February 24, 2018

Psalm 80

For the music director; according to the shushan-eduth style; a psalm of Asaph.

O shepherd of Israel, pay attention,
you who lead Joseph like a flock of sheep!
You who sit enthroned above the winged angels, reveal your splendor!
In the sight of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh reveal your power!
Come and deliver us!
O God, restore us!
Smile on us! Then we will be delivered!
O Lord God, invincible warrior!
How long will you remain angry at your people while they pray to you?
You have given them tears as food;
you have made them drink tears by the measure.
You have made our neighbors dislike us,
and our enemies insult us.
O God, invincible warrior, restore us!
Smile on us! Then we will be delivered!
You uprooted a vine from Egypt;
you drove out nations and transplanted it.
You cleared the ground for it;
it took root,
and filled the land.
The mountains were covered by its shadow,
the highest cedars by its branches.
Its branches reached the Mediterranean Sea,
and its shoots the Euphrates River.
Why did you break down its walls,
so that all who pass by pluck its fruit?
The wild boars of the forest ruin it;
the insects of the field feed on it.
O God, invincible warrior, come back!
Look down from heaven and take notice!
Take care of this vine,
the root your right hand planted,
the shoot you made to grow!
It is burned and cut down.
They die because you are displeased with them.
May you give support to the one you have chosen,
to the one whom you raised up for yourself!
Then we will not turn away from you.
Revive us and we will pray to you!
O Lord God, invincible warrior, restore us!
Smile on us! Then we will be delivered!

1 Samuel 16:1-13

The Lord said to Samuel, “How long do you intend to mourn for Saul? I have rejected him as king over Israel. Fill your horn with olive oil and go! I am sending you to Jesse in Bethlehem, for I have selected a king for myself from among his sons.”

Samuel replied, “How can I go? Saul will hear about it and kill me!” But the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you should do. You will anoint for me the one I point out to you.”

Samuel did what the Lord told him. When he arrived in Bethlehem, the elders of the city were afraid to meet him. They said, “Do you come in peace?” He replied, “Yes, in peace. I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” So he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

When they arrived, Samuel noticed Eliab and said to himself, “Surely, here before the Lord stands his chosen king!” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t be impressed by his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. God does not view things the way men do. People look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Then Jesse called Abinadab and presented him to Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one, either.” Then Jesse presented Shammah. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” Jesse presented seven of his sons to Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Is that all of the young men?” Jesse replied, “There is still the youngest one, but he’s taking care of the flock.” Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we cannot turn our attention to other things until he comes here.”

So Jesse had him brought in. Now he was ruddy, with attractive eyes and a handsome appearance. The Lord said, “Go and anoint him. This is the one!” So Samuel took the horn full of olive oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers. The Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day onward. Then Samuel got up and went to Ramah.

1 John 2:18-25

Children, it is the last hour, and just as you heard that the antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. We know from this that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us, because if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But they went out from us to demonstrate that all of them do not belong to us.

Nevertheless you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. I have not written to you that you do not know the truth, but that you do know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but the person who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This one is the antichrist: the person who denies the Father and the Son. Everyone who denies the Son does not have the Father either. The person who confesses the Son has the Father also.

As for you, what you have heard from the beginning must remain in you. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. Now this is the promise that he himself made to us: eternal life.

Psalm 33

You godly ones, shout for joy because of the Lord!
It is appropriate for the morally upright to offer him praise.
Give thanks to the Lord with the harp!
Sing to him to the accompaniment of a ten-stringed instrument!
Sing to him a new song!
Play skillfully as you shout out your praises to him!
For the Lord’s decrees are just,
and everything he does is fair.
The Lord promotes equity and justice;
the Lord’s faithfulness extends throughout the earth.
By the Lord’s decree the heavens were made;
by a mere word from his mouth all the stars in the sky were created.
He piles up the water of the sea;
he puts the oceans in storehouses.
Let the whole earth fear the Lord!
Let all who live in the world stand in awe of him!
For he spoke, and it came into existence,
he issued the decree, and it stood firm.
The Lord frustrates the decisions of the nations;
he nullifies the plans of the peoples.
The Lord’s decisions stand forever;
his plans abide throughout the ages.
How blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people whom he has chosen to be his special possession.
The Lord watches from heaven;
he sees all people.
From the place where he lives he looks carefully
at all the earth’s inhabitants.
He is the one who forms every human heart,
and takes note of all their actions.
No king is delivered by his vast army;
a warrior is not saved by his great might.
A horse disappoints those who trust in it for victory;
despite its great strength, it cannot deliver.
Look, the Lord takes notice of his loyal followers,
those who wait for him to demonstrate his faithfulness
by saving their lives from death
and sustaining them during times of famine.
We wait for the Lord;
he is our deliverer and shield.
For our hearts rejoice in him,
for we trust in his holy name.
May we experience your faithfulness, O Lord,
for we wait for you.

Acts 20:17-35

From Miletus he sent a message to Ephesus, telling the elders of the church to come to him.

When they arrived, he said to them, “You yourselves know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I set foot in the province of Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears, and with the trials that happened to me because of the plots of the Jews. You know that I did not hold back from proclaiming to you anything that would be helpful, and from teaching you publicly and from house to house, testifying to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus. And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem without knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit warns me in town after town that imprisonment and persecutions are waiting for me. But I do not consider my life worth anything to myself, so that I may finish my task and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace.

“And now I know that none of you among whom I went around proclaiming the kingdom will see me again. Therefore I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of you all. For I did not hold back from announcing to you the whole purpose of God. Watch out for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son. I know that after I am gone fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Even from among your own group men will arise, teaching perversions of the truth to draw the disciples away after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that night and day for three years I did not stop warning each one of you with tears. And now I entrust you to God and to the message of his grace. This message is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have desired no one’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine provided for my needs and the needs of those who were with me. By all these things, I have shown you that by working in this way we must help the weak, and remember the words of the Lord Jesus that he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”