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Esther 4

4:1 Now when Mordecai became aware of all that had been done, he tore his garments and put on sackcloth and ashes. He went out into the city, crying out in a loud and bitter voice. 2But he went no farther than the king’s gate, for no one was permitted to enter the king’s gate clothed in sackcloth. 3Throughout each and every province where the king’s edict and law were announced there was considerable mourning among the Jews, along with fasting, weeping, and sorrow. Sackcloth and ashes were characteristic of many. 4When Esther’s female attendants and her eunuchs came and informed her about Mordecai’s behavior, the queen was overcome with anguish. Although she sent garments for Mordecai to put on so that he could remove his sackcloth, he would not accept them. 5So Esther called for Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs who had been placed at her service, and instructed him to find out the cause and reason for Mordecai’s behavior. 6So Hathach went to Mordecai at the plaza of the city in front of the king’s gate. 7Then Mordecai related to him everything that had happened to him, even the specific amount of money that Haman had offered to pay to the king’s treasuries for the Jews to be destroyed. 8He also gave him a written copy of the law that had been disseminated in Susa for their destruction so that he could show it to Esther and talk to her about it. He also gave instructions that she should go to the king to implore him and petition him on behalf of her people. 9So Hathach returned and related Mordecai’s instructions to Esther.

10Then Esther replied to Hathach with instructions for Mordecai: 11“All the servants of the king and the people of the king’s provinces know that there is only one law applicable to any man or woman who comes uninvited to the king in the inner court—that person will be put to death, unless the king extends to him the gold scepter, permitting him to be spared. Now I have not been invited to come to the king for some 30 days.”

12When Esther’s reply was conveyed to Mordecai, 13he said to take back this answer to Esther: “Don’t imagine that because you are part of the king’s household you will be the one Jew who will escape. 14If you keep quiet at this time, liberation and protection for the Jews will appear from another source, while you and your father’s household perish. It may very well be that you have achieved royal status for such a time as this!”

15Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16“Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast on my behalf. Don’t eat and don’t drink for three days, night or day. My female attendants and I will also fast in the same way. Afterward I will go to the king, even though it violates the law. If I perish, I perish.”

17So Mordecai set out to do everything that Esther had instructed him.

(NET Bible)

Ps. 56

56:1 For the music director, according to the yonath-elem-rekhoqim style; a prayer of David, written when the Philistines captured him in Gath.

Have mercy on me, O God, for men are attacking me.

All day long hostile enemies are tormenting me.

2Those who anticipate my defeat attack me all day long.

Indeed, many are fighting against me, O Exalted One.

3When I am afraid,

I trust in you.

4In God—I boast in his promise—

in God I trust; I am not afraid.

What can mere men do to me?

5All day long they cause me trouble;

they make a habit of plotting my demise.

6They stalk and lurk;

they watch my every step,

as they prepare to take my life.

7Because they are bent on violence, do not let them escape.

In your anger bring down the nations, O God.

8You keep track of my misery.

Put my tears in your leather container.

Are they not recorded in your scroll?

9My enemies will turn back when I cry out to you for help;

I know that God is on my side.

10In God—I boast in his promise—

in the Lord—I boast in his promise—

11in God I trust; I am not afraid.

What can mere men do to me?

12I am obligated to fulfill the vows I made to you, O God;

I will give you the thank offerings you deserve,

13when you deliver my life from death.

You keep my feet from stumbling,

so that I might serve God as I enjoy life.

(NET Bible)

1 Thess. 1:1–10

1:1 From Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace and peace to you!

2We thank God always for all of you as we mention you constantly in our prayers, 3because we recall in the presence of our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and endurance of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4We know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5in that our gospel did not come to you merely in words, but in power and in the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction (surely you recall the character we displayed when we came among you to help you).

6And you became imitators of us and of the Lord when you received the message with joy that comes from the Holy Spirit, despite great affliction. 7As a result you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8For from you the message of the Lord has echoed forth not just in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place reports of your faith in God have spread, so that we do not need to say anything. 9For people everywhere report how you welcomed us and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus our deliverer from the coming wrath.

(NET Bible)

In his Enarratio Capitis Noni Esaiae, of 1543-44 (printed 1546), [Luther] confesses: “ I am much displeased with myself and I hate myself because I know that all that Scripture says concerning Christ is true, that there is nothing besides it that can be greater, more important, sweeter or joyful, and that it should intoxicate me with the highest joy because I see that Scripture is consonant in all and through all and agrees with itself in such a measure that it is impossible to doubt the truth and certainty of such a weighty matter in any detail—and yet I am hindered by the malice of my esh and I am ‘bound by the law of sin’ that I cannot let this favor permeate into all my limbs and bones and even into my marrow as I should like.”

On January 17, 1546, Luther preached his last sermon in Wittenberg. It is necessary to read that sermon, in which he speaks more disparagingly of reason than ever before, to see how at the very end of his life he clung to the literalness of Scripture as the only authority in matters of faith. (37)

–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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