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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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Psalm 34

The Lord, a Provider and the One Who Rescues Me.

A Psalm of David; when he pretended to be insane before Abimelech, who drove him out, and he went away.

34 I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
The humble and downtrodden will hear it and rejoice.

O [a]magnify the Lord with me,
And let us lift up His name together.


I sought the Lord [on the authority of His word], and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.

They looked to Him and were radiant;
Their faces will never blush in shame or confusion.

This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
And saved him from all his troubles.

The [b]angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him [with awe-inspired reverence and worship Him with obedience],
And He rescues [each of] them.


O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good;
How blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who takes refuge in Him.

O [reverently] fear the Lord, you His saints (believers, holy ones);
For to those who fear Him there is no want.
10 
The young lions lack [food] and grow hungry,
But they who seek the Lord will not lack any good thing.
11 
Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you to fear the Lord [with awe-inspired reverence and worship Him with obedience].
12 
Who is the man who desires life
And loves many days, that he may see good?
13 
Keep your tongue from evil
And your lips from speaking deceit.
14 
Turn away from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.

15 
The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous [those with moral courage and spiritual integrity]
And His ears are open to their cry.
16 
The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
To cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 
When the righteous cry [for help], the Lord hears
And rescues them from all their distress and troubles.
18 
The Lord is near to the heartbroken
And He saves those who are crushed in spirit (contrite in heart, truly sorry for their sin).

19 
Many hardships and perplexing circumstances confront the righteous,
But the Lord rescues him from them all.
20 
He keeps all his bones;
Not one of them is broken.
21 
Evil will cause the death of the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous will be held guilty and will be condemned.
22 
The Lord redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 34:3 The ancient rabbis applied this verse specifically to the saying of grace after a meal and instituted the practice of zimmum (“invitation”) as a religious duty for three or more men who had eaten together. They were to invite one another to say the blessing. One then said the blessing and the others were required to say “Amen” in voices no louder than that of the speaker of the blessing, based on the word together. It was also taught that all the participants in the blessing receive a reward from God.
  2. Psalm 34:7 See note Gen 16:7.
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2 Kings 4:8-37

The Shunammite Woman

Now there came a day when Elisha went over to Shunem, where there was a prominent and influential woman, and she persuaded him to eat a meal. Afterward, whenever he passed by, he stopped there for a meal. She said to her husband, “Behold, I sense that this is a holy man of God who frequently passes our way. 10 Please, let us make a small, fully-walled upper room [on the housetop] and put a bed there for him, with a table, a chair, and a lampstand. Then whenever he comes to visit us, he can turn in there.”

11 One day he came there and turned in to the upper room and lay down to rest. 12 And he said to Gehazi his servant, “Call this Shunammite.” So he called her and she stood before him. 13 Now he said to Gehazi, “Say to her now, ‘You have gone to all this trouble for us; what can I do for you? Would you like to be mentioned to the king or to the captain of the army?’” She answered, “I live among my own people [in peace and security and need no special favors].” 14 Later Elisha said, “What then is to be done for her?” Gehazi answered, “Well, she has no son and her husband is old.” 15 He said, “Call her.” So Gehazi called her, and she [came and] stood in the doorway. 16 Elisha said, “At this season next year, you will embrace a son.” She said, “No, my lord. O man of God, do not lie to your maidservant.”

17 But the woman conceived and gave birth to a son at that season the next year, just as Elisha had said to her.

The Shunammite’s Son

18 When the child was grown, the day came that he went out to his father, to the reapers. 19 But he said to his father, “My head, my head.” The man said to his servant, “Carry him to his mother.” 20 When he had carried and brought him to his mother, he sat on her lap until noon, and then he [a]died. 21 She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door [of the small upper room] behind him and left. 22 Then she called to her husband and said, “Please send me one of the servants and one of the donkeys, so that I may run to the man of God and return.” 23 He said, “Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath.” And she said, “It will be all right.” 24 Then she saddled the donkey and said to her servant, “Drive [the animal] fast; do not slow down the pace for me unless I tell you.” 25 So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.

When the man of God saw her at a distance, he said to Gehazi his servant, “Look, there is the Shunammite woman. 26 Please run now to meet her and ask her, ‘Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?’” And she answered, “It is well.” 27 When she came to the mountain to the man of God, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi approached to push her away; but the man of God said, “Let her alone, for her soul is desperate and troubled within her; and the Lord has hidden the reason from me and has not told me.” 28 Then she said, “Did I ask for a son from my lord? Did I not say, ‘Do not give me false hope’?”

29 Then he said to Gehazi, “[b]Gird up your loins (prepare now!) and take my staff in your hand, and go [to the woman’s house]; if you meet any man [along the way], do not greet him and if a man greets you, do not [stop to] answer him; and lay my staff on the face of the boy [as soon as you reach the house].” 30 The mother of the child said, “As the Lord lives and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.” So Elisha arose and followed her. 31 Gehazi went on ahead of them and laid the staff on the boy’s face, but there was no sound or response [from the boy]. So he turned back to meet Elisha and told him, “The boy has not awakened (revived).”

32 When Elisha came into the house, the child was dead and lying on his bed. 33 So he went in, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the Lord. 34 Then he went up and lay on the child and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands. And as he stretched himself out on him and held him, the boy’s skin became warm. 35 Then he returned and walked in the house once back and forth, and went up [again] and stretched himself out on him; and the boy sneezed seven times and he opened his eyes. 36 Then Elisha called Gehazi and said, “Call this Shunammite.” So he called her. And when she came to him, he said, “Pick up your son.” 37 She came and fell at his feet, bowing herself to the ground [in respect and gratitude]. Then she picked up her son and left.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Kings 4:20 Because her faith in God led her to expect a miracle from Elisha, the woman apparently kept the death secret from her husband and the entire household.
  2. 2 Kings 4:29 “Gird up your loins,” a phrase often found in the Bible, is an urgent call to get ready for immediate action, or it may be a call to prepare for a coming action or event. The phrase is related to the type of clothing worn in ancient times. To keep from impeding the wearer during any vigorous activity, e.g. battle, exercise, strenuous work, etc., the loose ends of garments (tunics, cloaks, mantles, etc.) had to be gathered up and tucked into the girdle. The girdle was a band about six inches wide that had fasteners in front. It was worn around the loins (the midsection of the body between the lower ribs and the hips) and was normally made of leather. Expensive or embroidered girdles were also worn and were made of cotton, flax or silk. The girdle also served as a kind of pocket or pouch and was used to carry personal items such as a dagger, money or other necessary things.
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Acts 9:10-31

10 Now in Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he answered, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called [a]Straight, and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul; for he is praying [there], 12 and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and place his hands on him, so that he may regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many people about this man, especially how much suffering and evil he has brought on Your saints (God’s people) at Jerusalem; 14 and here [in Damascus] he has authority from the high priests to put in chains all who call on Your name [confessing You as Savior].” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a [deliberately] chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; 16 for I will make clear to him how much he must suffer and endure for My name’s sake.” 17 So Ananias left and entered the house, and he laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came [to Damascus], has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit [in order to proclaim Christ to both Jews and Gentiles].” 18 Immediately something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized; 19 and he took some food and was strengthened.

Saul Begins to Preach Christ

For several days [afterward] Saul remained with the disciples who were at Damascus. 20 And immediately he began proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “This Man is the Son of God [the promised Messiah]!” 21 All those who heard him continued to be amazed and said, “Is this not the man who in Jerusalem attacked those who called on this name [of Jesus], and had come here [to Damascus] for the express purpose of bringing them bound [with chains] before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased in strength more and more, and continued to perplex the Jews who lived in Damascus by examining [theological evidence] and proving [with Scripture] that this Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed).

23 After considerable time had passed [about three years or so], the Jews plotted together to kill him, 24 but their plot became known to Saul. They were also watching the city’s gates day and night so they could kill him; 25 but his disciples took him at night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket.

26 When he arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 However, [b]Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles, and described to them how Saul had seen the Lord on the road [to Damascus], and how He had spoken to him, and how at Damascus Saul had preached openly and spoken confidently in the name of Jesus. 28 So he was with them, moving around freely [as one among them] in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He was talking and arguing with the [c]Hellenists (Greek-speaking Jews); but they were attempting to kill him. 30 When the brothers found out [about the plot], they brought him down to [d]Caesarea [Maritima] and sent him off to Tarsus [his home town].

31 So the church throughout Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace [without persecution], being built up [in wisdom, virtue, and faith]; and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort and encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it continued to grow [in numbers].

Footnotes:

  1. Acts 9:11 Latin Via Recta, a long, straight street built by the Romans that ran through the city from east to west.
  2. Acts 9:27 This name means Son of Encouragement.
  3. Acts 9:29 See note 6:1.
  4. Acts 9:30 See note 8:40.
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Luke 3:7-18

So he began saying to the crowds who were coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of [a]vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath [of God that is] to come? Therefore produce fruit that is worthy of [and consistent with your] repentance [that is, live changed lives, turn from sin and seek God and His righteousness]. And do not even begin to say to yourselves [as a defense], ‘We have Abraham for our father [and so our heritage assures us of salvation]’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children (descendants) for Abraham [for God can replace the unrepentant, regardless of their heritage, with those who are obedient]. Even now the axe [of God’s judgment] is swinging toward the root of the trees; so every tree that does not produce good fruit is being cut down and thrown into the fire.”

10 The crowds asked him, “Then what are we to do?” 11 And John replied, “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do the same.” 12 Even some tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked, “Teacher, what are we to do?” 13 And he told them, “Collect no more than the fixed amount you have been ordered to [collect].” 14 Some soldiers asked him, “And what about us, what are we to do?” And he replied to them, “Do not [b]extort money from anyone or harass or blackmail anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.”

15 Now the people were in a state of expectation, and all were wondering in their hearts about John, as to whether he was the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed). 16 John answered them all by saying, “As for me, I baptize you [only] [c]with water; but One who is mightier [more powerful, more noble] than I is coming, and I am not fit to untie the strap of His sandals [even as His slave]. He will baptize you [who truly repent] with the Holy Spirit and [you who remain unrepentant] with [d]fire. 17 His [e]winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat (believers) into His barn (kingdom); but He will burn up the chaff (the unrepentant) with unquenchable fire.”

18 So with many other appeals and various admonitions John preached the good news (gospel) to the people.

Footnotes:

  1. Luke 3:7 I.e. poisonous snakes. An expression intended to describe the repulsive character of many people in the crowd.
  2. Luke 3:14 The Greek term is similar to our colloquial “shake down,” that is, using violence or threats to force someone to hand over money.
  3. Luke 3:16 The Greek here can be translated in, with, or by.
  4. Luke 3:16 Some scholars view “fire” as judgment; however, another view of “fire” purports that the text refers to the fiery baptism of the Holy Spirit, not judgment. The Holy Spirit promised here has been associated with Pentecost, purification, testing, and judgment. Each person who accepts Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5-8). According to this view the fire indicates that the believer is purified as in the refining of gold. Fire burns up the impurities and the gold (the believer) survives (cf 1 Cor 3:12, 13; James 1:3).
  5. Luke 3:17 A tool roughly resembling a pitchfork, used to separate grains of wheat from the chaff by throwing the wheat into the air, and allowing the wind to blow away the lighter chaff.
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