, a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord: one bull, one ram, seven male lambs a year old without blemish, and the grain offering and the drink offerings for the bull, for the ram, and for the lambs, in the prescribed quantities; also one male goat for a sin offering; besides the regular burnt offering and its grain offering and its drink offering.

“These you shall offer to the Lord at your appointed feasts, in addition to your vow offerings and your freewill offerings, for your burnt offerings, and for your grain offerings, and for your drink offerings, and for your peace offerings.”

So Moses told the people of Israel everything just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Men and Vows
Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes of the people of Israel, saying, “This is what the Lord has commanded. If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.

Women and Vows
“If a woman vows a vow to the Lord and binds herself by a pledge, while within her father's house in her youth, and her father hears of her vow and of her pledge by which she has bound herself and says nothing to her, then all her vows shall stand, and every pledge by which she has bound herself shall stand. But if her father opposes her on the day that he hears of it, no vow of hers, no pledge by which she has bound herself shall stand. And the Lord will forgive her, because her father opposed her.

“If she marries a husband, while under her vows or any thoughtless utterance of her lips by which she has bound herself, and her husband hears of it and says nothing to her on the day that he hears, then her vows shall stand, and her pledges by which she has bound herself shall stand. But if, on the day that her husband comes to hear of it, he opposes her, then he makes void her vow that was on her, and the thoughtless utterance of her lips by which she bound herself. And the Lord will forgive her. (But any vow of a widow or of a divorced woman, anything by which she has bound herself, shall stand against her.) And if she vowed in her husband's house or bound herself by a pledge with an oath, and her husband heard of it and said nothing to her and did not oppose her, then all her vows shall stand, and every pledge by which she bound herself shall stand. But if her husband makes them null and void on the day that he hears them, then whatever proceeds out of her lips concerning her vows or concerning her pledge of herself shall not stand. Her husband has made them void, and the Lord will forgive her. Any vow and any binding oath to afflict herself, her husband may establish, or her husband may make void. But if her husband says nothing to her from day to day, then he establishes all her vows or all her pledges that are upon her. He has established them, because he said nothing to her on the day that he heard of them. But if he makes them null and void after he has heard of them, then he shall bear her iniquity.”

These are the statutes that the Lord commanded Moses about a man and his wife and about a father and his daughter while she is in her youth within her father's house.

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Psalm 65 (Listen)

O God of Our Salvation

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. A Song.

Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion,

and to you shall vows be performed.

O you who hear prayer,

to you shall all flesh come.

When iniquities prevail against me,

you atone for our transgressions.

Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,

to dwell in your courts!

We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,

the holiness of your temple!

By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,

O God of our salvation,

the hope of all the ends of the earth

and of the farthest seas;

the one who by his strength established the mountains,

being girded with might;

who stills the roaring of the seas,

the roaring of their waves,

the tumult of the peoples,

so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.

You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.

You visit the earth and water it;

you greatly enrich it;

the river of God is full of water;

you provide their grain,

for so you have prepared it.

You water its furrows abundantly,

settling its ridges,

softening it with showers,

and blessing its growth.

You crown the year with your bounty;

your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.

The pastures of the wilderness overflow,

the hills gird themselves with joy,

the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,

the valleys deck themselves with grain,

they shout and sing together for joy.

Reading for January 14th

Mark 14 (Listen)

The Plot to Kill Jesus
It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him, for they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people.”

Jesus Anointed at Bethany
And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,1 as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

Judas to Betray Jesus
Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money. And he sought an opportunity to betray him.

The Passover with the Disciples
And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

And when it was evening, he came with the twelve. And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

Institution of the Lord's Supper
And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of thecovenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

Jesus Foretells Peter's Denial
And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane
And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him.And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus
And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.” And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” And he kissed him. And they laid hands on him and seized him. But one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.” And they all left him and fled.

A Young Man Flees
And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him, but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.

Jesus Before the Council
And they led Jesus to the high priest. And all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together. And Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he was sitting with the guards and warming himself at the fire. Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’” Yet even about this their testimony did not agree. And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death. And some began to spit on him and to cover his face and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards received him with blows.

Peter Denies Jesus
And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came, and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus.” But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you mean.” And he went out into the gateway and the rooster crowed. And the servant girl saw him and began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.” But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.” And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

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Psalm 14 (Listen)

The Fool Says, There Is No God

To the choirmaster. Of David.

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,

there is none who does good.

 

The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man,

to see if there are any who understand,1

who seek after God.

 

They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;

there is none who does good,

not even one.

 

Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers

who eat up my people as they eat bread

and do not call upon the Lord?

 

There they are in great terror,

for God is with the generation of the righteous.

You would shame the plans of the poor,

but2 the Lord is his refuge.

 

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!

When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,

let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

Reading for January 13th

Mark 13 (Listen)

Jesus Foretells Destruction of the Temple
And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

Signs of the Close of the Age
And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.

“But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. And you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

The Abomination of Desolation
“But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter his house, to take anything out, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that it may not happen in winter. For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be. And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.

The Coming of the Son of Man
“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

The Lesson of the Fig Tree
“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

No One Knows That Day or Hour
“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake.1 For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants2 in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”

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Psalm 13 (Listen)

How Long, O Lord?

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?

How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I take counsel in my soul

and have sorrow in my heart all the day?

How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

 

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;

light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,

lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”

lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

 

But I have trusted in your steadfast love;

my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

I will sing to the Lord,

because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Reading for January 12th

Mark 12 (Listen)


>Click Here for Mark 12 Bible Study Notes 

The Parable of the Tenants

And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country. When the season came, he sent a servant1 to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this Scripture:

 “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

And they were seeking to arrest him but feared the people, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them. So they left him and went away. 

Paying Taxes to Caesar
And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone's opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar's.” Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” And they marveled at him.

The Sadducees Ask About the Resurrection
And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man5 must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring. And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise. And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died. In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.”

Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.”

The Great Commandment
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Whose Son Is the Christ?
And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared, 

“‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.”’

David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.

Beware of the Scribes
And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

The Widow's Offering
And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.6 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

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Psalm 12 (Listen)

The Faithful Have Vanished

To the choirmaster: according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David.

Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone;

for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.

Everyone utters lies to his neighbor;

with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

 

May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,

the tongue that makes great boasts,

those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail,

our lips are with us; who is master over us?”

 

“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan,

I will now arise,” says the Lord;

“I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”

The words of the Lord are pure words,

like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,

purified seven times.

 

You, O Lord, will keep them;

you will guard us from this generation forever.

On every side the wicked prowl,

as vileness is exalted among the children of man.

Reading for January 11th

Mark 11 (Listen)

>Click for Mark 11 Bible Study Notes

The Triumphal Entry
Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”

And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

Jesus Curses the Fig Tree
On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.

Jesus Cleanses the Temple
And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching. And when evening came they went out of the city.

The Lesson from the Withered Fig Tree
As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

The Authority of Jesus Challenged
And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, and they said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?” Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.” And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But shall we say, ‘From man’?”—they were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was a prophet. So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

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Psalm 11 (Listen)

The Lord Is in His Holy Temple

To the choirmaster. Of David.

In the Lord I take refuge;

how can you say to my soul,

“Flee like a bird to your mountain,

for behold, the wicked bend the bow;

they have fitted their arrow to the string

to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;

if the foundations are destroyed,

what can the righteous do?”

 

The Lord is in his holy temple;

the Lord's throne is in heaven;

his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.

The Lord tests the righteous,

but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.

Let him rain coals on the wicked;

fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.

For the Lord is righteous;

he loves righteous deeds;

the upright shall behold his face.

Reading for January 10th

Mark 10

Mark 10 (Listen)

Teaching About Divorce
And he left there and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to him again. And again, as was his custom, he taught them.

And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife,1 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

Let the Children Come to Me
And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

The Rich Young Man
And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is2 to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him,3 “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time
And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”

The Request of James and John
And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,4 and whoever would be first among you must be slave5 of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus
And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.

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Psalm 10 (Listen)

Why Do You Hide Yourself?

Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?

Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;

let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.

For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,

and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.

In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;

all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”

His ways prosper at all times;

your judgments are on high, out of his sight;

as for all his foes, he puffs at them.

He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved;

throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”

His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;

under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.

He sits in ambush in the villages;

in hiding places he murders the innocent.

His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;

he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket;

he lurks that he may seize the poor;

he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.

The helpless are crushed, sink down,

and fall by his might.

He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,

he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;

forget not the afflicted.

Why does the wicked renounce God

and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?

But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation,

that you may take it into your hands;

to you the helpless commits himself;

you have been the helper of the fatherless.

Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;

call his wickedness to account till you find none.

The Lord is king forever and ever;

the nations perish from his land.

O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;

you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear

to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,

so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

Reading for January 9th

Mark 9 (Listen)

And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”

The Transfiguration
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.

And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead might mean. And they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” And he said to them,“Elijah does come first to restore all things. And how is it written of the Son of Man that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.”

Jesus Heals a Boy with an Unclean Spirit
And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”

Jesus Again Foretells Death, Resurrection
They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.

Who Is the Greatest?
And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”

Anyone Not Against Us Is for Us
John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. For the one who is not against us is for us. For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.

Temptations to Sin
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell.And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”

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Psalm 9 (Listen)

I Will Recount Your Wonderful Deeds

To the choirmaster: according to Muth-labben. A Psalm of David.

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;

I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.

I will be glad and exult in you;

I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

When my enemies turn back,

they stumble and perish before your presence.

For you have maintained my just cause;

you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment.

You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish;

you have blotted out their name forever and ever.

The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins;

their cities you rooted out;

the very memory of them has perished.

But the Lord sits enthroned forever;

he has established his throne for justice,

and he judges the world with righteousness;

he judges the peoples with uprightness.

The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,

a stronghold in times of trouble.

And those who know your name put their trust in you,

for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

Sing praises to the Lord, who sits enthroned in Zion!

Tell among the peoples his deeds!

For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;

he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

Be gracious to me, O Lord!

See my affliction from those who hate me,

O you who lift me up from the gates of death,

that I may recount all your praises,

that in the gates of the daughter of Zion

I may rejoice in your salvation.

The nations have sunk in the pit that they made;

in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.

The Lord has made himself known; he has executed judgment;

the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion.4 Selah

The wicked shall return to Sheol,

all the nations that forget God.

For the needy shall not always be forgotten,

and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.

Arise, O Lord! Let not man prevail;

let the nations be judged before you!

Put them in fear, O Lord!

Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah