9 October 2017 Bible Reading
In today’s reading, we begin our study of First Thessalonians. Paul wrote this to the Thessalonian church from the city of Corinth around AD 51, just a few months after having preached in Thessalonica on his second missionary journey.
12 You are righteous, Yahweh, when I contend with you; yet I would reason the cause with you: why does the way of the wicked prosper? why are all they at ease who deal very treacherously? 2 You have planted them, yes, they have taken root; they grow, yes, they produce fruit: you are near in their mouth, and far from their heart. 3 But you, Yahweh, know me; you see me, and try my heart toward you: pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and prepare them for the day of slaughter. 4 How long shall the land mourn, and the herbs of the whole country wither? for the wickedness of those who dwell therein, the animals are consumed, and the birds; because they said, He shall not see our latter end. 5 If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? and though in a land of peace you are secure, yet how will you do in the pride of the Jordan? 6 For even your brothers, and the house of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you; even they have cried aloud after you: don’t believe them, though they speak beautiful words to you. 7 I have forsaken my house, I have cast off my heritage; I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies. 8 My heritage has become to me as a lion in the forest: she has uttered her voice against me; therefore I have hated her. 9 Is my heritage to me as a speckled bird of prey? are the birds of prey against her all around? Go, assemble all the animals of the field, bring them to devour. 10 Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. 11 They have made it a desolation; it mourns to me, being desolate; the whole land is made desolate, because no man lays it to heart. 12 Destroyers have come on all the bare heights in the wilderness; for the sword of Yahweh devours from the one end of the land even to the other end of the land: no flesh has peace. 13 They have sown wheat, and have reaped thorns; they have put themselves to pain, and profit nothing: and you shall be ashamed of your fruits, because of the fierce anger of Yahweh. 14 Yahweh says against all my evil neighbors, who touch the inheritance which I have caused my people Israel to inherit: behold, I will pluck them up from off their land, and will pluck up the house of Judah from among them. 15 It shall happen, after that I have plucked them up, I will return and have compassion on them; and I will bring them again, every man to his heritage, and every man to his land. 16 It shall happen, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, As Yahweh lives; even as they taught my people to swear by Baal; then shall they be built up in the middle of my people. 17 But if they will not hear, then I will pluck up that nation, plucking up and destroying it, says Yahweh.
13 Yahweh says to me, Go, and buy yourself a linen belt, and put it on your waist, and don’t put it in water. 2 So I bought a belt according to Yahweh’s word, and put it on my waist. 3 Yahweh’s word came to me the second time, saying, 4 Take the belt that you have bought, which is on your waist, and arise, go to the Euphrates, and hide it there in a cleft of the rock. 5 So I went, and hid it by the Euphrates, as Yahweh commanded me. 6 After many days, Yahweh said to me, Arise, go to the Euphrates, and take the belt from there, which I commanded you to hide there. 7 Then I went to the Euphrates, and dug, and took the belt from the place where I had hidden it; and behold, the belt was marred, it was profitable for nothing. 8 Then Yahweh’s word came to me, saying, 9 Yahweh says, In this way I will mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 This evil people, who refuse to hear my words, who walk in the stubbornness of their heart, and are gone after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this belt, which is profitable for nothing. 11 For as the belt clings to the waist of a man, so have I caused to cling to me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, says Yahweh; that they may be to me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear. 12 Therefore you shall speak to them this word: Yahweh, the God of Israel says, Every bottle shall be filled with wine: and they shall tell you, Do we not certainly know that every bottle shall be filled with wine? 13 Then you shall tell them, Yahweh says, Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, even the kings who sit on David’s throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenness. 14 I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, says Yahweh: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have compassion, that I should not destroy them. 15 Hear, and give ear; don’t be proud; for Yahweh has spoken. 16 Give glory to Yahweh your God, before he causes darkness, and before your feet stumble on the dark mountains, and, while you look for light, he turns it into the shadow of death, and makes it gross darkness. 17 But if you will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret for your pride; and my eye shall weep bitterly, and run down with tears, because Yahweh’s flock is taken captive. 18 Say to the king and to the queen mother, Humble yourselves, sit down; for your headdresses have come down, even the crown of your glory. 19 The cities of the South are shut up, and there is no one to open them: Judah is carried away captive, all of it; it is wholly carried away captive. 20 Lift up your eyes, and see those who come from the north: where is the flock that was given you, your beautiful flock? 21 What will you say, when he shall set over you as head those whom you have yourself taught to be friends to you? shall not sorrows take hold of you, as of a woman in travail? 22 If you say in your heart, Why are these things come on me? for the greatness of your iniquity are your skirts uncovered, and your heels suffer violence. 23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may you also do good, who are accustomed to do evil. 24 Therefore will I scatter them, as the stubble that passes away, by the wind of the wilderness. 25 This is your lot, the portion measured to you from me, says Yahweh; because you have forgotten me, and trusted in falsehood. 26 Therefore will I also uncover your skirts on your face, and your shame shall appear. 27 I have seen your abominations, even your adulteries, and your neighing, the lewdness of your prostitution, on the hills in the field. Woe to you, Jerusalem! You will not be made clean; how long shall it yet be?
14 Yahweh’s word that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought. 2 Judah mourns, and its gates languish, they sit in black on the ground; and the cry of Jerusalem is gone up. 3 Their nobles send their little ones to the waters: they come to the cisterns, and find no water; they return with their vessels empty; they are disappointed and confounded, and cover their heads. 4 Because of the ground which is cracked, because no rain has been in the land, the plowmen are disappointed, they cover their heads. 5 Yes, the hind also in the field calves, and forsakes her young, because there is no grass. 6 The wild donkeys stand on the bare heights, they pant for air like jackals; their eyes fail, because there is no herbage. 7 Though our iniquities testify against us, work for your name’s sake, Yahweh; for our rebellions are many; we have sinned against you. 8 You hope of Israel, its Savior in the time of trouble, why should you be as a foreigner in the land, and as a wayfaring man who turns aside to stay for a night? 9 Why should you be like a scared man, as a mighty man who can’t save? Yet you, Yahweh, are in the middle of us, and we are called by your name; don’t leave us. 10 Yahweh says to this people, Even so have they loved to wander; they have not refrained their feet: therefore Yahweh does not accept them; now he will remember their iniquity, and visit their sins.
1 Thessalonians 1:1-2:9
1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the assembly of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 We always give thanks to God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers, 3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith and labor of love and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father. 4 We know, brothers loved by God, that you are chosen, 5 and that our Good News came to you not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and with much assurance. You know what kind of men we showed ourselves to be among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all who believe in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8 For from you the word of the Lord has been declared, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone out; so that we need not to say anything. 9 For they themselves report concerning us what kind of a reception we had from you; and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.
2 For you yourselves know, brothers, our visit to you wasn’t in vain, 2 but having suffered before and been shamefully treated, as you know, at Philippi, we grew bold in our God to tell you the Good News of God in much conflict. 3 For our exhortation is not of error, nor of uncleanness, nor in deception. 4 But even as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News, so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, who tests our hearts. 5 For neither were we at any time found using words of flattery, as you know, nor a cloak of covetousness (God is witness), 6 nor seeking glory from men (neither from you nor from others), when we might have claimed authority as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother cherishes her own children.
8 Even so, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you, not the Good News of God only, but also our own souls, because you had become very dear to us. 9 For you remember, brothers, our labor and travail; for working night and day, that we might not burden any of you, we preached to you the Good News of God.
A Psalm by Asaph.
79 God, the nations have come into your inheritance.
They have defiled your holy temple.
They have laid Jerusalem in heaps.
2 They have given the dead bodies of your servants to be food for the birds of the sky,
the flesh of your saints to the animals of the earth.
3 Their blood they have shed like water around Jerusalem.
There was no one to bury them.
4 We have become a reproach to our neighbors,
a scoffing and derision to those who are around us.
5 How long, Yahweh?
Will you be angry forever?
Will your jealousy burn like fire?
6 Pour out your wrath on the nations that don’t know you;
on the kingdoms that don’t call on your name;
7 For they have devoured Jacob,
and destroyed his homeland.
8 Don’t hold the iniquities of our forefathers against us.
Let your tender mercies speedily meet us,
for we are in desperate need.
9 Help us, God of our salvation, for the glory of your name.
Deliver us, and forgive our sins, for your name’s sake.
10 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?”
Let it be known among the nations, before our eyes,
that vengeance for your servants’ blood is being poured out.
11 Let the sighing of the prisoner come before you.
According to the greatness of your power, preserve those who are sentenced to death.
12 Pay back to our neighbors seven times into their bosom
their reproach with which they have reproached you, Lord.
13 So we, your people and sheep of your pasture,
will give you thanks forever.
We will praise you forever, to all generations.
30 I went by the field of the sluggard,
by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;
31 Behold, it was all grown over with thorns.
Its surface was covered with nettles,
and its stone wall was broken down.
32 Then I saw, and considered well.
I saw, and received instruction:
33 a little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to sleep;
34 so your poverty will come as a robber,
and your want as an armed man.