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Psalm 119:97-120

97 I deeply love your Law!
    I think about it all day.
98 Your laws never leave my mind,
    and they make me much wiser
    than my enemies.
99 Thinking about your teachings
    gives me better understanding
    than my teachers,
100 and obeying your laws
makes me wiser
    than those
    who have lived a long time.
101 I obey your word
    instead of following a way
    that leads to trouble.
102 You have been my teacher,
    and I won’t reject
    your instructions.
103 Your teachings are sweeter
    than honey.
104     They give me understanding
    and make me hate all lies.

105 Your word is a lamp
that gives light
    wherever I walk.
106 Your laws are fair,
    and I have given my word
    to respect them all.
107 I am in terrible pain!
Save me, Lord,
    as you said you would.
108 Accept my offerings of praise
    and teach me your laws.
109 I never forget your teachings,
    although my life is always
    in danger.
110 Some merciless people
    are trying to trap me,
    but I never turn my back
    on your teachings.
111 They will always be
my most prized possession
    and my source of joy.
112 I have made up my mind
to obey your laws forever,
    no matter what.

113 I hate anyone
whose loyalty is divided,
    but I love your Law.
114 You are my place of safety
and my shield.
    Your word is my only hope.

115 All of you worthless people,
    get away from me!
    I am determined to obey
    the commands of my God.

116 Be true to your word, Lord.
    Keep me alive and strong;
    don’t let me be ashamed
    because of my hope.
117 Keep me safe and secure,
    so that I will always
    respect your laws.
118 You reject all deceitful liars
    because they refuse
    your teachings.
119 As far as you are concerned,
all evil people are[a] garbage,
    and so I follow your rules.
120 I tremble all over
when I think of you
    and the way you judge.

Footnotes:

  1. 119.119 As far as. . . are: A few Hebrew manuscripts and ancient translations. Most Hebrew manuscripts have “You get rid of evil people as if they were.”
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Psalm 81-82

(By Asaph for the music leader.[a])

God Makes Us Strong

81 Be happy and shout to God
    who makes us strong!
    Shout praises to the God
    of Jacob.
Sing as you play tambourines
    and the lovely sounding
    stringed instruments.
Sound the trumpets and start
    the New Moon Festival.[b]
    We must also celebrate
    when the moon is full.
This is the law in Israel,
    and it was given to us
    by the God of Jacob.
The descendants of Joseph
    were told to obey it,
    when God led them out
    from the land of Egypt.

In a language unknown to me,
    I heard someone say:
“I lifted the burden
    from your shoulder
    and took the heavy basket
    from your hands.
When you were in trouble,
    I rescued you,
    and from the thunderclouds,
    I answered your prayers.
    Later I tested you
    at Meribah Spring.[c]

“Listen, my people,
while I, the Lord,
    correct you!
    Israel, if you would only
    pay attention to me!
Don’t worship foreign gods
    or bow down to gods
    you know nothing about.
10 I am the Lord your God.
    I rescued you from Egypt.
    Just ask, and I will give you
    whatever you need.

11 “But, my people, Israel,
    you refused to listen,
    and you would have nothing
    to do with me!
12 So I let you be stubborn
    and keep on following
    your own advice.

13 “My people, Israel,
if only you would listen
    and do as I say!
14 I, the Lord, would quickly
defeat your enemies
    with my mighty power.
15 Everyone who hates me
    would come crawling,
    and that would be the end
    of them.
16 But I would feed you
    with the finest bread
    and with the best honey[d]
    until you were full.”

(A psalm by Asaph.)

Please Do Something, God!

82 When all of the other gods[e]
    have come together,
    the Lord God judges them
    and says:
“How long will you
keep judging unfairly
    and favoring evil people?
Be fair to the poor
    and to orphans.
    Defend the helpless
    and everyone in need.
Rescue the weak and homeless
    from the powerful hands
    of heartless people.

“None of you know
    or understand a thing.
You live in darkness,
    while the foundations
    of the earth tremble.[f]

“I, the Most High God, say
that all of you are gods[g]
    and also my own children.
But you will die,
just like everyone else,
    including powerful rulers.”

Do something, God!
Judge the nations of the earth;
    they belong to you.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 81 leader: See the note at Psalm 8.
  2. 81.3 New Moon Festival: Celebrated on the first day of each new moon, which was the beginning of the month. But this may refer to either the New Year celebration or the Harvest Festival. “The moon is full” suggests a festival in the middle of the month.
  3. 81.7 Meribah Spring: When the people of Israel complained to Moses about the need for water, God commanded Moses to strike a rock with his walking stick, and water came out. The place was then named Massah (“test”) and Meribah (“complaining”).
  4. 81.16 the best honey: The Hebrew text has “honey from rocks,” referring to honey taken from beehives in holes or cracks in large rocks.
  5. 82.1 the other gods: This probably refers to the gods of the nations that God defeated, but it could refer to God’s servants (angels) in heaven or even to human rulers.
  6. 82.5 foundations. . . tremble: In ancient times it was believed that the earth was flat and supported by columns.
  7. 82.6 all of you are gods: See the note at 82.1.
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Esther 6

The King Honors Mordecai

That night the king could not sleep, and he had a servant read him the records of what had happened since he had been king. When the servant read how Mordecai had kept Bigthana and Teresh from killing the king, the king asked, “What has been done to reward Mordecai for this?”

“Nothing, Your Majesty!” the king’s servants replied.

About this time, Haman came in to ask the king to have Mordecai hanged on the tower he had built. The king saw him and asked, “Who is that man waiting in front of the throne room?”

The king’s servants answered, “Your Majesty, it is Haman.”

“Have him come in,” the king commanded.

When Haman entered the room, the king asked him, “What should I do for a man I want to honor?”

Haman was sure that he was the one the king wanted to honor. So he replied, “Your Majesty, if you wish to honor a man, have someone bring him one of your own robes and one of your own horses with a fancy headdress. Have one of your highest officials place your robe on this man and lead him through the streets on your horse, while someone shouts, ‘This is how the king honors a man!’”

10 The king replied, “Hurry and do just what you have said! Don’t forget a thing. Get the robe and the horse for Mordecai the Jew, who is on duty at the palace gate!”

11 Haman got the king’s robe and put it on Mordecai. He led him through the city on the horse and shouted as he went, “This is how the king honors a man!”

12 Afterwards, Mordecai returned to his duties at the palace gate, and Haman hurried home, hiding his face in shame. 13 Haman told his wife and friends what had happened. Then his wife and his advisors said, “If Mordecai is a Jew, this is just the beginning of your troubles! You will end up a ruined man.” 14 They were still talking, when the king’s servants came and quickly took Haman to the dinner that Esther had prepared.

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Acts 19:1-10

Paul in Ephesus

19 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled across the hill country to Ephesus, where he met some of the Lord’s followers. He asked them, “When you put your faith in Jesus, were you given the Holy Spirit?”

“No!” they answered. “We have never even heard of the Holy Spirit.”

“Then why were you baptized?” Paul asked.

They answered, “Because of what John taught.”[a]

Paul replied, “John baptized people so that they would turn to God. But he also told them that someone else was coming, and that they should put their faith in him. Jesus is the one that John was talking about.” After the people heard Paul say this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Paul placed his hands on them. The Holy Spirit was given to them, and they spoke unknown languages and prophesied. There were about twelve men in this group.

For three months Paul went to the Jewish meeting place and talked bravely with the people about God’s kingdom. He tried to win them over, but some of them were stubborn and refused to believe. In front of everyone they said terrible things about God’s Way. Paul left and took the followers with him to the lecture hall of Tyrannus. He spoke there every day 10 for two years, until every Jew and Gentile[b] in Asia had heard the Lord’s message.

Footnotes:

  1. 19.3 Then why were you baptized?. . . Because of what John taught: Or “In whose name were you baptized?. . . We were baptized in John’s name.”
  2. 19.10,17 Gentile(s): The text has “Greek(s)” (see the note at 14.1).
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Luke 4:1-13

Jesus and the Devil

When Jesus returned from the Jordan River, the power of the Holy Spirit was with him, and the Spirit led him into the desert. For forty days Jesus was tested by the devil, and during that time he went without eating.[a] When it was all over, he was hungry.

The devil said to Jesus, “If you are God’s Son, tell this stone to turn into bread.”

Jesus answered, “The Scriptures say, ‘No one can live only on food.’”

Then the devil led Jesus up to a high place and quickly showed him all the nations on earth. The devil said, “I will give all this power and glory to you. It has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. Just worship me, and you can have it all.”

Jesus answered, “The Scriptures say:

‘Worship the Lord your God
    and serve only him!’”

Finally, the devil took Jesus to Jerusalem and had him stand on top of the temple. The devil said, “If you are God’s Son, jump off. 10-11 The Scriptures say:

‘God will tell his angels
    to take care of you.
They will catch you
    in their arms,
and you will not hurt
    your feet on the stones.’”

12 Jesus answered, “The Scriptures also say, ‘Don’t try to test the Lord your God!’”

13 After the devil had finished testing Jesus in every way possible, he left him for a while.

Footnotes:

  1. 4.2 went without eating: See the note at 2.37.
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