Home > Reading > Daily Reading – November 15, 2023

Ezra 6 (Listen)

The Decree of Darius

6:1 Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in Babylonia, in the house of the archives where the documents were stored. And in Ecbatana, the citadel that is in the province of Media, a scroll was found on which this was written: “A record. In the first year of Cyrus the king, Cyrus the king issued a decree: Concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, let the house be rebuilt, the place where sacrifices were offered, and let its foundations be retained. Its height shall be sixty cubits and its breadth sixty cubits, with three layers of great stones and one layer of timber. Let the cost be paid from the royal treasury. And also let the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that is in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be restored and brought back to the temple that is in Jerusalem, each to its place. You shall put them in the house of God.”

“Now therefore, Tattenai, governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and your associates the governors who are in the province Beyond the River, keep away. Let the work on this house of God alone. Let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews rebuild this house of God on its site. Moreover, I make a decree regarding what you shall do for these elders of the Jews for the rebuilding of this house of God. The cost is to be paid to these men in full and without delay from the royal revenue, the tribute of the province from Beyond the River. And whatever is needed—bulls, rams, or sheep for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, or oil, as the priests at Jerusalem require—let that be given to them day by day without fail, 10 that they may offer pleasing sacrifices to the God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons. 11 Also I make a decree that if anyone alters this edict, a beam shall be pulled out of his house, and he shall be impaled on it, and his house shall be made a dunghill. 12 May the God who has caused his name to dwell there overthrow any king or people who shall put out a hand to alter this, or to destroy this house of God that is in Jerusalem. I Darius make a decree; let it be done with all diligence.”

The Temple Finished and Dedicated

13 Then, according to the word sent by Darius the king, Tattenai, the governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and their associates did with all diligence what Darius the king had ordered. 14 And the elders of the Jews built and prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. They finished their building by decree of the God of Israel and by decree of Cyrus and Darius and Artaxerxes king of Persia; 15 and this house was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.

16 And the people of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the returned exiles, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy. 17 They offered at the dedication of this house of God 100 bulls, 200 rams, 400 lambs, and as a sin offering for all Israel 12 male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. 18 And they set the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their divisions, for the service of God at Jerusalem, as it is written in the Book of Moses.

Passover Celebrated

19 On the fourteenth day of the first month, the returned exiles kept the Passover. 20 For the priests and the Levites had purified themselves together; all of them were clean. So they slaughtered the Passover lamb for all the returned exiles, for their fellow priests, and for themselves. 21 It was eaten by the people of Israel who had returned from exile, and also by every one who had joined them and separated himself from the uncleanness of the peoples of the land to worship the LORD, the God of Israel. 22 And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the LORD had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.

Revelation 5:1–10 (Listen)

The Scroll and the Lamb

5:1 Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying,

  “Worthy are you to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
  for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
    from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10   and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
    and they shall reign on the earth.”

Matthew 13:10–17 (Listen)

The Purpose of the Parables

10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:

  “‘“You will indeed hear but never understand,
    and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
15   For this people’s heart has grown dull,
    and with their ears they can barely hear,
    and their eyes they have closed,
  lest they should see with their eyes
    and hear with their ears
  and understand with their heart
    and turn, and I would heal them.’

16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.


Morning Psalms

Psalm 89:1–18 (Listen)

I Will Sing of the Steadfast Love of the Lord

A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.

89:1   I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever;
    with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.
  For I said, “Steadfast love will be built up forever;
    in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness.”
  You have said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
    I have sworn to David my servant:
  ‘I will establish your offspring forever,
    and build your throne for all generations.’” Selah
  Let the heavens praise your wonders, O LORD,
    your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!
  For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD?
    Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD,
  a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones,
    and awesome above all who are around him?
  O LORD God of hosts,
    who is mighty as you are, O LORD,
    with your faithfulness all around you?
  You rule the raging of the sea;
    when its waves rise, you still them.
10   You crushed Rahab like a carcass;
    you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
11   The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours;
    the world and all that is in it, you have founded them.
12   The north and the south, you have created them;
    Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name.
13   You have a mighty arm;
    strong is your hand, high your right hand.
14   Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
    steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
15   Blessed are the people who know the festal shout,
    who walk, O LORD, in the light of your face,
16   who exult in your name all the day
    and in your righteousness are exalted.
17   For you are the glory of their strength;
    by your favor our horn is exalted.
18   For our shield belongs to the LORD,
    our king to the Holy One of Israel.

Psalm 147:1–12 (Listen)

He Heals the Brokenhearted

147:1   Praise the LORD!
  For it is good to sing praises to our God;
    for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
  The LORD builds up Jerusalem;
    he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
  He heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds.
  He determines the number of the stars;
    he gives to all of them their names.
  Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
    his understanding is beyond measure.
  The LORD lifts up the humble;
    he casts the wicked to the ground.
  Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving;
    make melody to our God on the lyre!
  He covers the heavens with clouds;
    he prepares rain for the earth;
    he makes grass grow on the hills.
  He gives to the beasts their food,
    and to the young ravens that cry.
10   His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
    nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
11   but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,
    in those who hope in his steadfast love.
12   Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem!
    Praise your God, O Zion!


Evening Psalms

Psalm 1 (Listen)

Book One

The Way of the Righteous and the Wicked

1:1   Blessed is the man
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
  nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
  but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.
  He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
  that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
  In all that he does, he prospers.
  The wicked are not so,
    but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
  Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
  for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked will perish.

Psalm 33 (Listen)

The Steadfast Love of the Lord

33:1   Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous!
    Praise befits the upright.
  Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre;
    make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
  Sing to him a new song;
    play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.
  For the word of the LORD is upright,
    and all his work is done in faithfulness.
  He loves righteousness and justice;
    the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.
  By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
    and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
  He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap;
    he puts the deeps in storehouses.
  Let all the earth fear the LORD;
    let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
  For he spoke, and it came to be;
    he commanded, and it stood firm.
10   The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
    he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
11   The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
    the plans of his heart to all generations.
12   Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
    the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!
13   The LORD looks down from heaven;
    he sees all the children of man;
14   from where he sits enthroned he looks out
    on all the inhabitants of the earth,
15   he who fashions the hearts of them all
    and observes all their deeds.
16   The king is not saved by his great army;
    a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
17   The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
    and by its great might it cannot rescue.
18   Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him,
    on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19   that he may deliver their soul from death
    and keep them alive in famine.
20   Our soul waits for the LORD;
    he is our help and our shield.
21   For our heart is glad in him,
    because we trust in his holy name.
22   Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us,
    even as we hope in you.

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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