Daily Lectionary Readings

for October 04, 2017

Timeless_Bookssm

Psalm 101

Of David. A psalm.

101 Oh, let me sing about faithful love and justice!
    I want to sing my praises to you, Lord!
I want to study the way of integrity—
    how long before it gets here?
        I will walk with a heart of integrity
        in my own house.
I won’t set my eyes on anything worthless.
    I hate wrongdoing;
    none of that will stick to me.
A corrupt heart will be far from me.
    I won’t be familiar with evil.
I will destroy anyone
    who secretly tells lies about a neighbor.
I can’t stomach anyone
    who has proud eyes or an arrogant heart.
My eyes focus on those
    who are faithful in the land,
    to have them close to me.
The person who walks without blame
    will work for me.
But the person who acts deceitfully
    won’t stay in my house.
The person who tells lies
    won’t last for long before me.
Every morning I will destroy
    all those who are wicked in the land
        in order to eliminate all evildoers
        from the Lord’s city.

Psalm 109:1-4

To the leader. Of David. A psalm.

109 God of my praise, don’t keep quiet,
    because the mouths of wicked liars
    have opened up against me,
    talking about me with lying tongues.
Hateful words surround me;
    they attack me for no reason.
Instead of returning my love, they accuse me—
    but I am at prayer.

Psalm 5-19

For the music leader. For the flutes. A psalm of David.

Hear my words, Lord!
    Consider my groans!
    Pay attention to the sound of my cries, my king and my God,
        because I am praying to you!
Lord, in the morning you hear my voice.
    In the morning I lay it all out before you.
    Then I wait expectantly.
Because you aren’t a God
    who enjoys wickedness;
    evil doesn’t live with you.
Arrogant people won’t last long
in your sight;
    you hate all evildoers;
    you destroy liars.
    The Lord despises people who are violent and dishonest.

But me? I will enter your house
    because of your abundant, faithful love;
    I will bow down at your holy temple,
        honoring you.
Lord, because of many enemies,
    please lead me in your righteousness.
    Make your way clear,
        right in front of me.
Because there’s no truth in my enemies’ mouths,
    all they have inside them is destruction.
    Their throats are open graves;
    their tongues slick with talk.
10 Condemn them, God!
    Let them fail by their own plans.
Throw them out for their many sins
    because they’ve rebelled against you.
11 But let all who take refuge in you celebrate.
    Let them sing out loud forever!
Protect them
    so that all who love your name
    can rejoice in you.
12 Because you, Lord, bless the righteous.
    You cover them with favor like a shield.

For the music leader. On stringed instruments. According to the eighth. A psalm of David.

Please, Lord,
    don’t punish me when you are angry;
    don’t discipline me when you are furious.
Have mercy on me, Lord,
    because I’m frail.
Heal me, Lord,
    because my bones are shaking in terror!
My whole body is completely terrified!
        But you, Lord! How long will this last?
Come back to me, Lord! Deliver me!
    Save me for the sake of your faithful love!
No one is going to praise you
    when they are dead.
Who gives you thanks
    from the grave?

I’m worn out from groaning.
    Every night, I drench my bed with tears;
    I soak my couch all the way through.
My vision fails because of my grief;
    it’s weak because of all my distress.
Get away from me, all you evildoers,
    because the Lord has heard me crying!
The Lord has listened to my request.
    The Lord accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies will be ashamed
    and completely terrified;
    they will be defeated
    and ashamed instantly.

A shiggayon of David, which he sang to the Lord about Cush, a Benjaminite.

I take refuge in you, Lord, my God.
    Save me from all who chase me!
    Rescue me!
Otherwise, they will rip me apart,
    dragging me off with no chance of rescue.
Lord, my God, if I have done this—
        if my hands have done anything wrong,
        if I have repaid a friend with evil
        or oppressed a foe for no reason—
    then let my enemy
        not only chase but catch me,
        trampling my life into the ground,
        laying my reputation in the dirt. Selah
Get up, Lord; get angry!
    Stand up against the fury of my foes!
Wake up, my God;
    you command that justice be done!
Let the assembled peoples surround you.
    Rule them from on high!
The Lord will judge the peoples.
    Establish justice for me, Lord,
    according to my righteousness
    and according to my integrity.
Please let the evil of the wicked be over,
    but set the righteous firmly in place
    because you, the righteous God,
    are the one who examines hearts and minds.

10 God is my shield;
    he saves those whose heart is right.
11 God is a righteous judge,
    a God who is angry at evil every single day.
12 If someone doesn’t change their ways,
    God will sharpen his sword,
    will bend his bow,
    will string an arrow.
13 God has deadly weapons in store
    for those who won’t change;
    he gets his flaming arrows ready!

14 But look how the wicked hatch evil,
    conceive trouble, give birth to lies!
15 They make a pit, dig it all out,
    and then fall right into the hole that they’ve made!
16 The trouble they cause
        will come back on their own heads;
    the violence they commit
        will come down on their own skulls.
17 But I will thank the Lord
        for his righteousness;
    I will sing praises
        to the name of the Lord Most High.

For the music leader. According to the Gittith. A psalm of David.

Lord, our Lord, how majestic
    is your name throughout the earth!
    You made your glory higher than heaven!
From the mouths of nursing babies
    you have laid a strong foundation
    because of your foes,
    in order to stop vengeful enemies.
When I look up at your skies,
    at what your fingers made—
    the moon and the stars
    that you set firmly in place—
        what are human beings
            that you think about them;
        what are human beings
            that you pay attention to them?
You’ve made them only slightly less than divine,
    crowning them with glory and grandeur.
You’ve let them rule over your handiwork,
    putting everything under their feet—
        all sheep and all cattle,
        the wild animals too,
        the birds in the sky,
        the fish of the ocean,
        everything that travels the pathways of the sea.
Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name throughout the earth!

For the music leader. According to Muth-labben. A psalm of David.

I will thank you, Lord, with all my heart;
    I will talk about all your wonderful acts.
I will celebrate and rejoice in you;
    I will sing praises to your name, Most High.

When my enemies turn and retreat,
    they fall down and die right in front of you
    because you have established justice
        for me and my claim,
    because you rule from the throne,
        establishing justice rightly.

You’ve denounced the nations,
    destroyed the wicked.
    You’ve erased their names for all time.
Every enemy is wiped out,
    like something ruined forever.
You’ve torn down their cities—
    even the memory of them is dead.

But the Lord rules forever!
    He assumes his throne
    for the sake of justice.
He will establish justice in the world rightly;
    he will judge all people fairly.
The Lord is a safe place for the oppressed—
    a safe place in difficult times.
10 Those who know your name trust you
    because you have not abandoned
    any who seek you, Lord.

11 Sing praises to the Lord, who lives in Zion!
    Proclaim his mighty acts among all people!
12 Because the one who avenges bloodshed
    remembers those who suffer;
    the Lord hasn’t forgotten their cries for help.

13 Have mercy on me, Lord!
    Just look how I suffer
    because of those who hate me.
But you are the one who brings me back
    from the very gates of death
14         so I can declare all your praises,
        so I can rejoice in your salvation
        in the gates of Daughter Zion.

15 The nations have fallen
    into the hole they themselves made!
    Their feet are caught
        in the very net they themselves hid!
16 The Lord is famous for the justice he has done;
    it’s his own doing that the wicked are trapped. Higgayon. Selah

17 Let the wicked go straight to the grave,
    the same for every nation that forgets God.

18 Because the poor won’t be forgotten forever,
    the hope of those who suffer won’t be lost for all time.

19 Get up, Lord! Don’t let people prevail!
    Let the nations be judged before you.
20 Strike them with fear, Lord.
    Let the nations know they are only human. Selah

10 Why do you stand so far away, Lord,
    hiding yourself in troubling times?
Meanwhile, the wicked are proudly
    in hot pursuit of those who suffer.
Let them get caught
    in the very same schemes they’ve thought up!

The wicked brag about their body’s cravings;
    the greedy reject the Lord, cursing.
At the peak of their wrath,
    the wicked don’t seek God:
    There’s no God—
    that’s what they are always thinking.
Their ways are always twisted.
        Your rules are too lofty for them.
    They snort at all their foes.
    They think to themselves,
        We’ll never stumble.
        We’ll never encounter any resistance.
Their mouths are filled
        with curses, dishonesty, violence.
    Under their tongues lie
        troublemaking and wrongdoing.
They wait in a place perfect for ambush;
    from their hiding places
    they kill innocent people;
    their eyes spot those who are helpless.
They lie in ambush
    in secret places,
    like a lion in its lair.
They lie in ambush
    so they can seize those who suffer!
They seize the poor, all right,
    dragging them off in their nets.
10 Their helpless victims are crushed;
    they collapse, falling prey to the strength of the wicked.
11 The wicked think to themselves:
    God has forgotten.
    God has hidden his face.
    God never sees anything!

12 Get up, Lord!
    Get your fist ready, God!
    Don’t forget the ones who suffer!
13 Why do the wicked reject God?
    Why do they think to themselves
        that you won’t find out?
14 But you do see!
    You do see troublemaking and grief,
    and you do something about it!
The helpless leave it all to you.
    You are the orphan’s helper.

15 Break the arms of those
    who are wicked and evil.
Seek out their wickedness
    until there’s no more to find.
16 The Lord rules forever and always!
    The nations will vanish from his land.

17 Lord, you listen to the desires of those who suffer.
    You steady their hearts;
you listen closely to them,
18     to establish justice
        for the orphan and the oppressed,
    so that people of the land
        will never again be terrified.

For the music leader. Of David.

11 I have taken refuge in the Lord.
    So how can you say to me,
    “Flee to the hills like a bird
        because the wicked
        have already bent their bows;
        they’ve already strung their arrows;
        they are ready to secretly shoot
        those whose heart is right”?
When the very bottom of things falls out,
    what can a righteous person possibly accomplish?

But the Lord is in his holy temple.
    The Lord! His throne is in heaven.
His eyes see—
    his vision examines all of humanity.
The Lord examines
    both the righteous and the wicked;
    his very being hates anyone who loves violence.
God will rain fiery coals and sulfur on the wicked;
    their cups will be filled
    with nothing but a scorching hot wind
    because the Lord is righteous!
    He loves righteous deeds.
    Those whose heart is right will see God’s face.

For the music leader. According to the Sheminith. A psalm of David.

12 Help, Lord, because the godly are all gone;
    the faithful have completely disappeared
    from the human race!
Everyone tells lies to everyone else;
    they talk with slick speech and divided hearts.
Let the Lord cut off all slick-talking lips
    and every tongue that brags and brags,
    that says, “We’re unbeatable with our tongues!
    Who could get the best of us with lips like ours?”

But the Lord says,
    “Because the poor are oppressed,
    because of the groans of the needy,
    I’m now standing up.
    I will provide the help they are gasping for.”
The Lord’s promises are pure,
    like silver that’s been refined in an oven,
    purified seven times over!

You, Lord, will keep us,
    protecting us from this generation forever.
The wicked roam all over the place,
    while depravity is praised by human beings.

For the music leader. A song of David.

13 How long will you forget me, Lord? Forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long will I be left to my own wits,
    agony filling my heart? Daily?
How long will my enemy keep defeating me?

Look at me!
    Answer me, Lord my God!
Restore sight to my eyes!
    Otherwise, I’ll sleep the sleep of death,
        and my enemy will say, “I won!”
        My foes will rejoice over my downfall.

But I have trusted in your faithful love.
    My heart will rejoice in your salvation.
Yes, I will sing to the Lord
    because he has been good to me.

For the music leader. Of David.

14 Fools say in their hearts, There is no God.
    They are corrupt and do evil things;
    not one of them does anything good.

The Lord looks down from heaven on humans
    to see if anyone is wise,
    to see if anyone seeks God,
        but all of them have turned bad.
        Everyone is corrupt.
        No one does good—
        not even one person!

Are they dumb, all these evildoers,
    devouring my people
    like they are eating bread
        but never calling on the Lord?

Count on it: they will be in utter panic
    because God is with the righteous generation.
You evildoers may humiliate
    the plans of those who suffer,
        but the Lord is their refuge.

Let Israel’s salvation come out of Zion!
        When the Lord changes
        his people’s circumstances for the better,
        Jacob will rejoice;
        Israel will celebrate!

A psalm of David.

15 Who can live in your tent, Lord?
    Who can dwell on your holy mountain?
The person who
    lives free of blame,
    does what is right,
        and speaks the truth sincerely;
    who does no damage with their talk,
    does no harm to a friend,
    doesn’t insult a neighbor;
    someone who despises
        those who act wickedly,
        but who honors those
        who honor the Lord;
    someone who keeps their promise even when it hurts;
    someone who doesn’t lend money with interest,
    who won’t accept a bribe against any innocent person.
Whoever does these things will never stumble.

A miktam of David.

16 Protect me, God, because I take refuge in you.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord.
    Apart from you, I have nothing good.”
Now as for the “holy ones” in the land,
    the “magnificent ones” that I was so happy about;
    let their suffering increase because
        they hurried after a different god.
I won’t participate in their blood offerings;
    I won’t let their names cross my lips.
You, Lord, are my portion, my cup;
    you control my destiny.
The property lines have fallen beautifully for me;
    yes, I have a lovely home.

I will bless the Lord who advises me;
    even at night I am instructed
    in the depths of my mind.
I always put the Lord in front of me;
    I will not stumble because he is on my right side.
That’s why my heart celebrates and my mood is joyous;
    yes, my whole body will rest in safety
10     because you won’t abandon my life to the grave;
    you won’t let your faithful follower see the pit.

11 You teach me the way of life.
    In your presence is total celebration.
Beautiful things are always in your right hand.

A prayer of David.

17 Listen to what’s right, Lord;
    pay attention to my cry!
Listen closely to my prayer;
    it’s spoken by lips that don’t lie!
My justice comes from you;
    let your eyes see what is right!
You have examined my heart,
    testing me at night.
You’ve looked me over closely,
    but haven’t found anything wrong.
    My mouth doesn’t sin.
But these other people’s deeds?
    I have avoided such violent ways
    by the command from your lips.
My steps are set firmly on your paths;
    my feet haven’t slipped.

I cry out to you because you answer me.
    So tilt your ears toward me now—
    listen to what I’m saying!
Manifest your faithful love in amazing ways
    because you are the one
    who saves those who take refuge in you,
    saving them from their attackers
    by your strong hand.
Watch me with the very pupil of your eye!
    Hide me in the protection of your wings,
        away from the wicked
            who are out to get me,
        away from my deadly enemies
            who are all around me!
10 They have no pity;
    their mouths speak arrogantly.
11 They track me down—
    suddenly, they surround me!
    They make their plans to put me in the dirt.
12 They are like a lion eager to rip its prey;
    they are like a strong young lion lying in wait.

13 Get up, Lord!
    Confront them!
    Bring them down!
Rescue my life from the wicked—
    use your sword!
14 Rescue me from these people—
    use your own hands, Lord!
Rescue me from these people
    whose only possession is their fleeting life.
But fill the stomachs of your cherished ones;
    let their children be filled full
    so that they have leftovers enough for their babies.

15 But me? I will see your face in righteousness;
    when I awake, I will be filled full by seeing your image.

For the music leader. Of David the Lord’s servant, who spoke the words of this song to the Lord after the Lord delivered him from the power of all his enemies and from Saul.

18 He said: I love you, Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my solid rock,
    my fortress, my rescuer.
My God is my rock—
I take refuge in him!—
        he’s my shield,
        my salvation’s strength,
        my place of safety.
Because he is praiseworthy,
    I cried out to the Lord,
    and I was saved from my enemies.
Death’s cords were wrapped around me;
    rivers of wickedness terrified me.
The cords of the grave surrounded me;
    death’s traps held me tight.
In my distress I cried out to the Lord;
    I called to my God for help.
God heard my voice from his temple;
    I called to him for help,
    and my call reached his ears.

The earth rocked and shook;
    the bases of the mountains trembled and reeled
    because of God’s anger.
Smoke went up from God’s nostrils;
    out of his mouth came a devouring fire;
    flaming coals blazed out in front of him!
God parted the skies and came down;
    thick darkness was beneath his feet.
10 God mounted the heavenly creatures and flew;
    he soared on the wings of the wind.
11 God made darkness cloak him;
    his covering was dark water and dense cloud.
12 God’s clouds went ahead
    of the brightness before him;
    hail and coals of fire went too.
13 The Lord thundered in heaven;
    the Most High made his voice heard
    with hail and coals of fire.
14 God shot his arrows, scattering the enemy;
    he sent the lightning and threw them into confusion.
15 The seabeds were exposed;
    the earth’s foundations were laid bare
        at your rebuke, Lord,
        at the angry blast of air coming from your nostrils.

16 From on high God reached down and grabbed me;
    he took me out of all that water.
17 God saved me from my powerful enemy,
    saved me from my foes,
    who were too much for me.
18 They came at me on the very day of my distress,
    but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out to wide-open spaces;
    he pulled me out safe
    because he is pleased with me.
20 The Lord rewarded me for my righteousness;
    he restored me because my hands are clean,
21     because I have kept the Lord’s ways.
    I haven’t acted wickedly against my God.
22 All his rules are right in front of me;
    I haven’t turned away from any of his laws.
23 I have lived with integrity before him;
    I’ve kept myself from wrongdoing.
24 And so the Lord restored me for my righteousness
    because my hands are clean in his eyes.

25 You deal faithfully with the faithful;
    you show integrity
        toward the one who has integrity.
26 You are pure toward the pure,
    but toward the crooked, you are tricky.
27 You are the one who saves people who suffer
    and brings down those with proud eyes.
28 You are the one who lights my lamp—
    the Lord my God illumines my darkness.
29 With you I can charge into battle;
    with my God I can leap over a wall.
30 God! His way is perfect;
    the Lord’s word is tried and true.
He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.

31 Now really, who is divine except the Lord?
    And who is a rock but our God?
32 Only God! The God who equips me with strength
    and makes my way perfect,
33     who makes my step as sure as the deer’s,
    who lets me stand securely on the heights,
34     who trains my hands for war
    so my arms can bend a bronze bow.
35 You’ve given me the shield of your salvation;
    your strong hand has supported me;
    your help has made me great.
36 You’ve let me walk fast and safe,
    without even twisting an ankle.
37 I chased my enemies and caught them!
    I didn’t come home until I finished them off.
38 I struck them down;
    they couldn’t get up again;
    they fell under my feet.
39 You equipped me with strength for war;
    you brought my adversaries down underneath me.
40 You made my enemies turn tail from me;
    I destroyed my foes.
41 They cried for help,
        but there was no one to save them.
    They cried for help to the Lord,
        but he wouldn’t answer them.
42 I crushed them
        like dust blown away by the wind;
    I threw them out
        like mud dumped in the streets.
43 You delivered me from struggles with many people;
    you appointed me the leader of many nations.
        Strangers come to serve me.
44 After hearing about me, they obey me;
    foreigners grovel before me.
45 Foreigners lose their nerve;
    they come trembling out of their fortresses.

46 The Lord lives! Bless God, my rock!
    Let the God of my salvation be lifted high!
47 This is the God who avenges on my behalf,
    who subdues people before me,
48     who delivers me from my enemies.
Yes, you lifted me high above my adversaries;
        you delivered me from violent people.
49     That’s why I thank you, Lord,
        in the presence of the nations.
    That’s why I sing praises to your name.
50 You are the one who gives great victories to your king,
    who shows faithful love to your anointed one—
    to David and to his descendants forever.

For the music leader. A psalm of David.

19 Heaven is declaring God’s glory;
    the sky is proclaiming his handiwork.
One day gushes the news to the next,
    and one night informs another what needs to be known.
Of course, there’s no speech, no words—
        their voices can’t be heard—
    but their sound extends throughout the world;
        their words reach the ends of the earth.

God has made a tent in heaven for the sun.
The sun is like a groom
    coming out of his honeymoon suite;
    like a warrior, it thrills at running its course.
It rises in one end of the sky;
    its circuit is complete at the other.
        Nothing escapes its heat.

The Lord’s Instruction is perfect,
    reviving one’s very being.
The Lord’s laws are faithful,
    making naive people wise.
The Lord’s regulations are right,
    gladdening the heart.
The Lord’s commands are pure,
    giving light to the eyes.
Honoring the Lord is correct,
    lasting forever.
The Lord’s judgments are true.
    All of these are righteous!
10 They are more desirable than gold—
        than tons of pure gold!
    They are sweeter than honey—
        even dripping off the honeycomb!
11 No doubt about it:
    your servant is enlightened by them;
    there is great reward in keeping them.
12 But can anyone know
    what they’ve accidentally done wrong?
    Clear me of any unknown sin
13         and save your servant from willful sins.
        Don’t let them rule me.
Then I’ll be completely blameless;
    I’ll be innocent of great wrongdoing.

14 Let the words of my mouth
    and the meditations of my heart
    be pleasing to you,
    Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Psalm 20-30

For the music leader. A psalm of David.

20 I pray that the Lord answers you
        whenever you are in trouble.
    Let the name of Jacob’s God protect you.
Let God send help to you from the sanctuary
    and support you from Zion.
Let God recall your many grain offerings;
    let him savor your entirely burned offerings. Selah
Let God grant what is in your heart
    and fulfill all your plans.
Then we will rejoice that you’ve been helped.
    We will fly our flags in the name of our God.
    Let the Lord fulfill all your requests!

Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed one;
    God answers his anointed one
        from his heavenly sanctuary,
    answering with mighty acts of salvation
        achieved by his strong hand.
Some people trust in chariots, others in horses;
    but we praise the Lord’s name.
They will collapse and fall,
    but we will stand up straight and strong.

Lord, save the king!
    Let him answer us when we cry out!

For the music leader. A psalm of David.

21 The king celebrates your strength, Lord;
    look how happy he is about your saving help!
You’ve given him what his heart desires;
    you haven’t denied what his lips requested. Selah
You bring rich blessings right to him;
    you put a crown of pure gold on his head.
He asked you for life,
    and you gave it to him, all right—
    long days, forever and always!
The king’s reputation is great
    because of your saving help;
    you’ve conferred on him glory and grandeur.
You grant him blessings forever;
    you make him happy
        with the joy of your presence.
    Because the king trusts the Lord,
    and because of the Most High’s faithful love,
        he will not stumble.

Your hand will catch all your enemies;
    your strong hand will catch all who hate you.
When you appear, Lord,
    you will light them up like an oven on fire.
        God will eat them whole in his anger;
        fire will devour them.
10 You will destroy their offspring from the land;
    destroy their descendants from the human race.
11 Because they sought to do you harm,
    they devised a wicked plan—but they will fail!
12 Because you will make them turn and run
    when you aim your bow straight at their faces!

13 Be exalted, Lord, in your strength!
    We will sing and praise your power!

For the music leader. According to the “Doe of Dawn.” A psalm of David.

22 My God! My God,
    why have you left me all alone?
    Why are you so far from saving me—
        so far from my anguished groans?
My God, I cry out during the day,
    but you don’t answer;
    even at nighttime I don’t stop.
You are the holy one, enthroned.
You are Israel’s praise.
Our ancestors trusted you—
    they trusted you and you rescued them;
    they cried out to you and they were saved;
    they trusted you and they weren’t ashamed.

But I’m just a worm, less than human;
    insulted by one person, despised by another.
All who see me make fun of me—
    they gape, shaking their heads:
    “He committed himself to the Lord,
        so let God rescue him;
        let God deliver him
        because God likes him so much.”
But you are the one who pulled me from the womb,
    placing me safely at my mother’s breasts.
10 I was thrown on you from birth;
    you’ve been my God
    since I was in my mother’s womb.
11 Please don’t be far from me,
    because trouble is near
        and there’s no one to help.

12 Many bulls surround me;
    mighty bulls from Bashan encircle me.
13 They open their mouths at me
    like a lion ripping and roaring!
14 I’m poured out like water.
    All my bones have fallen apart.
        My heart is like wax;
        it melts inside me.
15 My strength is dried up
    like a piece of broken pottery.
My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
    you’ve set me down in the dirt of death.
16 Dogs surround me;
    a pack of evil people circle me like a lion—
    oh, my poor hands and feet!
17 I can count all my bones!
    Meanwhile, they just stare at me, watching me.
18 They divvy up my garments among themselves;
    they cast lots for my clothes.

19 But you, Lord! Don’t be far away!
    You are my strength!
    Come quick and help me!
20 Deliver me from the sword.
    Deliver my life from the power of the dog.
21     Save me from the mouth of the lion.
    From the horns of the wild oxen
    you have answered me!

22 I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
    I will praise you in the very center of the congregation!
23 All of you who revere the Lord—praise him!
    All of you who are Jacob’s descendants—honor him!
    All of you who are all Israel’s offspring—
        stand in awe of him!
24 Because he didn’t despise or detest
    the suffering of the one who suffered—
    he didn’t hide his face from me.
    No, he listened when I cried out to him for help.

25 I offer praise in the great congregation
    because of you;
    I will fulfill my promises
    in the presence of those who honor God.
26 Let all those who are suffering eat and be full!
    Let all who seek the Lord praise him!
        I pray your hearts live forever!
27 Every part of the earth
    will remember and come back to the Lord;
    every family among all the nations will worship you.
28 Because the right to rule belongs to the Lord,
    he rules all nations.
29 Indeed, all the earth’s powerful
    will worship him;
    all who are descending to the dust
    will kneel before him;
    my being also lives for him.
30 Future descendants will serve him;
    generations to come will be told about my Lord.
31 They will proclaim God’s righteousness
        to those not yet born,
        telling them what God has done.

A psalm of David.

23 The Lord is my shepherd.
    I lack nothing.
He lets me rest in grassy meadows;
    he leads me to restful waters;
        he keeps me alive.
He guides me in proper paths
    for the sake of his good name.

Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
    I fear no danger because you are with me.
Your rod and your staff—
    they protect me.

You set a table for me
    right in front of my enemies.
You bathe my head in oil;
    my cup is so full it spills over!
Yes, goodness and faithful love
    will pursue me all the days of my life,
    and I will live in the Lord’s house
    as long as I live.

A psalm of David.

24 The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it,
    the world and its inhabitants too.
Because God is the one who established it on the seas;
    God set it firmly on the waters.

Who can ascend the Lord’s mountain?
    Who can stand in his holy sanctuary?
Only the one with clean hands and a pure heart;
    the one who hasn’t made false promises,
    the one who hasn’t sworn dishonestly.
That kind of person receives blessings from the Lord
    and righteousness from the God who saves.
And that’s how things are
    with the generation that seeks him—
    that seeks the face of Jacob’s God. Selah

Mighty gates: lift up your heads!
    Ancient doors: rise up high!
        So the glorious king can enter!
Who is this glorious king?
    The Lord—strong and powerful!
    The Lord—powerful in battle!
Mighty gates: lift up your heads!
    Ancient doors: rise up high!
        So the glorious king can enter!
10 Who is this glorious king?
    The Lord of heavenly forces—
        he is the glorious king! Selah

Of David.

25 I offer my life to you, Lord.
    My God, I trust you.
Please don’t let me be put to shame!
    Don’t let my enemies rejoice over me!
For that matter,
    don’t let anyone who hopes in you
        be put to shame;
    instead, let those who are treacherous without excuse be put to shame.

Make your ways known to me, Lord;
    teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth—teach it to me—
    because you are the God who saves me.
        I put my hope in you all day long.
Lord, remember your compassion and faithful love—
    they are forever!
But don’t remember the sins of my youth or my wrongdoing.
    Remember me only according to your faithful love
        for the sake of your goodness, Lord.

The Lord is good and does the right thing;
    he teaches sinners which way they should go.
God guides the weak to justice,
    teaching them his way.
10 All the Lord’s paths are loving and faithful
    for those who keep his covenant and laws.
11 Please, for the sake of your good name, Lord, forgive my sins, which are many!

12 Where are the ones who honor the Lord?
    God will teach them which path to take.
13 They will live a good life,
    and their descendants will possess the land.
14 The Lord counsels those who honor him;
    he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are always looking to the Lord
    because he will free my feet from the net.

16 Turn to me, God, and have mercy on me
    because I’m alone and suffering.
17 My heart’s troubles keep getting bigger—
    set me free from my distress!
18 Look at my suffering and trouble—
    forgive all my sins!
19 Look at how many enemies I have
    and how violently they hate me!
20 Please protect my life! Deliver me!
    Don’t let me be put to shame
    because I take refuge in you.
21 Let integrity and virtue guard me
    because I hope in you.

22 Please, God, save Israel from all its troubles!

Of David.

26 Establish justice for me, Lord,
    because I have walked with integrity.
    I’ve trusted the Lord without wavering.
Examine me, Lord; put me to the test!
    Purify my mind and my heart.
Because your faithful love is right in front of me—
    I walk in your truth!
I don’t spend time with people up to no good;
    I don’t keep company with liars.
I detest the company of evildoers,
    and I don’t sit with wicked people.
I wash my hands—they are innocent!
    I walk all around your altar, Lord,
        proclaiming out loud my thanks,
        declaring all your wonderful deeds!
I love the beauty of your house, Lord;
    I love the place where your glory resides.

Don’t gather me up with the sinners,
    taking my life along with violent people
10     in whose hands are evil schemes,
    whose strong hands are full of bribes.
11 But me? I walk with integrity.
    Save me! Have mercy on me!

12 My feet now stand on level ground.
    I will bless the Lord in the great congregation.

Of David.

27 The Lord is my light and my salvation.
        Should I fear anyone?
    The Lord is a fortress protecting my life.
        Should I be frightened of anything?
When evildoers come at me trying to eat me up—
    it’s they, my foes and my enemies,
    who stumble and fall!
If an army camps against me,
        my heart won’t be afraid.
    If war comes up against me,
        I will continue to trust in this:
    I have asked one thing from the Lord
    it’s all I seek:
        to live in the Lord’s house all the days of my life,
        seeing the Lord’s beauty
        and constantly adoring his temple.
Because he will shelter me in his own dwelling
    during troubling times;
    he will hide me in a secret place in his own tent;
        he will set me up high, safe on a rock.

Now my head is higher than the enemies surrounding me,
    and I will offer sacrifices in God’s tent—
        sacrifices with shouts of joy!
    I will sing and praise the Lord.

Lord, listen to my voice when I cry out—
    have mercy on me and answer me!
Come, my heart says, seek God’s face.
    Lord, I do seek your face!
Please don’t hide it from me!
    Don’t push your servant aside angrily—
        you have been my help!
    God who saves me,
        don’t neglect me!
        Don’t leave me all alone!
10 Even if my father and mother left me all alone,
    the Lord would take me in.
11 Lord, teach me your way;
    because of my opponents, lead me on a good path.
12 Don’t give me over to the desires of my enemies,
    because false witnesses and violent accusers
    have taken their stand against me.
13 But I have sure faith
    that I will experience the Lord’s goodness
    in the land of the living!

14 Hope in the Lord!
    Be strong! Let your heart take courage!
        Hope in the Lord!

Of David.

28 I cry out to you, Lord.
    You are my rock; don’t refuse to hear me.
    If you won’t talk to me,
        I’ll be just like those going down to the pit.
Listen to my request for mercy when I cry out to you,
    when I lift up my hands to your holy inner sanctuary.
Don’t drag me off with the wicked and those who do evil;
    the type who talk nice to their friends
    while evil thoughts are in their hearts!
Pay them back for what they’ve done!
    Pay them back for their evil deeds!
    Pay them back for their handiwork!
    Give back to them exactly what they deserve!
Because they have no regard for what the Lord has done,
    no regard for his handiwork,
    God will tear them down and never rebuild!

Bless the Lord
    because he has listened to my request for mercy!
The Lord is my strength and my shield.
    My heart trusts him.
        I was helped, my heart rejoiced,
            and I thank him with my song.
The Lord is his people’s strength;
    he is a fortress of protection for his anointed one.
Save your people, God!
    Bless your possession!
    Shepherd them and carry them for all time!

A psalm of David.

29 You, divine beings! Give to the Lord
    give to the Lord glory and power!
Give to the Lord the glory due his name!
    Bow down to the Lord in holy splendor!

The Lord’s voice is over the waters;
    the glorious God thunders;
        the Lord is over the mighty waters.
The Lord’s voice is strong;
    the Lord’s voice is majestic.
The Lord’s voice breaks cedar trees—
    yes, the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon jump around like a young bull,
    makes Sirion jump around like a young wild ox.
The Lord’s voice unleashes fiery flames;
    the Lord’s voice shakes the wilderness—
        yes, the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The Lord’s voice convulses the oaks,
    strips the forests bare,
        but in his temple everyone shouts, “Glory!”
10 The Lord sits enthroned over the floodwaters;
    the Lord sits enthroned—king forever!

11 Let the Lord give strength to his people!
    Let the Lord bless his people with peace!

A psalm. A song for the temple dedication. Of David.

30 I exalt you, Lord, because you pulled me up;
    you didn’t let my enemies celebrate over me.
Lord, my God, I cried out to you for help,
    and you healed me.
Lord, you brought me up from the grave,
    brought me back to life from among those going down to the pit.

You who are faithful to the Lord,
    sing praises to him;
    give thanks to his holy name!
His anger lasts for only a second,
    but his favor lasts a lifetime.
Weeping may stay all night,
    but by morning, joy!

When I was comfortable, I said,
    “I will never stumble.”
Because it pleased you, Lord,
    you made me a strong mountain.
But then you hid your presence.
    I was terrified.
I cried out to you, Lord.
    I begged my Lord for mercy:
“What is to be gained by my spilled blood,
    by my going down into the pit?
Does dust thank you?
    Does it proclaim your faithfulness?
10 Lord, listen and have mercy on me!
    Lord, be my helper!”

11 You changed my mourning into dancing.
    You took off my funeral clothes
        and dressed me up in joy
12     so that my whole being
    might sing praises to you and never stop.
Lord, my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

Psalm 119:121-144

ע ayin

121 I’ve done what is just and right.
    Don’t just hand me over to my oppressors.
122 Guarantee good things for your servant.
    Please don’t let the arrogant oppress me.
123 My eyes are worn out looking for your saving help—
    looking for your word that will set things right.
124 Act toward your servant according to your faithful love.
    Teach me your statutes!
125 I’m your servant!
    Help me understand so I can know your laws.
126 It is time for the Lord to do something!
    Your Instruction has been broken.
127 But I love your commandments
    more than gold, even more than pure gold.
128 That’s why I walk straight by every single one of your precepts.
    That’s why I hate every false path.

פ pe

129 Your laws are wonderful!
    That’s why I guard them.
130 Access to your words gives light,
    giving simple folk understanding.
131 I open my mouth up wide, panting,
    because I long for your commandments.
132 Come back to me and have mercy on me;
    that’s only right for those who love your name.
133 Keep my steps steady by your word;
    don’t let any sin rule me.
134 Redeem me from the people who oppress me
    so I can keep your precepts.
135 Shine your face on your servant,
    and teach me your statutes.
136 Rivers of tears stream from my eyes
    because your Instruction isn’t being kept.

צ tsade

137 Lord, you are righteous,
    and your rules are right.
138 The laws you commanded are righteous,
    completely trustworthy.
139 Anger consumes me
    because my enemies have forgotten what you’ve said.
140 Your word has been tried and tested;
    your servant loves your word!
141 I’m insignificant and unpopular,
    but I don’t forget your precepts.
142 Your righteousness lasts forever!
    Your Instruction is true!
143 Stress and strain have caught up with me,
    but your commandments are my joy!
144 Your laws are righteous forever.
    Help me understand so I can live!

2 Kings 18:9-25

Assyria’s King Shalmaneser marched against Samaria and attacked it in the fourth year of King Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Israel’s King Hoshea, Elah’s son. 10 After three years the Assyrians captured the city. Samaria was captured in Hezekiah’s sixth year, which was Hoshea’s ninth year. 11 Assyria’s king sent Israel into exile to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River, and in the cities of the Medes. 12 All this happened because they wouldn’t listen to the Lord their God. They broke his covenant—all that the Lord’s servant Moses had commanded them. They didn’t listen, and they didn’t do it.

13 Assyria’s King Sennacherib marched against all of Judah’s fortified cities and captured them in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah. 14 Judah’s King Hezekiah sent a message to the Assyrian king at Lachish, saying, “I admit wrongdoing. Please withdraw from me, and I’ll agree to whatever you demand from me.” Assyria’s king required Judah’s King Hezekiah to pay him three hundred kikkars of silver and thirty kikkars of gold. 15 So Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was in the Lord’s temple and in the palace treasuries. 16 At that time King Hezekiah had to strip down the doors and doorposts of the Lord’s temple, which he had covered with gold. He gave all of it to the Assyrian king.

17 Assryia’s king sent his general, his chief officer, and his field commander from Lachish, together with a large army, to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They went up and arrived at Jerusalem. They stood at the water channel of the Upper Pool, which is on the road to the field where clothes are washed. 18 Then they called for the king. Hilkiah’s son Eliakim, who was the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and Asaph’s son Joah the recorder went out to them.

19 Then the field commander said to them, “Say to Hezekiah: This is what Assyria’s Great King says: Why do you feel so confident? 20 Do you think that empty words are the same as good strategy and the strength to fight? Who are you trusting in that you now rebel against me? 21 It appears that you are trusting in a staff—Egypt—that’s nothing but a broken reed! It will stab the hand of anyone who leans on it! That’s all that Pharaoh, Egypt’s king, is to anyone who trusts in him. 22 Now suppose you say to me, ‘We trust in the Lord our God.’ Isn’t he the one whose shrines and altars Hezekiah removed, telling Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship before this altar in Jerusalem’?

23 “So now make a wager with my master, Assyria’s king. I’ll give you two thousand horses if you can supply the riders! 24 How will you drive back even the least important official among my master’s servants when you are relying on Egypt for chariots and riders? 25 What’s more, do you think I’ve marched against this place to destroy it without the Lord’s support? It was the Lord who told me, March against this land and destroy it!”

1 Corinthians 8

Now concerning meat that has been sacrificed to a false god: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes people arrogant, but love builds people up. If anyone thinks they know something, they don’t yet know as much as they should know. But if someone loves God, then they are known by God.

So concerning the actual food involved in these sacrifices to false gods, we know that a false god isn’t anything in this world, and that there is no God except for the one God. Granted, there are so-called “gods,” in heaven and on the earth, as there are many gods and many lords. However, for us believers,

There is one God the Father.
        All things come from him, and we belong to him.
And there is one Lord Jesus Christ.
        All things exist through him, and we live through him.

But not everybody knows this. Some are eating this food as though it really is food sacrificed to a real idol, because they were used to idol worship until now. Their conscience is weak because it has been damaged. Food won’t bring us close to God. We’re not missing out if we don’t eat, and we don’t have any advantage if we do eat. But watch out or else this freedom of yours might be a problem for those who are weak. 10 Suppose someone sees you (the person who has knowledge) eating in an idol’s temple. Won’t the person with a weak conscience be encouraged to eat the meat sacrificed to false gods? 11 The weak brother or sister for whom Christ died is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 You sin against Christ if you sin against your brothers and sisters and hurt their weak consciences this way. 13 This is why, if food causes the downfall of my brother or sister, I won’t eat meat ever again, or else I may cause my brother or sister to fall.

Matthew 7:13-21

13 “Go in through the narrow gate. The gate that leads to destruction is broad and the road wide, so many people enter through it. 14 But the gate that leads to life is narrow and the road difficult, so few people find it.

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you dressed like sheep, but inside they are vicious wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruit. Do people get bunches of grapes from thorny weeds, or do they get figs from thistles? 17 In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, and every rotten tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit. And a rotten tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore, you will know them by their fruit.

21 “Not everybody who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will get into the kingdom of heaven. Only those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven will enter.