Home > Reading > Daily Reading – January 23, 2024

Hebrews 9:1–14 (Listen)

The Earthly Holy Place

9:1 Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence. It is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, 10 but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.

Redemption Through the Blood of Christ

11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

John 5:1–18 (Listen)

The Healing at the Pool on the Sabbath

5:1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.

Now that day was the Sabbath. 10 So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” 11 But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” 13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. 16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

Jesus Is Equal with God

18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.


Morning Psalms

Psalm 12 (Listen)

The Faithful Have Vanished

To the choirmaster: according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David.

12:1   Save, O LORD, for the godly one is gone;
    for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.
  Everyone utters lies to his neighbor;
    with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
  May the LORD cut off all flattering lips,
    the tongue that makes great boasts,
  those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail,
    our lips are with us; who is master over us?”
  “Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan,
    I will now arise,” says the LORD;
    “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”
  The words of the LORD are pure words,
    like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
    purified seven times.
  You, O LORD, will keep them;
    you will guard us from this generation forever.
  On every side the wicked prowl,
    as vileness is exalted among the children of man.

Psalm 146 (Listen)

Put Not Your Trust in Princes

146:1   Praise the LORD!
  Praise the LORD, O my soul!
  I will praise the LORD as long as I live;
    I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
  Put not your trust in princes,
    in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
  When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
    on that very day his plans perish.
  Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the LORD his God,
  who made heaven and earth,
    the sea, and all that is in them,
  who keeps faith forever;
    who executes justice for the oppressed,
    who gives food to the hungry.
  The LORD sets the prisoners free;
    the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
  The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
    the LORD loves the righteous.
  The LORD watches over the sojourners;
    he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
    but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
10   The LORD will reign forever,
    your God, O Zion, to all generations.
  Praise the LORD!


Evening Psalms

Psalm 36 (Listen)

How Precious Is Your Steadfast Love

To the choirmaster. Of David, the servant of the LORD.

36:1   Transgression speaks to the wicked
    deep in his heart;
  there is no fear of God
    before his eyes.
  For he flatters himself in his own eyes
    that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
  The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit;
    he has ceased to act wisely and do good.
  He plots trouble while on his bed;
    he sets himself in a way that is not good;
    he does not reject evil.
  Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
    your faithfulness to the clouds.
  Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
    your judgments are like the great deep;
    man and beast you save, O LORD.
  How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
    The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
  They feast on the abundance of your house,
    and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
  For with you is the fountain of life;
    in your light do we see light.
10   Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
    and your righteousness to the upright of heart!
11   Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me,
    nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12   There the evildoers lie fallen;
    they are thrust down, unable to rise.

Psalm 7 (Listen)

In You Do I Take Refuge

A Shiggaion of David, which he sang to the LORD concerning the words of Cush, a Benjaminite.

7:1   O LORD my God, in you do I take refuge;
    save me from all my pursuers and deliver me,
  lest like a lion they tear my soul apart,
    rending it in pieces, with none to deliver.
  O LORD my God, if I have done this,
    if there is wrong in my hands,
  if I have repaid my friend with evil
    or plundered my enemy without cause,
  let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it,
    and let him trample my life to the ground
    and lay my glory in the dust. Selah
  Arise, O LORD, in your anger;
    lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies;
    awake for me; you have appointed a judgment.
  Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about you;
    over it return on high.
  The LORD judges the peoples;
    judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness
    and according to the integrity that is in me.
  Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end,
    and may you establish the righteous—
  you who test the minds and hearts,
    O righteous God!
10   My shield is with God,
    who saves the upright in heart.
11   God is a righteous judge,
    and a God who feels indignation every day.
12   If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword;
    he has bent and readied his bow;
13   he has prepared for him his deadly weapons,
    making his arrows fiery shafts.
14   Behold, the wicked man conceives evil
    and is pregnant with mischief
    and gives birth to lies.
15   He makes a pit, digging it out,
    and falls into the hole that he has made.
16   His mischief returns upon his own head,
    and on his own skull his violence descends.
17   I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness,
    and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.

This daily prayer and Bible reading guide, Devoted to Prayer (based on Acts 2:42), was conceived and prepared by the Rev. Andrew S. Ames Fuller, director of communications for the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). After several challenging years in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been provided with a unique opportunity to revitalize the ancient practice of daily prayer and Scripture reading in our homes. While the Reading the Word of God three-year lectionary provided a much-needed and refreshing calendar for our congregations to engage in Scripture reading, this calendar includes a missing component of daily devotion: prayer. This guide is to provide the average layperson and pastor with the simple tools for sorting through the busyness of their lives and reclaiming an act of daily discipleship with their Lord. The daily readings follow the Lutheran Book of Worship two-year daily lectionary, which reflect the church calendar closely. The commemorations are adapted from Philip H. Pfatteicher’s New Book of Festivals and Commemorations, a proposed common calendar of the saints that builds from the Lutheran Book of Worship, but includes saints from many of those churches in ecumenical conversation with the NALC. The introductory portion is adapted from Christ Church (Plano)’s Pray Daily. Our hope is that this calendar and guide will provide new life for congregations learning and re-learning to pray in the midst of a difficult and changing world.

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