Proverbs 20 (ESV)
20 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler,
and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
2 The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion;
whoever provokes him to anger forfeits his life.
3 It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife,
but every fool will be quarreling.
4 The sluggard does not plow in the autumn;
he will seek at harvest and have nothing.
5 The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water,
but a man of understanding will draw it out.
6 Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love,
but a faithful man who can find?
7 The righteous who walks in his integrity—
blessed are his children after him!
8 A king who sits on the throne of judgment
winnows all evil with his eyes.
9 Who can say, “I have made my heart pure;
I am clean from my sin”?
10 Unequal weights and unequal measures
are both alike an abomination to the Lord.
11 Even a child makes himself known by his acts,
by whether his conduct is pure and upright.
12 The hearing ear and the seeing eye,
the Lord has made them both.
13 Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty;
open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.
14 “Bad, bad,” says the buyer,
but when he goes away, then he boasts.
15 There is gold and abundance of costly stones,
but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.
16 Take a man’s garment when he has put up security for a stranger,
and hold it in pledge when he puts up security for foreigners.
17 Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man,
but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.
18 Plans are established by counsel;
by wise guidance wage war.
19 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets;
therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.
20 If one curses his father or his mother,
his lamp will be put out in utter darkness.
21 An inheritance gained hastily in the beginning
will not be blessed in the end.
22 Do not say, “I will repay evil”;
wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.
23 Unequal weights are an abomination to the Lord,
and false scales are not good.
24 A man’s steps are from the Lord;
how then can man understand his way?
25 It is a snare to say rashly, “It is holy,”
and to reflect only after making vows.
26 A wise king winnows the wicked
and drives the wheel over them.
27 The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord,
searching all his innermost parts.
28 Steadfast love and faithfulness preserve the king,
and by steadfast love his throne is upheld.
29 The glory of young men is their strength,
but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.
Psalm 119:17–24 (ESV)
17 Deal bountifully with your servant,
that I may live and keep your word.
18 Open my eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of your law.
19 I am a sojourner on the earth;
hide not your commandments from me!
20 My soul is consumed with longing
for your rules at all times.
21 You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,
who wander from your commandments.
22 Take away from me scorn and contempt,
for I have kept your testimonies.
23 Even though princes sit plotting against me,
your servant will meditate on your statutes.
James 5:1–19 (ESV)
Warning to the Rich
5 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. 4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.
Patience in Suffering
7 Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. 10 As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
12 But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.
The Prayer of Faith
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.
In connection with Jeremiah 23:16, [Luther writes], “O pope, O bishop, O parson, O monks, O theologians, how can you get by here? Do you think it is a small matter when lo y Majesty forbids what does not come from the mouth of God and some- thing else that is not God’s Word?” “God’s Word is so hard that it will suffer no additions, that it alone will be or will not be at all. God may suffer it that unclean additions run through our works and lives but in His Word, which should cleanse me from all addition and filth, He can suffer no addition, or our lives would never become clean in all eternity.” (21)
–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.