Today’s Readings

Isaiah 4–7 ()

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4:1 And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach.”

In that day the branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel. And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. Then the LORD will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy. There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.

5:1   Let me sing for my beloved
    my love song concerning his vineyard:
  My beloved had a vineyard
    on a very fertile hill.
  He dug it and cleared it of stones,
    and planted it with choice vines;
  he built a watchtower in the midst of it,
    and hewed out a wine vat in it;
  and he looked for it to yield grapes,
    but it yielded wild grapes.
  And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem
    and men of Judah,
  judge between me and my vineyard.
  What more was there to do for my vineyard,
    that I have not done in it?
  When I looked for it to yield grapes,
    why did it yield wild grapes?
  And now I will tell you
    what I will do to my vineyard.
  I will remove its hedge,
    and it shall be devoured;
  I will break down its wall,
    and it shall be trampled down.
  I will make it a waste;
    it shall not be pruned or hoed,
    and briers and thorns shall grow up;
  I will also command the clouds
    that they rain no rain upon it.
  For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts
    is the house of Israel,
  and the men of Judah
    are his pleasant planting;
  and he looked for justice,
    but behold, bloodshed;
  for righteousness,
    but behold, an outcry!

  Woe to those who join house to house,
    who add field to field,
  until there is no more room,
    and you are made to dwell alone
    in the midst of the land.
  The LORD of hosts has sworn in my hearing:
  “Surely many houses shall be desolate,
    large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant.
10   For ten acres of vineyard shall yield but one bath,
    and a homer of seed shall yield but an ephah.”
11   Woe to those who rise early in the morning,
    that they may run after strong drink,
  who tarry late into the evening
    as wine inflames them!
12   They have lyre and harp,
    tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts,
  but they do not regard the deeds of the LORD,
    or see the work of his hands.
13   Therefore my people go into exile
    for lack of knowledge;
  their honored men go hungry,
    and their multitude is parched with thirst.
14   Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite
    and opened its mouth beyond measure,
  and the nobility of Jerusalem and her multitude will go down,
    her revelers and he who exults in her.
15   Man is humbled, and each one is brought low,
    and the eyes of the haughty are brought low.
16   But the LORD of hosts is exalted in justice,
    and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness.
17   Then shall the lambs graze as in their pasture,
    and nomads shall eat among the ruins of the rich.
18   Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood,
    who draw sin as with cart ropes,
19   who say: “Let him be quick,
    let him speed his work
    that we may see it;
  let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near,
    and let it come, that we may know it!”
20   Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
  who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
  who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter!
21   Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
    and shrewd in their own sight!
22   Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine,
    and valiant men in mixing strong drink,
23   who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
    and deprive the innocent of his right!
24   Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble,
    and as dry grass sinks down in the flame,
  so their root will be as rottenness,
    and their blossom go up like dust;
  for they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts,
    and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
25   Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against his people,
    and he stretched out his hand against them and struck them,
    and the mountains quaked;
  and their corpses were as refuse
    in the midst of the streets.
  For all this his anger has not turned away,
    and his hand is stretched out still.
26   He will raise a signal for nations far away,
    and whistle for them from the ends of the earth;
  and behold, quickly, speedily they come!
27   None is weary, none stumbles,
    none slumbers or sleeps,
  not a waistband is loose,
    not a sandal strap broken;
28   their arrows are sharp,
    all their bows bent,
  their horses' hoofs seem like flint,
    and their wheels like the whirlwind.
29   Their roaring is like a lion,
    like young lions they roar;
  they growl and seize their prey;
    they carry it off, and none can rescue.
30   They will growl over it on that day,
    like the growling of the sea.
  And if one looks to the land,
    behold, darkness and distress;
  and the light is darkened by its clouds.

6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

  “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
  the whole earth is full of his glory!”

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people:

  “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
  keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
10   Make the heart of this people dull,
    and their ears heavy,
    and blind their eyes;
  lest they see with their eyes,
    and hear with their ears,
  and understand with their hearts,
    and turn and be healed.”
11   Then I said, “How long, O Lord?”
  And he said:
  “Until cities lie waste
    without inhabitant,
  and houses without people,
    and the land is a desolate waste,
12   and the LORD removes people far away,
    and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.
13   And though a tenth remain in it,
    it will be burned again,
  like a terebinth or an oak,
    whose stump remains
    when it is felled.”
  The holy seed is its stump.

7:1 In the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah, Rezin the king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah the king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but could not yet mount an attack against it. When the house of David was told, “Syria is in league with Ephraim,” the heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.

And the LORD said to Isaiah, “Go out to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-jashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Washer's Field. And say to him, ‘Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remaliah. Because Syria, with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has devised evil against you, saying, “Let us go up against Judah and terrify it, and let us conquer it for ourselves, and set up the son of Tabeel as king in the midst of it,” thus says the Lord GOD:

  “‘It shall not stand,
    and it shall not come to pass.
  For the head of Syria is Damascus,
    and the head of Damascus is Rezin.
  And within sixty-five years
    Ephraim will be shattered from being a people.
  And the head of Ephraim is Samaria,
    and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah.
  If you are not firm in faith,
    you will not be firm at all.’”

10 Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz: 11 “Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” 12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.” 13 And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. 15 He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16 For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted. 17 The LORD will bring upon you and upon your people and upon your father's house such days as have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah—the king of Assyria!”

18 In that day the LORD will whistle for the fly that is at the end of the streams of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. 19 And they will all come and settle in the steep ravines, and in the clefts of the rocks, and on all the thornbushes, and on all the pastures.

20 In that day the Lord will shave with a razor that is hired beyond the River—with the king of Assyria—the head and the hair of the feet, and it will sweep away the beard also.

21 In that day a man will keep alive a young cow and two sheep, 22 and because of the abundance of milk that they give, he will eat curds, for everyone who is left in the land will eat curds and honey.

23 In that day every place where there used to be a thousand vines, worth a thousand shekels of silver, will become briers and thorns. 24 With bow and arrows a man will come there, for all the land will be briers and thorns. 25 And as for all the hills that used to be hoed with a hoe, you will not come there for fear of briers and thorns, but they will become a place where cattle are let loose and where sheep tread.

Matthew 10:1–10 ()

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10:1 And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food.

Psalm 100 ()

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A Psalm for giving thanks.

100:1   Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
    Serve the LORD with gladness!
    Come into his presence with singing!
  Know that the LORD, he is God!
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
  Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise!
    Give thanks to him; bless his name!
  For the LORD is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations.

Proverbs 3:7–8 ()

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  Be not wise in your own eyes;
    fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
  It will be healing to your flesh
    and refreshment to your bones.

Sat 25 January, 2020


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