Daily reading for Wednesday, December 4, 2013

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1 Advent

Ps. 119:1–24; Ps. 12, 13, 14; Amos 3:12—4:5; 2 Pet. 3:1–10; Matt. 21:23–32 (New Revised Standard Version)

Psalm 119:1-24

Psalm 119

The Glories of God’s Law

Happy are those whose way is blameless,
    who walk in the law of the Lord.
Happy are those who keep his decrees,
    who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
    but walk in his ways.
You have commanded your precepts
    to be kept diligently.
O that my ways may be steadfast
    in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
    having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart,
    when I learn your righteous ordinances.
I will observe your statutes;
    do not utterly forsake me.

How can young people keep their way pure?
    By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
    do not let me stray from your commandments.
11 I treasure your word in my heart,
    so that I may not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O Lord;
    teach me your statutes.
13 With my lips I declare
    all the ordinances of your mouth.
14 I delight in the way of your decrees
    as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on your precepts,
    and fix my eyes on your ways.
16 I will delight in your statutes;
    I will not forget your word.

17 Deal bountifully with your servant,
    so that I may live and observe your word.
18 Open my eyes, so that I may behold
    wondrous things out of your law.
19 I live as an alien in the land;
    do not hide your commandments from me.
20 My soul is consumed with longing
    for your ordinances at all times.
21 You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,
    who wander from your commandments;
22 take away from me their scorn and contempt,
    for I have kept your decrees.
23 Even though princes sit plotting against me,
    your servant will meditate on your statutes.
24 Your decrees are my delight,
    they are my counselors.

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Psalm 12-14

Psalm 12

Plea for Help in Evil Times

To the leader: according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David.

Help, O Lord, for there is no longer anyone who is godly;
    the faithful have disappeared from humankind.
They utter lies to each other;
    with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
    the tongue that makes great boasts,
those who say, “With our tongues we will prevail;
    our lips are our own—who is our master?”

“Because the poor are despoiled, because the needy groan,
    I will now rise up,” says the Lord;
    “I will place them in the safety for which they long.”
The promises of the Lord are promises that are pure,
    silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
    purified seven times.

You, O Lord, will protect us;
    you will guard us from this generation forever.
On every side the wicked prowl,
    as vileness is exalted among humankind.

Psalm 13

Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies

To the leader. A Psalm of David.

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain[a] in my soul,
    and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!
    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
and my enemy will say, “I have prevailed”;
    my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.

But I trusted in your steadfast love;
    my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
    because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Psalm 14

Denunciation of Godlessness

To the leader. Of David.

Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.”
    They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;
    there is no one who does good.

The Lord looks down from heaven on humankind
    to see if there are any who are wise,
    who seek after God.

They have all gone astray, they are all alike perverse;
    there is no one who does good,
    no, not one.

Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers
    who eat up my people as they eat bread,
    and do not call upon the Lord?

There they shall be in great terror,
    for God is with the company of the righteous.
You would confound the plans of the poor,
    but the Lord is their refuge.

O that deliverance for Israel would come from Zion!
    When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
    Jacob will rejoice; Israel will be glad.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 13:2 Syr: Heb hold counsels
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Amos 3:12-4:5

12 Thus says the Lord: As the shepherd rescues from the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear, so shall the people of Israel who live in Samaria be rescued, with the corner of a couch and part[a] of a bed.

13 Hear, and testify against the house of Jacob,
    says the Lord God, the God of hosts:
14 On the day I punish Israel for its transgressions,
    I will punish the altars of Bethel,
and the horns of the altar shall be cut off
    and fall to the ground.
15 I will tear down the winter house as well as the summer house;
    and the houses of ivory shall perish,
and the great houses[b] shall come to an end,
says the Lord.

Hear this word, you cows of Bashan
    who are on Mount Samaria,
who oppress the poor, who crush the needy,
    who say to their husbands, “Bring something to drink!”
The Lord God has sworn by his holiness:
    The time is surely coming upon you,
when they shall take you away with hooks,
    even the last of you with fishhooks.
Through breaches in the wall you shall leave,
    each one straight ahead;
    and you shall be flung out into Harmon,[c]
says the Lord.
Come to Bethel—and transgress;
    to Gilgal—and multiply transgression;
bring your sacrifices every morning,
    your tithes every three days;
bring a thank offering of leavened bread,
    and proclaim freewill offerings, publish them;
    for so you love to do, O people of Israel!
says the Lord God.

Footnotes:

  1. Amos 3:12 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  2. Amos 3:15 Or many houses
  3. Amos 4:3 Meaning of Heb uncertain
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

2 Peter 3:1-10

The Promise of the Lord’s Coming

This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you; in them I am trying to arouse your sincere intention by reminding you that you should remember the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets, and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken through your apostles. First of all you must understand this, that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and indulging their own lusts and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since our ancestors died,[a] all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation!” They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water, through which the world of that time was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the godless.

But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you,[b] not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.[c]

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Peter 3:4 Gk our fathers fell asleep
  2. 2 Peter 3:9 Other ancient authorities read on your account
  3. 2 Peter 3:10 Other ancient authorities read will be burned up
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Matthew 21:23-32

The Authority of Jesus Questioned

23 When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24 Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

The Parable of the Two Sons

28 “What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. 30 The father[a] went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 21:30 Gk He
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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