40:1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah after Nebuzaradan the captain of the royal guard had set him free at Ramah. He had taken him there in chains along with all the people from Jerusalem and Judah who were being carried off to exile to Babylon. 2The captain of the royal guard took Jeremiah aside and said to him, “The Lord your God threatened this place with this disaster. 3Now he has brought it about. The Lord has done just as he threatened to do. This disaster has happened because you people sinned against the Lord and did not obey him. 4But now, Jeremiah, today I will set you free from the chains on your wrists. If you would like to come to Babylon with me, come along and I will take care of you. But if you prefer not to come to Babylon with me, you are not required to do so. You are free to go anywhere in the land you want to go. Go wherever you choose.” 5Before Jeremiah could turn to leave, the captain of the guard added, “Go back to Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon appointed to govern the towns of Judah. Go back and live with him among the people. Or go wherever else you choose.” Then the captain of the guard gave Jeremiah some food and a present and let him go. 6So Jeremiah went to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah and lived there with him. He stayed there to live among the people who had been left in the land of Judah.
7Now some of the officers of the Judean army and their troops had been hiding in the countryside. They heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam to govern the country. They also heard that he had been put in charge over the men, women, and children from the poorer classes of the land who had not been carried off into exile in Babylon. 8So all these officers and their troops came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. The officers who came were Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah son of the Maacathite. 9Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, took an oath so as to give them and their troops some assurance of safety. “Do not be afraid to submit to the Babylonians. Settle down in the land and submit to the king of Babylon. Then things will go well for you. 10I for my part will stay at Mizpah to represent you before the Babylonians whenever they come to us. You for your part go ahead and harvest the wine, the dates, the figs, and the olive oil, and store them in jars. Go ahead and settle down in the towns that you have taken over.” 11Moreover, all the Judeans who were in Moab, Ammon, Edom, and all the other countries heard what had happened. They heard that the king of Babylon had allowed some people to stay in Judah and that he had appointed Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, to govern them. 12So all these Judeans returned to the land of Judah from the places where they had been scattered. They came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. Thus they harvested a large amount of wine and dates and figs.
13Johanan and all the officers of the troops that had been hiding in the open country came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. 14They said to him, “Are you at all aware that King Baalis of Ammon has sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to kill you?” But Gedaliah son of Ahikam would not believe them. 15Then Johanan son of Kareah spoke privately to Gedaliah there at Mizpah, “Let me go and kill Ishmael the son of Nethaniah before anyone knows about it. Otherwise he will kill you and all the Judeans who have rallied around you will be scattered. Then what remains of Judah will disappear.” 16But Gedaliah son of Ahikam said to Johanan son of Kareah, “Do not do that because what you are saying about Ishmael is not true.”(NET Bible)
21:1 For the music director; a psalm of David.
O Lord, the king rejoices in the strength you give;
he takes great delight in the deliverance you provide.
2You grant him his heart’s desire;
you do not refuse his request. (Selah)
3For you bring him rich blessings;
you place a golden crown on his head.
4He asked you to sustain his life,
and you have granted him long life and an enduring dynasty.
5Your deliverance brings him great honor;
you give him majestic splendor.
6For you grant him lasting blessings;
you give him great joy by allowing him into your presence.
7For the king trusts in the Lord,
and because of the Most High’s faithfulness he is not shaken.
8You prevail over all your enemies;
your power is too great for those who hate you.
9You burn them up like a fiery furnace when you appear;
the Lord angrily devours them;
the fire consumes them.
10You destroy their offspring from the earth,
their descendants from among the human race.
11Yes, they intend to do you harm;
they dream up a scheme, but they do not succeed.
12For you make them retreat
when you aim your arrows at them.
13Rise up, O Lord, in strength!
We will sing and praise your power!(NET Bible)
24:1 After five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and an attorney named Tertullus, and they brought formal charges against Paul to the governor. 2When Paul had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, “We have experienced a lengthy time of peace through your rule, and reforms are being made in this nation through your foresight. 3Most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this everywhere and in every way with all gratitude. 4But so that I may not delay you any further, I beg you to hear us briefly with your customary graciousness. 5For we have found this man to be a troublemaker, one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. 6He even tried to desecrate the temple, so we arrested him. 8When you examine him yourself, you will be able to learn from him about all these things we are accusing him of doing.” 9The Jews also joined in the verbal attack, claiming that these things were true.
10When the governor gestured for him to speak, Paul replied, “Because I know that you have been a judge over this nation for many years, I confidently make my defense. 11As you can verify for yourself, not more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12They did not find me arguing with anyone or stirring up a crowd in the temple courts or in the synagogues or throughout the city, 13nor can they prove to you the things they are accusing me of doing. 14But I confess this to you, that I worship the God of our ancestors according to the Way (which they call a sect), believing everything that is according to the law and that is written in the prophets. 15I have a hope in God (a hope that these men themselves accept too) that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. 16This is the reason I do my best to always have a clear conscience toward God and toward people. 17After several years I came to bring to my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings, 18which I was doing when they found me in the temple, ritually purified, without a crowd or a disturbance. 19But there are some Jews from the province of Asia who should be here before you and bring charges, if they have anything against me. 20Or these men here should tell what crime they found me guilty of when I stood before the council, 21other than this one thing I shouted out while I stood before them: ‘I am on trial before you today concerning the resurrection of the dead.’”
22Then Felix, who understood the facts concerning the Way more accurately, adjourned their hearing, saying, “When Lysias the commanding officer comes down, I will decide your case.” 23He ordered the centurion to guard Paul, but to let him have some freedom, and not to prevent any of his friends from meeting his needs.
24Some days later, when Felix arrived with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. 25While Paul was discussing righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment, Felix became frightened and said, “Go away for now, and when I have an opportunity, I will send for you.” 26At the same time he was also hoping that Paul would give him money, and for this reason he sent for Paul as often as possible and talked with him. 27After two years had passed, Porcius Festus succeeded Felix, and because he wanted to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.(NET Bible)
In [Luther’s] Sermon on the Christian Armor, of 1532, we read: “When the devil has succeeded in bringing matters so far that we surrender one article to him, he is victorious, and it is just as bad as though all of them and Christ himself were already lost. Afterward he can unsettle and withdraw others because they are all intertwined and bound together like a golden chain, so that if one link be broken, the whole chain is broken, and it pulls apart. And there is no article that cannot be overthrown if it once comes to pass that reason intrudes and tries to speculate and learns to turn and twist the Scripture so that it does agree with its conclusions. at penetrates like a sweet poison.” (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.