Psalm 122 The Voice (VOICE)
A song [of David][a] for those journeying to worship.
This is a Davidic psalm celebrating the grandeur and significance of Jerusalem and its temple. It is ironic that Jerusalem means “city of peace” since more battles have been fought over it than over any other city.
1 I was so happy when my fellow pilgrims said,
3 Jerusalem! What a magnificent city!
6 Ask heaven to grant peace to Jerusalem:
Esther 9:1-5 The Voice (VOICE)
9 The new law and orders of King Ahasuerus took effect on the 13th day of the 12th month (the month of Adar). It was on this day that those who were enemies of the Jews had planned to overtake them, but that was not the way it happened. Instead, the Jews got the upper hand over those who conspired against them. 2 On that day, the Jews gathered together in their respective cities in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to fight those who sought their destruction. No army or nation could stand against them, because they were all frightened of the Jews. 3 The nobles and governors of the provinces and also the king’s officials did what they could to help the Jews, but that was because they feared what Mordecai might do to them. 4 In King Ahasuerus’ palace, Mordecai grew more powerful. Word spread quickly throughout the provinces about Mordecai’s authority and influence. 5 The Jews took this opportunity to attack their enemies with swords, killing them. And then they did whatever they deemed reasonable with those who despised them.
Esther 9:18-23 The Voice (VOICE)
According to custom and Persian law, the Jews have every right to seize the assets of those they kill in this battle. But it is important to note that they do not. The reason for this odd behavior may well lie in history: Hundreds of years earlier, Saul and the Israelites defeated King Agag (the ancestor of Haman) and helped themselves to the plunder, violating God’s clear directive. That violation brought them irreparable harm. So now, when they have the opportunity, the Jews leave the Agagites’ assets alone. Obedience deferred is still obedience.
18 Since the Jews in Susa had gathered together to defend themselves on the 13th and 14th days of the month of Adar, they rested on the 15th and celebrated with food and drink. 19 (This explains why the Jews who live in rural areas and villages continue to celebrate on the 14th day of Adar with food and drinks and send gifts to one another.)
20 Mordecai kept a detailed journal of all these events, and he corresponded often with all of the Jews from every corner of King Ahasuerus’ kingdom, regardless of its distance from Susa. 21 He reminded them to remember and celebrate the 14th and 15th days of Adar every year (based on the day of each group) 22 and to celebrate as faithfully as they did on the days in which the Jews were granted relief from their enemies. He wanted them to savor the month of Adar as a time when their sadness turned into gladness and their mourning into celebration. He encouraged them to celebrate with food and drink, to send gifts, and to offer help to the poor. 23 The Jews in every part of the kingdom took Mordecai’s advice and celebrated on the 14th and 15th days of the month of Adar, making it an annual custom.
Luke 12:4-12 The Voice (VOICE)
4 Listen, My friends, if people are trying to kill you, why be afraid? After you’re dead, what more can they do? 5-6 Here’s whose opinion you should be concerned about: the One who can take your life and then throw you into hell! He’s the only One you should fear! But don’t misunderstand: you don’t really need to be afraid of God, because God cares for every little sparrow. How much is a sparrow worth—don’t five of them sell for a few cents?[a] 7 Since you are so much more precious to God than a thousand flocks of sparrows, and since God knows you in every detail—down to the number of hairs on your head at this moment—you can be secure and unafraid of any person, and you have nothing to fear from God either.
8 That’s why I keep telling you not to be intimidated. If you identify unashamedly with Me before others, I, the Son of Man, will affirm you before God and all the heavenly messengers. 9 But if you deny Me before others, you will be denied before God and all the heavenly messengers. 10 People can speak a word against Me, the Son of Man, and the sin is forgivable. But they can go too far, slandering the testimony of the Holy Spirit by rejecting His message about Me, and they won’t be forgiven for that.
11 So you can anticipate that you will be put on trial before the synagogues and religious officials. Don’t worry how you’ll respond, and don’t worry what you should say. 12 The Holy Spirit will give you the words to say at the moment when you need them.
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