6 December 2017 Bible Reading
Today’s reading from the New Testament is Second John. The love of which John speaks cannot exist apart from the doctrine of Christ. He is the definition of love itself, as well as its source and supernatural enabler. Gnostics, false teachers of that day, had gone about rejecting the truth of the incarnation, invalidating the true demonstration of the Father’s love in sending His Son into the world for its redemption (cf. John 3:16). Believers must not be swayed by this if they want to come into the full reward.
4 Hear Yahweh’s word, you children of Israel;
for Yahweh has a charge against the inhabitants of the land:
“Indeed there is no truth,
nor knowledge of God in the land.
2 There is cursing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery;
they break boundaries, and bloodshed causes bloodshed.
3 Therefore the land will mourn,
and everyone who dwells therein will waste away.
all living things in her,
even the animals of the field and the birds of the sky;
yes, the fish of the sea also die.
4 “Yet let no man bring a charge, neither let any man accuse; For your people are like those who bring charges against a priest.
5 You will stumble in the day,
and the prophet will also stumble with you in the night;
and I will destroy your mother.
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you,
that you may be no priest to me.
Because you have forgotten your God’s law,
I will also forget your children.
7 As they were multiplied, so they sinned against me.
I will change their glory into shame.
8 They feed on the sin of my people,
and set their heart on their iniquity.
9 It will be, like people, like priest;
and I will punish them for their ways,
and will repay them for their deeds.
10 They will eat, and not have enough.
They will play the prostitute, and will not increase;
because they have abandoned giving to Yahweh.
11 Prostitution, wine, and new wine take away understanding.
12 My people consult with their wooden idol,
and answer to a stick of wood.
Indeed the spirit of prostitution has led them astray,
and they have been unfaithful to their God.
13 They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains,
and burn incense on the hills, under oaks and poplars and terebinths,
because its shade is good.
Therefore your daughters play the prostitute,
and your brides commit adultery.
14 I will not punish your daughters when they play the prostitute,
nor your brides when they commit adultery;
because the men consort with prostitutes,
and they sacrifice with the shrine prostitutes;
so the people without understanding will come to ruin.
15 “Though you, Israel, play the prostitute,
yet don’t let Judah offend;
and don’t come to Gilgal,
neither go up to Beth Aven,
nor swear, ‘As Yahweh lives.’
16 For Israel has behaved extremely stubbornly, like a stubborn heifer.
Then how will Yahweh feed them like a lamb in a meadow.
17 Ephraim is joined to idols.
Leave him alone!
18 Their drink has become sour.
They play the prostitute continually.
Her rulers dearly love their shameful way.
19 The wind has wrapped her up in its wings;
and they shall be disappointed because of their sacrifices.
5 “Listen to this, you priests!
Listen, house of Israel,
and give ear, house of the king!
For the judgment is against you;
for you have been a snare at Mizpah,
and a net spread on Tabor.
2 The rebels are deep in slaughter;
but I discipline all of them.
3 I know Ephraim,
and Israel is not hidden from me;
for now, Ephraim, you have played the prostitute.
Israel is defiled.
4 Their deeds won’t allow them to turn to their God;
for the spirit of prostitution is within them,
and they don’t know Yahweh.
5 The pride of Israel testifies to his face.
Therefore Israel and Ephraim will stumble in their iniquity.
Judah also will stumble with them.
6 They will go with their flocks and with their herds to seek Yahweh;
but they won’t find him.
He has withdrawn himself from them.
7 They are unfaithful to Yahweh;
for they have borne illegitimate children.
Now the new moon will devour them with their fields.
8 “Blow the cornet in Gibeah,
and the trumpet in Ramah!
Sound a battle cry at Beth Aven, behind you, Benjamin!
9 Ephraim will become a desolation in the day of rebuke.
Among the tribes of Israel, I have made known that which will surely be.
10 The princes of Judah are like those who remove a landmark.
I will pour out my wrath on them like water.
11 Ephraim is oppressed,
he is crushed in judgment;
Because he is intent in his pursuit of idols.
12 Therefore I am to Ephraim like a moth,
and to the house of Judah like rottenness.
13 “When Ephraim saw his sickness,
and Judah his wound,
Then Ephraim went to Assyria,
and sent to king Jareb:
but he is not able to heal you,
neither will he cure you of your wound.
14 For I will be to Ephraim like a lion,
and like a young lion to the house of Judah.
I myself will tear in pieces and go away.
I will carry off, and there will be no one to deliver.
15 I will go and return to my place,
until they acknowledge their offense,
and seek my face.
In their affliction they will seek me earnestly.”
1 The elder, to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not I only, but also all those who know the truth; 2 for the truth’s sake, which remains in us, and it will be with us forever: 3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
4 I rejoice greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, even as we have been commanded by the Father. 5 Now I beg you, dear lady, not as though I wrote to you a new commandment, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. 6 This is love, that we should walk according to his commandments. This is the commandment, even as you heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it. 7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who don’t confess that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the Antichrist. 8 Watch yourselves, that we don’t lose the things which we have accomplished, but that we receive a full reward. 9 Whoever transgresses and doesn’t remain in the teaching of Christ, doesn’t have God. He who remains in the teaching, the same has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you, and doesn’t bring this teaching, don’t receive him into your house, and don’t welcome him, 11 for he who welcomes him participates in his evil deeds.
12 Having many things to write to you, I don’t want to do so with paper and ink, but I hope to come to you, and to speak face to face, that our joy may be made full. 13 The children of your chosen sister greet you. Amen.
A Song of Ascents.
125 Those who trust in Yahweh are as Mount Zion,
which can’t be moved, but remains forever.
2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so Yahweh surrounds his people from this time forward and forever more.
3 For the scepter of wickedness won’t remain over the allotment of the righteous;
so that the righteous won’t use their hands to do evil.
4 Do good, Yahweh, to those who are good,
to those who are upright in their hearts.
5 But as for those who turn aside to their crooked ways,
Yahweh will lead them away with the workers of iniquity.
Peace be on Israel.
9 If a wise man goes to court with a foolish man,
the fool rages or scoffs, and there is no peace.
10 The bloodthirsty hate a man of integrity;
and they seek the life of the upright.
11 A fool vents all of his anger,
but a wise man brings himself under control.