Saturday, February 6, 2016

Psalm 99:2-3

The LORD is great in Zion; he is exalted over all the peoples. Let them praise your great and awesome name. Holy is he!

Daily Readings for February 6, 2016

Genesis 24:28-38, 24:49-51
Then the girl ran and told her mother's household about these things. Rebekah had a brother whose name was Laban; and Laban ran out to the man, to the spring. As soon as he had seen the nose-ring, and the bracelets on his sister's arms, and when he heard the words of his sister Rebekah, "Thus the man spoke to me," he went to the man; and there he was, standing by the camels at the spring. He said, "Come in, O blessed of the LORD. Why do you stand outside when I have prepared the house and a place for the camels?" So the man came into the house; and Laban unloaded the camels, and gave him straw and fodder for the camels, and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him. Then food was set before him to eat; but he said, "I will not eat until I have told my errand." He said, "Speak on." So he said, "I am Abraham's servant. The LORD has greatly blessed my master, and he has become wealthy; he has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male and female slaves, camels and donkeys. And Sarah my master's wife bore a son to my master when she was old; and he has given him all that he has. My master made me swear, saying, 'You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live; but you shall go to my father's house, to my kindred, and get a wife for my son.' Now then, if you will deal loyally and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so that I may turn either to the right hand or to the left." Then Laban and Bethuel answered, "The thing comes from the LORD; we cannot speak to you anything bad or good. Look, Rebekah is before you, take her and go, and let her be the wife of your master's son, as the LORD has spoken."


Hebrews 12:12-29
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and through it many become defiled. See to it that no one becomes like Esau, an immoral and godless person, who sold his birthright for a single meal. You know that later, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, even though he sought the blessing with tears. You have not come to something that can be touched, a blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that not another word be spoken to them. (For they could not endure the order that was given, "If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned to death." Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, "I tremble with fear.") But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See that you do not refuse the one who is speaking; for if they did not escape when they refused the one who warned them on earth, how much less will we escape if we reject the one who warns from heaven! At that time his voice shook the earth; but now he has promised, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven." This phrase, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of what is shaken-- that is, created things-- so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe; for indeed our God is a consuming fire.


John 7:14-36
About the middle of the festival Jesus went up into the temple and began to teach. The Jews were astonished at it, saying, "How does this man have such learning, when he has never been taught?" Then Jesus answered them, "My teaching is not mine but his who sent me. Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own. Those who speak on their own seek their own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and there is nothing false in him. "Did not Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why are you looking for an opportunity to kill me?" The crowd answered, "You have a demon! Who is trying to kill you?" Jesus answered them, "I performed one work, and all of you are astonished. Moses gave you circumcision (it is, of course, not from Moses, but from the patriarchs), and you circumcise a man on the sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the sabbath in order that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because I healed a man's whole body on the sabbath? Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment." Now some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, "Is not this the man whom they are trying to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, but they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Messiah? Yet we know where this man is from; but when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from." Then Jesus cried out as he was teaching in the temple, "You know me, and you know where I am from. I have not come on my own. But the one who sent me is true, and you do not know him. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me." Then they tried to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come. Yet many in the crowd believed in him and were saying, "When the Messiah comes, will he do more signs than this man has done?" The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering such things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent temple police to arrest him. Jesus then said, "I will be with you a little while longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. You will search for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come." The Jews said to one another, "Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? What does he mean by saying, 'You will search for me and you will not find me' and 'Where I am, you cannot come'?"


Psalm 75 Confitebimur tibi
1   We give you thanks, O God, we give you thanks, calling upon your Name and declaring all your wonderful deeds.
2   I will appoint a time, says God; I will judge with equity.
3   Though the earth and all its inhabitants are quaking, I will make its pillars fast.
4   I will say to the boasters, 'Boast no more, ' and to the wicked, 'Do not toss your horns;
5   Do not toss your horns so high, nor speak with a proud neck.'"
6   For judgment is neither from the east nor from the west, nor yet from the wilderness or the mountains.
7   It is God who judges; he puts down one and lifts up another.
8   For in the LORD'S hand there is a cup, full of spiced and foaming wine, which he pours out, and all the wicked of the earth shall drink and drain the dregs.
9   But I will rejoice for ever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
10   He shall break off all the horns of the wicked; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.


Psalm 76 Notus in Jud├Ža
1   In Judah is God known; his Name is great in Israel.
2   At Salem is his tabernacle, and his dwelling is in Zion.
3   There he broke the flashing arrows, the shield, the sword, and the weapons of battle.
4   How glorious you are! more splendid than the everlasting mountains!
5   The strong of heart have been despoiled; they sink into sleep; none of the warriors can lift a hand.
6   At your rebuke, O God of Jacob, both horse and rider lie stunned.
7   What terror you inspire! who can stand before you when you are angry?
8   From heaven you pronounced judgment; the earth was afraid and was still;
9   When God rose up to judgment and to save all the oppressed of the earth.
10   Truly, wrathful Edom will give you thanks, and the remnant of Hamath will keep your feasts.
11   Make a vow to the LORD your God and keep it; let all around him bring gifts to him who is worthy to be feared.
12   He breaks the spirit of princes, and strikes terror in the kings of the earth.


Psalm 23 Dominus regit me
1   The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.
2   He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters.
3   He revives my soul and guides me along right pathways for his Name's sake.
4   Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5   You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me; you have anointed my head with oil, and my cup is running over.
6   Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.


Psalm 27 Dominus illuminatio
1   The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom then shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom then shall I be afraid?
2   When evildoers came upon me to eat up my flesh, it was they, my foes and my adversaries, who stumbled and fell.
3   Though an army should encamp against me, yet my heart shall not be afraid;
4   And though war should rise up against me, yet will I put my trust in him.
5   One thing have I asked of the LORD; one thing I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life;
6   To behold the fair beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
7   For in the day of trouble he shall keep me safe in his shelter; he shall hide me in the secrecy of his dwelling and set me high upon a rock.
8   Even now he lifts up my head above my enemies round about me.
9   Therefore I will offer in his dwelling an oblation with sounds of great gladness; I will sing and make music to the LORD.
10   Hearken to my voice, O LORD, when I call; have mercy on me and answer me.
11   You speak in my heart and say, "Seek my face." Your face, LORD, will I seek.
12   Hide not your face from me, nor turn away your servant in displeasure.
13   You have been my helper; cast me not away; do not forsake me, O God of my salvation.
14   Though my father and my mother forsake me, the LORD will sustain me.
15   Show me your way, O LORD; lead me on a level path, because of my enemies.
16   Deliver me not into the hand of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen up against me, and also those who speak malice.
17   What if I had not believed that I should see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!
18   O tarry and await the LORD'S pleasure; be strong, and he shall comfort your heart; wait patiently for the LORD.

Meditation for February 6, 2016

Psalm 76:10 Truly, wrathful Edom will give you thanks, and the remnant of Hamath will keep your feasts.

I grew up close to the Natchez Trace, an historic Southern roadway that was built over and connected many ancient Native American paths and trails. New roads have been built over the old route. As I drive, I remember that this road has been used for thousands of years, by thousands of different kinds of people. I feel a kinship with these ancient fellow travelers, passing over the same road, traveling in the same direction.

Psalm 76 creates a similar impression. The New International Version translates the verse this way: “Surely your wrath against mankind brings you praise, and the survivors of your wrath are restrained.” Other translations differ wildly; the writer’s language is so ancient and his way of thinking so foreign to us that nobody seems certain about his meaning here.

And yet the psalmist and I share important common ground. We tell many of the same stories, ask many of the same questions, worship the same God. This long-dead person is my fellow traveler, walking the same road, wandering in the same direction.