09, January 2019

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Today’s Readings

Isaiah 26–29 ()

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26:1 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:

  “We have a strong city;
    he sets up salvation
    as walls and bulwarks.
  Open the gates,
    that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in.
  You keep him in perfect peace
    whose mind is stayed on you,
    because he trusts in you.
  Trust in the LORD forever,
    for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.
  For he has humbled
    the inhabitants of the height,
    the lofty city.
  He lays it low, lays it low to the ground,
    casts it to the dust.
  The foot tramples it,
    the feet of the poor,
    the steps of the needy.”
  The path of the righteous is level;
    you make level the way of the righteous.
  In the path of your judgments,
    O LORD, we wait for you;
  your name and remembrance
    are the desire of our soul.
  My soul yearns for you in the night;
    my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.
  For when your judgments are in the earth,
    the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
10   If favor is shown to the wicked,
    he does not learn righteousness;
  in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly
    and does not see the majesty of the LORD.
11   O LORD, your hand is lifted up,
    but they do not see it.
  Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed.
    Let the fire for your adversaries consume them.
12   O LORD, you will ordain peace for us,
    for you have indeed done for us all our works.
13   O LORD our God,
    other lords besides you have ruled over us,
    but your name alone we bring to remembrance.
14   They are dead, they will not live;
    they are shades, they will not arise;
  to that end you have visited them with destruction
    and wiped out all remembrance of them.
15   But you have increased the nation, O LORD,
    you have increased the nation; you are glorified;
    you have enlarged all the borders of the land.
16   O LORD, in distress they sought you;
    they poured out a whispered prayer
    when your discipline was upon them.
17   Like a pregnant woman
    who writhes and cries out in her pangs
    when she is near to giving birth,
  so were we because of you, O LORD;
18     we were pregnant, we writhed,
    but we have given birth to wind.
  We have accomplished no deliverance in the earth,
    and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen.
19   Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise.
    You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!
  For your dew is a dew of light,
    and the earth will give birth to the dead.
20   Come, my people, enter your chambers,
    and shut your doors behind you;
  hide yourselves for a little while
    until the fury has passed by.
21   For behold, the LORD is coming out from his place
    to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity,
  and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it,
    and will no more cover its slain.

27:1 In that day the LORD with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea.

  In that day,
  “A pleasant vineyard, sing of it!
    I, the LORD, am its keeper;
    every moment I water it.
    Lest anyone punish it,
  I keep it night and day;
    I have no wrath.
  Would that I had thorns and briers to battle!
    I would march against them,
    I would burn them up together.
  Or let them lay hold of my protection,
    let them make peace with me,
    let them make peace with me.”
  In days to come Jacob shall take root,
    Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots
    and fill the whole world with fruit.
  Has he struck them as he struck those who struck them?
    Or have they been slain as their slayers were slain?
  Measure by measure, by exile you contended with them;
    he removed them with his fierce breath in the day of the east wind.
  Therefore by this the guilt of Jacob will be atoned for,
    and this will be the full fruit of the removal of his sin:
  when he makes all the stones of the altars
    like chalkstones crushed to pieces,
    no Asherim or incense altars will remain standing.
10   For the fortified city is solitary,
    a habitation deserted and forsaken, like the wilderness;
  there the calf grazes;
    there it lies down and strips its branches.
11   When its boughs are dry, they are broken;
    women come and make a fire of them.
  For this is a people without discernment;
    therefore he who made them will not have compassion on them;
    he who formed them will show them no favor.

12 In that day from the river Euphrates to the Brook of Egypt the LORD will thresh out the grain, and you will be gleaned one by one, O people of Israel. 13 And in that day a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were lost in the land of Assyria and those who were driven out to the land of Egypt will come and worship the LORD on the holy mountain at Jerusalem.

28:1   Ah, the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim,
    and the fading flower of its glorious beauty,
    which is on the head of the rich valley of those overcome with wine!
  Behold, the Lord has one who is mighty and strong;
    like a storm of hail, a destroying tempest,
  like a storm of mighty, overflowing waters,
    he casts down to the earth with his hand.
  The proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim
    will be trodden underfoot;
  and the fading flower of its glorious beauty,
    which is on the head of the rich valley,
  will be like a first-ripe fig before the summer:
    when someone sees it, he swallows it
    as soon as it is in his hand.
  In that day the LORD of hosts will be a crown of glory,
    and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people,
  and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment,
    and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.
  These also reel with wine
    and stagger with strong drink;
  the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink,
    they are swallowed by wine,
    they stagger with strong drink,
  they reel in vision,
    they stumble in giving judgment.
  For all tables are full of filthy vomit,
    with no space left.
  “To whom will he teach knowledge,
    and to whom will he explain the message?
  Those who are weaned from the milk,
    those taken from the breast?
10   For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
    line upon line, line upon line,
    here a little, there a little.”
11   For by people of strange lips
    and with a foreign tongue
  the LORD will speak to this people,
12     to whom he has said,
  “This is rest;
    give rest to the weary;
  and this is repose”;
    yet they would not hear.
13   And the word of the LORD will be to them
  precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
    line upon line, line upon line,
    here a little, there a little,
  that they may go, and fall backward,
    and be broken, and snared, and taken.

14   Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scoffers,
    who rule this people in Jerusalem!
15   Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death,
    and with Sheol we have an agreement,
  when the overwhelming whip passes through
    it will not come to us,
  for we have made lies our refuge,
    and in falsehood we have taken shelter”;
16   therefore thus says the Lord GOD,
  “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion,
    a stone, a tested stone,
  a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation:
    ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’
17   And I will make justice the line,
    and righteousness the plumb line;
  and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
    and waters will overwhelm the shelter.”
18   Then your covenant with death will be annulled,
    and your agreement with Sheol will not stand;
  when the overwhelming scourge passes through,
    you will be beaten down by it.
19   As often as it passes through it will take you;
    for morning by morning it will pass through,
    by day and by night;
  and it will be sheer terror to understand the message.
20   For the bed is too short to stretch oneself on,
    and the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in.
21   For the LORD will rise up as on Mount Perazim;
    as in the Valley of Gibeon he will be roused;
  to do his deed—strange is his deed!
    and to work his work—alien is his work!
22   Now therefore do not scoff,
    lest your bonds be made strong;
  for I have heard a decree of destruction
    from the Lord GOD of hosts against the whole land.
23   Give ear, and hear my voice;
    give attention, and hear my speech.
24   Does he who plows for sowing plow continually?
    Does he continually open and harrow his ground?
25   When he has leveled its surface,
    does he not scatter dill, sow cumin,
  and put in wheat in rows
    and barley in its proper place,
    and emmer as the border?
26   For he is rightly instructed;
    his God teaches him.
27   Dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge,
    nor is a cart wheel rolled over cumin,
  but dill is beaten out with a stick,
    and cumin with a rod.
28   Does one crush grain for bread?
    No, he does not thresh it forever;
  when he drives his cart wheel over it
    with his horses, he does not crush it.
29   This also comes from the LORD of hosts;
    he is wonderful in counsel
    and excellent in wisdom.

29:1   Ah, Ariel, Ariel,
    the city where David encamped!
  Add year to year;
    let the feasts run their round.
  Yet I will distress Ariel,
    and there shall be moaning and lamentation,
    and she shall be to me like an Ariel.
  And I will encamp against you all around,
    and will besiege you with towers
    and I will raise siegeworks against you.
  And you will be brought low; from the earth you shall speak,
    and from the dust your speech will be bowed down;
  your voice shall come from the ground like the voice of a ghost,
    and from the dust your speech shall whisper.
  But the multitude of your foreign foes shall be like small dust,
    and the multitude of the ruthless like passing chaff.
  And in an instant, suddenly,
    you will be visited by the LORD of hosts
  with thunder and with earthquake and great noise,
    with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire.
  And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel,
    all that fight against her and her stronghold and distress her,
    shall be like a dream, a vision of the night.
  As when a hungry man dreams, and behold, he is eating,
    and awakes with his hunger not satisfied,
  or as when a thirsty man dreams, and behold, he is drinking,
    and awakes faint, with his thirst not quenched,
  so shall the multitude of all the nations be
    that fight against Mount Zion.
  Astonish yourselves and be astonished;
    blind yourselves and be blind!
  Be drunk, but not with wine;
    stagger, but not with strong drink!
10   For the LORD has poured out upon you
    a spirit of deep sleep,
  and has closed your eyes (the prophets),
    and covered your heads (the seers).

11 And the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed. When men give it to one who can read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” 12 And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot read.”

13   And the Lord said:
  “Because this people draw near with their mouth
    and honor me with their lips,
    while their hearts are far from me,
  and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,
14   therefore, behold, I will again
    do wonderful things with this people,
    with wonder upon wonder;
  and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
    and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”
15   Ah, you who hide deep from the LORD your counsel,
    whose deeds are in the dark,
    and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?”
16   You turn things upside down!
  Shall the potter be regarded as the clay,
  that the thing made should say of its maker,
    “He did not make me”;
  or the thing formed say of him who formed it,
    “He has no understanding”?
17   Is it not yet a very little while
    until Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field,
    and the fruitful field shall be regarded as a forest?
18   In that day the deaf shall hear
    the words of a book,
  and out of their gloom and darkness
    the eyes of the blind shall see.
19   The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD,
    and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.
20   For the ruthless shall come to nothing
    and the scoffer cease,
    and all who watch to do evil shall be cut off,
21   who by a word make a man out to be an offender,
    and lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate,
    and with an empty plea turn aside him who is in the right.

22 Therefore thus says the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob:

  “Jacob shall no more be ashamed,
    no more shall his face grow pale.
23   For when he sees his children,
    the work of my hands, in his midst,
    they will sanctify my name;
  they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob
    and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
24   And those who go astray in spirit will come to understanding,
    and those who murmur will accept instruction.”

Luke 2:1–7 ()

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2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Psalm 46 ()

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To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song.

46:1   God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.
  Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
    though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
  though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
  There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy habitation of the Most High.
  God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
    God will help her when morning dawns.
  The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
    he utters his voice, the earth melts.
  The LORD of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
  Come, behold the works of the LORD,
    how he has brought desolations on the earth.
  He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
    he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the chariots with fire.
10   “Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”
11   The LORD of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Proverbs 1:32–33 ()

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32   For the simple are killed by their turning away,
    and the complacency of fools destroys them;
33   but whoever listens to me will dwell secure
    and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”

09, January 2019

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