September 18, 2023
64 O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
so that the mountains would quake at your presence—
2 as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
so that the nations might tremble at your presence!
3 When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
you came down; the mountains quaked at your presence.
4 From ages past no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who works for those who wait for him.
5 You meet those who gladly do right,
those who remember you in your ways.
But you were angry, and we sinned;
because you hid yourself we transgressed.
6 We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
7 There is no one who calls on your name
or attempts to take hold of you,
for you have hidden your face from us
and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.
8 Yet, O Lord, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
9 Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord,
and do not remember iniquity forever.
Now consider, we are all your people.
10 Your holy cities have become a wilderness;
Zion has become a wilderness,
Jerusalem a desolation.
11 Our holy and beautiful house,
where our ancestors praised you,
has been burned by fire,
and all our pleasant places have become ruins.
12 After all this, will you restrain yourself, O Lord?
Will you keep silent and punish us so severely?
The Righteousness of God’s Judgment
65 I was ready to be sought out by those who did not ask,
to be found by those who did not seek me.
I said, “Here I am, here I am,”
to a nation that did not call on my name.
2 I held out my hands all day long
to a rebellious people,
who walk in a way that is not good,
following their own devices;
3 a people who provoke me
to my face continually,
sacrificing in gardens
and offering incense on bricks;
4 who sit inside tombs
and spend the night in secret places;
who eat the flesh of pigs,
with broth of abominable things in their vessels;
5 who say, “Keep to yourself;
do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.”
These are a smoke in my nostrils,
a fire that burns all day long.
6 See, it is written before me:
I will not keep silent, but I will repay;
I will indeed repay into their laps
7 their iniquities and their ancestors’ iniquities together,
says the Lord;
because they offered incense on the mountains
and reviled me on the hills,
I will measure into their laps
full payment for their actions.
8 Thus says the Lord:
As the wine is found in the cluster,
and they say, “Do not destroy it,
for there is a blessing in it,”
so I will do for my servants’ sake
and not destroy them all.
9 I will bring forth descendants from Jacob
and from Judah inheritors of my mountains;
my chosen shall inherit it,
and my servants shall settle there.
10 Sharon shall become a pasture for flocks
and the Valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down,
for my people who have sought me.
11 But you who forsake the Lord,
who forget my holy mountain,
who set a table for Fortune
and fill cups of mixed wine for Destiny,
12 I will destine you to the sword,
and all of you shall bow down to the slaughter;
because, when I called, you did not answer,
when I spoke, you did not listen,
but you did what was evil in my sight
and chose what I did not delight in.
13 Therefore thus says the Lord God:
My servants shall eat,
but you shall be hungry;
my servants shall drink,
but you shall be thirsty;
my servants shall rejoice,
but you shall be put to shame;
14 my servants shall sing with gladness of heart,
but you shall cry out in pain of heart
and shall wail in anguish of spirit.
15 You shall leave your name to my chosen to use as a curse,
and the Lord God will put you to death,
but to his servants he will give a different name.
16 Then whoever invokes a blessing in the land
shall bless by the God of faithfulness,
and whoever takes an oath in the land
shall swear by the God of faithfulness,
because the former troubles are forgotten
and are hidden from my sight.
The Glorious New Creation
17 For I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I am creating,
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy
and its people as a delight.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it
or the cry of distress.
20 No more shall there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days
or an old person who does not live out a lifetime,
for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,
and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.
21 They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 They shall not build and another inhabit;
they shall not plant and another eat,
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
23 They shall not labor in vain
or bear children for calamity,
for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord—
and their descendants as well.
24 Before they call I will answer,
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together;
the lion shall eat straw like the ox,
but the serpent—its food shall be dust!
They shall not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain,
says the Lord.
The Worship God Demands
66 Thus says the Lord:
Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool;
so what kind of house could you build for me,
what sort of place for me to rest?
2 All these things my hand has made,
so all these things are mine,
says the Lord.
But this is the one to whom I will look,
to the humble and contrite in spirit
who trembles at my word.
3 Whoever slaughters an ox is like one who kills a human,
whoever sacrifices a lamb like one who breaks a dog’s neck,
whoever presents a grain offering like one who offers pig’s blood,
whoever makes a memorial offering of frankincense like one who blesses an idol.
Just as these have chosen their own ways
and in their abominations they take delight,
4 so I will choose their punishments
and bring upon them what they fear,
because, when I called, no one answered,
when I spoke, they did not listen,
but they did what was evil in my sight
and chose what did not please me.
The Lord Vindicates Zion
5 Hear the word of the Lord,
you who tremble at his word:
Your own people who hate you
and reject you for my name’s sake
have said, “Let the Lord be glorified,
so that we may see your joy,”
but it is they who shall be put to shame.
6 Listen, a roar from the city!
A voice from the temple!
The voice of the Lord,
dealing retribution to his enemies!
7 Before she was in labor
she gave birth;
before her pain came upon her
she delivered a son.
8 Who has heard of such a thing?
Who has seen such things?
Shall a land be born in one day?
Shall a nation be delivered in one moment?
Yet as soon as Zion was in labor
she delivered her children.
9 Shall I open the womb and not deliver?
says the Lord;
shall I, the one who delivers, shut the womb?
says your God.
10 Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,
all you who love her;
rejoice with her in joy,
all you who mourn over her—
11 that you may nurse and be satisfied
from her consoling breast,
that you may drink deeply with delight
from her glorious bosom.
12 For thus says the Lord:
I will extend prosperity to her like a river
and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream,
and you shall nurse and be carried on her arm
and bounced on her knees.
13 As a mother comforts her child,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
The Reign and Indignation of God
14 You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;
your bodies shall flourish like the grass,
and it shall be known that the power of the Lord is with his servants,
and his indignation is against his enemies.
15 For the Lord will come in fire
and his chariots in a whirlwind,
to vent his anger in fury
and his rebuke in flames of fire.
16 For by fire will the Lord execute judgment,
and by his sword on all flesh;
and those slain by the Lord shall be many.
17 Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following the one in the center, eating the flesh of pigs, vermin, and rodents, shall come to an end together, says the Lord, 18 for I know their works and their thoughts.
I am coming to gather all nations and tongues, and they shall come and shall see my glory, 19 and I will set a sign among them. From them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Put, and Lud, to Meshech, Tubal, and Javan, to the coastlands far away that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory, and they shall declare my glory among the nations. 20 They shall bring all your kindred from all the nations as an offering to the Lord, on horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and on mules, and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the Lord, just as the Israelites bring a grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord. 21 And I will also take some of them as priests and as Levites, says the Lord.
22 For as the new heavens and the new earth,
which I will make,
shall remain before me, says the Lord,
so shall your descendants and your name remain.
23 From new moon to new moon
and from Sabbath to Sabbath,
all flesh shall come to worship before me,
says the Lord.
24 And they shall go out and look at the dead bodies of the people who have rebelled against me, for their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.
2 Corinthians 2
2 1 So I made up my mind not to make another visit that causes you grief. 2 For if I cause you grief, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have grieved? 3 And I wrote as I did, so that when I came, I might not suffer grief from those who should have made me rejoice, for I am confident about all of you, that my joy would be the joy of all of you. 4 For I wrote you out of much distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you grief but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.
Forgiveness for the Offender
5 But if anyone has caused grief, he has caused it not to me but to some extent—not to exaggerate it—to all of you. 6 This punishment by the majority is enough for such a person; 7 so now instead you should forgive and console him, so that he may not be overwhelmed by even worse grief. 8 So I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. 9 I wrote for this reason: to test you and to know whether you are obedient in everything. 10 Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. In fact, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ. 11 And we do this so that we may not be outwitted by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his designs.
Paul’s Anxiety in Troas
12 When I came to Troas to proclaim the good news of Christ, a door was opened for me in the Lord, 13 but my mind could not rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said farewell to them and went on to Macedonia.
14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession and through us spreads in every place the fragrance that comes from knowing him. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing: 16 to the one group a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is qualified for these things? 17 For we are not peddlers of God’s word like so many, but as persons of sincerity, as persons sent from God, we are speaking in Christ before God.