Psalm 27 The Voice (VOICE)
A song of David.
1 The Eternal is my light amidst my darkness
The psalms provide us with a way to think about and pray through the various threats we face. Our enemies today may not be the same as in biblical times, but they are no less real. Consider the threats on the horizon. Some may be national. Others may be more personal. Still they come to surround us and destroy us if they could only get the chance. The reality is there are times when our enemies appear to have the upper hand and our cause is lost. But wait and listen to the psalm! All is not lost because, ultimately, God is our light and salvation. The darkness will lift, and our Savior will come. He will settle all scores, and we will live in the beauty of His presence.
2 When my enemies advanced
3 When the armies of the enemy surround me,
4 I am pleading with the Eternal for this one thing,
5 His house is my shelter and secret retreat.
6 God lifts me high above those with thoughts
Don’t give up on me in anger at Your servant.
11 O Eternal, show me Your way,
13 I will move past my enemies with this one, sure hope:
14 Please answer me: Don’t give up.
Genesis 13:1-7 The Voice (VOICE)
13 Abram left Egypt with his wife, Lot, and everything he owned, and he went back up into the Negev region. 2 Because of his experience in Egypt, Abram had become quite rich. He had livestock, silver, and gold to carry with him. 3 He journeyed north in stages from the Negev as far as Bethel to the place where he had pitched his tent earlier between Bethel and Ai. 4 He returned to one of the first altar tables he had made in the land, stopped there, and called on the name of the Eternal once again. 5 Lot, who had gone with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, 6 so the land was no longer large enough to support the two of them living together as one household. They each had so many possessions that they just couldn’t stay together any longer. 7 Arguments erupted between Abram’s and Lot’s livestock herders as they tried to graze their flocks side-by-side. (During this time, the Canaanites and the Perizzites were living on this land too.)
Genesis 13:14-18 The Voice (VOICE)
14 After Lot had moved away, the Eternal spoke to Abram.
Eternal One: Look around you now, as far as you can see to the north, south, east, and west. 15 All of the land you see is for you and your descendants to possess forever. 16 I will make your descendants as many as there are specks of dust on the earth. If anyone could count the dust of the earth, then he could also count how many descendants I’m talking about! 17 Go on now, and walk the entire expanse of the land, for you need to see what I am giving you!
18 So Abram moved his family and belongings again, this time to Hebron, settling near the oaks of Mamre. Abram built yet another altar table to the Eternal here in this new place.
Philippians 3:2-12 The Voice (VOICE)
2 Watch out for the dogs—wicked workers who run in packs looking for someone to maul with their false circumcision.
Circumcision has become a flash point for the early church. Some are teaching that non-Jews have to become Jews to follow Jesus completely, including circumcision, dietary regulations, keeping weekly and annual holy days, and other Jewish practices. Since the time of Abraham, circumcision has been the mark of the covenant with Abraham’s spiritual children. Things are changing: outsiders, non-Jews, are entering into the new covenant.
Do they enter by faith alone, or is it faith plus following God’s law for Israel? Paul’s answer is clear: it is faith alone that makes Jews and outsiders right with God. So he cautions the Philippians to watch out for those who would chastise them into a false circumcision. Real followers of Jesus know that salvation doesn’t come from the blade of a knife but from His cross.
3 We are the true circumcision—those who worship God in Spirit and make our boast in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King—so we do not rely on what we have accomplished in the flesh.
4 If any try to throw around their pedigrees to you, remember my résumé—which is more impressive than theirs. 5 I was circumcised on the eighth day—as the law prescribes—born of the nation of Israel, descended from the tribe of Benjamin. I am a Hebrew born of Hebrews; I have observed the law according to the strict piety of the Pharisees, separate from those embracing a less rigorous kind of Judaism. 6 Zealous? Yes. I ruthlessly pursued and persecuted the church. And when it comes to the righteousness required by the law, my record is spotless.
7 But whatever I used to count as my greatest accomplishments, I’ve written them off as a loss because of the Anointed One. 8 And more so, I now realize that all I gained and thought was important was nothing but yesterday’s garbage compared to knowing the Anointed Jesus my Lord. For Him I have thrown everything aside—it’s nothing but a pile of waste—so that I may gain Him. 9 When it counts, I want to be found belonging to Him, not clinging to my own righteousness based on law, but actively relying on the faithfulness of the Anointed One. This is true righteousness, supplied by God, acquired by faith. 10 I want to know Him inside and out. I want to experience the power of His resurrection and join in His suffering, shaped by His death, 11 so that I may arrive safely at the resurrection from the dead.
The crucified and risen Jesus is the model that Paul desires to embody by walking deep in His pathway of death and life—suffering and resurrection.
12 I’m not there yet, nor have I become perfect; but I am charging on to gain anything and everything the Anointed One, Jesus, has in store for me—and nothing will stand in my way because He has grabbed me and won’t let me go.
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