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Psalm 87

The Privileges of Citizenship in Zion.

A Psalm of the sons of Korah. A Song.

87 His foundation is on the holy mountain.

The Lord loves the gates of Zion
More than all the dwellings of Jacob (Israel).

Glorious things are spoken of you,
O city of God [Jerusalem]. Selah.

“I will mention Rahab (Egypt) and Babylon among those who know Me—
Behold, Philistia and Tyre with Ethiopia (Cush)—
‘This one was born there.’”

But of Zion it will be said, “This one and that one were born in her,”
And the Most High Himself will establish her.

The Lord will count, when He registers the peoples,
“This one was born there.” Selah.

The singers as well as the players of flutes will say,
“All my springs and sources of joy are in you [Jerusalem, city of God].”

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Psalm 90

Book Four

God’s Eternity and Man’s Transitoriness.

A Prayer of Moses the man of God.

90 Lord, You have been our dwelling place [our refuge, our sanctuary, our stability] in all generations.

Before the mountains were born
Or before You had given birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are [the eternal] God.


You turn man back to dust,
And say, “Return [to the earth], O children of [mortal] men!”

For a [a]thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it is past,
Or as a watch in the night.

You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep [forgotten as soon as they are gone];
In the morning they are like grass which grows anew—

In the morning it flourishes and springs up;
In the evening it wilts and withers away.


For we have been consumed by Your anger
And by Your wrath we have been terrified.

You have placed our wickedness before you,
Our secret sins [which we tried to conceal, You have placed] in the [revealing] light of Your presence.

For all our days pass away in Your wrath;
We have finished our years like a whispered sigh.
10 
The days of our life are [b]seventy years—
Or even, if because of strength, eighty years;
Yet their pride [in additional years] is only labor and sorrow,
For it is soon gone and we fly away.
11 
Who understands the power of Your anger? [Who connects this brevity of life among us with Your judgment of sin?]
And Your wrath, [who connects it] with the [reverent] fear that is due You?
12 
So teach us to number our days,
That we may cultivate and bring to You a heart of wisdom.

13 
Turn, O Lord [from Your fierce anger]; how long will it be?
Be compassionate toward Your servants—revoke Your sentence.
14 
O satisfy us with Your lovingkindness in the morning [now, before we grow older],
That we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
15 
Make us glad in proportion to the days You have afflicted us,
And the years we have suffered evil.
16 
Let Your work [the signs of Your power] be revealed to Your servants
And Your [glorious] majesty to their children.
17 
And let the [gracious] favor of the Lord our God be on us;
Confirm for us the work of our hands—
Yes, confirm the work of our hands.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 90:4 This was understood by the ancient rabbis to mean that a “thousand years” are literally only one day in God’s reckoning, and Peter seems to confirm the idea in 2 Pet 3:8.
  2. Psalm 90:10 This psalm is credited to Moses, who is interceding with God to remove the curse which made it necessary for every Israelite over twenty years of age (when they rebelled against God at Kadesh-barnea) to die before reaching the promised land of Canaan (Num 14:26-35). Moses himself lived to be 120 years old, Aaron 123, Miriam several years older, and Joshua 110 years of age; but it is conceivable that Moses considered such longevity the exception. The ancient rabbis taught that by the time of David, 70 was the age of death for an old man and 80 for a vigorous old man.
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Psalm 136

Thanks for the Lord’s Goodness to Israel.

136 [a]Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness (graciousness, mercy, compassion) endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of gods,
For His lovingkindness endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
For His lovingkindness endures forever.

To Him who alone does great wonders,
For His lovingkindness endures forever;

To Him who made the heavens with skill,
For His lovingkindness endures forever;

To Him who stretched out the earth upon the waters,
For His lovingkindness endures forever;

To Him who made the great lights,
For His lovingkindness endures forever;

The sun to rule over the day,
For His lovingkindness endures forever;

The moon and stars to rule by night,
For His lovingkindness endures forever;

10 
To Him who struck the firstborn of Egypt,
For His lovingkindness endures forever;
11 
And brought Israel out from among them,
For His lovingkindness endures forever;
12 
With a strong hand and with an outstretched arm,
For His lovingkindness endures forever;
13 
To Him who divided the [b]Red Sea into parts,
For His lovingkindness endures forever;
14 
And made Israel pass through the midst of it,
For His lovingkindness endures forever;
15 
But tossed Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea,
For His lovingkindness endures forever;
16 
To Him who led His people through the wilderness,
For His lovingkindness endures forever;
17 
To Him who struck down great kings,
For His lovingkindness endures forever;
18 
And killed mighty kings,
For His lovingkindness endures forever;
19 
Sihon, king of the Amorites,
For His lovingkindness endures forever;
20 
And Og, king of Bashan,
For His lovingkindness endures forever;
21 
And gave their land as a heritage,
For His lovingkindness endures forever;
22 
Even a heritage to Israel His servant,
For His lovingkindness endures forever;

23 
Who [faithfully] remembered us in our lowly condition,
For His lovingkindness endures forever;
24 
And has rescued us from our enemies,
For His lovingkindness endures forever;
25 
Who gives food to all flesh,
For His lovingkindness endures forever;
26 
Give thanks to the God of heaven,
For His lovingkindness (graciousness, mercy, compassion) endures forever.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 136:1 The ancient rabbis said that the twenty-six verses of this Psalm correspond to the twenty-six generations from Adam to Moses. They maintained that since these generations were not given the Torah (Law), they could not earn merit and were sustained only by God’s “lovingkindness.”
  2. Psalm 136:13 Lit Sea of Reeds.
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2 Kings 11:1-20

Athaliah Queen of Judah

11 When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah [king of Judah] saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal offspring. But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Joram [of Judah and half] sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah and abducted him from among the king’s sons who were to be killed, and hid him and his nurse in the [a]bedroom. So they hid him from Athaliah, and he was not put to death. Joash was hidden with his nurse in the house (temple) of the Lord for six years, while Athaliah reigned over the land.

Now in the seventh year Jehoiada [the priest, Jehosheba’s husband] sent for the captains of hundreds of the [b]Carites and of the guard and brought them to him to the house of the Lord. Then he made a covenant with them and put them under oath in the house of the Lord, and showed them the king’s [hidden] son. He commanded them, saying, “This is the thing that you shall do: a third of you who come in [reporting for duty] on the Sabbath shall keep watch over the king’s house (a third shall also be at the [city] gate Sur, and a third at the gate behind the guards); so you shall keep watch over the palace [from three posts] for defense. Two units of you, all those who go out [off duty] on the Sabbath, shall also keep watch over the house (temple) of the Lord for [the protection of] the king. You shall surround the [young] king, each man with weapons in his hand; and whoever comes through the ranks shall be put to death. You are to be with the king when he goes out and when he comes in.”

The captains of hundreds acted in accordance with everything that Jehoiada the priest commanded; and each of them took his men who were to come in (on duty) on the Sabbath, with those who were to go out (off duty) on the Sabbath, and they came to Jehoiada the priest. 10 The priest gave to the captains of hundreds the spears and shields that had been King David’s, which were in the house of the Lord. 11 And the guards stood, each man with weapons in his hand, from the right side to the left side of the temple area, by the altar [in the courtyard] and by the temple [proper], all around the king. 12 Then Jehoiada brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him and gave him the Testimony [a copy of the Mosaic Law]; and they made him king and anointed him, and they clapped their hands and said, “Long live the king!”

13 When Athaliah heard the sound of the guards and of the people, she went into the house of the Lord to the people. 14 When she looked, behold, there stood the [young] king [on the platform] by the pillar, as was customary [on such occasions], and the captains and the trumpeters were beside the king; and all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing the trumpets. Then Athaliah tore her clothes and cried, “Treason! Treason!” 15 Then Jehoiada the priest commanded the captains of hundreds appointed over the army and said to them, “Take her out between the ranks, and whoever follows her put to death with the sword.” For the priest had said, “Let her not be put to death in the house (temple) of the Lord.” 16 So they seized her, and she went through the horses’ entrance to the king’s house (palace), and she was put to death there.

17 Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord, the king, and the people, that they would be the Lord’s people—also between the king and the people [to be his subjects]. 18 Then all the people of the land went to the house of Baal and tore it down. They utterly smashed his altar and his images to pieces, and they put Mattan the priest of Baal to death in front of the altars. And [Jehoiada] the priest appointed officers over the house of the Lord. 19 Then he took the captains of hundreds, the Carites (royal bodyguards), the guard, and all the people of the land; and they brought the [young] king down from the house of the Lord, and came by way of the guards’ gate to the king’s house. And [little] Joash sat on the throne of the kings. 20 So all the people of the land rejoiced and the city [of Jerusalem] was quiet. For they had put Athaliah to death with the sword at the king’s house.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Kings 11:2 Most likely this was one of many bedrooms in the palace and served as a temporary hiding place until the child could be moved to the temple (v 3); but it is possible that this was a priest’s bedroom in the temple.
  2. 2 Kings 11:4 Mercenary soldiers recruited to serve as royal bodyguards.
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1 Corinthians 7:10-24

10 But to the [a]married [believers] I give instructions—not I, but the Lord—that the wife is not to separate from her husband, 11 (but even if she does leave him, let her remain single or else be [b]reconciled to her husband) and that the husband should not leave his wife.

12 To the [c]rest I declare—I, not the Lord [since Jesus did not discuss this]—that if any [believing] brother has a wife who does not believe [in Christ], and she consents to live with him, he must not leave her. 13 And if any [believing] woman has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not leave him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is [d]sanctified [that is, he receives the blessings granted] through his [Christian] wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be [ceremonially] [e]unclean, but as it is they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving partner leaves, let him leave. In such cases the [remaining] brother or sister is not [spiritually or morally] bound. But God has called us to [f]peace. 16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband [by leading him to Christ]? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife [by leading her to Christ]?

17 Only, let each one live the life which the Lord has assigned him, and to which God has called him [for each person is unique and is accountable for his choices and conduct, let him walk in this way]. This is the rule I make in all the churches. 18 Was anyone at the time of his calling [from God already] circumcised? He is not to [g]become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called while uncircumcised? [h]He is not to be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is keeping the commandments of God. 20 Each one should remain in the condition in which he was [when he was] called.

21 Were you a slave when you were called? Do not worry about that [since your status as a believer is [i]equal to that of a freeborn believer]; but if you are able to gain your freedom, [j]do that. 22 For he who was a slave when he was called in the Lord is a freedman of the Lord, likewise he who was free when he was called is a slave of Christ. 23 You were bought with a price [a precious price paid by Christ]; do not become slaves to men [but to Christ]. 24 Brothers, let each one remain with God in that condition in which he was [when he was] called.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Corinthians 7:10 Couples who are both believers.
  2. 1 Corinthians 7:11 In reference to married Christians, Paul teaches that reconciliation is always preferable to separation or divorce and should be actively sought.
  3. 1 Corinthians 7:12 Christians married to non-believers. It is evident that some of the married couples in Corinth had wed before either of them had become Christians, and subsequently the believing spouses probably wondered whether their marriage was legitimate in the eyes of God.
  4. 1 Corinthians 7:14 The unbeliever is not saved by marriage to a Christian. Each person, whether spouse or child, must make a personal decision to accept and follow Christ to receive salvation and God’s promises.
  5. 1 Corinthians 7:14 The word used here seems to be borrowed from the language of OT ritual. There were many things that could render a person ceremonially unclean. All these things would disqualify a person from participating in worship, and required cleansing rituals to correct.
  6. 1 Corinthians 7:15 Probably peace between the spouses, hopefully leading to restoration and salvation (v 16).
  7. 1 Corinthians 7:18 Paul may be speaking figuratively of abandoning all of one’s Jewish heritage and culture; however, there was a procedure in ancient medicine for reversing circumcision.
  8. 1 Corinthians 7:18 A faction of Jewish Christians (often called “Judaizers”) hounded Paul and insisted that Gentile believers must be circumcised.
  9. 1 Corinthians 7:21 In practice, even if both a slave and his master became Christians, the slave would remain so unless he were freed (cf Onesimus and Philemon); he could not claim that his freedom in Christ applied to his civil status as a slave. But it would have been wrong for others to treat a slave differently from anyone else in church services.
  10. 1 Corinthians 7:21 This essentially is an exception to the rule of v 20.
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Matthew 6:19-24

19 “Do not store up for yourselves [material] treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart [your wishes, your desires; that on which your life centers] will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body; so if your eye is clear [spiritually perceptive], your whole body will be full of light [benefiting from God’s precepts]. 23 But if your eye is bad [spiritually blind], your whole body will be full of darkness [devoid of God’s precepts]. So if the [very] light inside you [your inner self, your heart, your conscience] is darkness, how great and terrible is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money, possessions, fame, status, or whatever is valued more than the Lord].

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