James 3 (Listen)

Taming the Tongue

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

Wisdom from Above

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

(ESV)

Next Chapter: Ezekiel 20

Ezekiel 20 (Listen)

Israel’s Continuing Rebellion

In the seventh year, in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month, certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the LORD, and sat before me. And the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD, Is it to inquire of me that you come? As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I will not be inquired of by you. Will you judge them, son of man, will you judge them? Let them know the abominations of their fathers, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: On the day when I chose Israel, I swore to the offspring of the house of Jacob, making myself known to them in the land of Egypt; I swore to them, saying, I am the LORD your God. On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most glorious of all lands. And I said to them, ‘Cast away the detestable things your eyes feast on, every one of you, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.’ But they rebelled against me and were not willing to listen to me. None of them cast away the detestable things their eyes feasted on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt.

“Then I said I would pour out my wrath upon them and spend my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they lived, in whose sight I made myself known to them in bringing them out of the land of Egypt. 10 So I led them out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. 11 I gave them my statutes and made known to them my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live. 12 Moreover, I gave them my Sabbaths, as a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them. 13 But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness. They did not walk in my statutes but rejected my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live; and my Sabbaths they greatly profaned.

“Then I said I would pour out my wrath upon them in the wilderness, to make a full end of them. 14 But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I had brought them out. 15 Moreover, I swore to them in the wilderness that I would not bring them into the land that I had given them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most glorious of all lands, 16 because they rejected my rules and did not walk in my statutes, and profaned my Sabbaths; for their heart went after their idols. 17 Nevertheless, my eye spared them, and I did not destroy them or make a full end of them in the wilderness.

18 “And I said to their children in the wilderness, ‘Do not walk in the statutes of your fathers, nor keep their rules, nor defile yourselves with their idols. 19 I am the LORD your God; walk in my statutes, and be careful to obey my rules, 20 and keep my Sabbaths holy that they may be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the LORD your God.’ 21 But the children rebelled against me. They did not walk in my statutes and were not careful to obey my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live; they profaned my Sabbaths.

“Then I said I would pour out my wrath upon them and spend my anger against them in the wilderness. 22 But I withheld my hand and acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I had brought them out. 23 Moreover, I swore to them in the wilderness that I would scatter them among the nations and disperse them through the countries, 24 because they had not obeyed my rules, but had rejected my statutes and profaned my Sabbaths, and their eyes were set on their fathers’ idols. 25 Moreover, I gave them statutes that were not good and rules by which they could not have life, 26 and I defiled them through their very gifts in their offering up all their firstborn, that I might devastate them. I did it that they might know that I am the LORD.

27 “Therefore, son of man, speak to the house of Israel and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: In this also your fathers blasphemed me, by dealing treacherously with me. 28 For when I had brought them into the land that I swore to give them, then wherever they saw any high hill or any leafy tree, there they offered their sacrifices and there they presented the provocation of their offering; there they sent up their pleasing aromas, and there they poured out their drink offerings. 29 (I said to them, ‘What is the high place to which you go?’ So its name is called Bamah to this day.)

30 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: Will you defile yourselves after the manner of your fathers and go whoring after their detestable things? 31 When you present your gifts and offer up your children in fire, you defile yourselves with all your idols to this day. And shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I will not be inquired of by you.

32 “What is in your mind shall never happen—the thought, ‘Let us be like the nations, like the tribes of the countries, and worship wood and stone.’

The Lord Will Restore Israel

33 “As I live, declares the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out I will be king over you. 34 I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out. 35 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face. 36 As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you, declares the Lord GOD. 37 I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. 38 I will purge out the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against me. I will bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD.

39 “As for you, O house of Israel, thus says the Lord GOD: Go serve every one of you his idols, now and hereafter, if you will not listen to me; but my holy name you shall no more profane with your gifts and your idols.

40 “For on my holy mountain, the mountain height of Israel, declares the Lord GOD, there all the house of Israel, all of them, shall serve me in the land. There I will accept them, and there I will require your contributions and the choicest of your gifts, with all your sacred offerings. 41 As a pleasing aroma I will accept you, when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you have been scattered. And I will manifest my holiness among you in the sight of the nations. 42 And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I bring you into the land of Israel, the country that I swore to give to your fathers. 43 And there you shall remember your ways and all your deeds with which you have defiled yourselves, and you shall loathe yourselves for all the evils that you have committed. 44 And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I deal with you for my name’s sake, not according to your evil ways, nor according to your corrupt deeds, O house of Israel, declares the Lord GOD.”

45 And the word of the LORD came to me: 46 “Son of man, set your face toward the southland; preach against the south, and prophesy against the forest land in the Negeb. 47 Say to the forest of the Negeb, Hear the word of the LORD: Thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I will kindle a fire in you, and it shall devour every green tree in you and every dry tree. The blazing flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from south to north shall be scorched by it. 48 All flesh shall see that I the LORD have kindled it; it shall not be quenched.” 49 Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! They are saying of me, ‘Is he not a maker of parables?’”

(ESV)

Next Chapter: Proverbs 23

Proverbs 23 (Listen)

  When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
    observe carefully what is before you,
  and put a knife to your throat
    if you are given to appetite.
  Do not desire his delicacies,
    for they are deceptive food.
  Do not toil to acquire wealth;
    be discerning enough to desist.
  When your eyes light on it, it is gone,
    for suddenly it sprouts wings,
    flying like an eagle toward heaven.
  Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy;
    do not desire his delicacies,
  for he is like one who is inwardly calculating.
    “Eat and drink!” he says to you,
    but his heart is not with you.
  You will vomit up the morsels that you have eaten,
    and waste your pleasant words.
  Do not speak in the hearing of a fool,
    for he will despise the good sense of your words.
10   Do not move an ancient landmark
    or enter the fields of the fatherless,
11   for their Redeemer is strong;
    he will plead their cause against you.
12   Apply your heart to instruction
    and your ear to words of knowledge.
13   Do not withhold discipline from a child;
    if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.
14   If you strike him with the rod,
    you will save his soul from Sheol.
15   My son, if your heart is wise,
    my heart too will be glad.
16   My inmost being will exult
    when your lips speak what is right.
17   Let not your heart envy sinners,
    but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day.
18   Surely there is a future,
    and your hope will not be cut off.
19   Hear, my son, and be wise,
    and direct your heart in the way.
20   Be not among drunkards
    or among gluttonous eaters of meat,
21   for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty,
    and slumber will clothe them with rags.
22   Listen to your father who gave you life,
    and do not despise your mother when she is old.
23   Buy truth, and do not sell it;
    buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
24   The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice;
    he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.
25   Let your father and mother be glad;
    let her who bore you rejoice.
26   My son, give me your heart,
    and let your eyes observe my ways.
27   For a prostitute is a deep pit;
    an adulteress is a narrow well.
28   She lies in wait like a robber
    and increases the traitors among mankind.
29   Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
    Who has strife? Who has complaining?
  Who has wounds without cause?
    Who has redness of eyes?
30   Those who tarry long over wine;
    those who go to try mixed wine.
31   Do not look at wine when it is red,
    when it sparkles in the cup
    and goes down smoothly.
32   In the end it bites like a serpent
    and stings like an adder.
33   Your eyes will see strange things,
    and your heart utter perverse things.
34   You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
    like one who lies on the top of a mast.
35   “They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt;
    they beat me, but I did not feel it.
  When shall I awake?
    I must have another drink.”

(ESV)

Next Chapter: Psalm 116

Psalm 116 (Listen)

I Love the Lord

  I love the LORD, because he has heard
    my voice and my pleas for mercy.
  Because he inclined his ear to me,
    therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
  The snares of death encompassed me;
    the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
    I suffered distress and anguish.
  Then I called on the name of the LORD:
    “O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!”
  Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;
    our God is merciful.
  The LORD preserves the simple;
    when I was brought low, he saved me.
  Return, O my soul, to your rest;
    for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.
  For you have delivered my soul from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling;
  I will walk before the LORD
    in the land of the living.
10   I believed, even when I spoke:
    “I am greatly afflicted”;
11   I said in my alarm,
    “All mankind are liars.”
12   What shall I render to the LORD
    for all his benefits to me?
13   I will lift up the cup of salvation
    and call on the name of the LORD,
14   I will pay my vows to the LORD
    in the presence of all his people.
15   Precious in the sight of the LORD
    is the death of his saints.
16   O LORD, I am your servant;
    I am your servant, the son of your maidservant.
    You have loosed my bonds.
17   I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving
    and call on the name of the LORD.
18   I will pay my vows to the LORD
    in the presence of all his people,
19   in the courts of the house of the LORD,
    in your midst, O Jerusalem.
  Praise the LORD!

(ESV)

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