4 October 2017 Bible Reading
Paul wrote the letter to the Colossian church in A.D. 60-61 during his first imprisonment in Rome.
31 Generation, consider Yahweh’s word.
Have I been a wilderness to Israel?
Or a land of thick darkness?
Why do my people say, ‘We have broken loose.
We will come to you no more?’
32 “Can a virgin forget her ornaments,
or a bride her attire?
Yet my people have forgotten me for days without number.
33 How well you prepare your way to seek love!
Therefore you have even taught the wicked women your ways.
34 Also the blood of the souls of the innocent poor is found in your skirts.
You did not find them breaking in;
but it is because of all these things.
35 “Yet you said, ‘I am innocent.
Surely his anger has turned away from me.’
“Behold, I will judge you,
because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’
36 Why do you go about so much to change your ways?
You will be ashamed of Egypt also,
as you were ashamed of Assyria.
37 You will also leave that place with your hands on your head;
for Yahweh has rejected those in whom you trust,
and you won’t prosper with them.
3 “They say, ‘If a man puts away his wife, and she goes from him, and becomes another man’s, should he return to her again?’ Wouldn’t that land be greatly polluted? But you have played the prostitute with many lovers; yet return again to me,” says Yahweh.
2 “Lift up your eyes to the bare heights, and see! Where have you not been lain with? You have sat waiting for them by the road, as an Arabian in the wilderness. You have polluted the land with your prostitution and with your wickedness. 3 Therefore the showers have been withheld, and there has been no latter rain; yet you have a prostitute’s forehead. You refused to be ashamed. 4 Will you not from this time cry to me, ‘My Father, you are the guide of my youth?’
5 “‘Will he retain his anger forever? Will he keep it to the end?’ Behold, you have spoken and have done evil things, and have had your way.”
6 Moreover, Yahweh said to me in the days of Josiah the king, “Have you seen that which backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and has played the prostitute there. 7 I said after she had done all these things, ‘She will return to me;’ but she didn’t return; and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 I saw when, for this very cause, that backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a bill of divorce, yet treacherous Judah, her sister, had no fear; but she also went and played the prostitute. 9 Because she took her prostitution lightly, the land was polluted, and she committed adultery with stones and with wood. 10 Yet for all this her treacherous sister, Judah, has not returned to me with her whole heart, but only in pretense,” says Yahweh.
11 Yahweh said to me, “Backsliding Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. 12 Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, ‘Return, you backsliding Israel,’ says Yahweh; ‘I will not look in anger on you; for I am merciful,’ says Yahweh. ‘I will not keep anger forever. 13 Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against Yahweh your God, and have scattered your ways to the strangers under every green tree, and you have not obeyed my voice,’ says Yahweh.” 14 “Return, backsliding children,” says Yahweh; “for I am a husband to you. I will take one of you from a city, and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. 15 I will give you shepherds according to my heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 It will come to pass, when you are multiplied and increased in the land, in those days,” says Yahweh, “they will no longer say, ‘the ark of Yahweh’s covenant!’ It will not come to mind. They won’t remember it. They won’t miss it, nor will another be made. 17 At that time they will call Jerusalem ‘Yahweh’s Throne;’ and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Yahweh’s name, to Jerusalem. They will no longer walk after the stubbornness of their evil heart. 18 In those days the house of Judah will walk with the house of Israel, and they will come together out of the land of the north to the land that I gave for an inheritance to your fathers.
19 “But I said, ‘How I desire to put you among the children, and give you a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the armies of the nations!’ and I said, ‘You shall call me “My Father”, and shall not turn away from following me.’
20 “Surely as a wife treacherously departs from her husband, so you have dealt treacherously with me, house of Israel,” says Yahweh. 21 A voice is heard on the bare heights, the weeping and the petitions of the children of Israel; because they have perverted their way, they have forgotten Yahweh their God. 22 Return, you backsliding children, and I will heal your backsliding.
“Behold, we have come to you; for you are Yahweh our God. 23 Truly in vain is help from the hills, the tumult on the mountains. Truly the salvation of Israel is in Yahweh our God. 24 But the shameful thing has devoured the labor of our fathers from our youth, their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. 25 Let us lie down in our shame, and let our confusion cover us; for we have sinned against Yahweh our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day. We have not obeyed Yahweh our God’s voice.”
4 “If you will return, Israel,” says Yahweh, “if you will return to me, and if you will put away your abominations out of my sight; then you shall not be removed; 2 and you shall swear, ‘As Yahweh lives,’ in truth, in justice, and in righteousness. The nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.”
3 For Yahweh says to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, “Break up your fallow ground, and don’t sow among thorns. 4 Circumcise yourselves to Yahweh, and take away the foreskins of your heart, you men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go out like fire, and burn so that no one can quench it, because of the evil of your doings. 5 Declare in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem; and say, ‘Blow the trumpet in the land!’ Cry aloud and say, ‘Assemble yourselves! Let us go into the fortified cities!’ 6 Set up a standard toward Zion. Flee for safety! Don’t wait; for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction.”
7 A lion has gone up from his thicket, and a destroyer of nations; he is on his way, he has gone out from his place, to make your land desolate, that your cities be laid waste, without inhabitant. 8 For this clothe yourself with sackcloth, lament and wail; for the fierce anger of Yahweh hasn’t turned back from us. 9 “It shall happen at that day,” says Yahweh, “that the heart of the king shall perish, and the heart of the princes; and the priests shall be astonished, and the prophets shall wonder.”
10 Then I said, “Ah, Lord Yahweh! Surely you have greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘You shall have peace;’ whereas the sword reaches to the heart.”
11 At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, “A hot wind from the bare heights in the wilderness toward the daughter of my people, not to winnow, nor to cleanse; 12 a full wind from these shall come for me. Now I will also utter judgments against them.”
13 Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as the whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us! For we are ruined. 14 Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness, that you may be saved. How long shall your evil thoughts lodge within you? 15 For a voice declares from Dan, and publishes evil from the hills of Ephraim: 16 “Tell the nations; behold, publish against Jerusalem, ‘Watchers come from a far country, and raise their voice against the cities of Judah. 17 As keepers of a field, they are against her all around, because she has been rebellious against me,’” says Yahweh. 18 “Your way and your doings have brought these things to you. This is your wickedness; for it is bitter, for it reaches to your heart.”
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 to the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 We give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which you have toward all the saints, 5 because of the hope which is laid up for you in the heavens, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the Good News, 6 which has come to you; even as it is in all the world and is bearing fruit and growing, as it does in you also, since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth; 7 even as you learned of Epaphras our beloved fellow servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, 8 who also declared to us your love in the Spirit. 9 For this cause, we also, since the day we heard this, don’t cease praying and making requests for you, that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 that you may walk worthily of the Lord, to please him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all power, according to the might of his glory, for all endurance and perseverance with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; 13 who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the Kingdom of the Son of his love; 14 in whom we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins; 15 who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things are held together. 18 He is the head of the body, the assembly, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 19 For all the fullness was pleased to dwell in him; 20 and through him to reconcile all things to himself, by him, whether things on the earth, or things in the heavens, having made peace through the blood of his cross.
For the Chief Musician. On stringed instruments. A Psalm by Asaph. A song.
76 In Judah, God is known.
His name is great in Israel.
2 His tabernacle is also in Salem;
His dwelling place in Zion.
3 There he broke the flaming arrows of the bow,
the shield, and the sword, and the weapons of war.
4 Glorious are you, and excellent,
more than mountains of game.
5 Valiant men lie plundered,
they have slept their last sleep.
None of the men of war can lift their hands.
6 At your rebuke, God of Jacob,
both chariot and horse are cast into a deep sleep.
7 You, even you, are to be feared.
Who can stand in your sight when you are angry?
8 You pronounced judgment from heaven.
The earth feared, and was silent,
9 when God arose to judgment,
to save all the afflicted ones of the earth.
10 Surely the wrath of man praises you.
The survivors of your wrath are restrained.
11 Make vows to Yahweh your God, and fulfill them!
Let all of his neighbors bring presents to him who is to be feared.
12 He will cut off the spirit of princes.
He is feared by the kings of the earth.
21 My son, fear Yahweh and the king.
Don’t join those who are rebellious:
22 for their calamity will rise suddenly;
the destruction from them both—who knows?