Matthew 23 (Listen)

Seven Woes to the Scribes and Pharisees

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ 17 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? 18 And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ 19 You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. 22 And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, 30 saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? 34 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35 so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

Lament over Jerusalem

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

(ESV)

Jeremiah 49 (Listen)

Judgment on Ammon

Concerning the Ammonites.

Thus says the LORD:

  “Has Israel no sons?
    Has he no heir?
  Why then has Milcom dispossessed Gad,
    and his people settled in its cities?
  Therefore, behold, the days are coming,
    declares the LORD,
  when I will cause the battle cry to be heard
    against Rabbah of the Ammonites;
  it shall become a desolate mound,
    and its villages shall be burned with fire;
  then Israel shall dispossess those who dispossessed him,
    says the LORD.
  “Wail, O Heshbon, for Ai is laid waste!
    Cry out, O daughters of Rabbah!
  Put on sackcloth,
    lament, and run to and fro among the hedges!
  For Milcom shall go into exile,
    with his priests and his officials.
  Why do you boast of your valleys,
    O faithless daughter,
  who trusted in her treasures, saying,
    ‘Who will come against me?’
  Behold, I will bring terror upon you,
    declares the Lord GOD of hosts,
    from all who are around you,
  and you shall be driven out, every man straight before him,
    with none to gather the fugitives.

“But afterward I will restore the fortunes of the Ammonites, declares the LORD.”

Judgment on Edom

Concerning Edom.

Thus says the LORD of hosts:

  “Is wisdom no more in Teman?
    Has counsel perished from the prudent?
    Has their wisdom vanished?
  Flee, turn back, dwell in the depths,
    O inhabitants of Dedan!
  For I will bring the calamity of Esau upon him,
    the time when I punish him.
  If grape gatherers came to you,
    would they not leave gleanings?
  If thieves came by night,
    would they not destroy only enough for themselves?
10   But I have stripped Esau bare;
    I have uncovered his hiding places,
    and he is not able to conceal himself.
  His children are destroyed, and his brothers,
    and his neighbors; and he is no more.
11   Leave your fatherless children; I will keep them alive;
    and let your widows trust in me.”

12 For thus says the LORD: “If those who did not deserve to drink the cup must drink it, will you go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished, but you must drink. 13 For I have sworn by myself, declares the LORD, that Bozrah shall become a horror, a taunt, a waste, and a curse, and all her cities shall be perpetual wastes.”

14   I have heard a message from the LORD,
    and an envoy has been sent among the nations:
  “Gather yourselves together and come against her,
    and rise up for battle!
15   For behold, I will make you small among the nations,
    despised among mankind.
16   The horror you inspire has deceived you,
    and the pride of your heart,
  you who live in the clefts of the rock,
    who hold the height of the hill.
  Though you make your nest as high as the eagle's,
    I will bring you down from there,
      declares the LORD.

17 “Edom shall become a horror. Everyone who passes by it will be horrified and will hiss because of all its disasters. 18 As when Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring cities were overthrown, says the LORD, no man shall dwell there, no man shall sojourn in her. 19 Behold, like a lion coming up from the jungle of the Jordan against a perennial pasture, I will suddenly make him run away from her. And I will appoint over her whomever I choose. For who is like me? Who will summon me? What shepherd can stand before me? 20 Therefore hear the plan that the LORD has made against Edom and the purposes that he has formed against the inhabitants of Teman: Even the little ones of the flock shall be dragged away. Surely their fold shall be appalled at their fate. 21 At the sound of their fall the earth shall tremble; the sound of their cry shall be heard at the Red Sea. 22 Behold, one shall mount up and fly swiftly like an eagle and spread his wings against Bozrah, and the heart of the warriors of Edom shall be in that day like the heart of a woman in her birth pains.”

Judgment on Damascus

23 Concerning Damascus:

  “Hamath and Arpad are confounded,
    for they have heard bad news;
  they melt in fear,
    they are troubled like the sea that cannot be quiet.
24   Damascus has become feeble, she turned to flee,
    and panic seized her;
  anguish and sorrows have taken hold of her,
    as of a woman in labor.
25   How is the famous city not forsaken,
    the city of my joy?
26   Therefore her young men shall fall in her squares,
    and all her soldiers shall be destroyed in that day,
      declares the LORD of hosts.
27   And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus,
    and it shall devour the strongholds of Ben-hadad.”

Judgment on Kedar and Hazor

28 Concerning Kedar and the kingdoms of Hazor that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon struck down.

  Thus says the LORD:
  “Rise up, advance against Kedar!
    Destroy the people of the east!
29   Their tents and their flocks shall be taken,
    their curtains and all their goods;
  their camels shall be led away from them,
    and men shall cry to them: ‘Terror on every side!’
30   Flee, wander far away, dwell in the depths,
    O inhabitants of Hazor!
      declares the LORD.
  For Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon
    has made a plan against you
    and formed a purpose against you.
31   “Rise up, advance against a nation at ease,
    that dwells securely,
      declares the LORD,
  that has no gates or bars,
    that dwells alone.
32   Their camels shall become plunder,
    their herds of livestock a spoil.
  I will scatter to every wind
    those who cut the corners of their hair,
  and I will bring their calamity
    from every side of them,
      declares the LORD.
33   Hazor shall become a haunt of jackals,
    an everlasting waste;
  no man shall dwell there;
    no man shall sojourn in her.”

Judgment on Elam

34 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning Elam, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah.

35 Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the mainstay of their might. 36 And I will bring upon Elam the four winds from the four quarters of heaven. And I will scatter them to all those winds, and there shall be no nation to which those driven out of Elam shall not come. 37 I will terrify Elam before their enemies and before those who seek their life. I will bring disaster upon them, my fierce anger, declares the LORD. I will send the sword after them, until I have consumed them, 38 and I will set my throne in Elam and destroy their king and officials, declares the LORD.

39 “But in the latter days I will restore the fortunes of Elam, declares the LORD.”

(ESV)

Proverbs 14 (Listen)

  The wisest of women builds her house,
    but folly with her own hands tears it down.
  Whoever walks in uprightness fears the LORD,
    but he who is devious in his ways despises him.
  By the mouth of a fool comes a rod for his back,
    but the lips of the wise will preserve them.
  Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,
    but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.
  A faithful witness does not lie,
    but a false witness breathes out lies.
  A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain,
    but knowledge is easy for a man of understanding.
  Leave the presence of a fool,
    for there you do not meet words of knowledge.
  The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way,
    but the folly of fools is deceiving.
  Fools mock at the guilt offering,
    but the upright enjoy acceptance.
10   The heart knows its own bitterness,
    and no stranger shares its joy.
11   The house of the wicked will be destroyed,
    but the tent of the upright will flourish.
12   There is a way that seems right to a man,
    but its end is the way to death.
13   Even in laughter the heart may ache,
    and the end of joy may be grief.
14   The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways,
    and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways.
15   The simple believes everything,
    but the prudent gives thought to his steps.
16   One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil,
    but a fool is reckless and careless.
17   A man of quick temper acts foolishly,
    and a man of evil devices is hated.
18   The simple inherit folly,
    but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
19   The evil bow down before the good,
    the wicked at the gates of the righteous.
20   The poor is disliked even by his neighbor,
    but the rich has many friends.
21   Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner,
    but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.
22   Do they not go astray who devise evil?
    Those who devise good meet steadfast love and faithfulness.
23   In all toil there is profit,
    but mere talk tends only to poverty.
24   The crown of the wise is their wealth,
    but the folly of fools brings folly.
25   A truthful witness saves lives,
    but one who breathes out lies is deceitful.
26   In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence,
    and his children will have a refuge.
27   The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life,
    that one may turn away from the snares of death.
28   In a multitude of people is the glory of a king,
    but without people a prince is ruined.
29   Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding,
    but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
30   A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh,
    but envy makes the bones rot.
31   Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker,
    but he who is generous to the needy honors him.
32   The wicked is overthrown through his evildoing,
    but the righteous finds refuge in his death.
33   Wisdom rests in the heart of a man of understanding,
    but it makes itself known even in the midst of fools.
34   Righteousness exalts a nation,
    but sin is a reproach to any people.
35   A servant who deals wisely has the king's favor,
    but his wrath falls on one who acts shamefully.

(ESV)

Psalm 76 (Listen)

Who Can Stand Before You?

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm of Asaph. A Song.

  In Judah God is known;
    his name is great in Israel.
  His abode has been established in Salem,
    his dwelling place in Zion.
  There he broke the flashing arrows,
    the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war. Selah
  Glorious are you, more majestic
    than the mountains full of prey.
  The stouthearted were stripped of their spoil;
    they sank into sleep;
  all the men of war
    were unable to use their hands.
  At your rebuke, O God of Jacob,
    both rider and horse lay stunned.
  But you, you are to be feared!
    Who can stand before you
    when once your anger is roused?
  From the heavens you uttered judgment;
    the earth feared and was still,
  when God arose to establish judgment,
    to save all the humble of the earth. Selah
10   Surely the wrath of man shall praise you;
    the remnant of wrath you will put on like a belt.
11   Make your vows to the LORD your God and perform them;
    let all around him bring gifts
    to him who is to be feared,
12   who cuts off the spirit of princes,
    who is to be feared by the kings of the earth.

(ESV)