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First Reading: Isaiah Chapter 27 and 28

Isaiah 27

27:1 Israel Will Be Restored

In that day the LORD with His severe sword, great and strong,Will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent,Leviathan that twisted serpent;And He will slay the reptile that is in the sea.
2 The Restoration of Israel

In that day sing to her,
"A vineyard of red wine! 3 I, the LORD, keep it,I water it every moment;Lest any hurt it,I keep it night and day. 4 Fury is not in Me.Who would set briers and thorns Against Me in battle?I would go through them,I would burn them together. 5 Or let him take hold of My strength,That he may make peace with Me;And he shall make peace with Me."
6 Those who come He shall cause to take root in Jacob;Israel shall blossom and bud,And fill the face of the world with fruit.
7 Has He struck Israel as He struck those who struck him?Or has He been slain according to the slaughter of those who were slain by Him? 8 In measure, by sending it away,You contended with it.He removes it by His rough wind In the day of the east wind. 9 Therefore by this the iniquity of Jacob will be covered;And this is all the fruit of taking away his sin:When he makes all the stones of the altar Like chalkstones that are beaten to dust,Wooden images and incense altars shall not stand.
10 Yet the fortified city will be desolate,The habitation forsaken and left like a wilderness;There the calf will feed, and there it will lie down And consume its branches. 11 When its boughs are withered, they will be broken off;The women come and set them on fire.For it is a people of no understanding;Therefore He who made them will not have mercy on them,And He who formed them will show them no favor.
12 And it shall come to pass in that day That the LORD will thresh,From the channel of the River to the Brook of Egypt;And you will be gathered one by one,O you children of Israel.
13 So it shall be in that day:The great trumpet will be blown;They will come, who are about to perish in the land of Assyria,And they who are outcasts in the land of Egypt,And shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.

Isaiah 28

28:1 Woe to Ephraim and Jerusalem

Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim,Whose glorious beauty is a fading flower Which is at the head of the verdant valleys,To those who are overcome with wine! 2 Behold, the Lord has a mighty and strong one,Like a tempest of hail and a destroying storm,Like a flood of mighty waters overflowing,Who will bring them down to the earth with His hand. 3 The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim,Will be trampled underfoot; 4 And the glorious beauty is a fading flower Which is at the head of the verdant valley,Like the first fruit before the summer,Which an observer sees;He eats it up while it is still in his hand.
5 In that day the LORD of hosts will be For a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty To the remnant of His people, 6 For a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment,And for strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.
7 But they also have erred through wine,And through intoxicating drink are out of the way;The priest and the prophet have erred through intoxicating drink,They are swallowed up by wine,They are out of the way through intoxicating drink;They err in vision, they stumble in judgment. 8 For all tables are full of vomit and filth;No place is clean.
9 "Whom will he teach knowledge?And whom will he make to understand the message?Those just weaned from milk?Those just drawn from the breasts? 10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept,Line upon line, line upon line,Here a little, there a little."
11 For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people, 12 To whom He said, "This is the rest with whichYou may cause the weary to rest,"And, "This is the refreshing";Yet they would not hear. 13 But the word of the LORD was to them,"Precept upon precept, precept upon precept,Line upon line, line upon line,Here a little, there a little,"That they might go and fall backward, and be broken And snared and caught.
14 Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scornful men,Who rule this people who are in Jerusalem, 15 Because you have said, "We have made a covenant with death,And with Sheol we are in agreement.When the overflowing scourge passes through,It will not come to us,For we have made lies our refuge,And under falsehood we have hidden ourselves."
16 A Cornerstone in Zion

Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:
"Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation,A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation;Whoever believes will not act hastily. 17 Also I will make justice the measuring line,And righteousness the plummet;The hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,And the waters will overflow the hiding place. 18 Your covenant with death will be annulled,And your agreement with Sheol will not stand;When the overflowing scourge passes through,Then you will be trampled down by it. 19 As often as it goes out it will take you;For morning by morning it will pass over,And by day and by night;It will be a terror just to understand the report."
20 For the bed is too short to stretch out on,And the covering so narrow that one cannot wrap himself in it. 21 For the LORD will rise up as at Mount Perazim,He will be angry as in the Valley of Gibeon — That He may do His work, His awesome work,And bring to pass His act, His unusual act. 22 Now therefore, do not be mockers,Lest your bonds be made strong;For I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts,A destruction determined even upon the whole earth.
23 Listen to the Teaching of God

Give ear and hear my voice,Listen and hear my speech. 24 Does the plowman keep plowing all day to sow?Does he keep turning his soil and breaking the clods? 25 When he has leveled its surface,Does he not sow the black cummin And scatter the cummin,Plant the wheat in rows,The barley in the appointed place,And the spelt in its place? 26 For He instructs him in right judgment,His God teaches him.
27 For the black cummin is not threshed with a threshing sledge,Nor is a cartwheel rolled over the cummin;But the black cummin is beaten out with a stick,And the cummin with a rod. 28 Bread flour must be ground;Therefore he does not thresh it forever,Break it with his cartwheel,Or crush it with his horsemen. 29 This also comes from the LORD of hosts,Who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance.

Second Reading: Philippians Chapter 2

Philippians 2

2:1 Unity Through Humility

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
5 The Humbled and Exalted Christ

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 Light Bearers

Therefore, my beloved, as you 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 works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.
19 Timothy Commended

But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. 20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. 22 But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. 23 Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. 24 But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.
25 Epaphroditus Praised

Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; 26 since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. 27 For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful. 29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; 30 because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.

Bible Background



Part 2 of 2

Christ is the central theme of the letter to the Philippians:


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