Readings for Sunday, January 31, 2021

“If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.” — Hebrews 11:15-16

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Morning

Psalm 108

1 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make melody. Awake, my soul!

2 Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn.

3 I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples, and I will sing praises to you among the nations.

4 For your steadfast love is higher than the heavens, and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and let your glory be over all the earth.

6 Give victory with your right hand, and answer me, so that those whom you love may be rescued.

7 God has promised in his sanctuary: “With exultation I will divide up Shechem, and portion out the Vale of Succoth.

8 Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet; Judah is my scepter.

9 Moab is my washbasin; on Edom I hurl my shoe; over Philistia I shout in triumph.”

10 Who will bring me to the fortified city? Who will lead me to Edom?

11 Have you not rejected us, O God? You do not go out, O God, with our armies.

12 O grant us help against the foe, for human help is worthless.

13 With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.

Psalm 150

1 Praise the Lord ! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty firmament!

2 Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his surpassing greatness!

3 Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!

4 Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!

5 Praise him with clanging cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

6 Let everything that breathes praise the Lord ! Praise the Lord !

Midday

Isaiah 51:9-16

9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord ! Awake, as in days of old, the generations of long ago! Was it not you who cut Rahab in pieces, who pierced the dragon? 10 Was it not you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep; who made the depths of the sea a way for the redeemed to cross over?

11 So the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. 12 I, I am he who comforts you; why then are you afraid of a mere mortal who must die, a human being who fades like grass?

13 You have forgotten the Lord, your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth. You fear continually all day long because of the fury of the oppressor, who is bent on destruction. But where is the fury of the oppressor? 14 The oppressed shall speedily be released; they shall not die and go down to the Pit, nor shall they lack bread.

15 For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord of hosts is his name. 16 I have put my words in your mouth, and hidden you in the shadow of my hand, stretching out the heavens and laying the foundations of the earth, and saying to Zion, “You are my people.”

Hebrews 11:8-16

8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.

10 For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old—and Sarah herself was barren—because he considered him faithful who had promised.

12 Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, “as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.” 13 All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, 14 for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.

15 If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.

John 7:14-31

14 About the middle of the festival Jesus went up into the temple and began to teach. 15 The Jews were astonished at it, saying, “How does this man have such learning, when he has never been taught?”

16 Then Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine but his who sent me. 17 Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own. 18 Those who speak on their own seek their own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and there is nothing false in him. 19 Did not Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why are you looking for an opportunity to kill me?”

20 The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is trying to kill you?”

21 Jesus answered them, “I performed one work, and all of you are astonished. 22 Moses gave you circumcision (it is, of course, not from Moses, but from the patriarchs), and you circumcise a man on the sabbath. 23 If a man receives circumcision on the sabbath in order that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because I healed a man’s whole body on the sabbath? 24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

25 Now some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, “Is not this the man whom they are trying to kill? 26 And here he is, speaking openly, but they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Messiah? 27 Yet we know where this man is from; but when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.”

28 Then Jesus cried out as he was teaching in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I am from. I have not come on my own. But the one who sent me is true, and you do not know him. 29 I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.”

30 Then they tried to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come. 31 Yet many in the crowd believed in him and were saying, “When the Messiah comes, will he do more signs than this man has done?”

Evening

Psalm 66

1 Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;

2 sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise.

3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! Because of your great power, your enemies cringe before you.

4 All the earth worships you; they sing praises to you, sing praises to your name.” Selah

5 Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds among mortals.

6 He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot. There we rejoiced in him,

7 who rules by his might forever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations— let the rebellious not exalt themselves. Selah

8 Bless our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard,

9 who has kept us among the living, and has not let our feet slip.

10 For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.

11 You brought us into the net; you laid burdens on our backs;

12 you let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a spacious place.

13 I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will pay you my vows,

14 those that my lips uttered and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.

15 I will offer to you burnt offerings of fatlings, with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams; I will make an offering of bulls and goats. Selah

16 Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for me.

17 I cried aloud to him, and he was extolled with my tongue.

18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.

19 But truly God has listened; he has given heed to the words of my prayer.

20 Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me.

Psalm 23

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters;

3 he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.


You can also find all of today’s readings at PCUSA.org.

The Daily Lectionary podcast is a ministry of First Presbyterian Church of Plattsburgh, NY, read by Pastor Timothy J. Luoma.