23:1 The Lord says, “The leaders of my people are sure to be judged. They were supposed to watch over my people like shepherds watch over their sheep. But they are causing my people to be destroyed and scattered. 2So the Lord God of Israel has this to say about the leaders who are ruling over his people: “You have caused my people to be dispersed and driven into exile. You have not taken care of them. So I will punish you for the evil that you have done. I, the Lord, affirm it! 3Then I myself will regather those of my people who are still alive from all the countries where I have driven them. I will bring them back to their homeland. They will greatly increase in number. 4I will install rulers over them who will care for them. Then they will no longer need to fear or be terrified. None of them will turn up missing. I, the Lord, promise it!
5 “I, the Lord, promise that a new time will certainly come
when I will raise up for them a righteous branch, a descendant of David.
He will rule over them with wisdom and understanding
and will do what is just and right in the land.
6Under his rule Judah will enjoy safety
and Israel will live in security.
This is the name he will go by:
‘The Lord has provided us with justice.’
7 “So I, the Lord, say: ‘A new time will certainly come. People now affirm their oaths with “I swear as surely as the Lord lives who delivered the people of Israel out of Egypt.” 8But at that time they will affirm them with “I swear as surely as the Lord lives who delivered the descendants of the former nation of Israel from the land of the north and from all the other lands where he had banished them.” At that time they will live in their own land.’”
9Here is what the Lord says concerning the false prophets:
My heart and my mind are deeply disturbed.
I tremble all over.
I am like a drunk person,
like a person who has had too much wine,
because of the way the Lord
and his holy word are being mistreated.
10For the land is full of people unfaithful to him.
They live wicked lives and they misuse their power.
So the land is dried up because it is under his curse.
The pastures in the wilderness are withered.
11Moreover, the Lord says,
“Both the prophets and priests are godless.
I have even found them doing evil in my temple!
12So the paths they follow will be dark and slippery.
They will stumble and fall headlong.
For I will bring disaster on them.
A day of reckoning is coming for them.”
The Lord affirms it!
13The Lord says, “I saw the prophets of Samaria
doing something that was disgusting.
They prophesied in the name of the god Baal
and led my people Israel astray.
14But I see the prophets of Jerusalem
doing something just as shocking.
They are unfaithful to me
and continually prophesy lies.
So they give encouragement to people who are doing evil,
with the result that they do not stop their evildoing.
I consider all of them as bad as the people of Sodom,
and the citizens of Jerusalem as bad as the people of Gomorrah.
15So then I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
have something to say concerning the prophets of Jerusalem:
‘I will make these prophets eat the bitter food of suffering
and drink the poison water of judgment.
For the prophets of Jerusalem are the reason
that ungodliness has spread throughout the land.’”
16The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says to the people of Jerusalem:
“Do not listen to what
those prophets are saying to you.
They are filling you with false hopes.
They are reporting visions of their own imaginations,
not something the Lord has given them to say.
17They continually say to those who reject what the Lord has said,
‘Things will go well for you!’
They say to all those who follow the stubborn inclinations of their own hearts,
‘Nothing bad will happen to you!’
18Yet which of them has ever stood in the Lord’s inner circle
so they could see and hear what he has to say?
Which of them have ever paid attention or listened to what he has said?
19But just watch! The wrath of the Lord
will come like a storm!
Like a raging storm it will rage down
on the heads of those who are wicked.
20The anger of the Lord will not turn back
until he has fully carried out his intended purposes.
In days to come
you people will come to understand this clearly.
21I did not send those prophets.
Yet they were in a hurry to give their message.
I did not tell them anything.
Yet they prophesied anyway.
22But if they had stood in my inner circle,
they would have proclaimed my message to my people.
They would have caused my people to turn from their wicked ways
and stop doing the evil things they are doing.(NET Bible)
144:1 By David.
The Lord, my protector, deserves praise –
the one who trains my hands for battle,
and my fingers for war,
2who loves me and is my stronghold,
my refuge and my deliverer,
my shield and the one in whom I take shelter,
who makes nations submit to me.
3O Lord, of what importance is the human race, that you should notice them?
Of what importance is mankind, that you should be concerned about them?
4People are like a vapor,
their days like a shadow that disappears.
5O Lord, make the sky sink and come down!
Touch the mountains and make them smolder!
6Hurl lightning bolts and scatter them!
Shoot your arrows and rout them!
7Reach down from above!
Grab me and rescue me from the surging water,
from the power of foreigners,
8who speak lies,
and make false promises.
9O God, I will sing a new song to you!
Accompanied by a ten-stringed instrument, I will sing praises to you,
10the one who delivers kings,
and rescued David his servant from a deadly sword.
11Grab me and rescue me from the power of foreigners,
who speak lies,
and make false promises.
12Then our sons will be like plants,
that quickly grow to full size.
Our daughters will be like corner pillars,
carved like those in a palace.
13Our storehouses will be full,
providing all kinds of food.
Our sheep will multiply by the thousands
and fill our pastures.
14Our cattle will be weighted down with produce.
No one will break through our walls,
no one will be taken captive,
and there will be no terrified cries in our city squares.
15How blessed are the people who experience these things!
How blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!(NET Bible)
13:42 As Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people were urging them to speak about these things on the next Sabbath. 43When the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and God-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who were speaking with them and were persuading them to continue in the grace of God.
44On the next Sabbath almost the whole city assembled together to hear the word of the Lord. 45But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy, and they began to contradict what Paul was saying by reviling him. 46Both Paul and Barnabas replied courageously, “It was necessary to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have appointed you to be a light for the Gentiles, to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” (NET Bible)
It is not a matter of the origin of the Old Testament Scripture and its parts but of the value and the significance which it still has for the Christian. That the Old Testament, too, in its totality, in the opinion of Luther, was the Word of God needs no further proof. Yet, let this at least be quoted from his Introduction to the Old Testament: “I beg and faithfully warn every pious Christian not to stumble at the simplicity of the language and the stories that will often meet him there. He should not doubt that, however simple they may seem, there are the very words, works, judgments, and deeds of the high Majesty, power, and wisdom of God; for this is Scripture, and it makes the wisdom of God that He, lays before you in such simple and foolish (Matt. 11:25). Therefore let your own thoughts and feelings go and think of the Scriptures as the loftiest and noblest of holy things, as the richest of mines, which can never be worked out, so that you may find the wisdom of God that He lays before you in such simple and foolish guise, in order that He may quench all pride. Here you will find the swaddling clothes and the manger in which Christ lies, and to which the angel points the shepherds. Simple and little are the swaddling clothes, but dear is the treasure, Christ, that lies in them.” (28–29)
–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.