March 30, 2017
This is what God the Lord says—
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
“I am the Lord; that is my name!
I will not yield my glory to another
or my praise to idols.
See, the former things have taken place,
and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
I announce them to you.”
Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise from the ends of the earth,
you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it,
you islands, and all who live in them.
Let the wilderness and its towns raise their voices;
let the settlements where Kedar lives rejoice.
Let the people of Sela sing for joy;
let them shout from the mountaintops.
Let them give glory to the Lord
and proclaim his praise in the islands.
The Lord will march out like a champion,
like a warrior he will stir up his zeal;
with a shout he will raise the battle cry
and will triumph over his enemies.
“For a long time I have kept silent,
I have been quiet and held myself back.
But now, like a woman in childbirth,
I cry out, I gasp and pant.
I will lay waste the mountains and hills
and dry up all their vegetation;
I will turn rivers into islands
and dry up the pools.
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them.”
Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so greatand their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”
The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?”
“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”
Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”
He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”
Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”
He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”
Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”
He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”
Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”
He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”
When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.
The highway of the upright avoids evil;
those who guard their ways preserve their lives.
Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.
Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed
than to share plunder with the proud.
Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers,
and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.
The wise in heart are called discerning,
and gracious words promote instruction.
Prudence is a fountain of life to the prudent,
but folly brings punishment to fools.
The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent,
and their lips promote instruction.
Gracious words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
There is a way that appears to be right,
but in the end it leads to death.
The appetite of laborers works for them;
their hunger drives them on.
A scoundrel plots evil,
and on their lips it is like a scorching fire.
A perverse person stirs up conflict,
and a gossip separates close friends.
A violent person entices their neighbor
and leads them down a path that is not good.
Whoever winks with their eye is plotting perversity;
whoever purses their lips is bent on evil.
Gray hair is a crown of splendor;
it is attained in the way of righteousness.
Better a patient person than a warrior,
one with self-control than one who takes a city.
The lot is cast into the lap,
but its every decision is from the Lord.
Better a dry crust with peace and quiet
than a house full of feasting, with strife.
A prudent servant will rule over a disgraceful son
and will share the inheritance as one of the family.
The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
but the Lord tests the heart.
A wicked person listens to deceitful lips;
a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.
Whoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker;
whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.
Children’s children are a crown to the aged,
and parents are the pride of their children.
Eloquent lips are unsuited to a godless fool—
how much worse lying lips to a ruler!
A bribe is seen as a charm by the one who gives it;
they think success will come at every turn.
Whoever would foster love covers over an offense,
but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
A rebuke impresses a discerning person
more than a hundred lashes a fool.
Evildoers foster rebellion against God;
the messenger of death will be sent against them.
Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs
than a fool bent on folly.
Evil will never leave the house
of one who pays back evil for good.
Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;
so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.
Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent—
the Lord detests them both.
Why should fools have money in hand to buy wisdom,
when they are not able to understand it?
A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for a time of adversity.