Blessed Are the Faithful

Thoughts About What We’re Reading!

This week, we turn our attention to the book of Ezra

As we start to come to the close of our Old Testament reading, it is important to note the last few books cover a relatively short time span in the history of Israel. 

As we read through Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, it is better to read them with the understanding of how they work together. We know from these books there were at least three returns from Babylon to the land of Israel.

In the book of Ezra, the first six chapters tell the story of the first return of the Jews from captivity led by Zerubbabel – with the primary focus on the rebuilding of the temple.

Ezra chapters 7-10, record events 60 years later when Ezra leads a second group of exiles back to Jerusalem. 

The book of Esther takes place in the period between chapters 6 and 7 of Ezra.

The third return from Babylon is recorded in the book of Nehemiah.

I will write something on the books of Esther and Nehemiah in the weeks to come. 

The events described in Ezra are set in Jerusalem and the nearby surrounding area. This reminds us that the returning exiles were only able to populate a tiny portion of their former homeland. 

The mighty, independent nation of Israel was no more.

In Ezra, we witness the rebuilding of the temple, and see how the returning tribes worked together, sharing common struggles. 

Sixty years go by, spiritual apathy sets in, and it seems we have a stop work order (my words) on the surrounding walls of Jerusalem. Ezra returns a second time with two thousand folks to infuse some energy and we have a spiritual revival!

By the end of the book, we find that Israel has renewed its covenant with God and is acting accordingly.

The Gospel Transformation Bible has this to say about the Book Of Ezra: 

“God’s redemptive plan looms large here, as we see him preserving the people to whom he has given his covenant promises—through Abraham (Gen. 12:1–3) and David (2 Sam. 7:12–17). Those promises were carried through generations of Abraham’s seed and channeled through the tribe of Judah (see Ezra 1:5) until they ultimately culminated in Christ. Ezra shows the merciful continuity of God’s covenant, even for a sinful people punished by exile for their ugly rebellion against God. God’s promises will not fail; they are even more solid and beautiful than all the gold and silver vessels produced here as glorious evidence.”

Once more we are reminded that God keeps His promises and continues to bless those who are faithful to Him. 

Until next time… keep reading!

Jim

OT Reading – January 12

Joel 1-3

Joel 1

The Devastation of Locusts

1 The word of the Lord that came to Joel, the son of Pethuel:

Hear this, O elders, And listen, all inhabitants of the land. Has anything like this happened in your days Or in your fathers’ days? Tell your sons about it, And let your sons tell their sons, And their sons the next generation.

What the gnawing locust has left, the swarming locust has eaten; And what the swarming locust has left, the creeping locust has eaten; And what the creeping locust has left, the stripping locust has eaten. Awake, drunkards, and weep; And wail, all you wine drinkers, On account of the sweet wine That is cut off from your mouth. For a nation has invaded my land, Mighty and without number; Its teeth are the teeth of a lion, And it has the fangs of a lioness. It has made my vine a waste And my fig tree splinters. It has stripped them bare and cast them away; Their branches have become white.

Wail like a virgin girded with sackcloth For the bridegroom of her youth. The grain offering and the drink offering are cut off From the house of the Lord. The priests mourn, The ministers of the Lord. 10 The field is ruined, The land mourns; For the grain is ruined, The new wine dries up, Fresh oil fails. 11 Be ashamed, O farmers, Wail, O vinedressers, For the wheat and the barley; Because the harvest of the field is destroyed. 12 The vine dries up And the fig tree fails; The pomegranate, the palm also, and the apple tree, All the trees of the field dry up. Indeed, rejoicing dries up From the sons of men.

13 Gird yourselves with sackcloth And lament, O priests; Wail, O ministers of the altar! Come, spend the night in sackcloth O ministers of my God, For the grain offering and the drink offering Are withheld from the house of your God.

Starvation and Drought

14 Consecrate a fast, Proclaim a solemn assembly; Gather the elders And all the inhabitants of the land To the house of the Lord your God, And cry out to the Lord. 15 Alas for the day! For the day of the Lord is near, And it will come as destruction from the Almighty. 16 Has not food been cut off before our eyes, Gladness and joy from the house of our God? 17 The seeds shrivel under their clods; The storehouses are desolate, The barns are torn down, For the grain is dried up. 18 How the beasts groan! The herds of cattle wander aimlessly Because there is no pasture for them; Even the flocks of sheep suffer. 19 To You, O Lord, I cry; For fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness And the flame has burned up all the trees of the field. 20 Even the beasts of the field pant for You; For the water brooks are dried up And fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness.

 

Joel 2

The Terrible Visitation

2 Blow a trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, For the day of the Lord is coming; Surely it is near, A day of darkness and gloom, A day of clouds and thick darkness. As the dawn is spread over the mountains, So there is a great and mighty people; There has never been anything like it, Nor will there be again after it To the years of many generations. A fire consumes before them And behind them a flame burns. The land is like the garden of Eden before them But a desolate wilderness behind them, And nothing at all escapes them. Their appearance is like the appearance of horses; And like war horses, so they run. With a noise as of chariots They leap on the tops of the mountains, Like the crackling of a flame of fire consuming the stubble, Like a mighty people arranged for battle. Before them the people are in anguish; All faces turn pale. They run like mighty men, They climb the wall like soldiers; And they each march in line, Nor do they deviate from their paths. They do not crowd each other, They march everyone in his path; When they burst through the defenses, They do not break ranks. They rush on the city, They run on the wall; They climb into the houses, They enter through the windows like a thief. 10 Before them the earth quakes, The heavens tremble, The sun and the moon grow dark And the stars lose their brightness. 11 The Lord utters His voice before His army; Surely His camp is very great, For strong is he who carries out His word. The day of the Lord is indeed great and very awesome, And who can endure it? 12 “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping and mourning; 13 And rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness And relenting of evil. 14 Who knows whether He will not turn and relent And leave a blessing behind Him, Even a grain offering and a drink offering For the Lord your God? 15 Blow a trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly, 16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, Assemble the elders, Gather the children and the nursing infants. Let the bridegroom come out of his room And the bride out of her bridal chamber. 17 Let the priests, the Lord’s ministers, Weep between the porch and the altar, And let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord, And do not make Your inheritance a reproach, A byword among the nations. Why should they among the peoples say, ‘Where is their God?’”

Deliverance Promised

18 Then the Lord will be zealous for His land And will have pity on His people. 19 The Lord will answer and say to His people, “Behold, I am going to send you grain, new wine and oil, And you will be satisfied in full with them; And I will never again make you a reproach among the nations. 20 “But I will remove the northern army far from you, And I will drive it into a parched and desolate land, And its vanguard into the eastern sea, And its rear guard into the western sea. And its stench will arise and its foul smell will come up, For it has done great things.”

21 Do not fear, O land, rejoice and be glad, For the Lord has done great things. 22 Do not fear, beasts of the field, For the pastures of the wilderness have turned green, For the tree has borne its fruit, The fig tree and the vine have yielded in full. 23 So rejoice, O sons of Zion, And be glad in the Lord your God; For He has given you the early rain for your vindication. And He has poured down for you the rain, The early and latter rain as before. 24 The threshing floors will be full of grain, And the vats will overflow with the new wine and oil. 25 “Then I will make up to you for the years That the swarming locust has eaten, The creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust, My great army which I sent among you. 26 “You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied And praise the name of the Lord your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; Then My people will never be put to shame. 27 “Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel, And that I am the Lord your God, And there is no other; And My people will never be put to shame.

The Promise of the Spirit

28 “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. 29 “Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

The Day of the Lord

30 “I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire and columns of smoke. 31 “The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 32 “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord Will be delivered; For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, As the Lord has said, Even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.

 

Joel 3

The Nations Will Be Judged

3 “For behold, in those days and at that time, When I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations And bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there On behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; And they have divided up My land. “They have also cast lots for My people, Traded a boy for a harlot And sold a girl for wine that they may drink.

Moreover, what are you to Me, O Tyre, Sidon and all the regions of Philistia? Are you rendering Me a recompense? But if you do recompense Me, swiftly and speedily I will return your recompense on your head. Since you have taken My silver and My gold, brought My precious treasures to your temples, and sold the sons of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks in order to remove them far from their territory, behold, I am going to arouse them from the place where you have sold them, and return your recompense on your head. Also I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the sons of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a distant nation,” for the Lord has spoken.

Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare a war; rouse the mighty men! Let all the soldiers draw near, let them come up! 10 Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, “I am a mighty man.” 11 Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations, And gather yourselves there. Bring down, O Lord, Your mighty ones. 12 Let the nations be aroused And come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, For there I will sit to judge All the surrounding nations. 13 Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, tread, for the wine press is full; The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great. 14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. 15 The sun and moon grow dark And the stars lose their brightness. 16 The Lord roars from Zion And utters His voice from Jerusalem, And the heavens and the earth tremble. But the Lord is a refuge for His people And a stronghold to the sons of Israel. 17 Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, Dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain. So Jerusalem will be holy, And strangers will pass through it no more.

Judah Will Be Blessed

18 And in that day The mountains will drip with sweet wine, And the hills will flow with milk, And all the brooks of Judah will flow with water; And a spring will go out from the house of the Lord To water the valley of Shittim. 19 Egypt will become a waste, And Edom will become a desolate wilderness, Because of the violence done to the sons of Judah, In whose land they have shed innocent blood. 20 But Judah will be inhabited forever And Jerusalem for all generations. 21 And I will avenge their blood which I have not avenged, For the Lord dwells in Zion.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

Take Heart

Thoughts About What We’re Reading!

Well we’re back! After our Advent series and Christmas break, it is time to get back to our reading!

We will be finishing up the Old Testament in the next few weeks and then moving on to a new specific plan during Lent starting on Ash Wednesday, February 18th, leading up to Easter.

Following Easter, we will begin a New Testament reading plan that will carry us until the next Advent season. That’s right, Christmas is only 11 1/2 months away!

This week, we are finishing up the book of Ezekiel, you can refresh your memory with my blog on Ezekiel prior to the Advent break.

If you’ve been hanging in with the reading so far, I have applaud you for a job well done – pat yourself on the back! Only a few more weeks and you will have completed the Old Testament!

Today however, I would like to share with you a few thoughts on the book of Joel as we will be reading through that book in our reading plan on the way to Daniel, our focus for next week’s blog.

As I write this, the stock market had one of its largest drops in quite a while. When things like this happen, it is a gentle reminder (and in some cases maybe a not so gentle reminder) how temporal our holdings and investments can be.

In much the same way, the book of Joel begins with a description of the total devastation caused by locusts in the land of Judah. We are told in Matthew that John the Baptist used to eat them!

Now there’s much debate between scholars about when the book of Joel was written and whether the invasion of the locusts was an actual event or an illustration for the people of Israel.

Regardless, we need to keep in mind when reading the book of Joel, we read both the bad news of God’s judgment and the good news of His promised deliverance.

We can take the book of Joel and divide it into two parts. The first part concerns the day of the Locusts and runs from Chapter 1 through Chapter 2 verse 27.  From verse 28, through the remainder of the book we read about the coming day of the Lord.

When I was reading through the book of Joel last month, I had a couple of commentaries on hand, one by James Montgomery Boice and one by Jon Courson. Boice by far is my favorite commentator but Courson approaches his commentary from an application point of view and I like that as well.

I want to share with you the following from Courson’s Application Commentary, Old Testament, Volume 2 regarding the Book of Joel:

“Three things happen simultaneously in this short but powerful book. First, Joel was speaking to the people practically. After all, they had seen their land, their investments, their future wiped out by locusts.

Second, he was speaking to the people prophetically. That is, he was talking about the day of the Lord, a day yet to come.

Third, he was actually speaking to us personally. You see, maybe in the last year, your marriage, ministry, business, or family has been eaten away by locusts of one kind or another.

Take heart! This book is for you because Joel addresses the issue for those who feel as if they’ve been eaten up, destroyed, setback, or devoured in any area of life.”

May the Book of Joel be a blessing to you.

Until next time… Keep reading!

Jim

October 30 – OT Reading

Jeremiah 30-31

Jeremiah 30

Deliverance from Captivity Promised

30 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Write all the words which I have spoken to you in a book. For behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah.’ The Lord says, ‘I will also bring them back to the land that I gave to their forefathers and they shall possess it.’”

Now these are the words which the Lord spoke concerning Israel and concerning Judah:

“For thus says the Lord,

‘I have heard a sound of terror, Of dread, and there is no peace. ‘Ask now, and see If a male can give birth. Why do I see every man With his hands on his loins, as a woman in childbirth? And why have all faces turned pale? ‘Alas! for that day is great, There is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s distress, But he will be saved from it.

‘It shall come about on that day,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘that I will break his yoke from off their neck and will tear off their bonds; and strangers will no longer make them their slaves. But they shall serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.

10 ‘Fear not, O Jacob My servant,’ declares the Lord, ‘And do not be dismayed, O Israel; For behold, I will save you from afar And your offspring from the land of their captivity. And Jacob will return and will be quiet and at ease, And no one will make him afraid. 11 ‘For I am with you,’ declares the Lord, ‘to save you; For I will destroy completely all the nations where I have scattered you, Only I will not destroy you completely. But I will chasten you justly And will by no means leave you unpunished.’

12 “For thus says the Lord, ‘Your wound is incurable And your injury is serious. 13 ‘There is no one to plead your cause; No healing for your sore, No recovery for you. 14 ‘All your lovers have forgotten you, They do not seek you; For I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy, With the punishment of a cruel one, Because your iniquity is great And your sins are numerous. 15 ‘Why do you cry out over your injury? Your pain is incurable. Because your iniquity is great And your sins are numerous, I have done these things to you. 16 ‘Therefore all who devour you will be devoured; And all your adversaries, every one of them, will go into captivity; And those who plunder you will be for plunder, And all who prey upon you I will give for prey. 17 ‘For I will restore you to health And I will heal you of your wounds,’ declares the Lord, ‘Because they have called you an outcast, saying: “It is Zion; no one cares for her.”’

Restoration of Jacob

18 “Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob And have compassion on his dwelling places; And the city will be rebuilt on its ruin, And the palace will stand on its rightful place. 19 ‘From them will proceed thanksgiving And the voice of those who celebrate; And I will multiply them and they will not be diminished; I will also honor them and they will not be insignificant. 20 ‘Their children also will be as formerly, And their congregation shall be established before Me; And I will punish all their oppressors. 21 ‘Their leader shall be one of them, And their ruler shall come forth from their midst; And I will bring him near and he shall approach Me; For who would dare to risk his life to approach Me?’ declares the Lord. 22 ‘You shall be My people, And I will be your God.’”

23 Behold, the tempest of the Lord! Wrath has gone forth, A sweeping tempest; It will burst on the head of the wicked. 24 The fierce anger of the Lord will not turn back Until He has performed and until He has accomplished The intent of His heart; In the latter days you will understand this.

 

Jeremiah 31

Israel’s Mourning Turned to Joy

31 “At that time,” declares the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.”

Thus says the Lord, “The people who survived the sword Found grace in the wilderness— Israel, when it went to find its rest.” The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness. “Again I will build you and you will be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! Again you will take up your tambourines, And go forth to the dances of the merrymakers. “Again you will plant vineyards On the hills of Samaria; The planters will plant And will enjoy them. “For there will be a day when watchmen On the hills of Ephraim call out, ‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion, To the Lord our God.’”

For thus says the Lord, “Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, And shout among the chief of the nations; Proclaim, give praise and say, ‘O Lord, save Your people, The remnant of Israel.’ “Behold, I am bringing them from the north country, And I will gather them from the remote parts of the earth, Among them the blind and the lame, The woman with child and she who is in labor with child, together; A great company, they will return here. “With weeping they will come, And by supplication I will lead them; I will make them walk by streams of waters, On a straight path in which they will not stumble; For I am a father to Israel, And Ephraim is My firstborn.”

10 Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, And declare in the coastlands afar off, And say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him And keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.” 11 For the Lord has ransomed Jacob And redeemed him from the hand of him who was stronger than he. 12 “They will come and shout for joy on the height of Zion, And they will be radiant over the bounty of the Lord— Over the grain and the new wine and the oil, And over the young of the flock and the herd; And their life will be like a watered garden, And they will never languish again. 13 “Then the virgin will rejoice in the dance, And the young men and the old, together, For I will turn their mourning into joy And will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow. 14 “I will fill the soul of the priests with abundance, And My people will be satisfied with My goodness,” declares the Lord.

15 Thus says the Lord, “A voice is heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; She refuses to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.”

16 Thus says the Lord,

“Restrain your voice from weeping And your eyes from tears; For your work will be rewarded,” declares the Lord, “And they will return from the land of the enemy. 17 “There is hope for your future,” declares the Lord, “And your children will return to their own territory. 18 “I have surely heard Ephraim grieving, ‘You have chastised me, and I was chastised, Like an untrained calf; Bring me back that I may be restored, For You are the Lord my God. 19 ‘For after I turned back, I repented; And after I was instructed, I smote on my thigh; I was ashamed and also humiliated Because I bore the reproach of my youth.’ 20 “Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a delightful child? Indeed, as often as I have spoken against him, I certainly still remember him; Therefore My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him,” declares the Lord.

21 “Set up for yourself roadmarks, Place for yourself guideposts; Direct your mind to the highway, The way by which you went. Return, O virgin of Israel, Return to these your cities. 22 “How long will you go here and there, O faithless daughter? For the Lord has created a new thing in the earth— A woman will encompass a man.”

23 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Once again they will speak this word in the land of Judah and in its cities when I restore their fortunes,

‘The Lord bless you, O abode of righteousness, O holy hill!’

24 Judah and all its cities will dwell together in it, the farmer and they who go about with flocks. 25 For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes.” 26 At this I awoke and looked, and my sleep was pleasant to me.

A New Covenant

27 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and with the seed of beast. 28 As I have watched over them to pluck up, to break down, to overthrow, to destroy and to bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant,” declares the Lord.

29 “In those days they will not say again, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge.’

30 But everyone will die for his own iniquity; each man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth will be set on edge.

31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

35 Thus says the Lord, Who gives the sun for light by day And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The Lord of hosts is His name: 36 “If this fixed order departs From before Me,” declares the Lord, “Then the offspring of Israel also will cease From being a nation before Me forever.”

37 Thus says the Lord,

“If the heavens above can be measured And the foundations of the earth searched out below, Then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel For all that they have done,” declares the Lord.

38 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when the city will be rebuilt for the Lord from theTower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39 The measuring line will go out farther straight ahead to the hill Gareb; then it will turn to Goah. 40 And the whole valley of the dead bodies and of the ashes, and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be holy to the Lord; it will not be plucked up or overthrown anymore forever.”

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

October 7 – OT Reading

Isaiah 44-48

Isaiah 44

The Blessings of Israel

44 “But now listen, O Jacob, My servant, And Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus says the Lord who made you And formed you from the womb, who will help you, ‘Do not fear, O Jacob My servant; And you Jeshurun whom I have chosen. ‘For I will pour out water on the thirsty land And streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring And My blessing on your descendants; And they will spring up among the grass Like poplars by streams of water.’ “This one will say, ‘I am the Lord’s’; And that one will call on the name of Jacob; And another will write on his hand, ‘Belonging to the Lord,’ And will name Israel’s name with honor.

“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:

‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me. ‘Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; Yes, let him recount it to Me in order, From the time that I established the ancient nation. And let them declare to them the things that are coming And the events that are going to take place. ‘Do not tremble and do not be afraid; Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none.’”

The Folly of Idolatry

Those who fashion a graven image are all of them futile, and their precious things are of no profit; even their own witnesses fail to see or know, so that they will be put to shame. 10 Who has fashioned a god or cast an idol to no profit? 11 Behold, all his companions will be put to shame, for the craftsmen themselves are mere men. Let them all assemble themselves, let them stand up, let them tremble, let them together be put to shame.

12 The man shapes iron into a cutting tool and does his work over the coals, fashioning it with hammers and working it with his strong arm. He also gets hungry and his strength fails; he drinks no water and becomes weary. 13 Another shapes wood, he extends a measuring line; he outlines it with red chalk. He works it with planes and outlines it with a compass, and makes it like the form of a man, like the beauty of man, so that it may sit in a house. 14 Surely he cuts cedars for himself, and takes a cypress or an oak and raises it for himself among the trees of the forest. He plants a fir, and the rain makes it grow. 15 Then it becomes something for a man to burn, so he takes one of them and warms himself; he also makes a fire to bake bread. He also makes a god and worships it; he makes it a graven image and falls down before it. 16 Half of it he burns in the fire; over this half he eats meat as he roasts a roast and is satisfied. He also warms himself and says, “Aha! I am warm, I have seen the fire.” 17 But the rest of it he makes into a god, his graven image. He falls down before it and worships; he also prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god.”

18 They do not know, nor do they understand, for He has smeared over their eyes so that they cannot see and their hearts so that they cannot comprehend. 19 No one recalls, nor is there knowledge or understanding to say, “I have burned half of it in the fire and also have baked bread over its coals. I roast meat and eat it. Then I make the rest of it into an abomination, I fall down before a block of wood!” 20 He feeds on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside. And he cannot deliver himself, nor say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

God Forgives and Redeems

21 “Remember these things, O Jacob, And Israel, for you are My servant; I have formed you, you are My servant, O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me. 22 “I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud And your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.” 23 Shout for joy, O heavens, for the Lord has done it! Shout joyfully, you lower parts of the earth; Break forth into a shout of joy, you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it; For the Lord has redeemed Jacob And in Israel He shows forth His glory.

24 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb,

“I, the Lord, am the maker of all things, Stretching out the heavens by Myself And spreading out the earth all alone, 25 Causing the omens of boasters to fail, Making fools out of diviners, Causing wise men to draw back And turning their knowledge into foolishness, 26 Confirming the word of His servant And performing the purpose of His messengers. It is I who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited!’ And of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built.’ And I will raise up her ruins again. 27 It is I who says to the depth of the sea, ‘Be dried up!’ And I will make your rivers dry. 28 It is I who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd! And he will perform all My desire.’ And he declares of Jerusalem, ‘She will be built,’ And of the temple, ‘Your foundation will be laid.’”

 

Isaiah 45

God Uses Cyrus

45 Thus says the Lord to Cyrus His anointed, Whom I have taken by the right hand, To subdue nations before him And to loose the loins of kings; To open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: “I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars. “I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden wealth of secret places, So that you may know that it is I, The Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name. “For the sake of Jacob My servant, And Israel My chosen one, I have also called you by your name; I have given you a title of honor Though you have not known Me. “I am the Lord, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.

God’s Supreme Power

“Drip down, O heavens, from above, And let the clouds pour down righteousness; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, And righteousness spring up with it. I, the Lord, have created it.

“Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker— An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands’? 10 “Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’ Or to a woman, ‘To what are you giving birth?’”

11 Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker:

“Ask Me about the things to come concerning My sons, And you shall commit to Me the work of My hands. 12 “It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands And I ordained all their host. 13 “I have aroused him in righteousness And I will make all his ways smooth; He will build My city and will let My exiles go free, Without any payment or reward,” says the Lord of hosts.

14 Thus says the Lord,

“The products of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush And the Sabeans, men of stature, Will come over to you and will be yours; They will walk behind you, they will come over in chains And will bow down to you; They will make supplication to you: ‘Surely, God is with you, and there is none else, No other God.’” 15 Truly, You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, Savior! 16 They will be put to shame and even humiliated, all of them; The manufacturers of idols will go away together in humiliation. 17 Israel has been saved by the Lord With an everlasting salvation; You will not be put to shame or humiliated To all eternity.

18 For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited),

“I am the Lord, and there is none else. 19 “I have not spoken in secret, In some dark land; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in a waste place’; I, the Lord, speak righteousness, Declaring things that are upright.

20 “Gather yourselves and come; Draw near together, you fugitives of the nations; They have no knowledge, Who carry about their wooden idol And pray to a god who cannot save. 21 “Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me. 22 “Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other. 23 “I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness And will not turn back, That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. 24 “They will say of Me, ‘Only in the Lord are righteousness and strength.’ Men will come to Him, And all who were angry at Him will be put to shame. 25 “In the Lord all the offspring of Israel Will be justified and will glory.”

 

Isaiah 46

Babylon’s Idols and the True God

46 Bel has bowed down, Nebo stoops over; Their images are consigned to the beasts and the cattle. The things that you carry are burdensome, A load for the weary beast. They stooped over, they have bowed down together; They could not rescue the burden, But have themselves gone into captivity.

“Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, And all the remnant of the house of Israel, You who have been borne by Me from birth And have been carried from the womb; Even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you.

“To whom would you liken Me And make Me equal and compare Me, That we would be alike? “Those who lavish gold from the purse And weigh silver on the scale Hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god; They bow down, indeed they worship it. “They lift it upon the shoulder and carry it; They set it in its place and it stands there. It does not move from its place. Though one may cry to it, it cannot answer; It cannot deliver him from his distress.

“Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you transgressors. “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’; 11 Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.

12 “Listen to Me, you stubborn-minded, Who are far from righteousness. 13 “I bring near My righteousness, it is not far off; And My salvation will not delay. And I will grant salvation in Zion, And My glory for Israel.

 

Isaiah 47

Lament for Babylon

47 “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 longer be called tender and delicate. “Take the millstones and grind meal. Remove your veil, strip off the skirt, Uncover the leg, cross the rivers. “Your nakedness will be uncovered, Your shame also will be exposed; I will take vengeance and will not spare a man.” Our Redeemer, the Lord of hosts is His name, The Holy One of Israel. “Sit silently, and go into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans, For you will no longer be called The queen of kingdoms. “I was angry with My people, I profaned My heritage And gave them into your hand. You did not show mercy to them, On the aged you made your yoke very heavy. “Yet you said, ‘I will be a queen forever.’ These things you did not consider Nor remember the outcome of them.

“Now, then, hear this, you sensual one, Who dwells securely, Who says in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one besides me. I will not sit as a widow, Nor know loss of children.’ “But these two things will come on you suddenly in one day: Loss of children and widowhood. They will come on you in full measure In spite of your many sorceries, In spite of the great power of your spells. 10 “You felt secure in your wickedness and said, ‘No one sees me,’ Your wisdom and your knowledge, they have deluded you; For you have said in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one besides me.’ 11 “But evil will come on you Which you will not know how to charm away; And disaster will fall on you For which you cannot atone; And destruction about which you do not know Will come on you suddenly.

12 “Stand fast now in your spells And in your many sorceries With which you have labored from your youth; Perhaps you will be able to profit, Perhaps you may cause trembling. 13 “You are wearied with your many counsels; Let now the astrologers, Those who prophesy by the stars, Those who predict by the new moons, Stand up and save you from what will come upon you. 14 “Behold, they have become like stubble, Fire burns them; They cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame; There will be no coal to warm by Nor a fire to sit before! 15 “So have those become to you with whom you have labored, Who have trafficked with you from your youth; Each has wandered in his own way; There is none to save you.

 

Isaiah 48

Israel’s Obstinacy

48 “Hear this, O house of Jacob, who are named Israel And who came forth from the loins of Judah, Who swear by the name of the Lord And invoke the God of Israel, But not in truth nor in righteousness. “For they call themselves after the holy city And lean on the God of Israel; The Lord of hosts is His name. “I declared the former things long ago And they went forth from My mouth, and I proclaimed them. Suddenly I acted, and they came to pass. “Because I know that you are obstinate, And your neck is an iron sinew And your forehead bronze, Therefore I declared them to you long ago, Before they took place I proclaimed them to you, So that you would not say, ‘My idol has done them, And my graven image and my molten image have commanded them.’ “You have heard; look at all this. And you, will you not declare it? I proclaim to you new things from this time, Even hidden things which you have not known. “They are created now and not long ago; And before today you have not heard them, So that you will not say, ‘Behold, I knew them.’ “You have not heard, you have not known. Even from long ago your ear has not been open, Because I knew that you would deal very treacherously; And you have been called a rebel from birth. “For the sake of My name I delay My wrath, And for My praise I restrain it for you, In order not to cut you off. 10 “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. 11 “For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another.

Deliverance Promised

12 “Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I am He, I am the first, I am also the last. 13 “Surely My hand founded the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together. 14 “Assemble, all of you, and listen! Who among them has declared these things? The Lord loves him; he will carry out His good pleasure on Babylon, And His arm will be against the Chaldeans. 15 “I, even I, have spoken; indeed I have called him, I have brought him, and He will make his ways successful. 16 “Come near to Me, listen to this: From the first I have not spoken in secret, From the time it took place, I was 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 “If only you had paid attention to My commandments! Then your well-being would have been like a river, And your righteousness like the waves of the sea. 19 “Your descendants would have been like the sand, And your offspring like its grains; Their name would never be cut off or destroyed from My presence.”

20 Go forth from Babylon! Flee from the Chaldeans! Declare with the sound of joyful shouting, proclaim this, 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 the water flow out of the rock for them; He split the rock and the water gushed forth. 22 “There is no peace for the wicked,” says the Lord.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

September 24 – OT Reading

Isaiah 23-27

Isaiah 23

The Fall of Tyre

23 The oracle concerning Tyre.

Wail, O ships of Tarshish, For Tyre is destroyed, without house or harbor; It is reported to them from the land of Cyprus. Be silent, you inhabitants of the coastland, You merchants of Sidon; Your messengers crossed the sea And were on many waters. The grain of the Nile, the harvest of the River was her revenue; And she was the market of nations. Be ashamed, O Sidon; For the sea speaks, the stronghold of the sea, saying, “I have neither travailed nor given birth, I have neither brought up young men nor reared virgins.” When the report reaches Egypt, They will be in anguish at the report of Tyre. Pass over to Tarshish; Wail, O inhabitants of the coastland. Is this your jubilant city, Whose origin is from antiquity, Whose feet used to carry her to colonize distant places?

Who has planned this against Tyre, the bestower of crowns, Whose merchants were princes, whose traders were the honored of the earth? The Lord of hosts has planned it, to defile the pride of all beauty, To despise all the honored of the earth. 10 Overflow your land like the Nile, O daughter of Tarshish, There is no more restraint. 11 He has stretched His hand out over the sea, He has made the kingdoms tremble; The Lord has given a command concerning Canaan to demolish its strongholds.

12 He has said, “You shall exult no more, O crushed virgin daughter of Sidon. Arise, pass over to Cyprus; even there you will find no rest.”

13 Behold, the land of the Chaldeans—this is the people which was not; Assyria appointed it for desert creatures—they erected their siege towers, they stripped its palaces, they made it a ruin.

14 Wail, O ships of Tarshish, For your stronghold is destroyed.

15 Now in that day Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years like the days of one king. At the end of seventy years it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the harlot:

16 Take your harp, walk about the city, O forgotten harlot; Pluck the strings skillfully, sing many songs, That you may be remembered.

17 It will come about at the end of seventy years that the Lord will visit Tyre. Then she will go back to her harlot’s wages and will play the harlot with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. 18 Her gain and her harlot’s wages will be set apart to the Lord; it will not be stored up or hoarded, but her gain will become sufficient food and choice attire for those who dwell in the presence of the Lord.

 

Isaiah 24

Judgment on the Earth

24 Behold, the Lord lays the earth waste, devastates it, distorts its surface and scatters its inhabitants. And the people will be like the priest, the servant like his master, the maid like her mistress, the buyer like the seller, the lender like the borrower, the creditor like the debtor. The earth will be completely laid waste and completely despoiled, for the Lord has spoken this word. The earth mourns and withers, the world fades and withers, the exalted of the people of the earth fade away. The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants, for they transgressed laws, violated statutes, broke the everlasting covenant. Therefore, a curse devours the earth, and those who live in it are held guilty. Therefore, the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left.

The new wine mourns, The vine decays, All the merry-hearted sigh. The gaiety of tambourines ceases, The noise of revelers stops, The gaiety of the harp ceases. They do not drink wine with song; Strong drink is bitter to those who drink it. 10 The city of chaos is broken down; Every house is shut up so that none may enter. 11 There is an outcry in the streets concerning the wine; All joy turns to gloom. The gaiety of the earth is banished. 12 Desolation is left in the city And the gate is battered to ruins. 13 For thus it will be in the midst of the earth among the peoples, As the shaking of an olive tree, As the gleanings when the grape harvest is over. 14 They raise their voices, they shout for joy; They cry out from the west concerning the majesty of the Lord. 15 Therefore glorify the Lord in the east, The name of the Lord, the God of Israel, In the coastlands of the sea. 16 From the ends of the earth we hear songs, “Glory to the Righteous One,” But I say, “Woe to me! Woe to me! Alas for me! The treacherous deal treacherously, And the treacherous deal very treacherously.” 17 Terror and pit and snare Confront you, O inhabitant of the earth. 18 Then it will be that he who flees the report of disaster will fall into the pit, And he who climbs out of the pit will be caught in the snare; For the windows above are opened, and the foundations of the earth shake. 19 The earth is broken asunder, The earth is split through, The earth is shaken violently. 20 The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard And it totters like a shack, For its transgression is heavy upon it, And it will fall, never to rise again. 21 So it will happen in that day, That the Lord will punish the host of heaven on high, And the kings of the earth on earth. 22 They will be gathered together Like prisoners in the dungeon, And will be confined in prison; And after many days they will be punished. 23 Then the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed, For the Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, And His glory will be before His elders.

 

Isaiah 25

Song of Praise for God’s Favor

25 O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness. For You have made a city into a heap, A fortified city into a ruin; A palace of strangers is a city no more, It will never be rebuilt. Therefore a strong people will glorify You; Cities of ruthless nations will revere You. For You have been a defense for the helpless, A defense for the needy in his distress, A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; For the breath of the ruthless Is like a rain storm against a wall. Like heat in drought, You subdue the uproar of aliens; Like heat by the shadow of a cloud, the song of the ruthless is silenced.

The Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain; A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow, And refined, aged wine. And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples, Even the veil which is stretched over all nations. He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the Lord has spoken. And it will be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” 10 For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain, And Moab will be trodden down in his place As straw is trodden down in the water of a manure pile. 11 And he will spread out his hands in the middle of it As a swimmer spreads out his hands to swim, But the Lord will lay low his pride together with the trickery of his hands. 12 The unassailable fortifications of your walls He will bring down, Lay low and cast to the ground, even to the dust.

 

Isaiah 26

Song of Trust in God’s Protection

26 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:

“We have a strong city; He sets up walls and ramparts for security. “Open the gates, that the righteous nation may enter, The one that remains faithful. “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. “Trust in the Lord forever, For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock. “For He has brought low those who dwell on high, the unassailable city; He lays it low, He lays it low to the ground, He casts it to the dust. “The foot will trample it, The feet of the afflicted, the steps of the helpless.”

The way of the righteous is smooth; O Upright One, make the path of the righteous level. Indeed, while following the way of Your judgments, O Lord, We have waited for You eagerly; Your name, even Your memory, is the desire of our souls. At night my soul longs for You, Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently; For when the earth experiences Your judgments The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. 10 Though the wicked is shown favor, He does not learn righteousness; He deals unjustly in the land of uprightness, And does not perceive the majesty of the Lord.

11 O Lord, Your hand is lifted up yet they do not see it. They see Your zeal for the people and are put to shame; Indeed, fire will devour Your enemies. 12 Lord, You will establish peace for us, Since You have also performed for us all our works. 13 O Lord our God, other masters besides You have ruled us; But through You alone we confess Your name. 14 The dead will not live, the departed spirits will not rise; Therefore You have punished and destroyed them, And You have wiped out all remembrance of them. 15 You have increased the nation, O Lord, You have increased the nation, You are glorified; You have extended all the borders of the land. 16 O Lord, they sought You in distress; They could only whisper a prayer, Your chastening was upon them. 17 As the pregnant woman approaches the time to give birth, She writhes and cries out in her labor pains, Thus were we before You, O Lord. 18 We were pregnant, we writhed in labor, We gave birth, as it seems, only to wind. We could not accomplish deliverance for the earth, Nor were inhabitants of the world born. 19 Your dead will live; Their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, For your dew is as the dew of the dawn, And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.

20 Come, my people, enter into your rooms And close your doors behind you; Hide for a little while Until indignation runs its course. 21 For behold, the Lord is about to come out from His place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; And the earth will reveal her bloodshed And will no longer cover her slain.

 

Isaiah 27

The Deliverance of Israel

27 In that day the Lord will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, With His fierce and great and mighty sword, Even Leviathan the twisted serpent; And He will kill the dragon who lives in the sea.

In that day, “A vineyard of wine, sing of it! “I, the Lord, am its keeper; I water it every moment. So that no one will damage it, I guard it night and day. “I have no wrath. Should someone give Me briars and thorns in battle, Then I would step on them, I would burn them completely. “Or let him rely on My protection, Let him make peace with Me, Let him make peace with Me.” In the days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout, And they will fill the whole world with fruit.

Like the striking of Him who has struck them, has He struck them? Or like the slaughter of His slain, have they been slain? You contended with them by banishing them, by driving them away. With His fierce wind He has expelled them on the day of the east wind. Therefore through this Jacob’s iniquity will be forgiven; And this will be the full price of the pardoning of his sin: When he makes all the altar stones like pulverized chalk stones; When Asherim and incense altars will not stand. 10 For the fortified city is isolated, A homestead forlorn and forsaken like the desert; There the calf will graze, And there it will lie down and feed on its branches. 11 When its limbs are dry, they are broken off; Women come and make a fire with them, For they are not a people of discernment, Therefore their Maker will not have compassion on them. And their Creator will not be gracious to them.

12 In that day the Lord will start His threshing from the flowing stream of the Euphrates to the brook of Egypt, and you will be gathered up one by one, O sons of Israel. 13 It will come about also in that day that a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were perishing in the land of Assyria and who were scattered in the land of Egypt will come and worship the Lord in the holy mountain at Jerusalem.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

June 10 – OT Reading

Psalm 43

Prayer for Deliverance.

43 Vindicate me, O God, and plead my case against an ungodly nation; O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man! 2 For You are the God of my strength; why have You rejected me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill And to Your dwelling places. 4 Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy; And upon the lyre I shall praise You, O God, my God.

5 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.

 

Psalm 44

Former Deliverances and Present Troubles.

For the choir director. A Maskil of the sons of Korah.

44 O God, we have heard with our ears, Our fathers have told us The work that You did in their days, In the days of old. You with Your own hand drove out the nations; Then You planted them; You afflicted the peoples, Then You spread them abroad. 3 For by their own sword they did not possess the land, And their own arm did not save them, But Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence, For You favored them.

You are my King, O God; Command victories for Jacob. 5 Through You we will push back our adversaries; Through Your name we will trample down those who rise up against us. 6 For I will not trust in my bow, Nor will my sword save me. 7 But You have saved us from our adversaries, And You have put to shame those who hate us. In God we have boasted all day long, And we will give thanks to Your name forever. Selah.

9 Yet You have rejected us and brought us to dishonor, And do not go out with our armies. 10 You cause us to turn back from the adversary; And those who hate us have taken spoil for themselves. 11 You give us as sheep to be eaten And have scattered us among the nations. 12 You sell Your people cheaply, And have not profited by their sale. 13 You make us a reproach to our neighbors, A scoffing and a derision to those around us. 14 You make us a byword among the nations, A laughingstock among the peoples. 15 All day long my dishonor is before me And my humiliation has overwhelmed me, 16 Because of the voice of him who reproaches and reviles, Because of the presence of the enemy and the avenger.

17 All this has come upon us, but we have not forgotten You, And we have not dealt falsely with Your covenant. 18 Our heart has not turned back, And our steps have not deviated from Your way, 19 Yet You have crushed us in a place of jackals And covered us with the shadow of death.

20 If we had forgotten the name of our God Or extended our hands to a strange god, 21 Would not God find this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart. 22 But for Your sake we are killed all day long; We are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. 23 Arouse Yourself, why do You sleep, O Lord? Awake, do not reject us forever. 24 Why do You hide Your face And forget our affliction and our oppression? 25 For our soul has sunk down into the dust; Our body cleaves to the earth. 26 Rise up, be our help, And redeem us for the sake of Your lovingkindness.

 

Psalm 45

A Song Celebrating the King’s Marriage.

For the choir director; according to the Shoshannim. A Maskil of the sons of Korah. A Song of Love.

45 My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. You are fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Your lips; Therefore God has blessed You forever.

3 Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One, In Your splendor and Your majesty! And in Your majesty ride on victoriously, For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; Let Your right hand teach You awesome things. 5 Your arrows are sharp; The peoples fall under You; Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.

6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 7 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of joy above Your fellows. 8 All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad. Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies; At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.

10 Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear: Forget your people and your father’s house; 11 Then the King will desire your beauty. Because He is your Lord, bow down to Him. 12 The daughter of Tyre will come with a gift; The rich among the people will seek your favor.

13 The King’s daughter is all glorious within; Her clothing is interwoven with gold. 14 She will be led to the King in embroidered work; The virgins, her companions who follow her, Will be brought to You. 15 They will be led forth with gladness and rejoicing; They will enter into the King’s palace.

16 In place of your fathers will be your sons; You shall make them princes in all the earth. 17 I will cause Your name to be remembered in all generations; Therefore the peoples will give You thanks forever and ever.

 

Psalm 49

The Folly of Trusting in Riches.

For the choir director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.

49 Hear this, all peoples; Give ear, all inhabitants of the world, 2 Both low and high, Rich and poor together. 3 My mouth will speak wisdom, And the meditation of my heart will be understanding. I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will express my riddle on the harp.

5 Why should I fear in days of adversity, When the iniquity of my foes surrounds me, Even those who trust in their wealth And boast in the abundance of their riches? 7 No man can by any means redeem his brother Or give to God a ransom for him— 8 For the redemption of his soul is costly, And he should cease trying forever— 9 That he should live on eternally, That he should not undergo decay.

10 For he sees that even wise men die; The stupid and the senseless alike perish And leave their wealth to others. 11 Their inner thought is that their houses are forever And their dwelling places to all generations; They have called their lands after their own names. 12 But man in his pomp will not endure; He is like the beasts that perish.

13 This is the way of those who are foolish, And of those after them who approve their words. Selah. 14 As sheep they are appointed for Sheol; Death shall be their shepherd; And the upright shall rule over them in the morning, And their form shall be for Sheol to consume So that they have no habitation. 15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol, For He will receive me. Selah.

16 Do not be afraid when a man becomes rich, When the glory of his house is increased; 17 For when he dies he will carry nothing away; His glory will not descend after him. 18 Though while he lives he congratulates himself— And though men praise you when you do well for yourself— 19 He shall go to the generation of his fathers; They will never see the light. 20 Man in his pomp, yet without understanding, Is like the beasts that perish.

 

Psalm 84

Longing for the Temple Worship.

For the choir director; on the Gittith. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.

84 How lovely are Your dwelling places, O Lord of hosts! My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. 3 The bird also has found a house, And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, My King and my God. 4 How blessed are those who dwell in Your house! They are ever praising You. Selah.

5 How blessed is the man whose strength is in You, In whose heart are the highways to Zion! 6 Passing through the valley of Baca they make it a spring; The early rain also covers it with blessings. 7 They go from strength to strength, Every one of them appears before God in Zion.

8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah. 9 Behold our shield, O God, And look upon the face of Your anointed. 10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness. 11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. 12 O Lord of hosts, How blessed is the man who trusts in You!

 

Psalm 85

Prayer for God’s Mercy upon the Nation.

For the choir director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.

85 O Lord, You showed favor to Your land; You restored the captivity of Jacob. 2 You forgave the iniquity of Your people; You covered all their sin. Selah. 3 You withdrew all Your fury; You turned away from Your burning anger.

Restore us, O God of our salvation, And cause Your indignation toward us to cease. 5 Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger to all generations? 6 Will You not Yourself revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your lovingkindness, O Lord, And grant us Your salvation.

8 I will hear what God the Lord will say; For He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones; But let them not turn back to folly. 9 Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, That glory may dwell in our land. 10 Lovingkindness and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other. 11 Truth springs from the earth, And righteousness looks down from heaven. 12 Indeed, the Lord will give what is good, And our land will yield its produce. 13 Righteousness will go before Him And will make His footsteps into a way.

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)