The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.  Psalm 34:7

Nehemiah 9-10

Nehemiah 9

The People Confess their Sins

1 Now in the 24th day of this month the Israelites were assembled with fasting, with sackcloth, and dirt on themselves. 2 The offspring of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. 3 They stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the Lord their God one fourth of the day; and for one fourth they confessed, and worshiped the Lord their God. 4 Then Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani of the Levites stood up on the stairs, and cried with a loud voice to the Lord their God.

5 Then the Levites, Jeshua, and Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said,

“Stand up and bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting! Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise!

6 You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their army, the earth and all things that are on it, the seas and all that is in them, and you preserve them all. The army of heaven worships you.

7 You are the Lord, the God who chose Abram, brought him out of Ur of the Chaldees, gave him the name of Abraham, 8 found his heart faithful before you, and made a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite, to give it to his offspring, and have performed your words; for you are righteous.

9 You saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt, and heard their cry by the Red Sea, 10 and showed signs and wonders against Pharaoh, and against all his servants, and against all the people of his land; for you knew that they dealt proudly against them, and made a name for yourself, as it is today.

11 You divided the sea before them, so that they went through the middle of the sea on the dry land; and you cast their pursuers into the depths, as a stone into the mighty waters.

12 Moreover, in a pillar of cloud you led them by day; and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light in the way in which they should go.

13 You also came down on Mount Sinai, and spoke with them from heaven, and gave them right ordinances and true laws, good statutes and commandments, 14 and made known to them your holy Sabbath, and gave them commandments, statutes, and a law, through Moses your servant, 15 and gave them bread from heaven for their hunger, and brought water out of the rock for them for their thirst, and commanded them that they should go in to possess the land which you had sworn to give them.

16 But they and our fathers behaved proudly, hardened their heart, did not listen to your commandments, 17 and refused to obey. They were not mindful of your wonders that you did among them, but hardened their heart, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage. But you are a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness, and did not forsake them.

18 Yes, when they had made themselves a molded calf, and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,’ and had committed awful blasphemies; 19 yet you in your manifold mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud did not depart from over them by day, to lead them in the way; neither did the pillar of fire by night, to show them light, and the way in which they should go.

20 You gave also your good Spirit to instruct them, and did not withhold your manna from their mouth, and gave them water for their thirst.

21 Yes, for 40 years you sustained them in the wilderness. They lacked nothing. Their clothes did not grow old, and their feet did not swell.

22 Moreover you gave them kingdoms and peoples, which you allotted according to their portions. So they possessed the land of Sihon, even the land of the king of Heshbon, and the land of Og king of Bashan.

23 You also multiplied their children as the stars of the sky, and brought them into the land concerning which you said to their fathers, that they should go in to possess it.

24 So their descendants went in and possessed the land, and you subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gave them into their hands, with their kings and the peoples of the land, that they might do with them as they pleased.

25 They took fortified cities and a rich land, and possessed houses full of all good things, cisterns dug out, vineyards, olive groves, and fruit trees in abundance. So they ate, were filled, became fat, and delighted themselves in your great goodness.

26 Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against you, cast your law behind their back, killed your prophets that testified against them to turn them again to you, and they committed awful blasphemies.

27 Therefore you delivered them into the hand of their adversaries, who distressed them. In the time of their trouble, when they cried to you, you heard from heaven; and according to your manifold mercies you gave them saviors who saved them out of the hands of their adversaries.

28 But after they had rest, they did evil again before you; therefore you left them in the hands of their enemies, so that they had dominion over them; yet when they returned, and cried to you, you heard from heaven; and many times you delivered them according to your mercies, 29 and testified against them, that you might bring them back to your law. Yet they were arrogant, and did not listen to your commandments, but sinned against your ordinances (which if a man does, he shall live in them), turned their backs, hardened their hearts, and would not hear.

30 Yet many years you put up with them, and testified against them by your Spirit through your prophets. Yet they would not listen. Therefore you gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.

31 “Nevertheless in your manifold mercies you did not make a full end of them, nor forsake them; for you are a gracious and merciful God.

32 Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and loving kindness, do not let all the travail seem small before you, that has come on us, on our kings, on our princes, on our priests, on our prophets, on our fathers, and on all your people, since the time of the kings of Assyria to this day.

33 However you are just in all that has come on us; for you have dealt truly, but we have done wickedly.

34 Also our kings, our princes, our priests, and our fathers have not kept your law, nor listened to your commandments and your testimonies with which you testified against them.

35 For they have not served you in their kingdom, and in your great goodness that you gave them, and in the large and rich land which you gave before them. They did not turn from their wicked works.

36 We are slaves today, and as for the land that you gave to our fathers to eat of its fruit and its good things, we are slaves in it.

37 It yields much increase to the kings whom you have set over us because of our sins. Also they have power over our bodies and over our livestock, at their pleasure, and we are in great distress.

38 Yet for all this, we are making a binding agreement, and writing it; and our leaders, our Levites, and our priests, seal it.”

Nehemiah 10

Signers of the Covenant

1 Now those who sealed it were:

Nehemiah the governor, the son of Hacaliah, and Zedekiah,
2 Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah,
3 Pashhur, Amariah, Malchijah,
4 Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch,
5 Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah,
6 Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch,
7 Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin,
8 Maaziah, Bilgai, and Shemaiah.

These were the priests.

9 The Levites: namely,

Jeshua the son of Azaniah,
Binnui of the sons of Henadad, Kadmiel;
10 and their brothers, Shebaniah, Hodiah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan,
11 Mica, Rehob, Hashabiah,
12 Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah,
13 Hodiah, Bani, and Beninu.

14 The keaders of the people:

Parosh, Pahathmoab, Elam, Zattu, Bani,
15 Bunni, Azgad, Bebai,
16 Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin,
17 Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur,
18 Hodiah, Hashum, Bezai,
19 Hariph, Anathoth, Nobai,
20 Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir,
21 Meshezabel, Zadok, Jaddua,
22 Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah,
23 Hoshea, Hananiah, Hasshub,
24 Hallohesh, Pilha, Shobek,
25 Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah,
26 Ahiah, Hanan, Anan,
27 Malluch, Harim, and Baanah.

The Vows of the Covenant

28 The rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants, and all those who had separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters—everyone who had knowledge, and understanding— 29 joined with their brothers, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in the law of God, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord, and his ordinances and his statutes.

30  We vowed that we would not give our daughters to the peoples of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons; 31 and if the peoples of the land bring wares or any grain on the Sabbath day to sell, we would not buy from them on the Sabbath, or on a holy day; and we would forego the seventh year, and the exaction of every debt.

32 Also we made ordinances for ourselves, to charge ourselves yearly with one third of a shekel for the service of the house of our God; 33 for the show bread, for the continual grain offering, for the continual burnt offering, for the Sabbaths, for the new moons, for the set feasts, and for the holy things, and for the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God.

34 We, the priests, the Levites, and the people, cast lots for the wood offering, to bring it into the house of our God, according to our families at appointed times, year by year, to burn on the alter of the Lord our God’, as it is written in the law.

35 We will bring the first fruits of our ground, and the first fruits of all fruit of all kinds of trees, year by year, to the house of the Lord; 36 also the firstborn of our sons, and of our livestock, as it is written in the law, and the firstborn of our herds and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God, to the priests who minister in the house of our God.

37 We will bring the first fruits of our dough, our wave offerings, the fruit of all kinds of trees, and the new wine and the oil, to the priests, to the rooms of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground to the Levites; for they, the Levites, take the tithes in all the cities of our farm communities. 38 The priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes. The Levites shall bring up a tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the rooms, into the treasure house. 39 For the Israelites and the children of Levi shall bring the wave offering of the grain, of the new wine, and of the oil, to the rooms, where the vessels of the sanctuary are, and the priests who minister, with the gatekeepers and the singers.

We will not forsake the house of our God.

1 Corinthians 9:19-10:13

Paul a Servant to All

19 For though I was free from all, I brought myself under bondage to all, that I might gain the more. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law. 22 To the weak I became as the weak, that I might gain the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. 23 Now I do this for the sake of the Good News, that I may be a joint partaker of it.

Run Your Race to Win

24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run like that, that you may win. 25 Every man who strives in the games exercises self-control in all things. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore run like that, not aimlessly. I fight like that, not beating the air, 27 but I beat my body and bring it into submission, lest by any means, after I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected.

1 Corinthians 10

Warnings from Israel’s Past

1 Now I would not have you ignorant, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 and were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and all ate the same spiritual food; 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. 5 However with most of them, God was not well pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were. As it is written,

“The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.”

8 Let us not commit sexual immorality, as some of them committed, and in one day 23,000 fell. 9 Let us not test Christ, as some of them tested, and perished by the serpents. 10 Do not grumble, as some of them also grumbled, and perished by the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened to them by way of example, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands be careful that he does not fall.

13 No temptation has taken you except what is common to man. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation also make the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Psalm 34:1-10

By David; when he pretended to be insane before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he departed.

1 I will bless the Lord at all times.
His praise will always be in my mouth.
2 My soul shall boast in the Lord.
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
3 Oh magnify the Lord with me.
Let us exalt his name together.

4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
and delivered me from all my fears.
5 They looked to him, and were radiant.
Their faces shall never be covered with shame.
6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him,
and saved him out of all his troubles.

7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
and delivers them.
8 Oh taste and see that the Lord is good.
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
9 Oh fear the Lord, you his saints,
for there is no lack with those who fear him.
10 The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger,
but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.

Proverbs 21:13

13 Whoever stops his ears at the cry of the poor,
he will also cry out, but shall not be heard.

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