Psalm 82 The Voice (VOICE)
A song of Asaph.
Psalm 82 provides an image of a heavenly scene in which God accuses His heavenly messengers of not caring for the poor and pursuing justice.
1 The True God stands to preside over the heavenly council.
3 “Stand up for the poor and the orphan;
5 These bullies are ignorant; they have no understanding of My ways.
6 I said, “Though you are gods[b]
8 Rise up, O True God; judge the rulers of the earth,
Jeremiah 23:23-29 The Voice (VOICE)
23 Am I only a God who is close by, and not a God of the farthest reaches? 24 Am I a God anyone can hide from? Do I not see what happens in secret? Am I not everywhere, filling heaven and earth? 25 I have heard these prophets who speak lies in My name. They say, “I had a dream, I had a dream,” and claim it was Me speaking to them! 26 How long will this go on? Will the hearts of these lying prophets ever change? How long will they deceive themselves and all who listen to them? 27 They think they can make My people forget My name with all this talk of dreams—just as their ancestors forgot My name as they worshiped Baal. 28 If a prophet has a dream, he should tell others of that dream. But the one who has My word should speak it with unshakable faith. For what is straw worth, when compared to grain? 29 Does not My word burn like fire? Does it not shatter rock like a strong hammer?
Hebrews 11:29-12:2 The Voice (VOICE)
29 By faith the people crossed through the Red Sea as if they were walking on dry land, although the pursuing Egyptian soldiers were drowned when they tried to follow.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho toppled after the people had circled them for seven days. 31 By faith the prostitute Rahab welcomed the Hebrew spies into her home so that she did not perish with the unbelievers.
32 I could speak more of faith; I could talk until time itself ran out. If I continued, I could speak of the examples of Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jephthah, of David and Samuel and all the prophets. 33 I could give accounts of people alive with faith who conquered kingdoms, brought justice, obtained promises, and closed the mouths of hungry lions. 34 I could tell you how people of faith doused raging fires, escaped the edge of the sword, made the weak strong, and—stoking great valor among the champions of God—sent opposing armies into panicked flight.
35 I could speak of faith bringing women their loved ones back from death and how the faithful accepted torture instead of earthly deliverance because they believed they would obtain a better life in the resurrection. 36 Others suffered mockery and whippings; they were placed in chains and in prisons. 37 The faithful were stoned, sawn in two,[a] killed by the sword, clothed only in sheepskins and goatskins; they were penniless, afflicted, and tormented. 38 The world was not worthy of these saints. They wandered across deserts, crossed mountains, and lived in the caves, cracks, and crevasses of the earth.
Stories of faith and faithfulness are central to the First Testament. The writer of Hebrews recalls some of the most memorable examples of how people of faith lived their lives. But what is faith? Faith is more than belief; it is trust, assurance, and firm conviction. Ironically most of those who lived by faith never fully realized the promises God had made. Like us they journeyed as strangers and exiles, longing for another country. We should remember their patient faith when we face prolonged hardships and allow the trials we face to strengthen our faith rather than destroy it. If we are comfortable here and don’t face suffering for our faith, perhaps we aren’t fully living by faith and looking forward to a future hope.
39 These, though commended by God for their great faith, did not receive what was promised. 40 That promise has awaited us, who receive the better thing that God has provided in these last days, so that with us, our forebears might finally see the promise completed.
12 So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us.
We may feel alone, but we aren’t. We are surrounded by an army of witnesses. They have run the race of faith and finished well. It is now our turn.
2 Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor.
Luke 12:49-56 The Voice (VOICE)
49 This is serious business we’re involved in. My mission is to send a purging fire on the earth! In fact, I can hardly wait to see the smoke rising. 50 I have a kind of baptism to go through, and I can’t relax until My mission is accomplished! 51 Do you think I’ve come with a nice little message of peace? No way. Believe Me, My message will divide. 52 It will divide a household of five into three against two or two against three. 53 It will divide father against son and son against father; mother against daughter and daughter against mother; mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.[a]
54 (speaking to the crowd) You see a cloud arise from the sea in the west, and you can say, “Here comes a shower!” And you’re right. 55 Or you feel the hot wind blowing in from the desert in the south and you say, “It’s going to be really hot!” And you’re right. 56 Listen, hypocrites! You can predict the weather by paying attention to the sky and the earth, but why can’t you interpret the urgency of this present moment?