Daily reading for Thursday, December 12, 2013

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2 Advent

Ps. 37:1–18; Ps. 37:19–42; Amos 9:1–10; Rev. 2:8–17; Matt. 23:13–26 (New Revised Standard Version)

Psalm 37

Psalm 37

Exhortation to Patience and Trust

Of David.

Do not fret because of the wicked;
    do not be envious of wrongdoers,
for they will soon fade like the grass,
    and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act.
He will make your vindication shine like the light,
    and the justice of your cause like the noonday.

Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
    do not fret over those who prosper in their way,
    over those who carry out evil devices.

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.
    Do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For the wicked shall be cut off,
    but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

10 Yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more;
    though you look diligently for their place, they will not be there.
11 But the meek shall inherit the land,
    and delight themselves in abundant prosperity.

12 The wicked plot against the righteous,
    and gnash their teeth at them;
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
    for he sees that their day is coming.

14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
    to bring down the poor and needy,
    to kill those who walk uprightly;
15 their sword shall enter their own heart,
    and their bows shall be broken.

16 Better is a little that the righteous person has
    than the abundance of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
    but the Lord upholds the righteous.

18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
    and their heritage will abide forever;
19 they are not put to shame in evil times,
    in the days of famine they have abundance.

20 But the wicked perish,
    and the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures;
    they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.

21 The wicked borrow, and do not pay back,
    but the righteous are generous and keep giving;
22 for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land,
    but those cursed by him shall be cut off.

23 Our steps[a] are made firm by the Lord,
    when he delights in our[b] way;
24 though we stumble,[c] we[d] shall not fall headlong,
    for the Lord holds us[e] by the hand.

25 I have been young, and now am old,
    yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
    or their children begging bread.
26 They are ever giving liberally and lending,
    and their children become a blessing.

27 Depart from evil, and do good;
    so you shall abide forever.
28 For the Lord loves justice;
    he will not forsake his faithful ones.

The righteous shall be kept safe forever,
    but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land,
    and live in it forever.

30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom,
    and their tongues speak justice.
31 The law of their God is in their hearts;
    their steps do not slip.

32 The wicked watch for the righteous,
    and seek to kill them.
33 The Lord will not abandon them to their power,
    or let them be condemned when they are brought to trial.

34 Wait for the Lord, and keep to his way,
    and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
    you will look on the destruction of the wicked.

35 I have seen the wicked oppressing,
    and towering like a cedar of Lebanon.[f]
36 Again I[g] passed by, and they were no more;
    though I sought them, they could not be found.

37 Mark the blameless, and behold the upright,
    for there is posterity for the peaceable.
38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;
    the posterity of the wicked shall be cut off.

39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
    he is their refuge in the time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and rescues them;
    he rescues them from the wicked, and saves them,
    because they take refuge in him.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 37:23 Heb A man’s steps
  2. Psalm 37:23 Heb his
  3. Psalm 37:24 Heb he stumbles
  4. Psalm 37:24 Heb he
  5. Psalm 37:24 Heb him
  6. Psalm 37:35 Gk: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  7. Psalm 37:36 Gk Syr Jerome: Heb 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.

Amos 9:1-10

The Destruction of Israel

I saw the Lord standing beside[a] the altar, and he said:
Strike the capitals until the thresholds shake,
    and shatter them on the heads of all the people;[b]
and those who are left I will kill with the sword;
    not one of them shall flee away,
    not one of them shall escape.

Though they dig into Sheol,
    from there shall my hand take them;
though they climb up to heaven,
    from there I will bring them down.
Though they hide themselves on the top of Carmel,
    from there I will search out and take them;
and though they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea,
    there I will command the sea-serpent, and it shall bite them.
And though they go into captivity in front of their enemies,
    there I will command the sword, and it shall kill them;
and I will fix my eyes on them
    for harm and not for good.

The Lord, God of hosts,
he who touches the earth and it melts,
    and all who live in it mourn,
and all of it rises like the Nile,
    and sinks again, like the Nile of Egypt;
who builds his upper chambers in the heavens,
    and founds his vault upon the earth;
who calls for the waters of the sea,
    and pours them out upon the surface of the earth—
the Lord is his name.

Are you not like the Ethiopians[c] to me,
    O people of Israel? says the Lord.
Did I not bring Israel up from the land of Egypt,
    and the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir?
The eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom,
    and I will destroy it from the face of the earth
    —except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob,
says the Lord.

For lo, I will command,
    and shake the house of Israel among all the nations
as one shakes with a sieve,
    but no pebble shall fall to the ground.
10 All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword,
    who say, “Evil shall not overtake or meet us.”

Footnotes:

  1. Amos 9:1 Or on
  2. Amos 9:1 Heb all of them
  3. Amos 9:7 Or Nubians; Heb Cushites
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.

Revelation 2:8-17

The Message to Smyrna

“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of the first and the last, who was dead and came to life:

“I know your affliction and your poverty, even though you are rich. I know the slander on the part of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Beware, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison so that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have affliction. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Whoever conquers will not be harmed by the second death.

The Message to Pergamum

12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword:

13 “I know where you are living, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you are holding fast to my name, and you did not deny your faith in me[a] even in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan lives. 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the people of Israel, so that they would eat food sacrificed to idols and practice fornication. 15 So you also have some who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent then. If not, I will come to you soon and make war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give a white stone, and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.

Footnotes:

  1. Revelation 2:13 Or deny my faith
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 23:13-26

13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them.[a] 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell[b] as yourselves.

16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the sanctuary is bound by nothing, but whoever swears by the gold of the sanctuary is bound by the oath.’ 17 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the sanctuary that has made the gold sacred? 18 And you say, ‘Whoever swears by the altar is bound by nothing, but whoever swears by the gift that is on the altar is bound by the oath.’ 19 How blind you are! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 So whoever swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it; 21 and whoever swears by the sanctuary, swears by it and by the one who dwells in it; 22 and whoever swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by the one who is seated upon it.

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup,[c] so that the outside also may become clean.

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 23:13 Other authorities add here (or after verse 12) verse 14, Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance you make long prayers; therefore you will receive the greater condemnation
  2. Matthew 23:15 Gk Gehenna
  3. Matthew 23:26 Other ancient authorities add and of the plate
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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