14 September 2017 Bible Reading
Today’s Bible reading begins the letter to the Galatians. It is a letter from Paul to a number of early Christian communities in the Roman province of Galatia. Paul addresses the controversy surrounding Gentile Christians mainly with regard to the practice of circumcision.
15 The burden of Moab: for in a night, Ar of Moab is laid waste, and brought to nothing; for in a night Kir of Moab is laid waste, and brought to nothing. 2 They have gone up to Bayith, and to Dibon, to the high places, to weep. Moab wails over Nebo and over Medeba. Baldness is on all of their heads. Every beard is cut off. 3 In their streets, they clothe themselves in sackcloth. In their streets and on their housetops, everyone wails, weeping abundantly. 4 Heshbon cries out with Elealeh. Their voice is heard even to Jahaz. Therefore the armed men of Moab cry aloud. Their souls tremble within them. 5 My heart cries out for Moab! Her nobles flee to Zoar, to Eglath Shelishiyah; for they go up by the ascent of Luhith with weeping; for on the way to Horonaim, they raise up a cry of destruction. 6 For the waters of Nimrim will be desolate; for the grass has withered away, the tender grass fails, there is no green thing. 7 Therefore they will carry away the abundance they have gotten, and that which they have stored up, over the brook of the willows. 8 For the cry has gone around the borders of Moab; its wailing to Eglaim, and its wailing to Beer Elim. 9 For the waters of Dimon are full of blood; for I will bring yet more on Dimon, a lion on those of Moab who escape, and on the remnant of the land.
16 Send the lambs for the ruler of the land from Selah to the wilderness, to the mountain of the daughter of Zion. 2 For it will be that as wandering birds, as a scattered nest, so will the daughters of Moab be at the fords of the Arnon. 3 Give counsel! Execute justice! Make your shade like the night in the middle of the noonday! Hide the outcasts! Don’t betray the fugitive! 4 Let my outcasts dwell with you! As for Moab, be a hiding place for him from the face of the destroyer. For the extortionist is brought to nothing. Destruction ceases. The oppressors are consumed out of the land. 5 A throne will be established in loving kindness. One will sit on it in truth, in the tent of David, judging, seeking justice, and swift to do righteousness.
6 We have heard of the pride of Moab, that he is very proud; even of his arrogance, his pride, and his wrath. His boastings are nothing. 7 Therefore Moab will wail for Moab. Everyone will wail. You will mourn for the raisin cakes of Kir Hareseth, utterly stricken. 8 For the fields of Heshbon languish with the vine of Sibmah. The lords of the nations have broken down its choice branches, which reached even to Jazer, which wandered into the wilderness. Its shoots were spread abroad. They passed over the sea. 9 Therefore I will weep with the weeping of Jazer for the vine of Sibmah. I will water you with my tears, Heshbon, and Elealeh: for on your summer fruits and on your harvest the battle shout has fallen. 10 Gladness is taken away, and joy out of the fruitful field; and in the vineyards there will be no singing, neither joyful noise. Nobody will tread out wine in the presses. I have made the shouting stop. 11 Therefore my heart sounds like a harp for Moab, and my inward parts for Kir Heres. 12 It will happen that when Moab presents himself, when he wearies himself on the high place, and comes to his sanctuary to pray, that he will not prevail. 13 This is the word that Yahweh spoke concerning Moab in time past. 14 But now Yahweh has spoken, saying, “Within three years, as a worker bound by contract would count them, the glory of Moab shall be brought into contempt, with all his great multitude; and the remnant will be very small and feeble.”
17 The burden of Damascus: “Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap. 2 The cities of Aroer are forsaken. They will be for flocks, which shall lie down, and no one shall make them afraid. 3 The fortress shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria. They will be as the glory of the children of Israel,” says Yahweh of Armies. 4 “It will happen in that day that the glory of Jacob will be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh will become lean. 5 It will be like when the harvester gathers the wheat, and his arm reaps the grain. Yes, it will be like when one gleans grain in the valley of Rephaim. 6 Yet gleanings will be left there, like the shaking of an olive tree, two or three olives in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outermost branches of a fruitful tree,” says Yahweh, the God of Israel. 7 In that day, people will look to their Maker, and their eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel. 8 They will not look to the altars, the work of their hands; neither shall they respect that which their fingers have made, either the Asherah poles, or the incense altars. 9 In that day, their strong cities will be like the forsaken places in the woods and on the mountain top, which were forsaken from before the children of Israel; and it will be a desolation. 10 For you have forgotten the God of your salvation, and have not remembered the rock of your strength. Therefore you plant pleasant plants, and set out foreign seedlings. 11 In the day of your planting, you hedge it in. In the morning, you make your seed blossom, but the harvest flees away in the day of grief and of desperate sorrow. 12 Ah, the uproar of many peoples, who roar like the roaring of the seas; and the rushing of nations, that rush like the rushing of mighty waters! 13 The nations will rush like the rushing of many waters: but he will rebuke them, and they will flee far off, and will be chased like the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like the whirling dust before the storm. 14 At evening, behold, terror! Before the morning, they are no more. This is the portion of those who plunder us, and the lot of those who rob us.
18 Ah, the land of the rustling of wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia; 2 that sends ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of papyrus on the waters, saying, “Go, you swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth, to a people awesome from their beginning onward, a nation that measures out and treads down, whose land the rivers divide!” 3 All you inhabitants of the world, and you dwellers on the earth, when a banner is lifted up on the mountains, look! When the trumpet is blown, listen! 4 For Yahweh said to me, “I will be still, and I will see in my dwelling place, like clear heat in sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.” 5 For before the harvest, when the blossom is over, and the flower becomes a ripening grape, he will cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and he will cut down and take away the spreading branches. 6 They will be left together for the ravenous birds of the mountains, and for the animals of the earth. The ravenous birds will summer on them, and all the animals of the earth will winter on them. 7 In that time, a present will be brought to Yahweh of Armies from a people tall and smooth, even from a people awesome from their beginning onward, a nation that measures out and treads down, whose land the rivers divide, to the place of the name of Yahweh of Armies, Mount Zion.
1 Paul, an apostle (not from men, nor through man, but through Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead), 2 and all the brothers who are with me, to the assemblies of Galatia: 3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father— 5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
6 I marvel that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different “good news”; 7 and there isn’t another “good news.” Only there are some who trouble you, and want to pervert the Good News of Christ. 8 But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you any “good news” other than that which we preached to you, let him be cursed. 9 As we have said before, so I now say again: if any man preaches to you any “good news” other than that which you received, let him be cursed. 10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? For if I were still pleasing men, I wouldn’t be a servant of Christ. 11 But I make known to you, brothers, concerning the Good News which was preached by me, that it is not according to man. 12 For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my way of living in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the assembly of God, and ravaged it. 14 I advanced in the Jews’ religion beyond many of my own age among my countrymen, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me through his grace, 16 to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I didn’t immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia. Then I returned to Damascus. 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 But of the other apostles I saw no one, except James, the Lord’s brother. 20 Now about the things which I write to you, behold, before God, I’m not lying. 21 Then I came to the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was still unknown by face to the assemblies of Judea which were in Christ, 23 but they only heard: “He who once persecuted us now preaches the faith that he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God in me.
For the Chief Musician. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” A poem by David.
58 Do you indeed speak righteousness, silent ones?
Do you judge blamelessly, you sons of men?
2 No, in your heart you plot injustice.
You measure out the violence of your hands in the earth.
3 The wicked go astray from the womb.
They are wayward as soon as they are born, speaking lies.
4 Their poison is like the poison of a snake;
like a deaf cobra that stops its ear,
5 which doesn’t listen to the voice of charmers,
no matter how skillful the charmer may be.
6 Break their teeth, God, in their mouth.
Break out the great teeth of the young lions, Yahweh.
7 Let them vanish like water that flows away.
When they draw the bow, let their arrows be made blunt.
8 Let them be like a snail which melts and passes away,
like the stillborn child, who has not seen the sun.
9 Before your pots can feel the heat of the thorns,
he will sweep away the green and the burning alike.
10 The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance.
He shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked;
11 so that men shall say, “Most certainly there is a reward for the righteous.
Most certainly there is a God who judges the earth.”
12 Apply your heart to instruction,
and your ears to the words of knowledge.