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Psalm 119:49-72

Zayin.

49 
Remember [always] the word and promise to Your servant,
In which You have made me hope.
50 
This is my comfort in my affliction,
That Your word has revived me and given me life.
51 
The arrogant utterly ridicule me,
Yet I do not turn away from Your law.
52 
I have remembered [carefully] Your ancient ordinances, O Lord,
And I have taken comfort.
53 
Burning indignation has seized me because of the wicked,
Who [a]reject Your law.
54 
Your statutes are my songs
In the house of my pilgrimage.
55 
O Lord, I remember Your name in the night,
And keep Your law.
56 
This has become mine [as the gift of Your grace],
That I observe Your precepts [accepting them with loving obedience].

Heth.

57 
The Lord is my portion;
I have promised to keep Your words.
58 
I sought Your favor with all my heart;
Be merciful and gracious to me according to Your promise.
59 
I considered my ways
And turned my feet to [follow and obey] Your testimonies.
60 
I hurried and did not delay
To keep Your commandments.
61 
The cords of the wicked have encircled and ensnared me,
But I have not forgotten Your law.
62 
At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You
Because of Your righteous ordinances.
63 
I am a companion of all who [reverently] fear You,
And of those who keep and honor Your precepts.
64 
The earth, O Lord, is full of Your lovingkindness and goodness;
Teach me Your statutes.

Teth.

65 
You have dealt well with Your servant,
O Lord, according to Your promise.
66 
Teach me good judgment (discernment) and knowledge,
For I have believed and trusted and relied on Your commandments.
67 
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
But now I keep and honor Your word [with loving obedience].
68 
You are good and do good;
Teach me Your statutes.
69 
The arrogant have forged a lie against me,
But I will keep Your precepts with all my heart.
70 
Their heart is insensitive like fat [their minds are dull and brutal],
But I delight in Your law.
71 
It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes.
72 
The law from Your mouth is better to me
Than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 119:53 Lit forsake.
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Psalm 49

The Folly of Trusting in Riches.

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.

49 Hear this, all peoples;
Listen carefully, all inhabitants of the world,

Both low and high,
Rich and poor together:

My mouth will speak wisdom,
And the meditation of my heart will be understanding.

I will incline my ear and consent to a proverb;
On the lyre I will unfold my riddle.


Why should I fear in the days of evil,
When the wickedness of those who would betray me surrounds me [on every side],

Even those who trust in and rely on their wealth
And boast of the abundance of their riches?

None of them can by any means redeem [either himself or] his brother,
Nor give to God a ransom for him—

For the ransom of his soul is too costly,
And he should cease trying forever—

So that he should live on eternally,
That he should never see the pit (grave) and undergo decay.

10 
For he sees that even wise men die;
The fool and the stupid alike perish
And leave their wealth to others.
11 
Their inward thought is that their houses will continue forever,
And their dwelling places to all generations;
They have named their lands after their own names [ignoring God].
12 
But man, with all his [self] honor and pomp, will not endure;
He is like the beasts that perish.

13 
This is the fate of those who are foolishly confident,
And of those after them who approve [and are influenced by] their words. Selah.
14 
Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead);
Death will be their shepherd;
And the upright shall rule over them in the morning,
And their form and beauty shall [a]be for Sheol to consume,
So that they have no dwelling [on earth].
15 
But God will redeem my life from the power of Sheol,
For He will receive me. Selah.

16 
Be not afraid when [an ungodly] man becomes rich,
When the wealth and glory of his house are increased;
17 
For when he dies he will carry nothing away;
His glory will not descend after him.
18 
Though while he lives he counts himself happy and prosperous—
And though people praise you when you do well for yourself—
19 
He shall go to the generation of his fathers;
They shall never again see the light.
20 
A man [who is held] in honor,
Yet who lacks [spiritual] understanding and a teachable heart, is like the beasts that perish.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 49:14 The ancient rabbis read this as “will wear out Sheol,” which also matches the Hebrew, and interpreted it as referring to unending punishment, i.e. punishment even outlasting Gehinnom (hell).
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Psalm 53

Folly and Wickedness of Men.

To the Chief Musician; in a mournful strain. A skillful song, or didactic or reflective poem of David.

53 The [empty-headed] fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt and evil, and have committed repulsive injustice;
There is no one who does good.

God has looked down from heaven upon the children of men
To see if there is anyone who understands,
Who seeks after God [who requires Him, who longs for Him as essential to life].

Every one of them has turned aside and fallen away;
Together they have become filthy and corrupt;
There is no one who does good, no, not even one.


Have workers of wickedness no knowledge or no understanding?
They eat up My people as though they ate bread
And have not called upon God.

There they were, in great terror and dread, where there had been no terror or dread;
For God scattered the bones of him who besieged you;
You have put them to shame, because God has rejected them.

Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion!
When God restores [the fortunes of] His people,
Let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

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1 Kings 17

Elijah Predicts Drought

17 Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” And the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Go from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan [River]. You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to sustain you there [with food].” So he went and did in accordance with the word of the Lord; he went and lived by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he would drink from the brook. It happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.

Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Arise, go to [a]Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” 10 So he set out and went to Zarephath, and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks [for firewood]. He called out to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a jar, so that I may drink.” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a piece of bread in your hand.” 12 But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have no bread, only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar. See, I am gathering a few sticks so that I may go in and bake it for me and my son, that we may eat it [as our last meal] and die.” 13 Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. Just make me a little bread from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son. 14 For this is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted nor shall the jar of oil be empty until the day that the Lord sends rain [again] on the face of the earth.’” 15 She went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty, in accordance with the word of the Lord which He spoke through Elijah.

Elijah Raises the Widow’s Son

17 It happened after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became sick; and his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. 18 So she said to Elijah, “What [problem] is there between you and me, O man of God? Have you come to me to bring my sin to mind and to put my son to death?” 19 He said to her, “Give me your son.” Then he took him from her arms and carried him up to the upper room where he was living, and laid him on his own bed. 20 He called to the Lord and said, “O Lord my God, have You brought further tragedy to the widow with whom I am staying, by causing her son to die?” 21 Then he stretched himself out upon the child three times, and called to the Lord and said, “O Lord my God, please let this child’s life return to him.” 22 The Lord heard the voice of Elijah, and the life of the child returned to him and he revived. 23 Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the [lower part of the] house and gave him to his mother; and Elijah said, “See, your son is alive.” 24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.”

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Kings 17:9 A town located along the Mediterranean Sea.
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Philippians 2:1-11

Be Like Christ

Therefore if there is any encouragement and comfort in Christ [as there certainly is in abundance], if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship [that we share] in the Spirit, if [there is] any [great depth of] affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, having the same [a]love [toward one another], knit together in spirit, intent on one purpose [and living a life that reflects your faith and spreads the gospel—the good news regarding salvation through faith in Christ]. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit [through factional motives, or strife], but with [an attitude of] humility [being neither arrogant nor self-righteous], regard others as more important than yourselves. Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this same attitude in yourselves which was in Christ Jesus [look to Him as your example in selfless humility], who, although He existed in the form and unchanging essence of God [as One with Him, possessing the fullness of all the divine attributes—the entire nature of deity], did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped or asserted [as if He did not already possess it, or was afraid of losing it]; but emptied Himself [without renouncing or diminishing His deity, but only temporarily giving up the outward expression of divine equality and His rightful dignity] by assuming the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men [He became completely human but was without sin, being fully God and fully man]. After He was found in [terms of His] outward appearance as a man [for a divinely-appointed time], He humbled Himself [still further] by becoming obedient [to the Father] to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also [because He obeyed and so completely humbled Himself], God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus [b]every knee shall bow [in submission], of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess and openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord (sovereign God), to the glory of God the Father.

Footnotes:

  1. Philippians 2:2 The key to understanding this and other statements about love is to know that this love (the Greek word agape) is not so much a matter of emotion as it is of doing things for the benefit of another person, that is, having an unselfish concern for another and a willingness to seek the best for another.
  2. Philippians 2:10 All intelligent beings in the universe, whether saved or unsaved, whether in spirit or as mortal mankind, will acknowledge Him.
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Matthew 2:1-12

The Visit of the Magi

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of [a]Herod the king (Herod the Great), [b]magi (wise men) from the east came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star [c]in the east and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. So he called together all the chief priests and [d]scribes of the people and [anxiously] asked them where the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) was to be born. They replied to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what has been written by the prophet [Micah]:


And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are not in any way least among the leaders of Judah;
For from you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”

Then Herod secretly sent for the magi and learned from them [e]the [exact] time the star [had first] appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.” After hearing the king, they went their way; and behold, the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them [continually leading the way] until it came and stood over the place where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And after entering the house, they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then, after opening their treasure chests, they presented to Him gifts [fit for a king, gifts] of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And having been warned [by God] in a dream not to go back to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 2:1 Herod the Great was born into a prominent, wealthy family in Idumea (the area formerly known as Edom, the land of Esau’s descendants) and some archeological evidence indicates he considered himself Jewish.
  2. Matthew 2:1 Gr magoi; these were educated men who specialized in astronomy, astrology, and the natural sciences. The magi were witnesses to the miraculous events surrounding the birth of Jesus.
  3. Matthew 2:2 Or at its rising.
  4. Matthew 2:4 Teachers and professional scholars specializing in the Law (Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament) and writings of the prophets.
  5. Matthew 2:7 Lit the time of the appearing star.
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