1 Timothy 4 (Listen)

Some Will Depart from the Faith

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

A Good Servant of Christ Jesus

If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. 10 For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

11 Command and teach these things. 12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

(ESV)

Ezekiel 34 (Listen)

Prophecy Against the Shepherds of Israel

The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.

“Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: As I live, declares the Lord GOD, surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep, therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: 10 Thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.

The Lord God Will Seek Them Out

11 “For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.

17 “As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and male goats. 18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must muddy the rest of the water with your feet? 19 And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have muddied with your feet?

20 “Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD to them: Behold, I, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Because you push with side and shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns, till you have scattered them abroad, 22 I will rescue my flock; they shall no longer be a prey. And I will judge between sheep and sheep. 23 And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the LORD; I have spoken.

The Lord's Covenant of Peace

25 “I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild beasts from the land, so that they may dwell securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. 26 And I will make them and the places all around my hill a blessing, and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing. 27 And the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land. And they shall know that I am the LORD, when I break the bars of their yoke, and deliver them from the hand of those who enslaved them. 28 They shall no more be a prey to the nations, nor shall the beasts of the land devour them. They shall dwell securely, and none shall make them afraid. 29 And I will provide for them renowned plantations so that they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land, and no longer suffer the reproach of the nations. 30 And they shall know that I am the LORD their God with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, declares the Lord GOD. 31 And you are my sheep, human sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Lord GOD.”

(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 134 (Listen)

Come, Bless the Lord

A Song of Ascents.

  Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD,
    who stand by night in the house of the LORD!
  Lift up your hands to the holy place
    and bless the LORD!
  May the LORD bless you from Zion,
    he who made heaven and earth!

(ESV)