James 4 (Listen)

Warning Against Worldliness

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

Boasting About Tomorrow

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

(ESV)

Next Chapter: Ezekiel 21

Ezekiel 21 (Listen)

The Lord Has Drawn His Sword

The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem and preach against the sanctuaries. Prophesy against the land of Israel and say to the land of Israel, Thus says the LORD: Behold, I am against you and will draw my sword from its sheath and will cut off from you both righteous and wicked. Because I will cut off from you both righteous and wicked, therefore my sword shall be drawn from its sheath against all flesh from south to north. And all flesh shall know that I am the LORD. I have drawn my sword from its sheath; it shall not be sheathed again.

“As for you, son of man, groan; with breaking heart and bitter grief, groan before their eyes. And when they say to you, ‘Why do you groan?’ you shall say, ‘Because of the news that it is coming. Every heart will melt, and all hands will be feeble; every spirit will faint, and all knees will be weak as water. Behold, it is coming, and it will be fulfilled,’” declares the Lord GOD.

And the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus says the Lord, say:

  “A sword, a sword is sharpened
    and also polished,
10   sharpened for slaughter,
    polished to flash like lightning!

(Or shall we rejoice? You have despised the rod, my son, with everything of wood.) 11 So the sword is given to be polished, that it may be grasped in the hand. It is sharpened and polished to be given into the hand of the slayer. 12 Cry out and wail, son of man, for it is against my people. It is against all the princes of Israel. They are delivered over to the sword with my people. Strike therefore upon your thigh. 13 For it will not be a testing—what could it do if you despise the rod?” declares the Lord GOD.

14 “As for you, son of man, prophesy. Clap your hands and let the sword come down twice, yes, three times, the sword for those to be slain. It is the sword for the great slaughter, which surrounds them, 15 that their hearts may melt, and many stumble. At all their gates I have given the glittering sword. Ah, it is made like lightning; it is taken up for slaughter. 16 Cut sharply to the right; set yourself to the left, wherever your face is directed. 17 I also will clap my hands, and I will satisfy my fury; I the LORD have spoken.”

18 The word of the LORD came to me again: 19 “As for you, son of man, mark two ways for the sword of the king of Babylon to come. Both of them shall come from the same land. And make a signpost; make it at the head of the way to a city. 20 Mark a way for the sword to come to Rabbah of the Ammonites and to Judah, into Jerusalem the fortified. 21 For the king of Babylon stands at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination. He shakes the arrows; he consults the teraphim; he looks at the liver. 22 Into his right hand comes the divination for Jerusalem, to set battering rams, to open the mouth with murder, to lift up the voice with shouting, to set battering rams against the gates, to cast up mounds, to build siege towers. 23 But to them it will seem like a false divination. They have sworn solemn oaths, but he brings their guilt to remembrance, that they may be taken.

24 “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you have made your guilt to be remembered, in that your transgressions are uncovered, so that in all your deeds your sins appear—because you have come to remembrance, you shall be taken in hand. 25 And you, O profane wicked one, prince of Israel, whose day has come, the time of your final punishment, 26 thus says the Lord GOD: Remove the turban and take off the crown. Things shall not remain as they are. Exalt that which is low, and bring low that which is exalted. 27 A ruin, ruin, ruin I will make it. This also shall not be, until he comes, the one to whom judgment belongs, and I will give it to him.

28 “And you, son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus says the Lord GOD concerning the Ammonites and concerning their reproach; say, A sword, a sword is drawn for the slaughter. It is polished to consume and to flash like lightning—29 while they see for you false visions, while they divine lies for you—to place you on the necks of the profane wicked, whose day has come, the time of their final punishment. 30 Return it to its sheath. In the place where you were created, in the land of your origin, I will judge you. 31 And I will pour out my indignation upon you; I will blow upon you with the fire of my wrath, and I will deliver you into the hands of brutish men, skillful to destroy. 32 You shall be fuel for the fire. Your blood shall be in the midst of the land. You shall be no more remembered, for I the LORD have spoken.”

(ESV)

Next Chapter: Proverbs 26

Proverbs 26 (Listen)

  Like snow in summer or rain in harvest,
    so honor is not fitting for a fool.
  Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying,
    a curse that is causeless does not alight.
  A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,
    and a rod for the back of fools.
  Answer not a fool according to his folly,
    lest you be like him yourself.
  Answer a fool according to his folly,
    lest he be wise in his own eyes.
  Whoever sends a message by the hand of a fool
    cuts off his own feet and drinks violence.
  Like a lame man’s legs, which hang useless,
    is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
  Like one who binds the stone in the sling
    is one who gives honor to a fool.
  Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard
    is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
10   Like an archer who wounds everyone
    is one who hires a passing fool or drunkard.
11   Like a dog that returns to his vomit
    is a fool who repeats his folly.
12   Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes?
    There is more hope for a fool than for him.
13   The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road!
    There is a lion in the streets!”
14   As a door turns on its hinges,
    so does a sluggard on his bed.
15   The sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
    it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth.
16   The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes
    than seven men who can answer sensibly.
17   Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own
    is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears.
18   Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death
19   is the man who deceives his neighbor
    and says, “I am only joking!”
20   For lack of wood the fire goes out,
    and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.
21   As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire,
    so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.
22   The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
    they go down into the inner parts of the body.
23   Like the glaze covering an earthen vessel
    are fervent lips with an evil heart.
24   Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips
    and harbors deceit in his heart;
25   when he speaks graciously, believe him not,
    for there are seven abominations in his heart;
26   though his hatred be covered with deception,
    his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
27   Whoever digs a pit will fall into it,
    and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling.
28   A lying tongue hates its victims,
    and a flattering mouth works ruin.

(ESV)

Next Chapter: Psalm 119

Psalm 119 (Listen)

Your Word Is a Lamp to My Feet

Aleph

  Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
    who walk in the law of the LORD!
  Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
    who seek him with their whole heart,
  who also do no wrong,
    but walk in his ways!
  You have commanded your precepts
    to be kept diligently.
  Oh that my ways may be steadfast
    in keeping your statutes!
  Then I shall not be put to shame,
    having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
  I will praise you with an upright heart,
    when I learn your righteous rules.
  I will keep your statutes;
    do not utterly forsake me!

Beth

  How can a young man keep his way pure?
    By guarding it according to your word.
10   With my whole heart I seek you;
    let me not wander from your commandments!
11   I have stored up your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you.
12   Blessed are you, O LORD;
    teach me your statutes!
13   With my lips I declare
    all the rules of your mouth.
14   In the way of your testimonies I delight
    as much as in all riches.
15   I will meditate on your precepts
    and fix my eyes on your ways.
16   I will delight in your statutes;
    I will not forget your word.

Gimel

17   Deal bountifully with your servant,
    that I may live and keep your word.
18   Open my eyes, that I may behold
    wondrous things out of your law.
19   I am a sojourner on the earth;
    hide not your commandments from me!
20   My soul is consumed with longing
    for your rules at all times.
21   You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,
    who wander from your commandments.
22   Take away from me scorn and contempt,
    for I have kept your testimonies.
23   Even though princes sit plotting against me,
    your servant will meditate on your statutes.
24   Your testimonies are my delight;
    they are my counselors.

Daleth

25   My soul clings to the dust;
    give me life according to your word!
26   When I told of my ways, you answered me;
    teach me your statutes!
27   Make me understand the way of your precepts,
    and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
28   My soul melts away for sorrow;
    strengthen me according to your word!
29   Put false ways far from me
    and graciously teach me your law!
30   I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
    I set your rules before me.
31   I cling to your testimonies, O LORD;
    let me not be put to shame!
32   I will run in the way of your commandments
    when you enlarge my heart!

He

33   Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes;
    and I will keep it to the end.
34   Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
    and observe it with my whole heart.
35   Lead me in the path of your commandments,
    for I delight in it.
36   Incline my heart to your testimonies,
    and not to selfish gain!
37   Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
    and give me life in your ways.
38   Confirm to your servant your promise,
    that you may be feared.
39   Turn away the reproach that I dread,
    for your rules are good.
40   Behold, I long for your precepts;
    in your righteousness give me life!

Waw

41   Let your steadfast love come to me, O LORD,
    your salvation according to your promise;
42   then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me,
    for I trust in your word.
43   And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
    for my hope is in your rules.
44   I will keep your law continually,
    forever and ever,
45   and I shall walk in a wide place,
    for I have sought your precepts.
46   I will also speak of your testimonies before kings
    and shall not be put to shame,
47   for I find my delight in your commandments,
    which I love.
48   I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love,
    and I will meditate on your statutes.

Zayin

49   Remember your word to your servant,
    in which you have made me hope.
50   This is my comfort in my affliction,
    that your promise gives me life.
51   The insolent utterly deride me,
    but I do not turn away from your law.
52   When I think of your rules from of old,
    I take comfort, O LORD.
53   Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked,
    who forsake your law.
54   Your statutes have been my songs
    in the house of my sojourning.
55   I remember your name in the night, O LORD,
    and keep your law.
56   This blessing has fallen to me,
    that I have kept your precepts.

Heth

57   The LORD is my portion;
    I promise to keep your words.
58   I entreat your favor with all my heart;
    be gracious to me according to your promise.
59   When I think on my ways,
    I turn my feet to your testimonies;
60   I hasten and do not delay
    to keep your commandments.
61   Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,
    I do not forget your law.
62   At midnight I rise to praise you,
    because of your righteous rules.
63   I am a companion of all who fear you,
    of those who keep your precepts.
64   The earth, O LORD, is full of your steadfast love;
    teach me your statutes!

Teth

65   You have dealt well with your servant,
    O LORD, according to your word.
66   Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
    for I believe in your commandments.
67   Before I was afflicted I went astray,
    but now I keep your word.
68   You are good and do good;
    teach me your statutes.
69   The insolent smear me with lies,
    but with my whole heart I keep your precepts;
70   their heart is unfeeling like fat,
    but I delight in your law.
71   It is good for me that I was afflicted,
    that I might learn your statutes.
72   The law of your mouth is better to me
    than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

Yodh

73   Your hands have made and fashioned me;
    give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.
74   Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice,
    because I have hoped in your word.
75   I know, O LORD, that your rules are righteous,
    and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
76   Let your steadfast love comfort me
    according to your promise to your servant.
77   Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;
    for your law is my delight.
78   Let the insolent be put to shame,
    because they have wronged me with falsehood;
    as for me, I will meditate on your precepts.
79   Let those who fear you turn to me,
    that they may know your testimonies.
80   May my heart be blameless in your statutes,
    that I may not be put to shame!

Kaph

81   My soul longs for your salvation;
    I hope in your word.
82   My eyes long for your promise;
    I ask, “When will you comfort me?”
83   For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,
    yet I have not forgotten your statutes.
84   How long must your servant endure?
    When will you judge those who persecute me?
85   The insolent have dug pitfalls for me;
    they do not live according to your law.
86   All your commandments are sure;
    they persecute me with falsehood; help me!
87   They have almost made an end of me on earth,
    but I have not forsaken your precepts.
88   In your steadfast love give me life,
    that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.

Lamedh

89   Forever, O LORD, your word
    is firmly fixed in the heavens.
90   Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
    you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
91   By your appointment they stand this day,
    for all things are your servants.
92   If your law had not been my delight,
    I would have perished in my affliction.
93   I will never forget your precepts,
    for by them you have given me life.
94   I am yours; save me,
    for I have sought your precepts.
95   The wicked lie in wait to destroy me,
    but I consider your testimonies.
96   I have seen a limit to all perfection,
    but your commandment is exceedingly broad.

Mem

97   Oh how I love your law!
    It is my meditation all the day.
98   Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
    for it is ever with me.
99   I have more understanding than all my teachers,
    for your testimonies are my meditation.
100   I understand more than the aged,
    for I keep your precepts.
101   I hold back my feet from every evil way,
    in order to keep your word.
102   I do not turn aside from your rules,
    for you have taught me.
103   How sweet are your words to my taste,
    sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104   Through your precepts I get understanding;
    therefore I hate every false way.

Nun

105   Your word is a lamp to my feet
    and a light to my path.
106   I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
    to keep your righteous rules.
107   I am severely afflicted;
    give me life, O LORD, according to your word!
108   Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O LORD,
    and teach me your rules.
109   I hold my life in my hand continually,
    but I do not forget your law.
110   The wicked have laid a snare for me,
    but I do not stray from your precepts.
111   Your testimonies are my heritage forever,
    for they are the joy of my heart.
112   I incline my heart to perform your statutes
    forever, to the end.

Samekh

113   I hate the double-minded,
    but I love your law.
114   You are my hiding place and my shield;
    I hope in your word.
115   Depart from me, you evildoers,
    that I may keep the commandments of my God.
116   Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live,
    and let me not be put to shame in my hope!
117   Hold me up, that I may be safe
    and have regard for your statutes continually!
118   You spurn all who go astray from your statutes,
    for their cunning is in vain.
119   All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross,
    therefore I love your testimonies.
120   My flesh trembles for fear of you,
    and I am afraid of your judgments.

Ayin

121   I have done what is just and right;
    do not leave me to my oppressors.
122   Give your servant a pledge of good;
    let not the insolent oppress me.
123   My eyes long for your salvation
    and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise.
124   Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love,
    and teach me your statutes.
125   I am your servant; give me understanding,
    that I may know your testimonies!
126   It is time for the LORD to act,
    for your law has been broken.
127   Therefore I love your commandments
    above gold, above fine gold.
128   Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right;
    I hate every false way.

Pe

129   Your testimonies are wonderful;
    therefore my soul keeps them.
130   The unfolding of your words gives light;
    it imparts understanding to the simple.
131   I open my mouth and pant,
    because I long for your commandments.
132   Turn to me and be gracious to me,
    as is your way with those who love your name.
133   Keep steady my steps according to your promise,
    and let no iniquity get dominion over me.
134   Redeem me from man’s oppression,
    that I may keep your precepts.
135   Make your face shine upon your servant,
    and teach me your statutes.
136   My eyes shed streams of tears,
    because people do not keep your law.

Tsadhe

137   Righteous are you, O LORD,
    and right are your rules.
138   You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness
    and in all faithfulness.
139   My zeal consumes me,
    because my foes forget your words.
140   Your promise is well tried,
    and your servant loves it.
141   I am small and despised,
    yet I do not forget your precepts.
142   Your righteousness is righteous forever,
    and your law is true.
143   Trouble and anguish have found me out,
    but your commandments are my delight.
144   Your testimonies are righteous forever;
    give me understanding that I may live.

Qoph

145   With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O LORD!
    I will keep your statutes.
146   I call to you; save me,
    that I may observe your testimonies.
147   I rise before dawn and cry for help;
    I hope in your words.
148   My eyes are awake before the watches of the night,
    that I may meditate on your promise.
149   Hear my voice according to your steadfast love;
    O LORD, according to your justice give me life.
150   They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose;
    they are far from your law.
151   But you are near, O LORD,
    and all your commandments are true.
152   Long have I known from your testimonies
    that you have founded them forever.

Resh

153   Look on my affliction and deliver me,
    for I do not forget your law.
154   Plead my cause and redeem me;
    give me life according to your promise!
155   Salvation is far from the wicked,
    for they do not seek your statutes.
156   Great is your mercy, O LORD;
    give me life according to your rules.
157   Many are my persecutors and my adversaries,
    but I do not swerve from your testimonies.
158   I look at the faithless with disgust,
    because they do not keep your commands.
159   Consider how I love your precepts!
    Give me life according to your steadfast love.
160   The sum of your word is truth,
    and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.

Sin and Shin

161   Princes persecute me without cause,
    but my heart stands in awe of your words.
162   I rejoice at your word
    like one who finds great spoil.
163   I hate and abhor falsehood,
    but I love your law.
164   Seven times a day I praise you
    for your righteous rules.
165   Great peace have those who love your law;
    nothing can make them stumble.
166   I hope for your salvation, O LORD,
    and I do your commandments.
167   My soul keeps your testimonies;
    I love them exceedingly.
168   I keep your precepts and testimonies,
    for all my ways are before you.

Taw

169   Let my cry come before you, O LORD;
    give me understanding according to your word!
170   Let my plea come before you;
    deliver me according to your word.
171   My lips will pour forth praise,
    for you teach me your statutes.
172   My tongue will sing of your word,
    for all your commandments are right.
173   Let your hand be ready to help me,
    for I have chosen your precepts.
174   I long for your salvation, O LORD,
    and your law is my delight.
175   Let my soul live and praise you,
    and let your rules help me.
176   I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant,
    for I do not forget your commandments.

(ESV)

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