1 Corinthians 7 (Listen)

Principles for Marriage

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.

To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

10 To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.

12 To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. 16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

Live as You Are Called

17 Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. 18 Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. 19 For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. 20 Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. 21 Were you a bondservant when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) 22 For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men. 24 So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.

The Unmarried and the Widowed

25 Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. 26 I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29 This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.

36 If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin. 37 But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. 38 So then he who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.

39 A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God.

(ESV)

Jeremiah 4 (Listen)

  “If you return, O Israel,
      declares the LORD,
    to me you should return.
  If you remove your detestable things from my presence,
    and do not waver,
  and if you swear, ‘As the LORD lives,’
    in truth, in justice, and in righteousness,
  then nations shall bless themselves in him,
    and in him shall they glory.”

For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem:

  “Break up your fallow ground,
    and sow not among thorns.
  Circumcise yourselves to the LORD;
    remove the foreskin of your hearts,
    O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem;
  lest my wrath go forth like fire,
    and burn with none to quench it,
    because of the evil of your deeds.”

Disaster from the North

Declare in Judah, and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say,

  “Blow the trumpet through the land;
    cry aloud and say,
  ‘Assemble, and let us go
    into the fortified cities!’
  Raise a standard toward Zion,
    flee for safety, stay not,
  for I bring disaster from the north,
    and great destruction.
  A lion has gone up from his thicket,
    a destroyer of nations has set out;
    he has gone out from his place
  to make your land a waste;
    your cities will be ruins
    without inhabitant.
  For this put on sackcloth,
    lament and wail,
  for the fierce anger of the LORD
    has not turned back from us.”

“In that day, declares the LORD, courage shall fail both king and officials. The priests shall be appalled and the prophets astounded.” 10 Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD, surely you have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘It shall be well with you,’ whereas the sword has reached their very life.”

11 At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, “A hot wind from the bare heights in the desert toward the daughter of my people, not to winnow or cleanse, 12 a wind too full for this comes for me. Now it is I who speak in judgment upon them.”

13   Behold, he comes up like clouds;
    his chariots like the whirlwind;
  his horses are swifter than eagles—
    woe to us, for we are ruined!
14   O Jerusalem, wash your heart from evil,
    that you may be saved.
  How long shall your wicked thoughts
    lodge within you?
15   For a voice declares from Dan
    and proclaims trouble from Mount Ephraim.
16   Warn the nations that he is coming;
    announce to Jerusalem,
  “Besiegers come from a distant land;
    they shout against the cities of Judah.
17   Like keepers of a field are they against her all around,
    because she has rebelled against me,
      declares the LORD.
18   Your ways and your deeds
    have brought this upon you.
  This is your doom, and it is bitter;
    it has reached your very heart.”

Anguish over Judah's Desolation

19   My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain!
    Oh the walls of my heart!
  My heart is beating wildly;
    I cannot keep silent,
  for I hear the sound of the trumpet,
    the alarm of war.
20   Crash follows hard on crash;
    the whole land is laid waste.
  Suddenly my tents are laid waste,
    my curtains in a moment.
21   How long must I see the standard
    and hear the sound of the trumpet?
22   “For my people are foolish;
    they know me not;
  they are stupid children;
    they have no understanding.
  They are ‘wise’—in doing evil!
    But how to do good they know not.”
23   I looked on the earth, and behold, it was without form and void;
    and to the heavens, and they had no light.
24   I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking,
    and all the hills moved to and fro.
25   I looked, and behold, there was no man,
    and all the birds of the air had fled.
26   I looked, and behold, the fruitful land was a desert,
    and all its cities were laid in ruins
    before the LORD, before his fierce anger.

27 For thus says the LORD, “The whole land shall be a desolation; yet I will not make a full end.

28   “For this the earth shall mourn,
    and the heavens above be dark;
  for I have spoken; I have purposed;
    I have not relented, nor will I turn back.”
29   At the noise of horseman and archer
    every city takes to flight;
  they enter thickets; they climb among rocks;
    all the cities are forsaken,
    and no man dwells in them.
30   And you, O desolate one,
  what do you mean that you dress in scarlet,
    that you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold,
    that you enlarge your eyes with paint?
  In vain you beautify yourself.
    Your lovers despise you;
    they seek your life.
31   For I heard a cry as of a woman in labor,
    anguish as of one giving birth to her first child,
  the cry of the daughter of Zion gasping for breath,
    stretching out her hands,
  “Woe is me! I am fainting before murderers.”

(ESV)

Proverbs 12 (Listen)

  Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
    but he who hates reproof is stupid.
  A good man obtains favor from the LORD,
    but a man of evil devices he condemns.
  No one is established by wickedness,
    but the root of the righteous will never be moved.
  An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
    but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.
  The thoughts of the righteous are just;
    the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.
  The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,
    but the mouth of the upright delivers them.
  The wicked are overthrown and are no more,
    but the house of the righteous will stand.
  A man is commended according to his good sense,
    but one of twisted mind is despised.
  Better to be lowly and have a servant
    than to play the great man and lack bread.
10   Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast,
    but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.
11   Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread,
    but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.
12   Whoever is wicked covets the spoil of evildoers,
    but the root of the righteous bears fruit.
13   An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips,
    but the righteous escapes from trouble.
14   From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good,
    and the work of a man's hand comes back to him.
15   The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
    but a wise man listens to advice.
16   The vexation of a fool is known at once,
    but the prudent ignores an insult.
17   Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence,
    but a false witness utters deceit.
18   There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
    but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
19   Truthful lips endure forever,
    but a lying tongue is but for a moment.
20   Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil,
    but those who plan peace have joy.
21   No ill befalls the righteous,
    but the wicked are filled with trouble.
22   Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD,
    but those who act faithfully are his delight.
23   A prudent man conceals knowledge,
    but the heart of fools proclaims folly.
24   The hand of the diligent will rule,
    while the slothful will be put to forced labor.
25   Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down,
    but a good word makes him glad.
26   One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor,
    but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
27   Whoever is slothful will not roast his game,
    but the diligent man will get precious wealth.
28   In the path of righteousness is life,
    and in its pathway there is no death.

(ESV)

Psalm 13 (Listen)

How Long, O Lord?

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

  How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
  How long must I take counsel in my soul
    and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
  How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
  Consider and answer me, O LORD my God;
    light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
  lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
    lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
  But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
    my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
  I will sing to the LORD,
    because he has dealt bountifully with me.

(ESV)