7 December 2017 Bible Reading
Today’s reading from the New Testament is Third John. It is the shortest book in the New Testament. It contains the simple message that nothing gave John more joy than to see Christians walking in truth and acting faithfully. It encourages Christians to avoid evil and imitate good.
6 “Come, and let us return to Yahweh;
for he has torn us to pieces,
and he will heal us;
he has injured us,
and he will bind up our wounds.
2 After two days he will revive us.
On the third day he will raise us up,
and we will live before him.
3 Let us acknowledge Yahweh.
Let us press on to know Yahweh.
As surely as the sun rises,
Yahweh will appear.
He will come to us like the rain,
like the spring rain that waters the earth.”
4 “Ephraim, what shall I do to you?
Judah, what shall I do to you?
For your love is like a morning cloud,
and like the dew that disappears early.
5 Therefore I have cut them to pieces with the prophets;
I killed them with the words of my mouth.
Your judgments are like a flash of lightning.
6 For I desire mercy, and not sacrifice;
and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
7 But they, like Adam, have broken the covenant.
They were unfaithful to me, there.
8 Gilead is a city of those who work iniquity;
it is stained with blood.
9 As gangs of robbers wait to ambush a man,
so the company of priests murder on the path toward Shechem,
committing shameful crimes.
10 In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing.
There is prostitution in Ephraim.
Israel is defiled.
11 “Also, Judah, there is a harvest appointed for you,
when I restore the fortunes of my people.
7 When I would heal Israel,
then the iniquity of Ephraim is uncovered,
also the wickedness of Samaria;
for they commit falsehood,
and the thief enters in,
and the gang of robbers ravages outside.
2 They don’t consider in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness.
Now their own deeds have engulfed them.
They are before my face.
3 They make the king glad with their wickedness,
and the princes with their lies.
4 They are all adulterers.
They are burning like an oven that the baker stops stirring,
from the kneading of the dough, until it is leavened.
5 On the day of our king, the princes made themselves sick with the heat of wine.
He joined his hand with mockers.
6 For they have prepared their heart like an oven,
while they lie in wait.
Their baker sleeps all the night.
In the morning it burns as a flaming fire.
7 They are all hot as an oven,
and devour their judges.
All their kings have fallen.
There is no one among them who calls to me.
8 Ephraim, he mixes himself among the nations.
Ephraim is a pancake not turned over.
9 Strangers have devoured his strength,
and he doesn’t realize it.
Indeed, gray hairs are here and there on him,
and he doesn’t realize it.
10 The pride of Israel testifies to his face;
yet they haven’t returned to Yahweh their God,
nor sought him, for all this.
11 “Ephraim is like an easily deceived dove, without understanding.
They call to Egypt.
They go to Assyria.
12 When they go, I will spread my net on them.
I will bring them down like the birds of the sky.
I will chastise them, as their congregation has heard.
13 Woe to them!
For they have wandered from me.
Destruction to them!
For they have trespassed against me.
Though I would redeem them,
yet they have spoken lies against me.
14 They haven’t cried to me with their heart,
but they howl on their beds.
They assemble themselves for grain and new wine.
They turn away from me.
15 Though I have taught and strengthened their arms,
yet they plot evil against me.
16 They return, but not to the Most High.
They are like a faulty bow.
Their princes will fall by the sword for the rage of their tongue.
This will be their derision in the land of Egypt.
8 “Put the trumpet to your lips!
Something like an eagle is over Yahweh’s house,
because they have broken my covenant,
and rebelled against my law.
2 They cry to me, ‘My God, we Israel acknowledge you!’
3 Israel has cast off that which is good.
The enemy will pursue him.
4 They have set up kings, but not by me.
They have made princes, and I didn’t approve.
Of their silver and their gold they have made themselves idols,
that they may be cut off.
5 Let Samaria throw out his calf idol!
My anger burns against them!
How long will it be until they are capable of purity?
6 For this is even from Israel!
The workman made it, and it is no God;
indeed, the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces.
7 For they sow the wind,
and they will reap the whirlwind.
He has no standing grain.
The stalk will yield no head.
If it does yield, strangers will swallow it up.
8 Israel is swallowed up.
Now they are among the nations like a worthless thing.
9 For they have gone up to Assyria,
like a wild donkey wandering alone.
Ephraim has hired lovers for himself.
10 But although they sold themselves among the nations,
I will now gather them;
and they begin to waste away because of the oppression of the king of mighty ones.
11 Because Ephraim has multiplied altars for sinning,
they became for him altars for sinning.
12 I wrote for him the many things of my law;
but they were regarded as a strange thing.
13 As for the sacrifices of my offerings,
they sacrifice flesh and eat it;
But Yahweh doesn’t accept them.
Now he will remember their iniquity,
and punish their sins.
They will return to Egypt.
14 For Israel has forgotten his Maker and built palaces;
and Judah has multiplied fortified cities;
but I will send a fire on his cities,
and it will devour its fortresses.”
9 Don’t rejoice, Israel, to jubilation like the nations;
for you were unfaithful to your God.
You love the wages of a prostitute at every grain threshing floor.
2 The threshing floor and the wine press won’t feed them,
and the new wine will fail her.
3 They won’t dwell in Yahweh’s land;
but Ephraim will return to Egypt,
and they will eat unclean food in Assyria.
4 They won’t pour out wine offerings to Yahweh,
neither will they be pleasing to him.
Their sacrifices will be to them like the bread of mourners;
all who eat of it will be polluted;
for their bread will be for their appetite.
It will not come into Yahweh’s house.
5 What will you do in the day of solemn assembly,
and in the day of the feast of Yahweh?
6 For, behold, they have gone away from destruction.
Egypt will gather them up.
Memphis will bury them.
Nettles will possess their pleasant things of silver.
Thorns will be in their tents.
7 The days of visitation have come.
The days of reckoning have come.
Israel will consider the prophet to be a fool,
and the man who is inspired to be insane,
because of the abundance of your sins,
and because your hostility is great.
8 A prophet watches over Ephraim with my God.
A fowler’s snare is on all of his paths,
and hostility in the house of his God.
9 They have deeply corrupted themselves,
as in the days of Gibeah.
He will remember their iniquity.
He will punish them for their sins.
10 I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness.
I saw your fathers as the first ripe in the fig tree at its first season;
but they came to Baal Peor, and consecrated themselves to the shameful thing,
and became abominable like that which they loved.
11 As for Ephraim, their glory will fly away like a bird.
There will be no birth, no one with child, and no conception.
12 Though they bring up their children,
yet I will bereave them, so that not a man shall be left.
Indeed, woe also to them when I depart from them!
13 I have seen Ephraim, like Tyre, planted in a pleasant place;
but Ephraim will bring out his children to the murderer.
14 Give them—Yahweh what will you give?
Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.
15 “All their wickedness is in Gilgal;
for there I hated them.
Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of my house!
I will love them no more.
All their princes are rebels.
16 Ephraim is struck.
Their root has dried up.
They will bear no fruit.
Even though they give birth, yet I will kill the beloved ones of their womb.”
17 My God will cast them away, because they did not listen to him;
and they will be wanderers among the nations.
1 The elder to Gaius the beloved, whom I love in truth.
2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be healthy, even as your soul prospers. 3 For I rejoiced greatly, when brothers came and testified about your truth, even as you walk in truth. 4 I have no greater joy than this, to hear about my children walking in truth.
5 Beloved, you do a faithful work in whatever you accomplish for those who are brothers and strangers. 6 They have testified about your love before the assembly. You will do well to send them forward on their journey in a way worthy of God, 7 because for the sake of the Name they went out, taking nothing from the Gentiles. 8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.
9 I wrote to the assembly, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, doesn’t accept what we say. 10 Therefore if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words. Not content with this, neither does he himself receive the brothers, and those who would, he forbids and throws out of the assembly. 11 Beloved, don’t imitate that which is evil, but that which is good. He who does good is of God. He who does evil hasn’t seen God. 12 Demetrius has the testimony of all, and of the truth itself; yes, we also testify, and you know that our testimony is true.
13 I had many things to write to you, but I am unwilling to write to you with ink and pen; 14 but I hope to see you soon, and we will speak face to face. Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends by name.
A Song of Ascents.
126 When Yahweh brought back those who returned to Zion,
we were like those who dream.
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with singing.
Then they said among the nations,
“Yahweh has done great things for them.”
3 Yahweh has done great things for us,
and we are glad.
4 Restore our fortunes again, Yahweh,
like the streams in the Negev.
5 Those who sow in tears will reap in joy.
6 He who goes out weeping, carrying seed for sowing,
will certainly come again with joy, carrying his sheaves.
12 If a ruler listens to lies,
all of his officials are wicked.
13 The poor man and the oppressor have this in common:
Yahweh gives sight to the eyes of both.
14 The king who fairly judges the poor,
his throne shall be established forever.