March 2, 2016

Psalm 119:97-120

מ (Mem)

O how I love your law!
All day long I meditate on it.
Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies,
for I am always aware of them.
I have more insight than all my teachers,
for I meditate on your rules.
I am more discerning than those older than I,
for I observe your precepts.
I stay away from the evil path,
so that I might keep your instructions.
I do not turn aside from your regulations,
for you teach me.
Your words are sweeter
in my mouth than honey!
Your precepts give me discernment.
Therefore I hate all deceitful actions.

נ (Nun)

Your word is a lamp to walk by,
and a light to illumine my path.
I have vowed and solemnly sworn
to keep your just regulations.
I am suffering terribly.
O Lord, revive me with your word!
O Lord, please accept the freewill offerings of my praise!
Teach me your regulations!
My life is in continual danger,
but I do not forget your law.
The wicked lay a trap for me,
but I do not wander from your precepts.
I claim your rules as my permanent possession,
for they give me joy.
I am determined to obey your statutes
at all times, to the very end.

ס (Samek)

I hate people with divided loyalties,
but I love your law.
You are my hiding place and my shield.
I find hope in your word.
Turn away from me, you evil men,
so that I can observe the commands of my God.
Sustain me as you promised, so that I will live.
Do not disappoint me!
Support me, so that I will be delivered.
Then I will focus on your statutes continually.
You despise all who stray from your statutes,
for they are deceptive and unreliable.
You remove all the wicked of the earth like slag.
Therefore I love your rules.
My body trembles because I fear you;
I am afraid of your judgments.

Psalm 81

For the music director; according to the gittith style; by Asaph.

Shout for joy to God, our source of strength!
Shout out to the God of Jacob!
Sing a song and play the tambourine,
the pleasant sounding harp, and the ten-stringed instrument!
Sound the ram’s horn on the day of the new moon,
and on the day of the full moon when our festival begins.
For observing the festival is a requirement for Israel;
it is an ordinance given by the God of Jacob.
He decreed it as a regulation in Joseph,
when he attacked the land of Egypt.
I heard a voice I did not recognize.
It said: “I removed the burden from his shoulder;
his hands were released from holding the basket.
In your distress you called out and I rescued you.
I answered you from a dark thundercloud.
I tested you at the waters of Meribah. (Selah)
I said, ‘Listen, my people!
I will warn you!
O Israel, if only you would obey me!
There must be no other god among you.
You must not worship a foreign god.
I am the Lord, your God,
the one who brought you out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide and I will fill it!’
But my people did not obey me;
Israel did not submit to me.
I gave them over to their stubborn desires;
they did what seemed right to them.
If only my people would obey me!
If only Israel would keep my commands!
Then I would quickly subdue their enemies,
and attack their adversaries.”
(May those who hate the Lord cower in fear before him!
May they be permanently humiliated!)
“I would feed Israel the best wheat,
and would satisfy your appetite with honey from the rocky cliffs.”

Psalm 82

A psalm of Asaph.

God stands in the assembly of El;
in the midst of the gods he renders judgment.
He says, “How long will you make unjust legal decisions
and show favoritism to the wicked? (Selah)
Defend the cause of the poor and the fatherless!
Vindicate the oppressed and suffering!
Rescue the poor and needy!
Deliver them from the power of the wicked!
They neither know nor understand.
They stumble around in the dark,
while all the foundations of the earth crumble.
I thought, ‘You are gods;
all of you are sons of the Most High.’
Yet you will die like mortals;
you will fall like all the other rulers.”
Rise up, O God, and execute judgment on the earth!
For you own all the nations.

Genesis 45:16-28

Now it was reported in the household of Pharaoh, “Joseph’s brothers have arrived.” It pleased Pharaoh and his servants. Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Say to your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and go to the land of Canaan! Get your father and your households and come to me! Then I will give you the best land in Egypt and you will eat the best of the land.’ You are also commanded to say, ‘Do this: Take for yourselves wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives. Bring your father and come. Don’t worry about your belongings, for the best of all the land of Egypt will be yours.’”

So the sons of Israel did as he said. Joseph gave them wagons as Pharaoh had instructed, and he gave them provisions for the journey. He gave sets of clothes to each one of them, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five sets of clothes. To his father he sent the following: ten donkeys loaded with the best products of Egypt and ten female donkeys loaded with grain, food, and provisions for his father’s journey. Then he sent his brothers on their way and they left. He said to them, “As you travel don’t be overcome with fear.”

So they went up from Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. They told him, “Joseph is still alive and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt!” Jacob was stunned, for he did not believe them. But when they related to him everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to transport him, their father Jacob’s spirit revived. Then Israel said, “Enough! My son Joseph is still alive! I will go and see him before I die.”

1 Corinthians 8

Food Sacrificed to Idols

With regard to food sacrificed to idols, we know that “we all have knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. If someone thinks he knows something, he does not yet know to the degree that he needs to know. But if someone loves God, he is known by God.

With regard then to eating food sacrificed to idols, we know that “an idol in this world is nothing,” and that “there is no God but one.” If after all there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we live, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we live.

But this knowledge is not shared by all. And some, by being accustomed to idols in former times, eat this food as an idol sacrifice, and their conscience, because it is weak, is defiled. Now food will not bring us close to God. We are no worse if we do not eat and no better if we do. But be careful that this liberty of yours does not become a hindrance to the weak. For if someone weak sees you who possess knowledge dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience be “strengthened” to eat food offered to idols? So by your knowledge the weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed. If you sin against your brothers or sisters in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. For this reason, if food causes my brother or sister to sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I may not cause one of them to sin.

Mark 6:13-29

They cast out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

The Death of John the Baptist

Now King Herod heard this, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead, and because of this, miraculous powers are at work in him.” Others said, “He is Elijah.” Others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets from the past.” But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised!” For Herod himself had sent men, arrested John, and bound him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. For John had repeatedly told Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” So Herodias nursed a grudge against him and wanted to kill him. But she could not because Herod stood in awe of John and protected him, since he knew that John was a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard him, he was thoroughly baffled, and yet he liked to listen to John.

But a suitable day came, when Herod gave a banquet on his birthday for his court officials, military commanders, and leaders of Galilee. When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you want and I will give it to you.” He swore to her, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.” So she went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” Her mother said, “The head of John the baptizer.” Immediately she hurried back to the king and made her request: “I want the head of John the Baptist on a platter immediately.” Although it grieved the king deeply, he did not want to reject her request because of his oath and his guests. So the king sent an executioner at once to bring John’s head, and he went and beheaded John in prison. He brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. When John’s disciples heard this, they came and took his body and placed it in a tomb.