Romans 11 (Listen)

The Remnant of Israel

I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” But what is God's reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written,

  “God gave them a spirit of stupor,
    eyes that would not see
    and ears that would not hear,
  down to this very day.”

And David says,

  “Let their table become a snare and a trap,
    a stumbling block and a retribution for them;
10   let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see,
    and bend their backs forever.”

Gentiles Grafted In

11 So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!

13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14 in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. 15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? 16 If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. 19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

The Mystery of Israel's Salvation

25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,

  “The Deliverer will come from Zion,
    he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
27   “and this will be my covenant with them
    when I take away their sins.”

28 As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. 32 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.

33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

34   “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
    or who has been his counselor?”
35   “Or who has given a gift to him
    that he might be repaid?”

36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

(ESV)

Joshua 20 (Listen)

The Cities of Refuge

Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Say to the people of Israel, ‘Appoint the cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses, that the manslayer who strikes any person without intent or unknowingly may flee there. They shall be for you a refuge from the avenger of blood. He shall flee to one of these cities and shall stand at the entrance of the gate of the city and explain his case to the elders of that city. Then they shall take him into the city and give him a place, and he shall remain with them. And if the avenger of blood pursues him, they shall not give up the manslayer into his hand, because he struck his neighbor unknowingly, and did not hate him in the past. And he shall remain in that city until he has stood before the congregation for judgment, until the death of him who is high priest at the time. Then the manslayer may return to his own town and his own home, to the town from which he fled.’”

So they set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, and Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah. And beyond the Jordan east of Jericho, they appointed Bezer in the wilderness on the tableland, from the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead, from the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan, from the tribe of Manasseh. These were the cities designated for all the people of Israel and for the stranger sojourning among them, that anyone who killed a person without intent could flee there, so that he might not die by the hand of the avenger of blood, till he stood before the congregation.

(ESV)

Proverbs 24 (Listen)

  Be not envious of evil men,
    nor desire to be with them,
  for their hearts devise violence,
    and their lips talk of trouble.
  By wisdom a house is built,
    and by understanding it is established;
  by knowledge the rooms are filled
    with all precious and pleasant riches.
  A wise man is full of strength,
    and a man of knowledge enhances his might,
  for by wise guidance you can wage your war,
    and in abundance of counselors there is victory.
  Wisdom is too high for a fool;
    in the gate he does not open his mouth.
  Whoever plans to do evil
    will be called a schemer.
  The devising of folly is sin,
    and the scoffer is an abomination to mankind.
10   If you faint in the day of adversity,
    your strength is small.
11   Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
    hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
12   If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,”
    does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
  Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,
    and will he not repay man according to his work?
13   My son, eat honey, for it is good,
    and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.
14   Know that wisdom is such to your soul;
    if you find it, there will be a future,
    and your hope will not be cut off.
15   Lie not in wait as a wicked man against the dwelling of the righteous;
    do no violence to his home;
16   for the righteous falls seven times and rises again,
    but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.
17   Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
    and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles,
18   lest the LORD see it and be displeased,
    and turn away his anger from him.
19   Fret not yourself because of evildoers,
    and be not envious of the wicked,
20   for the evil man has no future;
    the lamp of the wicked will be put out.
21   My son, fear the LORD and the king,
    and do not join with those who do otherwise,
22   for disaster will arise suddenly from them,
    and who knows the ruin that will come from them both?

More Sayings of the Wise

23 These also are sayings of the wise.

  Partiality in judging is not good.
24   Whoever says to the wicked, “You are in the right,”
    will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations,
25   but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight,
    and a good blessing will come upon them.
26   Whoever gives an honest answer
    kisses the lips.
27   Prepare your work outside;
    get everything ready for yourself in the field,
    and after that build your house.
28   Be not a witness against your neighbor without cause,
    and do not deceive with your lips.
29   Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me;
    I will pay the man back for what he has done.”
30   I passed by the field of a sluggard,
    by the vineyard of a man lacking sense,
31   and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns;
    the ground was covered with nettles,
    and its stone wall was broken down.
32   Then I saw and considered it;
    I looked and received instruction.
33   A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest,
34   and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
    and want like an armed man.

(ESV)

Psalm 84 (Listen)

My Soul Longs for the Courts of the Lord

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.

  How lovely is your dwelling place,
    O LORD of hosts!
  My soul longs, yes, faints
    for the courts of the LORD;
  my heart and flesh sing for joy
    to the living God.
  Even the sparrow finds a home,
    and the swallow a nest for herself,
    where she may lay her young,
  at your altars, O LORD of hosts,
    my King and my God.
  Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
    ever singing your praise! Selah
  Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
    in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
  As they go through the Valley of Baca
    they make it a place of springs;
    the early rain also covers it with pools.
  They go from strength to strength;
    each one appears before God in Zion.
  O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;
    give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
  Behold our shield, O God;
    look on the face of your anointed!
10   For a day in your courts is better
    than a thousand elsewhere.
  I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
    than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11   For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
    the LORD bestows favor and honor.
  No good thing does he withhold
    from those who walk uprightly.
12   O LORD of hosts,
    blessed is the one who trusts in you!

(ESV)