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Psalm 148-150

Come Praise the Lord

148 Shout praises to the Lord!
    Shout the Lord’s praises
    in the highest heavens.
All of you angels,
and all who serve him above,
    come and offer praise.

Sun and moon,
and all of you bright stars,
    come and offer praise.
Highest heavens,
and the water
above the highest heavens,[a]
    come and offer praise.

Let all things praise
    the name of the Lord,
    because they were created
    at his command.
He made them to last forever,
    and nothing can change
    what he has done.[b]

All creatures on earth,
you obey his commands,
    so come praise the Lord!

Sea monsters and the deep sea,
fire and hail,
snow and frost,
    and every stormy wind,
    come praise the Lord!

All mountains and hills,
    fruit trees and cedars,
10 every wild and tame animal,
all reptiles and birds,
    come praise the Lord!

11 Every king and every ruler,
    all nations on earth,
12 every man and every woman,
young people and old,
    come praise the Lord!

13 All creation, come praise
the name of the Lord.
    Praise his name alone.
The glory of God is greater
    than heaven and earth.

14 Like a bull with mighty horns,
the Lord protects
    his faithful nation Israel,
    because they belong to him.
    Shout praises to the Lord!

A New Song of Praise

149 Shout praises to the Lord!
Sing him a new song of praise
    when his loyal people meet.
People of Israel, rejoice
    because of your Creator.
    People of Zion, celebrate
    because of your King.
Praise his name by dancing
    and playing music on harps
    and tambourines.
The Lord is pleased
    with his people,
    and he gives victory
    to those who are humble.
All of you faithful people,
praise our glorious Lord!
    Celebrate and worship.
Praise God with songs
on your lips
    and a sword in your hand.
Take revenge and punish
    the nations.
    Put chains of iron
    on their kings and rulers.
Punish them as they deserve;
    this is the privilege
of God’s faithful people.
    Shout praises to the Lord!

The Lord Is Good to His People

150 Shout praises to the Lord!
    Praise God in his temple.
    Praise him in heaven,
    his mighty fortress.
Praise our God!
    His deeds are wonderful,
    too marvelous to describe.

Praise God with trumpets
    and all kinds of harps.
Praise him with tambourines
    and dancing,
    with stringed instruments
    and woodwinds.
Praise God with cymbals,
    with clashing cymbals.
Let every living creature
praise the Lord.
    Shout praises to the Lord!

Footnotes:

  1. 148.4 the water. . . heavens: It was believed that the earth and the heavens were surrounded by water.
  2. 148.6 nothing. . . done: Or “his laws will never change.”
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Psalm 114-115

The Lord Works Wonders

114 God brought his people
out of Egypt,
    that land
    with a strange language.
He made Judah his holy place
    and ruled over Israel.

When the sea looked at God,
    it ran away,
    and the Jordan River
    flowed upstream.
The mountains and the hills
    skipped around like goats.

Ask the sea why it ran away
    or ask the Jordan
    why it flowed upstream.
Ask the mountains and the hills
    why they skipped like goats!

Earth, you will tremble,
    when the Lord God of Jacob
    comes near,
because he turns solid rock
into flowing streams
    and pools of water.

The Lord Deserves To Be Praised

115 We don’t deserve praise!
The Lord alone deserves
    all of the praise,
    because of his love
    and faithfulness.
Why should the nations ask,
    “Where is your God?”

Our God is in the heavens,
    doing as he chooses.
    The idols of the nations
    are made of silver and gold.
They have a mouth and eyes,
    but they can’t speak or see.
Their ears can’t hear,
    and their noses can’t smell.
Their hands have no feeling,
their legs don’t move,
    and they can’t make a sound.
Everyone who made the idols
    and all who trust them
    are just as helpless
    as those useless gods.

People of Israel,
you must trust the Lord
    to help and protect you.
10 Family of Aaron the priest,
you must trust the Lord
    to help and protect you.
11 All of you worship the Lord,
so you must trust him
    to help and protect you.

12 The Lord will not forget
    to give us his blessing;
    he will bless all of Israel
    and the family of Aaron.
13 All who worship the Lord,
no matter who they are,
    will receive his blessing.

14 I pray that the Lord
    will let your family
    and your descendants
    always grow strong.
15 May the Lord who created
the heavens and the earth
    give you his blessing.

16 The Lord has kept the heavens
    for himself,
    but he has given the earth
    to us humans.
17 The dead are silent
    and cannot praise the Lord,
18     but we will praise him
now and forevermore.
    Shout praises to the Lord!

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Isaiah 43:14-44:5

The Lord Will Prepare the Way

14 I, the Lord, will rescue you!
I am Israel’s holy God,
    and this is my promise:
For your sake, I will send
    an army against Babylon
to drag its people away,
    crying as they go.[a]

15 I am the Lord, your holy God,
    Israel’s Creator and King.
16 I am the one who cut a path
    through the mighty ocean.
17 I sent an army to chase you
    with chariots and horses;
now they lie dead,
    unable to move.
They are like an oil lamp
    with the flame snuffed out.

Forget the Past

The Lord said:

18 Forget what happened long ago!
    Don’t think about the past.
19 I am creating something new.
    There it is! Do you see it?
I have put roads in deserts,
    streams[b] in thirsty lands.
20 Every wild animal honors me,
    even jackals[c] and owls.
I provide water in deserts—
streams in thirsty lands
    for my chosen people.
21 I made them my own nation,
    so they would praise me.

22 I, the Lord, said to Israel:
You have become weary,
    but not from worshiping me.
23 You have not honored me
by sacrificing sheep
    or other animals.
And I have not burdened you
with demands for sacrifices
    or sweet-smelling incense.

24 You have not brought
    delicious spices for me
or given me the best part
    of your sacrificed animals.
Instead, you burden me down
    with your terrible sins.
25 But I wipe away your sins
    because of who I am.
And so, I will forget
    the wrongs you have done.

26 Meet me in court!
State your case
and prove
    that you are right.
27 Your earliest ancestor[d]
and all of your leaders[e]
    rebelled against me.
28 That’s why I don’t allow
    your priests to serve me;
I let Israel be destroyed
    and your people disgraced.

The Lord’s Promise to Israel

44 People of Israel,
I have chosen you
    as my servant.
I am your Creator.
You were in my care
    even before you were born.
Israel, don’t be terrified!
You are my chosen servant,
    my very favorite.[f]

I will bless the thirsty land
    by sending streams of water;
I will bless your descendants
    by giving them my Spirit.
They will spring up like grass[g]
or like willow trees
    near flowing streams.
They will worship me
    and become my people.
They will write my name
    on the back of their hands.[h]

Footnotes:

  1. 43.14 crying as they go: Or “in their glorious ships.”
  2. 43.19 streams: The Standard Hebrew Text; the Dead Sea Scrolls “paths.”
  3. 43.20 jackals: Desert animals related to wolves, but smaller.
  4. 43.27 earliest ancestor: Jacob, also known as Israel.
  5. 43.27 leaders: Probably prophets, but perhaps also priests and kings.
  6. 44.2 my very favorite: Or “Jeshurun.”
  7. 44.4 like grass: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  8. 44.5 write. . . hands: To show that they belong to the Lord and to Israel.
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Hebrews 6:17-7:10

17 So when God wanted to prove for certain that his promise to his people could not be broken, he made a vow. 18 God cannot tell lies! And so his promises and vows are two things that can never be changed.

We have run to God for safety. Now his promises should greatly encourage us to take hold of the hope that is right in front of us. 19 This hope is like a firm and steady anchor for our souls. In fact, hope reaches behind the curtain[a] and into the most holy place. 20 Jesus has gone there ahead of us, and he is our high priest forever, just like Melchizedek.[b]

The Priestly Family of Melchizedek

Melchizedek was both king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He was the one who went out and gave Abraham his blessing, when Abraham returned from killing the kings. Then Abraham gave him a tenth of everything he had.

The meaning of the name Melchizedek is “King of Justice.” But since Salem means “peace,” he is also “King of Peace.” We are not told that he had a father or mother or ancestors or beginning or end. He is like the Son of God and will be a priest forever.[c]

Notice how great Melchizedek is! Our famous ancestor Abraham gave him a tenth of what he had taken from his enemies. The Law teaches that even Abraham’s descendants must give a tenth of what they possess. And they are to give this to their own relatives, who are the descendants of Levi and are priests. Although Melchizedek wasn’t a descendant of Levi, Abraham gave him a tenth of what he had. Then Melchizedek blessed Abraham, who had been given God’s promise. Everyone agrees that a person who gives a blessing is greater than the one who receives the blessing.

Priests are given a tenth of what people earn. But all priests die, except Melchizedek, and the Scriptures teach that he is alive. Levi’s descendants are now the ones who receive a tenth from people. We could even say that when Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth, Levi also gave him a tenth. 10 This is because Levi was born later into the family of Abraham, who gave a tenth to Melchizedek.

Footnotes:

  1. 6.19 behind the curtain: In the tent that was used for worship, a curtain separated the “holy place” from the “most holy place,” which only the high priest could enter.
  2. 6.20 Melchizedek: See the note at 5.6.
  3. 7.3 will be a priest forever: See the note at 5.6.
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John 4:27-42

27 The disciples returned about this time and were surprised to find Jesus talking with a woman. But none of them asked him what he wanted or why he was talking with her.

28 The woman left her water jar and ran back into town. She said to the people, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! Could he be the Messiah?” 30 Everyone in town went out to see Jesus.

31 While this was happening, Jesus' disciples were saying to him, “Teacher, please eat something.”

32 But Jesus told them, “I have food that you don’t know anything about.”

33 His disciples started asking each other, “Has someone brought him something to eat?”

34 Jesus said:

My food is to do what God wants! He is the one who sent me, and I must finish the work that he gave me to do. 35 You may say that there are still four months until harvest time. But I tell you to look, and you will see that the fields are ripe and ready to harvest.

36 Even now the harvest workers are receiving their reward by gathering a harvest that brings eternal life. Then everyone who planted the seed and everyone who harvests the crop will celebrate together. 37 So the saying proves true, “Some plant the seed, and others harvest the crop.” 38 I am sending you to harvest crops in fields where others have done all the hard work.

39 A lot of Samaritans in that town put their faith in Jesus because the woman had said, “This man told me everything I have ever done.” 40 They came and asked him to stay in their town, and he stayed on for two days.

41 Many more Samaritans put their faith in Jesus because of what they heard him say. 42 They told the woman, “We no longer have faith in Jesus just because of what you told us. We have heard him ourselves, and we are certain that he is the Savior of the world!”

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