1 Thessalonians 4 (Listen)

A Life Pleasing to God

Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, 10 for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, 11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

The Coming of the Lord

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

(ESV)

Isaiah 34 (Listen)

Judgment on the Nations

  Draw near, O nations, to hear,
    and give attention, O peoples!
  Let the earth hear, and all that fills it;
    the world, and all that comes from it.
  For the LORD is enraged against all the nations,
    and furious against all their host;
    he has devoted them to destruction, has given them over for slaughter.
  Their slain shall be cast out,
    and the stench of their corpses shall rise;
    the mountains shall flow with their blood.
  All the host of heaven shall rot away,
    and the skies roll up like a scroll.
  All their host shall fall,
    as leaves fall from the vine,
    like leaves falling from the fig tree.
  For my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens;
    behold, it descends for judgment upon Edom,
    upon the people I have devoted to destruction.
  The LORD has a sword; it is sated with blood;
    it is gorged with fat,
    with the blood of lambs and goats,
    with the fat of the kidneys of rams.
  For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah,
    a great slaughter in the land of Edom.
  Wild oxen shall fall with them,
    and young steers with the mighty bulls.
  Their land shall drink its fill of blood,
    and their soil shall be gorged with fat.
  For the LORD has a day of vengeance,
    a year of recompense for the cause of Zion.
  And the streams of Edom shall be turned into pitch,
    and her soil into sulfur;
    her land shall become burning pitch.
10   Night and day it shall not be quenched;
    its smoke shall go up forever.
  From generation to generation it shall lie waste;
    none shall pass through it forever and ever.
11   But the hawk and the porcupine shall possess it,
    the owl and the raven shall dwell in it.
  He shall stretch the line of confusion over it,
    and the plumb line of emptiness.
12   Its nobles—there is no one there to call it a kingdom,
    and all its princes shall be nothing.
13   Thorns shall grow over its strongholds,
    nettles and thistles in its fortresses.
  It shall be the haunt of jackals,
    an abode for ostriches.
14   And wild animals shall meet with hyenas;
    the wild goat shall cry to his fellow;
  indeed, there the night bird settles
    and finds for herself a resting place.
15   There the owl nests and lays
    and hatches and gathers her young in her shadow;
  indeed, there the hawks are gathered,
    each one with her mate.
16   Seek and read from the book of the LORD:
    Not one of these shall be missing;
    none shall be without her mate.
  For the mouth of the LORD has commanded,
    and his Spirit has gathered them.
17   He has cast the lot for them;
    his hand has portioned it out to them with the line;
  they shall possess it forever;
    from generation to generation they shall dwell in it.

(ESV)

Proverbs 30 (Listen)

The Words of Agur

The words of Agur son of Jakeh. The oracle.

  The man declares, I am weary, O God;
    I am weary, O God, and worn out.
  Surely I am too stupid to be a man.
    I have not the understanding of a man.
  I have not learned wisdom,
    nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.
  Who has ascended to heaven and come down?
    Who has gathered the wind in his fists?
  Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?
    Who has established all the ends of the earth?
  What is his name, and what is his son’s name?
    Surely you know!
  Every word of God proves true;
    he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
  Do not add to his words,
    lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
  Two things I ask of you;
    deny them not to me before I die:
  Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
    give me neither poverty nor riches;
    feed me with the food that is needful for me,
  lest I be full and deny you
    and say, “Who is the LORD?”
  or lest I be poor and steal
    and profane the name of my God.
10   Do not slander a servant to his master,
    lest he curse you, and you be held guilty.
11   There are those who curse their fathers
    and do not bless their mothers.
12   There are those who are clean in their own eyes
    but are not washed of their filth.
13   There are those—how lofty are their eyes,
    how high their eyelids lift!
14   There are those whose teeth are swords,
    whose fangs are knives,
  to devour the poor from off the earth,
    the needy from among mankind.
15   The leech has two daughters:
    Give and Give.
  Three things are never satisfied;
    four never say, “Enough”:
16   Sheol, the barren womb,
    the land never satisfied with water,
    and the fire that never says, “Enough.”
17   The eye that mocks a father
    and scorns to obey a mother
  will be picked out by the ravens of the valley
    and eaten by the vultures.
18   Three things are too wonderful for me;
    four I do not understand:
19   the way of an eagle in the sky,
    the way of a serpent on a rock,
  the way of a ship on the high seas,
    and the way of a man with a virgin.
20   This is the way of an adulteress:
    she eats and wipes her mouth
    and says, “I have done no wrong.”
21   Under three things the earth trembles;
    under four it cannot bear up:
22   a slave when he becomes king,
    and a fool when he is filled with food;
23   an unloved woman when she gets a husband,
    and a maidservant when she displaces her mistress.
24   Four things on earth are small,
    but they are exceedingly wise:
25   the ants are a people not strong,
    yet they provide their food in the summer;
26   the rock badgers are a people not mighty,
    yet they make their homes in the cliffs;
27   the locusts have no king,
    yet all of them march in rank;
28   the lizard you can take in your hands,
    yet it is in kings’ palaces.
29   Three things are stately in their tread;
    four are stately in their stride:
30   the lion, which is mightiest among beasts
    and does not turn back before any;
31   the strutting rooster, the he-goat,
    and a king whose army is with him.
32   If you have been foolish, exalting yourself,
    or if you have been devising evil,
    put your hand on your mouth.
33   For pressing milk produces curds,
    pressing the nose produces blood,
    and pressing anger produces strife.

(ESV)

Psalm 124 (Listen)

Our Help Is in the Name of the Lord

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

  If it had not been the LORD who was on our side—
    let Israel now say—
  if it had not been the LORD who was on our side
    when people rose up against us,
  then they would have swallowed us up alive,
    when their anger was kindled against us;
  then the flood would have swept us away,
    the torrent would have gone over us;
  then over us would have gone
    the raging waters.
  Blessed be the LORD,
    who has not given us
    as prey to their teeth!
  We have escaped like a bird
    from the snare of the fowlers;
  the snare is broken,
    and we have escaped!
  Our help is in the name of the LORD,
    who made heaven and earth.

(ESV)