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Psalm 50

God the Judge of the Righteous and the Wicked.

A Psalm of [a]Asaph

50 The mighty One, God, the Lord, has spoken,
And summoned the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting [from east to west].

Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God has shone forth.

May our God come and not keep silent;
Fire devours before Him,
And around Him a mighty tempest rages.

He summons the heavens above,
And the earth, to judge His people:

“Gather My godly ones to Me,
Those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.”

And the heavens declare His righteousness,
For God Himself is judge. Selah.


“Hear, O My people, and I will speak;
O Israel, I will testify against you:
I am God, your God.

“I do not reprove you for your sacrifices;
Your burnt offerings are continually before Me.

“I will accept no young bull from your house
Nor male goat from your folds.
10 
“For every beast of the forest is Mine,
And the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 
“I know every bird of the mountains,
And everything that moves in the field is [b]Mine.
12 
“If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
For the world and all it contains are Mine.
13 
“Shall I eat the flesh of bulls
Or drink the blood of male goats?
14 
“Offer to God the sacrifice of thanksgiving
And pay your vows to the Most High;
15 
Call on Me in the day of trouble;
I will rescue you, and you shall honor and glorify Me.”

16 
But to the wicked God says:
“What right have you to recite My statutes
Or to take My covenant on your lips?
17 
“For you hate instruction and discipline
And cast My words behind you [discarding them].
18 
“When you see a thief, you are pleased with him and condone his behavior,
And you associate with adulterers.
19 
“You give your mouth to evil
And your tongue frames deceit.
20 
“You sit and speak against your brother;
You slander your own mother’s son.
21 
“These things you have done and I kept silent;
You thought that I was just like you.
Now I will reprimand and denounce you and state the case in order before your eyes.

22 
“Now consider this, you who forget God,
Or I will tear you in pieces, and there will be no one to rescue [you].
23 
“He who offers a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving honors Me;
And to him who orders his way rightly [who follows the way that I show him],
I shall show the salvation of God.”

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 50:1 Asaph was a Levite and one of the leaders of David’s choir. He was the head of one of the three families permanently in charge of the temple music. His family formed a guild that bore his name and is frequently mentioned (2 Chr 20:14; 29:13, 30). Twelve psalms (50; 73-83) are attributed in the titles to the family of Asaph. A hundred and twenty-eight of Asaph’s family members, all singers, came back from Babylon and took part when the foundations of Zerubbabel’s temple were laid (Ezra 2:41; 3:10).
  2. Psalm 50:11 Or in my mind; lit with Me.
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Psalm 59-60

Prayer for Rescue from Enemies.

To the Chief Musician; set to [the tune of] “Do Not Destroy.” A Mikhtam of David, [a record of memorable thoughts] when Saul sent men to watch his house in order to kill him.

59 Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;
Set me securely on an inaccessibly high place away from those who rise up against me.

Deliver me from those who practice wrongdoing,
And save me from bloodthirsty men.

Look! They lie in wait for my life;
Fierce and powerful men [are uniting together to] launch an attack against me,
Not for my wrongdoing nor for any sin of mine, O Lord.

They run and set themselves against me though there is no guilt in me;
Stir Yourself to meet and help me, and see [what they are doing]!

You, O Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel,
Arise to punish all the nations;
Spare no one and do not be merciful to any who treacherously plot evil. Selah.

They return at evening, they howl and snarl like dogs,
And go [prowling] around the city.

Look how they belch out [insults] with their mouths;
Swords [of sarcasm, ridicule, slander, and lies] are in their lips,
For they say, “Who hears us?”

But You, O Lord, will laugh at them [in scorn];
You scoff at and deride all the nations.


O [God] my strength, I will watch for You;
For God is my stronghold [my refuge, my protector, my high tower].
10 
My God in His [steadfast] lovingkindness will meet me;
God will let me look triumphantly on my enemies [who lie in wait for me].
11 
Do not kill them, or my people will forget;
Scatter them and make them wander [endlessly] back and forth by Your power, and bring them down,
O Lord our shield!
12 
For the sin of their mouths and the words of their lips,
Let them even be trapped in their pride,
And on account of the curses and lies which they tell.
13 
Destroy them in wrath, destroy them so that they may be no more;
Let them know that God rules over Jacob (Israel)
To the ends of the earth. Selah.
14 
They return at evening, they howl and snarl like dogs,
And go [prowling] around the city.
15 
They wander around for food [to devour]
And growl all night if they are not satisfied.

16 
But as for me, I will sing of Your mighty strength and power;
Yes, I will sing joyfully of Your lovingkindness in the morning;
For You have been my stronghold
And a refuge in the day of my distress.
17 
To You, O [God] my strength, I will sing praises;
For God is my stronghold [my refuge, my protector, my high tower], the God who shows me [steadfast] lovingkindness.

Lament over Defeat in Battle, and Prayer for Help.

To the Chief Musician; set to [the tune of] “The Lily of the Testimony.” A Mikhtam of David [intended to record memorable thoughts and] to teach; when he struggled with the Arameans of Mesopotamia and the Arameans of Zobah, and when Joab returned and struck twelve thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.

60 O God, You have rejected us and cast us off. You have broken [down our defenses and scattered] us;
You have been angry; O restore us and turn again to us.

You have made the land quake, You have split it open;
Heal its rifts, for it shakes and totters.

You have made Your people experience hardship;
You have given us wine to drink that makes us stagger and fall.

You have set up a banner for those who fear You [with awe-inspired reverence and submissive wonder—a banner to shield them from attack],
A banner that may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.

That Your beloved ones may be rescued,
Save with Your right hand and answer us.


God has spoken in His holiness [in His promises]:
“I will rejoice, I will divide [the land of] Shechem and measure out the Valley of Succoth [west to east].

“Gilead is Mine, and Manasseh is Mine;
Ephraim is My helmet;
Judah is My scepter.

“Moab is My [a]washbowl;
Over Edom I shall throw My shoe [in triumph];
Over Philistia I raise the shout [of victory].”


Who will bring me into the besieged city [of Petra]?
Who will lead me to Edom?
10 
Have You not rejected us, O God?
And will You not go out with our armies?
11 
Give us help against the enemy,
For the help of man is worthless (ineffectual, without purpose).
12 
Through God we will have victory,
For He will trample down our enemies.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 60:8 I.e. the household pot used for washing the feet.
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Psalm 93

The Majesty of the Lord.

93 The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty and splendor;
The Lord has clothed and encircled Himself with strength;
the world is firmly established, it cannot be moved.

Your throne is established from of old;
You are from everlasting.


The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
The floods have lifted up their voice;
The floods lift up their pounding waves.

More than the sounds of many waters,
More than the mighty breakers of the sea,
The Lord on high is mighty.

Your precepts are fully confirmed and completely reliable;
Holiness adorns Your house,
O Lord, forever.

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Psalm 96

A Call to Worship the Lord the Righteous Judge.

96 O sing to the Lord a new song;
Sing to the Lord, all the earth!

Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim good news of His salvation from day to day.

Declare His glory among the nations,
His marvelous works and wonderful deeds among all the peoples.

For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.

For all the gods of the peoples are [worthless, lifeless] idols,
But the Lord made the heavens.

Splendor and majesty are before Him;
Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.


[a]Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

Ascribe to the Lord the glory of His name;
Bring an offering and come into His courts.

Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;
Tremble [in submissive wonder] before Him, all the earth.
10 
Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns;
Indeed, the world is firmly and securely established, it shall not be moved;
He will judge and rule the people with fairness.”

11 
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
Let the sea roar, and all the things it contains;
12 
Let the field be exultant, and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy
13 
Before the Lord, for He is coming,
For He is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness
And the peoples in His faithfulness.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 96:7 Lit Give.
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1 Kings 18:1-19

Obadiah Meets Elijah

18 Now it happened after many days that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, “Go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the face of the earth.” So Elijah went to show himself to Ahab. Now the famine was severe in Samaria. Ahab called Obadiah who was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly; for when Jezebel destroyed the prophets of the Lord, Obadiah took a hundred prophets and hid them by fifties in a cave, and provided them with bread and water.) Then Ahab said to Obadiah, “Go into the land to all the sources of water and to all the streams; perhaps we may find grass and keep the horses and mules alive, and not have to kill some of the cattle.” So they divided the land between them to [a]survey it. Ahab went one way by himself and Obadiah went another way by himself.

As Obadiah was on the way, behold, Elijah met him. He recognized him and fell face downward [out of respect] and said, “Is it you, my lord Elijah?” He answered him, “It is I. Go tell your master, ‘Elijah is here.’” But he said, “What sin have I committed, that you would hand over your servant to Ahab to put me to death? 10 As the Lord your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my master has not sent messengers to seek you; and when they said, ‘He is not here,’ Ahab made the kingdom or nation swear that they had not found you. 11 And now you are saying, ‘Go, tell your master, “Behold, Elijah [is here].”’ 12 And as soon as I leave you, the Spirit of the Lord will carry you [b]to a place I do not know; so when I come to tell Ahab and he does not find you, he will kill me. Yet your servant has [reverently] feared the Lord from my youth. 13 Has it not been told to my lord [Elijah] what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the Lord, how I hid a hundred of the Lord’s prophets by fifties in a cave, and provided them with bread and water? 14 And now you are saying, ‘Go, tell your master, “Elijah is here”’; and he will kill me.” 15 Elijah said, “As the Lord of hosts (armies) lives, before whom I stand, I will certainly show myself to Ahab today.” 16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him; and Ahab went to meet Elijah.

17 When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Are you the one who is bringing disaster on Israel?” 18 Elijah said, “I have not brought disaster on Israel, but you and your father’s household have, by abandoning (rejecting) the commandments of the Lord and by following the Baals. 19 Now then, send word and gather to me all Israel at Mount Carmel, together with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of [the goddess] Asherah, who eat at [Queen] Jezebel’s table.”

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Kings 18:6 Lit pass through.
  2. 1 Kings 18:12 Lit where.
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Philippians 2:12-30

12 So then, my dear ones, just as you have always obeyed [my instructions with enthusiasm], not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation [that is, cultivate it, bring it to full effect, actively pursue spiritual maturity] with awe-inspired fear and trembling [using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Christ]. 13 For it is [not your strength, but it is] [a]God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure.

14 Do everything without murmuring or questioning [the providence of God], 15 so that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish in the midst of a [morally] crooked and [spiritually] perverted generation, among whom you are seen as bright lights [beacons shining out clearly] in the world [of darkness], 16 holding out and offering to everyone the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to rejoice greatly because I did not run [my race] in vain nor labor without result. 17 But even if I am being poured out as a [b]drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith [for preaching the message of salvation], still I rejoice and share my joy with you all. 18 You too, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.

Timothy and Epaphroditus

19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I may also be encouraged by learning news about you. 20 For I have no one else [like him who is] so kindred a spirit who will be genuinely concerned for your [spiritual] welfare. 21 For the others [who deserted me after my arrest] all seek [to advance] their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know of Timothy’s tested worth and his proven character, that he has served with me to advance the gospel like a son serving with his father. 23 Therefore, I hope [that it is His will] to send him immediately, just as soon as I see how [c]my case turns out; 24 and I trust [confidently] in the Lord that soon I also will be coming to you. 25 However, I thought it necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, [who has been] my brother and companion and fellow soldier, who was also sent as your messenger to take care of my needs. 26 For he has been longing [d]for all of you and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. 27 He certainly was sick and close to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 So I have sent him all the more eagerly so that when you see him again you may rejoice and I may be less concerned about you. 29 Welcome him home in the Lord with great joy, and appreciate and honor men like him; 30 because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me [which distance prevented you from rendering personally].

Footnotes:

  1. Philippians 2:13 God supports the believer, but it is the believer’s responsibility to do what he has been called by God to do.
  2. Philippians 2:17 The drink offering (wine) was required as part of the sacrificial system of the old covenant.
  3. Philippians 2:23 Lit things go with me. This letter to the Philippians was written near the end of Paul’s two-year period of imprisonment in Rome. This was the first of his two Roman imprisonments. At this time he was under house arrest and was living in his own rented home. About five years after his release he was imprisoned again. Emperor Nero was actively persecuting the Christians during this period, so Paul was held in the Mamertine dungeon (Tullianum). Shortly before his execution Paul wrote his second and final letter to Timothy from his cell in Rome.
  4. Philippians 2:26 One early ms reads to see you all.
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Matthew 2:13-23

The Flight to Egypt

13 Now when they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod intends to search for the Child in order to destroy Him.”

14 So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. 15 He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet [Hosea]: “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”

Herod Slaughters the Babies

16 Then Herod, when he realized that he had been tricked by the magi, was extremely angry, and he sent [soldiers] and put to death all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that area who were two years old and under, according to the date which he had learned from the magi. 17 Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled:

18 
A voice was heard in [a]Ramah,
Weeping and great mourning,
[b]Rachel weeping for her children;
She refused to be comforted,
Because they were no more.”

19 But when [c]Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, and said, 20 “Get up! Take the Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel; for those who sought the Child’s life are dead.” 21 Then Joseph got up, and took the Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea [d]in place of his father Herod [the Great], he was afraid to go there. Then being warned by God in a dream, he left for the region of Galilee, 23 and went and settled in a city called Nazareth. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: “He shall be called a [e]Nazarene.”

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 2:18 Ramah was located five miles north of Jerusalem, this city was a staging point for the deportation of Jews to Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar in 586 b.c.
  2. Matthew 2:18 A reference to Jacob’s (Israel’s) wife Rachel as the mother of the children of Israel. Here, her grief over the slaughter of babies by Herod parallels the grief of Israel when they were conquered and deported by the Babylonians. The image is that of Rachel weeping for the children of Israel from her grave. Matthew takes Jeremiah’s words, which originally referred to grief over Babylonian captivity, and applies them to Herod’s slaughter of the babies.
  3. Matthew 2:19 Herod the Great died sometime between March 29 and April 11, 4 b.c.
  4. Matthew 2:22 Following Herod’s death Israel was partitioned between three of his sons: Archelaus, Antipas, and Philip II.
  5. Matthew 2:23 The Nazarenes may have been looked on with disfavor by other Jews because Roman soldiers, whose presence was greatly resented, were housed near Nazareth, perhaps causing the Nazarenes to be identified with them.
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