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First Reading: Song of Songs Chapter 4 and 5 and 6
Song of Solomon 4
How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead. 2 Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing. Each has its twin; not one of them is alone. 3 Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon; your mouth is lovely. Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate. 4 Your neck is like the tower of David, built with elegance; on it hang a thousand shields, all of them shields of warriors. 5 Your two breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies. 6 Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of incense. 7 All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.
8 Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, come with me from Lebanon. Descend from the crest of Amana, from the top of Senir, the summit of Hermon, from the lions' dens and the mountain haunts of the leopards. 9 You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace. 10 How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much more pleasing is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume than any spice! 11 Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride; milk and honey are under your tongue. The fragrance of your garments is like that of Lebanon. 12 You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain. 13 Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits, with henna and nard, 14 nard and saffron,
calamus and cinnamon,
with every kind of incense tree,
with myrrh and aloes
and all the finest spices. 15 You are a garden fountain, a well of flowing water streaming down from Lebanon.
16 Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread abroad. Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits.
Song of Solomon 5
I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice. I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey; I have drunk my wine and my milk.
Eat, O friends, and drink; drink your fill, O lovers.
2 I slept but my heart was awake. Listen! My lover is knocking:
"Open to me, my sister, my darling, my dove, my flawless one. My head is drenched with dew, my hair with the dampness of the night." 3 I have taken off my robe- must I put it on again? I have washed my feet- must I soil them again? 4 My lover thrust his hand through the latch-opening; my heart began to pound for him. 5 I arose to open for my lover, and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with flowing myrrh, on the handles of the lock. 6 I opened for my lover, but my lover had left; he was gone. My heart sank at his departure. I looked for him but did not find him. I called him but he did not answer. 7 The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city. They beat me, they bruised me; they took away my cloak, those watchmen of the walls! 8 O daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you- if you find my lover, what will you tell him? Tell him I am faint with love.
9 How is your beloved better than others, most beautiful of women? How is your beloved better than others, that you charge us so?
10 My lover is radiant and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand. 11 His head is purest gold; his hair is wavy and black as a raven. 12 His eyes are like doves by the water streams, washed in milk, mounted like jewels. 13 His cheeks are like beds of spice yielding perfume. His lips are like lilies dripping with myrrh. 14 His arms are rods of gold set with chrysolite. His body is like polished ivory decorated with sapphires. 15 His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of pure gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as its cedars. 16 His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely. This is my lover, this my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.
Song of Solomon 6
Where has your lover gone, most beautiful of women? Which way did your lover turn, that we may look for him with you?
2 My lover has gone down to his garden, to the beds of spices, to browse in the gardens and to gather lilies. 3 I am my lover's and my lover is mine; he browses among the lilies.
4 You are beautiful, my darling, as Tirzah, lovely as Jerusalem, majestic as troops with banners. 5 Turn your eyes from me; they overwhelm me. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Gilead. 6 Your teeth are like a flock of sheep coming up from the washing. Each has its twin, not one of them is alone. 7 Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate. 8 Sixty queens there may be, and eighty concubines, and virgins beyond number; 9 but my dove, my perfect one, is unique, the only daughter of her mother, the favorite of the one who bore her. The maidens saw her and called her blessed; the queens and concubines praised her.
10 Who is this that appears like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, majestic as the stars in procession?
11 I went down to the grove of nut trees to look at the new growth in the valley, to see if the vines had budded or the pomegranates were in bloom. 12 Before I realized it, my desire set me among the royal chariots of my people.
13 Come back, come back, O Shulammite; come back, come back, that we may gaze on you!
Why would you gaze on the Shulammite as on the dance of Mahanaim?
Second Reading: Galatians Chapter 5
5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do
not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
2 Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4 You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5 But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? 8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9 "A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough." 10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be. 11 Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12 As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 15 If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
WHO IS GOD?
Part 8 of 11
The anger of the LORD is recorded many times in the Bible. It may be difficult to consider the anger of God when we believe that he is a loving God. However, anger has it's place. God's anger comes from the faithlessness and disobedience of his people. God's anger is a righteous anger. He hates sin and faithlessness because he knows it ends in pain and destruction. He is patient and slow to anger but evil and sin cannot continue:
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