19 September 2017 Bible Reading
Today’s reading in Galatians 5 continues the discussion of the relationship between the Mosaic Law and grace. The Galatians were attracted to the law because it gave them specific moral guidelines that they can apply to their practical problems. Jewish law teachers were known for their ability to develop applications of the law for every conceivable situation. There seems to be a sense of moral security in such well-defined codes of conduct. In comparison, Paul’s command to “live by the Spirit” seems to leave everything up in the air.
12 Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, “Because you despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and rely on it; 13 therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking comes suddenly in an instant. 14 He will break it as a potter’s vessel is broken, breaking it in pieces without sparing, so that there won’t be found among the broken piece a piece good enough to take fire from the hearth, or to dip up water out of the cistern.” 15 For thus said the Lord Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel, “You will be saved in returning and rest. Your strength will be in quietness and in confidence.” You refused, 16 but you said, “No, for we will flee on horses”; therefore you will flee; and, “We will ride on the swift”; therefore those who pursue you will be swift. 17 One thousand will flee at the threat of one. At the threat of five, you will flee until you are left like a beacon on the top of a mountain, and like a banner on a hill. 18 Therefore Yahweh will wait, that he may be gracious to you; and therefore he will be exalted, that he may have mercy on you, for Yahweh is a God of justice. Blessed are all those who wait for him. 19 For the people will dwell in Zion at Jerusalem. You will weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the voice of your cry. When he hears you, he will answer you. 20 Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your teachers won’t be hidden any more, but your eyes will see your teachers; 21 and when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way. Walk in it.” 22 You shall defile the overlaying of your engraved images of silver, and the plating of your molten images of gold. You shall cast them away as an unclean thing. You shall tell it, “Go away!” 23 He will give the rain for your seed, with which you will sow the ground; and bread of the increase of the ground will be rich and plentiful. In that day, your livestock will feed in large pastures. 24 The oxen likewise and the young donkeys that till the ground will eat savory feed, which has been winnowed with the shovel and with the fork. 25 There shall be brooks and streams of water on every lofty mountain and on every high hill in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. 26 Moreover the light of the moon will be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, in the day that Yahweh binds up the fracture of his people, and heals the wound they were struck with.
27 Behold, Yahweh’s name comes from far away, burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke. His lips are full of indignation, and his tongue is as a devouring fire. 28 His breath is as an overflowing stream that reaches even to the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction; and a bridle that leads to ruin will be in the jaws of the peoples. 29 You will have a song, as in the night when a holy feast is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goes with a flute to come to Yahweh’s mountain, to Israel’s Rock. 30 Yahweh will cause his glorious voice to be heard, and will show the descent of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and the flame of a devouring fire, with a blast, storm, and hailstones. 31 For through Yahweh’s voice the Assyrian will be dismayed. He will strike him with his rod. 32 Every stroke of the rod of punishment, which Yahweh will lay on him, will be with the sound of tambourines and harps. He will fight with them in battles, brandishing weapons. 33 For his burning place has long been ready. Yes, for the king it is prepared. He has made its pyre deep and large with fire and much wood. Yahweh’s breath, like a stream of sulfur, kindles it.
31 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
and rely on horses,
and trust in chariots because they are many,
and in horsemen because they are very strong,
but they don’t look to the Holy One of Israel,
and they don’t seek Yahweh!
2 Yet he also is wise, and will bring disaster,
and will not call back his words, but will arise against the house of the evildoers,
and against the help of those who work iniquity.
3 Now the Egyptians are men, and not God;
and their horses flesh, and not spirit.
When Yahweh stretches out his hand, both he who helps shall stumble,
and he who is helped shall fall,
and they all shall be consumed together.
4 For Yahweh says to me,
“As the lion and the young lion growling over his prey,
if a multitude of shepherds is called together against him,
will not be dismayed at their voice,
nor abase himself for their noise,
so Yahweh of Armies will come down to fight on Mount Zion and on its heights.
5 As birds hovering, so Yahweh of Armies will protect Jerusalem.
He will protect and deliver it.
He will pass over and preserve it.”
6 Return to him from whom you have deeply revolted, children of Israel. 7 For in that day everyone shall cast away his idols of silver and his idols of gold—sin which your own hands have made for you.
8 “The Assyrian will fall by the sword, not of man;
and the sword, not of mankind, shall devour him.
He will flee from the sword,
and his young men will become subject to forced labor.
9 His rock will pass away by reason of terror,
and his princes will be afraid of the banner,”
says Yahweh, whose fire is in Zion,
and his furnace in Jerusalem.
32 Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness,
and princes shall rule in justice.
2 A man shall be as a hiding place from the wind,
and a covert from the storm,
as streams of water in a dry place,
as the shade of a large rock in a weary land.
3 The eyes of those who see will not be dim,
and the ears of those who hear will listen.
4 The heart of the rash will understand knowledge,
and the tongue of the stammerers will be ready to speak plainly.
5 The fool will no longer be called noble,
nor the scoundrel be highly respected.
6 For the fool will speak folly,
and his heart will work iniquity,
to practice profanity,
and to utter error against Yahweh,
To make empty the soul of the hungry,
and to cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.
7 The ways of the scoundrel are evil.
He devises wicked devices to destroy the humble with lying words,
even when the needy speaks right.
8 But the noble devises noble things;
and he will continue in noble things.
9 Rise up, you women who are at ease! Hear my voice!
You careless daughters, give ear to my speech!
10 For days beyond a year you will be troubled, you careless women;
for the vintage shall fail.
The harvest won’t come.
11 Tremble, you women who are at ease!
Be troubled, you careless ones!
Strip yourselves, make yourselves naked,
and put sackcloth on your waist.
12 Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields,
for the fruitful vine.
13 Thorns and briers will come up on my people’s land;
yes, on all the houses of joy in the joyous city.
14 For the palace will be forsaken.
The populous city will be deserted.
The hill and the watchtower will be for dens forever,
a delight for wild donkeys,
a pasture of flocks;
15 Until the Spirit is poured on us from on high,
and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,
and the fruitful field is considered a forest.
16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness;
and righteousness will remain in the fruitful field.
17 The work of righteousness will be peace;
and the effect of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.
18 My people will live in a peaceful habitation,
in safe dwellings,
and in quiet resting places.
19 Though hail flattens the forest,
and the city is leveled completely.
20 Blessed are you who sow beside all waters,
who send out the feet of the ox and the donkey.
33 Woe to you who destroy, but you weren’t destroyed;
and who betray, but nobody betrayed you!
When you have finished destroying, you will be destroyed;
and when you have finished betrayal, you will be betrayed.
2 Yahweh, be gracious to us. We have waited for you.
Be our strength every morning,
our salvation also in the time of trouble.
3 At the noise of the thunder, the peoples have fled.
When you lift yourself up, the nations are scattered.
4 Your plunder will be gathered as the caterpillar gathers.
Men will leap on it as locusts leap.
5 Yahweh is exalted, for he dwells on high.
He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness.
6 There will be stability in your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge.
The fear of Yahweh is your treasure.
7 Behold, their valiant ones cry outside;
the ambassadors of peace weep bitterly.
8 The highways are desolate.
The traveling man ceases.
The covenant is broken.
He has despised the cities.
He doesn’t respect man.
9 The land mourns and languishes.
Lebanon is confounded and withers away.
Sharon is like a desert, and Bashan and Carmel are stripped bare.
10 “Now I will arise,” says Yahweh;
“Now I will lift myself up.
Now I will be exalted.
11 You will conceive chaff.
You will give birth to stubble.
Your breath is a fire that will devour you.
12 The peoples will be like the burning of lime,
like thorns that are cut down and burned in the fire.
5 Stand firm therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and don’t be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I, Paul, tell you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 Yes, I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 You are alienated from Christ, you who desire to be justified by the law. You have fallen away from grace. 5 For we, through the Spirit, by faith wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision amounts to anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith working through love. 7 You were running well! Who interfered with you that you should not obey the truth? 8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you. 9 A little yeast grows through the whole lump. 10 I have confidence toward you in the Lord that you will think no other way. But he who troubles you will bear his judgment, whoever he is.
11 But I, brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish that those who disturb you would cut themselves off.
A Psalm by David, when he was in the desert of Judah.
63 God, you are my God.
I will earnestly seek you.
My soul thirsts for you.
My flesh longs for you,
in a dry and weary land, where there is no water.
2 So I have seen you in the sanctuary,
watching your power and your glory.
3 Because your loving kindness is better than life,
my lips shall praise you.
4 So I will bless you while I live.
I will lift up my hands in your name.
5 My soul shall be satisfied as with the richest food.
My mouth shall praise you with joyful lips,
6 when I remember you on my bed,
and think about you in the night watches.
7 For you have been my help.
I will rejoice in the shadow of your wings.
8 My soul stays close to you.
Your right hand holds me up.
9 But those who seek my soul, to destroy it,
shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
10 They shall be given over to the power of the sword.
They shall be jackal food.
11 But the king shall rejoice in God.
Everyone who swears by him will praise him,
for the mouth of those who speak lies shall be silenced.
22 Listen to your father who gave you life,
and don’t despise your mother when she is old.