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:
Daniel 9:15-19 The Voice (VOICE)
Daniel is just one man, yet he carries the sins of his nation to God and pleads with the Almighty to forgive and rescue His people. Their collective failures to live up to the covenant they made with God has scattered the chosen people to the four corners of the earth and have brought ruin to Jerusalem. After reading the prophet Jeremiah, Daniel knows that the calamity will not be over until God’s people come back to Him. With fasting and prayer, Daniel hopes to begin the process of restoration.
God’s covenant with Israel includes provisions for both blessings and curses. When the people follow God and keep His teaching, they can expect to live peacefully in the land God promised. But when the covenant people rebel against God and ignore His teaching, their actions—or lack of actions—bring into effect the curses. Daniel appeals to God’s own interest as the One who cares about His name and His reputation. The fate of Jerusalem and His people reflects on Him.
15 Now, Lord our God, You have made Your name great among the nations to this day by liberating Your enslaved people from the land of Egypt with powerful deeds; yet we have sinned against You, our Liberator, and we have acted wickedly. 16 Lord, the reputation of Your city Jerusalem has suffered, and Your people are mocked by those around us because we and our ancestors have done wrong. I beg You to spare Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; turn away Your burning anger and fiery wrath from Your people according to all Your covenant mercies. 17 Now, God, please hear the prayers and petitions voiced today by your servant. Shine Your face on Your destroyed and desolate sanctuary for the sake of Your name, my Lord. 18 Lend an ear, my God, and hear this prayer. Open Your eyes and see our deserted streets and witness the devastation across the city that bears Your name. We are crying to You and asking for mercy, not because we are righteous and deserve it. No, we bring these petitions to you because we know of Your great mercy. 19 Lord, hear our prayer! Lord, forgive our sins! Lord, pay attention to our plight and act without delay, not for our sake, my God, but for Yours because these people and this city bear Your name.
James 4:1-10 The Voice (VOICE)
Worldly wisdom may promise the good life, but it leads to chaos and destruction every time. Ultimately true wisdom comes from God.
4 Where do you think your fighting and endless conflict come from? Don’t you think that they originate in the constant pursuit of gratification that rages inside each of you like an uncontrolled militia? 2 You crave something that you do not possess, so you murder to get it. You desire the things you cannot earn, so you sue others and fight for what you want. You do not have because you have chosen not to ask. 3 And when you do ask, you still do not get what you want because your motives are all wrong—because you continually focus on self-indulgence. 4 You are adulterers. Don’t you know that making friends with this corrupt world order is open aggression toward God? So anyone who aligns with this bogus world system is declaring war against the one true God. 5 Do you think it is empty rhetoric when the Scriptures say, “The spirit that lives in us is addicted to envy and jealousy”?[a] 6 You may think that the situation is hopeless, but God gives us more grace when we turn away from our own interests. That’s why Scripture says,
God opposes the proud,
7 So submit yourselves to the one true God and fight against the devil and his schemes. If you do, he will run away in failure. 8 Come close to the one true God, and He will draw close to you. Wash your hands; you have dirtied them in sin. Cleanse your heart, because your mind is split down the middle, your love for God on one side and selfish pursuits on the other.
Since the beginning, our loving Creator has been pursuing us, drawing us closer to Him. He invites us to move closer to Him so we can be fully His.
9 Now is the time to lament, to grieve, and to cry. Dissolve your laughter into sobbing, and exchange your joy for depression. 10 Lay yourself bare, facedown to the ground, in humility before the Lord; and He will lift your head so you can stand tall.