31:1 At that time I will be the God of all the clans of Israel,
and they will be my people.
I, the Lord, affirm it!”
2The Lord says:
“The people of Israel who survived
death at the hands of the enemy
will find favor in the wilderness
as they journey to find rest for themselves.
3In a faraway land the Lord will manifest himself to them.
He will say to them, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love.
That is why I have continued to be faithful to you.
4I will rebuild you, my dear children Israel,
so that you will once again be built up.
Once again you will take up the tambourine
and join in the happy throng of dancers.
5Once again you will plant vineyards
on the hills of Samaria.
Those who plant them
will once again enjoy their fruit.
6Yes, a time is coming
when watchmen will call out on the mountains of Ephraim,
“Come! Let us go to Zion
to worship the Lord our God!”’”
7Moreover, the Lord says:
“Sing for joy for the descendants of Jacob.
Utter glad shouts for that foremost of the nations.
Make your praises heard.
Then say, ‘Lord, rescue your people.
Deliver those of Israel who remain alive.’
8Then I will reply, ‘I will bring them back from the land of the north.
I will gather them in from the distant parts of the earth.
Blind and lame people will come with them,
so will pregnant women and women about to give birth.
A vast throng of people will come back here.
9They will come back shedding tears of contrition.
I will bring them back praying prayers of repentance.
I will lead them besides streams of water,
along smooth paths where they will never stumble.
I will do this because I am Israel’s father;
Ephraim is my firstborn son.’
10“Listen to the Lord’s message, O nations.
Proclaim it in the faraway lands along the sea.
Say, ‘The one who scattered Israel will regather them.
He will watch over his people like a shepherd watches over his flock.’
11For the Lord will rescue the descendants of Jacob.
He will secure their release from those who had overpowered them.
12They will come and shout for joy on Mount Zion.
They will be radiant with joy over the good things the Lord provides,
the grain, the fresh wine, the olive oil,
the young sheep, and the calves he has given to them.
They will be like a well-watered garden
and will not grow faint or weary any more.
13The Lord says, ‘At that time young women will dance and be glad.
Young men and old men will rejoice.
I will turn their grief into gladness.
I will give them comfort and joy in place of their sorrow.
14I will provide the priests with abundant provisions.
My people will be filled to the full with the good things I provide.’
15The Lord says:
“A sound is heard in Ramah,
a sound of crying in bitter grief.
It is the sound of Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted, because her children are gone.”
16The Lord says to her,
“Stop crying! Do not shed any more tears.
For your heartfelt repentance will be rewarded.
Your children will return from the land of the enemy.
I, the Lord, affirm it!
17Indeed, there is hope for your posterity.
Your children will return to their own territory.
I, the Lord, affirm it!
18I have indeed heard the people of Israel say mournfully,
‘We were like a calf untrained to the yoke.
You disciplined us, and we learned from it.
Let us come back to you and we will do so,
for you are the Lord our God.
19For after we turned away from you we repented.
After we came to our senses we struck our thigh in sorrow.
We are ashamed and humiliated
because of the disgraceful things we did previously.’
20Indeed, the people of Israel are my dear children.
They are the children I take delight in.
For even though I must often rebuke them,
I still remember them with fondness.
So I am deeply moved with pity for them
and will surely have compassion on them.
I, the Lord, affirm it!
21I will say, ‘My dear children of Israel, keep in mind
the road you took when you were carried off.
Mark off in your minds the landmarks.
Make a mental note of telltale signs marking the way back.
Return, my dear children of Israel.
Return to these cities of yours.
22How long will you vacillate,
you who were once like an unfaithful daughter?
For I, the Lord, promise to bring about something new on the earth,
something as unique as a woman protecting a man!’”(NET Bible)
7:1 A musical composition by David, which he sang to the Lord concerning a Benjaminite named Cush.
O Lord my God, in you I have taken shelter.
Deliver me from all who chase me. Rescue me!
2Otherwise they will rip me to shreds like a lion;
they will tear me to bits and no one will be able to rescue me.
3O Lord my God, if I have done what they say,
or am guilty of unjust actions,
4or have wronged my ally,
or helped his lawless enemy,
5may an enemy relentlessly chase me and catch me;
may he trample me to death
and leave me lying dishonored in the dust. (Selah)
6Stand up angrily, Lord.
Rise up with raging fury against my enemies.
Wake up for my sake, and execute the judgment you have decreed for them.
7The countries are assembled all around you;
take once more your rightful place over them.
8The Lord judges the nations.
Vindicate me, Lord, because I am innocent,
because I am blameless, O Exalted One.
9May the evil deeds of the wicked come to an end.
But make the innocent secure,
O righteous God,
you who examine inner thoughts and motives.
10The Exalted God is my shield,
the one who delivers the morally upright.
11God is a just judge;
he is angry throughout the day.
12If a person does not repent, God will wield his sword.
He has prepared to shoot his bow.
13He has prepared deadly weapons to use against him;
he gets ready to shoot flaming arrows.
14See the one who is pregnant with wickedness,
who conceives destructive plans,
and gives birth to harmful lies—
15he digs a pit
and then falls into the hole he has made.
16He becomes the victim of his own destructive plans—
and the violence he intended for others falls on his own head.
17I will thank the Lord for his justice;
I will sing praises to the Lord Most High!(NET Bible)
18:18 Paul, after staying many more days in Corinth, said farewell to the brothers and sailed away to Syria accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea because he had made a vow. 19When they reached Ephesus, Paul left Priscilla and Aquila behind there, but he himself went into the synagogue and addressed the Jews. 20When they asked him to stay longer, he would not consent, 21but said farewell to them and added, “I will come back to you again if God wills.” Then he set sail from Ephesus, 22and when he arrived at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church at Jerusalem and then went down to Antioch. 23After he spent some time there, Paul left and went through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.
24Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, arrived in Ephesus. He was an eloquent speaker, well-versed in the scriptures. 25He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and with great enthusiasm he spoke and taught accurately the facts about Jesus, although he knew only the baptism of John. 26He began to speak out fearlessly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the way of God to him more accurately. 27When Apollos wanted to cross over to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he assisted greatly those who had believed by grace, 28for he refuted the Jews vigorously in public debate, demonstrating from the scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.(NET Bible)
As late as 1544 [Luther] wrote in his Kurzes Bekenntnis vom heiligen Sakrament: “It is certain that he who does not or will not believe one article correctly (after he has been taught and admonished) does not believe any sincerely and with the right faith. And whoever is so bold that he ventures to accuse God of fraud and deception in a single word and does so willfully again and again after he has been warned and instructed once or twice will likewise certainly venture to accuse God of fraud and deception in all of His words. erefore it is true, absolutely and without exception, that everything is believed or nothing is believed. The Holy Ghost does not suffer Himself to be separated or divided so that He should teach and cause to be believed one doctrine rightly and another falsely.” (32–33)
–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.