Bible Gateway The Daily Audio Bible Reading Plan (VOICE) 2017-12-16T00:00:00-05:00 Powered by Bible Gateway http://www.biblegateway.com http://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/daily-audio-bible?version=VOICE The Daily Audio Bible Reading for Saturday December 16, 2017 (VOICE)

Micah 5-7

Eternal One: Now, muster your troops O daughter.[a] You have been besieged,
and they will strike the judge of Israel on the cheek with a rod.

This difficult passage recalls the judges who ruled God’s people in Canaan as it looks forward to the Redeemer from the insignificant town of Bethlehem.

But you, Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
of the clans of Judah, are no poor relation—
From your people will come a Ruler
who will be the shepherd of My people, Israel,[b]
Whose origins date back to the distant past,
to the ancient days.

So God will abandon Israel
only until the now-laboring mother gives birth,
And then those of His people who survive
will be gathered back together with the rest of Israel.
And he will stand and feed his flock in the power of the Eternal One,
with the majesty of the name of the Eternal, his True God.
And they will live in safety, for his greatness will extend to the farthest parts of the earth.
He will be our peace.
When the Assyrians invade us, set foot inside our strong palaces,[c]
We will raise up more than enough to conquer them—
seven shepherds and eight rulers of men.

The “seven shepherds and eight rulers” represent the whole leadership of the people.

They will rule over the country of Assyria with the sword,
and the country of Nimrod at its front gates.
He will save us from the Assyrians when they invade our lands
and tread in our borders.
7-8 Then what remains of Jacob will be like a dew from the Eternal,
like showers on the grass, which are beyond the control of humans.
He will be spread throughout many peoples and many nations.
Like a lion among beasts of the forest, a young lion among flocks of sheep,
He tramples and tears as he goes; no one will survive.
You will have victory over all your enemies,
and all who oppose you will be routed.

10 Eternal One: When that day comes, I will rip your horses from beneath you
and destroy your chariots and weapons of war;
11 I will rip the cities from your lands
and cast down all your fortresses.
12 I will tear all magic spells from your hands
and overthrow your magicians and fortunetellers.
13 And I will tear down the images and sacred pillars among you.
Never again will you worship these gods that your own hands have made.
14 I will uproot the sacred poles[d] in your communities
and tear down your towns.
15 And with anger and great wrath,
I will execute My vengeance against all the nations that have disobeyed Me!

This is the fourth time in Micah’s prophecy that the city leaders and general population of Judah are called to “listen up” (Micah 1:2; 3:1; 3:9; 6:1). Each time the prophet has something very important to say to those in Judah.

Listen to what the Eternal is saying.
People of Israel, stand up and plead your case to the mountains;
Let the hills hear what you have to say.
Listen, jury of mountains, to the complaint of the Eternal One;
listen, you enduring foundations of the earth,
For He brings a charge against His people and argues against Israel.

Eternal One: My people, what have I done against you?
How have I made you tired of Me? Answer Me!
I brought you up out of the land of Egypt, paid your ransom,
freed you from that place of slavery, and sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to lead you.[e]
O My people, remember how King Balak of Moab plotted against you,
how Balaam (Beor’s son) answered him, refusing to curse you?[f]
Everything happened between Shittim and Gilgal
as you took possession of the lands I promised you,
So that you might remember all the saving acts of the Eternal.

Israel: What should I bring into the presence of the Eternal One
to pay homage to the God Most High?
Should I come into His presence with burnt offerings,
with year-old calves to sacrifice?
Would the Eternal be pleased by thousands of sacrificial rams,
by ten thousand swollen rivers of sweet olive oil?
Should I offer my oldest son for my wrongdoing,
the child of my body to cover the sins of my life?

No. He has told you, mortals, what is good in His sight.
What else does the Eternal ask of you
But to live justly and to love kindness
and to walk with your True God in all humility?
The voice of the Eternal cries out to the city of Jerusalem,
and the wise fear Your name.

Many Christians wonder what God wants from faithful followers. Does He want them to sacrifice everything for Him? Does He want them to keep strict codes of behavior—refuse to do this or always do that? People in the past and people today have all sorts of opinions about how the faithful should act; and in several other places in the Bible, all of the so-called laws, rules, regulations, and suggestions are boiled down to their simplest form: in order to make God happy, do what is right, love kindness, and live with compassion toward others; walk in right relation to the God of Abraham, and do so humbly. By doing these things, Micah says, God’s followers will please Him and live happy lives. In Matthew 22:34-40, Jesus similarly says people are to worship only one God; to love that God with heart, mind, body, and soul; and to love their neighbors as themselves.

Eternal One: Listen, all of you gathered there, (tribe and people):[g]
10 Can I overlook the treasures of wickedness
Stored away in the house of the wicked,
the dishonest scales and measures that I hate?
11 Can I overlook the one who uses crooked scales
and bags of dishonest weights to cheat the innocent?
12 Her rich are filled with violence, her citizens speak lies,
and the words of their mouths can never be trusted.
13 That is why I will strike you down with disease,[h]
destroy you because of your wrongdoing.
14 You will eat, but you will never be satisfied;[i]
you will always feel the gnawing pangs of hunger.
You will store away but never keep safe;
what you have put aside I will destroy with the sword.
15 You will sow grain but never reap it;
you will plant olives but never anoint yourself with their sweet oil;
You will harvest vineyards for juice but never drink the wine.
16 For you have followed the ways of Omri
and all the works of the kingdom of Ahab,
And you have followed their paths of wickedness.
That is why I can justifiably decimate you.
Your citizens will be the subject of satire and mockery,
and you will bear the scorn My people deserve.[j]

From the descendants of Omri (his son Ahab, daughter-in-law Jezebel, and granddaughter Athaliah) come many of the sins of Israel.

Israel: I am filled with sadness, like one who, after the grapes have been gathered,
after all the summer fruit has been picked, can find nothing to eat,
Not a cluster of grapes, not even one of those early figs I love.
The faithful have disappeared from the land, and no one honest remains;
they are all alert for blood, hunting their neighbors with a net.
The hands of those who should know better are good at doing evil:
the ruler and the judge ask for bribes;
The people in power merely mention their deepest desires,
and the ruler and judge make sure they happen.
The best of them is as painful to deal with as a briar,
the most honest of them like a hedge heavy with thorns.
So the day your watchmen have awaited—
the day of your punishment—has come.
Now you will be confused and confounded.
Do not trust your neighbor or rely on a friend.
Do not tell your secrets even to the spouse who shares your bed,
For the son insults the father, the daughter rebels against the mother,
and the daughter-in-law rises up against the mother-in-law.
Your enemies can be found within your own household.

But as for me, I will look to the Eternal One, and my hope is in the True God
who will save me. My God will hear me.
Do not gloat at my fate, my enemy;
although I am down now, I will rise up.
Although I am in darkness now, the Eternal One will be my light.
I must bear His anger because I have sinned against Him
until He argues on my behalf and rights all my wrongs.
He will bring me out into the light,
and then I will see His saving justice.
10 When my enemy sees that God has rescued me,
then shame will wash over her
Because she sneered to me, “Where is the Eternal your God?”
It will be my turn to watch when she is trampled,
Walked on like mud in the street.

11 Israel, that will be the day for building your city walls;
that will be the day to expand your national boundaries.
12 In that day, people will come to you
from everywhere: from Assyria to cities in Egypt,
From Egypt to the Euphrates River,
from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain.
13 The earth will become a desert because those who live on it
will produce no fruit from their labors.

14 God, with Your shepherd’s staff lead Your people to pasture;
lead the flock that belongs to You
And grazes alone in the forest surrounded by garden lands.
Let them graze in Bashan and Gilead as they used to do, long ago.
15 I will show you[k] wonders
as you saw in the days when you came out of Egypt;
16 The nations will see and be ashamed, despite all their might.
With their hands over their mouths and ears they will hear nothing.
17 They will lick dust like the snakes of the earth crawling across the dirt.
They will creep out of their holes, shivering in terror because of You.
They turn to the Eternal, our True God, filled with dread,
and they stand in awe of You.

18 Is there any other God like You, who forgives evil
and passes over the transgressions done by Yours who remain?
He does not hold onto His anger forever
because He delights in showing love and kindness.
19 He will take pity on us again, will tread our wrongdoing underfoot.
He will cast all our sins down to the bottom of the sea.

20 Show Your faithfulness to Jacob and show Your faithful love to Abraham
As You swore to our ancestors in the days long ago.

Footnotes:

  1. 5:1 Greek manuscripts read, “Now, you are walled in.”
  2. 5:2 Matthew 2:6
  3. 5:5 Greek manuscripts read, “on our land.”
  4. 5:14 Hebrew, Asherim
  5. 6:4 Exodus 13–15
  6. 6:5 Numbers 22:5–6
  7. 6:9 Meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  8. 6:13 Other ancient manuscripts read, “I have begun to strike you down.”
  9. 6:14 Meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  10. 6:16 Greek manuscripts read, “the scorn of the nations.”
  11. 7:15 Hebrew manuscripts read, “him.”
The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

Revelation 7

After this vision, I saw four heavenly messengers standing at the four corners of the earth. They were holding back the four winds so that the earth would not be overcome by violent, rushing winds blowing over the land or over the sea or blowing down any tree. Then I saw a fifth messenger, coming up with the sun as it was rising in the east, carrying the seal of the living God. He called with a great and loud voice to the four messengers who had authority to harm the earth and its seas.

Fifth Messenger: Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we seal the servants of our God with a mark of ownership on their foreheads.

4-8 Then I heard that 144,000 would receive the seal, that is 12,000 from every tribe of Israel: Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin.

After I heard about these who would be sealed, I looked and saw a huge crowd of people, which no one could even begin to count, representing every nation and tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and waving palm branches. 10 They cried out with one loud voice.

Crowd: Salvation comes only from our God, who sits upon the throne, and from the Lamb.

John hears that 144,000 people out of Israel are destined to be sealed, but then he turns to see an innumerable multitude from every people group in the world. What he sees reveals the truth of what he hears: the number “144,000” is not an exact count of who will be saved but is a symbolic number (12 x 12 x 1000). “Twelve” is a number that signifies all the people of God, from both the Old and New Testaments. In reality, between the sixth and seventh seal, there is an interlude, an opportunity for people from every nation to enter into the people of God, to receive God’s mark, and to take their places among the redeemed.

11 All the heavenly messengers stood up, encircling the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell prostrate before the throne and worshiped God.

12 Heavenly Messengers, Elders, and Living Creatures: Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom
And thanksgiving and honor
And power and might
Be to our God on and on throughout all the ages. Amen.

One of the Elders (to me): 13 Who are these people clothed in white robes, and where have they come from?

John: 14 Sir, surely you know the answer to your own questions.

One of the Elders: These are coming from the time of great suffering and affliction. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb, cleansing them pure white.

15 Responding out of a heart filled with praise, they congregate before the throne of God
and constantly worship Him day and night in His temple.
The One seated on the throne will always live among them.
16 They will never be hungry or thirsty again.
The sun or blazing heat will never scorch them,
17 Because the Lamb who stands at the center of the throne is their shepherd and they are His sheep,
and He will lead them to the water of life.
And God will dry every tear from their eyes.

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

Psalm 135

Psalm 135

Praise the Eternal!
Praise and glorify the name of the One who always has been and always will be;
praise Him, servants of the Eternal!
Join in the chorus, all you who minister in the Eternal’s temple;
in the courts of our God’s temple,
Glorify the Eternal, for He is good!
Sing praises, and honor His name for it is delightful.
For the Eternal made His choice; He selected Jacob as His own;
He claimed Israel as His possession.

Now I know this: the Eternal is great; His power is unmatched.
Our Master is above any so-called god.
He does whatever He pleases,
in heaven, on earth,
in the seas, and in all the ocean depths.
He draws up the clouds that rise over the whole earth,
He causes rain and the lightning to strike,
and He summons the wind from His storehouses.

He took the lives of Egypt’s firstborn,
human and beast alike.
O Egypt, He worked wonders and signs before your eyes,
signs against Pharaoh and Pharaoh’s servants.
10 He destroyed nation after nation
and killed mighty kings:
11 Sihon, the Amorite king;
Og, the king of Bashan;
and even all the kingdoms of Canaan.
12 He conquered their land and gave it as an inheritance—
an inheritance for His people, Israel.

13 Eternal One, Your name is everlasting.
Your legacy, Eternal One, will be known through all the ages.
14 For the Eternal will judge His people,
He will show compassion to those who serve Him.

15 The nations have idols of silver and gold,
crafted by human hands!
16 They shaped mouths for them, but they cannot speak;
they carved eyes into them, but they cannot see;
17 They placed ears on them, but they cannot hear;
they cannot breathe, not even a puff of air from their mouths!
18 The artisans who made them
are just like them,
and so are all who mistakenly trust in them, no exceptions.

19 House of Israel, praise the Eternal;
house of Aaron, praise the Eternal;
20 House of Levi, praise the Eternal;
all those who revere the Eternal, praise Him!
21 Blessed be the Eternal from Zion,
the One who has made Jerusalem His home.
Praise the Eternal!

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

Proverbs 30:5-6

The answer to all these questions, of course, is “no one but God.” Agur, like Job, understands the limits of human strength and knowledge. Unlike many, he freely confesses his need and takes refuge in the one True God.

Every word of God will be put to the test and proven true;
He is a defense for those who trust in Him.
Take care. Add nothing to what He has said;
for if you do, He will correct you and expose you as a liar.

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

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