2 October 2017 Bible Reading
The pace and the pressure of life can sometimes rob us of joy. There are moments we find hard to bear. We often search for joy in this present world: money, career, pleasure, people. Paul knew, as did the Philippians, that true joy comes only through humble faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ, joining ourselves in harmony with His followers, and serving others in the name of Christ. This was the life experienced by the Philippian believers, and it is a life available to us today.
66 Yahweh says,
“Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build to me?
Where will I rest?
2 For my hand has made all these things,
and so all these things came to be,” says Yahweh:
“but to this man will I look,
even to he who is poor and of a contrite spirit,
and who trembles at my word.
3 He who kills an ox is as he who kills a man;
he who sacrifices a lamb, as he who breaks a dog’s neck;
he who offers an offering, as he who offers pig’s blood;
he who burns frankincense, as he who blesses an idol.
Yes, they have chosen their own ways,
and their soul delights in their abominations:
4 I also will choose their delusions,
and will bring their fears on them;
because when I called, no one answered;
when I spoke, they didn’t listen;
but they did that which was evil in my eyes,
and chose that in which I didn’t delight.”
5 Hear Yahweh’s word,
you who tremble at his word:
“Your brothers who hate you,
who cast you out for my name’s sake, have said,
‘Let Yahweh be glorified,
that we may see your joy;’
but it is those who shall be disappointed.
6 A voice of tumult from the city,
a voice from the temple,
a voice of Yahweh that repays his enemies what they deserve.
7 “Before she travailed, she gave birth.
Before her pain came, she delivered a son.
8 Who has heard of such a thing?
Who has seen such things?
Shall a land be born in one day?
Shall a nation be born at once?
For as soon as Zion travailed,
she gave birth to her children.
9 Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to be delivered?” says Yahweh.
“Shall I who cause to give birth shut the womb?” says your God.
10 “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her.
Rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn over her;
11 that you may nurse and be satisfied at the comforting breasts;
that you may drink deeply,
and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.”
12 For Yahweh says, “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
and you will nurse.
You will be carried on her side,
and will be dandled on her knees.
13 As one whom his mother comforts,
so will I comfort you.
You will be comforted in Jerusalem.”
14 You will see it, and your heart shall rejoice,
and your bones will flourish like the tender grass.
Yahweh’s hand will be known among his servants;
and he will have indignation against his enemies.
15 For, behold, Yahweh will come with fire,
and his chariots will be like the whirlwind;
to render his anger with fierceness,
and his rebuke with flames of fire.
16 For Yahweh will execute judgment by fire and by his sword on all flesh;
and those slain by Yahweh will be many.
17 “Those who sanctify themselves and purify themselves to go to the gardens, behind one in the middle, eating pig’s flesh, abominable things, and the mouse, they shall come to an end together,” says Yahweh.
18 “For I know their works and their thoughts. The time comes that I will gather all nations and languages, and they will come, and will see my glory.
19 “I will set a sign among them, and I will send those who escape of them to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to far-away islands, who have not heard my fame, nor have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the nations. 20 They shall bring all your brothers out of all the nations for an offering to Yahweh, on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules, and on camels, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says Yahweh, as the children of Israel bring their offering in a clean vessel into Yahweh’s house. 21 Of them I will also select priests and Levites,” says Yahweh.
22 “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me,” says Yahweh, “so your offspring and your name shall remain. 23 It shall happen that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh will come to worship before me,” says Yahweh. 24 “They will go out, and look at the dead bodies of the men who have transgressed against me; for their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”
4 though I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If any other man thinks that he has confidence in the flesh, I yet more: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the assembly; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, found blameless.
7 However, I consider those things that were gain to me as a loss for Christ. 8 Yes most certainly, and I count all things to be a loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and count them nothing but refuse, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed to his death; 11 if by any means I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect; but I press on, if it is so that I may take hold of that for which also I was taken hold of by Christ Jesus.
13 Brothers, I don’t regard myself as yet having taken hold, but one thing I do. Forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, think this way. If in anything you think otherwise, God will also reveal that to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the extent that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule. Let us be of the same mind. 17 Brothers, be imitators together of me, and note those who walk this way, even as you have us for an example. 18 For many walk, of whom I told you often, and now tell you even weeping, as the enemies of the cross of Christ, 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is the belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who think about earthly things. 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from where we also wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will change the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working by which he is able even to subject all things to himself.
A contemplation by Asaph.
74 God, why have you rejected us forever?
Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture?
2 Remember your congregation, which you purchased of old,
which you have redeemed to be the tribe of your inheritance;
Mount Zion, in which you have lived.
3 Lift up your feet to the perpetual ruins,
all the evil that the enemy has done in the sanctuary.
4 Your adversaries have roared in the middle of your assembly.
They have set up their standards as signs.
5 They behaved like men wielding axes,
cutting through a thicket of trees.
6 Now they break all its carved work down with hatchet and hammers.
7 They have burned your sanctuary to the ground.
They have profaned the dwelling place of your Name.
8 They said in their heart, “We will crush them completely.”
They have burned up all the places in the land where God was worshiped.
9 We see no miraculous signs.
There is no longer any prophet,
neither is there among us anyone who knows how long.
10 How long, God, shall the adversary reproach?
Shall the enemy blaspheme your name forever?
11 Why do you draw back your hand, even your right hand?
Take it out of your pocket and consume them!
12 Yet God is my King of old,
working salvation throughout the earth.
13 You divided the sea by your strength.
You broke the heads of the sea monsters in the waters.
14 You broke the heads of Leviathan in pieces.
You gave him as food to people and desert creatures.
15 You opened up spring and stream.
You dried up mighty rivers.
16 The day is yours, the night is also yours.
You have prepared the light and the sun.
17 You have set all the boundaries of the earth.
You have made summer and winter.
18 Remember this, that the enemy has mocked you, Yahweh.
Foolish people have blasphemed your name.
19 Don’t deliver the soul of your dove to wild beasts.
Don’t forget the life of your poor forever.
20 Honor your covenant,
for haunts of violence fill the dark places of the earth.
21 Don’t let the oppressed return ashamed.
Let the poor and needy praise your name.
22 Arise, God! Plead your own cause.
Remember how the foolish man mocks you all day.
23 Don’t forget the voice of your adversaries.
The tumult of those who rise up against you ascends continually.
15 Don’t lay in wait, wicked man, against the habitation of the righteous.
Don’t destroy his resting place:
16 for a righteous man falls seven times, and rises up again;
but the wicked are overthrown by calamity.