Psalm 148 The Voice (VOICE)
1 Praise the Eternal!
5 Let all things join together in a concert of praise to the name of the Eternal,
7 Everything on earth, join in and praise the Eternal;
9 Mountains and hills,
11 All kings and all nations,
13 Let them all praise the name of the Eternal!
Isaiah 49:13-23 The Voice (VOICE)
13 Oh joy! Be glad—sky! Take joy—earth! Burst into song—mountains!
There are many kinds of love—and not enough words to tell the differences. Hebrew has a word for “love” that is related to its word for a woman’s womb. English has no such word. It is too bad, for it is difficult to describe womb-love, the bearing-and-birthing love of a mother, the kind of love that the Lord has for the people of God’s promise, Jacob’s children. God shaped this people as His own and bound them with no ordinary promise. God loves them in the same way a mother loves the child growing in her womb. It can’t be said so neatly and completely with one “love” word, but that is the idea that threads its way through this text.
14 Zion: The Eternal One has abandoned me. God has walked out the door;
15 Eternal One: Is it possible for a mother, however disappointed,
22 This is what the Lord, the Eternal, has to say:
Eternal One: I will lift My hand and signal every nation that holds your people
Matthew 18:1-14 The Voice (VOICE)
18 Around that same time, the disciples came to Jesus and questioned Him about the kingdom of heaven.
A Disciple: In the kingdom of heaven, who is the greatest?
The disciples struggle with the concept of the kingdom of heaven. They do not yet understand that who is most important or most powerful is a contradiction in terms. This is the fourth of the five great sermons in Matthew.
2 Jesus called over a little child. He put His hand on the top of the child’s head.
Jesus: 3 This is the truth: unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 In that kingdom, the most humble who are most like this child are the greatest. 5 And whoever welcomes a child, welcomes her in My name, welcomes Me. 6 And do not lead astray one of the weak and friendless who believes in Me. If you do, it would be better for you to be dragged down with a millstone and drowned in the bottom of the sea.
7 Beware indeed of those in a world filled with obstacles and temptations that cause people to turn away from Me. Those temptations are woven into the fabric of a world not yet redeemed, but beware to anyone who lures righteous women and men off the narrow path. 8 If your hand constantly grasps at the things of this world rather than serves the Kingdom—cut it off and throw it away. If your foot is always leading you to wander, then cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to hobble, crippled, into the kingdom of life than to burn in hell with two hands and two feet. 9 And if your eye always focuses on things that cause you to sin, then pull your eye out and throw it away. It is better for you to see the kingdom of life with one eye than to see the fires of hell with perfect sight.
10 Make sure that you do not look down on the little ones, on those who are further behind you on the path of righteousness. For I tell you: they are watched over by those most beloved messengers who are always in the company of My Father in heaven. [11 The Son of Man has come to save all those who are lost.][a] 12 A shepherd in charge of 100 sheep notices that one of his sheep has gone astray. What do you think he should do? Should the shepherd leave the flock on the hills unguarded to search for the lost sheep? God’s shepherd goes to look for that one lost sheep, 13 and when he finds her, he is happier about her return than he is about the 99 who stayed put. 14 Your Father in heaven does not want a single one of the tripped, waylaid, stumbling little ones to be lost.