04, January 2019

Text size: A- A+

Today’s Readings

Isaiah 8–11 ()

()

8:1 Then the LORD said to me, “Take a large tablet and write on it in common characters, ‘Belonging to Maher-shalal-hash-baz.’ And I will get reliable witnesses, Uriah the priest and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah, to attest for me.”

And I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. Then the LORD said to me, “Call his name Maher-shalal-hash-baz; for before the boy knows how to cry ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria.”

The LORD spoke to me again: “Because this people has refused the waters of Shiloah that flow gently, and rejoice over Rezin and the son of Remaliah, therefore, behold, the Lord is bringing up against them the waters of the River, mighty and many, the king of Assyria and all his glory. And it will rise over all its channels and go over all its banks, and it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass on, reaching even to the neck, and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.”

  Be broken, you peoples, and be shattered;
    give ear, all you far countries;
  strap on your armor and be shattered;
    strap on your armor and be shattered.
10   Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing;
    speak a word, but it will not stand,
    for God is with us.

11 For the LORD spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: 12 “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. 13 But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14 And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15 And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.”

16 Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching among my disciples. 17 I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. 18 Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. 19 And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. 21 They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry. And when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will speak contemptuously against their king and their God, and turn their faces upward. 22 And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.

9:1 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

  The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
  those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
    on them has light shone.
  You have multiplied the nation;
    you have increased its joy;
  they rejoice before you
    as with joy at the harvest,
    as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
  For the yoke of his burden,
    and the staff for his shoulder,
    the rod of his oppressor,
    you have broken as on the day of Midian.
  For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
    and every garment rolled in blood
    will be burned as fuel for the fire.
  For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
  and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
  Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
  Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
  on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
  with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
  The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

  The Lord has sent a word against Jacob,
    and it will fall on Israel;
  and all the people will know,
    Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria,
    who say in pride and in arrogance of heart:
10   “The bricks have fallen,
    but we will build with dressed stones;
  the sycamores have been cut down,
    but we will put cedars in their place.”
11   But the LORD raises the adversaries of Rezin against him,
    and stirs up his enemies.
12   The Syrians on the east and the Philistines on the west
    devour Israel with open mouth.
  For all this his anger has not turned away,
    and his hand is stretched out still.
13   The people did not turn to him who struck them,
    nor inquire of the LORD of hosts.
14   So the LORD cut off from Israel head and tail,
    palm branch and reed in one day—
15   the elder and honored man is the head,
    and the prophet who teaches lies is the tail;
16   for those who guide this people have been leading them astray,
    and those who are guided by them are swallowed up.
17   Therefore the Lord does not rejoice over their young men,
    and has no compassion on their fatherless and widows;
  for everyone is godless and an evildoer,
    and every mouth speaks folly.
  For all this his anger has not turned away,
    and his hand is stretched out still.
18   For wickedness burns like a fire;
    it consumes briers and thorns;
  it kindles the thickets of the forest,
    and they roll upward in a column of smoke.
19   Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts
    the land is scorched,
  and the people are like fuel for the fire;
    no one spares another.
20   They slice meat on the right, but are still hungry,
    and they devour on the left, but are not satisfied;
  each devours the flesh of his own arm,
21   Manasseh devours Ephraim, and Ephraim devours Manasseh;
    together they are against Judah.
  For all this his anger has not turned away,
    and his hand is stretched out still.
10:1   Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees,
    and the writers who keep writing oppression,
  to turn aside the needy from justice
    and to rob the poor of my people of their right,
  that widows may be their spoil,
    and that they may make the fatherless their prey!
  What will you do on the day of punishment,
    in the ruin that will come from afar?
  To whom will you flee for help,
    and where will you leave your wealth?
  Nothing remains but to crouch among the prisoners
    or fall among the slain.
  For all this his anger has not turned away,
    and his hand is stretched out still.

  Woe to Assyria, the rod of my anger;
    the staff in their hands is my fury!
  Against a godless nation I send him,
    and against the people of my wrath I command him,
  to take spoil and seize plunder,
    and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.
  But he does not so intend,
    and his heart does not so think;
  but it is in his heart to destroy,
    and to cut off nations not a few;
  for he says:
  “Are not my commanders all kings?
  Is not Calno like Carchemish?
    Is not Hamath like Arpad?
    Is not Samaria like Damascus?
10   As my hand has reached to the kingdoms of the idols,
    whose carved images were greater than those of Jerusalem and Samaria,
11   shall I not do to Jerusalem and her idols
    as I have done to Samaria and her images?”

12 When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, he will punish the speech of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the boastful look in his eyes. 13 For he says:

  “By the strength of my hand I have done it,
    and by my wisdom, for I have understanding;
  I remove the boundaries of peoples,
    and plunder their treasures;
    like a bull I bring down those who sit on thrones.
14   My hand has found like a nest
    the wealth of the peoples;
  and as one gathers eggs that have been forsaken,
    so I have gathered all the earth;
  and there was none that moved a wing
    or opened the mouth or chirped.”
15   Shall the axe boast over him who hews with it,
    or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it?
  As if a rod should wield him who lifts it,
    or as if a staff should lift him who is not wood!
16   Therefore the Lord GOD of hosts
    will send wasting sickness among his stout warriors,
  and under his glory a burning will be kindled,
    like the burning of fire.
17   The light of Israel will become a fire,
    and his Holy One a flame,
  and it will burn and devour
    his thorns and briers in one day.
18   The glory of his forest and of his fruitful land
    the LORD will destroy, both soul and body,
    and it will be as when a sick man wastes away.
19   The remnant of the trees of his forest will be so few
    that a child can write them down.

20 In that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on him who struck them, but will lean on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. 21 A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. 22 For though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness. 23 For the Lord GOD of hosts will make a full end, as decreed, in the midst of all the earth.

24 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD of hosts: “O my people, who dwell in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrians when they strike with the rod and lift up their staff against you as the Egyptians did. 25 For in a very little while my fury will come to an end, and my anger will be directed to their destruction. 26 And the LORD of hosts will wield against them a whip, as when he struck Midian at the rock of Oreb. And his staff will be over the sea, and he will lift it as he did in Egypt. 27 And in that day his burden will depart from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck; and the yoke will be broken because of the fat.”

28   He has come to Aiath;
  he has passed through Migron;
    at Michmash he stores his baggage;
29   they have crossed over the pass;
    at Geba they lodge for the night;
  Ramah trembles;
    Gibeah of Saul has fled.
30   Cry aloud, O daughter of Gallim!
    Give attention, O Laishah!
    O poor Anathoth!
31   Madmenah is in flight;
    the inhabitants of Gebim flee for safety.
32   This very day he will halt at Nob;
    he will shake his fist
    at the mount of the daughter of Zion,
    the hill of Jerusalem.
33   Behold, the Lord GOD of hosts
    will lop the boughs with terrifying power;
  the great in height will be hewn down,
    and the lofty will be brought low.
34   He will cut down the thickets of the forest with an axe,
    and Lebanon will fall by the Majestic One.

11:1   There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
    and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
  And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,
    the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and might,
    the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
  And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.
  He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
    or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
  but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
    and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
  and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
    and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
  Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
    and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
  The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
    and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
  and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
    and a little child shall lead them.
  The cow and the bear shall graze;
    their young shall lie down together;
    and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
  The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
    and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.
  They shall not hurt or destroy
    in all my holy mountain;
  for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD
    as the waters cover the sea.

10 In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.

11 In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea.

12   He will raise a signal for the nations
    and will assemble the banished of Israel,
  and gather the dispersed of Judah
    from the four corners of the earth.
13   The jealousy of Ephraim shall depart,
    and those who harass Judah shall be cut off;
  Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah,
    and Judah shall not harass Ephraim.
14   But they shall swoop down on the shoulder of the Philistines in the west,
    and together they shall plunder the people of the east.
  They shall put out their hand against Edom and Moab,
    and the Ammonites shall obey them.
15   And the LORD will utterly destroy
    the tongue of the Sea of Egypt,
  and will wave his hand over the River
    with his scorching breath,
  and strike it into seven channels,
    and he will lead people across in sandals.
16   And there will be a highway from Assyria
    for the remnant that remains of his people,
  as there was for Israel
    when they came up from the land of Egypt.

Luke 1:26–38 ()

()

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Psalm 10:1–11 ()

()

10:1   Why, O LORD, do you stand far away?
    Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
  In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;
    let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.
  For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,
    and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the LORD.
  In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;
    all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
  His ways prosper at all times;
    your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
    as for all his foes, he puffs at them.
  He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved;
    throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”
  His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
    under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.
  He sits in ambush in the villages;
    in hiding places he murders the innocent.
  His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
    he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket;
  he lurks that he may seize the poor;
    he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.
10   The helpless are crushed, sink down,
    and fall by his might.
11   He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
    he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

Proverbs 1:10–16 ()

()

10   My son, if sinners entice you,
    do not consent.
11   If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood;
    let us ambush the innocent without reason;
12   like Sheol let us swallow them alive,
    and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
13   we shall find all precious goods,
    we shall fill our houses with plunder;
14   throw in your lot among us;
    we will all have one purse”—
15   my son, do not walk in the way with them;
    hold back your foot from their paths,
16   for their feet run to evil,
    and they make haste to shed blood.

04, January 2019

While you’re here…

… we've got a favour to ask!

For 365 days of the year we're able to provide these great devotions, thanks to a very small portion of readers that donate to the costs.

Today we’re asking for your help. Your gift, large or small, will make a big difference in many lives—and, in addition, it’s tax-deductible (in Australia) as well.

Give now

 

CALENDAR
Select specific day

SMTWTFS
« DecFeb »

SIGNUP
Email or print

Donate to vision

Over 80% of our income is from the freewill gifts of wonderful people just like you.
So thank you for helping. Your generous support is 'Connecting Faith to Life'.