Home > Reading > Daily Reading – November 19, 2023

Nehemiah 5 (Listen)

Nehemiah Stops Oppression of the Poor

5:1 Now there arose a great outcry of the people and of their wives against their Jewish brothers. For there were those who said, “With our sons and our daughters, we are many. So let us get grain, that we may eat and keep alive.” There were also those who said, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards, and our houses to get grain because of the famine.” And there were those who said, “We have borrowed money for the king’s tax on our fields and our vineyards. Now our flesh is as the flesh of our brothers, our children are as their children. Yet we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but it is not in our power to help it, for other men have our fields and our vineyards.”

I was very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. I took counsel with myself, and I brought charges against the nobles and the officials. I said to them, “You are exacting interest, each from his brother.” And I held a great assembly against them and said to them, “We, as far as we are able, have bought back our Jewish brothers who have been sold to the nations, but you even sell your brothers that they may be sold to us!” They were silent and could not find a word to say. So I said, “The thing that you are doing is not good. Ought you not to walk in the fear of our God to prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies? 10 Moreover, I and my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain. Let us abandon this exacting of interest. 11 Return to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive orchards, and their houses, and the percentage of money, grain, wine, and oil that you have been exacting from them.” 12 Then they said, “We will restore these and require nothing from them. We will do as you say.” And I called the priests and made them swear to do as they had promised. 13 I also shook out the fold of my garment and said, “So may God shake out every man from his house and from his labor who does not keep this promise. So may he be shaken out and emptied.” And all the assembly said “Amen” and praised the LORD. And the people did as they had promised.

Nehemiah’s Generosity

14 Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes the king, twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the food allowance of the governor. 15 The former governors who were before me laid heavy burdens on the people and took from them for their daily ration forty shekels of silver. Even their servants lorded it over the people. But I did not do so, because of the fear of God. 16 I also persevered in the work on this wall, and we acquired no land, and all my servants were gathered there for the work. 17 Moreover, there were at my table 150 men, Jews and officials, besides those who came to us from the nations that were around us. 18 Now what was prepared at my expense for each day was one ox and six choice sheep and birds, and every ten days all kinds of wine in abundance. Yet for all this I did not demand the food allowance of the governor, because the service was too heavy on this people. 19 Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people.

Acts 20:7–12 (Listen)

Eutychus Raised from the Dead

On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. 10 But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” 11 And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. 12 And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted.

Luke 12:22–31 (Listen)

Do Not Be Anxious

22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.


Morning Psalms

Psalm 19 (Listen)

The Law of the Lord Is Perfect

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

19:1   The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
  Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.
  There is no speech, nor are there words,
    whose voice is not heard.
  Their voice goes out through all the earth,
    and their words to the end of the world.
  In them he has set a tent for the sun,
    which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
    and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
  Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
    and its circuit to the end of them,
    and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
  The law of the LORD is perfect,
    reviving the soul;
  the testimony of the LORD is sure,
    making wise the simple;
  the precepts of the LORD are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
  the commandment of the LORD is pure,
    enlightening the eyes;
  the fear of the LORD is clean,
    enduring forever;
  the rules of the LORD are true,
    and righteous altogether.
10   More to be desired are they than gold,
    even much fine gold;
  sweeter also than honey
    and drippings of the honeycomb.
11   Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward.
12   Who can discern his errors?
    Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13   Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
    let them not have dominion over me!
  Then I shall be blameless,
    and innocent of great transgression.
14   Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable in your sight,
    O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Psalm 150 (Listen)

Let Everything Praise the Lord

150:1   Praise the LORD!
  Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens!
  Praise him for his mighty deeds;
    praise him according to his excellent greatness!
  Praise him with trumpet sound;
    praise him with lute and harp!
  Praise him with tambourine and dance;
    praise him with strings and pipe!
  Praise him with sounding cymbals;
    praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
  Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!
  Praise the LORD!


Evening Psalms

Psalm 81 (Listen)

Oh, That My People Would Listen to Me

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. Of Asaph.

81:1   Sing aloud to God our strength;
    shout for joy to the God of Jacob!
  Raise a song; sound the tambourine,
    the sweet lyre with the harp.
  Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
    at the full moon, on our feast day.
  For it is a statute for Israel,
    a rule of the God of Jacob.
  He made it a decree in Joseph
    when he went out over the land of Egypt.
  I hear a language I had not known:
  “I relieved your shoulder of the burden;
    your hands were freed from the basket.
  In distress you called, and I delivered you;
    I answered you in the secret place of thunder;
    I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah
  Hear, O my people, while I admonish you!
    O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
  There shall be no strange god among you;
    you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
10   I am the LORD your God,
    who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
    Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
11   “But my people did not listen to my voice;
    Israel would not submit to me.
12   So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
    to follow their own counsels.
13   Oh, that my people would listen to me,
    that Israel would walk in my ways!
14   I would soon subdue their enemies
    and turn my hand against their foes.
15   Those who hate the LORD would cringe toward him,
    and their fate would last forever.
16   But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat,
    and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Psalm 113 (Listen)

Who Is like the Lord Our God?

113:1   Praise the LORD!
  Praise, O servants of the LORD,
    praise the name of the LORD!
  Blessed be the name of the LORD
    from this time forth and forevermore!
  From the rising of the sun to its setting,
    the name of the LORD is to be praised!
  The LORD is high above all nations,
    and his glory above the heavens!
  Who is like the LORD our God,
    who is seated on high,
  who looks far down
    on the heavens and the earth?
  He raises the poor from the dust
    and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
  to make them sit with princes,
    with the princes of his people.
  He gives the barren woman a home,
    making her the joyous mother of children.
  Praise the LORD!

“Mechtild of Magdeburg, 1282; Mechtild of Hackeborn, 1298; Gertrude the Great, 1302; Renewers of the Church”

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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