Daily reading for Sunday, December 8, 2013

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Hosea 10:1-14:9; Jude 1:1-25; Psalms 127:1-5; Proverbs 29:15-17 (New International Version)

Hosea 10-14

10 Israel was a spreading vine;
    he brought forth fruit for himself.
As his fruit increased,
    he built more altars;
as his land prospered,
    he adorned his sacred stones.
Their heart is deceitful,
    and now they must bear their guilt.
The Lord will demolish their altars
    and destroy their sacred stones.

Then they will say, “We have no king
    because we did not revere the Lord.
But even if we had a king,
    what could he do for us?”
They make many promises,
    take false oaths
    and make agreements;
therefore lawsuits spring up
    like poisonous weeds in a plowed field.
The people who live in Samaria fear
    for the calf-idol of Beth Aven.[a]
Its people will mourn over it,
    and so will its idolatrous priests,
those who had rejoiced over its splendor,
    because it is taken from them into exile.
It will be carried to Assyria
    as tribute for the great king.
Ephraim will be disgraced;
    Israel will be ashamed of its foreign alliances.
Samaria’s king will be destroyed,
    swept away like a twig on the surface of the waters.
The high places of wickedness[b] will be destroyed—
    it is the sin of Israel.
Thorns and thistles will grow up
    and cover their altars.
Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!”
    and to the hills, “Fall on us!”

“Since the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, Israel,
    and there you have remained.[c]
Will not war again overtake
    the evildoers in Gibeah?
10 When I please, I will punish them;
    nations will be gathered against them
    to put them in bonds for their double sin.
11 Ephraim is a trained heifer
    that loves to thresh;
so I will put a yoke
    on her fair neck.
I will drive Ephraim,
    Judah must plow,
    and Jacob must break up the ground.
12 Sow righteousness for yourselves,
    reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground;
    for it is time to seek the Lord,
until he comes
    and showers his righteousness on you.
13 But you have planted wickedness,
    you have reaped evil,
    you have eaten the fruit of deception.
Because you have depended on your own strength
    and on your many warriors,
14 the roar of battle will rise against your people,
    so that all your fortresses will be devastated
as Shalman devastated Beth Arbel on the day of battle,
    when mothers were dashed to the ground with their children.
15 So will it happen to you, Bethel,
    because your wickedness is great.
When that day dawns,
    the king of Israel will be completely destroyed.

God’s Love for Israel

11 “When Israel was a child, I loved him,
    and out of Egypt I called my son.
But the more they were called,
    the more they went away from me.[d]
They sacrificed to the Baals
    and they burned incense to images.
It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
    taking them by the arms;
but they did not realize
    it was I who healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness,
    with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
    a little child to the cheek,
    and I bent down to feed them.

“Will they not return to Egypt
    and will not Assyria rule over them
    because they refuse to repent?
A sword will flash in their cities;
    it will devour their false prophets
    and put an end to their plans.
My people are determined to turn from me.
    Even though they call me God Most High,
    I will by no means exalt them.

“How can I give you up, Ephraim?
    How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I treat you like Admah?
    How can I make you like Zeboyim?
My heart is changed within me;
    all my compassion is aroused.
I will not carry out my fierce anger,
    nor will I devastate Ephraim again.
For I am God, and not a man
    the Holy One among you.
    I will not come against their cities.
10 They will follow the Lord;
    he will roar like a lion.
When he roars,
    his children will come trembling from the west.
11 They will come from Egypt,
    trembling like sparrows,
    from Assyria, fluttering like doves.
I will settle them in their homes,”
    declares the Lord.

Israel’s Sin

12 Ephraim has surrounded me with lies,
    Israel with deceit.
And Judah is unruly against God,
    even against the faithful Holy One.[e]

12 [f]Ephraim feeds on the wind;
    he pursues the east wind all day
    and multiplies lies and violence.
He makes a treaty with Assyria
    and sends olive oil to Egypt.
The Lord has a charge to bring against Judah;
    he will punish Jacob[g] according to his ways
    and repay him according to his deeds.
In the womb he grasped his brother’s heel;
    as a man he struggled with God.
He struggled with the angel and overcame him;
    he wept and begged for his favor.
He found him at Bethel
    and talked with him there—
the Lord God Almighty,
    the Lord is his name!
But you must return to your God;
    maintain love and justice,
    and wait for your God always.

The merchant uses dishonest scales
    and loves to defraud.
Ephraim boasts,
    “I am very rich; I have become wealthy.
With all my wealth they will not find in me
    any iniquity or sin.”

“I have been the Lord your God
    ever since you came out of Egypt;
I will make you live in tents again,
    as in the days of your appointed festivals.
10 I spoke to the prophets,
    gave them many visions
    and told parables through them.”

11 Is Gilead wicked?
    Its people are worthless!
Do they sacrifice bulls in Gilgal?
    Their altars will be like piles of stones
    on a plowed field.
12 Jacob fled to the country of Aram[h];
    Israel served to get a wife,
    and to pay for her he tended sheep.
13 The Lord used a prophet to bring Israel up from Egypt,
    by a prophet he cared for him.
14 But Ephraim has aroused his bitter anger;
    his Lord will leave on him the guilt of his bloodshed
    and will repay him for his contempt.

The Lord’s Anger Against Israel

13 When Ephraim spoke, people trembled;
    he was exalted in Israel.
    But he became guilty of Baal worship and died.
Now they sin more and more;
    they make idols for themselves from their silver,
cleverly fashioned images,
    all of them the work of craftsmen.
It is said of these people,
    “They offer human sacrifices!
    They kiss[i] calf-idols!
Therefore they will be like the morning mist,
    like the early dew that disappears,
    like chaff swirling from a threshing floor,
    like smoke escaping through a window.

“But I have been the Lord your God
    ever since you came out of Egypt.
You shall acknowledge no God but me,
    no Savior except me.
I cared for you in the wilderness,
    in the land of burning heat.
When I fed them, they were satisfied;
    when they were satisfied, they became proud;
    then they forgot me.
So I will be like a lion to them,
    like a leopard I will lurk by the path.
Like a bear robbed of her cubs,
    I will attack them and rip them open;
like a lion I will devour them—
    a wild animal will tear them apart.

“You are destroyed, Israel,
    because you are against me, against your helper.
10 Where is your king, that he may save you?
    Where are your rulers in all your towns,
of whom you said,
    ‘Give me a king and princes’?
11 So in my anger I gave you a king,
    and in my wrath I took him away.
12 The guilt of Ephraim is stored up,
    his sins are kept on record.
13 Pains as of a woman in childbirth come to him,
    but he is a child without wisdom;
when the time arrives,
    he doesn’t have the sense to come out of the womb.

14 “I will deliver this people from the power of the grave;
    I will redeem them from death.
Where, O death, are your plagues?
    Where, O grave, is your destruction?

“I will have no compassion,
15     even though he thrives among his brothers.
An east wind from the Lord will come,
    blowing in from the desert;
his spring will fail
    and his well dry up.
His storehouse will be plundered
    of all its treasures.
16 The people of Samaria must bear their guilt,
    because they have rebelled against their God.
They will fall by the sword;
    their little ones will be dashed to the ground,
    their pregnant women ripped open.”[j]

Repentance to Bring Blessing

14 [k]Return, Israel, to the Lord your God.
    Your sins have been your downfall!
Take words with you
    and return to the Lord.
Say to him:
    “Forgive all our sins
and receive us graciously,
    that we may offer the fruit of our lips.[l]
Assyria cannot save us;
    we will not mount warhorses.
We will never again say ‘Our gods’
    to what our own hands have made,
    for in you the fatherless find compassion.”

“I will heal their waywardness
    and love them freely,
    for my anger has turned away from them.
I will be like the dew to Israel;
    he will blossom like a lily.
Like a cedar of Lebanon
    he will send down his roots;
    his young shoots will grow.
His splendor will be like an olive tree,
    his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon.
People will dwell again in his shade;
    they will flourish like the grain,
they will blossom like the vine—
    Israel’s fame will be like the wine of Lebanon.
Ephraim, what more have I[m] to do with idols?
    I will answer him and care for him.
I am like a flourishing juniper;
    your fruitfulness comes from me.”

Who is wise? Let them realize these things.
    Who is discerning? Let them understand.
The ways of the Lord are right;
    the righteous walk in them,
    but the rebellious stumble in them.

Footnotes:

  1. Hosea 10:5 Beth Aven means house of wickedness (a derogatory name for Bethel, which means house of God).
  2. Hosea 10:8 Hebrew aven, a reference to Beth Aven (a derogatory name for Bethel); see verse 5.
  3. Hosea 10:9 Or there a stand was taken
  4. Hosea 11:2 Septuagint; Hebrew them
  5. Hosea 11:12 In Hebrew texts this verse (11:12) is numbered 12:1.
  6. Hosea 12:1 In Hebrew texts 12:1-14 is numbered 12:2-15.
  7. Hosea 12:2 Jacob means he grasps the heel, a Hebrew idiom for he takes advantage of or he deceives.
  8. Hosea 12:12 That is, Northwest Mesopotamia
  9. Hosea 13:2 Or “Men who sacrifice / kiss
  10. Hosea 13:16 In Hebrew texts this verse (13:16) is numbered 14:1.
  11. Hosea 14:1 In Hebrew texts 14:1-9 is numbered 14:2-10.
  12. Hosea 14:2 Or offer our lips as sacrifices of bulls
  13. Hosea 14:8 Or Hebrew; Septuagint What more has Ephraim
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.

Jude 1

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,

To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for[a] Jesus Christ:

Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.

The Sin and Doom of Ungodly People

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about[b] long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord[c] at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”[d] 10 Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them.

11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.

12 These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.

14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15 to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”[e] 16 These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

A Call to Persevere

17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.

20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.[f]

Doxology

24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

Footnotes:

  1. Jude 1:1 Or by; or in
  2. Jude 1:4 Or individuals who were marked out for condemnation
  3. Jude 1:5 Some early manuscripts Jesus
  4. Jude 1:9 Jude is alluding to the Jewish Testament of Moses (approximately the first century a.d.).
  5. Jude 1:15 From the Jewish First Book of Enoch (approximately the first century b.c.)
  6. Jude 1:23 The Greek manuscripts of these verses vary at several points.
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 127

Psalm 127

A song of ascents. Of Solomon.

Unless the Lord builds the house,
    the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the guards stand watch in vain.
In vain you rise early
    and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
    for he grants sleep to[a] those he loves.

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their opponents in court.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 127:2 Or eat— / for while they sleep he provides for
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 29:15-17

15 A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom,
    but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.

16 When the wicked thrive, so does sin,
    but the righteous will see their downfall.

17 Discipline your children, and they will give you peace;
    they will bring you the delights you desire.

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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