2 Corinthians 6 (Listen)

Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says,

  “In a favorable time I listened to you,
    and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”

Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.

11 We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. 12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. 13 In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also.

The Temple of the Living God

14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

  “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
    and I will be their God,
    and they shall be my people.
17   Therefore go out from their midst,
    and be separate from them, says the Lord,
  and touch no unclean thing;
    then I will welcome you,
18   and I will be a father to you,
    and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
  says the Lord Almighty.”

(ESV)

Ezra 3 (Listen)

Rebuilding the Altar

When the seventh month came, and the children of Israel were in the towns, the people gathered as one man to Jerusalem. Then arose Jeshua the son of Jozadak, with his fellow priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel with his kinsmen, and they built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the Law of Moses the man of God. They set the altar in its place, for fear was on them because of the peoples of the lands, and they offered burnt offerings on it to the LORD, burnt offerings morning and evening. And they kept the Feast of Booths, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number according to the rule, as each day required, and after that the regular burnt offerings, the offerings at the new moon and at all the appointed feasts of the LORD, and the offerings of everyone who made a freewill offering to the LORD. From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the LORD. But the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not yet laid. So they gave money to the masons and the carpenters, and food, drink, and oil to the Sidonians and the Tyrians to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea, to Joppa, according to the grant that they had from Cyrus king of Persia.

Rebuilding the Temple

Now in the second year after their coming to the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak made a beginning, together with the rest of their kinsmen, the priests and the Levites and all who had come to Jerusalem from the captivity. They appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to supervise the work of the house of the LORD. And Jeshua with his sons and his brothers, and Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together supervised the workmen in the house of God, along with the sons of Henadad and the Levites, their sons and brothers.

10 And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests in their vestments came forward with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the LORD, according to the directions of David king of Israel. 11 And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD,

  “For he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.”

And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. 12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, though many shouted aloud for joy, 13 so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people shouted with a great shout, and the sound was heard far away.

(ESV)

Proverbs 2 (Listen)

The Value of Wisdom

  My son, if you receive my words
    and treasure up my commandments with you,
  making your ear attentive to wisdom
    and inclining your heart to understanding;
  yes, if you call out for insight
    and raise your voice for understanding,
  if you seek it like silver
    and search for it as for hidden treasures,
  then you will understand the fear of the LORD
    and find the knowledge of God.
  For the LORD gives wisdom;
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
  he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
    he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
  guarding the paths of justice
    and watching over the way of his saints.
  Then you will understand righteousness and justice
    and equity, every good path;
10   for wisdom will come into your heart,
    and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
11   discretion will watch over you,
    understanding will guard you,
12   delivering you from the way of evil,
    from men of perverted speech,
13   who forsake the paths of uprightness
    to walk in the ways of darkness,
14   who rejoice in doing evil
    and delight in the perverseness of evil,
15   men whose paths are crooked,
    and who are devious in their ways.
16   So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman,
    from the adulteress with her smooth words,
17   who forsakes the companion of her youth
    and forgets the covenant of her God;
18   for her house sinks down to death,
    and her paths to the departed;
19   none who go to her come back,
    nor do they regain the paths of life.
20   So you will walk in the way of the good
    and keep to the paths of the righteous.
21   For the upright will inhabit the land,
    and those with integrity will remain in it,
22   but the wicked will be cut off from the land,
    and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.

(ESV)

Psalm 34 (Listen)

Taste and See That the Lord Is Good

Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.

  I will bless the LORD at all times;
    his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
  My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
    let the humble hear and be glad.
  Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
    and let us exalt his name together!
  I sought the LORD, and he answered me
    and delivered me from all my fears.
  Those who look to him are radiant,
    and their faces shall never be ashamed.
  This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
    and saved him out of all his troubles.
  The angel of the LORD encamps
    around those who fear him, and delivers them.
  Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
  Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints,
    for those who fear him have no lack!
10   The young lions suffer want and hunger;
    but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
11   Come, O children, listen to me;
    I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12   What man is there who desires life
    and loves many days, that he may see good?
13   Keep your tongue from evil
    and your lips from speaking deceit.
14   Turn away from evil and do good;
    seek peace and pursue it.
15   The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous
    and his ears toward their cry.
16   The face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
    to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17   When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears
    and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18   The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit.
19   Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
    but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
20   He keeps all his bones;
    not one of them is broken.
21   Affliction will slay the wicked,
    and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22   The LORD redeems the life of his servants;
    none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

(ESV)