2 Corinthians 11 (Listen)

Paul and the False Apostles

I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles. Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.

Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached God's gospel to you free of charge? I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you. And when I was with you and was in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my need. So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be silenced in the regions of Achaia. 11 And why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!

12 And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

Paul's Sufferings as an Apostle

16 I repeat, let no one think me foolish. But even if you do, accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little. 17 What I am saying with this boastful confidence, I say not as the Lord would but as a fool. 18 Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast. 19 For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves! 20 For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face. 21 To my shame, I must say, we were too weak for that!

But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?

30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 At Damascus, the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus in order to seize me, 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.

(ESV)

Jeremiah 24 (Listen)

The Good Figs and the Bad Figs

After Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had taken into exile from Jerusalem Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, together with the officials of Judah, the craftsmen, and the metal workers, and had brought them to Babylon, the LORD showed me this vision: behold, two baskets of figs placed before the temple of the LORD. One basket had very good figs, like first-ripe figs, but the other basket had very bad figs, so bad that they could not be eaten. And the LORD said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I said, “Figs, the good figs very good, and the bad figs very bad, so bad that they cannot be eaten.”

Then the word of the LORD came to me: “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Like these good figs, so I will regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I have sent away from this place to the land of the Chaldeans. I will set my eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not pluck them up. I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.

“But thus says the LORD: Like the bad figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten, so will I treat Zedekiah the king of Judah, his officials, the remnant of Jerusalem who remain in this land, and those who dwell in the land of Egypt. I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a reproach, a byword, a taunt, and a curse in all the places where I shall drive them. 10 And I will send sword, famine, and pestilence upon them, until they shall be utterly destroyed from the land that I gave to them and their fathers.”

(ESV)

Proverbs 10 (Listen)

The Proverbs of Solomon

The proverbs of Solomon.

  A wise son makes a glad father,
    but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.
  Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit,
    but righteousness delivers from death.
  The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry,
    but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.
  A slack hand causes poverty,
    but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
  He who gathers in summer is a prudent son,
    but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.
  Blessings are on the head of the righteous,
    but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
  The memory of the righteous is a blessing,
    but the name of the wicked will rot.
  The wise of heart will receive commandments,
    but a babbling fool will come to ruin.
  Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
    but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.
10   Whoever winks the eye causes trouble,
    and a babbling fool will come to ruin.
11   The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
    but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
12   Hatred stirs up strife,
    but love covers all offenses.
13   On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found,
    but a rod is for the back of him who lacks sense.
14   The wise lay up knowledge,
    but the mouth of a fool brings ruin near.
15   A rich man's wealth is his strong city;
    the poverty of the poor is their ruin.
16   The wage of the righteous leads to life,
    the gain of the wicked to sin.
17   Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life,
    but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.
18   The one who conceals hatred has lying lips,
    and whoever utters slander is a fool.
19   When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
    but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
20   The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
    the heart of the wicked is of little worth.
21   The lips of the righteous feed many,
    but fools die for lack of sense.
22   The blessing of the LORD makes rich,
    and he adds no sorrow with it.
23   Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool,
    but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.
24   What the wicked dreads will come upon him,
    but the desire of the righteous will be granted.
25   When the tempest passes, the wicked is no more,
    but the righteous is established forever.
26   Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes,
    so is the sluggard to those who send him.
27   The fear of the LORD prolongs life,
    but the years of the wicked will be short.
28   The hope of the righteous brings joy,
    but the expectation of the wicked will perish.
29   The way of the LORD is a stronghold to the blameless,
    but destruction to evildoers.
30   The righteous will never be removed,
    but the wicked will not dwell in the land.
31   The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom,
    but the perverse tongue will be cut off.
32   The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable,
    but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse.

(ESV)

Psalm 41 (Listen)

O Lord, Be Gracious to Me

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

  Blessed is the one who considers the poor!
    In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him;
  the LORD protects him and keeps him alive;
    he is called blessed in the land;
    you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.
  The LORD sustains him on his sickbed;
    in his illness you restore him to full health.
  As for me, I said, “O LORD, be gracious to me;
    heal me, for I have sinned against you!”
  My enemies say of me in malice,
    “When will he die, and his name perish?”
  And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words,
    while his heart gathers iniquity;
    when he goes out, he tells it abroad.
  All who hate me whisper together about me;
    they imagine the worst for me.
  They say, “A deadly thing is poured out on him;
    he will not rise again from where he lies.”
  Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
    who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.
10   But you, O LORD, be gracious to me,
    and raise me up, that I may repay them!
11   By this I know that you delight in me:
    my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.
12   But you have upheld me because of my integrity,
    and set me in your presence forever.
13   Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting!
      Amen and Amen.

(ESV)