27 September 2017 Bible Reading
In today’s reading from Ephesians chapter 5, we learn that it takes work to be in unity with others, and that we are to be “imitators of God” (5:1). There are essential truths for life and godly families, including husbands and wives who upon the oath of marriage become as “one flesh” (5:31). Paul explains the concept of a biblical marriage. Marriage is a picture of Christ and the church (body of believers) and the way that Jesus Christ loved the church is the way that the husband must love his treasured wife, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (5:25). Paul doesn’t end there, he goes on to reinforce that husbands are to love their wives, “as their own bodies” and also to love their wives, “even as himself (vss 28;33). When a husband learns to love his wife in this way, his wife usually has no issues fulfilling her role and even enjoys it, “the wife must see to it that she respects her husband” (vs 33).
51 “Listen to me, you who follow after righteousness,
you who seek Yahweh:
look to the rock you were cut from,
and to the quarry you were dug from.
2 Look to Abraham your father,
and to Sarah who bore you;
for when he was but one I called him,
and I blessed him,
and made him many.
3 For Yahweh has comforted Zion.
He has comforted all her waste places,
and has made her wilderness like Eden,
and her desert like the garden of Yahweh.
Joy and gladness will be found therein,
thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.
4 “Listen to me, my people;
and hear me, my nation:
for a law will go out from me,
and I will establish my justice for a light to the peoples.
5 My righteousness is near.
My salvation has gone out,
and my arms will judge the peoples.
The islands will wait for me,
and they will trust my arm.
6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
and look on the earth beneath;
for the heavens will vanish away like smoke,
and the earth will wear out like a garment;
and its inhabitants will die in the same way:
but my salvation will be forever,
and my righteousness will not be abolished.
7 “Listen to me, you who know righteousness,
the people in whose heart is my law:
Don’t fear the reproach of men,
and don’t be dismayed at their insults.
8 For the moth will eat them up like a garment,
and the worm will eat them like wool;
but my righteousness will be forever,
and my salvation to all generations.”
9 Awake, awake, put on strength, arm of Yahweh!
Awake, as in the days of old,
the generations of ancient times.
Isn’t it you who cut Rahab in pieces,
who pierced the monster?
10 Isn’t it you who dried up the sea,
the waters of the great deep;
who made the depths of the sea a way for the redeemed to pass over?
11 Those ransomed by Yahweh will return,
and come with singing to Zion;
and everlasting joy shall be on their heads.
They will obtain gladness and joy.
Sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
12 “I, even I, am he who comforts you.
Who are you, that you are afraid of man who shall die,
and of the son of man who will be made as grass?
13 Have you forgotten Yahweh your Maker,
who stretched out the heavens,
and laid the foundations of the earth?
Do you live in fear continually all day because of the fury of the oppressor,
when he prepares to destroy?
Where is the fury of the oppressor?
14 The captive exile will speedily be freed;
and he will not die and go down into the pit,
and his bread will not fail.
15 For I am Yahweh your God, who stirs up the sea,
so that its waves roar:
Yahweh of Armies is his name.
16 I have put my words in your mouth,
and have covered you in the shadow of my hand,
that I may plant the heavens,
and lay the foundations of the earth,
and tell Zion, ‘You are my people.’”
17 Awake, awake!
Stand up, Jerusalem,
you who have drunk from Yahweh’s hand the cup of his wrath.
You have drunken the bowl of the cup of staggering,
and drained it.
18 There is no one to guide her among all the sons to whom she has given birth;
and there is no one who takes her by the hand among all the sons who she has brought up.
19 These two things have happened to you—
who will grieve with you?—
desolation and destruction,
and famine and the sword.
How can I comfort you?
20 Your sons have fainted.
They lie at the head of all the streets,
like an antelope in a net.
They are full of the Yahweh’s wrath,
the rebuke of your God.
21 Therefore now hear this, you afflicted,
and drunken, but not with wine:
22 Thus says your Lord Yahweh,
your God who pleads the cause of his people,
“Behold, I have taken out of your hand the cup of staggering,
even the bowl of the cup of my wrath.
You will not drink it any more:
23 and I will put it into the hand of those who afflict you,
who have said to your soul, ‘Bow down, that we may walk over you;’
and you have laid your back as the ground,
like a street to those who walk over.”
52 Awake, awake! Put on your strength, Zion.
Put on your beautiful garments, Jerusalem, the holy city:
for from now on the uncircumcised and the unclean will no more come into you.
2 Shake yourself from the dust!
Arise, sit up, Jerusalem!
Release yourself from the bonds of your neck, captive daughter of Zion!
3 For Yahweh says, “You were sold for nothing;
and you will be redeemed without money.”
4 For thus says the Lord Yahweh:
“My people went down at the first into Egypt to live there:
and the Assyrian has oppressed them without cause.
5 “Now therefore, what do I do here,” says Yahweh,
“seeing that my people are taken away for nothing?
Those who rule over them mock,” says Yahweh,
“and my name is blasphemed continually all the day.
6 Therefore my people shall know my name.
Therefore they shall know in that day that I am he who speaks.
Behold, it is I.”
7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace,
who brings good news,
who proclaims salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
8 Your watchmen lift up their voice,
together they sing;
for they shall see eye to eye, when Yahweh returns to Zion.
9 Break out into joy,
sing together, you waste places of Jerusalem;
for Yahweh has comforted his people.
He has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 Yahweh has made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations;
and all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
11 Depart, depart, go out from there; touch no unclean thing!
Go out from among her!
Cleanse yourselves, you who carry Yahweh’s vessels.
12 For you shall not go out in haste,
neither shall you go by flight:
for Yahweh will go before you;
and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
13 Behold, my servant will deal wisely.
He will be exalted and lifted up,
and will be very high.
14 Just as many were astonished at you
(his appearance was marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men),
15 so he will cleanse many nations.
Kings will shut their mouths at him:
for they will see that which had not been told them;
and they will understand that which they had not heard.
53 Who has believed our message?
To whom has the arm of Yahweh been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him as a tender plant,
and as a root out of dry ground.
He has no good looks or majesty.
When we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised,
and rejected by men;
a man of suffering,
and acquainted with disease.
He was despised as one from whom men hide their face;
and we didn’t respect him.
4 Surely he has borne our sickness,
and carried our suffering;
yet we considered him plagued,
struck by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions.
He was crushed for our iniquities.
The punishment that brought our peace was on him;
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray.
Everyone has turned to his own way;
and Yahweh has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed,
yet when he was afflicted he didn’t open his mouth.
As a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and as a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he didn’t open his mouth.
8 He was taken away by oppression and judgment;
and as for his generation,
who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living
and stricken for the disobedience of my people?
9 They made his grave with the wicked,
and with a rich man in his death;
although he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it pleased Yahweh to bruise him.
He has caused him to suffer.
When you make his soul an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring.
He will prolong his days,
and Yahweh’s pleasure will prosper in his hand.
11 After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light and be satisfied.
My righteous servant will justify many by the knowledge of himself;
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I give him a portion with the great,
and he will divide the plunder with the strong;
because he poured out his soul to death,
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
5 Be therefore imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 Walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling fragrance. 3 But sexual immorality, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be mentioned among you, as becomes saints; 4 nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not appropriate; but rather giving of thanks.
5 Know this for sure, that no sexually immoral person, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words. For because of these things, the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience. 7 Therefore don’t be partakers with them. 8 For you were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord. Walk as children of light, 9 for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth, 10 proving what is well pleasing to the Lord. 11 Have no fellowship with the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather even reprove them. 12 For the things which are done by them in secret, it is a shame even to speak of. 13 But all things, when they are reproved, are revealed by the light, for everything that reveals is light. 14 Therefore he says, “Awake, you who sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Therefore watch carefully how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise; 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore don’t be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 Don’t be drunken with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; singing, and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 giving thanks always concerning all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God, even the Father; 21 subjecting yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ.
22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ also is the head of the assembly, being himself the savior of the body. 24 But as the assembly is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their own husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the assembly, and gave himself up for it; 26 that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, 27 that he might present the assembly to himself gloriously, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without defect. 28 Even so husbands also ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. 29 For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord also does the assembly; 30 because we are members of his body, of his flesh and bones. 31 “For this cause a man will leave his father and mother, and will be joined to his wife. The two will become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is great, but I speak concerning Christ and of the assembly. 33 Nevertheless each of you must also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
19 You know my reproach, my shame, and my dishonor.
My adversaries are all before you.
20 Reproach has broken my heart, and I am full of heaviness.
I looked for some to take pity, but there was none;
for comforters, but I found none.
21 They also gave me gall for my food.
In my thirst, they gave me vinegar to drink.
22 Let their table before them become a snare.
May it become a retribution and a trap.
23 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they can’t see.
Let their backs be continually bent.
24 Pour out your indignation on them.
Let the fierceness of your anger overtake them.
25 Let their habitation be desolate.
Let no one dwell in their tents.
26 For they persecute him whom you have wounded.
They tell of the sorrow of those whom you have hurt.
27 Charge them with crime upon crime.
Don’t let them come into your righteousness.
28 Let them be blotted out of the book of life,
and not be written with the righteous.
29 But I am in pain and distress.
Let your salvation, God, protect me.
30 I will praise the name of God with a song,
and will magnify him with thanksgiving.
31 It will please Yahweh better than an ox,
or a bull that has horns and hoofs.
32 The humble have seen it, and are glad.
You who seek after God, let your heart live.
33 For Yahweh hears the needy,
and doesn’t despise his captive people.
34 Let heaven and earth praise him;
the seas, and everything that moves therein!
35 For God will save Zion, and build the cities of Judah.
They shall settle there, and own it.
36 The children also of his servants shall inherit it.
Those who love his name shall dwell therein.
7 Wisdom is too high for a fool:
he doesn’t open his mouth in the gate.