22 September 2017 Bible Reading
In today’s Bible reading, we begin the letter to the Ephesians. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote to address the church as the body of Christ.
39 At that time, Merodach Baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah; for he heard that he had been sick, and had recovered. 2 Hezekiah was pleased with them, and showed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, the spices, and the precious oil, and all the house of his armor, and all that was found in his treasures. There was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah didn’t show them. 3 Then Isaiah the prophet came to king Hezekiah, and asked him, “What did these men say? Where did they come from to you?”
Hezekiah said, “They have come from a country far from me, even from Babylon.”
4 Then he asked, “What have they seen in your house?”
Hezekiah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house. There is nothing among my treasures that I have not shown them.”
5 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of Yahweh of Armies: 6 ‘Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up until today, will be carried to Babylon. Nothing will be left,’ says Yahweh. 7 ‘They will take away your sons who will issue from you, whom you shall father, and they will be eunuchs in the king of Babylon’s palace.’”
8 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “Yahweh’s word which you have spoken is good.” He said moreover, “For there will be peace and truth in my days.”
40 “Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God. 2 “Speak comfortably to Jerusalem; and call out to her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received of Yahweh’s hand double for all her sins.”
3 The voice of one who calls out,
“Prepare the way of Yahweh in the wilderness!
Make a level highway in the desert for our God.
4 Every valley shall be exalted,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The uneven shall be made level,
and the rough places a plain.
5 Yahweh’s glory shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together;
for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken it.” 6 The voice of one saying, “Cry!”
One said, “What shall I cry?”
“All flesh is like grass,
and all its glory is like the flower of the field.
7 The grass withers,
the flower fades,
because Yahweh’s breath blows on it.
Surely the people are like grass.
8 The grass withers,
the flower fades;
but the word of our God stands forever.”
9 You who tell good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain.
You who tell good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with strength.
Lift it up. Don’t be afraid.
Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold, your God!”
10 Behold, the Lord Yahweh will come as a mighty one,
and his arm will rule for him.
Behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd.
He will gather the lambs in his arm,
and carry them in his bosom.
He will gently lead those who have their young.
12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
and marked off the sky with his span,
and calculated the dust of the earth in a measuring basket,
and weighed the mountains in scales,
and the hills in a balance?
13 Who has directed Yahweh’s Spirit,
or has taught him as his counselor?
14 Who did he take counsel with,
and who instructed him,
and taught him in the path of justice,
and taught him knowledge,
and showed him the way of understanding?
15 Behold, the nations are like a drop in a bucket,
and are regarded as a speck of dust on a balance.
Behold, he lifts up the islands like a very little thing.
16 Lebanon is not sufficient to burn,
nor its animals sufficient for a burnt offering.
17 All the nations are like nothing before him.
They are regarded by him as less than nothing, and vanity.
18 To whom then will you liken God?
Or what likeness will you compare to him?
19 A workman has cast an image,
and the goldsmith overlays it with gold,
and casts silver chains for it.
20 He who is too impoverished for such an offering chooses a tree that will not rot.
He seeks a skillful workman to set up an engraved image for him that will not be moved.
21 Haven’t you known?
Haven’t you heard, yet?
Haven’t you been told from the beginning?
Haven’t you understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in;
23 who brings princes to nothing;
who makes the judges of the earth like meaningless.
24 They are planted scarcely.
They are sown scarcely.
Their stock has scarcely taken root in the ground.
He merely blows on them, and they wither,
and the whirlwind takes them away as stubble.
25 “To whom then will you liken me?
Who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high,
and see who has created these,
who brings out their army by number.
He calls them all by name.
by the greatness of his might,
and because he is strong in power,
Not one is lacking.
27 Why do you say, Jacob,
and speak, Israel,
“My way is hidden from Yahweh,
and the justice due me is disregarded by my God?”
28 Haven’t you known?
Haven’t you heard?
The everlasting God, Yahweh,
The Creator of the ends of the earth, doesn’t faint.
He isn’t weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the weak.
He increases the strength of him who has no might.
30 Even the youths faint and get weary,
and the young men utterly fall;
31 But those who wait for Yahweh will renew their strength.
They will mount up with wings like eagles.
They will run, and not be weary.
They will walk, and not faint.
41 “Keep silent before me, islands,
and let the peoples renew their strength.
Let them come near,
then let them speak.
Let’s meet together for judgment.
2 Who has raised up one from the east?
Who called him to his foot in righteousness?
He hands over nations to him,
and makes him rule over kings.
He gives them like the dust to his sword,
like the driven stubble to his bow.
3 He pursues them,
and passes by safely,
Even by a way that he had not gone with his feet.
4 Who has worked and done it,
calling the generations from the beginning?
I, Yahweh, the first, and with the last, I am he.”
5 The islands have seen, and fear.
The ends of the earth tremble.
They approach, and come.
6 Everyone helps his neighbor.
They say to their brothers, “Be strong!”
7 So the carpenter encourages the goldsmith.
He who smoothes with the hammer encourages him who strikes the anvil,
saying of the soldering, “It is good”;
and he fastens it with nails, that it might not totter.
8 “But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
the offsprings of Abraham my friend,
9 You whom I have taken hold of from the ends of the earth,
and called from its corners,
and said to you, ‘You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you away;’
10 Don’t you be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you.
Yes, I will help you.
Yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.
11 Behold, all those who are incensed against you will be disappointed and confounded.
Those who strive with you will be like nothing, and shall perish.
12 You will seek them, and won’t find them,
even those who contend with you.
Those who war against you will be as nothing,
as a non-existent thing.
13 For I, Yahweh your God, will hold your right hand,
saying to you, ‘Don’t be afraid.
I will help you.’
14 Don’t be afraid, you worm Jacob,
and you men of Israel.
I will help you,” says Yahweh,
“and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
15 Behold, I have made you into a new sharp threshing instrument with teeth.
You will thresh the mountains,
and beat them small,
and will make the hills like chaff.
16 You will winnow them,
and the wind will carry them away,
and the whirlwind will scatter them.
You will rejoice in Yahweh.
You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God,
to the saints who are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ; 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without defect before him in love; 5 having predestined us for adoption as children through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his desire, 6 to the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he freely gave us favor in the Beloved, 7 in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him 10 to an administration of the fullness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth, in him; 11 in whom also we were assigned an inheritance, having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who does all things after the counsel of his will; 12 to the end that we should be to the praise of his glory, we who had before hoped in Christ: 13 in whom you also, having heard the word of the truth, the Good News of your salvation—in whom, having also believed, you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a pledge of our inheritance, to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of his glory. 15 For this cause I also, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which is among you, and the love which you have toward all the saints, 16 don’t cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might 20 which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come. 22 He put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things for the assembly, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
For the Chief Musician. A song. A Psalm.
66 Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!
2 Sing to the glory of his name!
Offer glory and praise!
3 Tell God, “How awesome are your deeds!
Through the greatness of your power, your enemies submit themselves to you.
4 All the earth will worship you,
and will sing to you;
they will sing to your name.”
5 Come, and see God’s deeds—
awesome work on behalf of the children of men.
6 He turned the sea into dry land.
They went through the river on foot.
There, we rejoiced in him.
7 He rules by his might forever.
His eyes watch the nations.
Don’t let the rebellious rise up against him.
8 Praise our God, you peoples!
Make the sound of his praise heard,
9 who preserves our life among the living,
and doesn’t allow our feet to be moved.
10 For you, God, have tested us.
You have refined us, as silver is refined.
11 You brought us into prison.
You laid a burden on our backs.
12 You allowed men to ride over our heads.
We went through fire and through water,
but you brought us to the place of abundance.
13 I will come into your temple with burnt offerings.
I will pay my vows to you, 14 which my lips promised,
and my mouth spoke, when I was in distress.
15 I will offer to you burnt offerings of fat animals,
with the offering of rams,
I will offer bulls with goats.
16 Come, and hear, all you who fear God.
I will declare what he has done for my soul.
17 I cried to him with my mouth.
He was extolled with my tongue.
18 If I cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord wouldn’t have listened.
19 But most certainly, God has listened.
He has heard the voice of my prayer.
20 Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer,
nor his loving kindness from me.
26 My son, give me your heart;
and let your eyes keep in my ways.
27 For a prostitute is a deep pit;
and a wayward wife is a narrow well.
28 Yes, she lies in wait like a robber,
and increases the unfaithful among men.