Home > Reading > Daily Reading – October 29, 2020

Ezra 7:11–28

7:11 What follows is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priestly scribe. Ezra was a scribe in matters pertaining to the commandments of the Lord and his statutes over Israel:

12 “Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven: 13I have now issued a decree that anyone in my kingdom from the people of Israel—even the priests and Levites—who wishes to do so may go up with you to Jerusalem. 14You are authorized by the king and his seven advisers to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of your God which is in your possession, 15and to bring silver and gold which the king and his advisers have freely contributed to the God of Israel, who resides in Jerusalem, 16along with all the silver and gold that you may collect throughout all the province of Babylon and the contributions of the people and the priests for the temple of their God which is in Jerusalem. 17With this money you should be sure to purchase bulls, rams, and lambs, along with the appropriate meal offerings and libations. You should bring them to the altar of the temple of your God which is in Jerusalem. 18You may do whatever seems appropriate to you and your colleagues with the rest of the silver and the gold, in keeping with the will of your God. 19Deliver to the God of Jerusalem the vessels that are given to you for the service of the temple of your God. 20The rest of the needs for the temple of your God that you may have to supply, you may do so from the royal treasury.

21“I, King Artaxerxes, hereby issue orders to all the treasurers of Trans-Euphrates that you precisely execute all that Ezra the priestly scribe of the law of the God of heaven may request of you— 22up to 100 talents of silver, 100 cors of wheat, 100 baths of wine, 100 baths of olive oil, and unlimited salt. 23Everything that the God of heaven has required should be precisely done for the temple of the God of heaven. Why should there be wrath against the empire of the king and his sons? 24Furthermore, be aware of the fact that you have no authority to impose tax, tribute, or toll on any of the priests, the Levites, the musicians, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, or the attendants at the temple of this God.

25“Now you, Ezra, in keeping with the wisdom of your God which you possess, appoint judges and court officials who can arbitrate cases on behalf of all the people who are in Trans-Euphrates who know the laws of your God. Those who do not know this law should be taught. 26Everyone who does not observe both the law of your God and the law of the king will be completely liable to the appropriate penalty, whether it is death or banishment or confiscation of property or detainment in prison.”

27 Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, who so moved in the heart of the king to so honor the temple of the Lord which is in Jerusalem! 28He has also conferred his favor on me before the king, his advisers, and all the influential leaders of the king. I gained strength as the hand of the Lord my God was on me, and I gathered leaders from Israel to go up with me.

(NET Bible)

Ps. 113

113:1 Praise the Lord.

Praise, you servants of the Lord,

praise the name of the Lord.

2May the Lord’s name be praised

now and forevermore.

3From east to west

the Lord’s name is deserving of praise.

4The Lord is exalted over all the nations;

his splendor reaches beyond the sky.

5Who can compare to the Lord our God,

who sits on a high throne?

6He bends down to look

at the sky and the earth.

7He raises the poor from the dirt

and lifts up the needy from the garbage pile

8that he might seat him with princes,

with the princes of his people.

9He makes the barren woman of the family

a happy mother of children.

Praise the Lord.

(NET Bible)

James 5:1–19

5:1 Come now, you rich! Weep and cry aloud over the miseries that are coming on you. 2Your riches have rotted and your clothing has become moth-eaten. 3Your gold and silver have rusted and their rust will be a witness against you. It will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have hoarded treasure! 4Look, the pay you have held back from the workers who mowed your fields cries out against you, and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 5You have lived indulgently and luxuriously on the earth. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6You have condemned and murdered the righteous person, although he does not resist you.

7So be patient, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s return. Think of how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the ground and is patient for it until it receives the early and late rains. 8You also be patient and strengthen your hearts, for the Lord’s return is near. 9Do not grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be judged. See, the judge stands before the gates! 10As an example of suffering and patience, brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name. 11Think of how we regard as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job’s endurance and you have seen the Lord’s purpose, that the Lord is full of compassion and mercy. 12And above all, my brothers and sisters, 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 into judgment.

13Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praises. 14Is anyone among you ill? He should summon the elders of the church, and they should pray for him and anoint him with olive oil in the name of the Lord. 15And 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. 16So confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great effectiveness. 17Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain and there was no rain on the land for three years and six months! 18Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land sprouted with a harvest.

19My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone turns him back, (NET Bible)

That Luther was not ready to admit that there were errors even in the numerical statements of the Bible we see in his exposition of Genesis 11:27, 28: “ is passage is among the most obscure statements of the Old Testament that has caused us many questions, which a diligent reader will encounter here and there in the older and more recent writers.— There is added another fault, that vain spirits hold it very praiseworthy if they can pass unrestricted judgments concerning the difficult and dark statements of Scripture and then can obstinately maintain their opinions. is is a disease of our nature against which an exegete of Holy Scripture should carefully guard himself.” Then he discusses the question as to what, in his opinion, makes these passages so difficult: “The second question is still more difficult, though neither Lyra nor the other teachers have paid attention to it. That in connection with Abraham sixty years are lost for us. For the reckoning the text brings with itself is easy. Terah was seventy years when he begot Abraham, now Abraham, when he was seventy five years old, left Haran, where Terah had died. If you add these together you will have 145 years. But when the account reckons together the years of Terah, it shows clearly that when he died he had lived 205 years. The question is, therefore, as to how we can account for these years. It would be unfitting to follow the example of audacious people who, when they arrive at such difficulties, immediately dare to correct books written by others. For my part I do not know how I should correctly solve the questions though I have carefully reckoned together the years of the world. So with a humble and proper confession of ignorance (for it is the Holy Ghost who alone knows and understands all things) I conclude that God, because of a certain plan of His own, caused seventy years to be lost out of Abraham’s life so that no one would venture from the exact computation of the years of the world to presume to predict something certain concerning the end of the world.” This hypothesis (because Luther does not express his opinion) may appear even absurd to us moderns, but it will not seem so absurd if we recall that at that time it was customary to place the age of the world at six thousand years, but Luther risks this hypothetical reckoning rather than to admit an error in the Biblical figure. He does not even consider the possibility of such an error. (52)

–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.

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