52:1 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he ruled in Jerusalem for 11 years. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah, from Libnah. 2He did what displeased the Lord just as Jehoiakim had done.
3What follows is a record of what happened to Jerusalem and Judah because of the Lord’s anger when he drove them out of his sight. Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. 4King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came against Jerusalem with his whole army and set up camp outside it. They built siege ramps all around it. He arrived on the tenth day of the tenth month in the ninth year that Zedekiah ruled over Judah. 5The city remained under siege until Zedekiah’s eleventh year. 6By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine in the city was so severe the residents had no food. 7They broke through the city walls, and all the soldiers tried to escape. They left the city during the night. They went through the gate between the two walls that is near the king’s garden. (The Babylonians had the city surrounded.) Then they headed for the rift valley. 8But the Babylonian army chased after the king. They caught up with Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho, and his entire army deserted him. 9They captured him and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the territory of Hamath, and he passed sentence on him there. 10The king of Babylon had Zedekiah’s sons put to death while Zedekiah was forced to watch. He also had all the nobles of Judah put to death there at Riblah. 11He had Zedekiah’s eyes put out and had him bound in chains. Then the king of Babylon had him led off to Babylon, and he was imprisoned there until the day he died.(NET Bible)
42:1 For the music director, a well-written song by the Korahites.
As a deer longs for streams of water,
so I long for you, O God!
2I thirst for God,
for the living God.
I say, “When will I be able to go and appear in God’s presence?”
3I cannot eat; I weep day and night.
All day long they say to me, “Where is your God?”
4I will remember and weep.
For I was once walking along with the great throng to the temple of God,
shouting and giving thanks along with the crowd as we celebrated the holy festival.
5Why are you depressed, O my soul?
Why are you upset?
Wait for God!
For I will again give thanks
to my God for his saving intervention.
6I am depressed,
so I will pray to you while in the region of the upper Jordan,
from Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
7One deep stream calls out to another at the sound of your waterfalls;
all your billows and waves overwhelm me.
8By day the Lord decrees his loyal love,
and by night he gives me a song,
a prayer to the God of my life.
9I will pray to God, my high ridge:
“Why do you ignore me?
Why must I walk around mourning
because my enemies oppress me?”
10My enemies’ taunts cut me to the bone,
as they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
11Why are you depressed, O my soul?
Why are you upset?
Wait for God!
For I will again give thanks
to my God for his saving intervention.(NET Bible)
1:12 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that my situation has actually turned out to advance the gospel: 13The whole imperial guard and everyone else knows that I am in prison for the sake of Christ, 14and most of the brothers and sisters, having confidence in the Lord because of my imprisonment, now more than ever dare to speak the word fearlessly.
15Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill. 16The latter do so from love because they know that I am placed here for the defense of the gospel. 17The former proclaim Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, because they think they can cause trouble for me in my imprisonment. 18What is the result? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is being proclaimed, and in this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. 20My confident hope is that I will in no way be ashamed but that with complete boldness, even now as always, Christ will be exalted in my body, whether I live or die. 21For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. 22Now if I am to go on living in the body, this will mean productive work for me, yet I don’t know which I prefer: 23I feel torn between the two because I have a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far, 24but it is more vital for your sake that I remain in the body. 25And since I am sure of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for the sake of your progress and joy in the faith, 26so that what you can be proud of may increase because of me in Christ Jesus, when I come back to you.
27Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ so that—whether I come and see you or whether I remain absent—I should hear that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, by contending side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28and by not being intimidated in any way by your opponents. This is a sign of their destruction, but of your salvation—a sign which is from God. 29For it has been granted to you not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for him, 30since you are encountering the same conflict that you saw me face and now hear that I am facing.(NET Bible)
In 1538 and 1539 Luther wrote his powerful book Von den Conciliis un Kirchen and published it in 1539. In this he says: “If anyone would see still farther that the dear holy fathers were men, let him read the little book on the four chapters to the Corinthians by Dr. Pommer, our pastor. From it we must learn that St. Augustine was right when he said … that he will not believe any of the fathers unless he has the Scriptures on his side. Dear Lord God, if the Christian faith were to depend on men and be founded in human words, what were the need for the Holy Scriptures, or why has God given them? Let us draw them under the bench and lay the councils and the fathers on the desk instead! Or if the fathers were not men, how shall we men be saved? If they were men, they must also have thought, spoken, and acted sometimes as we think, speak, and act, and then said, like us, the prayer, ‘Forgive us our trespasses,’ especially since they have not the promise of the Spirit, like the apostles, and must be pupils of the apostles … When they build without the Scriptures, i.e., without gold, silver, precious stones, they have to build wood, straw, and hay; therefore we must follow the judgment of St. Paul and know how to distinguish between gold and wood, silver and straw, precious stones and hay.” (36)
–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.