It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Daily Prayer, Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Invitatory Psalm 32
Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven,
  whose sin is covered.
Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity,
  and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
While I kept silence, my body wasted away
  through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
  and I did not hide my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
  and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah

Therefore let all who are faithful offer prayer to you;
at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them.
You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with glad cries of deliverance. Selah

I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
  whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle,
  else it will not stay near you.

Many are the torments of the wicked,
  but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord.
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous,
  and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

Psalm 37

Don’t get upset over evildoers;
don’t be jealous of those who do wrong,
2 because they will fade fast, like grass;
they will wither
like green vegetables.
3 Trust the LORD and do good;
live in the land, and farm faithfulness.
4 Enjoy the LORD ,
and he will give what your heart asks.
5 Commit your way to the LORD !
Trust him! He will act
6 and will make your righteousness
shine like the dawn,
your justice like high noon.
7 Be still before the LORD ,
and wait for him.
Don’t get upset when
someone gets ahead—
someone who invents evil schemes.
8 Let go of anger and leave rage behind!
Don’t get upset—it will only lead to evil.
9 Because evildoers will be eliminated,
but those who hope in the LORD —
they will possess the land.
10 In just a little while
the wicked won’t exist!
If you go looking around their place,
they won’t be there.
11 But the weak will inherit the land;
they will enjoy a surplus of peace.
12 The wicked plot against the righteous,
grinding their teeth at them.
13 But my Lord just laughs at them
because he knows
that their day is coming.
14 The wicked draw their swords
and bend their bows
to bring down the weak and the needy,
to slaughter those whose way is right.
15 But the sword of the wicked
will enter their own hearts!
Their bows will be broken!
16 Better is the little
that the righteous have
than the overabundant wealth
of the wicked.
17 The arms of the wicked will be broken,
but the LORD supports the righteous.
18 The LORD is intimately acquainted
with the lives of the blameless;
their heritage will last forever.
19 They won’t be ashamed
in troubling times,
and in a period of famine
they will eat their fill.
20 But the wicked will die,
the LORD ’s enemies will disappear—
disappear like the beauty
of a meadow—in smoke.
21 The wicked borrow
and don’t pay it back,
but the righteous are generous and giving.
22 Those blessed by God
will possess the land,
but those cursed by God will be cut off.
23 A person’s steps are made secure
by the LORD
when they delight in his way.
24 Though they trip up,
they won’t be thrown down,
because the LORD holds their hand.
25 I was young and now I’m old,
but I have never seen
the righteous left all alone,
have never seen their children
begging for bread.
26 They are always gracious and generous.
Their children are a blessing.
27 Turn away from evil! Do good!
Then you will live in the land forever.
28 The LORD loves justice.
He will never leave his faithful all alone.
They are guarded forever,
but the children of the wicked
are eliminated.
29 The righteous will possess the land;
they will live on it forever.
30 The mouths of the righteous
recite wisdom;
their tongues discuss justice.
31 The Instruction of their God
is in their hearts;
they don’t miss a step.
32 The wicked, on the other hand,
target the righteous,
seeking to kill them.
33 But the LORD won’t leave the righteous
to the power of the wicked,
and won’t let the righteous
be found guilty when they are judged.
34 Hope in the LORD and keep his way!
He will lift you up
so you can possess the land.
When the wicked are eliminated,
you will see it for yourself!
35 I myself have seen
wicked powerful people,
exalting themselves like a stately cedar.
36 But when I came back, they were gone!
I looked all over for them,
but they couldn’t be found!
37 Observe those who have integrity
and watch those whose heart is right
because the future belongs
to persons of peace.
38 But wrongdoers will be destroyed
all together;
the future of the wicked
will be cut short.
39 The salvation of the righteous
comes from the LORD ;
he is their refuge in times of trouble.
40 The LORD will help them
and rescue them—
rescue them from the wicked—
and he will save them
because they have taken refuge in him. [Common English Bible]

Daily Lectionary Reading, Exodus 20:1-6
Then God spoke all these words: 2 I am the LORD your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 You must have no other gods before (i) me. 4 Do not make an idol for yourself—no form whatsoever—of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. 5 Do not bow down to them or worship them, because I, the LORD your God, am a passionate God. I punish children for their parents’ sins even to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me. 6 But I am loyal and gracious to the thousandth generation (j) of those who love me and keep my commandments. [Common English Bible]

i  Or besides
j  Or to thousands

Prayer for Today: O God, keep me mindful that you are God. Keep me from following other gods, putting other objectives as substitutes for you. Amen. 

Midday Psalm 119:57-67
The Lord is my portion;
I promise to keep your words.
I implore your favor with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
When I think of your ways,
   I turn my feet to your decrees;
I hurry and do not delay to keep your commandments.
Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,
I do not forget your law.
At midnight I rise to praise you,
   because of your righteous ordinances.
I am a companion of all who fear you,
   of those who keep your precepts.
The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love;
teach me your statutes.
You have dealt well with your servant,
   O Lord, according to your word.
Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
   for I believe in your commandments.
Before I was humbled I went astray,
   but now I keep your word.

Psalm 63
O God, you are my God, I seek you,
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land
   where there is no water.

So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
   beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
   my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands and call on your name.

My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast,
and my mouth praises you with joyful lips
   when I think of you on my bed,
   and meditate on you in the watches of the night;

for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 68
Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered;
let those who hate him flee before him.
As smoke is driven away, so drive them away;
as wax melts before the fire, let the wicked perish before God.
But let the righteous be joyful;
let them exult before God;
let them be jubilant with joy.

Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds
   —his name is the Lord— be exultant before him.

Father of orphans and protector of widows
   is God in his holy habitation.
God gives the desolate a home to live in;
he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
   but the rebellious live in a parched land.

O God, when you went out before your people,
when you marched through the wilderness, Selah

the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain
   at the presence of God, the God of Sinai,
   at the presence of God, the God of Israel.

Rain in abundance, O God, you showered abroad;
you restored your heritage when it languished;
your flock found a dwelling in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.

The Lord gives the command;
great is the company of those who bore the tidings:
“The kings of the armies, they flee, they flee!”
The women at home divide the spoil,
though they stay among the sheepfolds
   — the wings of a dove covered with silver,
   its pinions with green gold.
When the Almighty scattered kings there,
   snow fell on Zalmon.
O mighty mountain, mountain of Bashan;
O many-peaked mountain, mountain of Bashan!
Why do you look with envy, O many-peaked mountain,
   at the mount that God desired for his abode,
   where the Lord will reside forever?
Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up;
God is our salvation. Selah
Our God is a God of salvation,
   and to God, the Lord, belongs escape from death.

Your solemn processions are seen, O God,
   the processions of my God, my King, into the sanctuary—
   the singers in front, the musicians last,
   between them girls playing tambourines:

“Bless God in the great congregation, the Lord,
   O you who are of Israel’s fountain!”
There is Benjamin, the least of them, in the lead,
the princes of Judah in a body,
the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali.

Summon your might, O God;
show your strength, O God,
   as you have done for us before.

Because of your temple at Jerusalem kings bear gifts to you.
Rebuke the wild animals that live among the reeds,
   the herd of bulls with the calves of the peoples.
Trample under foot those who lust after tribute;
scatter the peoples who delight in war.
Let bronze be brought from Egypt;
let Ethiopia hasten to stretch out its hands to God.

Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth; sing praises to the Lord, Selah
O rider in the heavens, the ancient heavens;
listen, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.
Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel;
   and whose power is in the skies.
Awesome is God in his sanctuary, the God of Israel;
he gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!

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