March 23, 2018

Psalm 95

Come! Let’s sing for joy to the Lord!
Let’s shout out praises to our protector who delivers us!
Let’s enter his presence with thanksgiving!
Let’s shout out to him in celebration!
For the Lord is a great God,
a great king who is superior to all gods.
The depths of the earth are in his hand,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it.
His hands formed the dry land.
Come! Let’s bow down and worship!
Let’s kneel before the Lord, our Creator!
For he is our God;
we are the people of his pasture,
the sheep he owns.
Today, if only you would obey him!
He says, “Do not be stubborn like they were at Meribah,
like they were that day at Massah in the wilderness,
where your ancestors challenged my authority,
and tried my patience, even though they had seen my work.
For forty years I was continually disgusted with that generation,
and I said, ‘These people desire to go astray;
they do not obey my commands.’
So I made a vow in my anger,
‘They will never enter into the resting place I had set aside for them.’”

Psalm 22

For the music director; according to the tune “Morning Doe;” a psalm of David.

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
I groan in prayer, but help seems far away.
My God, I cry out during the day,
but you do not answer,
and during the night my prayers do not let up.
You are holy;
you sit as king receiving the praises of Israel.
In you our ancestors trusted;
they trusted in you and you rescued them.
To you they cried out, and they were saved;
in you they trusted and they were not disappointed.
But I am a worm, not a man;
people insult me and despise me.
All who see me taunt me;
they mock me and shake their heads.
They say,
“Commit yourself to the Lord!
Let the Lord rescue him!
Let the Lord deliver him, for he delights in him.”
Yes, you are the one who brought me out from the womb
and made me feel secure on my mother’s breasts.
I have been dependent on you since birth;
from the time I came out of my mother’s womb you have been my God.
Do not remain far away from me,
for trouble is near and I have no one to help me.
Many bulls surround me;
powerful bulls of Bashan hem me in.
They open their mouths to devour me
like a roaring lion that rips its prey.
My strength drains away like water;
all my bones are dislocated;
my heart is like wax;
it melts away inside me.
The roof of my mouth is as dry as a piece of pottery;
my tongue sticks to my gums.
You set me in the dust of death.
Yes, wild dogs surround me—
a gang of evil men crowd around me;
like a lion they pin my hands and feet.
I can count all my bones;
my enemies are gloating over me in triumph.
They are dividing up my clothes among themselves;
they are rolling dice for my garments.
But you, O Lord, do not remain far away!
You are my source of strength! Hurry and help me!
Deliver me from the sword!
Save my life from the claws of the wild dogs!
Rescue me from the mouth of the lion,
and from the horns of the wild oxen!
You have answered me!
I will declare your name to my countrymen!
In the middle of the assembly I will praise you!
You loyal followers of the Lord, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
All you descendants of Israel, stand in awe of him!
For he did not despise or detest the suffering of the oppressed;
he did not ignore him;
when he cried out to him, he responded.
You are the reason I offer praise in the great assembly;
I will fulfill my promises before the Lord’s loyal followers.
Let the oppressed eat and be filled!
Let those who seek his help praise the Lord!
May you live forever!
Let all the people of the earth acknowledge the Lord and turn to him!
Let all the nations worship you!
For the Lord is king
and rules over the nations.
All of the thriving people of the earth will join the celebration and worship;
all those who are descending into the grave will bow before him,
including those who cannot preserve their lives.
A whole generation will serve him;
they will tell the next generation about the sovereign Lord.
They will come and tell about his saving deeds;
they will tell a future generation what he has accomplished.

Psalm 141

A psalm of David.

O Lord, I cry out to you. Come quickly to me!
Pay attention to me when I cry out to you!
May you accept my prayer like incense,
my uplifted hands like the evening offering!
O Lord, place a guard on my mouth!
Protect the opening of my lips!
Do not let me have evil desires,
or participate in sinful activities
with men who behave wickedly.
I will not eat their delicacies.
May the godly strike me in love and correct me!
May my head not refuse choice oil!
Indeed, my prayer is a witness against their evil deeds.
They will be thrown down the side of a cliff by their judges.
They will listen to my words, for they are pleasant.
As when one plows and breaks up the soil,
so our bones are scattered at the mouth of Sheol.
Surely I am looking to you, O sovereign Lord.
In you I take shelter.
Do not expose me to danger!
Protect me from the snare they have laid for me,
and the traps the evildoers have set.
Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
while I escape.

Psalm 143

A psalm of David.

O Lord, hear my prayer!
Pay attention to my plea for help!
Because of your faithfulness and justice, answer me!
Do not sit in judgment on your servant,
for no one alive is innocent before you.
Certainly my enemies chase me.
They smash me into the ground.
They force me to live in dark regions,
like those who have been dead for ages.
My strength leaves me;
I am absolutely shocked.
I recall the old days;
I meditate on all you have done;
I reflect on your accomplishments.
I spread my hands out to you in prayer;
my soul thirsts for you in a parched land.
Answer me quickly, Lord!
My strength is fading.
Do not reject me,
or I will join those descending into the grave.
May I hear about your loyal love in the morning,
for I trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
because I long for you.
Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord!
I run to you for protection.
Teach me to do what pleases you,
for you are my God.
May your kind presence
lead me into a level land.
O Lord, for the sake of your reputation, revive me!
Because of your justice, rescue me from trouble!
As a demonstration of your loyal love, destroy my enemies!
Annihilate all who threaten my life,
for I am your servant.

Exodus 9:13-35

The Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning, stand before Pharaoh, and tell him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews: “Release my people so that they may serve me! For this time I will send all my plagues on your very self and on your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with plague, and you would have been destroyed from the earth. But for this purpose I have caused you to stand: to show you my strength, and so that my name may be declared in all the earth. You are still exalting yourself against my people by not releasing them. I am going to cause very severe hail to rain down about this time tomorrow, such hail as has never occurred in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. So now, send instructions to gather your livestock and all your possessions in the fields to a safe place. Every person or animal caught in the field and not brought into the house—the hail will come down on them, and they will die!”’”

Those of Pharaoh’s servants who feared the word of the Lord hurried to bring their servants and livestock into the houses, but those who did not take the word of the Lord seriously left their servants and their cattle in the field.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Extend your hand toward the sky that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, on people and on animals, and on everything that grows in the field in the land of Egypt.” When Moses extended his staff toward the sky, the Lord sent thunder and hail, and fire fell to the earth; so the Lord caused hail to rain down on the land of Egypt. Hail fell and fire mingled with the hail; the hail was so severe that there had not been any like it in all the land of Egypt since it had become a nation. The hail struck everything in the open fields, both people and animals, throughout all the land of Egypt. The hail struck everything that grows in the field, and it broke all the trees of the field to pieces. Only in the land of Goshen, where the Israelites lived, was there no hail.

So Pharaoh sent and summoned Moses and Aaron and said to them, “I have sinned this time! The Lord is righteous, and I and my people are guilty. Pray to the Lord, for the mighty thunderings and hail are too much! I will release you and you will stay no longer.”

Moses said to him, “When I leave the city I will spread my hands to the Lord, the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth belongs to the Lord. But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear the Lord God.”

(Now the flax and the barley were struck by the hail, for the barley had ripened and the flax was in bud. But the wheat and the spelt were not struck, for they are later crops.)

So Moses left Pharaoh, went out of the city, and spread out his hands to the Lord, and the thunder and the hail ceased, and the rain stopped pouring on the earth. When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder ceased, he sinned again: both he and his servants hardened their hearts. So Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, and he did not release the Israelites, as the Lord had predicted through Moses.

2 Corinthians 4:1-12

Therefore, since we have this ministry, just as God has shown us mercy, we do not become discouraged. But we have rejected shameful hidden deeds, not behaving with deceptiveness or distorting the word of God, but by open proclamation of the truth we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience before God. But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing, among whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said “Let light shine out of darkness,” is the one who shined in our hearts to give us the light of the glorious knowledge of God in the face of Christ.

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that the extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are experiencing trouble on every side, but are not crushed; we are perplexed, but not driven to despair; we are persecuted, but not abandoned; we are knocked down, but not destroyed, always carrying around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our body. For we who are alive are constantly being handed over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our mortal body. As a result, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

Mark 10:32-45

They were on the way, going up to Jerusalem. Jesus was going ahead of them, and they were amazed, but those who followed were afraid. He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them what was going to happen to him. “Look, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and experts in the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, spit on him, flog him severely, and kill him. Yet after three days, he will rise again.”

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him and said, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” He said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Permit one of us to sit at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I experience?” They said to him, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink, and you will be baptized with the baptism I experience, but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give. It is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

Now when the other ten heard this, they became angry with James and John. Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions use their authority over them. But it is not this way among you. Instead whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”