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Psalm 96 The Voice (VOICE)

Psalm 96

Sing a new song to the Eternal;
    sing in one voice to the Eternal, all the earth.
Sing to the Eternal of all the good things He’s done.
    Bless His name;
    broadcast the good news of His salvation each and every day.
Enlighten the nations to His splendor;
    describe His wondrous acts to all people.
For the Eternal is great indeed and praiseworthy;
    feared and reverenced above all gods, the True God shall be.
For all human-made, lifeless gods are worthless idols,
    but the Eternal plotted the vast heavens, shaped every last detail.
Honor and majesty precede Him;
    strength and beauty infuse His holy sanctuary.

One of the great themes of Scripture and Psalms is the kingship of God. While lesser kings come and go, God is the One who ultimately rules and reigns over His people, and by extension over the rest of creation. Psalm 96 and others in the collection are often referred to as “enthronement” psalms because they declare boldly and unequivocally that the Eternal is King. There is evidence to suggest that an annual festival at the beginning of the year provided an opportunity to reaffirm the people’s loyalty to the one True God. Psalm 96 calls for new songs to be composed and sung to God and about God as a witness. The enthronement psalms call the world and all its inhabitants to come and recognize His beauty and majesty.

Give all credit to the Eternal, families of the world!
    Credit Him with glory, honor, and strength!
Credit Him with the glory worthy of His magnificent name;
    gather your sacrifice, and present it at His temple.
Bow down to the Eternal, adorned in holiness;
    lay awestruck before Him, trembling, all people of the earth.

10 Shout out to the nations, “The Eternal reigns!
    Yes, indeed, the world is anchored and will not shake loose.
    He governs all people with a fair hand.”
11 And so, let the heavens resound in gladness!
    Let joy be the earth’s rhythm as the sea and all its creatures roar.
12 Let the fields grow in triumph, a grand jubilee for all that live there.
Let all the trees of the forest dig in and reach high with songs of joy before the Eternal,
13 For the Eternal is on His way:
    yes, He is coming to judge the earth.
He will set the world right by His standards,
    and by His faithfulness, He will examine the people.

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

Isaiah 9:2-7 The Voice (VOICE)

The people who had been living in darkness
    have seen a great light.
The light of life has shined on those who dwelt
    in the shadowy darkness of death.
And You, God, will make it happen. You bolstered the nation,
    making it great again. You have saturated it with joy.
Everyone in it is full of delight in Your presence,
    like the joy they experience at the harvest,
    like the thrill of dividing up the spoils of war.
For as You did back in the day when Midian oppressed us,
    You will shatter the yoke that burdens them,
You will lift the load that weighs them down,
    You will break the rod of their oppressor.
It’s true. All the fabric of war will go up in flames:
    the troops’ heavy boots that stamped us down and their blood-soaked garb
Will all be burned beyond recognition or use.
    There will be a new time, a fresh start.
Hope of all hopes, dream of our dreams,
    a child is born, sweet-breathed; a son is given to us: a living gift.
And even now, with tiny features and dewy hair, He is great.
    The power of leadership, and the weight of authority, will rest on His shoulders.
His name? His name we’ll know in many ways—
    He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Dear Father everlasting, ever-present never-failing,
    Master of Wholeness, Prince of Peace.
His leadership will bring such prosperity as you’ve never seen before—
    sustainable peace for all time.
This child: God’s promise to David—a throne forever, among us,
    to restore sound leadership that cannot be perverted or shaken.
He will ensure justice without fail and absolute equity. Always.
    The intense passion of the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies,
    will carry this to completion.

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

Titus 2:11-14 The Voice (VOICE)

11 We have cause to celebrate because the grace of God has appeared, offering the gift of salvation to all people. 12 Grace arrives with its own instruction: run away from anything that leads us away from God; abandon the lusts and passions of this world; live life now in this age with awareness and self-control, doing the right thing and keeping yourselves holy. 13 Watch for His return; expect the blessed hope we all will share when our great God and Savior, Jesus the Anointed, appears again. 14 He gave His body for our sakes and will not only break us free from the chains of wickedness, but He will also prepare a community uncorrupted by the world that He would call His own—people who are passionate about doing the right thing.

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

Luke 2:1-20 The Voice (VOICE)

Around the time of Elizabeth’s amazing pregnancy and John’s birth, the emperor in Rome, Caesar Augustus, required everyone in the Roman Empire to participate in a massive census— the first census since Quirinius had become governor of Syria. Each person had to go to his or her ancestral city to be counted.

This political background isn’t incidental: it is crucial to the story. Conquering nations in the ancient world work in various ways. Some brutally destroy and plunder the nations they conquer. Some conquer people as slaves or servants. Other empires allow the people to remain in their land and work as before, but with one major change: the conquered people have to pay taxes to their rulers. The purpose of a census like the one Luke de-scribes is to be sure that everyone is appropriately taxed and knows who is in charge.

4-5 Mary’s fiancé Joseph, from Nazareth in Galilee, had to participate in the census in the same way everyone else did. Because he was a descendant of King David, his ancestral city was Bethlehem, David’s birthplace. Mary, who was now late in her pregnancy that the messenger Gabriel had predicted, accompanied Joseph. While in Bethlehem, she went into labor and gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped the baby in a blanket and laid Him in a feeding trough because the inn had no room for them.

Nearby, in the fields outside of Bethlehem, a group of shepherds were guarding their flocks from predators in the darkness of night. Suddenly a messenger of the Lord stood in front of them, and the darkness was replaced by a glorious light—the shining light of God’s glory. They were terrified!

Messenger: 10 Don’t be afraid! Listen! I bring good news, news of great joy, news that will affect all people everywhere. 11 Today, in the city of David, a Liberator has been born for you! He is the promised Anointed One, the Supreme Authority! 12 You will know you have found Him when you see a baby, wrapped in a blanket, lying in a feeding trough.

13 At that moment, the first heavenly messenger was joined by thousands of other messengers—a vast heavenly choir. They praised God.

14 Heavenly Choir: To the highest heights of the universe, glory to God!
    And on earth, peace among all people who bring pleasure to God!

15 As soon as the heavenly messengers disappeared into heaven, the shepherds were buzzing with conversation.

Shepherds: Let’s rush down to Bethlehem right now! Let’s see what’s happening! Let’s experience what the Lord has told us about!

16 So they ran into town, and eventually they found Mary and Joseph and the baby lying in the feeding trough. After they saw the baby, 17 they spread the story of what they had experienced and what had been said to them about this child. 18 Everyone who heard their story couldn’t stop thinking about its meaning. 19 Mary, too, pondered all of these events, treasuring each memory in her heart.

20 The shepherds returned to their flocks, praising God for all they had seen and heard, and they glorified God for the way the experience had unfolded just as the heavenly messenger had predicted.

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

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