Thursday, December 16, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Thursday, December 16, 2021

A New Covenant Written on the Heart

The Daily Bible Readings
Thursday, December 16, 2021
Psalm 80:1-7; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 10:10-18
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible


Our psalm is a prayer to Israel’s Shepherd for restoration in today’s lectionary readings.  In the prayer, the psalmist asks God how long it will be before 1. God stops being angry with them; 2. God stops making them cry buckets full of tears, and 3. God stops their enemies fighting them and laughing at them. Our reading in Jeremiah is one of the Old Testament’s greatest messages. Were we to distinguish degrees of importance by a difference of type, these verses should be printed in the boldest lettering to catch every eye. It is a prophecy that foretells Christianity, that anticipates the New Testament. When the prophet delivers this oracle, he speaks as a Christian born long before the time. Our reading in Hebrews offers the answer concerning the inadequacy of the sacrifices offered by the priests of the Old Testament. It explains why no further offering for sin is necessary. It is because Christ’s offering was completely effective. By Christ’s singular offering, “He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified,” or literally, those who are being sanctified. In our verse of the day, Mary, by her own words, indicates her purpose is to glorify God, and she needs a savior. She tells all who will listen that God has supplied her need.

Today’s Verse of the Day:
Luke 1:46-47, 49

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior… for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.”
Mary’s spirit rejoices in God. She allows His Spirit to enter her soul and flesh. Through her mouth, with her emotions, she gives glory to the Lord, declaring He has done great things for her. She is prepared to receive a miracle and God blesses her. She is pregnant with the Holy One, The Babe, The Son of MaryWhat Child is This?

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter
Psalm 80:1-7
Show the Light of your Countenance

1 Hear us, Shepherd of Israel,
     you who lead Joseph like a flock.
  You who sit enthroned between the cherubim,
     shine forth
2 before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
  Awaken your might;
     come and save us.

3 Restore us, O God;
     make your face shine on us,
     that we may be saved.

4 How long, Lord God Almighty,
     will your anger smolder
     against the prayers of your people?
5 You have fed them with the bread of tears;
     you have made them drink tears by the bowlful.
6 You have made us an object of derision to our neighbors,
     and our enemies mock us.

7 Restore us, God Almighty;
     make your face shine on us,
     that we may be saved.


He that dwells upon the mercy-seat, is the good Shepherd of his people. But we can neither expect the comfort of his love, nor the protection of his arm, unless we partake of his converting grace. If he is really angry at the prayers of his people, it is because, although they pray, their ends are not right, or there is some secret sin indulged in them, or he will try their patience and perseverance in prayer. When God is displeased with his people, we must expect to see them in tears, and their enemies in triumph. There is no salvation but from God's favor; there is no conversion to God but by his own grace.

From the Prophetic Books of Major Prophets
Jeremiah 31:31-34
A New Covenant Written on the Heart

31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
      “when I will make a new covenant
   with the people of Israel
      and with the people of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant
      I made with their ancestors
   when I took them by the hand
      to lead them out of Egypt,
   because they broke my covenant,
      though I was a husband to them,”
   declares the Lord.
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
      after that time,” declares the Lord.
   “I will put my law in their minds
      and write it on their hearts.
   I will be their God,
      and they will be my people.
34 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
      or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
   because they will all know me,
      from the least of them to the greatest,”
   declares the Lord.
   “For I will forgive their wickedness
      and will remember their sins no more.”


The people of God shall become numerous and prosperous. In Hebrews 8:8; 8:9, this place is quoted as the sum of the covenant of grace made with believers in Jesus Christ. Not, I will give them a new law; for Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it; but the law shall be written in their hearts by the finger of the Spirit, as formerly written in the tables of stone. The Lord will, by his grace, make his people willing people in the day of his power. All shall know the Lord; all shall be welcome to the knowledge of God, and shall have the means of that knowledge. There shall be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, at the time the gospel is published. No man shall finally perish, but for his own sins; none, who is willing to accept of Christ's salvation.

From the Epistles
Hebrews 10:10-18
New Priest New Sacrifice once for All

10:10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:

16 “This is the covenant I will make with them
      after that time, says the Lord.
   I will put my laws in their hearts,
      and I will write them on their minds.”

17 Then he adds:

   “Their sins and lawless acts
      I will remember no more.”

18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.


Verse 10: The atoning sacrifice must be one capable of consenting, and must of his own will place himself in the sinner's stead: Christ did so. The fountain of all that Christ has done for his people, is the sovereign will and grace of God. The righteousness brought in, and the sacrifice once offered by Christ, are of eternal power, and his salvation shall never be done away. They are of power to make all the comers thereunto perfect; they derive from the atoning blood, strength and motives for obedience, and inward comfort.

Verses 11-18: Under the new covenant, or gospel dispensation, full and final pardon is to be had. This makes a vast difference between the new covenant and the old one. Under the old, sacrifices must be often repeated, and after all, only pardon as to this world was to be obtained by them. Under the new, one Sacrifice is enough to procure for all nations and ages, spiritual pardon, or being freed from punishment in the world to come. Well might this be called a new covenant. Let none suppose that human inventions can avail those who put them in the place of the sacrifice of the Son of God. What then remains, but that we seek an interest in this Sacrifice by faith; and the seal of it to our souls, by the sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience? So that by the law being written in our hearts, we may know that we are justified, and that God will no more remember our sins.

Today’s Lectionary Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year C. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2022, we will be in Year A. The year which ended at Advent 2021 was Year B. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.

The Morning Prayer for Thursday, December 16, 2021


The Morning Prayer
Thursday, December 16, 2021

The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.
Isaiah 50:4, NIV

Lord our God, we thank you for giving us the task of serving you in the name of your servant, Jesus Christ, for letting each of us have a part in carrying out your will. Keep us true to this service. We want to be faithful, always listening to you, for you open our ears and help us know your will and respond to it. Be with us in these days. Strengthen your love and compassion in all hearts. May the life of Jesus Christ gain greater and greater power in all people on earth. Amen.

Verse of the Day for Thursday, December 16, 2021


Verse of the Day
Thursday, December 16, 2021

Luke 1:46-47, 49
And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior… for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.”
Mary’s spirit rejoices in God. She allows His Spirit to enter her soul and flesh. Through her mouth, with her emotions, she gives glory to the Lord, declaring He has done great things for her. She is prepared to receive a miracle and God blesses her. She is pregnant with the Holy One, The Babe, The Son of MaryWhat Child is This?

Read all of Luke Chapter 1

Listen to Luke Chapter 1

Scripture from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.

Our Daily Bread — What Are You?


What Are You?

In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. Galatians 3:26

READ Galatians 3:26–4:7

When I walked into the ice cream shop with my five-year-old biracial son, the man behind the counter glanced at me and stared at my child. “What are you?”

His question and harsh tone triggered the all-too-familiar anger and heartache I’d experienced growing up as a Mexican-American who didn’t fit stereotypes. Pulling Xavier closer, I turned toward my Black husband as he entered the store. With eyes narrowed, the store clerk completed our order in silence.

I prayed silently for the man as my son listed the flavors of ice cream he wanted to try. Repenting of my bitterness, I asked God to give me a spirit of forgiveness. With my light-but-not-white complexion, I’d been the target of similar glares accompanying that same question over the years. I’d struggled with insecurities and feelings of worthlessness until I began learning how to embrace my identity as God’s beloved daughter.

The apostle Paul declares that believers in Jesus are “all children of God through faith,” equally valued and beautifully diverse. We’re intimately connected and intentionally designed to work together (Galatians 3:26–29). When God sent His Son to redeem us, we became family through His blood shed on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins (4:4–7). As God’s image-bearers, our worth cannot be determined by the opinions, expectations, or biases of others.

What are we? We’re children of God.

By Xochitl Dixon


When have you doubted your value as a person due to the opinions, expectations, or biases of others? How does knowing all God’s children are His image-bearers help you love those who are different from you?

Father God, please help me to see myself and others through Your eyes. Help me love with Your heart as I come into contact with people who are different from me.


Paul isn’t abolishing all ethnic, economic, or gender distinctions in the church (Galatians 3:28). Rather, in speaking of our salvation, Paul says God treats everyone on the same basis: All have sinned—“we are all prisoners of sin” (3:22 nlt; see Romans 3:23). Everyone needs to repent (Acts 2:38; 3:19). We’re all saved in the same way—by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9). “In Christ Jesus [we] are all children of God through faith” (Galatians 3:26). In Jesus, God embraces us equally (1 Corinthians 12:13; Colossians 3:11). While we enter God’s family by being “born again” (John 3:3; 1 Peter 1:3, 23), Paul uses the concept of adoption to describe our standing in the family so we can immediately claim our status and enjoy our full privileges as His children—“God has made you also an heir” (Galatians 4:7). We’re “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17).

K. T. Sim