28 September 2017 Bible Reading
Today’s reading from Ephesians 6 instructs believers to prepare for spiritual battle by dressing in the “full armor of God” (6:11). Prayer is the key weapon of the Christian soldier. He emphasizes his principle with the repeated statement “stand firm”.
Today’s passage in Ephesians references Deuteronomy 5:16.
54 “Sing, barren, you who didn’t give birth;
break out into singing, and cry aloud, you who did not travail with child:
for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife,” says Yahweh.
2 “Enlarge the place of your tent,
and let them stretch out the curtains of your habitations;
don’t spare: lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes.
3 For you will spread out on the right hand and on the left;
and your offspring will possess the nations,
and settle in desolate cities.
4 “Don’t be afraid; for you will not be ashamed.
Don’t be confounded; for you will not be disappointed.
For you will forget the shame of your youth;
and the reproach of your widowhood you shall remember no more.
5 For your Maker is your husband; Yahweh of Armies is his name.
The Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer.
He will be called the God of the whole earth.
6 For Yahweh has called you as a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
even a wife of youth, when she is cast off,” says your God.
7 “For a small moment have I forsaken you;
but with great mercies will I gather you.
8 In overflowing wrath I hid my face from you for a moment;
but with everlasting loving kindness I will have mercy on you,” says Yahweh your Redeemer.
9 “For this is like the waters of Noah to me;
for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah will no more go over the earth,
so have I sworn that I will not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.
10 For the mountains may depart,
and the hills be removed;
but my loving kindness will not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace will not be removed,”
says Yahweh who has mercy on you.
11 “You afflicted, tossed with storms, and not comforted,
behold, I will set your stones in beautiful colors,
and lay your foundations with sapphires.
12 I will make your pinnacles of rubies,
your gates of sparkling jewels,
and all your walls of precious stones.
13 All your children will be taught by Yahweh;
and your children’s peace will be great.
14 In righteousness you will be established.
You will be far from oppression,
for you will not be afraid;
and far from terror,
for it shall not come near you.
15 Behold, they may gather together, but not by me.
Whoever gathers together against you will fall because of you.
16 “Behold, I have created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flam,
and forges a weapon for his work;
and I have created the destroyer to destroy.
17 No weapon that is formed against you will prevail;
and you will condemn every tongue that rises against you in judgment.
This is the heritage of Yahweh’s servants,
and their righteousness is of me,” says Yahweh.
55 “Come, everyone who thirsts, to the waters!
Come, he who has no money, buy, and eat!
Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which doesn’t satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat that which is good,
and let your soul delight itself in richness.
3 Turn your ear, and come to me.
Hear, and your soul will live:
and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
4 Behold, I have given him for a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander to the peoples.
5 Behold, you shall call a nation that you don’t know;
and a nation that didn’t know you shall run to you,
because of Yahweh your God,
and for the Holy One of Israel;
for he has glorified you.”
6 Seek Yahweh while he may be found.
Call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts.
Let him return to Yahweh, and he will have mercy on him;
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
and your ways are not my ways,” says Yahweh.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 For as the rain comes down and the snow from the sky,
and doesn’t return there, but waters the earth,
and makes it grow and bud,
and gives seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
11 so is my word that goes out of my mouth:
it will not return to me void,
but it will accomplish that which I please,
and it will prosper in the thing I sent it to do.
12 For you shall go out with joy,
and be led out with peace.
The mountains and the hills will break out before you into singing;
and all the trees of the fields will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn the cypress tree will come up;
and instead of the brier the myrtle tree will come up:
and it will make a name for Yahweh,
for an everlasting sign that will not be cut off.”
56 Yahweh says,
and do what is right;
for my salvation is near,
and my righteousness will soon be revealed.
2 Blessed is the man who does this,
and the son of man who holds it fast;
who keeps the Sabbath without profaning it,
and keeps his hand from doing any evil.”
3 Let no foreigner, who has joined himself to Yahweh, speak, saying,
“Yahweh will surely separate me from his people.”
Do not let the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.”
4 For Yahweh says, “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,
and choose the things that please me,
and hold fast to my covenant:
5 I will give them in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name better than of sons and of daughters.
I will give them an everlasting name, that will not be cut off.
6 Also the foreigners who join themselves to Yahweh,
to serve him,
and to love Yahweh’s name,
to be his servants,
everyone who keeps the Sabbath from profaning it,
and holds fast my covenant;
7 I will bring these to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar;
for my house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”
8 The Lord Yahweh, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says,
“I will yet gather others to him,
besides his own who are gathered.”
9 All you animals of the field,
come to devour,
all you animals in the forest.
10 His watchmen are blind.
They are all without knowledge.
They are all mute dogs.
They can’t bark;
dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber.
11 Yes, the dogs are greedy.
They can never have enough.
They are shepherds who can’t understand.
They have all turned to their own way,
each one to his gain, from every quarter.
12 “Come,” say they, “I will get wine,
and we will fill ourselves with strong drink;
and tomorrow will be as today,
great beyond measure.”
57 The righteous perish,
and no one lays it to heart.
Merciful men are taken away,
and no one considers that the righteous is taken away from the evil.
2 He enters into peace.
They rest in their beds,
each one who walks in his uprightness.
3 “But draw near here, you sons of a sorceress,
you offspring[b] of adulterers and prostitutes.
4 Whom do you mock?
Against whom do you make a wide mouth,
and stick out your tongue?
Aren’t you children of disobedience,
and offspring[c] of falsehood,
5 you who inflame yourselves among the oaks,
under every green tree;
who kill the children in the valleys,
under the clefts of the rocks?
6 Among the smooth stones of the valley is your portion;
they, they are your lot.
You have even poured a drink offering to them.
You have offered an offering.
Shall I be appeased for these things?
7 On a high and lofty mountain you have set your bed.
You also went up there to offer sacrifice.
8 You have set up your memorial behind the doors and the posts;
for you have exposed yourself to someone besides me,
and have gone up;
you have enlarged your bed,
and made you a covenant with them.
You loved what you saw on their bed.
9 You went to the king with oil,
and increased your perfumes,
and sent your ambassadors far off,
and degraded yourself even to Sheol.[d]
10 You were wearied with the length of your ways;
yet you didn’t say, ‘It is in vain.’
You found a reviving of your strength;
therefore you weren’t faint.
11 “Whom have you dreaded and feared,
so that you lie,
and have not remembered me, nor laid it to your heart?
Haven’t I held my peace for a long time,
and you don’t fear me?
12 I will declare your righteousness;
and as for your works, they will not benefit you.
13 When you cry,
let those whom you have gathered deliver you;
but the wind will take them.
a breath will carry them all away:
but he who takes refuge in me will possess the land,
and will inherit my holy mountain.”
6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with a promise: 3 “that it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth.”
4 You fathers, don’t provoke your children to wrath, but nurture them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
5 Servants, be obedient to those who according to the flesh are your masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as to Christ; 6 not in the way of service only when eyes are on you, as men pleasers; but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7 with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men; 8 knowing that whatever good thing each one does, he will receive the same again from the Lord, whether he is bound or free.
9 You masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with him.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having the utility belt of truth buckled around your waist, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having fitted your feet with the preparation of the Good News of peace; 16 above all, taking up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 with all prayer and requests, praying at all times in the Spirit, and being watchful to this end in all perseverance and requests for all the saints: 19 on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in opening my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the Good News, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
21 But that you also may know my affairs, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will make known to you all things; 22 whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know our state, and that he may comfort your hearts.
23 Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love. Amen.
For the Chief Musician. By David. A reminder.
70 Hurry, God, to deliver me.
Come quickly to help me, Yahweh.
2 Let them be disappointed and confounded who seek my soul.
Let those who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace.
3 Let them be turned because of their shame
Who say, “Aha! Aha!”
4 Let all those who seek you rejoice and be glad in you.
Let those who love your salvation continually say,
“Let God be exalted!”
5 But I am poor and needy.
Come to me quickly, God.
You are my help and my deliverer.
Yahweh, don’t delay.
8 One who plots to do evil
will be called a schemer.