2 Corinthians 12 (Listen)

Paul's Visions and His Thorn

I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses—though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Concern for the Corinthian Church

11 I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I was not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing. 12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works. 13 For in what were you less favored than the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not burden you? Forgive me this wrong!

14 Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? 16 But granting that I myself did not burden you, I was crafty, you say, and got the better of you by deceit. 17 Did I take advantage of you through any of those whom I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus to go, and sent the brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not act in the same spirit? Did we not take the same steps?

19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? It is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ, and all for your upbuilding, beloved. 20 For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. 21 I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced.

(ESV)

Jeremiah 25 (Listen)

Seventy Years of Captivity

The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah (that was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to all the people of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem: “For twenty-three years, from the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, to this day, the word of the LORD has come to me, and I have spoken persistently to you, but you have not listened. You have neither listened nor inclined your ears to hear, although the LORD persistently sent to you all his servants the prophets, saying, ‘Turn now, every one of you, from his evil way and evil deeds, and dwell upon the land that the LORD has given to you and your fathers from of old and forever. Do not go after other gods to serve and worship them, or provoke me to anger with the work of your hands. Then I will do you no harm.’ Yet you have not listened to me, declares the LORD, that you might provoke me to anger with the work of your hands to your own harm.

“Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: Because you have not obeyed my words, behold, I will send for all the tribes of the north, declares the LORD, and for Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants, and against all these surrounding nations. I will devote them to destruction, and make them a horror, a hissing, and an everlasting desolation. 10 Moreover, I will banish from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the grinding of the millstones and the light of the lamp. 11 This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12 Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, declares the LORD, making the land an everlasting waste. 13 I will bring upon that land all the words that I have uttered against it, everything written in this book, which Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations. 14 For many nations and great kings shall make slaves even of them, and I will recompense them according to their deeds and the work of their hands.”

The Cup of the Lord's Wrath

15 Thus the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it. 16 They shall drink and stagger and be crazed because of the sword that I am sending among them.”

17 So I took the cup from the LORD's hand, and made all the nations to whom the LORD sent me drink it: 18 Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, its kings and officials, to make them a desolation and a waste, a hissing and a curse, as at this day; 19 Pharaoh king of Egypt, his servants, his officials, all his people, 20 and all the mixed tribes among them; all the kings of the land of Uz and all the kings of the land of the Philistines (Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod); 21 Edom, Moab, and the sons of Ammon; 22 all the kings of Tyre, all the kings of Sidon, and the kings of the coastland across the sea; 23 Dedan, Tema, Buz, and all who cut the corners of their hair; 24 all the kings of Arabia and all the kings of the mixed tribes who dwell in the desert; 25 all the kings of Zimri, all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of Media; 26 all the kings of the north, far and near, one after another, and all the kingdoms of the world that are on the face of the earth. And after them the king of Babylon shall drink.

27 “Then you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Drink, be drunk and vomit, fall and rise no more, because of the sword that I am sending among you.’

28 “And if they refuse to accept the cup from your hand to drink, then you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: You must drink! 29 For behold, I begin to work disaster at the city that is called by my name, and shall you go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished, for I am summoning a sword against all the inhabitants of the earth, declares the LORD of hosts.’

30 “You, therefore, shall prophesy against them all these words, and say to them:

  “‘The LORD will roar from on high,
    and from his holy habitation utter his voice;
  he will roar mightily against his fold,
    and shout, like those who tread grapes,
    against all the inhabitants of the earth.
31   The clamor will resound to the ends of the earth,
    for the LORD has an indictment against the nations;
  he is entering into judgment with all flesh,
    and the wicked he will put to the sword,
      declares the LORD.’
32   “Thus says the LORD of hosts:
  Behold, disaster is going forth
    from nation to nation,
  and a great tempest is stirring
    from the farthest parts of the earth!

33 “And those pierced by the LORD on that day shall extend from one end of the earth to the other. They shall not be lamented, or gathered, or buried; they shall be dung on the surface of the ground.

34   “Wail, you shepherds, and cry out,
    and roll in ashes, you lords of the flock,
  for the days of your slaughter and dispersion have come,
    and you shall fall like a choice vessel.
35   No refuge will remain for the shepherds,
    nor escape for the lords of the flock.
36   A voice—the cry of the shepherds,
    and the wail of the lords of the flock!
  For the LORD is laying waste their pasture,
37     and the peaceful folds are devastated
    because of the fierce anger of the LORD.
38   Like a lion he has left his lair,
    for their land has become a waste
  because of the sword of the oppressor,
    and because of his fierce anger.”

(ESV)

Proverbs 11 (Listen)

  A false balance is an abomination to the LORD,
    but a just weight is his delight.
  When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
    but with the humble is wisdom.
  The integrity of the upright guides them,
    but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.
  Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
    but righteousness delivers from death.
  The righteousness of the blameless keeps his way straight,
    but the wicked falls by his own wickedness.
  The righteousness of the upright delivers them,
    but the treacherous are taken captive by their lust.
  When the wicked dies, his hope will perish,
    and the expectation of wealth perishes too.
  The righteous is delivered from trouble,
    and the wicked walks into it instead.
  With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor,
    but by knowledge the righteous are delivered.
10   When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices,
    and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.
11   By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
    but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown.
12   Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense,
    but a man of understanding remains silent.
13   Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets,
    but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.
14   Where there is no guidance, a people falls,
    but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
15   Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer harm,
    but he who hates striking hands in pledge is secure.
16   A gracious woman gets honor,
    and violent men get riches.
17   A man who is kind benefits himself,
    but a cruel man hurts himself.
18   The wicked earns deceptive wages,
    but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.
19   Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live,
    but he who pursues evil will die.
20   Those of crooked heart are an abomination to the LORD,
    but those of blameless ways are his delight.
21   Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished,
    but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered.
22   Like a gold ring in a pig's snout
    is a beautiful woman without discretion.
23   The desire of the righteous ends only in good,
    the expectation of the wicked in wrath.
24   One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;
    another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
25   Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
    and one who waters will himself be watered.
26   The people curse him who holds back grain,
    but a blessing is on the head of him who sells it.
27   Whoever diligently seeks good seeks favor,
    but evil comes to him who searches for it.
28   Whoever trusts in his riches will fall,
    but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.
29   Whoever troubles his own household will inherit the wind,
    and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.
30   The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
    and whoever captures souls is wise.
31   If the righteous is repaid on earth,
    how much more the wicked and the sinner!

(ESV)

Psalm 42 (Listen)

Book Two

Why Are You Cast Down, O My Soul?

To the choirmaster. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah.

  As a deer pants for flowing streams,
    so pants my soul for you, O God.
  My soul thirsts for God,
    for the living God.
  When shall I come and appear before God?
  My tears have been my food
    day and night,
  while they say to me all the day long,
    “Where is your God?”
  These things I remember,
    as I pour out my soul:
  how I would go with the throng
    and lead them in procession to the house of God
  with glad shouts and songs of praise,
    a multitude keeping festival.
  Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
  Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.
  My soul is cast down within me;
    therefore I remember you
  from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
    from Mount Mizar.
  Deep calls to deep
    at the roar of your waterfalls;
  all your breakers and your waves
    have gone over me.
  By day the LORD commands his steadfast love,
    and at night his song is with me,
    a prayer to the God of my life.
  I say to God, my rock:
    “Why have you forgotten me?
  Why do I go mourning
    because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10   As with a deadly wound in my bones,
    my adversaries taunt me,
  while they say to me all the day long,
    “Where is your God?”
11   Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
  Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.

(ESV)