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26 October 2017 Bible Reading

Today’s Bible reading begins the letter known as Titus. Titus accompanied Paul on his third missionary journey, during which the apostle sent him to Corinth at least once (2 Corinthians 2:12–13; 7:5–7, 13–15; 8:6, 16–24). Paul clearly held Titus in a position of great respect as a friend and fellow worker for the gospel, praising Titus for his affection, his earnestness, and his bringing comfort to others.

Jeremiah 49:23-50:46
23 Of Damascus. Hamath is confounded, and Arpad; for they have heard evil news, they are melted away: there is sorrow on the sea; it can’t be quiet. 24 Damascus has grown feeble, she turns herself to flee, and trembling has seized on her: anguish and sorrows have taken hold of her, as of a woman in travail. 25 How is the city of praise not forsaken, the city of my joy? 26 Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, and all the men of war shall be brought to silence in that day, says Yahweh of Armies. 27 I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall devour the palaces of Ben Hadad. 28 Of Kedar, and of the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon struck. Yahweh says: Arise, go up to Kedar, and destroy the children of the east. 29 Their tents and their flocks shall they take; they shall carry away for themselves their curtains, and all their vessels, and their camels; and they shall cry to them, Terror on every side! 30 Flee, wander far off, dwell in the depths, you inhabitants of Hazor, says Yahweh; for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has taken counsel against you, and has conceived a purpose against you. 31 Arise, go up to a nation that is at ease, that dwells without care, says Yahweh; that have neither gates nor bars, that dwell alone. 32 Their camels shall be a booty, and the multitude of their livestock a plunder: and I will scatter to all winds those who have the corners of their beards cut off; and I will bring their calamity from every side of them, says Yahweh. 33 Hazor shall be a dwelling place of jackals, a desolation forever: no man shall dwell there, neither shall any son of man live therein. 34 Yahweh’s word that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning Elam, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying, 35 Yahweh of Armies says: Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the chief of their might. 36 On Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of the sky, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation where the outcasts of Elam shall not come. 37 I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies, and before those who seek their life; and I will bring evil on them, even my fierce anger, says Yahweh; and I will send the sword after them, until I have consumed them; 38 and I will set my throne in Elam, and will destroy from there king and princes, says Yahweh. 39 But it shall happen in the latter days, that I will bring back the captivity of Elam, says Yahweh.
50 The word that Yahweh spoke concerning Babylon, concerning the land of the Chaldeans, by Jeremiah the prophet. 2 Declare among the nations and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and don’t conceal: say, Babylon is taken, Bel is disappointed, Merodach is dismayed; her images are disappointed, her idols are dismayed. 3 For out of the north there comes up a nation against her, which shall make her land desolate, and no one shall dwell therein: they are fled, they are gone, both man and animal. 4 In those days, and in that time, says Yahweh, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together; they shall go on their way weeping, and shall seek Yahweh their God. 5 They shall inquire concerning Zion with their faces turned toward it, saying, Come, and join yourselves to Yahweh in an everlasting covenant that shall not be forgotten. 6 My people have been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray; they have turned them away on the mountains; they have gone from mountain to hill; they have forgotten their resting place. 7 All who found them have devoured them; and their adversaries said, We are not guilty, because they have sinned against Yahweh, the habitation of righteousness, even Yahweh, the hope of their fathers. 8 Flee out of the middle of Babylon, and go out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be as the male goats before the flocks. 9 For, behold, I will stir up and cause to come up against Babylon a company of great nations from the north country; and they shall set themselves in array against her; from there she shall be taken: their arrows shall be as of an expert mighty man; no one shall return in vain. 10 Chaldea shall be a prey: all who prey on her shall be satisfied, says Yahweh. 11 Because you are glad, because you rejoice, O you who plunder my heritage, because you are wanton as a heifer that treads out the grain, and neigh as strong horses; 12 your mother shall be utterly disappointed; she who bore you shall be confounded: behold, she shall be the least of the nations, a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert. 13 Because of Yahweh’s wrath she shall not be inhabited, but she shall be wholly desolate: everyone who goes by Babylon shall be astonished, and hiss at all her plagues. 14 Set yourselves in array against Babylon all around, all you who bend the bow; shoot at her, spare no arrows: for she has sinned against Yahweh. 15 Shout against her all around: she has submitted herself; her bulwarks are fallen, her walls are thrown down; for it is the vengeance of Yahweh: take vengeance on her; as she has done, do to her. 16 Cut off the sower from Babylon, and him who handles the sickle in the time of harvest: for fear of the oppressing sword they shall turn everyone to his people, and they shall flee everyone to his own land. 17 Israel is a hunted sheep; the lions have driven him away: first, the king of Assyria devoured him; and now at last Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has broken his bones. 18 Therefore Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, says: Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria. 19 I will bring Israel again to his pasture, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied on the hills of Ephraim and in Gilead. 20 In those days, and in that time, says Yahweh, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be no one; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I leave as a remnant. 21 Go up against the land of Merathaim, even against it, and against the inhabitants of Pekod: kill and utterly destroy after them, says Yahweh, and do according to all that I have commanded you. 22 A sound of battle is in the land, and of great destruction. 23 How is the hammer of the whole earth cut apart and broken! how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations! 24 I have laid a snare for you, and you are also taken, Babylon, and you weren’t aware: you are found, and also caught, because you have striven against Yahweh. 25 Yahweh has opened his armory, and has brought out the weapons of his indignation; for the Lord, Yahweh of Armies, has a work to do in the land of the Chaldeans. 26 Come against her from the utmost border; open her storehouses; cast her up as heaps, and destroy her utterly; let nothing of her be left. 27 Kill all her bulls; let them go down to the slaughter: woe to them! for their day has come, the time of their visitation. 28 The voice of those who flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of Yahweh our God, the vengeance of his temple. 29 Call together the archers against Babylon, all those who bend the bow; encamp against her all around; let none of it escape: recompense her according to her work; according to all that she has done, do to her; for she has been proud against Yahweh, against the Holy One of Israel. 30 Therefore her young men will fall in her streets, and all her men of war will be brought to silence in that day, says Yahweh. 31 Behold, I am against you, you proud one, says the Lord, Yahweh of Armies; for your day has come, the time that I will visit you. 32 The proud one shall stumble and fall, and no one shall raise him up; and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it shall devour all who are around him. 33 Yahweh of Armies says: The children of Israel and the children of Judah are oppressed together; and all who took them captive hold them fast; they refuse to let them go. 34 Their Redeemer is strong; Yahweh of Armies is his name: he will thoroughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the earth, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon. 35 A sword is on the Chaldeans, says Yahweh, and on the inhabitants of Babylon, and on her princes, and on her wise men. 36 A sword is on the boasters, and they shall become fools; a sword is on her mighty men, and they shall be dismayed. 37 A sword is on their horses, and on their chariots, and on all the mixed people who are in the middle of her; and they shall become as women: a sword is on her treasures, and they shall be robbed. 38 A drought is on her waters, and they shall be dried up; for it is a land of engraved images, and they are mad over idols. 39 Therefore the wild animals of the desert with the wolves shall dwell there, and the ostriches shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited forever; neither shall it be lived in from generation to generation. 40 As when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbor cities of it, says Yahweh, so shall no man dwell there, neither shall any son of man live therein. 41 Behold, a people comes from the north; and a great nation and many kings shall be stirred up from the uttermost parts of the earth. 42 They lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel, and have no mercy; their voice roars like the sea; and they ride on horses, everyone set in array, as a man to the battle, against you, daughter of Babylon. 43 The king of Babylon has heard the news of them, and his hands wax feeble: anguish has taken hold of him, pains as of a woman in labor. 44 Behold, the enemy shall come up like a lion from the pride of the Jordan against the strong habitation: for I will suddenly make them run away from it; and whoever is chosen, him will I appoint over it: for who is like me? and who will appoint me a time? and who is the shepherd who can stand before me? 45 Therefore hear the counsel of Yahweh, that he has taken against Babylon; and his purposes, that he has purposed against the land of the Chaldeans: Surely they shall drag them away, even the little ones of the flock; surely he shall make their habitation desolate over them. 46 At the noise of the taking of Babylon the earth trembles, and the cry is heard among the nations.

Titus 1
1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s chosen ones, and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who can’t lie, promised before time began; 3 but in his own time revealed his word in the message with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior; 4 to Titus, my true child according to a common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.
5 I left you in Crete for this reason, that you would set in order the things that were lacking, and appoint elders in every city, as I directed you; 6 if anyone is blameless, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, who are not accused of loose or unruly behavior. 7 For the overseer must be blameless, as God’s steward; not self-pleasing, not easily angered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for dishonest gain; 8 but given to hospitality, a lover of good, sober minded, fair, holy, self-controlled; 9 holding to the faithful word which is according to the teaching, that he may be able to exhort in the sound doctrine, and to convict those who contradict him. 10 For there are also many unruly men, vain talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped; men who overthrow whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for dishonest gain’s sake. 12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, and idle gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. For this cause, reprove them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not paying attention to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn away from the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. 16 They profess that they know God, but by their deeds they deny him, being abominable, disobedient, and unfit for any good work.

Psalm 97-98
97 Yahweh reigns!
Let the earth rejoice!
Let the multitude of islands be glad!
2 Clouds and darkness are around him.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
3 A fire goes before him,
and burns up his adversaries on every side.
4 His lightning lights up the world.
The earth sees, and trembles.
5 The mountains melt like wax at the presence of Yahweh,
at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
6 The heavens declare his righteousness.
All the peoples have seen his glory.
7 Let all them be shamed who serve engraved images,
who boast in their idols.
Worship him, all you gods!
8 Zion heard and was glad.
The daughters of Judah rejoiced,
because of your judgments, Yahweh.
9 For you, Yahweh, are most high above all the earth.
You are exalted far above all gods.
10 You who love Yahweh, hate evil.
He preserves the souls of his saints.
He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.
11 Light is sown for the righteous,
and gladness for the upright in heart.
12 Be glad in Yahweh, you righteous people!
Give thanks to his holy Name.
A Psalm.
98 Sing to Yahweh a new song,
for he has done marvelous things!
His right hand, and his holy arm, have worked salvation for him.
2 Yahweh has made known his salvation.
He has openly shown his righteousness in the sight of the nations.
3 He has remembered his loving kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
4 Make a joyful noise to Yahweh, all the earth!
Burst out and sing for joy, yes, sing praises!
5 Sing praises to Yahweh with the harp,
with the harp and the voice of melody.
6 With trumpets and sound of the ram’s horn,
make a joyful noise before the King, Yahweh.
7 Let the sea roar with its fullness;
the world, and those who dwell therein.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands.
Let the mountains sing for joy together.
9 Let them sing before Yahweh,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with equity.

Proverbs 26:13-16
13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road!
A fierce lion roams the streets!”
14 As the door turns on its hinges,
so does the sluggard on his bed.
15 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish.
He is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.
16 The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes
than seven men who answer with discretion.

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