Morning: 1 Chronicles 4:10; Job 34:29; Psalm 3:8; Psalm 31:19; Psalm 34:22; Proverbs 10:22; Matthew 7:7–8; John 17:15 “Oh that you would bless me,… and that you would keep me from harm….” And God granted what he asked. The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.—“When he is quiet, who can condemn? When he hides his face, who can behold him?” Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people!—Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!—“I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”—The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned. 1 Chronicles 4:10 (Listen) 10 Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm1 so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked. Footnotes  4:10 Or evil (ESV) Job 34:29 (Listen) 29 When he is quiet, who can condemn? When he hides his face, who can behold him, whether it be a nation or a man?— (ESV) Psalm 3:8 (Listen) 8 Salvation belongs to the LORD; your blessing be on your people! Selah (ESV) Psalm 31:19 (Listen) 19 Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind! (ESV) Psalm 34:22 (Listen) 22 The LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned. (ESV) Proverbs 10:22 (Listen) 22 The blessing of the LORD makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.1 Footnotes  10:22 Or and toil adds nothing to it (ESV) Matthew 7:7–8 (Listen) Ask, and It Will Be Given 7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (ESV) John 17:15 (Listen) 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.1 Footnotes  17:15 Or from evil (ESV) Evening: Exodus 12:42; Luke 22:41; Luke 22:44; John 19:14; John 19:16–18; 1 Corinthians 5:7–8; 1 Corinthians 11:23–25 It was a night of watching by the Lord, to bring them out of the land of Egypt. The Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” He… knelt down and prayed…. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour…. So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and he went out… to the place called… Golgotha. There they crucified him. Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival. Exodus 12:42 (Listen) 42 It was a night of watching by the LORD, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; so this same night is a night of watching kept to the LORD by all the people of Israel throughout their generations. (ESV) Luke 22:41 (Listen) 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, (ESV) Luke 22:44 (Listen) 44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.1 Footnotes  22:44 Some manuscripts omit verses 43 and 44 (ESV) John 19:14 (Listen) 14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour.1 He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” Footnotes  19:14 That is, about noon (ESV) John 19:16–18 (Listen) 16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. The Crucifixion So they took Jesus, 17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. (ESV) 1 Corinthians 5:7–8 (Listen) 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (ESV) 1 Corinthians 11:23–25 (Listen) 23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for1 you. Do this in remembrance of me.”2 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” Footnotes  11:24 Some manuscripts broken for  11:24 Or as my memorial; also verse 25 (ESV)
Old Testament: 2 Kings 19–20 2 Kings 19–20 (Listen) Isaiah Reassures Hezekiah 19 As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the LORD. 2 And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz. 3 They said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. 4 It may be that the LORD your God heard all the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the LORD your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.” 5 When the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, 6 Isaiah said to them, “Say to your master, ‘Thus says the LORD: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me. 7 Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.'” Sennacherib Defies the Lord 8 The Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah, for he heard that the king had left Lachish. 9 Now the king heard concerning Tirhakah king of Cush, “Behold, he has set out to fight against you.” So he sent messengers again to Hezekiah, saying, 10 “Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah king of Judah: ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. 11 Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, devoting them to destruction. And shall you be delivered? 12 Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations that my fathers destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? 13 Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, the king of Hena, or the king of Ivvah?'” Hezekiah's Prayer 14 Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD and spread it before the LORD. 15 And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD and said: “O LORD, the God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. 16 Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. 17 Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands 18 and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. 19 So now, O LORD our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O LORD, are God alone.” Isaiah Prophesies Sennacherib's Fall 20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Your prayer to me about Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard. 21 This is the word that the LORD has spoken concerning him: “She despises you, she scorns you— the virgin daughter of Zion; she wags her head behind you— the daughter of Jerusalem. 22 “Whom have you mocked and reviled? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes to the heights? Against the Holy One of Israel!23 By your messengers you have mocked the Lord, and you have said, ‘With my many chariots I have gone up the heights of the mountains, to the far recesses of Lebanon; I felled its tallest cedars, its choicest cypresses; I entered its farthest lodging place, its most fruitful forest.24 I dug wells and drank foreign waters, and I dried up with the sole of my foot all the streams of Egypt.' 25 “Have you not heard that I determined it long ago? I planned from days of old what now I bring to pass, that you should turn fortified cities into heaps of ruins,26 while their inhabitants, shorn of strength, are dismayed and confounded, and have become like plants of the field and like tender grass, like grass on the housetops, blighted before it is grown. 27 “But I know your sitting down and your going out and coming in, and your raging against me.28 Because you have raged against me and your complacency has come into my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will turn you back on the way by which you came. 29 “And this shall be the sign for you: this year eat what grows of itself, and in the second year what springs of the same. Then in the third year sow and reap and plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. 30 And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward. 31 For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD will do this. 32 “Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. 33 By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, declares the LORD. 34 For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.” 35 And that night the angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. 36 Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went home and lived at Nineveh. 37 And as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons, struck him down with the sword and escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place. Hezekiah's Illness and Recovery 20 In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.'” 2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, saying, 3 “Now, O LORD, please remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4 And before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him: 5 “Turn back, and say to Hezekiah the leader of my people, Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD, 6 and I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David's sake.” 7 And Isaiah said, “Bring a cake of figs. And let them take and lay it on the boil, that he may recover.” 8 And Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “What shall be the sign that the LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the LORD on the third day?” 9 And Isaiah said, “This shall be the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that he has promised: shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or go back ten steps?” 10 And Hezekiah answered, “It is an easy thing for the shadow to lengthen ten steps. Rather let the shadow go back ten steps.” 11 And Isaiah the prophet called to the LORD, and he brought the shadow back ten steps, by which it had gone down on the steps of Ahaz. Hezekiah and the Babylonian Envoys 12 At that time Merodach-baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent envoys with letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that Hezekiah had been sick. 13 And Hezekiah welcomed them, and he showed them all his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his armory, all that was found in his storehouses. There was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them. 14 Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say? And from where did they come to you?” And Hezekiah said, “They have come from a far country, from Babylon.” 15 He said, “What have they seen in your house?” And Hezekiah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them.” 16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD: 17 Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the LORD. 18 And some of your own sons, who will come from you, whom you will father, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” 19 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the LORD that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?” 20 The rest of the deeds of Hezekiah and all his might and how he made the pool and the conduit and brought water into the city, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 21 And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and Manasseh his son reigned in his place. (ESV) New Testament: 1 Corinthians 1:1–17 1 Corinthians 1:1–17 (Listen) Greeting 1 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, 2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Thanksgiving 4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge—6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you—7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Divisions in the Church 10 I appeal to you, brothers,1 by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. Footnotes  1:10 Or brothers and sisters. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, the plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters; also verses 11, 26 (ESV) Psalm: Psalm 146 Psalm 146 (Listen) Put Not Your Trust in Princes 146 Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul!2 I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. 3 Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. 5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God,6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever;7 who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free;8 the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.9 The LORD watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. 10 The LORD will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD! (ESV) Proverb: Proverbs 18:8 Proverbs 18:8 (Listen) 8 The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body. (ESV)
Fallen is Babylon Revelation 18 by William Klock Sometimes gospel—good news—isn't what we expect. The gospel is a multifaceted message, but the church in every age has a tendency to focus on one part of it, while deemphasising or even ignoring others. John wrote his letter to the churches of Asia in part to get them straight on this kind of problem. We do the same thing in our ways. We modern, western Christians have a tendency to emphasise the personal aspects of the gospel over the corporate. We tend to view the gospel as a primarily spiritual thing. And we emphasise those parts of the gospel that are most likely to make people feel good, while down-playing or ignoring what might make them feel bad. Some aspects of the gospel just confuse us—so we sort of pretend they aren't there. Such is our passage today, which continues—and more-or-less—concludes John's vision of God's judgement on Rome. So what do we do with judgement in the Bible? I don't think we have a problem with judgement itself—maybe we don't, but some do. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago the Canadian prayer book, which butchered the Psalter, because its revisers back in the 1950s concluded that the imprecatory psalms have no place in Christian worship. But it's not just the Psalmist who pleads with the Lord for the judgement of the wicked and then praises their fall. From the Israelites joyfully singing about the victory of God over Egypt while they watched the dead bodies of Pharoah's army float on the waters to Isaiah singing “Fallen is Babylon and shattered are her gods!” to Mary's song in which she praises the Lord for throwing down the mighty from their seats, Brothers and Sisters, God's people have always and still ought to plead for his judgement on the wicked then praise his victories. We plead for deliverance and we pray for an end to evil and for his justice to prevail. When he answers our prayers, we shouldn't be squeamish about singing joyfully in praise that he has defeated his enemies. But for some reason we are. I know Friday's Supreme Court ruling in the States isn't much consolation for Canadians. I'm not inclined to get overly enthusiastic about what it means for the US. It's a return to Federalism on the issue of abortion and it remains to be seen what the States will do in light of it. But it's a victory, it's a big one, it's and answer to fifty years of prayer, even if only in part. And Christians ought to rejoice and to praise God. But if you've done that on social media in the last few days, there's a good chance you got rebuked for it by other Christians. Why? Because we're squeamish about judgement and about praising God when he defeats his enemies. But the Lord defeating his enemies and the enemies of his people is good news, it's gospel. Back in Revelation 14 John wrote about the angel who came declaring gospel—good news—and that the good news was a proclamation of judgement and a summons to repentance: “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water” (14:7). It's an echo of the gospel St. Paul proclaimed to the men of Athens: “Turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them” (Acts 14:15). Or, as we sing from Psalm 96 in Morning Prayer, “For he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth; and with righteousness to judge the world, and the peoples with his truth.” So our passage today, Revelation 18, is timely. Let's look at verses 1-3. After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory. And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast. For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.” The great prostitute John saw in Chapter 17, the woman deceptively clothed in fine garments and expensive jewelry, whose chalice of wine contained only filth and abominations—who invited the nations to join her in her fun—fun which consisted of rank idolatry, the murder of the Lord Jesus, and the persecution of his people—the great prostitute has fallen. And John's imagery, borrowed from the Old Testament prophets, gives us another lesson—some important insight into how biblical prophecy works and how we ought to read it. I've spent quite a bit of time explaining that when John wrote of “Babylon”, he was writing about Rome. But not everyone reads the text that way. Others will tell you that “Babylon” was Jerusalem. And there are others who will tell you that “Babylon” is Rome, but not historical Rome, but some Rome of the future—maybe the Roman Church or some future European empire. I don't know if it's still a popular theory, but back in the 70s and 80s, a lot of people saw here the European Union—especially when it had only ten nations—ten horns and all of that. Now, if we just read the text and if we read it with the big biblical narrative in mind, it's really obvious—inescapable, I think—that John was speaking of Rome in his own day. The problem for a lot of folks is that they don't know how to read biblical prophecy and if John was talking about historic Rome, then it all looks like a failed prophecy. Rome didn't cease to exist. It wasn't demolished to leave a barren wasteland as the angel's song describes. Some interpreters then turn to Jerusalem. That is, more or less, what did happen to Jerusalem—although not in a.d. 70. John describes the fall of Jerusalem in terms of the events that were soon to unfold, and yet things settled down quickly after the war with Rome and Jewish life returned to a kind of normal in Jerusalem, albeit with the temple gone. It wouldn't be until after the Bar Kokhba Revolt, a little over fifty years later, that Jerusalem really would be wiped out and the Jewish people scattered. That right there gives us a hint at how we ought to be reading things. But, similarly, since these things didn't literally happen to Rome, others respond by pushing it all into the far future. They try to save John's prophecy, but in doing that they undermine the clear teaching of Jesus and the apostles that judgement was soon to come. It helps if we look at how John uses the Old Testament prophets. Here he draws from the passage from Isaiah 21 that I read earlier: “Fallen, fallen is Babylon; and all the carved images of her gods he has shattered to the ground.” Babylon, in the Old Testament, embodied opposition to the Lord. It all went back to the Tower of Babel and only got worse from there. And Babylon wasn't satisfied to keep her idolatrous harlotries to herself. For centuries she afflicted Israel, eventually conquering Jerusalem and taking God's people into exile. One of the keys for understanding Revelation is to remember that the prophets—like Isaiah—had warned Israel that her conquest by pagan armies was judgement for her own adulteries. This the historical pattern given meaning by the prophets: Israel, the Lord's bride, is rebellious and plays the harlot with foreign gods. The Lord is patient, but she continues to be unfaithful. So the Lord judges Israel by allowing her to be defeated by her pagan neighbours—in this case Babylon. Judgement brings Israel to repentance—at least for a while—and the Lord vindicates her by then judging the pagan nations that had oppressed her. That's the pattern we see in Revelation. First the Lord uses pagan Rome to bring judgement on rebellious Jerusalem. Through it he spares and vindicates his people. Then he comes in judgement on Rome herself. This is why John uses Babylon as an image of Rome. Isaiah writes that Babylon would be a haunt of jackals and hyenas—and demons, too, in the Greek OT (Isaiah 34:13-14). Jeremiah writes: Babylon was a golden cup in the LORD'S hand, making all the earth drunken; the nations drank of her wine; therefore the nations went mad. (Jeremiah 51:7) And the prophet Nahum wrote: And all for the countless whorings of the prostitute, graceful and of deadly charms, who betrays nations with her whorings, and peoples with her charms. (Nahum 3:4) John also draws on Ezekiel's oracle against the city of Tyre: When your wares came from the seas, you satisfied many peoples; with your abundant wealth and merchandise you enriched the kings of the earth. (Ezekiel 27:33) So, like Babylon (and like Tyre), Rome will fall because of her idolatry, because of her wickedness, and because she has spilled the blood of Jesus and the saints. But did Babylon fall? If we take Isaiah and the other Old Testament prophets literally, we have the same problem we have with John. John writes later, in verse 21, that Babylon (Rome) will “be thrown down with violence and will be found no more”—which certainly didn't happen literally. Rome has had its problems, it would even be defeated and the city sacked by enemies, but there's a reason it's called the “Eternal City”. And despite Jeremiah writing that Babylon would be “a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert”, “her walls…thrown down”, “overthrown like Sodom and Gomorrah, no one will live there”, it was many centuries before the city of Babylon eventually declined. Babylon was defeated, as the prophets said it would be, by the Medes, but they didn't destroy the city. They diverted the river and sneaked into the city while its people were having a holiday. The Medes and the Persians made Babylon their capital and it flourished for centuries. What this shows us is that prophetic language of judgement isn't necessarily literal. It's dramatic and over-the-top. It often speaks of judgement in terms of de-creation: the sun ceasing to shine, stars falling from the sky, the ground itself falling apart and opening up to swallow armies and cities. The key point of the Old Testament prophets and of John in Revelation, is that the oppressors and persecutors of the Lord's people will face his wrathful and righteous judgement in repayment for their deeds. Nebuchadnezzar was defeated and his kingdom destroyed, leading to the restoration of Israel in Judea, even though Babylon remained under different management. Similarly, Rome will be defeated in such a way that the Christians martyrs would be vindicated and the way paved for the triumph of the gospel over this once pagan empire. The gods of Rome will be shattered and Caesar's claims of divinity will be exposed in the light of the gospel, which proclaims Jesus as the true son of God. Caesar will be defeated and Jesus will reign—and the world would see the birth of “Christendom” as we called it for centuries. Why does is it work this way? Because even though God did not create man to govern man, but to live under his kingship, he has ordained earthly kings and governments to curb the chaos of the fall. As St. Paul writes, governing authorities are established by God to reward those who do good and to be a terror to those who do evil. But when that gets reversed, particularly when those authorities persecute God's people, he will bring his justice and take them down. Nebuchadnezzar was taken down and the Medes took his place and Cyrus return the Israelites to Judea. Good rules—or less bad ones, at any rate, will replace the wicked. And just so with Nero and his ilk. At this point a second angel joins the first. Look at verses 4-8. Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed. As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, ‘I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.' For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.” In light of the coming judgement, the angel warns Jesus' people to get out—not necessarily literally, but not to have anything to do with the wickedness and the idolatry of the pagans. This echoes the warnings to the churches at the beginning of Revelation. The great prostitute is, again, deceptively attractive. Her wine looks appealing and everyone else is drunk on it. Rome and all the nations submitted to her have the appearance of wealth and security. In contrast, those little groups of Christians were facing opposition—and it was soon to get worse—and all because they proclaimed Jesus as Lord instead of Caesar. They were the ones willing to openly say that the emperor had no clothes—or that the harlot's chalice was full of filth—but that's not what anyone wanted to hear. Compromise was so enticing and so easy. A pinch of incense offered to Caesar, a meal in the temple of Aphrodite—never mind the orgy going on—and everyone would accept you. But Israel had tried that, offering sacrifices to the Lord in his temple, but also erecting altars to Baal and Asherah. It never works. You cannot serve two masters. Either Jesus is Lord or he isn't. And Babylon is a graphic testament to what happens to those who worship false gods—and soon Rome will be, too. So, “Come out of her my people, lest you take part in her sins,” calls the angel. Her sins are heaped high. In other words, her judgment is overdue and coming soon. She will be paid back. In fact, she'll be paid back double for her deeds. The angel echoes Jeremiah's prophecy against Babylon: Repay her according to her deeds; do to her according to all that she has done. For she has proudly defied the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. (Jeremiah 50:29) Now, the long middle section of the chapter shows us the response of the nations as they stand watching Rome's fall. They were once drunk on the prostitute's wine, but the Lord's judgement sobers them up quickly—as the one in whom they had invested everything now falls. Look at verse 9 and following: And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning. John echoes Ezekiel's prophecy of Babylon's fall: The merchants among the peoples hiss at you; you have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more forever.'” (Ezekiel 27:36) One of the thing that stands out here is that this isn't the end of the world. This is a judgment that happens in history as the nations watch. Continuing… They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, “Alas! Alas! You great city, you mighty city, Babylon! For in a single hour your judgment has come.” And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls. Slavery is what made the ancient world turn, and especially Rome and it was the sanctifying influence of the gospel that eventually brought it to an end, as with so many other things: human sacrifice, gladiatorial games, and abortion and infanticide. Jesus spoke about being salt and light and that's just what those first Christians were and by the gospel they taught the pagans mercy and the value of life. But in the meantime, the nations mourn. The prostitute and her chalice are gone. The party is over. And the angel's imagery draws very closely on Ezekiel's prophecy of Tyre's destruction: At the sound of the cry of your pilots the countryside shakes, and down from their ships come all who handle the oar. The mariners and all the pilots of the sea stand on the land and shout aloud over you and cry out bitterly. They cast dust on their heads and wallow in ashes; (Ezekiel 27:28-30) This is key, because the reason Ezekiel says that Tyre was judged was because it's king had boasted: “I am a god, I sit in the seat of the gods” (Ezekiel 28:1). Now it's Caesar's turn to be brought low for his blasphemies. In the meantime the nations continue to mourn: “The fruit for which your soul longed has gone from you, and all your delicacies and your splendors are lost to you, never to be found again!” The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud, “Alas, alas, for the great city that was clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, with jewels, and with pearls! For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste.” And all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning, “What city was like the great city?” And they threw dust on their heads as they wept and mourned, crying out, “Alas, alas, for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth! For in a single hour she has been laid waste. Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!” (Revelation 18:9-20) The suitors of the harlot mourn, but notice that the angels calls out to God's people: “Rejoice!” Specifically, “Rejoice over her—over fallen Rome—because God has judged her.” And not just that, notice the angel makes the point, “God has given judgement for you against her!” This is the vindication of the saints. God has judged the wicked on behalf of all those saints in those little churches in Asia Minor and across the empire—the saints who were mocked, maligned, and even martyred, the saints who watched as their brothers and sisters died in the arena or were crucified and lit on fire to light Nero's garden parties. For you God has judged the harlot. Brothers and Sisters, the Lord hears the cries of his people. He heard the Hebrews crying out from their bondage in Egypt. He heard the Israelites crying out from their captivity in Babylon. He heard his Church crying out from their persecution by Rome. And for the Lord to hear is always for the Lord to answer. And the natural response is for the song of praise sung by the redeemed to be even louder than the lament of those wailing over their judgement. In Proverbs we read the truth that “when justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous” even as it is “terror to evildoers”. Brothers and Sisters, rejoice and praise God for his triumph, even as the wicked wail and lament. Finally, now, verses 21-24. The joyful song of the saints is contrasted with the deathly silence of the judged city. Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will be found no more; and the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters, will be heard in you no more, and a craftsman of any craft will be found in you no more, and the sound of the mill will be heard in you no more, and the light of a lamp will shine in you no more, and the voice of bridegroom and bride will be heard in you no more, for your merchants were the great ones of the earth, and all nations were deceived by your sorcery. And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth.” (Revelation 18:21-24) Jeremiah wrote: When you finish reading this book, tie a stone to it and cast it into the midst of the Euphrates, and say, ‘Thus shall Babylon sink, to rise no more, because of the disaster that I am bringing upon her, and they shall become exhausted.'” The description of the musicians being silenced is straight from Ezekiel's oracle against Tyre: And I will stop the music of your songs, and the sound of your lyres shall be heard no more. (Ezekiel 26:13) The bit about Rome deceiving the nations by her sorcery calls back to Nahum's denouncement of Nineveh: And all for the countless whorings of the prostitute, graceful and of deadly [sorceries], who betrays nations with her whorings, and peoples with her [sorceries]. (Nahum 3:4) I don't think anyone amongst John's readers would have struggled to rejoice at these words of judgement, but the angel does drive home the point one more time in verse 20. He reminds us that in her was the blood of the prophets and saints. He even goes a step further, saying that the bloodguilt of all who have been slain lies with her. Rome wasn't guilty of every murder that ever happened, but remember that behind the prostitute and behind the beast lies the dragon, the Satan. Rome was the current embodiment, the height of human wickedness, all fed by the lies of the devil. The devil and all the world's wickedness rose up to its full height at the cross when Jesus was put to death. Evil, concentrated all in one place, did its worst and was dealt a death blow by God. And, once again in Rome and with the persecution of Jesus' people it rose up again, and yet again God would strike it down. That's the promise here. Remember John's three themes: tribulation, perseverance, and kingdom. The saints are not walking anywhere that Jesus has not gone before them and the Lord will vindicate them just as he vindicated Jesus. They would know mourning, but judgement was coming. It was a sure thing. And not too far in the future they would have reason to rejoice as the millstone that was Caesar and Rome was cast into the sea to make way for the gospel of Jesus the Messiah. Brothers and Sisters, there's a word here for us, too. We will know new Romes and Babylons before the Lord returns. We will know opposition and maybe even persecution, tribulation, and martyrdom. Persevere. Know that Jesus is Lord. Do not be enticed by the harlot and her chalice. Pray for her downfall, for her downfall, as it always has been, will open the way for our proclamation of the gospel. When that day comes—and it always does—praise the Lord for his righteousness and his faithfulness, and go forth with the good news. For Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again. Let's pray: O Lord God, the unfailing helper and governor of those whom you bring up in your steadfast fear and love: Keep us, we pray, under the protection of your good providence and give us a continual reverence and love for your holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
2022-06-26 The Perception of Selfby Seth CarrollScripture Reference: 1 Corinthians 1:10-3110 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe's people, that there are quarrels among you. 12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” 13 Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one would say you were baptized in my name. 16 Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.”20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no man may boast before God. 30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Old Testament: 2 Kings 14–15 2 Kings 14–15 (Listen) Amaziah Reigns in Judah 14 In the second year of Joash the son of Joahaz, king of Israel, Amaziah the son of Joash, king of Judah, began to reign. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jehoaddin of Jerusalem. 3 And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, yet not like David his father. He did in all things as Joash his father had done. 4 But the high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places. 5 And as soon as the royal power was firmly in his hand, he struck down his servants who had struck down the king his father. 6 But he did not put to death the children of the murderers, according to what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, where the LORD commanded, “Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. But each one shall die for his own sin.” 7 He struck down ten thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt and took Sela by storm, and called it Joktheel, which is its name to this day. 8 Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash1 the son of Jehoahaz, son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, “Come, let us look one another in the face.” 9 And Jehoash king of Israel sent word to Amaziah king of Judah, “A thistle on Lebanon sent to a cedar on Lebanon, saying, ‘Give your daughter to my son for a wife,' and a wild beast of Lebanon passed by and trampled down the thistle. 10 You have indeed struck down Edom, and your heart has lifted you up. Be content with your glory, and stay at home, for why should you provoke trouble so that you fall, you and Judah with you?” 11 But Amaziah would not listen. So Jehoash king of Israel went up, and he and Amaziah king of Judah faced one another in battle at Beth-shemesh, which belongs to Judah. 12 And Judah was defeated by Israel, and every man fled to his home. 13 And Jehoash king of Israel captured Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Jehoash, son of Ahaziah, at Beth-shemesh, and came to Jerusalem and broke down the wall of Jerusalem for four hundred cubits,2 from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate. 14 And he seized all the gold and silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of the LORD and in the treasuries of the king's house, also hostages, and he returned to Samaria. 15 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoash that he did, and his might, and how he fought with Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 16 And Jehoash slept with his fathers and was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel, and Jeroboam his son reigned in his place. 17 Amaziah the son of Joash, king of Judah, lived fifteen years after the death of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz, king of Israel. 18 Now the rest of the deeds of Amaziah, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 19 And they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem, and he fled to Lachish. But they sent after him to Lachish and put him to death there. 20 And they brought him on horses; and he was buried in Jerusalem with his fathers in the city of David. 21 And all the people of Judah took Azariah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king instead of his father Amaziah. 22 He built Elath and restored it to Judah, after the king slept with his fathers. Jeroboam II Reigns in Israel 23 In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash, king of Judah, Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, began to reign in Samaria, and he reigned forty-one years. 24 And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin. 25 He restored the border of Israel from Lebo-hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the LORD, the God of Israel, which he spoke by his servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was from Gath-hepher. 26 For the LORD saw that the affliction of Israel was very bitter, for there was none left, bond or free, and there was none to help Israel. 27 But the LORD had not said that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, so he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash. 28 Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam and all that he did, and his might, how he fought, and how he restored Damascus and Hamath to Judah in Israel, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 29 And Jeroboam slept with his fathers, the kings of Israel, and Zechariah his son reigned in his place. Azariah Reigns in Judah 15 In the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Azariah the son of Amaziah, king of Judah, began to reign. 2 He was sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. 3 And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done. 4 Nevertheless, the high places were not taken away. The people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places. 5 And the LORD touched the king, so that he was a leper3 to the day of his death, and he lived in a separate house.4 And Jotham the king's son was over the household, governing the people of the land. 6 Now the rest of the acts of Azariah, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 7 And Azariah slept with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David, and Jotham his son reigned in his place. Zechariah Reigns in Israel 8 In the thirty-eighth year of Azariah king of Judah, Zechariah the son of Jeroboam reigned over Israel in Samaria six months. 9 And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, as his fathers had done. He did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin. 10 Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him and struck him down at Ibleam and put him to death and reigned in his place. 11 Now the rest of the deeds of Zechariah, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 12 (This was the promise of the LORD that he gave to Jehu, “Your sons shall sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.” And so it came to pass.) Shallum Reigns in Israel 13 Shallum the son of Jabesh began to reign in the thirty-ninth year of Uzziah5 king of Judah, and he reigned one month in Samaria. 14 Then Menahem the son of Gadi came up from Tirzah and came to Samaria, and he struck down Shallum the son of Jabesh in Samaria and put him to death and reigned in his place. 15 Now the rest of the deeds of Shallum, and the conspiracy that he made, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 16 At that time Menahem sacked Tiphsah and all who were in it and its territory from Tirzah on, because they did not open it to him. Therefore he sacked it, and he ripped open all the women in it who were pregnant. Menahem Reigns in Israel 17 In the thirty-ninth year of Azariah king of Judah, Menahem the son of Gadi began to reign over Israel, and he reigned ten years in Samaria. 18 And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not depart all his days from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin. 19 Pul6 the king of Assyria came against the land, and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents7 of silver, that he might help him to confirm his hold on the royal power. 20 Menahem exacted the money from Israel, that is, from all the wealthy men, fifty shekels8 of silver from every man, to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back and did not stay there in the land. 21 Now the rest of the deeds of Menahem and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 22 And Menahem slept with his fathers, and Pekahiah his son reigned in his place. Pekahiah Reigns in Israel 23 In the fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekahiah the son of Menahem began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned two years. 24 And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin. 25 And Pekah the son of Remaliah, his captain, conspired against him with fifty men of the people of Gilead, and struck him down in Samaria, in the citadel of the king's house with Argob and Arieh; he put him to death and reigned in his place. 26 Now the rest of the deeds of Pekahiah and all that he did, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. Pekah Reigns in Israel 27 In the fifty-second year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekah the son of Remaliah began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned twenty years. 28 And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin. 29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria came and captured Ijon, Abel-beth-maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and he carried the people captive to Assyria. 30 Then Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah and struck him down and put him to death and reigned in his place, in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah. 31 Now the rest of the acts of Pekah and all that he did, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. Jotham Reigns in Judah 32 In the second year of Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, Jotham the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, began to reign. 33 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jerusha the daughter of Zadok. 34 And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that his father Uzziah had done. 35 Nevertheless, the high places were not removed. The people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places. He built the upper gate of the house of the LORD. 36 Now the rest of the acts of Jotham and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 37 In those days the LORD began to send Rezin the king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah against Judah. 38 Jotham slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father, and Ahaz his son reigned in his place. Footnotes  14:8 Jehoash is an alternate spelling of Joash (son of Jehoahaz) as in 13:9, 12–14; also verses 9, 11–16  14:13 A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters  15:5 Leprosy was a term for several skin diseases; see Leviticus 13  15:5 The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain  15:13 Another name for Azariah  15:19 Another name for Tiglath-pileser III (compare verse 29)  15:19 A talent was about 75 pounds or 34 kilograms  15:20 A shekel was about 2/5 ounce or 11 grams (ESV) New Testament: Romans 15:1–13 Romans 15:1–13 (Listen) The Example of Christ 15 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” 4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. Christ the Hope of Jews and Gentiles 8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.” 10 And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” 11 And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.” 12 And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.” 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (ESV) Psalm: Psalm 143 Psalm 143 (Listen) My Soul Thirsts for You A Psalm of David. 143 Hear my prayer, O LORD; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!2 Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you. 3 For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.4 Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled. 5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.6 I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah 7 Answer me quickly, O LORD! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit.8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. 9 Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD! I have fled to you for refuge.110 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground! 11 For your name's sake, O LORD, preserve my life! In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!12 And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant. Footnotes  143:9 One Hebrew manuscript, Septuagint; most Hebrew manuscripts To you I have covered (ESV) Proverb: Proverbs 18:2–3 Proverbs 18:2–3 (Listen) 2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.3 When wickedness comes, contempt comes also, and with dishonor comes disgrace. (ESV)
Free & New in ChristRomans • June 19, 2022Teacher: Adam Barnett--A Christian is free from the power of sin and death!Romans 6:1-4"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."2 Corinthians 5:14-15"For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again"Romans 6:5-7“ For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.”2 Corinthians 5:17"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"ἰδοὺ γέγονεν καινά = Behold, the new is born!Romans 5:8-14“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”F.F. Bruce"“Is this an exhortation to pull ourselves together and make a new start? Is this a good resolution to do better in the future? Is this just an exertion of the will, or an effort of the imagination? No, it is not. When men and women present themselves to the living God, he accepts them as his servants and gives them power to do his will. The Christ of whom Paul speaks is the Christ who truly died and rose again, and in the lives of those who put their trust in Him, he breaks the power of cancelled sin."
Old Testament: 2 Kings 3–4 2 Kings 3–4 (Listen) Moab Rebels Against Israel 3 In the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Ahab became king over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned twelve years. 2 He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, though not like his father and mother, for he put away the pillar of Baal that his father had made. 3 Nevertheless, he clung to the sin of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin; he did not depart from it. 4 Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheep breeder, and he had to deliver to the king of Israel 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams. 5 But when Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. 6 So King Jehoram marched out of Samaria at that time and mustered all Israel. 7 And he went and sent word to Jehoshaphat king of Judah: “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to battle against Moab?” And he said, “I will go. I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” 8 Then he said, “By which way shall we march?” Jehoram answered, “By the way of the wilderness of Edom.” 9 So the king of Israel went with the king of Judah and the king of Edom. And when they had made a circuitous march of seven days, there was no water for the army or for the animals that followed them. 10 Then the king of Israel said, “Alas! The LORD has called these three kings to give them into the hand of Moab.” 11 And Jehoshaphat said, “Is there no prophet of the LORD here, through whom we may inquire of the LORD?” Then one of the king of Israel's servants answered, “Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, who poured water on the hands of Elijah.” 12 And Jehoshaphat said, “The word of the LORD is with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him. 13 And Elisha said to the king of Israel, “What have I to do with you? Go to the prophets of your father and to the prophets of your mother.” But the king of Israel said to him, “No; it is the LORD who has called these three kings to give them into the hand of Moab.” 14 And Elisha said, “As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, were it not that I have regard for Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would neither look at you nor see you. 15 But now bring me a musician.” And when the musician played, the hand of the LORD came upon him. 16 And he said, “Thus says the LORD, ‘I will make this dry streambed full of pools.' 17 For thus says the LORD, ‘You shall not see wind or rain, but that streambed shall be filled with water, so that you shall drink, you, your livestock, and your animals.' 18 This is a light thing in the sight of the LORD. He will also give the Moabites into your hand, 19 and you shall attack every fortified city and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree and stop up all springs of water and ruin every good piece of land with stones.” 20 The next morning, about the time of offering the sacrifice, behold, water came from the direction of Edom, till the country was filled with water. 21 When all the Moabites heard that the kings had come up to fight against them, all who were able to put on armor, from the youngest to the oldest, were called out and were drawn up at the border. 22 And when they rose early in the morning and the sun shone on the water, the Moabites saw the water opposite them as red as blood. 23 And they said, “This is blood; the kings have surely fought together and struck one another down. Now then, Moab, to the spoil!” 24 But when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose and struck the Moabites, till they fled before them. And they went forward, striking the Moabites as they went.1 25 And they overthrew the cities, and on every good piece of land every man threw a stone until it was covered. They stopped every spring of water and felled all the good trees, till only its stones were left in Kir-hareseth, and the slingers surrounded and attacked it. 26 When the king of Moab saw that the battle was going against him, he took with him 700 swordsmen to break through, opposite the king of Edom, but they could not. 27 Then he took his oldest son who was to reign in his place and offered him for a burnt offering on the wall. And there came great wrath against Israel. And they withdrew from him and returned to their own land. Elisha and the Widow's Oil 4 Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” 2 And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” 3 Then he said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. 4 Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside.” 5 So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. 6 When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another.” Then the oil stopped flowing. 7 She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.” Elisha and the Shunammite Woman 8 One day Elisha went on to Shunem, where a wealthy woman lived, who urged him to eat some food. So whenever he passed that way, he would turn in there to eat food. 9 And she said to her husband, “Behold now, I know that this is a holy man of God who is continually passing our way. 10 Let us make a small room on the roof with walls and put there for him a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp, so that whenever he comes to us, he can go in there.” 11 One day he came there, and he turned into the chamber and rested there. 12 And he said to Gehazi his servant, “Call this Shunammite.” When he had called her, she stood before him. 13 And he said to him, “Say now to her, ‘See, you have taken all this trouble for us; what is to be done for you? Would you have a word spoken on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?'” She answered, “I dwell among my own people.” 14 And he said, “What then is to be done for her?” Gehazi answered, “Well, she has no son, and her husband is old.” 15 He said, “Call her.” And when he had called her, she stood in the doorway. 16 And he said, “At this season, about this time next year, you shall embrace a son.” And she said, “No, my lord, O man of God; do not lie to your servant.” 17 But the woman conceived, and she bore a son about that time the following spring, as Elisha had said to her. Elisha Raises the Shunammite's Son 18 When the child had grown, he went out one day to his father among the reapers. 19 And he said to his father, “Oh, my head, my head!” The father said to his servant, “Carry him to his mother.” 20 And when he had lifted him and brought him to his mother, the child sat on her lap till noon, and then he died. 21 And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God and shut the door behind him and went out. 22 Then she called to her husband and said, “Send me one of the servants and one of the donkeys, that I may quickly go to the man of God and come back again.” 23 And he said, “Why will you go to him today? It is neither new moon nor Sabbath.” She said, “All is well.” 24 Then she saddled the donkey, and she said to her servant, “Urge the animal on; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you.” 25 So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel. When the man of God saw her coming, he said to Gehazi his servant, “Look, there is the Shunammite. 26 Run at once to meet her and say to her, ‘Is all well with you? Is all well with your husband? Is all well with the child?'” And she answered, “All is well.” 27 And when she came to the mountain to the man of God, she caught hold of his feet. And Gehazi came to push her away. But the man of God said, “Leave her alone, for she is in bitter distress, and the LORD has hidden it from me and has not told me.” 28 Then she said, “Did I ask my lord for a son? Did I not say, ‘Do not deceive me?'” 29 He said to Gehazi, “Tie up your garment and take my staff in your hand and go. If you meet anyone, do not greet him, and if anyone greets you, do not reply. And lay my staff on the face of the child.” 30 Then the mother of the child said, “As the LORD lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So he arose and followed her. 31 Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the face of the child, but there was no sound or sign of life. Therefore he returned to meet him and told him, “The child has not awakened.” 32 When Elisha came into the house, he saw the child lying dead on his bed. 33 So he went in and shut the door behind the two of them and prayed to the LORD. 34 Then he went up and lay on the child, putting his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands. And as he stretched himself upon him, the flesh of the child became warm. 35 Then he got up again and walked once back and forth in the house, and went up and stretched himself upon him. The child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 36 Then he summoned Gehazi and said, “Call this Shunammite.” So he called her. And when she came to him, he said, “Pick up your son.” 37 She came and fell at his feet, bowing to the ground. Then she picked up her son and went out. Elisha Purifies the Deadly Stew 38 And Elisha came again to Gilgal when there was a famine in the land. And as the sons of the prophets were sitting before him, he said to his servant, “Set on the large pot, and boil stew for the sons of the prophets.” 39 One of them went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine and gathered from it his lap full of wild gourds, and came and cut them up into the pot of stew, not knowing what they were. 40 And they poured out some for the men to eat. But while they were eating of the stew, they cried out, “O man of God, there is death in the pot!” And they could not eat it. 41 He said, “Then bring flour.” And he threw it into the pot and said, “Pour some out for the men, that they may eat.” And there was no harm in the pot. 42 A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. And Elisha said, “Give to the men, that they may eat.” 43 But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred men?” So he repeated, “Give them to the men, that they may eat, for thus says the LORD, ‘They shall eat and have some left.'” 44 So he set it before them. And they ate and had some left, according to the word of the LORD. Footnotes  3:24 Septuagint; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain (ESV) New Testament: Romans 9:30–10:21 Romans 9:30–10:21 (Listen) Israel's Unbelief 30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness1 did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 10 Brothers,2 my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.3 The Message of Salvation to All 5 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?'” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?'” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?4 And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. 18 But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.” 19 But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry.” 20 Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, “I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.” 21 But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.” Footnotes  9:31 Greek a law of righteousness  10:1 Or Brothers and sisters  10:4 Or end of the law, that everyone who believes may be justified  10:14 Or him whom they have never heard (ESV) Psalm: Psalm 138 Psalm 138 (Listen) Give Thanks to the Lord Of David. 138 I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise;2 I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.13 On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.2 4 All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O LORD, for they have heard the words of your mouth,5 and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD.6 For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar. 7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. Footnotes  138:2 Or you have exalted your word above all your name  138:3 Hebrew you made me bold in my soul with strength (ESV) Proverb: Proverbs 17:23 Proverbs 17:23 (Listen) 23 The wicked accepts a bribe in secret1 to pervert the ways of justice. Footnotes  17:23 Hebrew a bribe from the bosom (ESV)
BEING IN GODS WILL Romans 12:2 do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove (dokimaz?? - test, discern, examine) what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Today I will be discussing what it means to discern and test what is the good will of God, the acceptable will of God and the perfect will of God in our lives. These are three measurable degrees of the will of God in the New Testament, but I will first outline the general principle of being in the will of God starting from the Old Testament. God's will (thelema) for our lives is God's pathway of purpose and meaning for our lives that flows from his heart to our hearts on our journey of life with him. In the Old Testament Israel was sovereignly placed into God's will by his choice! God took them on a journey under the leadership of Moses into the promised land of Canaan. He had rescued them from out of their slavery under the harsh rule of the Pharaohs in Egypt and He gave them the Commandments of the Law through Moses for them to know what his will was for them and to know his wisdom and to learn obedience. God took the nation of Israel to be his people whose way of life would glorify God by putting God on display to all those other nations. He gave them priests that would offer the blood of animal sacrifices for the forgiveness of their sins and for them to know his mercy and he worked miracles of provision of food and supernaturally won battles for them against their enemies to show them his power and strength. And for about fifteen hundred years God also provided them with prophets and Kings to lead and guide them and to keep them in his will, but for all this they strayed from his path for them. There were corrupt prophets and evil kings and wicked priests who led them astray for the most part of that time as a nation. Their going astray can be summed up in one episode of disobedience and rebellion when he spoke to them through Isaiah. Isaiah 30:1 Woe to my rebellious children, says the Lord; you ask advice from everyone but me and decide to do what I don't want you to do. You yoke yourselves with unbelieving nations, thus piling up your sins. For without consulting me you have gone down to Egypt to find aid and have put your trust in Pharaoh for his protection. But you will be disappointed, humiliated and disgraced, for he can't deliver on his promises to save you. Despite their wilfulness they were still sovereignly in his will, but he had to warn them that their wilfulness was preventing them from receiving his saving power over them. Isaiah 30:15 For the Lord God says: Only in returning to me and waiting for me will you be saved; in quietness and confidence is your strength… He will answer you, and with your own eyes you will see your Teacher (yara – to flow like water). The teachers for them were the prophets and the priests. The Teacher for us is the Holy Spirit. And if you leave God's paths and go astray, you will hear a voice behind you say, “this is the way; walk in it.” The only way that Israel could finally come into the perfect will of God for them was in the person of Jesus who walked in perfect harmony and oneness with his Father in spirit, soul, and body. Jesus said. Hebrews10.5 a body have you prepared for me; ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, The New Testament reality for us is that we can be brought into God's will through Jesus in our harmony and oneness with him. We who believe are now his body in the earth. Israel's consciousness of God's will was the outward seeing of his works in action and the hearing of the words of the prophets. Our consciousness of God's will is through the inner seeing by faith and the witness of the Holy Spirit and the renewing of our minds. We can confidently live in an ever-present consciousness of being in his will. Being in God's will is more about flowing with God rather than receiving direct dictates about things for which we have options and responsibilities, like what house we should or should not buy, or what job to accept. As far as getting a job is concerned it is sometimes a matter of taking what is available at the time. Titus 3:1 Be ready for any honest work… God's will can flow in our life no matter what our options are, and we do not always have to get a text message from God that eliminates our responsibility. We may even go down a blind alley at times, but God will always come down there with us and graciously bring us back again Isaiah 30:15… He will be with you to teach you—with your own eyes you will see your Teacher (yara – to flow like water). And if you leave God's paths and go astray, you will hear a voice behind you saying “this is the way; walk in it. As I mentioned earlier the ‘Teacher' for us is the Holy Spirit as it says in one of my favourite Scriptures 1John 2:27 the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him. I want to now return to the text Scripture that we read at the beginning. Romans 12.1…Present your bodies as a living sacrifice…and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove (test) what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Our bodies become actively engaged in the physical doing of his will, and our minds become renewed with a new consciousness of living in the will of God. This Scripture also mentions three aspects of the doing of God's will that can be tested or measured as to what sphere of God's will we operate in at any one time. These are three degrees of the will of God, the good will of God, the acceptable will of God and the perfect will of God. Paul was not just modelling a spiritual theory but was outlining a transformative process of being conformed to God's likeness in the doing of his will in spirit, soul, and body. The three degrees of doing the will of God The good will of God - agathos; of benefit, good, productive. We honour God by doing worthwhile and productive activities for ourselves and others, and God's good things do not just happen, they are done on purpose, and we can begin each day with that purposeful attitude, knowing that God is with us in the doing of his will. The Bible says that Jesus went about doing good (Acts 10:38), and as he did, miracles happened. When we do the good will of God, other good things happen around us. Prayer and praising God and waiting on the Lord are all purposeful acts of doing good, and God responds to us in this by working all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). There is also our doing good in simple faithful service to others, whether we know them or whether they are strangers, and where we recognise that whatever good work we do is being done as unto the Lord. Just as sin and the selfish ego must be exposed to God's light, so must the understanding of the will of God be brought into the light. This is God's Kingdom reordering in this time. How do we test that the good will of God is happening in us? We need to consciously ask ourselves where God's will is fitting in to our thinking and doing at any one time. We can remind ourselves that when we are doing good things for other people we are also doing them for God, and with God and unto God. The acceptable will of God - euarestos - well pleasing. There are sacrificial things we can do for others that lift our doing good into a higher expression of relationships that bless and please the heart of God as well as other people. Hebrews 13:16 Don't forget to do good and to share what you have with those in need, for such sacrifices are well pleasing to him. Paul also mentions the giving of those in the church at Philippi towards the support of his ministry. Philippians 4:14 … No church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica, you sent aid once and again for my necessities. I have received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Sacrificial giving brings a multiplication of what is given. (Proverbs 11:24 Luke 6:38) The perfect will of God - teleios; mature in growth of spiritual and character, complete. The Bible says that Jesus was made perfect through suffering. Hebrews 2:10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. This means that God's will involves going through adverse circumstances and learning to accept them with thanksgiving, even when they involve receiving unjust treatment at the hands of others. When Jesus willingly went through the injustice of his suffering at the hands of those who persecuted him and insulted him there was a power of God released into the earth that brought us to God. 1Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God. When we go through times of suffering and adversity and place ourselves trustingly in God's hands there is a power released from heaven that draws people to God. We can be assured that the perfect work of Jesus is working through us by faith in these times and receive his joy in our hearts despite the suffering, and know we are being transformed. The highest state of consciousness that a human being can have is to know that they are in the will of God. Everything else has to make way for God's will in his Kingdom even in the midst of chaos around us. We become part of the Lord's prayer of ‘Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done'. We can invite God at any time to search our hearts as David did in the Psalms and show us any wrong attitude we may have. Psalm 139:23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. Having this attitude gives us confidence to go forward in faith even when we aware of falling short because of our weaknesses and failures, and if everything gets too hard, we humbly cry out to Jesus and ask him to do it for us. That's called obtaining mercy and finding grace (Hebrews 4:16). That kind of honest transparency brings forth our faith to do God's will. The right pathway is an attitude of trust as God steers us into his peace in our hearts. Having that kind of peace and that kind of trust and faith is what it means to be in his will.
Old Testament: 2 Kings 1–2 2 Kings 1–2 (Listen) Elijah Denounces Ahaziah 1 After the death of Ahab, Moab rebelled against Israel. 2 Now Ahaziah fell through the lattice in his upper chamber in Samaria, and lay sick; so he sent messengers, telling them, “Go, inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this sickness.” 3 But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, “Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say to them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? 4 Now therefore thus says the LORD, You shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.'” So Elijah went. 5 The messengers returned to the king, and he said to them, “Why have you returned?” 6 And they said to him, “There came a man to meet us, and said to us, ‘Go back to the king who sent you, and say to him, Thus says the LORD, Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.'” 7 He said to them, “What kind of man was he who came to meet you and told you these things?” 8 They answered him, “He wore a garment of hair, with a belt of leather about his waist.” And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.” 9 Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty men with his fifty. He went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, “O man of God, the king says, ‘Come down.'” 10 But Elijah answered the captain of fifty, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty. 11 Again the king sent to him another captain of fifty men with his fifty. And he answered and said to him, “O man of God, this is the king's order, ‘Come down quickly!'” 12 But Elijah answered them, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty. 13 Again the king sent the captain of a third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up and came and fell on his knees before Elijah and entreated him, “O man of God, please let my life, and the life of these fifty servants of yours, be precious in your sight. 14 Behold, fire came down from heaven and consumed the two former captains of fifty men with their fifties, but now let my life be precious in your sight.” 15 Then the angel of the LORD said to Elijah, “Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.” So he arose and went down with him to the king 16 and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Because you have sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron—is it because there is no God in Israel to inquire of his word?—therefore you shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.'” 17 So he died according to the word of the LORD that Elijah had spoken. Jehoram became king in his place in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, because Ahaziah had no son. 18 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? Elijah Taken to Heaven 2 Now when the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. 2 And Elijah said to Elisha, “Please stay here, for the LORD has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. 3 And the sons of the prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that today the LORD will take away your master from over you?” And he said, “Yes, I know it; keep quiet.” 4 Elijah said to him, “Elisha, please stay here, for the LORD has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. 5 The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that today the LORD will take away your master from over you?” And he answered, “Yes, I know it; keep quiet.” 6 Then Elijah said to him, “Please stay here, for the LORD has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. 7 Fifty men of the sons of the prophets also went and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. 8 Then Elijah took his cloak and rolled it up and struck the water, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground. 9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” 10 And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.” 11 And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. 13 And he took up the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 Then he took the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water, saying, “Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over. Elisha Succeeds Elijah 15 Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho saw him opposite them, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” And they came to meet him and bowed to the ground before him. 16 And they said to him, “Behold now, there are with your servants fifty strong men. Please let them go and seek your master. It may be that the Spirit of the LORD has caught him up and cast him upon some mountain or into some valley.” And he said, “You shall not send.” 17 But when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, “Send.” They sent therefore fifty men. And for three days they sought him but did not find him. 18 And they came back to him while he was staying at Jericho, and he said to them, “Did I not say to you, ‘Do not go'?” 19 Now the men of the city said to Elisha, “Behold, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees, but the water is bad, and the land is unfruitful.” 20 He said, “Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him. 21 Then he went to the spring of water and threw salt in it and said, “Thus says the LORD, I have healed this water; from now on neither death nor miscarriage shall come from it.” 22 So the water has been healed to this day, according to the word that Elisha spoke. 23 He went up from there to Bethel, and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” 24 And he turned around, and when he saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys. 25 From there he went on to Mount Carmel, and from there he returned to Samaria. (ESV) Psalm: Psalm 137 Psalm 137 (Listen) How Shall We Sing the Lord's Song? 137 By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion.2 On the willows1 there we hung up our lyres.3 For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” 4 How shall we sing the LORD's song in a foreign land?5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill!6 Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy! 7 Remember, O LORD, against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem, how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare, down to its foundations!”8 O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed, blessed shall he be who repays you with what you have done to us!9 Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock! Footnotes  137:2 Or poplars (ESV) New Testament: 1 Peter 3–5 1 Peter 3–5 (Listen) Wives and Husbands 3 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. 7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you1 of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. Suffering for Righteousness' Sake 8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit;11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered2 once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which3 he went and proclaimed4 to the spirits in prison, 20 because5 they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him. Stewards of God's Grace 4 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh,6 arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. 3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. 4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does. 7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Suffering as a Christian 12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory7 and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”8 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. Shepherd the Flock of God 5 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight,9 not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you;10 not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 5 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. Final Greetings 12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it. 13 She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, my son. 14 Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ. Footnotes  3:7 Some manuscripts since you are joint heirs  3:18 Some manuscripts died  3:19 Or the Spirit, in whom  3:19 Or preached  3:20 Or when  4:1 Some manuscripts add for us; some for you  4:14 Some manuscripts insert and of power  4:18 Greek where will the ungodly and sinner appear?  5:2 Some manuscripts omit exercising oversight  5:2 Some manuscripts omit as God would have you (ESV)
Morning: Psalm 103:8–13; Luke 15:20; Romans 8:15–16; Ephesians 2:13; Ephesians 2:19 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 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. You have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.—But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ…. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. Psalm 103:8–13 (Listen) 8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.9 He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.10 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. (ESV) Luke 15:20 (Listen) 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. (ESV) Romans 8:15–16 (Listen) 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (ESV) Ephesians 2:13 (Listen) 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (ESV) Ephesians 2:19 (Listen) 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,1 but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, Footnotes  2:19 Or sojourners (ESV) Evening: Isaiah 62:2; Isaiah 65:17; Ezekiel 36:26; John 3:3; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:24; 2 Peter 3:11; Revelation 21:5 “Behold, I am making all things new.” “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”—If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”—Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump.—The new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.—You shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give. “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.”—Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness. Isaiah 62:2 (Listen) 2 The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give. (ESV) Isaiah 65:17 (Listen) New Heavens and a New Earth 17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. (ESV) Ezekiel 36:26 (Listen) 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (ESV) John 3:3 (Listen) 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again1 he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Footnotes  3:3 Or from above; the Greek is purposely ambiguous and can mean both again and from above; also verse 7 (ESV) 1 Corinthians 5:7 (Listen) 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. (ESV) 2 Corinthians 5:17 (Listen) 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.1 The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. Footnotes  5:17 Or creature (ESV) Ephesians 4:24 (Listen) 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (ESV) 2 Peter 3:11 (Listen) 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, (ESV) Revelation 21:5 (Listen) 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (ESV)
Hebrews 9:23-28 “23 Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to […] The post What Would You Pack? appeared first on Lifepoint Church.
Old Testament: 1 Kings 11 1 Kings 11 (Listen) Solomon Turns from the Lord 11 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 2 from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. 3 He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. 4 For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and did not wholly follow the LORD, as David his father had done. 7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem. 8 And so he did for all his foreign wives, who made offerings and sacrificed to their gods. The Lord Raises Adversaries 9 And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice 10 and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods. But he did not keep what the LORD commanded. 11 Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, “Since this has been your practice and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant. 12 Yet for the sake of David your father I will not do it in your days, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son, for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem that I have chosen.” 14 And the LORD raised up an adversary against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite. He was of the royal house in Edom. 15 For when David was in Edom, and Joab the commander of the army went up to bury the slain, he struck down every male in Edom 16 (for Joab and all Israel remained there six months, until he had cut off every male in Edom). 17 But Hadad fled to Egypt, together with certain Edomites of his father's servants, Hadad still being a little child. 18 They set out from Midian and came to Paran and took men with them from Paran and came to Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, who gave him a house and assigned him an allowance of food and gave him land. 19 And Hadad found great favor in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him in marriage the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen. 20 And the sister of Tahpenes bore him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh's house. And Genubath was in Pharaoh's house among the sons of Pharaoh. 21 But when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers and that Joab the commander of the army was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, “Let me depart, that I may go to my own country.” 22 But Pharaoh said to him, “What have you lacked with me that you are now seeking to go to your own country?” And he said to him, “Only let me depart.” 23 God also raised up as an adversary to him, Rezon the son of Eliada, who had fled from his master Hadadezer king of Zobah. 24 And he gathered men about him and became leader of a marauding band, after the killing by David. And they went to Damascus and lived there and made him king in Damascus. 25 He was an adversary of Israel all the days of Solomon, doing harm as Hadad did. And he loathed Israel and reigned over Syria. 26 Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephraimite of Zeredah, a servant of Solomon, whose mother's name was Zeruah, a widow, also lifted up his hand against the king. 27 And this was the reason why he lifted up his hand against the king. Solomon built the Millo, and closed up the breach of the city of David his father. 28 The man Jeroboam was very able, and when Solomon saw that the young man was industrious he gave him charge over all the forced labor of the house of Joseph. 29 And at that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him on the road. Now Ahijah had dressed himself in a new garment, and the two of them were alone in the open country. 30 Then Ahijah laid hold of the new garment that was on him, and tore it into twelve pieces. 31 And he said to Jeroboam, “Take for yourself ten pieces, for thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am about to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon and will give you ten tribes 32 (but he shall have one tribe, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city that I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel), 33 because they have1 forsaken me and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the Ammonites, and they have not walked in my ways, doing what is right in my sight and keeping my statutes and my rules, as David his father did. 34 Nevertheless, I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, but I will make him ruler all the days of his life, for the sake of David my servant whom I chose, who kept my commandments and my statutes. 35 But I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand and will give it to you, ten tribes. 36 Yet to his son I will give one tribe, that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen to put my name. 37 And I will take you, and you shall reign over all that your soul desires, and you shall be king over Israel. 38 And if you will listen to all that I command you, and will walk in my ways, and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, I will be with you and will build you a sure house, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you. 39 And I will afflict the offspring of David because of this, but not forever.'” 40 Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. But Jeroboam arose and fled into Egypt, to Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon. 41 Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the Book of the Acts of Solomon? 42 And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. 43 And Solomon slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of David his father. And Rehoboam his son reigned in his place. Footnotes  11:33 Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate he has; twice in this verse (ESV) Psalm: Psalm 130 Psalm 130 (Listen) My Soul Waits for the Lord A Song of Ascents. 130 Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD!2 O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! 3 If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?4 But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. 5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;6 my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. 7 O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.8 And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities. (ESV) New Testament: Hebrews 9 Hebrews 9 (Listen) The Earthly Holy Place 9 Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. 2 For a tent1 was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence.2 It is called the Holy Place. 3 Behind the second curtain was a second section3 called the Most Holy Place, 4 having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron's staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. 5 Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. 6 These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, 7 but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. 8 By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing 9 (which is symbolic for the present age).4 According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, 10 but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation. Redemption Through the Blood of Christ 11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come,5 then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify6 for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our7 conscience from dead works to serve the living God. 15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.8 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. 23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Footnotes  9:2 Or tabernacle; also verses 11, 21  9:2 Greek the presentation of the loaves  9:3 Greek tent; also verses 6, 8  9:9 Or which is symbolic for the age then present  9:11 Some manuscripts good things to come  9:13 Or For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies  9:14 Some manuscripts your  9:15 The Greek word means both covenant and will; also verses 16, 17 (ESV)
The best is yet to come if we invest in what matters most. What we do WITH Christ is far more important than what we do FOR Christ. What are you living for? What are you investing your time and energy into? DON'T DO MORE, DO WHAT MATTERS MOST. What matters most to you? The story of Mary and Martha is a great reminder that we can fill our time with so many things to do, but there's ONE thing that matters most.
Identity // Pentecost Acts 2:1a NIV 1a When the day of Pentecost came… Matthew 5:17 NIV17 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. Passover 1 Corinthians 5:7b NIV 7b For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed… Passover fulfilled is SALVATION. Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. Tabernacles Tabernacle means temporary home. 2 Corinthians 5:1 NLT 1 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.____ 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NIV 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Pentecost Acts 2:1-3 NIV 1 When the day of Pentecost came they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. Hebrews 10:11-12;14-18 NIV 11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. 15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: 16 “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” 17 Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” 18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary. Acts 1:8 NIV8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Questions1. What was Passover and how did Jesus fulfill it?2. What was the Feast of Tabernacles and how is that an image of us today?3. What is Pentecost and why does it matter to us as Believers?
1 Peter 3:18-22 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all time, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which He also went and made proclamation to the spirits in prison, 20 who once were disobedient when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him. Video - https://youtu.be/sinAajMdphs Pastor Edward Caballero Community Bible Church in Anaheim, California Sunday Morning Bible Class 6/5/2022 http://www.facebook.com/CBCanaheim http://www.instagram.com/CBCanaheim http://www.Community-Bible.com --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/cbcanaheim/message
8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because[d] they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.
Blessings and Welcome!Join me in the reading and discussion of 1 Corinthians:1:1-31.1 Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their's and our's:3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.Thank you for tuning in.Blessings,Glenda @ www.glendacoker.orgEmail: firstname.lastname@example.orgJ.mp/SisterG
This episode we discuss people feeling the need to belong to an organization or having a true longing For Christ. As always, thanks for listening. We don't claim to have all the answers - and you should never ever take our word for it - DO YOUR RESEARCH, READ YOUR BIBLE ! Don't ever be ashamed to ask about things you don't understand. Go to God in prayer, ask for answers to be revealed to you, stay in God's will and read your bible. We aren't perfect and we don't profess to be, far from it actually - keep that in mind as you listen to our stories. If you are spending more time picking apart our messages, your spending too much time on the wrong things. Put your focus back on God. Read Your Bible. Pray. Surround Yourself with Like-Minded Christians. Gather with Two or More in His Name. Go. Disciple. Know your sources, research your topics, cross reference verses and never grieve the Holy Spirit. CLICKABLE LINKS: Our website - GRACEWORX Beyond Belief Podcast GraceWorx Community Forum DISCLAIMER - We try our best, with the greatest of intentions, to provide accurate information regarding Christianity, relative information about our relationship with God and our knowledge of the Bible. We never express to be infallible or to not make mistakes. As such, you may find something that is inaccurate - we try our best to correct our mistakes. Another words, we are human. Please try to understand that. Have a blessed day. If you recognize something that we presented that you disagree with, please drop us an email. Support your military, Support your country, Support local law enforcement and Support your Church ✟
Romans 15:1–13 (Listen) The Example of Christ 15:1 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” 4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. Christ the Hope of Jews and Gentiles 8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.” 10 And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” 11 And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.” 12 And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.” 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (ESV)
Follow the Lamb Revelation 14 by William Klock A few weeks ago we observed what's often called “Good Shepherd Sunday”, the Second Sunday after Easter. We read the Gospel from John 10. That's where Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me” (John 10:14). Later he says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28). The good shepherd knows his sheep, but because he knows us, we grow to know him in return. “My sheep hear my voice,” he says. It's the image of a shepherd, not driving his sheep from behind, not corralling them with sheep dogs, but going ahead, leading the way. And because the sheep know him, they follow. They know they are secure. Throughout the Gospels that is Jesus' call: “Follow me.” To the fisherman tending their nets, he calls out, “Follow me.” To Matthew, sitting in the customs house counting his money, he calls out, “Follow me.” When his friends ask him stupid questions or complain that they don't know what the future holds, Jesus sets them back on track and says to them, “Follow me.” That's what it's all about: following Jesus. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff comfort me.” In contrast, the last couple of chapters in Revelation have shown us the dragon and his beasts. The first beast boasts blasphemously, claiming to be divine. His pet, the second beast, compels the people of the nations to worship him. In contrast to the Israelites, who were to bind God's law to their heads and hands—to meditate on it and to live by it—the nations are similarly marked by the beast with a parody of the Lord's exhortation. They devote themselves to the beast, to his values, and to his system. And those not devoted to the beast and his worship become outcasts and are persecuted. In the midst of all this, John is exhorted: “Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.” This is the valley of the shadow of death, but keep following the good shepherd. And now as we begin Chapter 15, we see Jesus leading those who endured in faith. Look at 14:1-5. Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless. Picture the good shepherd as he makes his way up to the mountain top, to the sheepfold, and behind him follow his sheep—a multitude of them. It may have seemed as though the entire world was bowing before the beast, capitulating to the empire, offering their pinch of incense to Caesar. As we read in 13:4, those who saw the power and authority of the beast cried out, “Who is like the beast and who can fight against it?” To oppose the beast was hopeless. And yet it wasn't. And this multitude following Jesus, this 144,000, this number symbolic of completeness, they prove otherwise. Rather than bearing the mark of the beast, these are marked on their foreheads with the name of the Father and of the Lamb. These are those who had been baptised into Jesus. The heavenly orchestra accompanies them as they burst into a new song in the presence of the Lord. And it's a song that they and they alone can sing. Why? Because this is a unique people. Who are they? In addition to being marked out by God, John says that these “have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins”. This is symbolic language. It doesn't mean that they were all men. It doesn't mean that they were literally all virgins. It's a symbolic picture of faithfulness. In Old Testament imagery, Israel was depicted as a pure virgin and, of course, the Lord was the groom. This was the ideal that Israel repeatedly failed to keep. Over and over she prostituted herself to foreign gods. And so this group of people stands in contrast both to unbelieving Israel, but more immediately, they stand in contrast to the nations from which John says they have been redeemed. The nations had become drunk on the wine of Babylon—on the wickedness of Rome and her false gods. In contrast, these have kept themselves pure. “It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes,” John writes. And they followed even to death. Jesus called to them, “Follow me,” and they followed him. They followed him through rejection, through persecution, through tribulation, even through death, because Jesus had already died for them and they had no reason to fear and every reason to be faithful. Tribulation. Perseverance. Kingdom. That's what Revelation is about and we see the kingdom bit here. John draws often on Psalm 2. These saints stand on Mt. Zion with Jesus. The Psalmist writes, “I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill” (2:6). This is the king who will “break the nations with a rod of iron and dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel” (2:9). This is the same Psalm that Jesus used when he gave John the letter to the Christians in Thyatira: The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. (2:26-27) As messed up as some of those churches were, John also sees them here having stood firmly for Jesus. They have “conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name,” he writes in the next chapter. They have followed Jesus in faithfulness and they now share in his reward. They have been “redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb”. If you've been reading ahead, these are that special group who make up the first resurrection of the dead that we read about in Chapter 20. The beast built his world on a lie, just as the devil did in the beginning. These are they who refused the lie for the truth of God. These are they who took the mark of the Lamb rather than the mark of the beast, even though it meant they would stand out, ripe for persecution. Brothers and Sisters, that's what it means to follow Jesus. Now that the saints have been marked by God, judgement on the wicked is finally unleashed. From here to the end of Chapter 18, John describes the Lord's judgment as it was to fall on the Greco-Roman world. Look at verses 6-13: Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” Another angel, a second, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.” And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God's wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.” Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” John draws on the prophecy of Isaiah now. The middle part of Isaiah was written to Israel in exile, to Israel on the verge of losing hope. The Babylonians had defeated Israel, they'd destroyed Jerusalem and the temple, and they'd taken all but the poor back to Babylon and into exile. “Where is our God?” the people asked. By all accounts the Lord appears to have been defeated by the gods of the Babylonians—and that made him a god not worth following, not worth worshipping. And so Isaiah prophesied. He prophesied about the covenant faithfulness of the Lord. He reminded Israel that the Lord is the one who created heaven and earth and that he had not and will never be defeated by the false gods of the nations. He had no more been defeated by the gods of Babylon than he had been defeated by the gods of Egypt a thousand years before. When the time was right, the Lord would, as he had in the past, manifest his power and authority. He would deliver his people, renew his covenant with them, and set all to rights. And the Lord, Isaiah prophesied, will do all of this through his servant—the servant whom we meet in the New Testament as Jesus. Babylon will fall—and Isaiah has no shortages of oracles about Babylon falling. And this is where we read that well-known passage about the beautiful feet of him who brings good news. That's the imagery and language John is drawing on here when he writes about this angel, this herald carrying an “eternal gospel”—good news. Brothers and Sisters, what is the gospel? We too often have a narrow and truncated view of the gospel. We often make it very self-centred: God loves me, God forgives me, God saves me. All of that is true, but the gospel is a lot bigger than that, too. Think of St. Paul writing in Romans. There the gospel is about Jesus' the king descended from David and recognized as the son of God in his resurrection. It's about the fact that he is lord of all and that he will not only set us personally right, but that he will set all of creation to rights. The gospel is big—far bigger than we often give it credit. And so, drawing on Isaiah, especially Isaiah 52, John has three things in mind when we writes about the preaching of this gospel. First, the Lord reigns. However things may look, the God of Israel is in control—over the gods of Babylon, over Israel's defeat and exile, and over everything—which means it will be okay (52:7, 9). Second, Isaiah reminds the people that the Lord will return. The temple was destroyed, the Lord's presence was no longer there, but he will return and everyone will see and know it (52:8). And, third, the Lord has rolled up his sleeves—he's “bared his arms”—to deliver his people and all the world will see it (52:10). And yet, when Babylon eventually did fall and Israel returned to the land and rebuilt the temple, the Lord remained conspicuously absent. The glory cloud never returned to the temple. Not until Jesus did the Lord return to fulfil these promises once and for all. John also draws on lengthy passages of judgement from Jeremiah. Jeremiah, too, experienced the defeat of Israel by Babylon, the destruction of the city, and the aftermath of exile. The last seven chapters of his prophecy are announcements of judgement on Egypt, Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Syria, and finally Babylon. These were the nations that fought and oppressed God's people and Jeremiah announced the judgement that was to come on them. And that sets up the judgement John writes about. The gospel is good news on two fronts. It's good news that the Lord is setting this fallen world to rights and it's good news that this also means the enemies of God and his people will finally be judged and dealt with—their corrupting influence removed and the saints they oppressed vindicated. The angels announce, Babylon who forced her immorality on the nations and made them drunk, has fallen, and in verses 9-11, the Lord's judgement will be both just and thorough. It's not just the beast; it's not just Babylon. Those who have drunk her wine will drink the full cup of the Lord's wrath. John borrows this image from Isaiah 34, where the destruction of Edom is compared to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Again, the Lord's judgement on the wicked will be just, it will be thorough, and it will be complete. And, note, John describes this judgement and destruction as happening in the presence of the Lamb. First, Jesus does not turn away and leave others to carry out justice. Second, it's also a reminder to us that justice on the wicked—however much it may grieve him—is also pleasing to the Lord. The Lord is just and bringing justice to Creation reveals his glory. But here's the key: this announcement of judgement once again becomes a call for the endurance of the saints, just as we saw in the last chapter. Hold fast to Jesus! “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord,” John is told to write. Here they are, standing with the Lamb on Mt. Zion having endure and overcome. For the saints, death it not the end. The wicked fear death. It is their final wage. But for those who belong to Jesus, death has been defeated and is no more to be feared. Now verses 14-20: Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” So he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped. Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over the fire, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.” So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse's bridle, for 1,600 stadia. The vision shifts from the lamb and his people on Mount Zion to one like a son of man seated on a cloud. This is an image from Daniel 7 of the coming Messiah and his crowning as God's king. But the imagery of the harvest and the winepress is from Joel 3: Let the nations stir themselves up and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the winepress is full. The vats overflow, for their evil is great. (Joel 3:12-13) In his resurrection and ascension the Messiah has taken his throne, he has judged Jerusalem, now he judges the nations. The image of the wine and winepress highlights the justice of the Lord's judgement. In verse 10 John wrote that the worshipers of the beast would drink the wine of God's wrath and now we see that it is their very wickedness that angels tread in the Lord's winepress. The wickedness of the nations is poured back on them. The measure they have given is pressed down, shaken together, and running over is measured back to them. They reap what they have sown and once again God is glorified because his faithfulness is revealed. And that's the message we need to hear. I want to be clear that John was writing to a specific people in a specific time and specific place about specific events that were about to take place. All of it, at least so far, is in our past. It happened long ago. And yet what we see in Revelation about these themes of tribulation, perseverance, and kingdom reverberate down through the ages to us. John reminds us, as he writes in the prologue to his Gospel, that the light has come into the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. Just the opposite, in fact. You and I bear that light today. The darkness still hates the light, but still, the darkness has not and will not overcome it. God will vindicate his people. He always has and he always will, and in that we find out faith and our hope. We look to the cross and know that we are forgiven, we look to the empty tomb and see that death has been defeated, and then we look up and see Jesus ascending to his throne and know that he reigns and always will. That's the good news and the world needs to hear it. So we go out and we proclaim Jesus. We proclaim the cross. We proclaim the empty tomb. We proclaim his ascension. We proclaim the mighty and saving deeds of God to the world. And the light drives the darkness away. Sometime fast. Sometimes slow. But the light drives the darkness away. And yet we know it's not always easy to be that light. The darkness will not overcome it, but that doesn't stop it from trying. And so we need John's words of encouragement and exhortation in our own age. And again that points us to Jesus. The light shined its brightest when the darkness thought it had snuffed it out. And sometimes so too with us. Tribulation, opposition, persecution, and even martyrdom are part of the Lord's plan to bring salvation to the world. There could be no empty tomb without the cross. There could be no ascension if Jesus had not first humbled himself. And so with us and with our life, mission, and ministry, Brothers and Sisters, as he entrust ourselves to Jesus and give ourselves for the sake of the gospel. That 144,000 stands today in the heavenly throne room, praising the Lamb, and witness to us that it is worth following Jesus. He truly is the good shepherd. He is faithful to his promises and he cares for his sheep. We can trust him. For Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will surely come again. Let's pray: Gracious Father, by the death and resurrection of your Son, you have made us an Easter people. Keep his cross and empty tomb and throne ever before us that we might follow in faithful obedience wherever he leads, and fulfil the good purpose you have for us, through him who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
With family: Numbers 25; Psalm 68 Numbers 25 (Listen) Baal Worship at Peor 25 While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. 2 These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. 3 So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel. 4 And the LORD said to Moses, “Take all the chiefs of the people and hang1 them in the sun before the LORD, that the fierce anger of the LORD may turn away from Israel.” 5 And Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you kill those of his men who have yoked themselves to Baal of Peor.” 6 And behold, one of the people of Israel came and brought a Midianite woman to his family, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation of the people of Israel, while they were weeping in the entrance of the tent of meeting. 7 When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose and left the congregation and took a spear in his hand 8 and went after the man of Israel into the chamber and pierced both of them, the man of Israel and the woman through her belly. Thus the plague on the people of Israel was stopped. 9 Nevertheless, those who died by the plague were twenty-four thousand. The Zeal of Phinehas 10 And the LORD said to Moses, 11 “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy. 12 Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give to him my covenant of peace, 13 and it shall be to him and to his descendants after him the covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the people of Israel.'” 14 The name of the slain man of Israel, who was killed with the Midianite woman, was Zimri the son of Salu, chief of a father's house belonging to the Simeonites. 15 And the name of the Midianite woman who was killed was Cozbi the daughter of Zur, who was the tribal head of a father's house in Midian. 16 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 17 “Harass the Midianites and strike them down, 18 for they have harassed you with their wiles, with which they beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of the chief of Midian, their sister, who was killed on the day of the plague on account of Peor.” Footnotes  25:4 Or impale (ESV) Psalm 68 (Listen) God Shall Scatter His Enemies To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. A Song. 68 God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered; and those who hate him shall flee before him!2 As smoke is driven away, so you shall drive them away; as wax melts before fire, so the wicked shall perish before God!3 But the righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy! 4 Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the LORD; exult before him!5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.6 God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land. 7 O God, when you went out before your people, when you marched through the wilderness, Selah8 the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain, before God, the One of Sinai, before God,1 the God of Israel.9 Rain in abundance, O God, you shed abroad; you restored your inheritance as it languished;10 your flock2 found a dwelling in it; in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy. 11 The Lord gives the word; the women who announce the news are a great host:12 “The kings of the armies—they flee, they flee!” The women at home divide the spoil—13 though you men lie among the sheepfolds— the wings of a dove covered with silver, its pinions with shimmering gold.14 When the Almighty scatters kings there, let snow fall on Zalmon. 15 O mountain of God, mountain of Bashan; O many-peaked3 mountain, mountain of Bashan!16 Why do you look with hatred, O many-peaked mountain, at the mount that God desired for his abode, yes, where the LORD will dwell forever?17 The chariots of God are twice ten thousand, thousands upon thousands; the Lord is among them; Sinai is now in the sanctuary.18 You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the LORD God may dwell there. 19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah20 Our God is a God of salvation, and to GOD, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.21 But God will strike the heads of his enemies, the hairy crown of him who walks in his guilty ways.22 The Lord said, “I will bring them back from Bashan, I will bring them back from the depths of the sea,23 that you may strike your feet in their blood, that the tongues of your dogs may have their portion from the foe.” 24 Your procession is4 seen, O God, the procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary—25 the singers in front, the musicians last, between them virgins playing tambourines:26 “Bless God in the great congregation, the LORD, O you5 who are of Israel's fountain!”27 There is Benjamin, the least of them, in the lead, the princes of Judah in their throng, the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali. 28 Summon your power, O God,6 the power, O God, by which you have worked for us.29 Because of your temple at Jerusalem kings shall bear gifts to you.30 Rebuke the beasts that dwell among the reeds, the herd of bulls with the calves of the peoples. Trample underfoot those who lust after tribute; scatter the peoples who delight in war.731 Nobles shall come from Egypt; Cush shall hasten to stretch out her hands to God. 32 O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God; sing praises to the Lord, Selah33 to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens; behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.34 Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel, and whose power is in the skies.35 Awesome is God from his8 sanctuary; the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God! Footnotes  68:8 Or before God, even Sinai before God  68:10 Or your congregation  68:15 Or hunch-backed; also verse 16  68:24 Or has been  68:26 The Hebrew for you is plural here  68:28 By revocalization (compare Septuagint); Hebrew Your God has summoned your power  68:30 The meaning of the Hebrew verse is uncertain  68:35 Septuagint; Hebrew your (ESV) In private: Isaiah 15; 1 Peter 3 Isaiah 15 (Listen) An Oracle Concerning Moab 15 An oracle concerning Moab. Because Ar of Moab is laid waste in a night, Moab is undone; because Kir of Moab is laid waste in a night, Moab is undone.2 He has gone up to the temple,1 and to Dibon, to the high places2 to weep; over Nebo and over Medeba Moab wails. On every head is baldness; every beard is shorn;3 in the streets they wear sackcloth; on the housetops and in the squares everyone wails and melts in tears.4 Heshbon and Elealeh cry out; their voice is heard as far as Jahaz; therefore the armed men of Moab cry aloud; his soul trembles.5 My heart cries out for Moab; her fugitives flee to Zoar, to Eglath-shelishiyah. For at the ascent of Luhith they go up weeping; on the road to Horonaim they raise a cry of destruction;6 the waters of Nimrim are a desolation; the grass is withered, the vegetation fails, the greenery is no more.7 Therefore the abundance they have gained and what they have laid up they carry away over the Brook of the Willows.8 For a cry has gone around the land of Moab; her wailing reaches to Eglaim; her wailing reaches to Beer-elim.9 For the waters of Dibon3 are full of blood; for I will bring upon Dibon even more, a lion for those of Moab who escape, for the remnant of the land. Footnotes  15:2 Hebrew the house  15:2 Or temple, even Dibon to the high places  15:9 Dead Sea Scroll, Vulgate (compare Syriac); Masoretic Text Dimon; twice in this verse (ESV) 1 Peter 3 (Listen) Wives and Husbands 3 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. 7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you1 of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. Suffering for Righteousness' Sake 8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit;11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered2 once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which3 he went and proclaimed4 to the spirits in prison, 20 because5 they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him. Footnotes  3:7 Some manuscripts since you are joint heirs  3:18 Some manuscripts died  3:19 Or the Spirit, in whom  3:19 Or preached  3:20 Or when (ESV)
Listen to Greg Bryan as he teaches from 2 Corinthians 5:11 through 2 Corinthians 6:13We welcome your comments, questions, and feedback. You can reach out to us by emailing us at (email@example.com)Become a Patron! https://www.patreon.com/gospeladdict11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.6 As God's co-workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. 2 For he says,“In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.”I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.3 We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.11 We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. 12 We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. 13 As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also.
With family: Numbers 11; Psalm 48 Numbers 11 (Listen) The People Complain 11 And the people complained in the hearing of the LORD about their misfortunes, and when the LORD heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp. 2 Then the people cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the LORD, and the fire died down. 3 So the name of that place was called Taberah,1 because the fire of the LORD burned among them. 4 Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. 6 But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.” 7 Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its appearance like that of bdellium. 8 The people went about and gathered it and ground it in handmills or beat it in mortars and boiled it in pots and made cakes of it. And the taste of it was like the taste of cakes baked with oil. 9 When the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell with it. 10 Moses heard the people weeping throughout their clans, everyone at the door of his tent. And the anger of the LORD blazed hotly, and Moses was displeased. 11 Moses said to the LORD, “Why have you dealt ill with your servant? And why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me? 12 Did I conceive all this people? Did I give them birth, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a nursing child,' to the land that you swore to give their fathers? 13 Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me and say, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat.' 14 I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If you will treat me like this, kill me at once, if I find favor in your sight, that I may not see my wretchedness.” Elders Appointed to Aid Moses 16 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. 17 And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone. 18 And say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat, for you have wept in the hearing of the LORD, saying, “Who will give us meat to eat? For it was better for us in Egypt.” Therefore the LORD will give you meat, and you shall eat. 19 You shall not eat just one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, 20 but a whole month, until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have rejected the LORD who is among you and have wept before him, saying, “Why did we come out of Egypt?”'” 21 But Moses said, “The people among whom I am number six hundred thousand on foot, and you have said, ‘I will give them meat, that they may eat a whole month!' 22 Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, and be enough for them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, and be enough for them?” 23 And the LORD said to Moses, “Is the LORD's hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.” 24 So Moses went out and told the people the words of the LORD. And he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tent. 25 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. And as soon as the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied. But they did not continue doing it. 26 Now two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the Spirit rested on them. They were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. 27 And a young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” 28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the assistant of Moses from his youth, said, “My lord Moses, stop them.” 29 But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD's people were prophets, that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!” 30 And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp. Quail and a Plague 31 Then a wind from the LORD sprang up, and it brought quail from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day's journey on this side and a day's journey on the other side, around the camp, and about two cubits2 above the ground. 32 And the people rose all that day and all night and all the next day, and gathered the quail. Those who gathered least gathered ten homers.3 And they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. 33 While the meat was yet between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck down the people with a very great plague. 34 Therefore the name of that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah,4 because there they buried the people who had the craving. 35 From Kibroth-hattaavah the people journeyed to Hazeroth, and they remained at Hazeroth. Footnotes  11:3 Taberah means burning  11:31 A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters  11:32 A homer was about 6 bushels or 220 liters  11:34 Kibroth-hattaavah means graves of craving (ESV) Psalm 48 (Listen) Zion, the City of Our God A Song. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. 48 Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised in the city of our God! His holy mountain, 2 beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King.3 Within her citadels God has made himself known as a fortress. 4 For behold, the kings assembled; they came on together.5 As soon as they saw it, they were astounded; they were in panic; they took to flight.6 Trembling took hold of them there, anguish as of a woman in labor.7 By the east wind you shattered the ships of Tarshish.8 As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God, which God will establish forever. Selah 9 We have thought on your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple.10 As your name, O God, so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is filled with righteousness.11 Let Mount Zion be glad! Let the daughters of Judah rejoice because of your judgments! 12 Walk about Zion, go around her, number her towers,13 consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels, that you may tell the next generation14 that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.1 Footnotes  48:14 Septuagint; another reading is (compare Jerome, Syriac) He will guide us beyond death (ESV) In private: Isaiah 1; Hebrews 9 Isaiah 1 (Listen) 1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. The Wickedness of Judah 2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the LORD has spoken: “Children1 have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me.3 The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master's crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” 4 Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the LORD, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged. 5 Why will you still be struck down? Why will you continue to rebel? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.6 From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores and raw wounds; they are not pressed out or bound up or softened with oil. 7 Your country lies desolate; your cities are burned with fire; in your very presence foreigners devour your land; it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners.8 And the daughter of Zion is left like a booth in a vineyard, like a lodge in a cucumber field, like a besieged city. 9 If the LORD of hosts had not left us a few survivors, we should have been like Sodom, and become like Gomorrah. 10 Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the teaching2 of our God, you people of Gomorrah!11 “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. 12 “When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts?13 Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations— I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil,17 learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause. 18 “Come now, let us reason3 together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;20 but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” The Unfaithful City 21 How the faithful city has become a whore,4 she who was full of justice! Righteousness lodged in her, but now murderers.22 Your silver has become dross, your best wine mixed with water.23 Your princes are rebels and companions of thieves. Everyone loves a bribe and runs after gifts. They do not bring justice to the fatherless, and the widow's cause does not come to them. 24 Therefore the Lord declares, the LORD of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel: “Ah, I will get relief from my enemies and avenge myself on my foes.25 I will turn my hand against you and will smelt away your dross as with lye and remove all your alloy.26 And I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.” 27 Zion shall be redeemed by justice, and those in her who repent, by righteousness.28 But rebels and sinners shall be broken together, and those who forsake the LORD shall be consumed.29 For they5 shall be ashamed of the oaks that you desired; and you shall blush for the gardens that you have chosen.30 For you shall be like an oak whose leaf withers, and like a garden without water.31 And the strong shall become tinder, and his work a spark, and both of them shall burn together, with none to quench them. Footnotes  1:2 Or Sons; also verse 4  1:10 Or law  1:18 Or dispute  1:21 Or become unchaste  1:29 Some Hebrew manuscripts you (ESV) Hebrews 9 (Listen) The Earthly Holy Place 9 Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. 2 For a tent1 was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence.2 It is called the Holy Place. 3 Behind the second curtain was a second section3 called the Most Holy Place, 4 having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron's staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. 5 Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. 6 These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, 7 but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. 8 By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing 9 (which is symbolic for the present age).4 According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, 10 but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation. Redemption Through the Blood of Christ 11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come,5 then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify6 for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our7 conscience from dead works to serve the living God. 15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.8 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. 23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters
Old Testament: Judges 15–16 Judges 15–16 (Listen) Samson Defeats the Philistines 15 After some days, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson went to visit his wife with a young goat. And he said, “I will go in to my wife in the chamber.” But her father would not allow him to go in. 2 And her father said, “I really thought that you utterly hated her, so I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister more beautiful than she? Please take her instead.” 3 And Samson said to them, “This time I shall be innocent in regard to the Philistines, when I do them harm.” 4 So Samson went and caught 300 foxes and took torches. And he turned them tail to tail and put a torch between each pair of tails. 5 And when he had set fire to the torches, he let the foxes go into the standing grain of the Philistines and set fire to the stacked grain and the standing grain, as well as the olive orchards. 6 Then the Philistines said, “Who has done this?” And they said, “Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he has taken his wife and given her to his companion.” And the Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire. 7 And Samson said to them, “If this is what you do, I swear I will be avenged on you, and after that I will quit.” 8 And he struck them hip and thigh with a great blow, and he went down and stayed in the cleft of the rock of Etam. 9 Then the Philistines came up and encamped in Judah and made a raid on Lehi. 10 And the men of Judah said, “Why have you come up against us?” They said, “We have come up to bind Samson, to do to him as he did to us.” 11 Then 3,000 men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and said to Samson, “Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then is this that you have done to us?” And he said to them, “As they did to me, so have I done to them.” 12 And they said to him, “We have come down to bind you, that we may give you into the hands of the Philistines.” And Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you will not attack me yourselves.” 13 They said to him, “No; we will only bind you and give you into their hands. We will surely not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock. 14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him. Then the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands. 15 And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck 1,000 men. 16 And Samson said, “With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey have I struck down a thousand men.” 17 As soon as he had finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone out of his hand. And that place was called Ramath-lehi.1 18 And he was very thirsty, and he called upon the LORD and said, “You have granted this great salvation by the hand of your servant, and shall I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 And God split open the hollow place that is at Lehi, and water came out from it. And when he drank, his spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore the name of it was called En-hakkore;2 it is at Lehi to this day. 20 And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years. Samson and Delilah 16 Samson went to Gaza, and there he saw a prostitute, and he went in to her. 2 The Gazites were told, “Samson has come here.” And they surrounded the place and set an ambush for him all night at the gate of the city. They kept quiet all night, saying, “Let us wait till the light of the morning; then we will kill him.” 3 But Samson lay till midnight, and at midnight he arose and took hold of the doors of the gate of the city and the two posts, and pulled them up, bar and all, and put them on his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that is in front of Hebron. 4 After this he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5 And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, “Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver.” 6 So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me where your great strength lies, and how you might be bound, that one could subdue you.” 7 Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 8 Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she bound him with them. 9 Now she had men lying in ambush in an inner chamber. And she said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he snapped the bowstrings, as a thread of flax snaps when it touches the fire. So the secret of his strength was not known. 10 Then Delilah said to Samson, “Behold, you have mocked me and told me lies. Please tell me how you might be bound.” 11 And he said to her, “If they bind me with new ropes that have not been used, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 12 So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And the men lying in ambush were in an inner chamber. But he snapped the ropes off his arms like a thread. 13 Then Delilah said to Samson, “Until now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me how you might be bound.” And he said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web and fasten it tight with the pin, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 14 So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his head and wove them into the web.3 And she made them tight with the pin and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he awoke from his sleep and pulled away the pin, the loom, and the web. 15 And she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,' when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and you have not told me where your great strength lies.” 16 And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death. 17 And he told her all his heart, and said to her, “A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If my head is shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 18 When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up again, for he has told me all his heart.” Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands. 19 She made him sleep on her knees. And she called a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. 20 And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had left him. 21 And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles. And he ground at the mill in the prison. 22 But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved. The Death of Samson 23 Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to rejoice, and they said, “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand.” 24 And when the people saw him, they praised their god. For they said, “Our god has given our enemy into our hand, the ravager of our country, who has killed many of us.”4 25 And when their hearts were merry, they said, “Call Samson, that he may entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he entertained them. They made him stand between the pillars. 26 And Samson said to the young man who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the house was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there, and on the roof there were about 3,000 men and women, who looked on while Samson entertained. 28 Then Samson called to the LORD and said, “O Lord GOD, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. 30 And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life. 31 Then his brothers and all his family came down and took him and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had judged Israel twenty years. Footnotes  15:17 Ramath-lehi means the hill of the jawbone  15:19 En-hakkore means the spring of him who called  16:14 Compare Septuagint; Hebrew lacks and fasten it tight . . . into the web  16:24 Or who has multiplied our slain (ESV) Psalm: Psalm 113 Psalm 113 (Listen) Who Is like the Lord Our God? 113 Praise the LORD! Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD! 2 Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and forevermore!3 From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised! 4 The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens!5 Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high,6 who looks far down on the heavens and the earth?7 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap,8 to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people.9 He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD! (ESV) New Testament: 1 Corinthians 4–5 1 Corinthians 4–5 (Listen) The Ministry of Apostles 4 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. 6 I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers,1 that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. 7 For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? 8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! 9 For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. 11 To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, 12 and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. 14 I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though you have countless2 guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me. 17 That is why I sent3 you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ,4 as I teach them everywhere in every church. 18 Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. 20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. 21 What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness? Sexual Immorality Defiles the Church 5 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. 3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.5 6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church6 whom you are to judge? 13 God judges7 those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” Footnotes  4:6 Or brothers and sisters  4:15 Greek you have ten thousand  4:17 Or am sending  4:17 Some manuscripts add Jesus  5:5 Some manuscripts add Jesus  5:12 Greek those inside  5:13 Or will judge (ESV)