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25 September 2017 Bible Reading

In today’s reading, we begin the second half of Ephesians. Paul encourages the believer to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling”. Every believer has a responsibility to live as servants of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 45:11-48
11 Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel,
and his Maker says:
“You ask me about the things that are to come, concerning my sons,
and you command me concerning the work of my hands!
12 I have made the earth, and created man on it.
I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens;
and I have commanded all their army.
13 I have raised him up in righteousness,
and I will make straight all his ways.
He shall build my city,
and he shall let my exiles go free,
not for price nor reward,” says Yahweh of Armies.
14 Yahweh says: “The labor of Egypt,
and the merchandise of Ethiopia,
and the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over to you,
and they shall be yours.
They will go after you.
They shall come over in chains;
and they will bow down to you.
They will make supplication to you:
‘Surely God is in you; and there is no one else.
There is no other god.
15 Most certainly you are a God who hidden yourself,
God of Israel, the Savior.’”
16 They will be disappointed,
yes, confounded, all of them.
Those who are makers of idols will go into confusion together.
17 Israel will be saved by Yahweh with an everlasting salvation.
You will not be disappointed nor confounded to ages everlasting.
18 For Yahweh who created the heavens,
the God who formed the earth and made it,
who established it and didn’t create it a waste,
who formed it to be inhabited says:
“I am Yahweh;
and there is no other.
19 I have not spoken in secret,
in a place of the land of darkness.
I didn’t say to the offspring[a] of Jacob, ‘Seek me in vain.’
I, Yahweh, speak righteousness.
I declare things that are right.
20 “Assemble yourselves and come.
Draw near together, you who have escaped from the nations.
Those have no knowledge who carry the wood of their engraved image,
and pray to a god that can’t save.
21 Declare and present it.
Yes, let them take counsel together.
Who has shown this from ancient time?
Who has declared it of old?
Haven’t I, Yahweh?
There is no other God besides me, a just God and a Savior;
There is no one besides me.
22 “Look to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth;
for I am God, and there is no other.
23 I have sworn by myself.
The word has gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and will not be revoked,
that to me every knee shall bow,
every tongue shall take an oath.
24 They will say of me,
‘There is righteousness and strength only in Yahweh.’”
Even to him shall men come;
and all those who raged against him shall be disappointed.
25 All the offspring of Israel will be justified in Yahweh,
and will rejoice!
46 Bel bows down.
Nebo stoops.
Their idols are carried by animals,
and on the livestock.
The things that you carried around are heavy loads,
a burden for the weary.
2 They stoop and they bow down together.
They could not deliver the burden,
but they have gone into captivity.
3 “Listen to me, house of Jacob,
and all the remnant of the house of Israel,
that have been carried from their birth,
that have been carried from the womb.
4 Even to old age I am he,
and even to gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear.
Yes, I will carry, and will deliver.
5 “To whom will you liken me, and consider my equal,
and compare me, that we may be equal?
6 Some pour out gold from the bag,
and weigh silver in the balance.
They hire a goldsmith,
and he makes it a god.
They fall down—
yes, they worship.
7 They bear it on their shoulder.
They carry it, and set it in its place, and it stands there.
It cannot move from its place.
Yes, one may cry to it, yet it can not answer.
It cannot save him out of his trouble.
8 “Remember this, and show yourselves men.
Bring it to mind again, you transgressors.
9 Remember the former things of old:
for I am God, and there is no other.
I am God, and there is none like me.
10 I declare the end from the beginning,
and from ancient times things that are not yet done.
I say: My counsel will stand,
and I will do all that I please.
11 I call a ravenous bird from the east,
the man of my counsel from a far country.
Yes, I have spoken.
I will also bring it to pass.
I have planned.
I will also do it.
12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted,
who are far from righteousness!
13 I bring my righteousness near.
It is not far off,
and my salvation will not wait.
I will grant salvation to Zion,
my glory to Israel.
47 “Come down, and sit in the dust, virgin daughter of Babylon.
Sit on the ground without a throne, daughter of the Chaldeans.
For you will no longer be called tender and delicate.
2 Take the millstones, and grind flour.
Remove your veil, lift up your skirt, uncover your legs,
and wade through the rivers.
3 Your nakedness will be uncovered.
Yes, your shame will be seen.
I will take vengeance,
and will spare no one.”
4 Our Redeemer, Yahweh of Armies is his name,
is the Holy One of Israel.
5 “Sit in silence, and go into darkness,
daughter of the Chaldeans.
For you shall no longer be called
the mistress of kingdoms.
6 I was angry with my people.
I profaned my inheritance,
and gave them into your hand.
You showed them no mercy.
You laid a very heavy yoke on the aged.
7 You said, ‘I will be a princess forever;’
so that you did not lay these things to your heart,
nor did you remember the results.
8 “Now therefore hear this, you who are given to pleasures,
who sit securely,
who say in your heart,
‘I am, and there is no one else besides me.
I shall not sit as a widow,
neither shall I know the loss of children.’
9 But these two things shall come to you in a moment in one day,
the loss of children and widowhood.
They will come on you in their full measure,
in the multitude of your sorceries,
and the great abundance of your enchantments.
10 For you have trusted in your wickedness.
You have said, ‘No one sees me.’
Your wisdom and your knowledge has perverted you.
You have said in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one else besides me.’
11 Therefore disaster will come on you.
You won’t know when it dawns.
Mischief will fall on you.
You won’t be able to put it away.
Desolation will come on you suddenly,
which you don’t understand.
12 “Stand now with your enchantments,
and with the multitude of your sorceries,
in which you have labored from your youth;
as if you might profit;
as if you might prevail.
13 You are wearied in the multitude of your counsels.
Now let the astrologers, the stargazers, and the monthly prognosticators, stand up and save you from the things that will come on you.
14 Behold, they shall are like stubble.
The fire will burn them.
They won’t deliver themselves from the power of the flame.
It won’t be a coal to warm at
or a fire to sit by.
15 The things that you labored in will be like this:
those who have trafficked with you from your youth will each wander in his own way.
There will be no one to save you.
48 “Hear this, house of Jacob,
you who are called by the name of Israel,
and have come out of the waters of Judah.
You swear by Yahweh’s name,
and make mention of the God of Israel,
but not in truth, nor in righteousness
2 (for they call themselves citizens of the holy city,
and rely on the God of Israel;
Yahweh of Armies is his name):
3 I have declared the former things from of old;
yes, they went out of my mouth, and I revealed them.
I did them suddenly, and they happened.
4 Because I knew that you are obstinate,
and your neck is an iron sinew,
and your brow brass;
5 therefore I have declared it to you from of old;
before it came to pass I showed it to you;
lest you should say, ‘My idol has done them, and my engraved image, and my molten image, has commanded them.’
6 You have heard it;
see all this.
And you, won’t you declare it?
“I have shown you new things from this time,
even hidden things, which you have not known.
7 They are created now, and not from of old;
and before today you didn’t hear them;
lest you should say, ‘Behold, I knew them.’
8 Yes, you didn’t hear;
yes, you didn’t know;
yes, from of old your ear was not opened:
for I knew that you dealt very treacherously,
and were called a transgressor from the womb.
9 For my name’s sake, I will defer my anger,
and for my praise I hold it back for you,
so that I don’t cut you off.
10 Behold, I have refined you,
but not as silver.
I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction.
11 For my own sake,
for my own sake, I will do it;
for how would my name be profaned?
I will not give my glory to another.

Ephesians 4:1-16
4 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and humility, with patience, bearing with one another in love; 3 being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you also were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in us all. 7 But to each one of us was the grace given according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8 Therefore he says, “When he ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.” 9 Now this, “He ascended”, what is it but that he also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.
11 He gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, shepherds and teachers; 12 for the perfecting of the saints, to the work of serving, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a full grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we may no longer be children, tossed back and forth and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; 15 but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, Christ; 16 from whom all the body, being fitted and knit together through that which every joint supplies, according to the working in measure of each individual part, makes the body increase to the building up of itself in love.

Psalm 68:19-35
19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burdens,
even the God who is our salvation.
20 God is to us a God of deliverance.
To Yahweh, the Lord, belongs escape from death.
21 But God will strike through the head of his enemies,
the hairy scalp of such a one as still continues in his guiltiness.
22 The Lord said, “I will bring you again from Bashan,
I will bring you again from the depths of the sea;
23 That you may crush them, dipping your foot in blood,
that the tongues of your dogs may have their portion from your enemies.”
24 They have seen your processions, God,
even the processions of my God, my King, into the sanctuary.
25 The singers went before, the minstrels followed after,
among the ladies playing with tambourines,
26 “Bless God in the congregations,
even the Lord in the assembly of Israel!”
27 There is little Benjamin, their ruler,
the princes of Judah, their council,
the princes of Zebulun, and the princes of Naphtali.
28 Your God has commanded your strength.
Strengthen, God, that which you have done for us.
29 Because of your temple at Jerusalem,
kings shall bring presents to you.
30 Rebuke the wild animal of the reeds,
the multitude of the bulls, with the calves of the peoples.
Being humbled, may it bring bars of silver.
Scatter the nations that delight in war.
31 Princes shall come out of Egypt.
Ethiopia shall hurry to stretch out her hands to God.
32 Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth!
Sing praises to the Lord!
33 To him who rides on the heaven of heavens, which are of old;
behold, he utters his voice, a mighty voice.
34 Ascribe strength to God!
His excellency is over Israel,
his strength is in the skies.
35 You are awesome, God, in your sanctuaries.
The God of Israel gives strength and power to his people.
Praise be to God!

Proverbs 24:3-4
3 Through wisdom a house is built;
by understanding it is established;
4 by knowledge the rooms are filled
with all rare and beautiful treasure.

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