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First Reading: Isaiah Chapter 27 and 28
1 In that day Jehovah with his hard and great and strong sword will punish leviathan the swift serpent, and leviathan the crooked serpent; and he will slay the monster that is in the sea.
2 In that day: A vineyard of wine, sing ye unto it.
3 I Jehovah am its keeper; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.
4 Wrath is not in me: would that the briers and thorns were against me in battle! I would march upon them, I would burn them together.
5 Or else let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; `yea', let him make peace with me.
6 In days to come shall Jacob take root; Israel shall blossom and bud; and they shall fill the face of the world with fruit.
7 Hath he smitten them as he smote those that smote them? or are they slain according to the slaughter of them that were slain by them?
8 In measure, when thou sendest them away, thou dost content with them; he hath removed `them' with his rough blast in the day of the east wind.
9 Therefore by this shall the iniquity of Jacob be forgiven, and this is all the fruit of taking away his sin: that he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, `so that' the Asherim and the sun-images shall rise no more.
10 For the fortified city is solitary, a habitation deserted and forsaken, like the wilderness: there shall the calf feed, and there shall he lie down, and consume the branches thereof.
11 When the boughs thereof are withered, they shall be broken off; the women shall come, and set them on fire; for it is a people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have compassion upon them, and he that formed them will show them no favor.
12 And it shall come to pass in that day, that Jehovah will beat off `his fruit' from the flood of the River unto the brook of Egypt; and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel.
13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great trumpet shall be blown; and they shall come that were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and they that were outcasts in the land of Egypt; and they shall worship Jehovah in the holy mountain at Jerusalem.
1 Woe to the crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim, and to the fading flower of his glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley of them that are overcome with wine!
2 Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one; as a tempest of hail, a destroying storm, as a tempest of mighty waters overflowing, will he cast down to the earth with the hand.
3 The crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim shall be trodden under foot:
4 and the fading flower of his glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be as the first-ripe fig before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up.
5 In that day will Jehovah of hosts become a crown of glory, and a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people;
6 and a spirit of justice to him that sitteth in judgment, and strength to them that turn back the battle at the gate.
7 And even these reel with wine, and stagger with strong drink; the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they stagger with strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.
8 For all tables are full of vomit `and' filthiness, `so that there is' no place `clean'.
9 Whom will he teach knowledge? and whom will he make to understand the message? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts?
10 For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little.
11 Nay, but by `men of' strange lips and with another tongue will he speak to this people;
12 to whom he said, This is the rest, give ye rest to him that is weary; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
13 Therefore shall the word of Jehovah be unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little; that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
14 Wherefore hear the word of Jehovah, ye scoffers, that rule this people that is in Jerusalem:
15 Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us; for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:
16 therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner -`stone' of sure foundation: he that believeth shall not be in haste.
17 And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plummet; and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding-place.
18 And your covenant with death shall be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.
19 As often as it passeth though, it shall take you; for morning by morning shall it pass through, by day and by night: and it shall be nought but terror to understand the message.
20 For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it; and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.
21 For Jehovah will rise up as in mount Perazim, he will be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon; that he may do his work, his strange work, and bring to pass his act, his strange act.
22 Now therefore be ye not scoffers, lest your bonds be made strong; for a decree of destruction have I heard from the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, upon the whole earth.
23 Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech.
24 Doth he that ploweth to sow plow continually? doth he `continually' open and harrow his ground?
25 When he hath levelled the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and put in the wheat in rows, and the barley in the appointed place, and the spelt in the border thereof?
26 For his God doth instruct him aright, `and' doth teach him.
27 For the fitches are not threshed with a sharp `threshing' instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod.
28 Bread `grain' is ground; for he will not be always threshing it: and though the wheel of his cart and his horses scatter it, he doth not grind it.
29 This also cometh forth from Jehovah of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in wisdom.
Second Reading: Philippians Chapter 2
1 If there is therefore any exhortation in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any tender mercies and compassions,
2 make full my joy, that ye be of the same mind, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind;
3 `doing' nothing through faction or through vainglory, but in lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself;
4 not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others.
5 Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped,
7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men;
8 and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient `even' unto death, yea, the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name;
10 that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of `things' in heaven and `things' on earth and `things' under the earth,
11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 So then, my beloved, even as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
13 for it is God who worketh in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure.
14 Do all things without murmurings and questionings:
15 that ye may become blameless and harmless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom ye are seen as lights in the world,
16 holding forth the word of life; that I may have whereof to glory in the day of Christ, that I did not run in vain neither labor in vain.
17 Yea, and if I am offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all:
18 and in the same manner do ye also joy, and rejoice with me.
19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state.
20 For I have no man likeminded, who will care truly for your state.
21 For they all seek their own, not the things of Jesus Christ.
22 But ye know the proof of him, that, as a child `serveth' a father, `so' he served with me in furtherance of the gospel.
23 Him therefore I hope to send forthwith, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me:
24 but I trust in the Lord that I myself also shall come shortly.
25 But I counted it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow-worker and fellow-soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need;
26 since he longed after you all, and was sore troubled, because ye had heard that he was sick:
27 for indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, that I might not have sorrow upon sorrow.
28 I have sent him therefore the more diligently, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful.
29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all joy; and hold such in honor:
30 because for the work of Christ he came nigh unto death, hazarding his life to supply that which was lacking in your service toward me.
BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
Part 2 of 2
Christ is the central theme of the letter to the Philippians:
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Philippians 2:1-2 (NIV)
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