Today’s Readings

Isaiah 42–44 (Listen)

42:1   Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
    my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
  I have put my Spirit upon him;
    he will bring forth justice to the nations.
  He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
    or make it heard in the street;
  a bruised reed he will not break,
    and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
    he will faithfully bring forth justice.
  He will not grow faint or be discouraged
    till he has established justice in the earth;
    and the coastlands wait for his law.
  Thus says God, the LORD,
    who created the heavens and stretched them out,
    who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
  who gives breath to the people on it
    and spirit to those who walk in it:
  “I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness;
    I will take you by the hand and keep you;
  I will give you as a covenant for the people,
    a light for the nations,
    to open the eyes that are blind,
  to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
    from the prison those who sit in darkness.
  I am the LORD; that is my name;
    my glory I give to no other,
    nor my praise to carved idols.
  Behold, the former things have come to pass,
    and new things I now declare;
  before they spring forth
    I tell you of them.”

10   Sing to the LORD a new song,
    his praise from the end of the earth,
  you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it,
    the coastlands and their inhabitants.
11   Let the desert and its cities lift up their voice,
    the villages that Kedar inhabits;
  let the habitants of Sela sing for joy,
    let them shout from the top of the mountains.
12   Let them give glory to the LORD,
    and declare his praise in the coastlands.
13   The LORD goes out like a mighty man,
    like a man of war he stirs up his zeal;
  he cries out, he shouts aloud,
    he shows himself mighty against his foes.
14   For a long time I have held my peace;
    I have kept still and restrained myself;
  now I will cry out like a woman in labor;
    I will gasp and pant.
15   I will lay waste mountains and hills,
    and dry up all their vegetation;
  I will turn the rivers into islands,
    and dry up the pools.
16   And I will lead the blind
    in a way that they do not know,
  in paths that they have not known
    I will guide them.
  I will turn the darkness before them into light,
    the rough places into level ground.
  These are the things I do,
    and I do not forsake them.
17   They are turned back and utterly put to shame,
    who trust in carved idols,
  who say to metal images,
    “You are our gods.”

18   Hear, you deaf,
    and look, you blind, that you may see!
19   Who is blind but my servant,
    or deaf as my messenger whom I send?
  Who is blind as my dedicated one,
    or blind as the servant of the LORD?
20   He sees many things, but does not observe them;
    his ears are open, but he does not hear.
21   The LORD was pleased, for his righteousness' sake,
    to magnify his law and make it glorious.
22   But this is a people plundered and looted;
    they are all of them trapped in holes
    and hidden in prisons;
  they have become plunder with none to rescue,
    spoil with none to say, “Restore!”
23   Who among you will give ear to this,
    will attend and listen for the time to come?
24   Who gave up Jacob to the looter,
    and Israel to the plunderers?
  Was it not the LORD, against whom we have sinned,
    in whose ways they would not walk,
    and whose law they would not obey?
25   So he poured on him the heat of his anger
    and the might of battle;
  it set him on fire all around, but he did not understand;
    it burned him up, but he did not take it to heart.

43:1   But now thus says the LORD,
  he who created you, O Jacob,
    he who formed you, O Israel:
  “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
  when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
  For I am the LORD your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
  I give Egypt as your ransom,
    Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
  Because you are precious in my eyes,
    and honored, and I love you,
  I give men in return for you,
    peoples in exchange for your life.
  Fear not, for I am with you;
    I will bring your offspring from the east,
    and from the west I will gather you.
  I will say to the north, Give up,
    and to the south, Do not withhold;
  bring my sons from afar
    and my daughters from the end of the earth,
  everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.”
  Bring out the people who are blind, yet have eyes,
    who are deaf, yet have ears!
  All the nations gather together,
    and the peoples assemble.
  Who among them can declare this,
    and show us the former things?
  Let them bring their witnesses to prove them right,
    and let them hear and say, It is true.
10   “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD,
    “and my servant whom I have chosen,
  that you may know and believe me
    and understand that I am he.
  Before me no god was formed,
    nor shall there be any after me.
11   I, I am the LORD,
    and besides me there is no savior.
12   I declared and saved and proclaimed,
    when there was no strange god among you;
    and you are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and I am God.
13   Also henceforth I am he;
    there is none who can deliver from my hand;
    I work, and who can turn it back?”
14   Thus says the LORD,
    your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
  “For your sake I send to Babylon
    and bring them all down as fugitives,
    even the Chaldeans, in the ships in which they rejoice.
15   I am the LORD, your Holy One,
    the Creator of Israel, your King.”
16   Thus says the LORD,
    who makes a way in the sea,
    a path in the mighty waters,
17   who brings forth chariot and horse,
    army and warrior;
  they lie down, they cannot rise,
    they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:
18   “Remember not the former things,
    nor consider the things of old.
19   Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
  I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.
20   The wild beasts will honor me,
    the jackals and the ostriches,
  for I give water in the wilderness,
    rivers in the desert,
  to give drink to my chosen people,
21     the people whom I formed for myself
  that they might declare my praise.
22   “Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob;
    but you have been weary of me, O Israel!
23   You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings,
    or honored me with your sacrifices.
  I have not burdened you with offerings,
    or wearied you with frankincense.
24   You have not bought me sweet cane with money,
    or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices.
  But you have burdened me with your sins;
    you have wearied me with your iniquities.
25   “I, I am he
    who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,
    and I will not remember your sins.
26   Put me in remembrance; let us argue together;
    set forth your case, that you may be proved right.
27   Your first father sinned,
    and your mediators transgressed against me.
28   Therefore I will profane the princes of the sanctuary,
    and deliver Jacob to utter destruction
    and Israel to reviling.

44:1   “But now hear, O Jacob my servant,
    Israel whom I have chosen!
  Thus says the LORD who made you,
    who formed you from the womb and will help you:
  Fear not, O Jacob my servant,
    Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
  For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
    and streams on the dry ground;
  I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring,
    and my blessing on your descendants.
  They shall spring up among the grass
    like willows by flowing streams.
  This one will say, ‘I am the LORD's,’
    another will call on the name of Jacob,
  and another will write on his hand, ‘The LORD's,’
    and name himself by the name of Israel.”

  Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel
    and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts:
  “I am the first and I am the last;
    besides me there is no god.
  Who is like me? Let him proclaim it.
    Let him declare and set it before me,
  since I appointed an ancient people.
    Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen.
  Fear not, nor be afraid;
    have I not told you from of old and declared it?
    And you are my witnesses!
  Is there a God besides me?
    There is no Rock; I know not any.”

All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. 10 Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing? 11 Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together.

12 The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint. 13 The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. 14 He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. 15 Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. 16 Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” 17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”

18 They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. 19 No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?” 20 He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

21   Remember these things, O Jacob,
    and Israel, for you are my servant;
  I formed you; you are my servant;
    O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.
22   I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud
    and your sins like mist;
  return to me, for I have redeemed you.
23   Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it;
    shout, O depths of the earth;
  break forth into singing, O mountains,
    O forest, and every tree in it!
  For the LORD has redeemed Jacob,
    and will be glorified in Israel.
24   Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer,
    who formed you from the womb:
  “I am the LORD, who made all things,
    who alone stretched out the heavens,
    who spread out the earth by myself,
25   who frustrates the signs of liars
    and makes fools of diviners,
  who turns wise men back
    and makes their knowledge foolish,
26   who confirms the word of his servant
    and fulfills the counsel of his messengers,
  who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited,’
    and of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built,
    and I will raise up their ruins’;
27   who says to the deep, ‘Be dry;
    I will dry up your rivers’;
28   who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,
    and he shall fulfill all my purpose’;
  saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’
    and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’”

John 7:1–13 (Listen)

7:1 After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him. Now the Jews' Feast of Booths was at hand. So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” For not even his brothers believed in him. Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” After saying this, he remained in Galilee.

10 But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private. 11 The Jews were looking for him at the feast, and saying, “Where is he?” 12 And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, “He is a good man,” others said, “No, he is leading the people astray.” 13 Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him.

Psalm 86 (Listen)

A Prayer of David.

86:1   Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me,
    for I am poor and needy.
  Preserve my life, for I am godly;
    save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
  Be gracious to me, O Lord,
    for to you do I cry all the day.
  Gladden the soul of your servant,
    for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
  For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
    abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
  Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer;
    listen to my plea for grace.
  In the day of my trouble I call upon you,
    for you answer me.
  There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
    nor are there any works like yours.
  All the nations you have made shall come
    and worship before you, O Lord,
    and shall glorify your name.
10   For you are great and do wondrous things;
    you alone are God.
11   Teach me your way, O LORD,
    that I may walk in your truth;
    unite my heart to fear your name.
12   I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
    and I will glorify your name forever.
13   For great is your steadfast love toward me;
    you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
14   O God, insolent men have risen up against me;
    a band of ruthless men seeks my life,
    and they do not set you before them.
15   But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
16   Turn to me and be gracious to me;
    give your strength to your servant,
    and save the son of your maidservant.
17   Show me a sign of your favor,
    that those who hate me may see and be put to shame
    because you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

Proverbs 28:21–24 (Listen)

21   To show partiality is not good,
    but for a piece of bread a man will do wrong.
22   A stingy man hastens after wealth
    and does not know that poverty will come upon him.
23   Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favor
    than he who flatters with his tongue.
24   Whoever robs his father or his mother
    and says, “That is no transgression,”
    is a companion to a man who destroys.

Resolving Issues

‘Go and be reconciled… Settle matters quickly.’ Matthew 5:24–25 NIV

Ever had someone make a snarky comment about you on social media? One you just can’t shake from your brain? It starts to rot your ability to concentrate and do things right—at home, school, work. Even worshipping God. Yeah, we’ve all been there but Jesus said this: ‘If you are offering your gift at the altar and… remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift… go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Settle matters quickly.’ (Matthew 5:23–25 NIV) Don’t be led by your wounded ego; be led by God’s Word.

Suppose you can’t contact the person you have the issue with. Here’s what God tells us to do:

(1) ‘Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.’ (James 5:16 NLT)

(2) ‘If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’ (John 20:23 NKJV) Share your feelings with someone worthy of your trust. Pray with them, openly confessing your wrongs and the guilt you feel. Prayer and the presence of an affirming friend can provide you with the peace of mind you seek.

After David murdered Uriah, his lover’s husband, guilt overwhelmed him and he wanted God’s forgiveness. But Uriah wasn’t around to hear his confession; he’d been dead almost a year. So David turned to Nathan the prophet and poured out his heart saying, ‘I have sinned.’ Nathan listened patiently and told him, ‘The Lord has taken away your sin.’ (2 Samuel 12:13 NIV) Follow David’s example—then put the issue behind you and move on.

SoulFood: Is 42–44, John 7:1–13, Ps 86, Prov 28:21–24

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2018

Fri 03 November, 2017


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