October 13: Isaiah 44–45; James 3:1–12; Psalm 96; Proverbs 25:20–22


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Isaiah 44–45

Israel the Lord‘s Chosen

44   “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.”

Besides Me There Is No God

  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.Or Who like me can proclaim it?‘>1
    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.”

The Folly of Idolatry

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.Hebrew stylus‘>2 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?”

The Lord Redeems Israel

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 glorifiedOr will display his beauty‘>3 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.’”

Cyrus, God’s Instrument

45   Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus,
    whose right hand I have grasped,
  to subdue nations before him
    and to loose the belts of kings,
  to open doors before him
    that gates may not be closed:
  “I will go before you
    and level the exalted places,Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint level the mountains‘>4
  I will break in pieces the doors of bronze
    and cut through the bars of iron,
  I will give you the treasures of darkness
    and the hoards in secret places,
  that you may know that it is I, the LORD,
    the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
  For the sake of my servant Jacob,
    and Israel my chosen,
  I call you by your name,
    I name you, though you do not know me.
  I am the LORD, and there is no other,
    besides me there is no God;
    I equip you, though you do not know me,
  that people may know, from the rising of the sun
    and from the west, that there is none besides me;
    I am the LORD, and there is no other.
  I form light and create darkness;
    I make well-being and create calamity;
    I am the LORD, who does all these things.

  “Shower, O heavens, from above,
    and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
  let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
    let the earth cause them both to sprout;
    I the LORD have created it.

  “Woe to him who strives with him who formed him,
    a pot among earthen pots!
  Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
    or ‘Your work has no handles’?
10   Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’
    or to a woman, ‘With what are you in labor?’”

11   Thus says the LORD,
    the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him:
  “Ask me of things to come;
    will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands?A slight emendation yields will you question me about my children, or command me concerning the work of my hands?’>5
12   I made the earth
    and created man on it;
  it was my hands that stretched out the heavens,
    and I commanded all their host.
13   I have stirred him up in righteousness,
    and I will make all his ways level;
  he shall build my city
    and set my exiles free,
  not for price or reward,”
    says the LORD of hosts.

The Lord, the Only Savior

14   Thus says the LORD:
  “The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush,
    and the Sabeans, men of stature,
  shall come over to you and be yours;
    they shall follow you;
    they shall come over in chains and bow down to you.
  They will plead with you, saying:
    ‘Surely God is in you, and there is no other,
    no god besides him.’”

15   Truly, you are a God who hides himself,
    O God of Israel, the Savior.
16   All of them are put to shame and confounded;
    the makers of idols go in confusion together.
17   But Israel is saved by the LORD
    with everlasting salvation;
  you shall not be put to shame or confounded
    to all eternity.

18   For thus says the LORD,
  who created the heavens
    (he is God!),
  who formed the earth and made it
    (he established it;
  he did not create it empty,
    he formed it to be inhabited!):
  “I am the LORD, and there is no other.
19   I did not speak in secret,
    in a land of darkness;
  I did not say to the offspring of Jacob,
    ‘Seek me in vain.’Hebrew in emptiness‘>6
  I the LORD speak the truth;
    I declare what is right.

20   “Assemble yourselves and come;
    draw near together,
    you survivors of the nations!
  They have no knowledge
    who carry about their wooden idols,
  and keep on praying to a god
    that cannot save.
21   Declare and present your case;
    let them take counsel together!
  Who told this long ago?
    Who declared it of old?
  Was it not I, the LORD?
    And there is no other god besides me,
  a righteous God and a Savior;
    there is none besides me.

22   “Turn to me and be saved,
    all the ends of the earth!
    For I am God, and there is no other.
23   By myself I have sworn;
    from my mouth has gone out in righteousness
    a word that shall not return:
  ‘To me every knee shall bow,
    every tongue shall swear allegiance.’Septuagint every tongue shall confess to God‘>7

24   “Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me,
    are righteousness and strength;
  to him shall come and be ashamed
    all who were incensed against him.
25   In the LORD all the offspring of Israel
    shall be justified and shall glory.”

James 3:1–12

Taming the Tongue

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life,Or wheel of birth‘>1 and set on fire by hell.Greek Gehenna‘>2 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers,Or brothers and sisters; also verse 12′>3 these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

Psalm 96

Worship in the Splendor of Holiness

96   Oh sing to the LORD a new song;
    sing to the LORD, all the earth!
  Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
    tell of his salvation from day to day.
  Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous works among all the peoples!
  For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
    he is to be feared above all gods.
  For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
    but the LORD made the heavens.
  Splendor and majesty are before him;
    strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

  Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
    ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!
  Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
    bring an offering, and come into his courts!
  Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness;Or in holy attire‘>1
    tremble before him, all the earth!

10   Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!
    Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;
    he will judge the peoples with equity.”

11   Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
    let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
12     let the field exult, and everything in it!
  Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
13     before the LORD, for he comes,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
  He will judge the world in righteousness,
    and the peoples in his faithfulness.

Proverbs 25:20–22

20   Whoever sings songs to a heavy heart
    is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day,
    and like vinegar on soda.
21   If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat,
    and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink,
22   for you will heap burning coals on his head,
    and the LORD will reward you.


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