Readings for Thursday, July 29, 2021
“For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” — Mark 7:21-23
1 Hear my prayer, O Lord ; give ear to my supplications in your faithfulness; answer me in your righteousness.
2 Do not enter into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.
3 For the enemy has pursued me, crushing my life to the ground, making me sit in darkness like those long dead.
4 Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled.
5 I remember the days of old, I think about all your deeds, I meditate on the works of your hands.
6 I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.
7 Answer me quickly, O Lord ; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me, or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.
8 Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning, for in you I put my trust. Teach me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
9 Save me, O Lord, from my enemies; I have fled to you for refuge.
10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. Let your good spirit lead me on a level path.
11 For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life. In your righteousness bring me out of trouble.
12 In your steadfast love cut off my enemies, and destroy all my adversaries, for I am your servant.
12 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!
13 For he strengthens the bars of your gates; he blesses your children within you.
14 He grants peace within your borders; he fills you with the finest of wheat.
15 He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly.
16 He gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down hail like crumbs— who can stand before his cold?
18 He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow.
19 He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and ordinances to Israel.
20 He has not dealt thus with any other nation; they do not know his ordinances. Praise the Lord !
1 When Saul’s son Ishbaal heard that Abner had died at Hebron, his courage failed, and all Israel was dismayed.
2 Saul’s son had two captains of raiding bands; the name of the one was Baanah, and the name of the other Rechab. They were sons of Rimmon a Benjaminite from Beeroth—for Beeroth is considered to belong to Benjamin. 3 (Now the people of Beeroth had fled to Gittaim and are there as resident aliens to this day).
4 Saul’s son Jonathan had a son who was crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled; and, in her haste to flee, it happened that he fell and became lame. His name was Mephibosheth.
5 Now the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, set out, and about the heat of the day they came to the house of Ishbaal, while he was taking his noonday rest. 6 They came inside the house as though to take wheat, and they struck him in the stomach; then Rechab and his brother Baanah escaped. 7 Now they had come into the house while he was lying on his couch in his bedchamber; they attacked him, killed him, and beheaded him. Then they took his head and traveled by way of the Arabah all night long.
8 They brought the head of Ishbaal to David at Hebron and said to the king, “Here is the head of Ishbaal, son of Saul, your enemy, who sought your life; the Lord has avenged my lord the king this day on Saul and on his offspring.”
9 David answered Rechab and his brother Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life out of every adversity, 10 when the one who told me, ‘See, Saul is dead,’ thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and killed him at Ziklag—this was the reward I gave him for his news. 11 How much more then, when wicked men have killed a righteous man on his bed in his own house! And now shall I not require his blood at your hand, and destroy you from the earth?”
12 So David commanded the young men, and they killed them; they cut off their hands and feet, and hung their bodies beside the pool at Hebron. But the head of Ishbaal they took and buried in the tomb of Abner at Hebron.
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened.
27 When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.
30 Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay. 34 He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God.
35 When morning came, the magistrates sent the police, saying, “Let those men go.” 36 And the jailer reported the message to Paul, saying, “The magistrates sent word to let you go; therefore come out now and go in peace.”
37 But Paul replied, “They have beaten us in public, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and now are they going to discharge us in secret? Certainly not! Let them come and take us out themselves.” 38 The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens; 39 so they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city. 40 After leaving the prison they went to Lydia’s home; and when they had seen and encouraged the brothers and sisters there, they departed.
7 Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, 2 they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. 3 (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; 4 and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.)
5 So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” 6 He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,
‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me;
7 in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.’
8 You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”
9 Then he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.’ 11 But you say that if anyone tells father or mother, ‘Whatever support you might have had from me is Corban’ (that is, an offering to God)— 12 then you no longer permit doing anything for a father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many things like this.”
14 Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: 15 there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.”
17 When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 He said to them, “Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, 19 since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.)
20 And he said, “It is what comes out of a person that defiles. 21 For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, 22 adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
1 Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob.
2 Raise a song, sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp.
3 Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our festal day.
4 For it is a statute for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
5 He made it a decree in Joseph, when he went out over the land of Egypt. I hear a voice I had not known:
6 “I relieved your shoulder of the burden; your hands were freed from the basket.
7 In distress you called, and I rescued you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah.
8 Hear, O my people, while I admonish you; O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
9 There shall be no strange god among you; you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
10 I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.
11 “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me.
12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.
13 O that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways!
14 Then I would quickly subdue their enemies, and turn my hand against their foes.
15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him, and their doom would last forever.
16 I would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”
1 I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my supplications.
2 Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
3 The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish.
4 Then I called on the name of the Lord : “O Lord, I pray, save my life!”
5 Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful.
6 The Lord protects the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me.
7 Return, O my soul, to your rest, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
8 For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
9 I walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
10 I kept my faith, even when I said, “I am greatly afflicted”;
11 I said in my consternation, “Everyone is a liar.”
12 What shall I return to the Lord for all his bounty to me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord,
14 I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.
16 O Lord, I am your servant; I am your servant, the child of your serving girl. You have loosed my bonds.
17 I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice and call on the name of the Lord .
18 I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of the house of the Lord, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord !
You can also find all of today’s readings at PCUSA.org.