Home > Devotions > Daily Reading – July 23, 2018

Numbers 23:1–26 (ESV)

Balaam’s First Oracle

23 And Balaam said to Balak, “Build for me here seven altars, and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.” Balak did as Balaam had said. And Balak and Balaam offered on each altar a bull and a ram. And Balaam said to Balak, “Stand beside your burnt offering, and I will go. Perhaps the Lord will come to meet me, and whatever he shows me I will tell you.” And he went to a bare height, and God met Balaam. And Balaam said to him, “I have arranged the seven altars and I have offered on each altar a bull and a ram.” And the Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak.” And he returned to him, and behold, he and all the princes of Moab were standing beside his burnt offering. And Balaam took up his discourse and said,

“From Aram Balak has brought me,
the king of Moab from the eastern mountains:
‘Come, curse Jacob for me,
and come, denounce Israel!’
How can I curse whom God has not cursed?
How can I denounce whom the Lord has not denounced?
For from the top of the crags I see him,
from the hills I behold him;
behold, a people dwelling alone,
and not counting itself among the nations!
10  Who can count the dust of Jacob
or number the fourth part of Israel?
Let me die the death of the upright,
and let my end be like his!”

11 And Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have done nothing but bless them.” 12 And he answered and said, “Must I not take care to speak what the Lord puts in my mouth?”

Balaam’s Second Oracle

13 And Balak said to him, “Please come with me to another place, from which you may see them. You shall see only a fraction of them and shall not see them all. Then curse them for me from there.” 14 And he took him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 15 Balaam said to Balak, “Stand here beside your burnt offering, while I meet the Lord over there.” 16 And the Lord met Balaam and put a word in his mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus shall you speak.” 17 And he came to him, and behold, he was standing beside his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said to him, “What has the Lord spoken?” 18 And Balaam took up his discourse and said,

“Rise, Balak, and hear;
give ear to me, O son of Zippor:
19  God is not man, that he should lie,
or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
20  Behold, I received a command to bless:
he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it.

21  He has not beheld misfortune in Jacob,
nor has he seen trouble in Israel.
The Lord their God is with them,
and the shout of a king is among them.
22  God brings them out of Egypt
and is for them like the horns of the wild ox.
23  For there is no enchantment against Jacob,
no divination against Israel;
now it shall be said of Jacob and Israel,
‘What has God wrought!’
24  Behold, a people! As a lioness it rises up
and as a lion it lifts itself;
it does not lie down until it has devoured the prey
and drunk the blood of the slain.”

25 And Balak said to Balaam, “Do not curse them at all, and do not bless them at all.” 26 But Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not tell you, ‘All that the Lord says, that I must do’?”

Psalm 22 (ESV)

Why Have You Forsaken Me?

22 To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?

O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.

Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.

In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.

To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.

All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;

“He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.

10  On you was I cast from my birth,
and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

11  Be not far from me,
for trouble is near,
and there is none to help.

12  Many bulls encompass me;
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;

13  they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion.

14  I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;

15  my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.

16  For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—

17  I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;

18  they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.

19  But you, O Lord, do not be far off!
O you my help, come quickly to my aid!

20  Deliver my soul from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dog!

21  Save me from the mouth of the lion!
You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!

22  I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:

23  You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!

24  For he has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to him.

25  From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
my vows I will perform before those who fear him.

26  The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek him shall praise the Lord!
May your hearts live forever!

27  All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before you.

28  For kingship belongs to the Lord,
and he rules over the nations.

29  All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
even the one who could not keep himself alive.

30  Posterity shall serve him;
it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;

31  they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
that he has done it.

John 7:37–52 (ESV)

Rivers of Living Water

37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Division Among the People

40 When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? 42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” 43 So there was a division among the people over him. 44 Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.

45 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” 46 The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” 47 The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? 48 Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? 49 But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” 50 Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, 51 “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” 52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”

From the year 1534 we note this declaration: “As Moses is the source from which all the holy prophets and apostles have drawn the divine knowledge and power of redemption and of the way of salvation through the inspiration, (beneficio) of the Holy Ghost, so we cannot arrange our labors better or more correctly than if we lead the students and scholars to the same source and seed of divine wisdom, which the Holy Ghost has sown through Moses, in such a manner that no reason nor strength of human understanding can acknowledge or understand it apart from the support of the Holy Ghost.” (34)

–Johann Michael Reu, Luther on the Scriptures

This daily Bible reading guide, Reading the Word of God, was conceived and prepared as a result of the ongoing discussions between representatives of three church bodies: Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). The following individuals have represented their church bodies and approved this introduction and the reading guide: LCC: President Robert Bugbee; NALC: Bishop John Bradosky, Revs. Mark Chavez, James Nestingen, and David Wendel; LCMS: Revs. Albert Collver, Joel Lehenbauer, John Pless, and Larry Vogel.

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