Israel the LORD’s Chosen
Video Isaiah 44:1 “But now hear, O Jacob my servant,
Israel whom I have chosen!
2 Thus says the LORD who made you,
who formed you from the womb and will help you:
Fear not, O Jacob my servant,
Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.
4 They shall spring up among the grass
like willows by flowing streams.
5 This one will say, ‘I am the LORD’s,’
another will call on the name of Jacob,
and another will write on his hand, ‘The LORD’s,’
and name himself by the name of Israel.”
Besides Me There Is No God
6 Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel
and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts:
“I am the first and I am the last;
besides me there is no god.
7 Who is like me? Let him proclaim it.
Let him declare and set it before me,
since I appointed an ancient people.
Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen.
8 Fear not, nor be afraid;
have I not told you from of old and declared it?
And you are my witnesses!
Is there a God besides me?
There is no Rock; I know not any.”
The Folly of Idolatry
12 The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint. 13 The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. 14 He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. 15 Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. 16 Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” 17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”
18 They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. 19 No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?” 20 He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”
The LORD Redeems Israel
21 Remember these things, O Jacob,
and Israel, for you are my servant;
I formed you; you are my servant;
O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.
22 I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud
and your sins like mist;
return to me, for I have redeemed you.
23 Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it;
shout, O depths of the earth;
break forth into singing, O mountains,
O forest, and every tree in it!
For the LORD has redeemed Jacob,
and will be glorified in Israel.
24 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer,
who formed you from the womb:
“I am the LORD, who made all things,
who alone stretched out the heavens,
who spread out the earth by myself,
25 who frustrates the signs of liars
and makes fools of diviners,
who turns wise men back
and makes their knowledge foolish,
26 who confirms the word of his servant
and fulfills the counsel of his messengers,
who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited,’
and of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built,
and I will raise up their ruins’;
27 who says to the deep, ‘Be dry;
I will dry up your rivers’;
28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,
and he shall fulfill all my purpose’;
saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’
and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’ ”
Cyrus, God’s Instrument
Video Isaiah 45:1 Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus,
whose right hand I have grasped,
to subdue nations before him
and to loose the belts of kings,
to open doors before him
that gates may not be closed:
2 “I will go before you
and level the exalted places,
I will break in pieces the doors of bronze
and cut through the bars of iron,
3 I will give you the treasures of darkness
and the hoards in secret places,
that you may know that it is I, the LORD,
the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
4 For the sake of my servant Jacob,
and Israel my chosen,
I call you by your name,
I name you, though you do not know me.
5 I am the LORD, and there is no other,
besides me there is no God;
I equip you, though you do not know me,
6 that people may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is none besides me;
I am the LORD, and there is no other.
7 I form light and create darkness;
I make well-being and create calamity;
I am the LORD, who does all these things.
8 “Shower, O heavens, from above,
and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
let the earth cause them both to sprout;
I the LORD have created it.
9 “Woe to him who strives with him who formed him,
a pot among earthen pots!
Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
or ‘Your work has no handles’?
10 Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’
or to a woman, ‘With what are you in labor?’ ”
11 Thus says the LORD,
the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him:
“Ask me of things to come;
will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands?
12 I made the earth
and created man on it;
it was my hands that stretched out the heavens,
and I commanded all their host.
13 I have stirred him up in righteousness,
and I will make all his ways level;
he shall build my city
and set my exiles free,
not for price or reward,”
says the LORD of hosts.
The LORD, the Only Savior
14 Thus says the LORD:
“The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush,
and the Sabeans, men of stature,
shall come over to you and be yours;
they shall follow you;
they shall come over in chains and bow down to you.
They will plead with you, saying:
‘Surely God is in you, and there is no other,
no god besides him.’ ”
15 Truly, you are a God who hides himself,
O God of Israel, the Savior.
16 All of them are put to shame and confounded;
the makers of idols go in confusion together.
17 But Israel is saved by the LORD
with everlasting salvation;
you shall not be put to shame or confounded
to all eternity.
18 For thus says the LORD,
who created the heavens
(he is God!),
who formed the earth and made it
(he established it;
he did not create it empty,
he formed it to be inhabited!):
“I am the LORD, and there is no other.
19 I did not speak in secret,
in a land of darkness;
I did not say to the offspring of Jacob,
‘Seek me in vain.’
I the LORD speak the truth;
I declare what is right.
20 “Assemble yourselves and come;
draw near together,
you survivors of the nations!
They have no knowledge
who carry about their wooden idols,
and keep on praying to a god
that cannot save.
21 Declare and present your case;
let them take counsel together!
Who told this long ago?
Who declared it of old?
Was it not I, the LORD?
And there is no other god besides me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
there is none besides me.
22 “Turn to me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
23 By myself I have sworn;
from my mouth has gone out in righteousness
a word that shall not return:
‘To me every knee shall bow,
every tongue shall swear allegiance.’
24 “Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me,
are righteousness and strength;
to him shall come and be ashamed
all who were incensed against him.
25 In the LORD all the offspring of Israel
shall be justified and shall glory.”
The Idols of Babylon and the One True God
Video Isaiah 46:1 Bel bows down; Nebo stoops;
their idols are on beasts and livestock;
these things you carry are borne
as burdens on weary beasts.
2 They stoop; they bow down together;
they cannot save the burden,
but themselves go into captivity.
3 “Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
all the remnant of the house of Israel,
who have been borne by me from before your birth,
carried from the womb;
4 even to your old age I am he,
and to gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear;
I will carry and will save.
5 “To whom will you liken me and make me equal,
and compare me, that we may be alike?
6 Those who lavish gold from the purse,
and weigh out silver in the scales,
hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god;
then they fall down and worship!
7 They lift it to their shoulders, they carry it,
they set it in its place, and it stands there;
it cannot move from its place.
If one cries to it, it does not answer
or save him from his trouble.
8 “Remember this and stand firm,
recall it to mind, you transgressors,
9 remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
10 declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
11 calling a bird of prey from the east,
the man of my counsel from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
I have purposed, and I will do it.
12 “Listen to me, you stubborn of heart,
you who are far from righteousness:
13 I bring near my righteousness; it is not far off,
and my salvation will not delay;
I will put salvation in Zion,
for Israel my glory.”
The Humiliation of Babylon
Video Isaiah 47:1 Come down and sit in the dust,
O virgin daughter of Babylon;
sit on the ground without a throne,
O daughter of the Chaldeans!
For you shall no more be called
tender and delicate.
2 Take the millstones and grind flour,
put off your veil,
strip off your robe, uncover your legs,
pass through the rivers.
3 Your nakedness shall be uncovered,
and your disgrace shall be seen.
I will take vengeance,
and I will spare no one.
4 Our Redeemer—the LORD of hosts is his name—
is the Holy One of Israel.
5 Sit in silence, and go into darkness,
O daughter of the Chaldeans;
for you shall no more be called
the mistress of kingdoms.
6 I was angry with my people;
I profaned my heritage;
I gave them into your hand;
you showed them no mercy;
on the aged you made your yoke exceedingly heavy.
7 You said, “I shall be mistress forever,”
so that you did not lay these things to heart
or remember their end.
8 Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures,
who sit securely,
who say in your heart,
“I am, and there is no one besides me;
I shall not sit as a widow
or know the loss of children”:
9 These two things shall come to you
in a moment, in one day;
the loss of children and widowhood
shall come upon you in full measure,
in spite of your many sorceries
and the great power of your enchantments.
10 You felt secure in your wickedness;
you said, “No one sees me”;
your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray,
and you said in your heart,
“I am, and there is no one besides me.”
11 But evil shall come upon you,
which you will not know how to charm away;
disaster shall fall upon you,
for which you will not be able to atone;
and ruin shall come upon you suddenly,
of which you know nothing.
12 Stand fast in your enchantments
and your many sorceries,
with which you have labored from your youth;
perhaps you may be able to succeed;
perhaps you may inspire terror.
13 You are wearied with your many counsels;
let them stand forth and save you,
those who divide the heavens,
who gaze at the stars,
who at the new moons make known
what shall come upon you.
14 Behold, they are like stubble;
the fire consumes them;
they cannot deliver themselves
from the power of the flame.
No coal for warming oneself is this,
no fire to sit before!
15 Such to you are those with whom you have labored,
who have done business with you from your youth;
they wander about, each in his own direction;
there is no one to save you.
Israel Refined for God’s Glory
Video Isaiah 48:1 Hear this, O house of Jacob,
who are called by the name of Israel,
and who came from the waters of Judah,
who swear by the name of the LORD
and confess the God of Israel,
but not in truth or right.
2 For they call themselves after the holy city,
and stay themselves on the God of Israel;
the LORD of hosts is his name.
3 “The former things I declared of old;
they went out from my mouth, and I announced them;
then suddenly I did them, and they came to pass.
4 Because I know that you are obstinate,
and your neck is an iron sinew
and your forehead brass,
5 I declared them to you from of old,
before they came to pass I announced them to you,
lest you should say, ‘My idol did them,
my carved image and my metal image commanded them.’
6 “You have heard; now see all this;
and will you not declare it?
From this time forth I announce to you new things,
hidden things that you have not known.
7 They are created now, not long ago;
before today you have never heard of them,
lest you should say, ‘Behold, I knew them.’
8 You have never heard, you have never known,
from of old your ear has not been opened.
For I knew that you would surely deal treacherously,
and that from before birth you were called a rebel.
9 “For my name’s sake I defer my anger;
for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
that I may not cut you off.
10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
for how should my name be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another.
The LORD’s Call to Israel
12 “Listen to me, O Jacob,
and Israel, whom I called!
I am he; I am the first,
and I am the last.
13 My hand laid the foundation of the earth,
and my right hand spread out the heavens;
when I call to them,
they stand forth together.
14 “Assemble, all of you, and listen!
Who among them has declared these things?
The LORD loves him;
he shall perform his purpose on Babylon,
and his arm shall be against the Chaldeans.
15 I, even I, have spoken and called him;
I have brought him, and he will prosper in his way.
16 Draw near to me, hear this:
from the beginning I have not spoken in secret,
from the time it came to be I have been there.”
And now the Lord GOD has sent me, and his Spirit.
17 Thus says the LORD,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the LORD your God,
who teaches you to profit,
who leads you in the way you should go.
18 Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
and your righteousness like the waves of the sea;
19 your offspring would have been like the sand,
and your descendants like its grains;
their name would never be cut off
or destroyed from before me.”
20 Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea,
declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it,
send it out to the end of the earth;
say, “The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob!”
21 They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts;
he made water flow for them from the rock;
he split the rock and the water gushed out.
22 “There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.”
English Standard Version Bible with Apocrypha
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
What to do while you’re waiting
(Oct 6) Bob Gass
‘I waited patiently for the LORD; he…heard my cry.’
(Ps 40:1) 1 I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. ESV
Anything that’s built well is put together slowly and carefully. Impatience is a sign of immaturity; children can’t wait for anything. Try to understand this: your impatience won’t move God faster. He works according to His own timetable. Paul writes, ‘We know that all things work…according to his purpose’ (Romans 8:28 KJV). Just because the door hasn’t yet opened doesn’t mean that God has changed His mind. The timing may not be right for Him to get maximum glory, and you to get maximum benefit. So, what should you do while you’re waiting? Two things: 1) Pray for God’s will. And don’t permit things to come into your life that are contrary to it, especially hurry and worry. Know how to allocate your time, your energy, and your money, including whom you should and shouldn’t spend time with. God says, ‘I make known the end from the beginning’ (Isaiah 46:10 NIV 2011 Edition). Before God starts anything, He has a clear picture of the end goal, and He ordains the steps that lead you to it. 2) While you’re waiting - rejoice. ‘Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the sheepfold and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Saviour’ (Habakkuk 3:17-18 NIVUK 2011 Edition). Start thanking God today for what He’s already done, and for what He’s going to do in the future on your behalf. Because He will - He absolutely will come through for you.
1 Thess 5
UCB The Word For Today
by Bill Federer
On October 6, 1862, just three weeks after the single bloodiest day in the Civil War where the North and the South lost 10,000 men each, President Lincoln met with Eliza Gurney and three other Quakers. He said: “We are indeed going through… a fiery trial… Being a humble instrument in the hands of our Heavenly Father… I have sought His aid; but if… my efforts fail, I must believe that for some purpose unknown to me, He wills it.” Lincoln concluded: “We cannot but believe, that He who made the world still governs it.”
by P.T. Forsyth, (1848-1921)
Our communion with God in Christ rose, and it abides, in a crisis which shook not the earth only, but also heaven, in a tragedy and victory more vast, awful, and pregnant than the greatest war in history could be. Therefore the prayer which gives us an ever-deeper interest and surer insight into that eternal moral crisis of the Cross gives us also (though it might take generations) a footing that commands all the losses or victories of earth, and a power that rules both spirit and conscience in the clash and crash of worlds. As there is devoted thought which ploughs its way into the command of Nature, there is thought, still more devoted, that prays itself into that moral interior of the Cross, where the kingdom of God is founded once for all on the last principle and power of the universe, and set up, not indeed amid the wreck of civilization, but by its new birth and a baptism so as by fire. Prayer of the right kind, with heart and soul and strength and mind, unites any society in which it prevails with those last powers of moral and social regeneration that settle history and that reside in the creative grace of the Cross, which is God’s true omnipotence in the world. “O God, who showest Thine almighty power most chiefly in having mercy and forgiving.” Such speech as this may to some appear tall and rhetorical; but it would have so seemed to no father of the church, ancient or modern, taking apostolic measure of the place and moment of Christ in society, history, or the universe.
If war is in any sense God’s judgment on sin, and if sin was destroyed by the judgment in Christ and on Him, let us pray with a new depth and significance to-day, “O Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world, grant us Thy peace. Send us the peace that honours in act and deed that righteous and final judgment in Thy Cross of all historic things, and that makes therein for Thy Kingdom on earth as in heaven. Give peace in our time, O Lord, but, peace or war, Take the crown of this poor world.”
--- Forsyth, P. T. (1848-1921).
The Soul of Prayer
Compiled by Richard S. Adams
Jesus himself did not try to convert the two thieves on the cross;
he waited until one of them turned to him.
--- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison (Dietrich Bonhoeffer-Reader's Edition)
Every man must decide whether he will walk
in the light of creative altruism
or in the darkness
of destructive selfishness.
--- Martin Luther King, Jr.
You may go through difficulty, hardship, or trial—but as long as you are anchored to Him, you will have hope.
--- Charles Stanley In Touch With God
... from here, there and everywhere
Thanks to Meir Yona
4. Now as the Romans began to raise their banks on the twelfth day of the month Artemisius, [Jyar,] so had they much ado to finish them by the twenty-ninth day of the same month, after they had labored hard for seventeen days continually. For there were now four great banks raised, one of which was at the tower Antonia; this was raised by the fifth legion, over against the middle of that pool which was called Struthius. Another was cast up by the twelfth legion, at the distance of about twenty cubits from the other. But the labors of the tenth legion, which lay a great way off these, were on the north quarter, and at the pool called Amygdalon; as was that of the fifteenth legion about thirty cubits from it, and at the high priest's monument. And now, when the engines were brought, John had from within undermined the space that was over against the tower of Antonia, as far as the banks themselves, and had supported the ground over the mine with beams laid across one another, whereby the Roman works stood upon an uncertain foundation. Then did he order such materials to be brought in as were daubed over with pitch and bitumen, and set them on fire; and as the cross beams that supported the banks were burning, the ditch yielded on the sudden, and the banks were shaken down, and fell into the ditch with a prodigious noise. Now at the first there arose a very thick smoke and dust, as the fire was choked with the fall of the bank; but as the suffocated materials were now gradually consumed, a plain flame brake out; on which sudden appearance of the flame a consternation fell upon the Romans, and the shrewdness of the contrivance discouraged them; and indeed this accident coming upon them at a time when they thought they had already gained their point, cooled their hopes for the time to come. They also thought it would be to no purpose to take the pains to extinguish the fire, since if it were extinguished, the banks were swallowed up already [and become useless to them].
5. Two days after this, Simon and his party made an attempt to destroy the other banks; for the Romans had brought their engines to bear there, and began already to make the wall shake. And here one Tephtheus, of Garsis, a city of Galilee, and Megassarus, one who was derived from some of queen Mariamne's servants, and with them one from Adiabene, he was the son of Nabateus, and called by the name of Chagiras, from the ill fortune he had, the word signifying "a lame man," snatched some torches, and ran suddenly upon the engines. Nor were there during this war any men that ever sallied out of the city who were their superiors, either in their boldness, or in the terror they struck into their enemies. For they ran out upon the Romans, not as if they were enemies, but friends, without fear or delay; nor did they leave their enemies till they had rushed violently through the midst of them, and set their machines on fire. And though they had darts thrown at them on every side, and were on every side assaulted with their enemies' swords, yet did they not withdraw themselves out of the dangers they were in, till the fire had caught hold of the instruments; but when the flame went up, the Romans came running from their camp to save their engines. Then did the Jews hinder their succors from the wall, and fought with those that endeavored to quench the fire, without any regard to the danger their bodies were in. So the Romans pulled the engines out of the fire, while the hurdles that covered them were on fire; but the Jews caught hold of the battering rams through the flame itself, and held them fast, although the iron upon them was become red hot; and now the fire spread itself from the engines to the banks, and prevented those that came to defend them; and all this while the Romans were encompassed round about with the flame; and, despairing of saving their works from it, they retired to their camp. Then did the Jews become still more and more in number by the coming of those that were within the city to their assistance; and as they were very bold upon the good success they had had, their violent assaults were almost irresistible; nay, they proceeded as far as the fortifications of the enemies' camp, and fought with their guards. Now there stood a body of soldiers in array before that camp, which succeeded one another by turns in their armor; and as to those, the law of the Romans was terrible, that he who left his post there, let the occasion be whatsoever it might be, he was to die for it; so that body of soldiers, preferring rather to die in fighting courageously, than as a punishment for their cowardice, stood firm; and at the necessity these men were in of standing to it, many of the others that had run away, out of shame, turned back again; and when they had set the engines against the wall, they put the multitude from coming more of them out of the city, [which they could the more easily do] because they had made no provision for preserving or guarding their bodies at this time; for the Jews fought now hand to hand with all that came in their way, and, without any caution, fell against the points of their enemies' spears, and attacked them bodies against bodies; for they were now too hard for the Romans, not so much by their other warlike actions, as by these courageous assaults they made upon them; and the Romans gave way more to their boldness than they did to the sense of the harm they had received from them.
6. And now Titus was come from the tower of Antonia, whither he was gone to look out for a place for raising other banks, and reproached the soldiers greatly for permitting their own walls to be in danger, when they had taken the wails of their enemies, and sustained the fortune of men besieged, while the Jews were allowed to sally out against them, though they were already in a sort of prison. He then went round about the enemy with some chosen troops, and fell upon their flank himself; so the Jews, who had been before assaulted in their faces, wheeled about to Titus, and continued the fight. The armies also were now mixed one among another, and the dust that was raised so far hindered them from seeing one another, and the noise that was made so far hindered them from hearing one another, that neither side could discern an enemy from a friend. However, the Jews did not flinch, though not so much from their real strength, as from their despair of deliverance. The Romans also would not yield, by reason of the regard they had to glory, and to their reputation in war, and because Caesar himself went into the danger before them; insomuch that I cannot but think the Romans would in the conclusion have now taken even the whole multitude of the Jews, so very angry were they at them, had these not prevented the upshot of the battle, and retired into the city. However, seeing the banks of the Romans were demolished, these Romans were very much cast down upon the loss of what had cost them so long pains, and this in one hour's time. And many indeed despaired of taking the city with their usual engines of war only.
The War of the Jews: The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem (complete edition, 7 books)
by D.H. Stern
19 is one who deceives another,
then says, “It was just a joke.”
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
The bent of regeneration
When it pleased God, … to reveal His son in me.
--- Gal. 1:15, 16.
If Jesus Christ is to regenerate me, what is the problem He is up against? I have a heredity I had no say in; I am not holy, nor likely to be; and if all Jesus Christ can do is to tell me I must be holy, His teaching plants despair. But if Jesus Christ is a Regenerator, One Who can put into me His own heredity of holiness, then I begin to see what He is driving at when He says that I have to be holy. Redemption means that Jesus Christ can put into any man the hereditary disposition that was in Himself, and all the standards He gives are based on that disposition: His teaching is for the life He puts in. The moral transaction on my part is agreement with God’s verdict on sin in the Cross of Jesus Christ.
The New Testament teaching about regeneration is that when a man is struck by a sense of need, God will put the Holy Spirit into his spirit, and his personal spirit will be energized by the Spirit of the Son of God—“until Christ be formed in you.” The moral miracle of Redemption is that God can put into me a new disposition whereby I can live a totally new life. When I reach the frontier of need and know my limitations, Jesus says—‘Blessed are you.’ But I have to get there. God cannot put into me, a responsible moral being, the disposition that was in Jesus Christ unless I am conscious I need it.
Just as the disposition of sin entered into the human race by one man, so the Holy Spirit entered the human race by another Man; and Redemption means that I can be delivered from the heredity of sin and through Jesus Christ can receive an unsullied heredity, viz., the Holy Spirit.
My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition
the Poetry of RS Thomas
Nightingales crackled in the frost
At Burgos. The day dawned fiercely
On the parched land, on the fields to the east
Of the city, bitter with sage
And thistle. Lonely bells called
From the villages; no one answered
Them but the sad priests, fingering
Their beads, praying for the lost people
Of the soil. Everywhere were the slow
Donkeys, carrying silent men
To the mesa to reap their bundles
Of dried grass. In the air an eagle
Circled, shadowless as the God
Who made that country and drinks its blood.
Selected poems, 1946-1968
Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest
INTRODUCTION / MULTIPLE RESPONSES TO THE CONFLICT OF PHILOSOPHY AND HALAKHAH
Maimonides considered the revelation of the Torah at Sinai to be the central shaping event of Jewish experience. Any work dealing with his philosophy must present the general attitudes and values to which he, a traditional Jew, was exposed in consequence of this assumption.
The Torah provided the Jewish community with a historical memory of a living God who selected them from among the nations to be His people, through whom He would be sanctified in history: “And I will be hallowed among the children of Israel” (Lev. 22:32). This historical memory of divine election shaped Jewish reality by providing a set of normative frameworks organizing every facet of daily living. The community’s food, social relationships, family structures, and festivals were organized according to the shaping directives of the Torah and their expanded exposition in the Talmud. The obligations of the community were clearly indicated.
The essential question in Judaism was not the nature of the good, for “It has been told you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord does require of you” (Mic. 6:8). The major concern was not theoretical virtue, but the human capacity to embody the will of God in action: Can I allow my instincts or the social pressures of the environment to deter me from the promise my community made to God to serve Him in all ways? The cognitive process was applied to a search through the norms of the Bible for new insights and interpretations that could serve situations requiring novel forms of action. The focus was always upon action, not upon theoretical truth. Belief in God was inseparably linked with a mode of behavior because by accepting the yoke of the kingdom of Heaven one was led to accept the yoke of the divine command. To do the will of God with all one’s heart and soul was considered the highest achievement of man.
The Torah provided a conceptual framework for the understanding of nature and history. In itself, nature was not an object of pure inquiry except as a revelation of God’s omnipotence. Nature revealed the power of God in shaping man’s destiny. One looked to nature to confirm God’s power in history and to inspire observance of God’s Torah.
The Torah also provided Jews with the main political categories for understanding their condition in history. Their history was not defined by empirical, secular, political realities but by God alone. When they became His people and committed themselves to Him, their history was thereafter determined exclusively by their obedience or disobedience to His will. “Because of our sins have we been exiled from our land” was one of the important catchwords for understanding this historical condition. Not the secular powers of history, but divine punishment caused their exile. No secular power had control over their destiny. They were God’s people and God alone was responsible for their fate.
Their historical memory of the eternal validity of the covenant enabled Jews to live with hope and with the inner conviction that their exile was only temporary. Ultimately they would return to their homeland if God so willed. Messianism was not grounded in man’s faith in his own ability to shape and build a historical reality free from war and violence, but in the expressed conviction of Jews that God had a stake in Israel’s historical destiny. Jews knew with certainty that God was not impotent in history, that secular power could not frustrate God in His designs. Each day they recalled the exodus from Egypt which reinforced their memory of God’s supremacy over the secular powers of history.
The only action necessary before their condition in history could be changed was teshuvah, the turning to God and Torah. The Torah was the key “to life and the good.” Would the community choose life and the good, or death and evil? In Jewish experience redemption was a historical event that would show itself in the changed historical condition of the people. The quest was not for individual salvation but for salvation of the entire community. Since God spoke to a whole people at Sinai, redemption would manifest itself in the altered condition of the community.
God was revealed through the life-history of the community: “I the Lord am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt” (Ex. 20:2). The individual within the Jewish community recognized the primary role of community in shaping his spiritual self-consciousness. To separate from the community was to cut oneself off from the God of history. The divine will, history, community, action were therefore dominant and interconnected organizing principles of the daily life.
This brief introduction to Jewish self-understanding gives a proper perspective for understanding Maimonides. Maimonides lived by the Torah, wrote major works on Torah, and throughout his life endeavored to elucidate the talmudic world view. He wrote legal responsa answering the daily questions of a community committed to the obedience of God’s will as reflected in the Torah. He devoted the major part of his intellectual life to expanding and clarifying this normative process. He did not question the imperative quality of the law, and he did not lose his inner certainty that ultimately the community would be redeemed by the lord of history. Maimonides was an observant Jew who participated in the great yearning of his people for messianic redemption.
This is admitted by all who write on Maimonides, but it is not always recognized as a necessary basis for the correct approach to his philosophical works. What significance are we to give to this historical, spiritual self-understanding of the tradition, to Maimonides’ total devotion to the Torah, and to his intellectual concern for the law? To what degree did the way Maimonides lived influence the way he thought?
Does the imperative quality of Jewish theology seeing God in terms of will, become totally altered when Maimonides enters into the Greek philosophic understanding of God mediated by Islamic philosophers? In accepting the Aristotelian conception of nature, does Maimonides abandon the prophetic concern for history? Does the nature of Athens eliminate the possibility of the Sinai of Jerusalem? Does the importance Maimonides assigns to the laws of nature cause him to take up spiritual residence in Athens? Does God’s wisdom, as revealed in nature, negate the possibility of His will being manifested in history?
Does the emphasis upon justice and kindness, upon imitation of God in terms of moral action, radically shift as Maimonides embraces the contemplative, spiritual ideal of Aristotle? Does philosophy with its demand for contemplative excellence weaken the prophetic demand for moral excellence? Does immortality grounded in intellectual perfection, negate the primacy of the moral? Is the primacy of community lost by the emphasis upon individual self-sufficiency achieved through intellectual perfection? Does Maimonides’ yearning for immortality cause him to abandon the significance of messianism? Which city does Maimonides inhabit—Athens or Jerusalem?
Perhaps he inhabits neither city—not if they are understood as two polarized frameworks of theoretical and practical virtue. A new, yet old, Jerusalem may emerge once Athens enters into history. The concept of nature and the contemplative ideal inspired by a God who is revealed through the ordered laws of nature may grow in Jerusalem without destroying the city’s unique quality. Athens may provide a wider understanding of what the Sinai-moment implicitly demanded. Once the outgrowths of Athens have taken root in the soil of Jerusalem both cities may not need to remain opposing spiritual poles. A new, spiritual synthesis with different categories may emerge. Man may remain fully within the way of Jerusalem and yet deeply appreciate and appropriate the way of Athens.
To judge whether Maimonides developed such a synthesis, we must first examine the options available to anyone who exposes his particular way of life, or tradition-based knowledge, to a spiritual world view possessing different conceptions of truth. By examining the possible responses to such a crisis of value, we can better appreciate the task Maimonides set for himself. Unless we understand the value-transmutations that may occur in such a crisis, and unless we appreciate that a spiritual vision in its openness to the world may grow and expand, I believe we cannot grasp the spirit of Maimonides’ philosophy.
What inspires Maimonides’ philosophic writings is concern for maintaining and enriching a particular way of life that became threatened by the Greek spiritual outlook. Maimonides’ philosophic audience is always the faithful Jew who is perplexed by the clash of philosophy and tradition. If one demands of the philosopher that he come to his quest for truth with no particular loyalties, that he philosophize without being rooted in any particular culture, that he address no particular audience, then one cannot attribute any philosophical value to Maimonides’ work. Maimonides’ philosophy is significant only if one accepts the fact that philosophy can be practiced within a tradition. By recognizing the legitimacy of philosophy within tradition, we can then examine that options are available to someone who, while living within that tradition, is exposed to different world views.
Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest
Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap. --- Ecclesiastes 11:4.
The language in which this proverb is couched is taken from the harvest field and is therefore peculiarly applicable at this season. (Wings of the Morning, The (Kregel Classic Sermons)) That does not mean, of course, that the way to succeed in farming is entirely to disregard the weather. But it means that if farmers will not work except when all the conditions for their work are perfect, if they are always doubting and fearing and forecasting rain, worrying and fretting instead of making the best of things, then probably they will neither sow nor reap and are little likely to make successful farmers. Just as a person may fail through too much zeal, so may a person fail through too much prudence.
In the first place, I like to apply our text to the important matter of our bodily health. If people are always thinking of their health, the chances are they will have a sorry harvest. That we must be reasonably careful of our bodies we all know; it is one of the plainest of our Christian duties. By the coming of the Son of God in our flesh and by making the body the temple of the Spirit, by the great doctrine of the resurrection, when what is sown in weakness will be raised in glory, the Gospel of Christ has glorified the body in a way that even the Greeks had never dreamed of. But I am not speaking of reasonable care; I am speaking of morbid and worrying anxiety. Why, you can hardly drink a glass of milk today but some newspaper will warn you that you may be poisoned. And what I want you to feel is that that alarmist attitude, which will scarce allow you to breathe in this glad world, is the kind of thing that is denounced by Solomon in the memorable proverb of this verse. Lean on the Keeper of Israel and go forward.
--- George H. Morrison
Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers
The “father of the English Bible” was apparently born in a hamlet near the Welsh border about 1490. He arrived at Oxford with a gift for languages and began studying the writings of the greatest linguist in the world, Erasmus. He pored over Erasmus’s Greek New Testament and other writings, and he soon began lecturing from them. The Bible was still virtually unavailable in English, and an idea formed in William Tyndale’s mind.
He began proclaiming the value of pure Scripture and of the need to translate it. He was threatened and opposed. “We are better to be without God’s laws than the pope’s,” one man said, voice rising. Tyndale’s reply is among the most famous in church history: If God spares me, ere many years I will cause a boy that drives the plow to know more of the Scriptures than you do.
He approached the Bishop of London for help in rendering the Bible into English, but was rebuffed. Tyndale nevertheless began working on his project. Finding his life in danger, he fled to the Continent. There he continued translating, smuggling copies of Matthew and Mark back into London. Spies combed Europe for him, and Tyndale played a cloak and dagger game, hiding and running, translating and smuggling. By 1525 complete copies of the New Testament were being secretly read in England.
On May 21, 1535 Tyndale was betrayed and seized. He languished in a miserable prison cell. His witness there converted the jailer and his family. On October 6, 1536 he was tied to the stake outside of Brussels, strangled, and burned. He was 42.
Tyndale’s final words were, “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.” That prayer had already been answered, for King Henry VIII had approved of a new English Bible by Miles Coverdale, Tyndale’s friend. Henry never realized that Coverdale’s Bible was nearly 70 percent Tyndale’s work. In 1604 James I approved a new translation of the Bible into English, and Tyndale’s work became the basis of 90 percent of the King James Version.
The Scriptures say, “Humans wither like grass, and their glory fades like wild flowers. Grass dries up, and flowers fall to the ground. But what the Lord has said will stand forever.” Our good news to you is what the Lord has said.
--- 1 Peter 1:24,25.
On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes
24 Israel is addressed. Your Redeemer picks up the theme of previous chapters (43:1, 14; 44:6, 22, 23). Exilic Israel found it difficult to see redemption or salvation in the conquering Persian advance on Babylon. They apparently expected God to make Israel the new ruler of the empire. But Yahweh insists on doing it his way. The Persian conquest is his doing and will provide redemption for his people, Israel. The reminder that Yahweh is the creator of all (this) puts Israel’s claims in perspective. God is also responsible for the world beyond Israel.
25–26 The chorus continues the description of Yahweh, but now in the third person (his servant). During Babylon’s last years Nabunaid had rescued idols from temples across the empire which were threatened by the Persian advance. He brought them to Babylon for safekeeping. (History of the Persian Empire). The result was a plethora of priests, prophets, and diviners in Babylon representing a variety of gods. They all issued forecasts about the city’s future. Yahweh proclaims that none of these will be allowed to turn him from his course of action. Israel, as Yahweh’s servant and messenger, had been commissioned to bring good news to Jerusalem (40:1–9). He guarantees that word and that counsel which promised the restoration of Jerusalem.
27 Yahweh’s control of the waters is a recurrent motif in the Vision. Usually it speaks of water in the desert. But here it refers to the control of the mystic deep like that which made created order possible (Gen 1:6) or which, when released, produced the Flood (Gen 7:11). More specifically, it may represent the moat protecting Babylon which connected the Euphrates in the north and in the south (The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: (4 Volumes)), and which several invaders, but apparently not Cyrus, cut off and drained to gain access to the city. In that case this second of three decrees from Yahweh refers to the fall of Babylon.
28 The announcement’s climax mentions Cyrus, the Persian emperor who is entering Babylon. By this time every prophet in the city claimed responsibility for his success. But Yahweh yields nothing in the claim that Cyrus belongs to him. He is Yahweh’s shepherd. The term is frequently used for a king or ruler (compare 40:11; Zech 10:2–3; 11:3–9, 16–17; 12:7). The emphasis here is on the pronoun my. Cyrus is Yahweh’s protegé who will fulfill his pleasure. The words are important: ישׁלם “fulfill” is the verb from which “peace” comes. חפץ “pleasure” is used to express Yahweh’s will (compare 46:10; 48:14; 53:10; 55:11; 56:4). Jerusalem is the focus of Yahweh’s strategy. The call of Cyrus and the fall of Babylon prepare for the restoration of Yahweh’s city.
45:1 Cyrus is presented as Yahweh’s anointed, his messiah. This must have been a shock to Israel, but nothing else could have summarized his intention. The title normally applied to Israel’s high priest (Lev 4 and 6) or to Israel’s king (1 Sam 24, 26; 2 Sam 1; and repeated uses in the historical books and Psalms). It would become Judaism’s term for its expected deliverer, the Messiah. It describes one who is anointed with oil as a sign of being set apart for a special task. David was chosen to subdue nations within the territory assigned to Israel and thus to establish Yahweh’s sovereignty over Canaan. Now that task is being assigned to Cyrus. As the Assyrian was summoned to destroy (10:5–6), so now the Persian is called to perform the military and political tasks necessary to rebuild Jerusalem.
Traditionally, the ruler of Babylon took the hand of Bel in the New Year’s festival. Assyrian rulers coveted this affirmation of their authority. Here Yahweh claims that he has seized Cyrus by the hand (42:6) and strenghtened his hold on his realm. He had provided the might necessary for his conquest of Media, of Lydia, and now of Babylon and had weakened the authority of his adversaries so that they opened doors for him as in Armenia.
Remarkably this description fits Cyrus’s career. He had profited from many circumstances other than his military strength. He had gained the following of all the Persian tribes with singular ease. He gained an ally in Babylon against Media. Two successive Median armies that were sent against him decided to join forces with him instead. His generosity toward the conquered worked in his favor. He marched without opposition into Armenia and won a surprise victory over the Lydians when their horses were frightened by the smell of Persian camels. And now Babylon, the world’s most heavily fortified city, opens its gates to him without a fight (Olmstead, History of the Persian Empire, 34–51). Truly doors and gates had been opened for Cyrus. Yahweh claims credit for it. (Note that in similar ways Yahweh will claim credit for the rise of Darius and Artaxerxes in chaps. 49, 52, and 60.)
3 Dark treasures apparently refers to those kept in secret vaults. Yahweh assumes no altruistic motives in Cyrus and promises monetary reward and plunder for services rendered (as in 43:3). But these will not come from Jerusalem or from the Jews who have none left to give (compare v 13c).
3b–8 This remarkable speech builds on three themes: Yahweh’s self-introduction as the only God there is, his identification as God of Israel for whom he is calling Cyrus, and the theme of “knowing” (ידע) him. The theological emphasis continues to be that Yahweh is one in creating the world, ruling over history, and redeeming Israel.
6 From the rising sun and from its setting place demonstrates the territorial scope of world empire which sets the stage for Yahweh’s new activity. Israel is called to function as witness and messenger on that stage. Although she might have been more comfortable in the confines of Canaan, never again would she be allowed that luxury.
7 Light/darkness; peace/violence. Persian religion dealt in opposites of light and darkness. Yahweh claims not to be those conditions, but to create both, and thus to overcome the inherent dualism in his sovereign rule over them.
8 Right/legitimacy: Yahweh’s use of the Persian is regularly described in this part of the Vision with these words. They proclaim the legitimacy of Yahweh’s choice in terms of his sovereign right as Lord to choose how he will fulfill his promises to Israel. Some in Israel thought Yahweh should use Israelite armies and an Israelite king.
9–10 The “woes” addressed to Israel are an uncomfortable reminder of the “former days” pictured in chaps. 5 and 10. In the new age of redemption and blessing Israel is still blind and rebellious to the will of God. The unthinkable is happening. Clay protests the potter’s intentions. Someone protests the parents’ conception of a child.
11-13 Yahweh rejects Israel’s protests. The Creator of the world will legitimately do what he thinks is right to rebuild his city and free his exiles, no matter what they think of his plan. It is ironic, but typical, that Cyrus obeys without question, while Israel rebels.
Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 25, Isaiah 34-66 (watts), 420pp
by Google and Israel’s National Museum
The Dead Sea Scrolls have made their way online some 2,000 years after they were written through a partnership between Google and Israel’s national museum.
The important documents are available in searchable, high-resolution images, accompanied by informative videos, background information, and historical data. So far five of the scrolls have been digitized, including the biblical Book of Isaiah, the Temple Scroll, and three others.
Managing Director of Google’s R&D Center in Israel, Professor Yossi Matias said they plan to add additional Dead Sea Scroll documents to the site in the future. The AP says nearly all the scrolls will be online by 2016. (PC Magazine)
Here is technology at its best! Click Here
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - October 6
“Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.” --- John 4:14.
He who is a believer in Jesus finds enough in his Lord to satisfy him now, and to content him for evermore. The believer is not the man whose days are weary for want of comfort, and whose nights are long from absence of heart-cheering thought, for he finds in religion such a spring of joy, such a fountain of consolation, that he is content and happy. Put him in a dungeon and he will find good company; place him in a barren wilderness, he will eat the bread of heaven; drive him away from friendship, he will meet the “friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Blast all his gourds, and he will find shadow beneath the Rock of Ages; sap the foundation of his earthly hopes, but his heart will still be fixed, trusting in the Lord. The heart is as insatiable as the grave till Jesus enters it, and then it is a cup full to overflowing. There is such a fulness in Christ that he alone is the believer’s all. The true saint is so completely satisfied with the all-sufficiency of Jesus that he thirsts no more—except it be for deeper draughts of the living fountain. In that sweet manner, believer, shalt thou thirst; it shall not be a thirst of pain, but of loving desire; thou wilt find it a sweet thing to be panting after a fuller enjoyment of Jesus’ love. One in days of yore said, “I have been sinking my bucket down into the well full often, but now my thirst after Jesus has become so insatiable, that I long to put the well itself to my lips, and drink right on.” Is this the feeling of thine heart now, believer? Dost thou feel that all thy desires are satisfied in Jesus, and that thou hast no want now, but to know more of him, and to have closer fellowship with him? Then come continually to the fountain, and take of the water of life freely. Jesus will never think you take too much, but will ever welcome you, saying, “Drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.”
Evening - October 6
“He had married an Ethiopian woman.” --- Numbers 12:1.
Strange choice of Moses, but how much more strange the choice of him who is a prophet like unto Moses, and greater than he! Our Lord, who is fair as the lily, has entered into marriage union with one who confesses herself to be black, because the sun has looked upon her. It is the wonder of angels that the love of Jesus should be set upon poor, lost, guilty men. Each believer must, when filled with a sense of Jesus’ love, be also overwhelmed with astonishment that such love should be lavished on an object so utterly unworthy of it. Knowing as we do our secret guiltiness, unfaithfulness, and black-heartedness, we are dissolved in grateful admiration of the matchless freeness and sovereignty of grace. Jesus must have found the cause of his love in his own heart, he could not have found it in us, for it is not there. Even since our conversion we have been black, though grace has made us comely. Holy Rutherford said of himself what we must each subscribe to—“His relation to me is, that I am sick, and he is the Physician of whom I stand in need. Alas! how often I play fast and loose with Christ! He bindeth, I loose; he buildeth, I cast down; I quarrel with Christ, and he agreeth with me twenty times a day!” Most tender and faithful Husband of our souls, pursue thy gracious work of conforming us to thine image, till thou shalt present even us poor Ethiopians unto thyself, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. Moses met with opposition because of his marriage, and both himself and his spouse were the subjects of an evil eye. Can we wonder if this vain world opposes Jesus and his spouse, and especially when great sinners are converted? for this is ever the Pharisee’s ground of objection, “This man receiveth sinners.” Still is the old cause of quarrel revived, “Because he had married an Ethiopian woman.”
Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
MAKE ME A BLESSING
Ira B. Wilson, 1880–1950
Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed. (Proverbs 11:11)
Nothing is lost that is done for the Lord,
Let it be ever so small;
The smile of the Savior approves of the deed
As though it were greatest of all.
We are of little value to our Lord if we do not produce fruit for Him. In fact, the command of Scripture is to bear “much fruit.” Regardless of the task to which God calls us, whether it be great or small, it will receive His promised blessing when we do it faithfully and with sincere motives. The Scriptures also teach that our deeds of compassion and mercy must be done with cheerfulness, never simply out of duty (Romans 12:8). St. Francis of Assisi said, “It is not fitting when one is in God’s service to have a gloomy face or a chilling look.” Representing Christ and serving others must become a normal, happy lifestyle as we “carry the sunshine where darkness is rife.”
The text of this hymn was written in 1909 by Ira Wilson, a musician associated for many years with the Lorenz Publishing Company, serving as editor of the popular periodicals for church choirs, The Choir Leader and The Choir Herald. The music for the hymn was added 15 years later by George Schuler, who served for more than 40 years in the music department of the Moody Bible Institute. Throughout his lifetime Mr. Schuler contributed much fine music for both vocal and keyboard use. “Make Me a Blessing” was first introduced in 1924 at a Sunday school convention in Cleveland, Ohio, where Schuler had 1,000 copies of the song printed for the occasion. It was received with much enthusiasm, and these words have since been widely used to challenge believers to make their lives useful to God.
Out in the highways and byways of life many are weary and sad; carry the sunshine where darkness is rife, making the sorrowing glad.
Tell the sweet story of Christ and His love. Tell of His pow’r to forgive; others will trust Him if only you prove true every moment you live.
Give as ’twas given to you in your need. Love as the Master loved you; be to the helpless a helper indeed; unto your mission be true.
Chorus: Make me a blessing, make me a blessing! Out of my life may Jesus shine. Make me a blessing, O Savior, I pray. Make me a blessing to someone today.
For Today: Isaiah 6:8; Matthew 5:13-16; Acts 20:24; 2 Corinthians 1:4; 2 Timothy 2:21
Simply breathe this musical prayer as you go forth to represent Christ.
Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
Friday, October 6, 2017 | After Pentecost
Proper 21, Friday
Psalms (Morning) Psalm 102
Psalms (Evening) Psalm 107:1–32
Old Testament 2 Kings 19:1–20
New Testament 1 Corinthians 9:16–27
Gospel Matthew 8:1–17
Index of Readings
A prayer of one afflicted, when faint and pleading before the LORD.
1 Hear my prayer, O LORD;
let my cry come to you.
2 Do not hide your face from me
in the day of my distress.
Incline your ear to me;
answer me speedily in the day when I call.
3 For my days pass away like smoke,
and my bones burn like a furnace.
4 My heart is stricken and withered like grass;
I am too wasted to eat my bread.
5 Because of my loud groaning
my bones cling to my skin.
6 I am like an owl of the wilderness,
like a little owl of the waste places.
7 I lie awake;
I am like a lonely bird on the housetop.
8 All day long my enemies taunt me;
those who deride me use my name for a curse.
9 For I eat ashes like bread,
and mingle tears with my drink,
10 because of your indignation and anger;
for you have lifted me up and thrown me aside.
11 My days are like an evening shadow;
I wither away like grass.
12 But you, O LORD, are enthroned forever;
your name endures to all generations.
13 You will rise up and have compassion on Zion,
for it is time to favor it;
the appointed time has come.
14 For your servants hold its stones dear,
and have pity on its dust.
15 The nations will fear the name of the LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory.
16 For the LORD will build up Zion;
he will appear in his glory.
17 He will regard the prayer of the destitute,
and will not despise their prayer.
18 Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
so that a people yet unborn may praise the LORD:
19 that he looked down from his holy height,
from heaven the LORD looked at the earth,
20 to hear the groans of the prisoners,
to set free those who were doomed to die;
21 so that the name of the LORD may be declared in Zion,
and his praise in Jerusalem,
22 when peoples gather together,
and kingdoms, to worship the LORD.
23 He has broken my strength in midcourse;
he has shortened my days.
24 “O my God,” I say, “do not take me away
at the midpoint of my life,
you whose years endure
throughout all generations.”
25 Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you endure;
they will all wear out like a garment.
You change them like clothing, and they pass away;
27 but you are the same, and your years have no end.
28 The children of your servants shall live secure;
their offspring shall be established in your presence.
1 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever.
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
those he redeemed from trouble
3 and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.
4 Some wandered in desert wastes,
finding no way to an inhabited town;
5 hungry and thirsty,
their soul fainted within them.
6 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress;
7 he led them by a straight way,
until they reached an inhabited town.
8 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.
9 For he satisfies the thirsty,
and the hungry he fills with good things.
10 Some sat in darkness and in gloom,
prisoners in misery and in irons,
11 for they had rebelled against the words of God,
and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
12 Their hearts were bowed down with hard labor;
they fell down, with no one to help.
13 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress;
14 he brought them out of darkness and gloom,
and broke their bonds asunder.
15 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.
16 For he shatters the doors of bronze,
and cuts in two the bars of iron.
17 Some were sick through their sinful ways,
and because of their iniquities endured affliction;
18 they loathed any kind of food,
and they drew near to the gates of death.
19 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress;
20 he sent out his word and healed them,
and delivered them from destruction.
21 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.
22 And let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices,
and tell of his deeds with songs of joy.
23 Some went down to the sea in ships,
doing business on the mighty waters;
24 they saw the deeds of the LORD,
his wondrous works in the deep.
25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26 They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths;
their courage melted away in their calamity;
27 they reeled and staggered like drunkards,
and were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he brought them out from their distress;
29 he made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad because they had quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.
31 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.
32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
2 Kings 19:1–20
19 When King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD. 2 And he sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. 3 They said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. 4 It may be that the LORD your God heard all the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the LORD your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.” 5 When the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, 6 Isaiah said to them, “Say to your master, ‘Thus says the LORD: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me. 7 I myself will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.’ ”
8 The Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah; for he had heard that the king had left Lachish. 9 When the king heard concerning King Tirhakah of Ethiopia, “See, he has set out to fight against you,” he sent messengers again to Hezekiah, saying, 10 “Thus shall you speak to King Hezekiah of Judah: Do not let your God on whom you rely deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. 11 See, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, destroying them utterly. Shall you be delivered? 12 Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations that my predecessors destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? 13 Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, the king of Hena, or the king of Ivvah?”
14 Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; then Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD and spread it before the LORD. 15 And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said: “O LORD the God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, you are God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. 16 Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. 17 Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, 18 and have hurled their gods into the fire, though they were no gods but the work of human hands—wood and stone—and so they were destroyed. 19 So now, O LORD our God, save us, I pray you, from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O LORD, are God alone.”
20 Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: I have heard your prayer to me about King Sennacherib of Assyria.
1 Corinthians 9:16–27
16 If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel! 17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission. 18 What then is my reward? Just this: that in my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the gospel.
19 For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.
24 Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it. 25 Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one. 26 So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air; 27 but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified.
8 When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; 2 and there was a leper who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.” 3 He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
5 When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him 6 and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress.” 7 And he said to him, “I will come and cure him.” 8 The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.” 10 When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. 11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.” And the servant was healed in that hour.
14 When Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever; 15 he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she got up and began to serve him. 16 That evening they brought to him many who were possessed with demons; and he cast out the spirits with a word, and cured all who were sick. 17 This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah, “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.”
The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church