13 September 2017 Bible Reading
Today’s Bible reading brings us to the end of 2 Corinthians. In this final chapter, Paul makes comments to prepare for his third trip to Corinth. He emphasizes his desire for their faithfulness. He therefore encourages them to constantly evaluate themselves, do no evil, and be made complete.
12 In that day you will say, “I will give thanks to you, Yahweh; for though you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you comfort me. 2 Behold, God is my salvation. I will trust, and will not be afraid; for Yahweh, Yahweh, is my strength and song; and he has become my salvation.” 3 Therefore with joy you will draw water out of the wells of salvation. 4 In that day you will say, “Give thanks to Yahweh! Call on his name. Declare his doings among the peoples. Proclaim that his name is exalted! 5 Sing to Yahweh, for he has done excellent things! Let this be known in all the earth! 6 Cry aloud and shout, you inhabitant of Zion; for the Holy One of Israel is great among you!”
13 The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw: 2 Set up a banner on the bare mountain! Lift up your voice to them! Wave your hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles. 3 I have commanded my consecrated ones; yes, I have called my mighty men for my anger, even my proudly exulting ones. 4 The noise of a multitude is in the mountains, as of a great people; the noise of an uproar of the kingdoms of the nations gathered together! Yahweh of Armies is mustering the army for the battle. 5 They come from a far country, from the uttermost part of heaven, even Yahweh, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land. 6 Wail; for the day of Yahweh is at hand! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. 7 Therefore all hands will be feeble, and everyone’s heart will melt. 8 They will be dismayed. Pangs and sorrows will seize them. They will be in pain like a woman in labor. They will look in amazement one at another. Their faces will be faces of flame. 9 Behold, the day of Yahweh comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger; to make the land a desolation, and to destroy its sinners out of it. 10 For the stars of the sky and its constellations will not give their light. The sun will be darkened in its going out, and the moon will not cause its light to shine. 11 I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity. I will cause the arrogance of the proud to cease, and will humble the haughtiness of the terrible. 12 I will make people more rare than fine gold, even a person than the pure gold of Ophir. 13 Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place in Yahweh of Armies’ wrath, and in the day of his fierce anger. 14 It will happen that like a hunted gazelle, and like sheep that no one gathers, they will each turn to their own people, and will each flee to their own land. 15 Everyone who is found will be thrust through. Everyone who is captured will fall by the sword. 16 Their infants also will be dashed in pieces before their eyes. Their houses will be ransacked, and their wives raped. 17 Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, who will not value silver, and as for gold, they will not delight in it. 18 Their bows will dash the young men in pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb. Their eyes will not spare children. 19 Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans’ pride, will be like when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. 20 It will never be inhabited, neither will it be lived in from generation to generation. The Arabian will not pitch a tent there, neither will shepherds make their flocks lie down there. 21 But wild animals of the desert will lie there, and their houses will be full of jackals. Ostriches will dwell there, and wild goats will frolic there. 22 Wolves will cry in their fortresses, and jackals in the pleasant palaces. Her time is near to come, and her days will not be prolonged.
14 For Yahweh will have compassion on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land. The foreigner will join himself with them, and they will unite with the house of Jacob. 2 The peoples will take them, and bring them to their place. The house of Israel will possess them in Yahweh’s land for servants and for handmaids. They will take as captives those whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors. 3 It will happen in the day that Yahweh will give you rest from your sorrow, from your trouble, and from the hard service in which you were made to serve, 4 that you will take up this parable against the king of Babylon, and say, “How the oppressor has ceased! The golden city has ceased!” 5 Yahweh has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers, 6 who struck the peoples in wrath with a continual stroke, who ruled the nations in anger, with a persecution that no one restrained. 7 The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet. They break out song. 8 Yes, the cypress trees rejoice with you, with the cedars of Lebanon, saying, “Since you are humbled, no lumberjack has come up against us.” 9 Sheol from beneath has moved for you to meet you at your coming. It stirs up the departed spirits for you, even all the rulers of the earth. It has raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. 10 They all will answer and ask you, “Have you also become as weak as we are? Have you become like us?” 11 Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, with the sound of your stringed instruments. Maggots are spread out under you, and worms cover you.
12 How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, who laid the nations low! 13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend into heaven! I will exalt my throne above the stars of God! I will sit on the mountain of assembly, in the far north! 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds! I will make myself like the Most High!” 15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the pit. 16 Those who see you will stare at you. They will ponder you, saying, “Is this the man who made the earth to tremble, who shook kingdoms; 17 who made the world like a wilderness, and overthrew its cities; who didn’t release his prisoners to their home?”
18 All the kings of the nations, sleep in glory, everyone in his own house. 19 But you are cast away from your tomb like an abominable branch, clothed with the slain, who are thrust through with the sword, who go down to the stones of the pit; like a dead body trodden under foot. 20 You will not join them in burial, because you have destroyed your land. You have killed your people. The offspring[d] of evildoers will not be named forever. 21 Prepare for slaughter of his children because of the iniquity of their fathers, that they not rise up and possess the earth, and fill the surface of the world with cities. 22 “I will rise up against them,” says Yahweh of Armies, “and cut off from Babylon name and remnant, and son and son’s son,” says Yahweh. 23 “I will also make it a possession for the porcupine, and pools of water. I will sweep it with the broom of destruction,” says Yahweh of Armies. 24 Yahweh of Armies has sworn, saying, “Surely, as I have thought, so shall it happen; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand: 25 that I will break the Assyrian in my land, and tread him under foot on my mountains. Then his yoke will leave them, and his burden leave their shoulders. 26 This is the plan that is determined for the whole earth. This is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations. 27 For Yahweh of Armies has planned, and who can stop it? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?”
28 This burden was in the year that king Ahaz died. 29 Don’t rejoice, O Philistia, all of you, because the rod that struck you is broken; for out of the serpent’s root an adder will emerge, and his fruit will be a fiery flying serpent. 30 The firstborn of the poor will eat, and the needy will lie down in safety; and I will kill your root with famine, and your remnant will be killed.
31 Howl, gate! Cry, city! You are melted away, Philistia, all of you; for smoke comes out of the north, and there is no straggler in his ranks. 32 What will they answer the messengers of the nation? That Yahweh has founded Zion, and in her the afflicted of his people will take refuge.
2 Corinthians 13
13 This is the third time I am coming to you. “At the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” 2 I have said beforehand, and I do say beforehand, as when I was present the second time, so now, being absent, I write to those who have sinned before now, and to all the rest, that, if I come again, I will not spare; 3 seeing that you seek a proof of Christ who speaks in me; who toward you is not weak, but is powerful in you. 4 For he was crucified through weakness, yet he lives through the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we will live with him through the power of God toward you. 5 Examine your own selves, whether you are in the faith. Test your own selves. Or don’t you know as to your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 6 But I hope that you will know that we aren’t disqualified.
7 Now I pray to God that you do no evil; not that we may appear approved, but that you may do that which is honorable, though we are as reprobate. 8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. 9 For we rejoice when we are weak and you are strong. And this we also pray for, even your perfecting. 10 For this cause I write these things while absent, that I may not deal sharply when present, according to the authority which the Lord gave me for building up, and not for tearing down.
11 Finally, brothers, rejoice. Be perfected, be comforted, be of the same mind, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All the saints greet you. 14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.
For the Chief Musician. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” A poem by David, when he fled from Saul, in the cave.
57 Be merciful to me, God, be merciful to me,
for my soul takes refuge in you.
Yes, in the shadow of your wings, I will take refuge,
until disaster has passed.
2 I cry out to God Most High,
to God who accomplishes my requests for me.
3 He will send from heaven, and save me,
he rebukes the one who is pursuing me.
God will send out his loving kindness and his truth.
4 My soul is among lions.
I lie among those who are set on fire,
even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows,
and their tongue a sharp sword.
5 Be exalted, God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be above all the earth!
6 They have prepared a net for my steps.
My soul is bowed down.
They dig a pit before me.
They fall into the middle of it themselves.
7 My heart is steadfast, God, my heart is steadfast.
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises.
8 Wake up, my glory! Wake up, lute and harp!
I will wake up the dawn.
9 I will give thanks to you, Lord, among the peoples.
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
10 For your great loving kindness reaches to the heavens,
and your truth to the skies.
11 Be exalted, God, above the heavens.
Let your glory be over all the earth.
9 Don’t speak in the ears of a fool,
for he will despise the wisdom of your words.
10 Don’t move the ancient boundary stone.
Don’t encroach on the fields of the fatherless:
11 for their Defender is strong.
He will plead their case against you.