Daily reading for Wednesday, September 25, 2013

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Isaiah 45:11-48:11; Ephesians 4:1-16; Psalms 68:19-35; Proverbs 24:3-4 (New International Version)

Isaiah 45:11-48:11

11 “This is what the Lord says—
    the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker:
Concerning things to come,
    do you question me about my children,
    or give me orders about the work of my hands?
12 It is I who made the earth
    and created mankind on it.
My own hands stretched out the heavens;
    I marshaled their starry hosts.
13 I will raise up Cyrus[a] in my righteousness:
    I will make all his ways straight.
He will rebuild my city
    and set my exiles free,
but not for a price or reward,
    says the Lord Almighty.”

14 This is what the Lord says:

“The products of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush,[b]
    and those tall Sabeans
they will come over to you
    and will be yours;
they will trudge behind you,
    coming over to you in chains.
They will bow down before you
    and plead with you, saying,
‘Surely God is with you, and there is no other;
    there is no other god.’”

15 Truly you are a God who has been hiding himself,
    the God and Savior of Israel.
16 All the makers of idols will be put to shame and disgraced;
    they will go off into disgrace together.
17 But Israel will be saved by the Lord
    with an everlasting salvation;
you will never be put to shame or disgraced,
    to ages everlasting.

18 For this is what the Lord says—
he who created the heavens,
    he is God;
he who fashioned and made the earth,
    he founded it;
he did not create it to be empty,
    but formed it to be inhabited
he says:
“I am the Lord,
    and there is no other.
19 I have not spoken in secret,
    from somewhere in a land of darkness;
I have not said to Jacob’s descendants,
    ‘Seek me in vain.’
I, the Lord, speak the truth;
    I declare what is right.

20 “Gather together and come;
    assemble, you fugitives from the nations.
Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood,
    who pray to gods that cannot save.
21 Declare what is to be, present it—
    let them take counsel together.
Who foretold this long ago,
    who declared it from the distant past?
Was it not I, the Lord?
    And there is no God apart from me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
    there is none but me.

22 “Turn to me and be saved,
    all you ends of the earth;
    for I am God, and there is no other.
23 By myself I have sworn,
    my mouth has uttered in all integrity
    a word that will not be revoked:
Before me every knee will bow;
    by me every tongue will swear.
24 They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone
    are deliverance and strength.’”
All who have raged against him
    will come to him and be put to shame.
25 But all the descendants of Israel
    will find deliverance in the Lord
    and will make their boast in him.

Gods of Babylon

46 Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low;
    their idols are borne by beasts of burden.[c]
The images that are carried about are burdensome,
    a burden for the weary.
They stoop and bow down together;
    unable to rescue the burden,
    they themselves go off into captivity.

“Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob,
    all the remnant of the people of Israel,
you whom I have upheld since your birth,
    and have carried since you were born.
Even to your old age and gray hairs
    I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
    I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

“With whom will you compare me or count me equal?
    To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?
Some pour out gold from their bags
    and weigh out silver on the scales;
they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god,
    and they bow down and worship it.
They lift it to their shoulders and carry it;
    they set it up in its place, and there it stands.
    From that spot it cannot move.
Even though someone cries out to it, it cannot answer;
    it cannot save them from their troubles.

“Remember this, keep it in mind,
    take it to heart, you rebels.
Remember the former things, those of long ago;
    I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is none like me.
10 I make known the end from the beginning,
    from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
    and I will do all that I please.’
11 From the east I summon a bird of prey;
    from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.
What I have said, that I will bring about;
    what I have planned, that I will do.
12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted,
    you who are now far from my righteousness.
13 I am bringing my righteousness near,
    it is not far away;
    and my salvation will not be delayed.
I will grant salvation to Zion,
    my splendor to Israel.

The Fall of Babylon

47 “Go down, sit in the dust,
    Virgin Daughter Babylon;
sit on the ground without a throne,
    queen city of the Babylonians.[d]
No more will you be called
    tender or delicate.
Take millstones and grind flour;
    take off your veil.
Lift up your skirts, bare your legs,
    and wade through the streams.
Your nakedness will be exposed
    and your shame uncovered.
I will take vengeance;
    I will spare no one.

Our Redeemer—the Lord Almighty is his name
    is the Holy One of Israel.

“Sit in silence, go into darkness,
    queen city of the Babylonians;
no more will you be called
    queen of kingdoms.
I was angry with my people
    and desecrated my inheritance;
I gave them into your hand,
    and you showed them no mercy.
Even on the aged
    you laid a very heavy yoke.
You said, ‘I am forever
    the eternal queen!’
But you did not consider these things
    or reflect on what might happen.

“Now then, listen, you lover of pleasure,
    lounging in your security
and saying to yourself,
    ‘I am, and there is none besides me.
I will never be a widow
    or suffer the loss of children.’
Both of these will overtake you
    in a moment, on a single day:
    loss of children and widowhood.
They will come upon you in full measure,
    in spite of your many sorceries
    and all your potent spells.
10 You have trusted in your wickedness
    and have said, ‘No one sees me.’
Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you
    when you say to yourself,
    ‘I am, and there is none besides me.’
11 Disaster will come upon you,
    and you will not know how to conjure it away.
A calamity will fall upon you
    that you cannot ward off with a ransom;
a catastrophe you cannot foresee
    will suddenly come upon you.

12 “Keep on, then, with your magic spells
    and with your many sorceries,
    which you have labored at since childhood.
Perhaps you will succeed,
    perhaps you will cause terror.
13 All the counsel you have received has only worn you out!
    Let your astrologers come forward,
those stargazers who make predictions month by month,
    let them save you from what is coming upon you.
14 Surely they are like stubble;
    the fire will burn them up.
They cannot even save themselves
    from the power of the flame.
These are not coals for warmth;
    this is not a fire to sit by.
15 That is all they are to you—
    these you have dealt with
    and labored with since childhood.
All of them go on in their error;
    there is not one that can save you.

Stubborn Israel

48 “Listen to this, you descendants of Jacob,
    you who are called by the name of Israel
    and come from the line of Judah,
you who take oaths in the name of the Lord
    and invoke the God of Israel—
    but not in truth or righteousness—
you who call yourselves citizens of the holy city
    and claim to rely on the God of Israel—
    the Lord Almighty is his name:
I foretold the former things long ago,
    my mouth announced them and I made them known;
    then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.
For I knew how stubborn you were;
    your neck muscles were iron,
    your forehead was bronze.
Therefore I told you these things long ago;
    before they happened I announced them to you
so that you could not say,
    ‘My images brought them about;
    my wooden image and metal god ordained them.’
You have heard these things; look at them all.
    Will you not admit them?

“From now on I will tell you of new things,
    of hidden things unknown to you.
They are created now, and not long ago;
    you have not heard of them before today.
So you cannot say,
    ‘Yes, I knew of them.’
You have neither heard nor understood;
    from of old your ears have not been open.
Well do I know how treacherous you are;
    you were called a rebel from birth.
For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath;
    for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you,
    so as not to destroy you completely.
10 See, I have refined you, though not as silver;
    I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this.
    How can I let myself be defamed?
    I will not yield my glory to another.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 45:13 Hebrew him
  2. Isaiah 45:14 That is, the upper Nile region
  3. Isaiah 46:1 Or are but beasts and cattle
  4. Isaiah 47:1 Or Chaldeans; also in verse 5
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Ephesians 4:1-16

Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it[a] says:

“When he ascended on high,
    he took many captives
    and gave gifts to his people.”[b]

(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Footnotes:

  1. Ephesians 4:8 Or God
  2. Ephesians 4:8 Psalm 68:18
  3. Ephesians 4:9 Or the depths of the earth
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Psalm 68:19-35

19 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
    who daily bears our burdens.
20 Our God is a God who saves;
    from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.
21 Surely God will crush the heads of his enemies,
    the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins.
22 The Lord says, “I will bring them from Bashan;
    I will bring them from the depths of the sea,
23 that your feet may wade in the blood of your foes,
    while the tongues of your dogs have their share.”

24 Your procession, God, has come into view,
    the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary.
25 In front are the singers, after them the musicians;
    with them are the young women playing the timbrels.
26 Praise God in the great congregation;
    praise the Lord in the assembly of Israel.
27 There is the little tribe of Benjamin, leading them,
    there the great throng of Judah’s princes,
    and there the princes of Zebulun and of Naphtali.

28 Summon your power, God[a];
    show us your strength, our God, as you have done before.
29 Because of your temple at Jerusalem
    kings will bring you gifts.
30 Rebuke the beast among the reeds,
    the herd of bulls among the calves of the nations.
Humbled, may the beast bring bars of silver.
    Scatter the nations who delight in war.
31 Envoys will come from Egypt;
    Cush[b] will submit herself to God.

32 Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth,
    sing praise to the Lord,
33 to him who rides across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens,
    who thunders with mighty voice.
34 Proclaim the power of God,
    whose majesty is over Israel,
    whose power is in the heavens.
35 You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary;
    the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.

Praise be to God!

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 68:28 Many Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint and Syriac; most Hebrew manuscripts Your God has summoned power for you
  2. Psalm 68:31 That is, the upper Nile region
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Proverbs 24:3-4

Saying 21

By wisdom a house is built,
    and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled
    with rare and beautiful treasures.

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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