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18 August 2017 Bible Reading

Today’s Bible reading includes the 36th Psalm. It is hard for me to tell if David is writing of himself or others. There is a clear acknowledgement of the frustration that comes with dealing with our own spiritual shortcomings.

The psalm shows how God is the answer. It tells us to look at our world. We can see clouds in the sky. We can see mountains and seas. These all give us help to remember what God is like. When we see the sky, we remember His love. When we see the clouds in the sky we remember His truth. In this psalm this means that God will do what he promised. He will keep his promises. Another way to say this is that God will be faithful. When we see a mountain we must remember that God is good. He is more than good, God is righteous. We have a special word for the goodness of God. It is righteousness. It means that God always does what is right, never what is wrong. And when we look at the sea we must remember the justice of God. Justice means that in the end what is right and fair will happen, not what is wrong and not fair.

Esther 4-7
4 Now when Mordecai found out all that was done, Mordecai tore his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the middle of the city, and wailed loudly and a bitterly. 2 He came even before the king’s gate, for no one is allowed inside the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. 3 In every province, wherever the king’s commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes. 4 Esther’s maidens and her eunuchs came and told her this, and the queen was exceedingly grieved. She sent clothing to Mordecai, to replace his sackcloth; but he didn’t receive it. 5 Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs, whom he had appointed to attend her, and commanded him to go to Mordecai, to find out what this was, and why it was. 6 So Hathach went out to Mordecai, to city square which was before the king’s gate. 7 Mordecai told him of all that had happened to him, and the exact sum of the money that Haman had promised to pay to the king’s treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. 8 He also gave him the copy of the writing of the decree that was given out in Shushan to destroy them, to show it to Esther, and to declare it to her, and to urge her to go in to the king, to make supplication to him, and to make request before him, for her people.
9 Hathach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai. 10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach, and gave him a message to Mordecai: 11 “All the king’s servants, and the people of the king’s provinces, know, that whoever, whether man or woman, comes to the king into the inner court without being called, there is one law for him, that he be put to death, except those to whom the king might hold out the golden scepter, that he may live. I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days.”
12 They told to Mordecai Esther’s words. 13 Then Mordecai asked them return answer to Esther, “Don’t think to yourself that you will escape in the king’s house any more than all the Jews. 14 For if you remain silent now, then relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Who knows if you haven’t come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
15 Then Esther asked them to answer Mordecai, 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day. I and my maidens will also fast the same way. Then I will go in to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish.” 17 So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.
5 Now on the third day, Esther put on her royal clothing, and stood in the inner court of the king’s house, next to the king’s house. The king sat on his royal throne in the royal house, next to the entrance of the house. 2 When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, she obtained favor in his sight; and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. So Esther came near, and touched the top of the scepter. 3 Then the king asked her, “What would you like, queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you even to the half of the kingdom.”
4 Esther said, “If it seems good to the king, let the king and Haman come today to the banquet that I have prepared for him.”
5 Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly, so that it may be done as Esther has said.” So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared.
6 The king said to Esther at the banquet of wine, “What is your petition? It shall be granted you. What is your request? Even to the half of the kingdom it shall be performed.”
7 Then Esther answered and said, “My petition and my request is this. 8 If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my petition and to perform my request, let the king and Haman come to the banquet that I will prepare for them, and I will do tomorrow as the king has said.”
9 Then Haman went out that day joyful and glad of heart, but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, that he didn’t stand up nor move for him, he was filled with wrath against Mordecai. 10 Nevertheless Haman restrained himself, and went home. There, he sent and called for his friends and Zeresh his wife. 11 Haman recounted to them the glory of his riches, the multitude of his children, all the things in which the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king. 12 Haman also said, “Yes, Esther the queen let no man come in with the king to the banquet that she had prepared but myself; and tomorrow I am also invited by her together with the king. 13 Yet all this avails me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.”
14 Then Zeresh his wife and all his friends said to him, “Let a gallows be made fifty cubits high, and in the morning speak to the king about hanging Mordecai on it. Then go in merrily with the king to the banquet.” This pleased Haman, so he had the gallows made.
6 On that night, the king couldn’t sleep. He commanded the book of records of the chronicles to be brought, and they were read to the king. 2 It was found written that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who were doorkeepers, who had tried to lay hands on the King Ahasuerus. 3 The king said, “What honor and dignity has been given to Mordecai for this?”
Then the king’s servants who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.”
4 The king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had come into the outer court of the king’s house, to speak to the king about hanging Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him.
5 The king’s servants said to him, “Behold, Haman stands in the court.”
The king said, “Let him come in.” 6 So Haman came in. The king said to him, “What shall be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?”
Now Haman said in his heart, “Who would the king delight to honor more than myself?” 7 Haman said to the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor, 8 let royal clothing be brought which the king uses to wear, and the horse that the king rides on, and on the head of which a crown royal is set. 9 Let the clothing and the horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that they may array the man whom the king delights to honor with them, and have him ride on horseback through the city square, and proclaim before him, ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!’”
10 Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry and take the clothing and the horse, as you have said, and do this for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Let nothing fail of all that you have spoken.”
11 Then Haman took the clothing and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and had him ride through the city square, and proclaimed before him, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!”
12 Mordecai came back to the king’s gate, but Haman hurried to his house, mourning and having his head covered. 13 Haman recounted to Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had happened to him. Then his wise men and Zeresh his wife said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him, but you will surely fall before him.” 14 While they were yet talking with him, the king’s eunuchs came, and hurried to bring Haman to the banquet that Esther had prepared.
7 So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen. 2 The king said again to Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine, “What is your petition, queen Esther? It shall be granted you. What is your request? Even to the half of the kingdom it shall be performed.”
3 Then Esther the queen answered, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request. 4 For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we had been sold for male and female slaves, I would have held my peace, although the adversary could not have compensated for the king’s loss.”
5 Then King Ahasuerus said to Esther the queen, “Who is he, and where is he who dared presume in his heart to do so?”
6 Esther said, “An adversary and an enemy, even this wicked Haman!”
Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen. 7 The king arose in his wrath from the banquet of wine and went into the palace garden. Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king. 8 Then the king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman had fallen on the couch where Esther was. Then the king said, “Will he even assault the queen in front of me in the house?” As the word went out of the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face.
9 Then Harbonah, one of the eunuchs who were with the king said, “Behold, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman has made for Mordecai, who spoke good for the king, is standing at Haman’s house.”
The king said, “Hang him on it!”
10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified.

1 Corinthians 12:1-26
12 Now concerning spiritual things, brothers, I don’t want you to be ignorant. 2 You know that when you were heathen, you were led away to those mute idols, however you might be led. 3 Therefore I make known to you that no man speaking by God’s Spirit says, “Jesus is accursed.” No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” but by the Holy Spirit. 4 Now there are various kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 There are various kinds of service, and the same Lord. 6 There are various kinds of workings, but the same God, who works all things in all. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the profit of all. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom, and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith, by the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, by the same Spirit; 10 and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits; to another different kinds of languages; and to another the interpretation of languages. 11 But the one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing to each one separately as he desires.
12 For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all given to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot would say, “Because I’m not the hand, I’m not part of the body,” it is not therefore not part of the body. 16 If the ear would say, “Because I’m not the eye, I’m not part of the body,” it’s not therefore not part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the smelling be? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body, just as he desired. 19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now they are many members, but one body. 21 The eye can’t tell the hand, “I have no need for you,” or again the head to the feet, “I have no need for you.” 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 Those parts of the body which we think to be less honorable, on those we bestow more abundant honor; and our unpresentable parts have more abundant propriety; 24 whereas our presentable parts have no such need. But God composed the body together, giving more abundant honor to the inferior part, 25 that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 When one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. Or when one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

Psalm 36
For the Chief Musician. By David, the servant of Yahweh.
36 An inner sanctuary is within my heart about the disobedience of the wicked:
“There is no fear of God before his eyes.”
2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes,
too much to detect and hate his sin.
3 The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit.
He has ceased to be wise and to do good.
4 He plots iniquity on his bed.
He sets himself in a way that is not good.
He doesn’t abhor evil.
5 Your loving kindness, Yahweh, is in the heavens.
Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God.
Your judgments are like a great deep.
Yahweh, you preserve man and animal.
7 How precious is your loving kindness, God!
The children of men take refuge under the shadow of your wings.
8 They shall be abundantly satisfied with the abundance of your house.
You will make them drink of the river of your pleasures.
9 For with you is the spring of life.
In your light shall we see light.
10 Oh continue your loving kindness to those who know you,
your righteousness to the upright in heart.
11 Don’t let the foot of pride come against me.
Don’t let the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12 There the workers of iniquity are fallen.
They are thrust down, and shall not be able to rise.

Proverbs 21:21-22
21 He who follows after righteousness and kindness
finds life, righteousness, and honor.
22 A wise man scales the city of the mighty,
and brings down the strength of its confidence.

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