Psalm 17 The Voice (VOICE)
A prayer of David.
1 Listen, O Eternal One, to my cry for justice.
6 I am crying aloud to You, O True God, for I long to know Your answer.
8 Keep close watch over me as the apple of Your eye;
13 Rise up and confront them, O Eternal One! Make them pay.
15 But as for me, my hope is to see Your face.
Zechariah 3 The Voice (VOICE)
3 Then the heavenly messenger showed me a fourth vision: Joshua, the high priest, was standing in front of the Eternal’s Special Messenger who was presiding over a heavenly council meeting. Standing to Joshua’s right was the one called the Accuser.[a] He was ready to argue that Joshua was unworthy to serve as high priest.
In this vision Zechariah sees a heavenly court. Joshua the high priest is on trial, charged with impurity and accused of being unfit to serve as high priest. The Accuser appears in the role of a prosecuting attorney, bringing charges and attempting to undermine the credibility of the one person God wants to lead His people. But the Judge will have none of it.
Eternal One (to the Accuser): 2 I am reprimanding you, Accuser. I, the Eternal One, have chosen Jerusalem as My own, saved her from My fiery wrath as if she were a wooden poker just pulled from destruction in a fire.
3 Joshua stood motionless before the Eternal’s messenger, still dressed in filth-covered clothes, as if recently returned from captivity.
Special Messenger of the Eternal (to the other heavenly council members): 4 Remove the filth-covered clothes from this man.
(to Joshua) Just as I have taken away your dirty clothes, I have taken away your guilt from you. In place of those clothes, I will dress you in pure, expensive garments. Then you will be ready to serve God and lead the festival.
Zechariah (to the Eternal’s Special Messenger): 5 Your fellow council members should put a pure turban befitting of the high priest on his head. It will indicate his dignity.
So they placed a pure turban on his head and finished dressing him in his new clothes while the Eternal’s Special Messenger stood by, supervising the cleansing. Joshua could now safely approach God.
6 The Eternal’s Special Messenger then stood before Joshua and cautioned him.
Special Messenger of the Eternal: 7 Listen to what the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, has to say: “If you bind yourself to Me, walk according to My teachings, and perform your priestly duties without fail; then you will be in charge of My house in Jerusalem, you will organize the activities in the courtyards surrounding the most holy place, and I will give you a place among all My heavenly council members gathered here. 8 Listen to Me, Joshua the high priest—you and your colleagues who maintain the temple alongside you. These men are a sign of wonders to come. Watch, because I am going to bring My servant, who is the Branch of David, to lead you.” 9 The Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, has this to say: “You will see the stone I set before Joshua: on it are seven eyes, on it I will engrave a special word, and in a single day I will purge guilt from the land. 10 And on that day I, the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, promise everyone will invite one another to sit under the shade of his own vine and fig tree and be at peace.”
2 Peter 2:4-21 The Voice (VOICE)
New Testament writers warn the church to watch out for false teachers. Peter faults them primarily for their immoral lifestyles rather than for doctrinal differences.
4 For God did not spare the heavenly beings who sinned, but He cast them into the dark pits[a] of hell[b] to be kept until the time of judgment; 5 and He did not spare the ancient world, but He sent a flood swirling over the ungodly (although He did save Noah, God’s herald for what is right, with seven other members of his family); 6 and God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, reducing them to ash as a lesson of what He will do with the ungodly in the days to come 7-8 (although again He did rescue Lot, a person who did what was right in God’s eyes and who was distressed by the immorality and the lawlessness of the society around him. Day after day, the sights and sounds of their lawlessness were like daggers into that good man’s soul). 9 If all this happened in the past, it shows clearly the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from their trials and how to hold the wicked in punishment until the day of judgment.
Is God different in the New Testament from what He is in the First Testament? In the First Testament, God seems prone to judgment; but some feel God is more concerned about love in the New Testament. However, the central and most repeated affirmation about God’s character in the First Testament is that He is gracious and compassionate (Exodus 34:6–7). And the New Testament clearly does not ignore the idea of God’s judgment, as this text shows. His judgment will come, but it is delayed by God’s patient mercy.
10 And above all, it shows He will punish those who let the desires of their bodies rule them and who have no respect for authority. People like this are so bold and willful that they aren’t even afraid of offending heavenly beings, 11 although the heavenly messengers—in spite of the fact that they have greater strength and power—make no such accusations against these people before the Lord. 12 These people who speak ill of what they do not understand are no different from animals—without sense, operating only on their instincts, born to be captured and killed—and they will be destroyed just like those animals, 13 receiving the penalty for their evil acts. They waste their days in parties and carousing. As they feast with you, these stains and blemishes on your community are feasting on their deceptions.[c] 14 Their eyes are always looking for their next adulterous conquests; their appetites for sin cannot be satisfied. They seduce the unwary soul, and greed is the only lesson they have learned by heart. God’s curse lies upon them. 15 They have veered off the right road and gotten lost, following in the steps of Balaam, the son of Beor, the false prophet. Balaam loved the reward he could get by doing evil, 16 but he was rebuked for crossing the line into sin; his own speechless donkey scolded him in a human voice, an amazing miracle that reined in the prophet’s insanity.[d]
17 These people I’m talking about are nothing but dried-up springs, mists driven by fierce winds; the deepest darkness has been set aside for them. 18 They speak in loud voices empty and arrogant. They exploit the desires of the flesh, take advantage of sensual natures, to entangle people who have just escaped from those who live by deception. 19 They claim to offer them freedom, but they themselves are enslaved by corruption because whatever a person gives in to soon becomes his master. 20 Those who have been pulled out of the cesspool of worldly desires through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Anointed One, yet have found themselves mired in it again are worse off than they were before. 21 They would have been better off never knowing the way of righteousness than to have known it and then abandoned the sacred commandment they had previously received and dived back into the muck!
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