8 December 2017 Bible Reading
Today’s New Testament reading is Jude. Jude wrote this book to the church during a time of doctrinal and moral error inside the church. While Peter talked about the coming of false teachers (2 Peter 2:-12; 3:3) Jude addresses them as already being present (Jude 1:4, 11-12, 17-18). Jude seems to have written this while in Jerusalem even though he did go on some missionary trips early on (1 Cor 9:5). When Jude wrote this book, the church was under heavy persecution from Rome and the Jewish leaders. He tells the church to “contend for the faith once delivered” because the faith was under attack. Today, we have this in common with no shortage of apostate churches.
10 Israel is a luxuriant vine that produces his fruit.
According to the abundance of his fruit he has multiplied his altars.
As their land has prospered, they have adorned their sacred stones.
2 Their heart is divided.
Now they will be found guilty.
He will demolish their altars.
He will destroy their sacred stones.
3 Surely now they will say, “We have no king; for we don’t fear Yahweh;
and the king, what can he do for us?”
4 They make promises, swearing falsely in making covenants.
Therefore judgment springs up like poisonous weeds in the furrows of the field.
5 The inhabitants of Samaria will be in terror for the calves of Beth Aven;
for its people will mourn over it,
Along with its priests who rejoiced over it,
for its glory, because it has departed from it.
6 It also will be carried to Assyria for a present to a great king.
Ephraim will receive shame,
and Israel will be ashamed of his own counsel.
7 Samaria and her king float away,
like a twig on the water.
8 The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, will be destroyed.
The thorn and the thistle will come up on their altars.
They will tell the mountains, “Cover us!” and the hills, “Fall on us!”
9 “Israel, you have sinned from the days of Gibeah.
There they remained.
The battle against the children of iniquity doesn’t overtake them in Gibeah.
10 When it is my desire, I will chastise them;
and the nations will be gathered against them,
when they are bound to their two transgressions.
11 Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh;
so I will put a yoke on her beautiful neck.
I will set a rider on Ephraim.
Judah will plow.
Jacob will break his clods.
12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness,
reap according to kindness.
Break up your fallow ground;
for it is time to seek Yahweh,
until he comes and rains righteousness on you.
13 You have plowed wickedness.
You have reaped iniquity.
You have eaten the fruit of lies,
for you trusted in your way, in the multitude of your mighty men.
14 Therefore a battle roar will arise among your people,
and all your fortresses will be destroyed,
as Shalman destroyed Beth Arbel in the day of battle.
The mother was dashed in pieces with her children.
15 So Bethel will do to you because of your great wickedness.
At daybreak the king of Israel will be destroyed.
11 “When Israel was a child, then I loved him,
and called my son out of Egypt.
2 They called to them, so they went from them.
They sacrificed to the Baals,
and burned incense to engraved images.
3 Yet I taught Ephraim to walk.
I took them by his arms;
but they didn’t know that I healed them.
4 I drew them with cords of a man, with ties of love;
and I was to them like those who lift up the yoke on their necks;
and I bent down to him and I fed him.
5 “They won’t return into the land of Egypt;
but the Assyrian will be their king,
because they refused to repent.
6 The sword will fall on their cities,
and will destroy the bars of their gates,
and will put an end to their plans.
7 My people are determined to turn from me.
Though they call to the Most High,
he certainly won’t exalt them.
8 “How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I make you like Zeboiim?
My heart is turned within me,
my compassion is aroused.
9 I will not execute the fierceness of my anger.
I will not return to destroy Ephraim:
for I am God, and not man; the Holy One among you;
and I will not come in wrath.
10 They will walk after Yahweh,
who will roar like a lion;
for he will roar, and the children will come trembling from the west.
11 They will come trembling like a bird out of Egypt,
and like a dove out of the land of Assyria;
and I will settle them in their houses,” says Yahweh.
12 Ephraim surrounds me with falsehood,
and the house of Israel with deceit.
Judah still strays from God,
and is unfaithful to the Holy One.
12 Ephraim feeds on wind,
and chases the east wind.
He continually multiplies lies and desolation.
They make a covenant with Assyria,
and oil is carried into Egypt.
2 Yahweh also has a controversy with Judah,
and will punish Jacob according to his ways;
according to his deeds he will repay him.
3 In the womb he took his brother by the heel;
and in his manhood he contended with God.
4 Indeed, he struggled with the angel, and prevailed;
he wept, and made supplication to him.
He found him at Bethel, and there he spoke with us,
5 even Yahweh, the God of Armies;
Yahweh is his name of renown!
6 Therefore turn to your God.
Keep kindness and justice,
and wait continually for your God.
7 A merchant has dishonest scales in his hand.
He loves to defraud.
8 Ephraim said, “Surely I have become rich,
I have found myself wealth.
In all my wealth they won’t find in me any iniquity that is sin.”
9 “But I am Yahweh your God from the land of Egypt.
I will yet again make you dwell in tents,
as in the days of the solemn feast.
10 I have also spoken to the prophets,
and I have multiplied visions;
and by the ministry of the prophets I have used parables.
11 If Gilead is wicked,
surely they are worthless.
In Gilgal they sacrifice bulls.
Indeed, their altars are like heaps in the furrows of the field.
12 Jacob fled into the country of Aram,
and Israel served to get a wife,
and for a wife he tended flocks and herds.
13 By a prophet Yahweh brought Israel up out of Egypt,
and by a prophet he was preserved.
14 Ephraim has bitterly provoked anger.
Therefore his blood will be left on him,
and his Lord will repay his contempt.
13 When Ephraim spoke, there was trembling.
He exalted himself in Israel,
but when he became guilty in Baal, he died.
2 Now they sin more and more,
and have made themselves molten images of their silver,
even idols according to their own understanding,
all of them the work of the craftsmen.
They say of them, ‘They offer human sacrifice and kiss the calves.’
3 Therefore they will be like the morning mist,
and like the dew that passes away early,
like the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the threshing floor,
and like the smoke out of the chimney.
4 “Yet I am Yahweh your God from the land of Egypt;
and you shall acknowledge no god but me,
and besides me there is no savior.
5 I knew you in the wilderness,
in the land of great drought.
6 According to their pasture, so were they filled;
they were filled, and their heart was exalted.
Therefore they have forgotten me.
7 Therefore I am like a lion to them.
Like a leopard, I will lurk by the path.
8 I will meet them like a bear that is bereaved of her cubs,
and will tear the covering of their heart.
There I will devour them like a lioness.
The wild animal will tear them.
9 You are destroyed, Israel, because you are against me,
against your help.
10 Where is your king now, that he may save you in all your cities?
And your judges, of whom you said, ‘Give me a king and princes?’
11 I have given you a king in my anger,
and have taken him away in my wrath.
12 The guilt of Ephraim is stored up.
His sin is stored up.
13 The sorrows of a travailing woman will come on him.
He is an unwise son;
for when it is time, he doesn’t come to the opening of the womb.
14 I will ransom them from the power of Sheol.
I will redeem them from death!
Death, where are your plagues?
Sheol, where is your destruction?
“Compassion will be hidden from my eyes.
15 Though he is fruitful among his brothers, an east wind will come,
the breath of Yahweh coming up from the wilderness;
and his spring will become dry,
and his fountain will be dried up.
He will plunder the storehouse of treasure.
16 Samaria will bear her guilt;
for she has rebelled against her God.
They will fall by the sword.
Their infants will be dashed in pieces,
and their pregnant women will be ripped open.”
14 Israel, return to Yahweh your God;
for you have fallen because of your sin.
2 Take words with you, and return to Yahweh.
Tell him, “Forgive all our sins,
and accept that which is good:
so we offer our lips like bulls.
3 Assyria can’t save us.
We won’t ride on horses;
neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, ‘Our gods!’
for in you the fatherless finds mercy.”
4 “I will heal their waywardness.
I will love them freely;
for my anger is turned away from him.
5 I will be like the dew to Israel.
He will blossom like the lily,
and send down his roots like Lebanon.
6 His branches will spread,
and his beauty will be like the olive tree,
and his fragrance like Lebanon.
7 Men will dwell in his shade.
They will revive like the grain,
and blossom like the vine.
Their fragrance will be like the wine of Lebanon.
8 Ephraim, what have I to do any more with idols?
I answer, and will take care of him.
I am like a green cypress tree;
from me your fruit is found.”
9 Who is wise, that he may understand these things?
Who is prudent, that he may know them?
For the ways of Yahweh are right,
and the righteous walk in them;
But the rebellious stumble in them.
1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ: 2 Mercy to you and peace and love be multiplied.
3 Beloved, while I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I was constrained to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For there are certain men who crept in secretly, even those who were long ago written about for this condemnation: ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into indecency, and denying our only Master, God, and Lord, Jesus Christ.
5 Now I desire to remind you, though you already know this, that the Lord, having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who didn’t believe. 6 Angels who didn’t keep their first domain, but deserted their own dwelling place, he has kept in everlasting bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day. 7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them, having, in the same way as these, given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are shown as an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire. 8 Yet in the same way, these also in their dreaming defile the flesh, despise authority, and slander celestial beings. 9 But Michael, the archangel, when contending with the devil and arguing about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him an abusive condemnation, but said, “May the Lord rebuke you!” 10 But these speak evil of whatever things they don’t know. They are destroyed in these things that they understand naturally, like the creatures without reason. 11 Woe to them! For they went in the way of Cain, and ran riotously in the error of Balaam for hire, and perished in Korah’s rebellion. 12 These are hidden rocky reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you, shepherds who without fear feed themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn leaves without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; 13 wild waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the blackness of darkness has been reserved forever. 14 About these also Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their works of ungodliness which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16 These are murmurers and complainers, walking after their lusts (and their mouth speaks proud things), showing respect of persons to gain advantage.
17 But you, beloved, remember the words which have been spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They said to you that “In the last time there will be mockers, walking after their own ungodly lusts.” 19 These are they who cause divisions, and are sensual, not having the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, keep building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit. 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. 22 On some have compassion, making a distinction, 23 and some save, snatching them out of the fire with fear, hating even the clothing stained by the flesh.
24 Now to him who is able to keep them from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory in great joy, 25 to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.
A Song of Ascents. By Solomon.
127 Unless Yahweh builds the house,
they labor in vain who build it.
Unless Yahweh watches over the city,
the watchman guards it in vain.
2 It is vain for you to rise up early,
to stay up late,
eating the bread of toil;
for he gives sleep to his loved ones.
3 Behold, children are a heritage of Yahweh.
The fruit of the womb is his reward.
4 As arrows in the hand of a mighty man,
so are the children of youth.
5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them.
They won’t be disappointed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.
15 The rod of correction gives wisdom,
but a child left to himself causes shame to his mother.
16 When the wicked increase, sin increases;
but the righteous will see their downfall.
17 Correct your son, and he will give you peace;
yes, he will bring delight to your soul.