13 October 2017 Bible Reading
In today’s reading, we begin our study of Second Thessalonians. Paul wrote this letter to the congregation in Thessalonica a few months after the first one. He wrote from Corinth in AD 51.
22 Thus said Yahweh: Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and speak there this word, 2 Say, Hear Yahweh’s word, king of Judah, who sits on David’s throne, you, and your servants, and your people who enter in by these gates. 3 Yahweh says: Execute justice and righteousness, and deliver him who is robbed out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence, to the foreigner, the fatherless, nor the widow; neither shed innocent blood in this place. 4 For if you do this thing indeed, then shall there enter in by the gates of this house kings sitting on David’s throne, riding in chariots and on horses, he, and his servants, and his people. 5 But if you will not hear these words, I swear by myself, says Yahweh, that this house shall become a desolation. 6 For Yahweh says concerning the house of the king of Judah: You are Gilead to me, the head of Lebanon. Yet surely I will make you a wilderness, cities which are not inhabited. 7 I will prepare destroyers against you, everyone with his weapons; and they shall cut down your choice cedars, and cast them into the fire. 8 Many nations shall pass by this city, and they shall say every man to his neighbor, Why has Yahweh done thus to this great city? 9 Then they shall answer, Because they abandoned the covenant of Yahweh their God, and worshiped other gods, and served them. 10 Don’t weep for the dead, neither bemoan him; but weep bitterly for him who goes away; for he shall return no more, nor see his native country. 11 For Yahweh says touching Shallum the son of Josiah, king of Judah, who reigned instead of Josiah his father, and who went out of this place: He shall not return there any more. 12 But in the place where they have led him captive, there shall he die, and he shall see this land no more. 13 Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his rooms by injustice; who uses his neighbor’s service without wages, and doesn’t give him his hire; 14 who says, I will build me a wide house and spacious rooms, and cuts him out windows; and it is ceiling with cedar, and painted with vermilion. 15 Shall you reign, because you strive to excel in cedar? Didn’t your father eat and drink, and do justice and righteousness? then it was well with him. 16 He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Wasn’t this to know me? says Yahweh. 17 But your eyes and your heart are not but for your covetousness, and for shedding innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence, to do it. 18 Therefore Yahweh says concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah: they shall not lament for him, saying, Ah my brother! or, Ah sister! They shall not lament for him, saying Ah lord! or, Ah his glory! 19 He shall be buried with the burial of a donkey, drawn and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem. 20 Go up to Lebanon, and cry; and lift up your voice in Bashan, and cry from Abarim; for all your lovers are destroyed. 21 I spoke to you in your prosperity; but you said, I will not hear. This has been your way from your youth, that you didn’t obey my voice. 22 The wind shall feed all your shepherds, and your lovers shall go into captivity: surely then you will be ashamed and confounded for all your wickedness. 23 Inhabitant of Lebanon, who makes your nest in the cedars, how greatly to be pitied you will be when pangs come on you, the pain as of a woman in travail! 24 As I live, says Yahweh, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet on my right hand, yet would I pluck you there; 25 and I will give you into the hand of those who seek your life, and into the hand of them of whom you are afraid, even into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans. 26 I will cast you out, and your mother who bore you, into another country, where you were not born; and there you will die. 27 But to the land t which their soul longs to return, there shall they not return. 28 Is this man Coniah a despised broken vessel? is he a vessel in which no one delights? why are they cast out, he and his offspring, and are cast into the land which they don’t know? 29 O earth, earth, earth, hear Yahweh’s word. 30 Yahweh says, Write you this man childless, a man who shall not prosper in his days; for no more shall a man of his offspring prosper, sitting on David’s throne, and ruling in Judah.
23 Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says Yahweh. 2 Therefore Yahweh, the God of Israel, says against the shepherds who feed my people: You have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them; behold, I will visit on you the evil of your doings, says Yahweh. 3 I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and multiply. 4 I will set up shepherds over them, who shall feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be lacking, says Yahweh. 5 Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will raise to David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name by which he shall be called: Yahweh our righteousness. 7 Therefore behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that they shall no more say, As Yahweh lives, who brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; 8 but, As Yahweh lives, who brought up and who led the offspring of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all the countries where I had driven them. They shall dwell in their own land. 9 Concerning the prophets. My heart within me is broken, all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine has overcome, because of Yahweh, and because of his holy words. 10 For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourns; the pastures of the wilderness are dried up. Their course is evil, and their might is not right; 11 for both prophet and priest are profane; yes, in my house have I found their wickedness, says Yahweh. 12 Therefore their way shall be to them as slippery places in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein; for I will bring evil on them, even the year of their visitation, says Yahweh. 13 I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied by Baal, and caused my people Israel to err. 14 In the prophets of Jerusalem also I have seen a horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies; and they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one returns from his wickedness: they have all become to me as Sodom, and its inhabitants as Gomorrah. 15 Therefore Yahweh of Armies says concerning the prophets: Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall; for from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has gone out into all the land. 16 Yahweh of Armies says, Don’t listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you: they teach you vanity; they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of Yahweh. 17 They say continually to those who despise me, Yahweh has said, You shall have peace; and to everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart they say, No evil shall come on you. 18 For who has stood in the council of Yahweh, that he should perceive and hear his word? who has marked my word, and heard it? 19 Behold, Yahweh’s storm, his wrath, has gone out. Yes, a whirling storm. It shall burst on the head of the wicked. 20 Yahweh’s anger shall not return, until he has executed, and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days you shall understand it perfectly. 21 I sent not these prophets, yet they ran: I didn’t speak to them, yet they prophesied. 22 But if they had stood in my council, then had they caused my people to hear my words, and had turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings. 23 Am I a God at hand, says Yahweh, and not a God afar off? 24 Can any hide himself in secret places so that I shall not see him? says Yahweh. Don’t I fill heaven and earth? says Yahweh. 25 I have heard what the prophets have said, who prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. 26 How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, even the prophets of the deceit of their own heart? 27 who think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbor, as their fathers forgot my name for Baal. 28 The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; and he who has my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the straw to the wheat? says Yahweh. 29 Isn’t my word like fire? says Yahweh; and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? 30 Therefore behold, I am against the prophets, says Yahweh, who steal my words everyone from his neighbor.
2 Thessalonians 1
1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the assembly of the Thessalonians in God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 We are bound to always give thanks to God for you, brothers, even as it is appropriate, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of each and every one of you towards one another abounds; 4 so that we ourselves boast about you in the assemblies of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions which you endure. 5 This is an obvious sign of the righteous judgment of God, to the end that you may be counted worthy of God’s Kingdom, for which you also suffer. 6 Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay affliction to those who afflict you, 7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted with us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, 8 giving vengeance to those who don’t know God, and to those who don’t obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus, 9 who will pay the penalty: eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired among all those who have believed (because our testimony to you was believed) in that day.
11 To this end we also pray always for you, that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire of goodness and work of faith, with power; 12 that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
A song. A Psalm by Asaph.
83 God, don’t keep silent.
Don’t keep silent,
and don’t be still, God.
2 For, behold, your enemies are stirred up.
Those who hate you have lifted up their heads.
3 They conspire with cunning against your people.
They plot against your cherished ones.
4 “Come,” they say, “let’s destroy them as a nation,
that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.”
5 For they have conspired together with one mind.
They form an alliance against you.
6 The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites;
Moab, and the Hagrites;
7 Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek;
Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;
8 Assyria also is joined with them.
They have helped the children of Lot.
9 Do to them as you did to Midian,
as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the river Kishon;
10 who perished at Endor,
who became as dung for the earth.
11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb;
yes, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna;
12 who said, “Let us take possession of God’s pasture lands.”
13 My God, make them like tumbleweed;
like chaff before the wind.
14 As the fire that burns the forest,
as the flame that sets the mountains on fire,
15 so pursue them with your tempest,
and terrify them with your storm.
16 Fill their faces with confusion,
that they may seek your name, Yahweh.
17 Let them be disappointed and dismayed forever.
Yes, let them be confounded and perish;
18 that they may know that you alone, whose name is Yahweh,
are the Most High over all the earth.
11 A word fitly spoken
is like apples of gold in settings of silver.
12 As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold,
so is a wise reprover to an obedient ear.
13 As the cold of snow in the time of harvest,
so is a faithful messenger to those who send him;
for he refreshes the soul of his masters.
14 As clouds and wind without rain,
so is he who boasts of gifts deceptively.