8/19/2017 DAB Transcript

Esther 4:1-7:10; 1 Corinthians 12:1-26; Psalms 36:1-12; Proverbs 21:21-22

Today is the 19th day of August. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian. It’s great to be here with you as we close down another week together. And we began this beautiful book of Esther yesterday and we will conclude it tomorrow. So, we’re kind of like right in the middle of it and that’s where we’ll pick up. We’ll pick up where we left off yesterday, where there is this new queen, Esther, who happens to be a Jewess but she hasn’t revealed that. And then there’s this man Haman who is like second in command to the King. So, like on either side of the king are a Jewess and one who wants to utterly and completely destroy the Jews. And the drama builds. Esther chapter 4 verse one through 7 verse 10 today.

Commentary:

Alright, Esther is such a beautiful story. Right? I mean…it’s just a beautiful, beautiful story. Not so much for Haman. But pretty much for everybody else. But it’s this intentionality of God working in and among circumstances when we don’t even really know completely what’s going. I mean, so, Hadassah who is Esther, lost her parents, was orphaned, was then taken in by her uncle and raised up. So, we can say she had significant disadvantages against her, the most unlikely person to become a queen. And yet this is what happens. Her beauty grows. Her character grows. She’s beautiful inside and out. And when the king is looking for new Queen…I mean…he has a lot of beauty of beauty to pick from, but Esther is chosen. And, so, when Haman’s plot to destroy the Jews…and you know this…this has just happened throughout history…the destruction of the Jewish people…and this is just one more instance of the kind of Holocaust that was planned for them by Haman. And Esther is just kind of settling into what has just happened to her. She lost her parents. She’s been raised by her uncle. Her uncle loves her. Then she’s swept away from her uncle and brought into the harem of the king waiting her turn. And the next thing she knows she’s become queen and then she discovers this plot and she doesn’t know exactly what to do because she’s still moving into being Queen and she knows that if she goes before the king uninvited that she could lose her own life. And Mordechai is kind of like, yeah, that might happen anyway. Who knows, Esther, who knows, you could’ve been born for this, you have been put where you are for such a time as this. And that proves true. And, so, this is a giant example because we have a beautiful queen and we have all of this intrigue and it’s all consolidated into, you know, a kind of a tight little book and story. But these kinds of things are going on all the time. Maybe not on such a grand scale but if we open our eyes and start paying attention and walk with God in everything as we face out into the world and Sneeze Jesus into the world and infect the world with light and good news, we’re going to find that ‘for such a time as this’ is common for us. We just have to be paying attention. It’s just…I talked about serendipity…in one of the Facebook lives that we did for Sneezing Jesus…I said, you just watch…if you’re paying attention…you just watch the little things that happen that put you in positions to say the right thing at the right time on behalf of the Savior. And that’s true. If we’re paying attention. If were not so self-absorbed about what’s going on around us, what’s swirling around us or how we are being affected, if we’ll face outward away from that and start paying attention, light and life are everywhere. And we need to be a part of it. And the opportunities are endless to just do good, to just be light in this world. And this story certainly shows us, on a grand scale, what that looks like. But it looks the same for all of us in big and small ways.

And then we have the apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians, unpacking what the body of Christ is and telling us something very, very important that also pulls us away from self-absorption. You are a part of something greater than yourself. All by yourself, isolated, there’s only so far you can go. But when you understand that you are a part of a greater whole and that greater whole is the body of Christ in this world, the physicality of Jesus in this world, lived out through our own flesh - that is mind boggling. Like, just that awareness alone, that Christ is in me and I am a part of his body and together we make up this whole. Then what we’re actually saying here is that Jesus is still in the world, on earth, physically represented, and doing his work in the world through us. And we are a part of that, big or small, we are a part of that. And every part of the body is irreplaceable and important. That changes the order and scope of our lives. That definitely pulls us away from the self-absorption of just what is happening to us and around us, making us aware that we are a part of something happening in the world, a new way of being in the world, in Christ. And we all have a role to play. And there is for such a time as this for each of us. I mean, that should change how we live today. Right? That should change how we live tomorrow. That that should give us pause before we launch into some sort of tirade against someone, someone near to us or someone away from us. That should give us pause before we step into things that are not going to be helpful. There are gifts and there are gifts for us all and we all play a role in a whole. It’s incredible.

Prayer:

Father, we thank You for the book of Esther. We thank You for the letter to the Corinthians. We thank You for this awareness, that we have a role to play. And as we continue to play these roles there’s going to continue to be for such a time as this. And we are part of a greater whole. And it’s not about us trying to rise above anyone. It’s about us being the body of Christ in this world, Your body, Your work, Your kingdom and You have invited us who do not deserve to be here at all into this glorious, dramatic, beautiful story that never ends. And, so, we’re humbled and we invite your Holy Spirit to give us the eyes and ears that would make us aware of the things that are happening around us and our role in it as opposed to only what’s happening to or around us. Help us Holy Spirit. Lift our eyes to the horizon so that we can be oriented once again and see what is really going on around here. Help us Jesus we ask in Your precious name. Amen.

Announcements:

dailyaudiobible.com is the website. It’s home base. It’s where you find out what’s going on around here.

What’s going on right this minute is just the launch of all the Sneezing Jesus items that there are are now available in the Daily Audio Bible shop. So, you can get the Sneezing Jesus book there, you can get the sneezing Jesus 10 pack there with all of the goodies that go along with that. We have case pricing for Sneezing Jesus there. The medallion you can get there. The Sneezing Jesus films are there. It’s all in one place in the Daily Audio Bible shop. We even have a category for it, a Sneezing Jesus category, so that you can find all that. So, if it’s time for replenishing, that’s the place to go. If you haven’t jumped in and taken the journey, the Sneezing Jesus journey, then that’s where you can find it.

If you want to partner with the Daily Audio Bible, you can do that at dailyaudiobible.com. There’s a link, it’s on the homepage. Thank you, humbly and deeply and truly for your partnership. So, there’s a link on the homepage of dailyaudiobible.com. If you’re using the Daily Audio Bible app, you can press the More button in the lower right-hand corner or if you prefer, the mailing address is PO Box 1996 Spring Hill TN 37174.

And of course, as always, if you have a prayer request or comment 877-942-4253 is the number to dial.

And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here…next week…which is tomorrow.

Community Prayers and Praise Reports:

Good morning Daily Audio Bible. This is Lawrence in California. Just calling to pray. Father, just thank You this morning. We love You Father. We praise You. We give You thanks, honor and glory. This morning father, You have children that are desperate. They’re in desperate situations. They don’t know where to turn. They are out of strength. They are low on faith. They are at end of their rope. But Father, You can do all things. Nothing is impossible for You. So, we call You this morning to stand up and save those who are desperate, those who are crying out to You who are hurting, who are suffering, who don’t have answers, who need your provision. Thank You Father. Thank You for hearing them. Thank You for hearing them as You are hearing me right now. Thank You for responding. Thank You for being near to us even when we don’t feel You. Thank You Father You are worthy to be praised and to be thanked and to be honored and to be glorified. And we ask all these things in Your Son’s name.

Hi. My name’s Heather. I live in Chicago and I’ve been listening to the Daily Audio Bible off and on a fairly short time. This is my first time calling. I really need prayer for multiple things in my life. The most pressing one right now being that my husband and I are on the verge of splitting and I’m just very confused and don’t know what to do. I just feel frozen by fear. On top of that I struggle with depression and anxiety and have for years but since we’ve moved to Chicago it’s just gotten so much worse. I’m also unable to have children and this is something that I am having a hard time moving past. I still feel very much in a state of mourning. I have severe endometriosis and due to multiple surgeries, my body doesn’t want to conceive. In fact I am moving towards parry menopause at the age of 32. So, there are many heavy burdens on my heart and there are a lot of days where I just feel like I would rather be with the Lord than have to struggle through. So, I could really use allot of prayer. I just need God’s healing and clarity in these areas in my life and in my marriage. Thank you.

Hello. Greatest Trucker from way out west. Today’s the 14th of August, Monday. I’m listening to the program this morning and Brian was reading the book of Ezra. And Ezra was a very powerful reading this morning, where Ezra stood out there and read the bible from morning until night…and it occurred to me that Brian Hardin is the modern-day Ezra and that we are the people standing out there listening to him from morning until night. And I just want to thank God for this ministry and thank Brian for doing what he does. And in the New Testament reading today, when Paul said that ___. And so, for this ministry. In Jesus’ name. I’m praying for all you people. Keep praying for me.

Hey family, this is Viola from Maryland. I hope you’re all doing well. Brian and Jill, God bless you. God bless your ministry. Family, pray for my friend that I want to give Sneezing Jesus to this week. And that this week that her heart will be receptive in the name of Jesus. And they will support her and she will be able to accept Him into her heart in Jesus’ name. Hey Debbie and Lawrence, I want to welcome you back into God’s family. Welcome back. And I pray that God will continue to grow you in the name of Jesus. The word of God says in Psalm 63 – that God will give us hearts that follow ___ after Him, hearts that cling passionately to Him. So, I am praying in the name of Jesus that you will have such hearts, even for God and Debbie I am praying for healing for your body. From the crown of your head to the soul of your feet I am praying the Lord will touch your body, the Lord will heal you from cancer. There is nothing our God cannot do. I am trusting God for you in the name of Jesus. ___ daughter had laparoscopy and is now in intensive care, I am praying for her and praying that God will touch her body and raise her up from that sickbed in the name of Jesus. That the Lord of healing will touch her with healing in Jesus name. David, I am rejoicing with you that you reconciled with your wife and I want to use you as a point of contact so that other people in similar situations, God will restore, God will reconcile. And I’m praying for your business, that God will restore all that was lost, in the name of Jesus. Jake, I’m praying that God will wrap His arms around you, and comfort you over the loss from your Father. Listen brother, it doesn’t matter how he has died. The fact is he’s gone. So, I’m just praying God will comfort you as you mourn his loss and that you will think about good thoughts as you confide in Him in the name of Jesus. Lisa, I’m praying for you that God will touch your marriage, God will restore you and your husband, Nate, in the name of Jesus. There is nothing he cannot do. __ what is going on in your home right now. I pray that God will touch your hearts and heal you…

Hi. This is Shannon. I wanted to encourage Stacy in Washington state and Mary C. in Georgia, and Peggy in Texas. I know what it is to be sick and to be in a place where it feels very much alone. When I was 16 I had a type of autoimmune disorder and went to a host of doctors that couldn’t do anything for me. But God is good and He heard my cry. And my illness and the pain that I experienced is now a distant memory. And there’s a scripture in Psalm 107 verse 23 and 24…I believe….and it says that those that go and do business in great waters. And when people do business in the great waters, nobody can help them. Right? And when you’re in that place, when you’re sick, and no one can help you and the doctors don’t know what to do. You’re in that place, you’re in the great waters, you’re in the deep. The next verse says that these people see the works of the Lord and his wonders in the deep. And I am praying that you…while you’re in the deep…and you’re alone…and in your struggle…that you’re not alone. And that I’m praying. And that you will see the wonders of God in deep and you will find healing. And I found healing in complete restoration. So, I am praying that for all of you. I have your names. I pray for you every day. So, be encouraged that while the pain is great He is greater and His healing is greater.

8/18/2017 DAB Transcript

Esther 1:1-3:15; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34; Psalms 35:17-28; Proverbs 21:19-20

Today is the 18th day of August. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian and I am excited to be here with you today because even here at the end of the week we have a new beginning. We finished the book of Nehemiah yesterday, which brings us to the beautiful book of Esther. And its stunning. And I love when we get to this place each year. Esther’s short in length but it is not short on drama and intrigue. Esther is…this story of a beautiful…a stunningly beautiful girl who became Queen unsuspectingly and was subsequently able to save God’s people from annihilation. It’s one the most beautiful stories in the Bible and, allegorically, we can look at the book through the eyes of God and his love for us, just like we can allegorically the Song of Solomon. But Esther is also considered to be one of the books of history for the children of Israel. The book of Esther is the basis for one of the major Jewish festivals called Purim, which was established by Mordechai in this book. And the story takes place during the same period in history that we’ve been reading about as we read of the Babylonian exile. So, the children of Israel, being exiles, were allowed to return, which is what we read about in Ezra and Nehemiah, to their homeland, and Esther may have played a large role in this because she plays an important role in keeping her people from destruction. And as queen she has great favor from the king, which ultimately gave great favor to God’s people, to her people, to the Jewish people. When Esther reveals her heritage as a Jew the king shows kindness and consideration to God’s people. And there are many parallels in the book of Esther that we can apply to our lives - that God will always show up, that circumstances don’t always dictate the outcome of things, and that everyone has an important role to play because God brings people into the picture for specific times and specific missions to get major things done in his kingdom. This can be as large as queen Esther saving God’s people from destruction or God sending you next door to save the hope and heart of your neighbor. So, enjoy the book of Esther as we move into this new territory. We’re reading from the Holman Christian Standard Bible this week. And Esther chapter 1 verse 1 through 3 verse 15.

Prayer:

Thank You Father for Your word and as we move into this little oasis known as the book of Esther, we see Your hand moving in this time. We see that You were already working in this situation before the threat to Your people even materialized. And, so, Father we know that You are working in our lives and have been working in advance of things that we just don’t understand or know, but You do. And so often when we discover that we’re in a tailspin we’re mad at You and flailing around trying to figure it out when You already working on our behalf. And, so, we’re sorry. We repent of that and we turn toward You. You are our only hope. Our hope is in You. So, come, Holy Spirit. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Announcements 

dailyaudiobible.com is the website. It’s home base. It’s where you find out what’s going on around here.

I’ve been mentioning that we have all of the all of the Sneezing Jesus stuff in the Daily Audio Bible shop now. And, so, we’re able to have it there. So, the Sneezing Jesus book is there. The sneezing Jesus 10 pack that we had while we were talking about this before it released, we’ve brought that back. That’s available in the shop. So, when you get 10 of and Sneezing Jesus you get all the stuff including the medallion and the small group films and all of that. So, you can check that out. We even have cases because some of you have let us not you’re giving them to visitors in your church or you’re going to give them to everybody you work with and that kind of stuff. So, we have that available at the lowest price possible. So, check that out. The Sneezing Jesus medallion is available if you just want that. The Sneezing Jesus films are available as a standalone as well. So, check that out. We even made a category for it in the shop called Sneezing Jesus. So, check that out.

If you want to partner with the Daily Audio Bible, you can do that at dailyaudiobible.com. There’s s a link. It’s on the homepage. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for your partnership in the summertime. We are a community and what we have done we have done together. And, so, let’s keep doing it together. Thank you. If you’re using the Daily Audio Bible app, you can press the More button in the lower right-hand corner or if you prefer, the mailing address is PO Box 1996 Spring Hill TN 37174.

And of course, as always, if you have a prayer request or comment 877-942-4253 is the number to dial.

And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.

Community Prayers and Praise Reports:

Good morning Daily Audio Bible family. This is Wrapped in His Unfailing Love and I’m calling for Sharron. I just herd you on the community prayers for August 13th and you want to give up. And Sharron you said your family doesn’t care but we’re your family and we care and we love you and we don’t want you to give up. And God gave you your life. It’s not yours to take. And He’s going to be there and we’re here. Thank you for calling and asking for prayers. We’re praying for you. I’m praying for you. God is with you and he inhabits the praises of His people and I just want to ask you, look around and just think of…if you can just come up with…three things that God’s blessed you with…three things…and then make it five or ten and be grateful. He loves that and He is going to help you through this. I know that He will. And you have so many people praying for you Sharron. Consider us your family. I am your sister in Christ. I love you and I want you to hang on, hang onto Jesus. He’s never going to let you go. Lord, Jesus, bless Sharron. Thank you for my sister. Thank you for her reaching out. And Lord I pray that You would just help her see that her life is worthwhile. Help her to be grateful with certain things that You have blessed her with – her home, food, clothing. Whatever it is…start there Sharron. I love you. Amen. Bye.

Hello. It’s Allison here from Scotland. I hope you are all well. I’ve just been listening to the community prayer and a lady phoned in. At least, she’d been convicted about not phoning in for prayer because she feels guilty because her life was ok and she’s not alone. I think I’ve been wanting to phone in for a while but I find it a little bit selfish because I am not struggling with the things that other people are struggling with and we pray for every day but it’s something very important to us as a family. My husband had a breakdown at the beginning of the year. We’ve not been happy where we’ve been living for a while and since we got new neighbors and we have been to a house that we would really, really like to buy and I would covet your prayers that the house sale goes through and we can move out into the county where there’s some space and some time just to be. And it would move my daughter to a school where there’s only thirty children and I think she would be happier there. I think we’d all be happier there. And I’ve asked God to show us clearly in every step of the way. Things are working out well. Things are working out well but I’m not very patient and I really…I’m starting to worry that it’s not going to work out.  So, I really covet your prayers. Ok. I’m almost out of time. I love you family and I pray with you all every day. Lots of love. Allison in Scotland. Bye. 

Hi. This is Deborah from Providence RI. I know about not making multiple calls on the same day but I just had to get this in. Brian, I am so grateful for you. Thank you for the book, Sneezing Jesus. I’ll be honest, when I first saw the title when you were talking about it before it came out…I was like…oh oh…what is this? Ya know…I just…it was weird…hahahaha. I didn’t understand how…ya know…what that would mean as a book. I did get Reframe, got it from my church. It was wonderful. It was excellent. So, I was looking forward to a new book…but brother…that name…just like…ughhh…it was so strange to me…but boy was I wrong. It’s amazing. It’s excellent. I got the audio, the Audible, and I’ve listened to it a few times. I got the book itself, which I’m reading. Brian, God has blessed you. I know you are aware of it. But I’m just going to say it…God has blessed you with a gift. It’s just amazing, reading the book that you’ve written and it’s like…this guy…he makes it…like…so simple…it’s great and deep but it’s also simple. When you read it you get it and I thank God for that and I look forward to sharing this with my church also. I have already…well…I’m sharing it with my sisters because I’m going to get it for them for Christmas because we do read as a sister group or we read books and we did reframe so we’re going to do this. I just wanted to say thank you so much Brian. Thank you. God bless you and your family. Continue to do what you’re doing even if people like me go…ughhh…because we don’t really understand in the beginning what you are doing. You are gifted. God bless. If anyone out there is wondering about the books with a weird title to them…get them. You will not be disappointed. God bless.

Hi I just really wanted to leave a quick message, a praise report. We heard a message at our church this weekend about how God is moving in the world right now and it just absolutely touched me right to the core. Especially in Muslim countries. Apparently there are literally like thousands and thousands of people that re coming to the Lord and it’s just…there’s these tender little new shoots of baby Christians all over the world…I mean…he just went on about India and…just so…Ethiopia…and it’s just amazing…like…so many, so many people. It’s like God…His Spirit is just really flowing. Especially as well…Israel. I think the tensions there in the middle east are such that a lot of the young people…this guy was saying…are just coming to Jesus. It’s like…they know that their world is on the edge and they’re just saying only the Messiah…only the Messiah can help us now and they’re just coming by the thousands to Christ. So, I just really encourage us all to really pray…pray, pray, pray, and do whatever we can to get bibles to those people because their tender new little Christians. They need the word of God. Anyways, please pray with me. Thank you.

Hey, good morning Daily Audio Bible DABbers. My first time calling in. I just really enjoy listening to the Daily Audio Bible with Brian and enjoy hearing all your prayers. I’ve been reluctant to call in but I’d really just love your prayers if God brings you to mind. My name is Jeff. I’m from Maine and my family…my wife and I…we’ve been going through a challenging few weeks. For the past year and a half almost we’ve been raising financial support to go to the mission field. We’re going to Montreal and Quebec to this unreached people group through evangelism and church planting but it’s been an amazing year relying on God. And then a few weeks ago were really at a point in our progress where we decided I would leave my work, my full time job, to continue to finish our fundraising but in doing that we realized just how far away our goal seems to be. And so, we’re still trusting God. It’s been amazing to go through Second Chronicles and Ezra and Nehemiah this past few weeks. We’re just gaining hope in God through that and we’ve never been more in prayer and more in His word. So, if you think to pray for my ministry, please do so,  I’d love to hear that and just want to read something real quick about what Jesus does with our prayers. Charles Spurgeon says, this is just what the Lord Jesus Christ does with our poor prayers, He makes a fair copy of them, stamps them with a seal of His atoning blood, puts His own name at the foot, and thus they go up to God’s throne. It is your prayer but though it is His prayer too. ookin

The Daily Audio Bible Reading for Saturday September 23, 2017 (NIV)

Isaiah 41:17-43:13

The Lord Helps the Poor

17 When the poor and needy
are dying of thirst
and cannot find water,
I, the Lord God of Israel,
will come to their rescue.
I won’t forget them.
18 I will make rivers flow
on mountain peaks.
I will send streams
to fill the valleys.
Dry and barren land
will flow with springs
and become a lake.
19 I will fill the desert
with all kinds of trees—
cedars, acacias, and myrtles;
olive and cypress trees;
fir trees and pines.
20 Everyone will see this
and know that I,
the holy Lord God of Israel,
created it all.

Idols Are Useless

21 I am the Lord,
the King of Israel!
Come argue your case with me.
Present your evidence.
22 Come near me, you idols.[a]
Tell us about the past,
and we will think about it.
Tell us about the future,
so we will know
what is going to happen.
23 Prove that you are gods
by making your predictions
come true.
Do something good or evil,
so we can be amazed
and terrified.[b]
24 You idols are nothing,
and you are powerless.[c]
To worship you
would be disgusting.

25 I, the Lord, appointed a ruler
in the north;
now he comes from the east
to honor my name.
He tramples[d] kings like mud,
as potters trample clay.[e]
26 Did any of you idols predict
what would happen?
Did any of you get it right?
None of you told about this
or even spoke a word.
27 I was the first to tell
the people of Jerusalem,
“Look, it’s happening!”[f]
I was the one who announced
this good news to Zion.

28 None of these idols
are able to give advice
or answer questions.
29 They are nothing,[g]
and they can do nothing—
they are less
than a passing breeze.

The Lord’s Servant

42 Here is my servant!

I have made him strong.
He is my chosen one;
I am pleased with him.
I have given him my Spirit,
and he will bring justice
to the nations.
He won’t shout or yell
or call out in the streets.
He won’t break off a bent reed
or put out a dying flame,
but he will make sure
that justice is done.
He won’t quit or give up
until he brings justice
everywhere on earth,
and people in foreign nations
long for his teaching.

I am the Lord God.
I created the heavens
like an open tent above.
I made the earth and everything
that grows on it.
I am the source of life
for all who live on this earth,
so listen to what I say.
I chose you to bring justice,
and I am here at your side.
I selected and sent you[h]
to bring light
and my promise of hope
to the nations.
You will give sight
to the blind;
you will set prisoners free
from dark dungeons.

My name is the Lord!
I won’t let idols or humans
share my glory and praise.
Everything has happened
just as I said it would;
now I will announce
what will happen next.

Sing Praises to the Lord

10 Tell the whole world to sing
a new song to the Lord!
Tell those who sail the ocean
and those who live far away
to join in the praise.
11 Tell the tribes of the desert
and everyone in the mountains[i]
to celebrate and sing.
12 Let them announce
his praises everywhere.
13 The Lord is marching out
like an angry soldier,
shouting with all his might
while attacking his enemies.

The Lord Will Help His People

14 For a long time, I, the Lord,
have held my temper;
now I will scream and groan
like a woman giving birth.
15 I will destroy the mountains
and what grows on them;
I will dry up rivers and ponds.

16 I will lead the blind on roads
they have never known;
I will guide them on paths
they have never traveled.
Their road is dark and rough,
but I will give light
to keep them from stumbling.
This is my solemn promise.

17 Everyone who worships idols
as though they were gods
will be terribly ashamed.

God’s People Won’t Obey

18 You people are deaf and blind,
but the Lord commands you
to listen and to see.
19 No one is as blind or deaf
as his messenger,
his chosen servant,
20 who sees and hears so much,
but pays no attention.

21 The Lord always does right,
and so he wanted his Law
to be greatly praised.[j]
22 But his people were trapped
and imprisoned in holes
with no one to rescue them.
All they owned had been taken,
and no one was willing
to give it back.
23 Why won’t his people
ever learn to listen?

24 Israel sinned and refused
to obey the Lord
or follow his instructions.
So the Lord let them be robbed
of everything they owned.
25 He was furious with them
and punished their nation
with the fires of war.
Still they paid no attention.
They didn’t even care
when they were surrounded
and scorched by flames.

The Lord Has Rescued His People

43 Descendants of Jacob,
I, the Lord, created you
and formed your nation.
Israel, don’t be afraid.
I have rescued you.
I have called you by name;
now you belong to me.
When you cross deep rivers,
I will be with you,
and you won’t drown.
When you walk through fire,
you won’t be burned
or scorched by the flames.

I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
the God who saves you.
I gave up Egypt, Ethiopia,[k]
and the region of Seba[l]
in exchange for you.
To me, you are very dear,
and I love you.
That’s why I gave up nations
and people to rescue you.

Don’t be afraid! I am with you.
From both east and west
I will bring you together.
I will say to the north
and to the south,
“Free my sons and daughters!
Let them return
from distant lands.
They are my people—
I created each of them
to bring honor to me.”

The Lord Alone Is God

The Lord said:

Bring my people together.
They have eyes and ears,
but they can’t see or hear.
Tell everyone of every nation
to gather around.
None of them can honestly say,
“We told you so!”
If someone heard them say this,
then tell us about it now.

10 My people, you are my witnesses
and my chosen servant.
I want you to know me,
to trust me,
and understand
that I alone am God.
I have always been God;
there can be no others.

11 I alone am the Lord;
only I can rescue you.
12 I promised to save you,
and I kept my promise.
You are my witnesses
that no other god did this.
I, the Lord, have spoken.
13 I am God now and forever.
No one can snatch you from me
or stand in my way.

Footnotes:

  1. 41.22 Come near. . . idols: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 41.23 and terrified: Or “when we see it.”
  3. 41.24 powerless: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  4. 41.25 tramples: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  5. 41.25 trample clay: This was done to soften the clay and make it easier to shape.
  6. 41.27 Look. . . happening: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  7. 41.29 nothing: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  8. 42.6 I selected. . . you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  9. 42.11 desert. . . mountains: The Hebrew text includes the place names of Kedar in the desert and Sela in the mountains.
  10. 42.21 greatly praised: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 21.
  11. 43.3 Ethiopia: See the note at 11.11.
  12. 43.3 Seba: A region in southwest Arabia. Egypt, Ethiopia, and Seba probably stood for all that was known of Africa in biblical times.

Ephesians 2

From Death to Life

In the past you were dead because you sinned and fought against God. You followed the ways of this world and obeyed the devil. He rules the world, and his spirit has power over everyone who doesn’t obey God. Once we were also ruled by the selfish desires of our bodies and minds. We had made God angry, and we were going to be punished like everyone else.

4-5 But God was merciful! We were dead because of our sins, but God loved us so much that he made us alive with Christ, and God’s wonderful kindness is what saves you. God raised us from death to life with Christ Jesus, and he has given us a place beside Christ in heaven. God did this so that in the future world he could show how truly good and kind he is to us because of what Christ Jesus has done. You were saved by faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve.[a] This is God’s gift to you, and not anything you have done on your own. It isn’t something you have earned, so there is nothing you can brag about. 10 God planned for us to do good things and to live as he has always wanted us to live. That’s why he sent Christ to make us what we are.

United by Christ

11 Don’t forget that you are Gentiles. In fact, you used to be called “uncircumcised” by those who take pride in being circumcised. 12 At that time you did not know about Christ. You were foreigners to the people of Israel, and you had no part in the promises that God had made to them. You were living in this world without hope and without God, 13 and you were far from God. But Christ offered his life’s blood as a sacrifice and brought you near God.

14 Christ has made peace between Jews and Gentiles, and he has united us by breaking down the wall of hatred that separated us. Christ gave his own body 15 to destroy the Law of Moses with all its rules and commands. He even brought Jews and Gentiles together as though we were only one person, when he united us in peace. 16 On the cross Christ did away with our hatred for each other. He also made peace[b] between us and God by uniting Jews and Gentiles in one body. 17 Christ came and preached peace to you Gentiles, who were far from God, and peace to us Jews, who were near God. 18 And because of Christ, all of us can come to the Father by the same Spirit.

19 You Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens with everyone else who belongs to the family of God. 20 You are like a building with the apostles and prophets as the foundation and with Christ as the most important stone. 21 Christ is the one who holds the building together and makes it grow into a holy temple for the Lord. 22 And you are part of that building Christ has built as a place for God’s own Spirit to live.

Footnotes:

  1. 2.8 treats us much better than we deserve: The Greek word charis, traditionally rendered <<grace,>> is translated here and other places in the CEV to express the overwhelming kindness of God.
  2. 2.16 He also made peace: Or <<The cross also made peace.’>

Psalm 67

(A psalm and a song for the music leader. Use with stringed instruments.)

Tell the Nations To Praise God

67 Our God, be kind and bless us!
Be pleased and smile.
Then everyone on earth
will learn to follow you,
and all nations will see
your power to save us.

Make everyone praise you
and shout your praises.
Let the nations celebrate
with joyful songs,
because you judge fairly
and guide all nations.
Make everyone praise you
and shout your praises.

Our God has blessed the earth
with a wonderful harvest!
Pray for his blessings
to continue
and for everyone on earth
to worship our God.

Proverbs 23:29-35

-18-

29 Who is always in trouble?
Who argues and fights?
Who has cuts and bruises?
Whose eyes are red?
30 Everyone who stays up late,
having just one more drink.
31 Don’t even look
at that colorful stuff
bubbling up in the glass!
It goes down so easily,
32 but later it bites
like a poisonous snake.
33 You will see weird things,
and your mind
will play tricks on you.
34 You will feel tossed about
like someone trying to sleep
on a ship in a storm.
35 You will be bruised all over,
without even remembering
how it all happened.
And you will lie awake asking,
“When will morning come,
so I can drink some more?”

The Daily Audio Bible Reading for Friday September 22, 2017 (NIV)

Isaiah 39:1-41:16

Isaiah Speaks the Lord’s Message to Hezekiah

39 Merodach Baladan, the son of Baladan, was now king of Babylonia. And when he learned that Hezekiah was well, he sent messengers with letters and a gift for him. Hezekiah welcomed the messengers and showed them all the silver, the gold, the spices, and the fine oils that were in his storehouse. He even showed them where he kept his weapons. Nothing in his palace or in his entire kingdom was kept hidden from them.

I asked Hezekiah, “Where did these men come from? What did they want?”

“They came all the way from Babylonia,” Hezekiah answered.

“What did you show them?” I asked.

Hezekiah answered, “I showed them everything in my kingdom.”

Then I told Hezekiah:

I have a message for you from the Lord All-Powerful. One day everything you and your ancestors have stored up will be taken to Babylonia. The Lord has promised that nothing will be left. Some of your own sons will be taken to Babylonia, where they will be disgraced and made to serve in the king’s palace.

Hezekiah thought, “At least our nation will be at peace for a while.” So he told me, “The message you brought from the Lord is good.”

Encourage God’s People

40 Our God has said:

“Encourage my people!
Give them comfort.
Speak kindly to Jerusalem
and announce:
Your slavery is past;
your punishment is over.
I, the Lord, made you pay
double for your sins.”

Someone is shouting:
“Clear a path in the desert!
Make a straight road
for the Lord our God.
Fill in the valleys;
flatten every hill
and mountain.
Level the rough
and rugged ground.
Then the glory of the Lord
will appear for all to see.
The Lord has promised this!”

Someone told me to shout,
and I asked,
“What should I shout?”
We humans are merely grass,
and we last no longer
than wild flowers.
At the Lord’s command,
flowers and grass disappear,
and so do we.
Flowers and grass fade away,
but what our God has said
will never change.

Your God Is Here!

There is good news
for the city of Zion.
Shout it as loud as you can[a]
from the highest mountain.
Don’t be afraid to shout
to the towns of Judah,
“Your God is here!”
10 Look! The powerful Lord God
is coming
to rule
with his mighty arm.
He brings with him
what he has taken in war,
and he rewards his people.
11 The Lord cares for his nation,
just as shepherds care
for their flocks.
He carries the lambs
in his arms,
while gently leading
the mother sheep.

Who Compares with God?

12 Did any of you measure
the ocean by yourself
or stretch out the sky
with your own hands?
Did you put the soil
of the earth in a bucket
or weigh the hills and mountains
on balance scales?

13 Has anyone told the Lord[b]
what he must do
or given him advice?
14 Did the Lord ask anyone
to teach him wisdom
and justice?
Who gave him knowledge
and understanding?
15 To the Lord, all nations
are merely a drop in a bucket
or dust on balance scales;
all of the islands
are but a handful of sand.
16 The cattle
on Lebanon’s mountains
would not be enough
to offer
as a sacrifice to God,
and the trees would not
be enough for the fire.
17 God thinks of the nations
as far less than nothing.

18 Who compares with God?
Is anything like him?
19 Is an idol at all like God?
It is made of bronze
with a thin layer of gold,
and decorated with silver.
20 Or special wood may be chosen[c]
because it doesn’t rot—
then skilled hands
take care to make an idol
that won’t fall on its face.

God Rules the Whole Earth

21 Don’t you know?
Haven’t you heard?
Isn’t it clear that God
created the world?[d]
22 God is the one who rules
the whole earth,
and we that live here
are merely insects.
He spread out the heavens
like a curtain or an open tent.

23 God brings down rulers
and turns them into nothing.
24 They are like flowers
freshly sprung up
and starting to grow.
But when God blows on them,
they wilt
and are carried off
like straw in a storm.

25 The holy God asks,
“Who compares with me?
Is anyone my equal?”

26 Look at the evening sky!
Who created the stars?
Who gave them each a name?
Who leads them like an army?
The Lord is so powerful
that none of the stars
are ever missing.

The Lord Gives Strength

27 You people of Israel, say,
“God pays no attention to us!
He doesn’t care if we
are treated unjustly.”

But how can you say that?
28 Don’t you know?
Haven’t you heard?
The Lord is the eternal God,
Creator of the earth.
He never gets weary or tired;
his wisdom cannot be measured.

29 The Lord gives strength
to those who are weary.
30 Even young people get tired,
then stumble and fall.
31 But those who trust the Lord
will find new strength.
They will be strong like eagles
soaring upward on wings;
they will walk and run
without getting tired.

The Lord Controls Human Events

41 Be silent and listen,
every island in the sea.
Have courage and come near,
every one of you nations.
Let’s settle this matter!
Who appointed this ruler
from the east?[e]
Who puts nations and kings
in his power?[f]
His sword and his arrows
turn them to dust
blown by the wind.
He goes after them so quickly
that his feet
barely touch the ground—
he doesn’t even get hurt.

Who makes these things happen?
Who controls human events?
I do! I am the Lord.
I was there at the beginning;
I will be there at the end.
Islands and foreign nations
saw what I did
and trembled
as they came near.

What Can Idols Do?

Worshipers of idols
comfort each other,
saying, “Don’t worry!”
Woodcarvers, goldsmiths,
and other workers[g]
encourage one another and say,
“We’ve done a great job!”
Then they nail the idol down,
so it won’t fall over.

The Lord’s Chosen Servant

Israel, you are my servant.
I chose you,
the family
of my friend Abraham.
From far across the earth
I brought you here and said,
“You are my chosen servant.
I haven’t forgotten you.”

10 Don’t be afraid. I am with you.
Don’t tremble with fear.
I am your God.
I will make you strong,
as I protect you with my arm
and give you victories.
11 Everyone who hates you
will be terribly disgraced;
those who attack
will vanish into thin air.
12 You will look around
for those brutal enemies,
but you won’t find them
because they will be gone.

13 I am the Lord your God.
I am holding your hand,
so don’t be afraid.
I am here to help you.

14 People of Israel, don’t worry,
though others may say,
“Israel is only a worm!”
I am the holy God of Israel,
who saves and protects you.
15 I will let you be like a log
covered with sharp spikes.[h]
You will grind and crush
every mountain and hill[i]
until they turn to dust.
16 A strong wind will scatter them
in all directions.
Then you will celebrate
and praise me, your Lord,
the holy God of Israel.

Footnotes:

  1. 40.9 There. . . can: Or “City of Jerusalem, you have good news. Shout it as loud as you can.”
  2. 40.13 the Lord: Or “the Lord’s Spirit.”
  3. 40.20 Or. . . chosen: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. Two kinds of idols seem to be described: bronze idols covered with gold (verse 19) and wooden idols (verse 20).
  4. 40.21 Isn’t. . . world: Or “Hasn’t it been clear since the time of creation?”
  5. 41.2 ruler from the east: Probably Cyrus (see 44.28; 45.1; 48.14).
  6. 41.2 Who puts. . . power: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  7. 41.7 and other workers: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  8. 41.15 I will let. . . sharp spikes: In ancient times a heavy object was sometimes dragged over wheat or barley to separate the grain from the husk. This was called threshing.
  9. 41.15 mountain and hill: These stand for the power and pride of Israel’s enemies.

Ephesians 1

From Paul, chosen by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.

To God’s people who live in Ephesus and[a] are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.

I pray that God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!

Christ Brings Spiritual Blessings

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for the spiritual blessings that Christ has brought us from heaven! Before the world was created, God had Christ choose us to live with him and to be his holy and innocent and loving people. God was kind[b] and decided that Christ would choose us to be God’s own adopted children. God was very kind to us because of the Son he dearly loves, and so we should praise God.

7-8 Christ sacrificed his life’s blood to set us free, which means that our sins are now forgiven. Christ did this because God was so kind to us. God has great wisdom and understanding, and by what Christ has done, God has shown us his own mysterious ways. 10 Then when the time is right, God will do all that he has planned, and Christ will bring together everything in heaven and on earth.

11 God always does what he plans, and that’s why he appointed Christ to choose us. 12 He did this so that we Jews would bring honor to him and be the first ones to have hope because of him. 13 Christ also brought you the truth, which is the good news about how you can be saved. You put your faith in Christ and were given the promised Holy Spirit to show that you belong to God. 14 The Spirit also makes us sure that we will be given what God has stored up for his people. Then we will be set free, and God will be honored and praised.

Paul’s Prayer

15 I have heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God’s people. 16 So I never stop being grateful for you, as I mention you in my prayers. 17 I ask the glorious Father and God of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you his Spirit. The Spirit will make you wise and let you understand what it means to know God. 18 My prayer is that light will flood your hearts and that you will understand the hope that was given to you when God chose you. Then you will discover the glorious blessings that will be yours together with all of God’s people.

19 I want you to know about the great and mighty power that God has for us followers. It is the same wonderful power he used 20 when he raised Christ from death and let him sit at his right side[c] in heaven. 21 There Christ rules over all forces, authorities, powers, and rulers. He rules over all beings in this world and will rule in the future world as well. 22 God has put all things under the power of Christ, and for the good of the church he has made him the head of everything. 23 The church is Christ’s body and is filled with Christ who completely fills everything.[d]

Footnotes:

  1. 1.1 live in Ephesus and: Some manuscripts do not have these words.
  2. 1.4,5 holy and innocent and loving people. God was kind: Or <<holy and innocent people. God was loving and kind.’>
  3. 1.20 right side: The place of power and honor.
  4. 1.23 and is filled with Christ who completely fills everything: Or <<which completely fills Christ and fully completes his work.’>

Psalm 66

(A song and a psalm for the music leader.)

Shout Praises to God

66 Tell everyone on this earth
to shout praises to God!
Sing about his glorious name.
Honor him with praises.
Say to God, “Everything you do
is fearsome,
and your mighty power makes
your enemies come crawling.
You are worshiped by everyone!
We all sing praises to you.”

Come and see the fearsome things
our God has done!
When God made the sea dry up,
our people walked across,
and because of him,
we celebrated there.
His mighty power rules forever,
and nothing the nations do
can be hidden from him.
So don’t turn against God.

All of you people,
come praise our God!
Let his praises be heard.
God protects us from death
and keeps us steady.

10 Our God, you tested us,
just as silver is tested.
11 You trapped us in a net
and gave us heavy burdens.
12 You sent war chariots
to crush our skulls.
We traveled through fire
and through floods,
but you brought us
to a land of plenty.

13 I will bring sacrifices
into your house, my God,
and I will do what I promised
14 when I was in trouble.
15 I will sacrifice my best sheep
and offer bulls and goats
on your altar.

16 All who worship God,
come here and listen;
I will tell you everything
God has done for me.
17 I prayed to the Lord,
and I praised him.
18 If my thoughts had been sinful,
he would have refused
to hear me.
19 But God did listen
and answered my prayer.
20 Let’s praise God!
He listened when I prayed,
and he is always kind.

Proverbs 23:25-28

25 Make your parents proud,
especially your mother.

-17-

26 My son, pay close attention,
and gladly follow
my example.
27 Bad women and unfaithful wives
are like a deep pit—
28 they are waiting to attack you
like a gang of robbers
with victim after victim.

The Daily Audio Bible Reading for Thursday September 21, 2017 (NIV)

Isaiah 37-38

Hezekiah Asks Isaiah for Advice

37 As soon as Hezekiah heard the news, he tore off his clothes in sorrow and put on sackcloth. Then he went into the temple of the Lord. He told Prime Minister Eliakim, Assistant Prime Minister Shebna, and the senior priests to dress in sackcloth and tell me:

Isaiah, these are difficult and disgraceful times. Our nation is like a woman too weak to give birth, when it’s time for her baby to be born. Please pray for those of us who are left alive. The king of Assyria sent his army commander to insult the living God. Perhaps the Lord heard what he said and will do something, if you will pray.

When these leaders came to me, I told them that the Lord had this message for Hezekiah:

I am the Lord. Don’t worry about the insulting things that have been said about me by these messengers from the king of Assyria. I will upset him with rumors about what’s happening in his own country. He will go back, and there I will make him die a violent death.

Meanwhile the commander of the Assyrian forces heard that his king had left the town of Lachish and was now attacking Libnah. So he went there.

About this same time, the king of Assyria learned that King Tirhakah of Ethiopia[a] was on his way to attack him. Then the king of Assyria sent some messengers with this note for Hezekiah:

10 Don’t trust your God or be fooled by his promise to defend Jerusalem against me. 11 You have heard how we Assyrian kings have completely wiped out other nations. What makes you feel so safe? 12 The Assyrian kings before me destroyed the towns of Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and everyone from Eden who lived in Telassar. What good did their gods do them? 13 The kings of Hamath, Arpad, Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah have all disappeared.

Hezekiah Prays

14 After Hezekiah had read the note from the king of Assyria, he took it to the temple and spread it out for the Lord to see. 15 Then he prayed:

16 Lord God All-Powerful of Israel, your throne is above the winged creatures.[b] You created the heavens and the earth, and you alone rule the kingdoms of this world. 17 Just look and see how Sennacherib has insulted you, the living God.

18 It is true, our Lord, that Assyrian kings have turned nations into deserts. 19 They destroyed the idols of wood and stone that the people of those nations had made and worshiped. 20 But you are our Lord and our God! We ask you to keep us safe from the Assyrian king. Then everyone in every kingdom on earth will know that you are the only Lord.

Isaiah Gives the Lord’s Answer to Hezekiah

21-22 I went to Hezekiah and told him that the Lord God of Israel had said:

Hezekiah, you prayed to me about King Sennacherib of Assyria.[c] Now this is what I say to that king:

The people of Jerusalem
hate and make fun of you;
they laugh behind your back.

23 Sennacherib, you cursed,
shouted, and sneered at me,
the holy God of Israel.
24 You let your officials
insult me, the Lord.
And here is what you
have said about yourself,
“I led my chariots
to the highest heights
of Lebanon’s mountains.
I went deep into its forest,
cutting down the best cedar
and cypress trees.
25 I dried up every stream
in the land of Egypt,
and I drank water
from wells I had dug.”

26 Sennacherib, now listen
to me, the Lord.
I planned all of this long ago.
And you don’t even know
that I alone am the one
who decided that you
would do these things.
I let you make ruins
of fortified cities.
27 Their people became weak,
terribly confused.
They were like wild flowers
or like tender young grass
growing on a flat roof
or like a field of grain
before it matures.[d]

28 I know all about you,
even how fiercely angry
you are with me.
29 I have seen your pride
and the tremendous hatred
you have for me.
Now I will put a hook
in your nose,
a bit in your mouth,[e]
then I will send you back
to where you came from.

30 Hezekiah, I will tell you what’s going to happen. This year you will eat crops that grow on their own, and the next year you will eat whatever springs up where those crops grew. But the third year, you will plant grain and vineyards, and you will eat what you harvest. 31 Those who survive in Judah will be like a vine that puts down deep roots and bears fruit. 32 I, the Lord All-Powerful, will see to it that some who live in Jerusalem will survive.

33 I promise that the king of Assyria won’t get into Jerusalem, or shoot an arrow into the city, or even surround it and prepare to attack. 34 As surely as I am the Lord, he will return by the way he came and will never enter Jerusalem. 35 I will protect it for the sake of my own honor and because of the promise I made to my servant David.

The Death of King Sennacherib

36 The Lord sent an angel to the camp of the Assyrians, and he killed one hundred eighty-five thousand of them all in one night. The next morning, the camp was full of dead bodies. 37 After this, King Sennacherib went back to Assyria and lived in the city of Nineveh. 38 One day he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, when his sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, killed him with their swords. They escaped to the land of Ararat, and his son Esarhaddon became king.[f]

Hezekiah Gets Sick and Almost Dies

38 About this time, Hezekiah got sick and was almost dead. So I went in and told him, “The Lord says you won’t ever get well. You are going to die, and so you had better start doing what needs to be done.”

Hezekiah turned toward the wall and prayed, “Don’t forget that I have been faithful to you, Lord. I have obeyed you with all my heart, and I do whatever you say is right.” After this, he cried hard.

Then the Lord sent me with this message for Hezekiah:

I am the Lord God, who was worshiped by your ancestor David. I heard you pray, and I saw you cry. I will let you live fifteen years more, while I protect you and your city from the king of Assyria.

Now I will prove to you that I will keep my promise. Do you see the shadow made by the setting sun on the stairway built for King Ahaz? I will make the shadow go back ten steps.

Then the shadow went back ten steps.[g]

King Hezekiah’s Song of Praise

This is what Hezekiah wrote after he got well:

10 I thought I would die
during my best years
and stay as a prisoner forever
in the world of the dead.
11 I thought I would never again
see you, my Lord,
or any of the people
who live on this earth.
12 My life was taken from me
like the tent that a shepherd
pulls up and moves.
You cut me off like thread
from a weaver’s loom;
you make a wreck of me
day and night.

13 Until morning came, I thought
you would crush my bones
just like a hungry lion;
both night and day
you make a wreck of me.[h]
14 I cry like a swallow;
I mourn like a dove.
My eyes are red
from looking to you, Lord.
I am terribly abused.
Please come and help me.[i]
15 There’s nothing I can say
in answer to you,
since you are the one
who has done this to me.[j]
My life has turned sour;
I will limp until I die.

16 Your words and your deeds
bring life to everyone,
including me.[k]
Please make me healthy
and strong again.
17 It was for my own good
that I had such hard times.
But your love protected me
from doom in the deep pit,[l]
and you turned your eyes
away from my sins.

18 No one in the world of the dead
can thank you
or praise you;
none of those in the deep pit
can hope for you
to show them
how faithful you are.
19 Only the living can thank you,
as I am doing today.
Each generation tells the next
about your faithfulness.[m]

20 You, Lord, will save me,
and every day that we live
we will sing in your temple
to the music
of stringed instruments.

Isaiah’s Advice to Hezekiah

21 I had told King Hezekiah’s servants to put some mashed figs on the king’s open sore, and he would get well. 22 Then Hezekiah asked for proof that he would again worship in the Lord’s temple.

Footnotes:

  1. 37.9 Ethiopia: See the note at 11.11.
  2. 37.16 winged creatures: Two winged creatures made of gold were on the top of the sacred chest and were symbols of the Lord’s throne on earth (see Exodus 25.18; 2 Samuel 6.2).
  3. 37.21,22 Hezekiah, you prayed. . . Assyria: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  4. 37.27 tender young grass. . . matures: The Standard Hebrew Text; the Dead Sea Scrolls and some Hebrew manuscripts “tender young grass, growing on a flat roof and scorched by the heat.” Many of the houses had roofs made of packed earth. Grass would sometimes grow on the roof, but would die quickly because of the sun and hot winds.
  5. 37.29 I will put. . . your mouth: This is how the Assyrians treated their prisoners, and now the Lord will treat Sennacherib the same way.
  6. 37.38 Esarhaddon became king: He ruled Assyria 681-669 B.C.
  7. 38.8 steps: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 8.
  8. 38.13 of me: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 13.
  9. 38.14 help me: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 14.
  10. 38.15 There’s. . . me: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  11. 38.16 Your. . . me: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  12. 38.17 deep pit: The world of the dead, as in verse 18.
  13. 38.19 about your faithfulness: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Galatians 6

Help Each Other

My friends, you are spiritual. So if someone is trapped in sin, you should gently lead that person back to the right path. But watch out, and don’t be tempted yourself. You obey the law of Christ when you offer each other a helping hand.

If you think you are better than others, when you really aren’t, you are wrong. Do your own work well, and then you will have something to be proud of. But don’t compare yourself with others. We each must carry our own load.

Share every good thing you have with anyone who teaches you what God has said.

You cannot fool God, so don’t make a fool of yourself! You will harvest what you plant. If you follow your selfish desires, you will harvest destruction, but if you follow the Spirit, you will harvest eternal life. Don’t get tired of helping others. You will be rewarded when the time is right, if you don’t give up. 10 We should help people whenever we can, especially if they are followers of the Lord.

Final Warnings

11 You can see what big letters I make when I write with my own hand.

12 Those people who are telling you to get circumcised are only trying to show how important they are. And they don’t want to get into trouble for preaching about the cross of Christ. 13 They are circumcised, but they don’t obey the Law of Moses. All they want is to brag about having you circumcised. 14 But I will never brag about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his cross, the world is dead as far as I am concerned, and I am dead as far as the world is concerned.

15 It doesn’t matter if you are circumcised or not. All that matters is that you are a new person.

16 If you follow this rule, you will belong to God’s true people. God will treat you with undeserved kindness and will bless you with peace.

17 On my own body are scars that prove I belong to Christ Jesus. So I don’t want anyone to bother me anymore.

18 My friends, I pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you! Amen.

Psalm 65

(A psalm by David and a song for the music leader.)

God Answers Prayer

65 Our God, you deserve[a] praise
in Zion,
where we keep
our promises to you.
Everyone will come to you
because you answer prayer.
Our terrible sins get us down,
but you forgive us.
You bless your chosen ones,
and you invite them
to live near you
in your temple.
We will enjoy your house,
the sacred temple.

Our God, you save us,
and your fearsome deeds
answer our prayers for justice!
You give hope to people
everywhere on earth,
even those across the sea.
You are strong,
and your mighty power
put the mountains in place.
You silence the roaring waves
and the noisy shouts
of the nations.
People far away marvel
at your fearsome deeds,
and all who live under the sun
celebrate and sing
because of you.

You take care of the earth
and send rain
to help the soil
grow all kinds of crops.
Your rivers never run dry,
and you prepare the earth
to produce much grain.
10 You water all of its fields
and level the lumpy ground.
You send showers of rain
to soften the soil
and help the plants sprout.
11 Wherever your footsteps
touch the earth,
a rich harvest is gathered.
12 Desert pastures blossom,
and mountains celebrate.
13 Meadows are filled
with sheep and goats;
valleys overflow with grain
and echo with joyful songs.

Footnotes:

  1. 65.1 deserve: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Proverbs 23:24

24 Make your father truly happy
by living right
and showing
sound judgment.

The Daily Audio Bible Reading for Wednesday September 20, 2017 (NIV)

Isaiah 33:10-36:22

10 But the Lord says,
“Now I will do something
and be greatly praised.
11 Your deeds are straw
that will be set on fire
by your very own breath.
12 You will be burned to ashes
like thorns in a fire.
13 Everyone, both far and near,
come look at what I have done.
See my mighty power!”

Punishment and Rewards

14 Those terrible sinners
on Mount Zion tremble
as they ask in fear,
“How can we possibly live
where a raging fire
never stops burning?”

15 But there will be rewards
for those who live right
and tell the truth,
for those who refuse
to take money by force
or accept bribes,
for all who hate murder
and violent crimes.
16 They will live in a fortress
high on a rocky cliff,
where they will have food
and plenty of water.

The Lord Is Our King

17 With your own eyes
you will see the glorious King;
you will see his kingdom
reaching far and wide.
18 Then you will ask yourself,
“Where are those officials
who terrified us and forced us
to pay such heavy taxes?”
19 You will never again have to see
the proud people who spoke
a strange and foreign language
you could not understand.

20 Look to Mount Zion
where we celebrate
our religious festivals.
You will see Jerusalem,
secure as a tent with pegs
that cannot be pulled up
and fastened with ropes
that can never be broken.
21 Our wonderful Lord
will be with us!
There will be deep rivers
and wide streams
safe from enemy ships.[a]

The Lord Is Our Judge

22 The Lord is our judge
and our ruler;
the Lord is our king
and will keep us safe.
23 But your nation[b] is a ship
with its rigging loose,
its mast shaky,
and its sail not spread.

Someday even you that are lame
will take everything you want
from your enemies.
24 The Lord will forgive your sins,
and none of you will say,
“I feel sick.”

The Nations Will Be Judged

34 Everyone of every nation,
the entire earth,
and all of its creatures,
come here and listen!
The Lord is terribly angry
with the nations;
he has condemned them
to be slaughtered.
Their dead bodies will be left
to rot and stink;
their blood will flow
down the mountains.
Each star[c] will disappear—
the sky will roll up
like a scroll.[d]
Everything in the sky
will dry up and wilt
like leaves on a vine
or fruit on a tree.

Trouble for Edom

After the sword of the Lord
has done what it wants
to the skies above,[e]
it will come down on Edom,
the nation that the Lord
has doomed for destruction.

The sword of the Lord
is covered with blood
from lambs and goats,
together with fat
from kidneys of rams.
This is because the Lord
will slaughter many people
and make a sacrifice of them
in the city of Bozrah
and everywhere else
in Edom.
Edom’s leaders are wild oxen.
They are powerful bulls,
but they will die
with the others.
Their country will be soaked
with their blood,
and its soil made fertile
with their fat.

The Lord has chosen
the year and the day,
when he will take revenge
and come to Zion’s defense.
Edom’s streams will turn into tar
and its soil into sulfur—
then the whole country
will go up in flames.
10 It will burn night and day
and never stop smoking.
Edom will be a desert,
generation after generation;
no one will ever travel
through that land.
11 Owls, hawks, and wild animals[f]
will make it their home.
God will leave it in ruins,
merely a pile of rocks.

The End of Edom

12 Edom will be called
“Kingdom of Nothing.”
Its rulers will also be nothing.
13 Its palaces and fortresses
will be covered with thorns;
only wolves and ostriches
will make their home there.
14 Wildcats and hyenas
will hunt together,
demons will scream to demons,
and creatures of the night
will live among the ruins.
15 Owls will nest there
to raise their young
among its shadows,[g]
while families of buzzards
circle around.

16 In The Book of the Lord[h]
you can search
and find
where it is written,
“The Lord brought together
all of his creatures
by the power of his Spirit.
Not one is missing.”
17 The Lord has decided
where they each should live;
they will be there forever,
generation after generation.

God’s Splendor Will Be Seen

35 Thirsty deserts will be glad;
barren lands will celebrate
and blossom with flowers.
Deserts will bloom everywhere
and sing joyful songs.
They will be as majestic
as Mount Lebanon,
as glorious as Mount Carmel
or Sharon Valley.
Everyone will see
the wonderful splendor
of the Lord our God.

God Changes Everything

Here is a message for all
who are weak,
trembling,
and worried:
“Cheer up! Don’t be afraid.
Your God is coming
to punish your enemies.
God will take revenge on them
and rescue you.”

The blind will see,
and the ears of the deaf
will be healed.
Those who were lame
will leap around like deer;
tongues once silent
will begin to shout.
Water will rush
through the desert.
Scorching sand
will turn into a lake,
and thirsty ground
will flow with fountains.
Grass will grow in wetlands,
where packs of wild dogs
once made their home.[i]

God’s Sacred Highway

A good road will be there,
and it will be named
“God’s Sacred Highway.”
It will be for God’s people;
no one unfit to worship God
will walk on that road.
And no fools can travel
on that highway.[j]
No lions or other wild animals
will come near that road;
only those the Lord has saved
will travel there.

10 The people the Lord has rescued
will come back singing
as they enter Zion.
Happiness will be a crown
they will always wear.
They will celebrate and shout
because all sorrows
and worries
will be gone far away.

The Assyrians Surround Jerusalem

36 Hezekiah had been king of Judah for fourteen years when King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded the country and captured every walled city except Jerusalem. The Assyrian king ordered his army commander to leave the city of Lachish and to take a large army to Jerusalem.

The commander went there and stood on the road near the cloth makers' shops along the canal from the upper pool. Three of the king’s highest officials came out of Jerusalem to meet him. One of them was Hilkiah’s son Eliakim, who was the prime minister. The other two were Shebna, assistant to the prime minister, and Joah son of Asaph, keeper of the government records.

The Assyrian commander told them:

I have a message for Hezekiah from the great king of Assyria. Ask Hezekiah why he feels so sure of himself. Does he think he can plan and win a war with nothing but words? Who is going to help him, now that he has turned against the king of Assyria? Is he depending on Egypt and its king? That’s the same as leaning on a broken stick, and it will go right through his hand.

Is Hezekiah now depending on the Lord, your God? Didn’t Hezekiah tear down all except one of the Lord’s altars and places of worship?[k] Didn’t he tell the people of Jerusalem and Judah to worship at that one place?

The king of Assyria wants to make a bet with you people! He will give you two thousand horses, if you have enough troops to ride them. How could you even defeat our lowest ranking officer, when you have to depend on Egypt for chariots and cavalry? 10 Don’t forget that it was the Lord who sent me here with orders to destroy your nation!

11 Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said, “Sir, we don’t want the people listening from the city wall to understand what you are saying. So please speak to us in Aramaic instead of Hebrew.”

12 The Assyrian army commander answered, “My king sent me to speak to everyone, not just to you leaders. These people will soon have to eat their own body waste and drink their own urine! And so will the three of you!”

13 Then, in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear, he shouted out in Hebrew:

Listen to what the great king of Assyria says! 14 Don’t be fooled by Hezekiah. He can’t save you. 15 Don’t trust him when he tells you that the Lord will protect you from the king of Assyria. 16 Stop listening to Hezekiah. Pay attention to my king. Surrender to him. He will let you keep your own vineyards, fig trees, and cisterns 17 for a while. Then he will come and take you away to a country just like yours, where you can plant vineyards and raise your own grain.

18 Hezekiah claims the Lord will save you. But don’t be fooled by him. Were any other gods able to defend their land against the king of Assyria? 19 What happened to the gods of Hamath, Arpad, and Sepharvaim? Were the gods of Samaria able to protect their land against the Assyrian forces? 20 None of these gods kept their people safe from the king of Assyria. Do you think the Lord, your God, can do any better?

21-22 Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah had been warned by King Hezekiah not to answer the Assyrian commander. So they tore their clothes in sorrow and reported to Hezekiah everything the commander had said.

Footnotes:

  1. 33.21 safe. . . ships: This probably means that Jerusalem will have a lot of water, without the danger of attacks from enemy ships.
  2. 33.23 your nation: Possibly Judah or Assyria.
  3. 34.4 star: Stars were worshiped as gods.
  4. 34.4 scroll: A roll of paper or specially prepared leather used for writing on.
  5. 34.5 has done. . . above: The Standard Hebrew Text; the Dead Sea Scrolls “appears in the skies above.”
  6. 34.11 Owls. . . animals: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  7. 34.15 Owls. . . shadows: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  8. 34.16 The Book of the Lord: The book that Isaiah refers to is unknown.
  9. 35.7 where. . . home: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  10. 35.8 And. . . highway: Or “And not even a fool can miss that highway.”
  11. 36.7 worship: Hezekiah actually had torn down the places where idols were worshiped, and he had told the people to worship the Lord at the one place of worship in Jerusalem. But the Assyrian leader was confused and thought these were also places where the Lord was supposed to be worshiped.

Galatians 5:13-26

13 My friends, you were chosen to be free. So don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do anything you want. Use it as an opportunity to serve each other with love. 14 All that the Law says can be summed up in the command to love others as much as you love yourself. 15 But if you keep attacking each other like wild animals, you had better watch out or you will destroy yourselves.

God’s Spirit and Our Own Desires

16 If you are guided by the Spirit, you won’t obey your selfish desires. 17 The Spirit and your desires are enemies of each other. They are always fighting each other and keeping you from doing what you feel you should. 18 But if you obey the Spirit, the Law of Moses has no control over you.

19 People’s desires make them give in to immoral ways, filthy thoughts, and shameful deeds. 20 They worship idols, practice witchcraft, hate others, and are hard to get along with. People become jealous, angry, and selfish. They not only argue and cause trouble, but they are 21 envious. They get drunk, carry on at wild parties, and do other evil things as well. I told you before, and I am telling you again: No one who does these things will share in the blessings of God’s kingdom.

22 God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, 23 gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways. 24 And because we belong to Christ Jesus, we have killed our selfish feelings and desires. 25 God’s Spirit has given us life, and so we should follow the Spirit. 26 But don’t be conceited or make others jealous by claiming to be better than they are.

Psalm 64

(A psalm by David for the music leader.)

Celebrate because of the Lord

64 Listen to my concerns, God,
and protect me
from my terrible enemies.
Keep me safe from secret plots
of corrupt and evil gangs.
Their words cut like swords,
and their cruel remarks
sting like sharp arrows.
They fearlessly ambush
and shoot innocent people.

They are determined to do evil,
and they tell themselves,
“Let’s set traps!
No one can see us.”[a]
They make evil plans and say,
“We’ll commit a perfect crime.
No one knows our thoughts.”[b]

But God will shoot his arrows
and quickly wound them.
They will be destroyed
by their own words,
and everyone who sees them
will tremble with fear.[c]
They will be afraid and say,
“Look at what God has done
and keep it all in mind.”

10 May the Lord bless his people
with peace and happiness
and let them celebrate.

Footnotes:

  1. 64.5 us: One ancient translation; Hebrew “them.”
  2. 64.6 thoughts: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 6.
  3. 64.8 tremble with fear: Or “turn and run.”

Proverbs 23:23

23 Invest in truth and wisdom,
discipline and good sense,
and don’t part with them.

8/17/2017 DAB Transcript

Nehemiah 12:27-13:31; 1 Corinthians 11:1-16; Psalms 35:1-16; Proverbs 21:17-18

Today is the 17th day of August. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian and it is wonderful to be here with you for another day and another step forward together. And in this step, today’s step, we will conclude the book of Nehemiah. So, from the Holman Christian Standard Bible this week. Nehemiah chapter 12 verse 27 to 13 verse 31.

Commentary:

Alright. So, we concluded the book of Nehemiah just a few minutes ago. And Nehemiah is not a super long book but it gives us a really, really good depiction and look at leadership, especially in its first part. We saw that Nehemiah brought great reforms and restoration to the traditions of Israel among exiles who did not grow up with the temple in Jerusalem but came back and rebuilt it and were re-inaugurating the customs and rituals of Judaism. And, so, Nehemiah and Ezra were both very instrumental in this on the ground with the exiles rebuilding. But Nehemiah had to return to the king. And then he was able to come back at a later time, only to find out that it was starting to crumble again. Things that should not be going on were going on and it was sort of the beginning of the slide backward again. And it was horrifying to him. And there’s plenty that we can look at in our own lives in the ways that we begin to slide in certain directions that aren’t going to be healthy or helpful or we can see this going on in communities or in other’s lives or in societies. And, so, Nehemiah has done and does all that he can do and then he turns to God as we all should. And for Nehemiah, his prayer is, remember what I’ve done of done my best, remember me with favor. Because he knows, although he is very influential, he only has so much influence. And although he would like to see certain things happen there’s only so much you can do. And, so, his ultimate concern is that he’s done all that he can and that he himself, in his own heart, has stayed true to his convictions. And sometimes that’s how it works in leadership, since Nehemiah is so much about that. Sometimes that’s all there is. People are going to do what people are going to do. And once you’ve done everything that you can and have committed to your own integrity, then you can only go to God and say, continue to make me better, continue to make me stronger and truer, continue to grow my understanding in what it is you’re calling me to do, remember me. And, so, it’s fitting way to end the book of Nehemiah.

And then we get to Paul’s letter to the Corinthians and we run headlong into a fog. We’ve got to talk about authority. We’ve got to talk about Angels. We’ve got to talk about head coverings. We’ve got to talk about men and women in roles. And since I happen to have the microphone I have to do one of three things - not talk about it, talk about it as if I know what I’m talking about, or tell you the truth. I don’t. And I don’t know why that’s so hard this day and age - for a leader to say I don’t know. But I think it comes from a tradition of needing to have all the answers in a nice linear fashion, so that everything makes complete logical sense, so that an airtight dogma can be wrapped around a subject that is universally true. And that’s mixed with the subtle pressure for leader to have all the answers, to somehow have transcended all mystery. I just don’t think that’s possible. And this passage, in First Corinthians, if nothing else, brings that front and center. Because the interpretations for this particular passage have been wrestled with for centuries coming to a wide array of conclusions that are all over the map. And usually how that works is that a scholar will look at previous scholarship and a pastor will look at scholarship trying to find the path. And, so, you may have heard brilliant sermons or teachings or read amazing things on this that make perfect sense. And that’s awesome. But I know that in the course of my faith journey, I’ve spent hours and hours on this - consulting old and new scholarship. So, rather than me trying give you a teaching us something that I’m not hundred percent sure about, I think I’ll just be honest and kind of show you how this works and share some conclusions that I think are safe and true. So, one of the biggest issues, you know, should a woman cover her head in church? And it looks like Paul is answering a question that he hasn’t been asked. So, allot of this letter Paul’s answering questions. But in this case, he’s just saying, I’m glad you are following the tradition I gave you about this. And he begins to unpack why give the tradition in the first place. So, Paul begins, I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man and the man is the head of the woman and God is the head of Christ. So, from a scholarship perspective, just that one verse, the one thing you’ve got to know is, what are we talking about when we’re talking about the head? What does that mean? Are we talking about authority or are we talking about a person’s head? And the way that this gets complicated is taking the paragraph as a whole. So, the way that it goes is, I want you to know that Christ is the head of everyman, the man is the head of the woman, God is the head of Christ. And then he immediately says every man who prays or prophesies with something on his head dishonors his head, but every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head. So, it’s like, we’re talking about authority, maybe or are we talking about the real head? Because it’s all in the same paragraph, all in the same breath. What are we talking about? And it gets even more complicated when cultural nuance language, where there may be a play on words, doesn’t translate into another language well. And, so, if there is a scholarly consensus, it would be that the first part of that is using the term head as a reference to authority and the second part is a person’s head. And, so we could say that Paul is revealing that there is an order to things that is then outwardly expressed physically. And I think that’s a safe enough reading of it. But even in that, embedded into that, is a tradition that almost nobody practices. I mean, I’ve been to hundreds of churches in many, many countries and if a woman has her head covered in church it’s more a matter of style. It’s like the outfit that she’s wearing as opposed to a spiritual discipline or expression. And I’ve been in lots of churches where men are wearing hats and covering their heads. So, why are we so willing to blatantly disregard this? And it gets even more complicated because in different traditions around the world covering your head to show reverence for God is part of the tradition. So, in the Jewish tradition, a man does cover his head. That’s what the yamaka is about. So, if you’re in Israel and you want to go pray at the Western Wall. Number one, men and women will be segregated from each other, they don’t pray together. And if you’re a man…I mean…like I’ve never been on the women’s side…because I’ve never been a woman…but I’ve been to the men’s side of it many times. So, if you’re going to approach the wall to pray and you’ve got a baseball hat on, you’re good. But if you have nothing on your head then they’ve got these little throw away yamaka’s that you can throw on your head because you need to cover your head to go approach God that way. Whereas Paul’s saying, you shouldn’t have a hat on at all. And the Jews are just following their traditional interpretation of the Torah. So, with Paul, we can at least clearly say that he’s making gender distinctions and saying that within those distinctions are different components that make up a whole. So, let’ just read through this and I will stop at the places where there have been differences of opinion and interpretation and you can pray into it yourself. I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man. So again, what is the head? We just talked about that. Of every man. What are we talking about? Males or mankind? And the man is the head of the woman. Okay. Pause. Is Paul instituting a patriarchal new way of looking at things or is Paul simply stating what is obvious in the culture in which he lives? And God is the head of Christ. So, we have this head thing again. Does that mean that God was actually Jesus physical head or was God in Jesus physical mind or brain or is it that God has the authority over Christ in some way, even though they are one in the same? What I think is safe to say is that Paul is revealing that there is an order to things. And in referring to the order, Paul then talks about covering or not covering your head. Every man who prays or prophesies with something on his head dishonors his head. So, is he dishonoring his head? Like, you know, where his eyes and nose and mouth and ears and hair are or is he dishonoring the authority to which he has submitted himself? But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since that is one and the same as having her head shaved. Before we get to that, the way that this passage kind of moves around, some scholars have wondered if this whole portion of the letter isn’t a part of, maybe of that earlier letter that Paul talked about, or some other letter and these have been kind of consolidated. I don’t particularly think that because there’s no evidence for it and most scholars don’t but some do. But anyway, a woman should cover head because if she doesn’t she’s dishonoring her head. So, maybe her head with her face or that which she has submitted to, which would be God, which could also be an indicator of the fact that she’s in the covenant of marriage and you see that allot of these can be both. And, well Paul says if she doesn’t, she should have her head shaved, which, I mean, that’s definitely a sign of shame. In Paul’s day and age and place in the world and culture, a woman who had had her head shaved would be someone who had committed a sin like adultery. And, so, her head would be shaved and then she would, kind of, walk around with that shame. But it would grow back and she would be restored, which is not unlike what happened in David’s time. Remember, when David sent some emissaries to another country and they dishonored them by shaving their beards? And, so, David to go to Jericho and let it all grow back and then come back to Jerusalem. So, in that culture the beard was sort of the sign of masculinity and cultural standing and even religious devotion. For that to get shaved off would be quite a dishonor. Or it could be a sign of a vow. Many people would shave their head as they took a vow to God and let it grow back. Or Sampson could never cut his hair. And, so, as we move forward we begin to get a clue that Paul is talking about authority when he is talking about head even though he’s talking about covering a physical head. So, he’s kind of talking about an order of things as he unpacks this. A man, in fact, should not cover his head because he is God’s image and glory but woman is man’s glory for man did not come from woman but woman came from man and man was not created for woman but woman for man. This is why a woman should have a symbol of authority on her head. And, so, well, allot of people would say this is kind of demeaning, maybe, to a female then? While others would say no, this is actually kind of affirming and elevating because man is God’s image and glory but woman is what gives man glory and God glory. And, so, a woman being created for man by God simply revealed man’s inadequacy without her. But anyway, Paul is saying, it’s a symbol of authority. This is why a woman should cover her head. But then he says something cryptic – ‘because of the Angels’. This is why a woman should have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. So, what is that about? And those interpretations are all over the map because it’s even cryptic in the original language. And there are esoteric interpretations as well as practical. So, like, on the esoteric side of things, I’ve seen interpretations that this is referring to the sons of God and the daughters of Eve in the Old Testament and that a woman’s uncovered head is so intoxicating that even spiritual beings are seduced. And that this whole thing was about protection and protecting the beauty of femininity. Other interpretations of these angels will come from places like the book of Revelation, where there is an angel for a church and this angel would report back to God the goings on. Others would say that Angels means messengers and this is a messenger. So, it could be people visiting from other churches and Paul wanted uniformity in certain traditions. But then Paul turns the conversation again. In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man and man is not independent of woman for just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman, and all things come from God. So, on the one hand, part of this, people have seen this very patriarchal and then he says that and it’s not. And in other letters, he says, in the Lord that there is no male or female, like we’re all the same. But then we get to the end of what Paul is saying in this passage. Judge for yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray with her head uncovered? Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair it’s a disgrace to him but if a woman has long hair it’s her glory for her hair is given to her as a covering. But if any anyone wants to argue about this, we don’t have any other customs in the church. So, what Paul is saying here is, it’s kind of obvious, which is clearly referencing his time and place, because now all of those things are quite as obvious in this time and place. Women cover their heads or they don’t. Men have long hair or they don’t. I had long hair for a lot of my life and I might still if it were falling out but it never felt like it was dishonoring…it was just never a dishonor or honor thing. That’s not the culture I grew up in. So, you can see why I can come before you as a brother and just say I’m not sure, because linguistic scholars or theological scholars or cultural scholars have all wrestled with this and have come to different conclusions. And as hard as I am after God in my life, as deeply as I am aiming my heart toward knowing God, the further that I go, the more I realize that I have barely begun to scratch the surface. And the Bible continues to show me that I don’t know all I think I know. And that posture has actually opened me wide, to simply sit with the fact that I don’t know all that I think that I know. And there will always be more and it’s going to take billions of years in eternity, with God, in collaboration and in love with God to know what I want to know. And I think, even then, there’ll be more.

So, I bring this up today not to be disconcerting in any way. Although I don’t mind being disruptive. But this passage does give us an opportunity to come face-to-face with our dogmas and the ways in which we think everything, every problem, has to have a logical answer when life rarely works like that. When we’re able to hold in our hands the mystery and acknowledge that we don’t know all that we think that we do, we are no longer relying on our own strength. And if there’s one thing the metanarrative of the Bible teaches us is that we are hopelessly powerless without God. But another thing that is undeniable in the scriptures is that God is passionately desiring to be involved in our lives. Those things are fundamental and foundational and it becomes more important to say, I don’t know the answer but I do know God. And it is within that tension that we grow and ironically that is woven into the fabric of the culture in which the Bible, from which, the Bible came. Israel means one who wrestles with God. And, so, from that tradition is a different way of absorbing the Scriptures. It’s less about what you’re going to figure out and create a dogma around and more about what is happening to you, what you are wrestling with. And we’ve seen that so many times already this year in the Bible, where it becomes this mirror into our souls and begins to speak about things much deeper inside of us. It becomes less about reading words on a page and realizing those words are reading our mail. They are reading us. A mirror has been put up in front of us and we have to look squarely into our own hearts and it unlocks places in us that that we didn’t know. And allot of times, if I’m wrestling through or trying to understand something, I’ll go to Jesus first, I’ll go to the Gospels. But even Jesus practiced this. There’s this beautiful story, where a scholar, someone who had been trained came to Jesus and asked him about the great commandments in relation to eternal life. And Jesus says, you’re an expert, how do you read it? Which is so fascinating t me. We talk about it in the book, Sneezing Jesus. Because I think it’s so compelling that God would invite a man to talk about how he has wrestled with and understands the scriptures. That’s remarkably fascinating to me. And even Paul, in this passage, says, judge for yourselves, wrestle with this yourselves. At the end of the day, and Paul says this, at the end of the day this is just what we do. This is the custom. We don’t have any other custom. So, when I read a passage like the one we read today, I have to say, there is an understanding or was an understanding in the Corinthian culture that didn’t need to be explained that everyone knew. And we’ve lost that. And here’s kind of how that works. If I were to say to any of you, hey, you going to watch the game on Sunday? I don’t have to explain what I’m talking about. We know, generally speaking. Like, if you’re if you’re a sports fan and you, like, watch sports all year round. I could say, you going to watch the game on Saturday, you going to watch the game on Sunday or whatever. Depending on what season it is, you know exactly what game and what sport we’re likely talking about depending on where we are. If I’m in Tennessee I might be watching a specific game that is a professional team of our city. And for you it might be different in a different city but we kind of know what we’re talking about. But if we try to ask this question a couple hundred years ago, it would mean something completely different if we understood it at all. And if we take Paul’s writings in their totality, we know his heart. We know that all he wanted was for people to know Jesus and to grow strong in their faith. We know that he went through allot for that cause. We know that he was an outsider and cast away from his own people in his own culture who wanted to do away with him because of it. We know that this guy gave his life for the cause of Christ. And when he wrote this letter to the Corinthians, he wasn’t trying to put people in any kind of bondage. He had given his life to set people free from bondage. I don’t know why covering our heads or uncovering our heads was so important at that particular time but I do know that those traditions follow through. Why does a woman walk down the aisle with the veil and her head covered to give herself to her husband before God and to enter into a covenant with God and her husband? I’ve been to lots of weddings. I’ve performed lots of weddings. I have yet to find a bride that isn’t thrilled with the tradition. That she gets to walk down the aisle and she’s covered and her heads covered and she looks like a radiant daughter of God. And I have seen that image level the husband to be. I have watched husbands lift the veil in tears. And, so, our traditions, when they mean something, they mean something true. So, whatever was going on here is for good.

Prayer:

Father, we thank You for Your word and its ability to bring us to the end of ourselves and to bring us into Your presence because we know You are good and kind and merciful and loyal been beyond what we know how to articulate. And You love us and we love You back. And we sit with mystery knowing that it unfolds day by day by day by day and will continue to do this forever. And in Your kindness we get to live inside that adventure. So, come, Holy Spirit, implant the words in our lives and may it yield good fruit for your kingdom. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Announcements:

dailyaudiobible.com is the website. It’s home base. It’s where you find out what’s going on around here.

I have mentioned that we have Sneezing Jesus available in the Daily Audio Bible shop now and we’ve brought back the 10 pack with all of the associated goodies that went with that. You can get that straight from the Daily Audio Bible now. We even have cases for those of you who are giving them way as gifts to everyone you know or giving it to visitors for your church or for your group or for whatever. It’s all there in the Daily Audio Bible shop. There’s even a category for it. So, be sure to check that out.

If you want to partner with the Daily Audio Bible, you can do that at dailyaudiobible.com. If the community here is a life-giving one for you and for your journey. Thank you for your partnership in helping to keep it happening. Everything we’ve done since the beginning of this we’ve done together. So, thank you. There’s a link on the homepage of dailyaudiobible.com. If using the app, you can press the more button in the lower right-hand corner, or if you prefer the mailing address is PO Box 1996 Spring Hill TN 37174.

And of course, as always, if you have a prayer request or comment 877-942-4253 is the number to dial.

And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.

Community Prayers and Praise Reports:

Good morning from the UK, Nottingham. It’s August the 14th. Hello and blessings from the UK. I want to pray for us all. Lord, I thank You for community. I thank you that you brought us together under Your name, the name above all names, Jesus. And I bless each and every one of us that we can really find our purpose and goal in life and serve you with all our heart and mind. Even in our wondering, we’ll just gravitate back to You today. In Jesus’ name. Bless this community, I pray. Community, I’d like for you to pray for a lady in my life, that has come into my life…for friends really…in needing on our journey of faith to discovering Jesus. Her names Patsy or Samantha. She’s had a difficult time in relationships with her health. But the Lord has drawn her to my church. And she keeps wanting to come on Sundays and she’s very, very interested and loves children, particularly, my daughter. I’m a divorced dad and see my daughter weekends. And…you know…the Lords will be done. I’ve been divorced for nearly three years now, separated for eight. And…you know…I trust the Lord, that he has the right partner for me but who knows with this lady…dear friend. Pray for her that she’ll find…her eyes will be open to faith and discover more of Him and who He is and that distractions will disappear and the enemy will keep his hands off her by sending wrong people towards her. And I pray that she’ll have wisdom in all that she does. Thank you. family. God bless. Bye-bye.

My name is Rachel. I’m phoning from Scotland. I’ve just listened to the Daily Audio Bible podcast for the day the 14th of August and I wanted to pray for Mary C. from Georgia. And I wondered if she hears this if Mary, if you will contact me? My email is jemassage01@gmail.com. Father God, we pray for Your servant Mary. You know that she banged her head Father, and You know that she’s been suffering ever since. And her and her mother are going to be moving shortly and you know she’s not going to be able to go to school and we just pray that You will touch her today Lord, that You will heal her. That You will restore her to full health. Lord, we ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen. God bless everybody. Take care. Jesus loves you. Bye.

Good morning. I’m a new listener. I love this app. I love what you’re doing. A friend of mind gave me your information and I started listening just a few days ago. God bless you for being there. I do have a prayer request. Number one is my son, Brice, who is Spirit filled, lost his job a couple months ago and he only has enough money for another month. He is Christian and Spirit filled but he’s getting very anxious and nervous. And my daughter in law is having a very hard time. Her name is Kelly. Brice and Kelly. I know God has a job for him and I know He has a job that when He opens the doors that no man can close. I just ask for your prayers for them, for their peace and that they would go in the right direction, the place that God wants them and that they would draw closer to God and they both need to know the Father’s love. And in this I’m praying and I want you to agree with me, that they know the Father’s love and that they have a testimony of what God did and what He’s doing and what He’s already done. And I thank you for praying. I also developed a rash on my abdomen and I don’t know what it is but I just want prayer for complete healing. And, again, God bless you for being there and I intend to keep listening daily. Thank you. In Jesus’ name…

Good morning DAB family. Deborah, Providence RI. Brain and family and all the other’s thanks for all that you do. I listened to the podcast on the 14th of August and this is for Valeri whose father is in hospice and mother who recently passed. Valeri, my prayers are with you honey. I pray and agree with you for your prayer for your dad’s peaceful and happy transition. I know it’s tough but just hold on knowing that they are both going to be in a better place. I pray peace in your heart. Also, for the young lady, the 16-year-old that got hurt and is asking for prayers for her healing, her home, a better home when they move, and for her sisters return to Christ. I stand in full agreement with You. God Bless Byron. Thank you for the story about the track with your son. Very uplifting. Tony, Blind Tony, I just pray for your healing brother and glorify God for you for the gift that you share with us regularly. I know there are calls about you not calling yourself Blind Tony. I tend to agree buddy. Honey, you are who you are, free of healing. I pray you’ll continue to hold onto your healing. It will come. No matter what you call yourself. You’re a child of God and you will be healed. In Jesus’ name. Thank you everyone. God bless. Bye.