Readings for Tuesday, August 17, 2021

“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes.” — Mark 11:10

Download Today’s MP3

Morning

Psalm 123

1 To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!

2 As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until he has mercy upon us.

3 Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt.

4 Our soul has had more than its fill of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.

Psalm 146

1 Praise the Lord ! Praise the Lord, O my soul!

2 I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God all my life long.

3 Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help.

4 When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish.

5 Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God,

6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever;

7 who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free;

8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.

9 The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

10 The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord !

Midday

2 Samuel 18:9-18

9 Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. His head caught fast in the oak, and he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on.

10 A man saw it, and told Joab, “I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.” 11 Joab said to the man who told him, “What, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? I would have been glad to give you ten pieces of silver and a belt.” 12 But the man said to Joab, “Even if I felt in my hand the weight of a thousand pieces of silver, I would not raise my hand against the king’s son; for in our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, saying: For my sake protect the young man Absalom! 13 On the other hand, if I had dealt treacherously against his life (and there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have stood aloof.”

14 Joab said, “I will not waste time like this with you.” He took three spears in his hand, and thrust them into the heart of Absalom, while he was still alive in the oak. 15 And ten young men, Joab’s armor-bearers, surrounded Absalom and struck him, and killed him. 16 Then Joab sounded the trumpet, and the troops came back from pursuing Israel, for Joab restrained the troops. 17 They took Absalom, threw him into a great pit in the forest, and raised over him a very great heap of stones. Meanwhile all the Israelites fled to their homes.

18 Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself a pillar that is in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to keep my name in remembrance”; he called the pillar by his own name. It is called Absalom’s Monument to this day.

Acts 23:12-24

12 In the morning the Jews joined in a conspiracy and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty who joined in this conspiracy. 14 They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food until we have killed Paul. 15 Now then, you and the council must notify the tribune to bring him down to you, on the pretext that you want to make a more thorough examination of his case. And we are ready to do away with him before he arrives.”

16 Now the son of Paul’s sister heard about the ambush; so he went and gained entrance to the barracks and told Paul.

17 Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the tribune, for he has something to report to him.” 18 So he took him, brought him to the tribune, and said, “The prisoner Paul called me and asked me to bring this young man to you; he has something to tell you.” 19 The tribune took him by the hand, drew him aside privately, and asked, “What is it that you have to report to me?”

20 He answered, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire more thoroughly into his case. 21 But do not be persuaded by them, for more than forty of their men are lying in ambush for him. They have bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink until they kill him. They are ready now and are waiting for your consent.”

22 So the tribune dismissed the young man, ordering him, “Tell no one that you have informed me of this.” 23 Then he summoned two of the centurions and said, “Get ready to leave by nine o’clock tonight for Caesarea with two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen. 24 Also provide mounts for Paul to ride, and take him safely to Felix the governor.”

Mark 11:27-12:12

27 Again they came to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to him 28 and said, “By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do them?”

29 Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin? Answer me.”

31 They argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 32 But shall we say, ‘Of human origin’?” — they were afraid of the crowd, for all regarded John as truly a prophet.

33 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”

12:1 Then he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the wine press, and built a watchtower; then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 2 When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce of the vineyard. 3 But they seized him, and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. 4 And again he sent another slave to them; this one they beat over the head and insulted. 5 Then he sent another, and that one they killed. And so it was with many others; some they beat, and others they killed.

6 He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others.

10 Have you not read this scripture: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 11 this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’?” 12 When they realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowd. So they left him and went away.

Evening

Psalm 30

1 I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up, and did not let my foes rejoice over me.

2 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.

3 O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol, restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.

4 Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name.

5 For his anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

6 As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.”

7 By your favor, O Lord, you had established me as a strong mountain; you hid your face; I was dismayed.

8 To you, O Lord, I cried, and to the Lord I made supplication:

9 “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the Pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness?

10 Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me! O Lord, be my helper!”

11 You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

12 so that my soul may praise you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

Psalm 86

1 Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.

2 Preserve my life, for I am devoted to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God;

3 be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all day long.

4 Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you.

6 Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; listen to my cry of supplication.

7 In the day of my trouble I call on you, for you will answer me.

8 There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours.

9 All the nations you have made shall come and bow down before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.

10 For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.

11 Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name.

12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.

13 For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

14 O God, the insolent rise up against me; a band of ruffians seeks my life, and they do not set you before them.

15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

16 Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant; save the child of your serving girl.

17 Show me a sign of your favor, so that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame, because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.


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.