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Psalm 119:145-176

145 With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord.
    I will keep your statutes.
146 I cry to you; save me,
    that I may observe your decrees.
147 I rise before dawn and cry for help;
    I put my hope in your words.
148 My eyes are awake before each watch of the night,
    that I may meditate on your promise.
149 In your steadfast love hear my voice;
    O Lord, in your justice preserve my life.
150 Those who persecute me with evil purpose draw near;
    they are far from your law.
151 Yet you are near, O Lord,
    and all your commandments are true.
152 Long ago I learned from your decrees
    that you have established them forever.

153 Look on my misery and rescue me,
    for I do not forget your law.
154 Plead my cause and redeem me;
    give me life according to your promise.
155 Salvation is far from the wicked,
    for they do not seek your statutes.
156 Great is your mercy, O Lord;
    give me life according to your justice.
157 Many are my persecutors and my adversaries,
    yet I do not swerve from your decrees.
158 I look at the faithless with disgust,
    because they do not keep your commands.
159 Consider how I love your precepts;
    preserve my life according to your steadfast love.
160 The sum of your word is truth;
    and every one of your righteous ordinances endures forever.

161 Princes persecute me without cause,
    but my heart stands in awe of your words.
162 I rejoice at your word
    like one who finds great spoil.
163 I hate and abhor falsehood,
    but I love your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise you
    for your righteous ordinances.
165 Great peace have those who love your law;
    nothing can make them stumble.
166 I hope for your salvation, O Lord,
    and I fulfill your commandments.
167 My soul keeps your decrees;
    I love them exceedingly.
168 I keep your precepts and decrees,
    for all my ways are before you.

169 Let my cry come before you, O Lord;
    give me understanding according to your word.
170 Let my supplication come before you;
    deliver me according to your promise.
171 My lips will pour forth praise,
    because you teach me your statutes.
172 My tongue will sing of your promise,
    for all your commandments are right.
173 Let your hand be ready to help me,
    for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation, O Lord,
    and your law is my delight.
175 Let me live that I may praise you,
    and let your ordinances help me.
176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek out your servant,
    for I do not forget your commandments.

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Psalm 128-130

Psalm 128

The Happy Home of the Faithful

A Song of Ascents.

Happy is everyone who fears the Lord,
    who walks in his ways.
You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
    you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
    within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
    around your table.
Thus shall the man be blessed
    who fears the Lord.

The Lord bless you from Zion.
    May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
    all the days of your life.
May you see your children’s children.
    Peace be upon Israel!

Psalm 129

Prayer for the Downfall of Israel’s Enemies

A Song of Ascents.

“Often have they attacked me from my youth”
    —let Israel now say—
“often have they attacked me from my youth,
    yet they have not prevailed against me.
The plowers plowed on my back;
    they made their furrows long.”
The Lord is righteous;
    he has cut the cords of the wicked.
May all who hate Zion
    be put to shame and turned backward.
Let them be like the grass on the housetops
    that withers before it grows up,
with which reapers do not fill their hands
    or binders of sheaves their arms,
while those who pass by do not say,
    “The blessing of the Lord be upon you!
    We bless you in the name of the Lord!”

Psalm 130

Waiting for Divine Redemption

A Song of Ascents.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
    Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
    to the voice of my supplications!

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
    Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
    so that you may be revered.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
    and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
    more than those who watch for the morning,
    more than those who watch for the morning.

O Israel, hope in the Lord!
    For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
    and with him is great power to redeem.
It is he who will redeem Israel
    from all its iniquities.

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Exodus 7:8-24

Aaron’s Miraculous Rod

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Perform a wonder,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh, and it will become a snake.’” 10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did as the Lord had commanded; Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. 11 Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers; and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same by their secret arts. 12 Each one threw down his staff, and they became snakes; but Aaron’s staff swallowed up theirs. 13 Still Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.

The First Plague: Water Turned to Blood

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is hardened; he refuses to let the people go. 15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning, as he is going out to the water; stand by at the river bank to meet him, and take in your hand the staff that was turned into a snake. 16 Say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you to say, “Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the wilderness.” But until now you have not listened. 17 Thus says the Lord, “By this you shall know that I am the Lord.” See, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall be turned to blood. 18 The fish in the river shall die, the river itself shall stink, and the Egyptians shall be unable to drink water from the Nile.’” 19 The Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt—over its rivers, its canals, and its ponds, and all its pools of water—so that they may become blood; and there shall be blood throughout the whole land of Egypt, even in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.’”

20 Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded. In the sight of Pharaoh and of his officials he lifted up the staff and struck the water in the river, and all the water in the river was turned into blood, 21 and the fish in the river died. The river stank so that the Egyptians could not drink its water, and there was blood throughout the whole land of Egypt. 22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same by their secret arts; so Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said. 23 Pharaoh turned and went into his house, and he did not take even this to heart. 24 And all the Egyptians had to dig along the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink the water of the river.

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2 Corinthians 2:14-3:6

14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads in every place the fragrance that comes from knowing him. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16 to the one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not peddlers of God’s word like so many;[a] but in Christ we speak as persons of sincerity, as persons sent from God and standing in his presence.

Ministers of the New Covenant

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Surely we do not need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you or from you, do we? You yourselves are our letter, written on our[b] hearts, to be known and read by all; and you show that you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Corinthians 2:17 Other ancient authorities read like the others
  2. 2 Corinthians 3:2 Other ancient authorities read your
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Mark 10:1-16

Teaching about Divorce

10 He left that place and went to the region of Judea and[a] beyond the Jordan. And crowds again gathered around him; and, as was his custom, he again taught them.

Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,[b] and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

10 Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11 He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

Jesus Blesses Little Children

13 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. 14 But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 15 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

Footnotes:

  1. Mark 10:1 Other ancient authorities lack and
  2. Mark 10:7 Other ancient authorities lack and be joined to his wife
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New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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