Readings for Wednesday, July 28, 2021
“Praise the Lord! How good it is to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.” — Psalm 147:1
1 Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion; and to you shall vows be performed,
2 O you who answer prayer! To you all flesh shall come.
3 When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us, you forgive our transgressions.
4 Happy are those whom you choose and bring near to live in your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, your holy temple.
5 By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance, O God of our salvation; you are the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas.
6 By your strength you established the mountains; you are girded with might.
7 You silence the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples.
8 Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs; you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.
9 You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide the people with grain, for so you have prepared it.
10 You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth.
11 You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
12 The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy,
13 the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy.
1 Praise the Lord! How good it is to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.
6 The Lord lifts up the downtrodden; he casts the wicked to the ground.
7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre.
8 He covers the heavens with clouds, prepares rain for the earth, makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He gives to the animals their food, and to the young ravens when they cry.
10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner;
11 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.
22 Just then the servants of David arrived with Joab from a raid, bringing much spoil with them. But Abner was not with David at Hebron, for David had dismissed him, and he had gone away in peace. 23 When Joab and all the army that was with him came, it was told Joab, “Abner son of Ner came to the king, and he has dismissed him, and he has gone away in peace.” 24 Then Joab went to the king and said, “What have you done? Abner came to you; why did you dismiss him, so that he got away? 25 You know that Abner son of Ner came to deceive you, and to learn your comings and goings and to learn all that you are doing.”
26 When Joab came out from David’s presence, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the cistern of Sirah; but David did not know about it. 27 When Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gateway to speak with him privately, and there he stabbed him in the stomach. So he died for shedding the blood of Asahel, Joab’s brother. 28 Afterward, when David heard of it, he said, “I and my kingdom are forever guiltless before the Lord for the blood of Abner son of Ner. 29 May the guilt fall on the head of Joab, and on all his father’s house; and may the house of Joab never be without one who has a discharge, or who is leprous, or who holds a spindle, or who falls by the sword, or who lacks food!”
30 So Joab and his brother Abishai murdered Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon. 31 Then David said to Joab and to all the people who were with him, “Tear your clothes, and put on sackcloth, and mourn over Abner.” And King David followed the bier. 32 They buried Abner at Hebron. The king lifted up his voice and wept at the grave of Abner, and all the people wept. 33 The king lamented for Abner, saying, “Should Abner die as a fool dies? 34 Your hands were not bound, your feet were not fettered; as one falls before the wicked you have fallen.” And all the people wept over him again.
35 Then all the people came to persuade David to eat something while it was still day; but David swore, saying, “So may God do to me, and more, if I taste bread or anything else before the sun goes down!” 36 All the people took notice of it, and it pleased them; just as everything the king did pleased all the people. 37 So all the people and all Israel understood that day that the king had no part in the killing of Abner son of Ner. 38 And the king said to his servants, “Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? 39 Today I am powerless, even though anointed king; these men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too violent for me. The Lord pay back the one who does wickedly in accordance with his wickedness!”
16 One day, as we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling. 17 While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.” 18 She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. 19 But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities.
20 When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, “These men are disturbing our city; they are Jews 21 and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe.” 22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 23 After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
47 When evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 When he saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind, he came towards them early in the morning, walking on the sea. He intended to pass them by. 49 But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out; 50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” 51 Then he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. 54 When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, 55 and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.
1 Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time on and forevermore.
3 For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, so that the righteous might not stretch out their hands to do wrong.
4 Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts.
5 But those who turn aside to their own crooked ways the Lord will lead away with evildoers. Peace be upon Israel!
1 You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
2 will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.”
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence;
4 he will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night, or the arrow that flies by day,
6 or the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or the destruction that wastes at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your dwelling place,
10 no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.
14 Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name.
15 When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them.
16 With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation.
You can also find all of today’s readings at PCUSA.org.