Home > Reading > Daily Reading – April 23, 2020

2 Chron. 30:1–27

30:1 Hezekiah sent messages throughout Israel and Judah; he even wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, summoning them to come to the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem and observe a Passover celebration for the Lord God of Israel. 2The king, his officials, and the entire assembly in Jerusalem decided to observe the Passover in the second month. 3They were unable to observe it at the regular time because not enough priests had consecrated themselves and the people had not assembled in Jerusalem. 4The proposal seemed appropriate to the king and the entire assembly. 5So they sent an edict throughout Israel from Beer Sheba to Dan, summoning the people to come and observe a Passover for the Lord God of Israel in Jerusalem, for they had not observed it on a nationwide scale as prescribed in the law. 6Messengers delivered the letters from the king and his officials throughout Israel and Judah.

This royal edict read: “O Israelites, return to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, so he may return to you who have been spared from the kings of Assyria. 7Don’t be like your fathers and brothers who were unfaithful to the Lord God of their ancestors, provoking him to destroy them, as you can see. 8Now, don’t be stubborn like your fathers! Submit to the Lord and come to his sanctuary which he has permanently consecrated. Serve the Lord your God so that he might relent from his raging anger. 9For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and sons will be shown mercy by their captors and return to this land. The Lord your God is merciful and compassionate; he will not reject you if you return to him.”

10The messengers journeyed from city to city through the land of Ephraim and Manasseh as far as Zebulun, but people mocked and ridiculed them. 11But some men from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12In Judah God moved the people to unite and carry out the edict of the king and the officers in keeping with the Lord’s message. 13A huge crowd assembled in Jerusalem to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month. 14They removed the altars in Jerusalem; they also removed all the incense altars and threw them into the Kidron Valley.

15They slaughtered the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and Levites were ashamed, so they consecrated themselves and brought burnt sacrifices to the Lord’s temple. 16They stood at their posts according to the regulations outlined in the law of Moses, the man of God. The priests were splashing the blood as the Levites handed it to them. 17Because many in the assembly had not consecrated themselves, the Levites slaughtered the Passover lambs of all who were ceremonially unclean and could not consecrate their sacrifice to the Lord. 18The majority of the many people from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun were ceremonially unclean, yet they ate the Passover in violation of what is prescribed in the law. For Hezekiah prayed for them, saying: “May the Lord, who is good, forgive 19everyone who has determined to follow God, the Lord God of his ancestors, even if he is not ceremonially clean according to the standards of the temple.” 20The Lord responded favorably to Hezekiah and forgave the people.

21The Israelites who were in Jerusalem observed the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with great joy. The Levites and priests were praising the Lord every day with all their might. 22Hezekiah expressed his appreciation to all the Levites, who demonstrated great skill in serving the Lord. They feasted for the seven days of the festival, and were making peace offerings and giving thanks to the Lord God of their ancestors.

23The entire assembly then decided to celebrate for seven more days; so they joyfully celebrated for seven more days. 24King Hezekiah of Judah supplied 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep for the assembly, while the officials supplied them with 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep. Many priests consecrated themselves. 25The celebration included the entire assembly of Judah, the priests, the Levites, the entire assembly of those who came from Israel, the resident foreigners who came from the land of Israel and those who were residents of Judah. 26There was a great celebration in Jerusalem, unlike anything that had occurred in Jerusalem since the time of King Solomon son of David of Israel. 27The priests and Levites got up and pronounced blessings on the people. The Lord responded favorably to them as their prayers reached his holy dwelling place in heaven.

(NET Bible)

Ps. 104

104:1 Praise the Lord, O my soul!

O Lord my God, you are magnificent.

You are robed in splendor and majesty.

2He covers himself with light as if it were a garment.

He stretches out the skies like a tent curtain,

3and lays the beams of the upper rooms of his palace on the rain clouds.

He makes the clouds his chariot,

and travels along on the wings of the wind.

4He makes the winds his messengers,

and the flaming fire his attendant.

5He established the earth on its foundations;

it will never be moved.

6The watery deep covered it like a garment;

the waters reached above the mountains.

7Your shout made the waters retreat;

at the sound of your thunderous voice they hurried off –

8as the mountains rose up,

and the valleys went down –

to the place you appointed for them.

9You set up a boundary for them that they could not cross,

so that they would not cover the earth again.

10He turns springs into streams;

they flow between the mountains.

11They provide water for all the animals in the field;

the wild donkeys quench their thirst.

12The birds of the sky live beside them;

they chirp among the bushes.

13He waters the mountains from the upper rooms of his palace;

the earth is full of the fruit you cause to grow.

14He provides grass for the cattle,

and crops for people to cultivate,

so they can produce food from the ground,

15as well as wine that makes people feel so good,

and so they can have oil to make their faces shine,

as well as food that sustains people’s lives.

16The trees of the Lord receive all the rain they need,

the cedars of Lebanon which he planted,

17where the birds make nests,

near the evergreens in which the herons live.

18The wild goats live in the high mountains;

the rock badgers find safety in the cliffs.

19He made the moon to mark the months,

and the sun sets according to a regular schedule.

20You make it dark and night comes,

during which all the beasts of the forest prowl around.

21The lions roar for prey,

seeking their food from God.

22When the sun rises, they withdraw

and sleep in their dens.

23Men then go out to do their work,

and labor away until evening.

24How many living things you have made, O Lord!

You have exhibited great skill in making all of them;

the earth is full of the living things you have made.

25Over here is the deep, wide sea,

which teems with innumerable swimming creatures,

living things both small and large.

26The ships travel there,

and over here swims the whale you made to play in it.

27All of your creatures wait for you

to provide them with food on a regular basis.

28You give food to them and they receive it;

you open your hand and they are filled with food.

29When you ignore them, they panic.

When you take away their life’s breath, they die

and return to dust.

30When you send your life-giving breath, they are created,

and you replenish the surface of the ground.

31May the splendor of the Lord endure!

May the Lord find pleasure in the living things he has made!

32He looks down on the earth and it shakes;

he touches the mountains and they start to smolder.

33I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;

I will sing praise to my God as long as I exist!

34May my thoughts be pleasing to him!

I will rejoice in the Lord.

35May sinners disappear from the earth,

and the wicked vanish!

Praise the Lord, O my soul!

Praise the Lord!

(NET Bible)

Luke 15:1–10

15:1 Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming to hear him. 2But the Pharisees and the experts in the law were complaining, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

3So Jesus told them this parable: 4“Which one of you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, would not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go look for the one that is lost until he finds it? 5Then when he has found it, he places it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6Returning home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, telling them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7I tell you, in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent.

8 “Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search thoroughly until she finds it? 9Then when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents.”

(NET Bible)

This word of Luther spoken at Worms has o en, unfortunately, been misconstrued. It has been inferred from it that Luther here demanded an unrestricted liberty of thought and conscience, according to which there is no such thing as an objective authority outside of ourselves, and man is responsible to no one but himself, his own subjective, arbitrary conscience. It is not to be denied that natural man would find his greatest delight in such an absolute freedom of thought and conscience, just as such freedom sooner or later always leads to a dissolution of morality and religion but never serves to fortify the same. Such unrestricted individualism, centering only in itself, divorced from all objective authority, was, perhaps, advocated by Italian humanism but never by Luther. This needs no further proof even though historians like Harnack saw fit to write: “ The Reformation protested against all formal, external authority in matters of religion. Thus Luther also protested against the authority of the letter of the Bible.” Whoever appeals to the confession of Luther at Worms in support of this deliberately closes his eyes to the fact that Luther expressly declared, “my conscience is captive to the Word of God.” (19)

–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.

Learn More