Readings for Wednesday, August 18, 2021

“Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God?” — Mark 12:24

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Morning

Psalm 15

1 O Lord, who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill?

2 Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right, and speak the truth from their heart;

3 who do not slander with their tongue, and do no evil to their friends, nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;

4 in whose eyes the wicked are despised, but who honor those who fear the Lord ; who stand by their oath even to their hurt;

5 who do not lend money at interest, and do not take a bribe against the innocent. Those who do these things shall never be moved.

Psalm 147:1-11

Psalm 147

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.

Midday

2 Samuel 18:19-33

19 Then Ahimaaz son of Zadok said, “Let me run, and carry tidings to the king that the Lord has delivered him from the power of his enemies.” 20 Joab said to him, “You are not to carry tidings today; you may carry tidings another day, but today you shall not do so, because the king’s son is dead.” 21 Then Joab said to a Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” The Cushite bowed before Joab, and ran. 22 Then Ahimaaz son of Zadok said again to Joab, “Come what may, let me also run after the Cushite.” And Joab said, “Why will you run, my son, seeing that you have no reward for the tidings?”

23 “Come what may,” he said, “I will run.” So he said to him, “Run.” Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the Plain, and outran the Cushite. 24 Now David was sitting between the two gates. The sentinel went up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and when he looked up, he saw a man running alone. 25 The sentinel shouted and told the king. The king said, “If he is alone, there are tidings in his mouth.” He kept coming, and drew near. 26 Then the sentinel saw another man running; and the sentinel called to the gatekeeper and said, “See, another man running alone!” The king said, “He also is bringing tidings.” 27 The sentinel said, “I think the running of the first one is like the running of Ahimaaz son of Zadok.” The king said, “He is a good man, and comes with good tidings.”

28 Then Ahimaaz cried out to the king, “All is well!” He prostrated himself before the king with his face to the ground, and said, “Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king.” 29 The king said, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I do not know what it was.” 30 The king said, “Turn aside, and stand here.” So he turned aside, and stood still.

31 Then the Cushite came; and the Cushite said, “Good tidings for my lord the king! For the Lord has vindicated you this day, delivering you from the power of all who rose up against you.” 32 The king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” The Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up to do you harm, be like that young man.” 33 The king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”

Acts 23:23-35

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.”

25 He wrote a letter to this effect: 26 “Claudius Lysias to his Excellency the governor Felix, greetings. 27 This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them, but when I had learned that he was a Roman citizen, I came with the guard and rescued him. 28 Since I wanted to know the charge for which they accused him, I had him brought to their council. 29 I found that he was accused concerning questions of their law, but was charged with nothing deserving death or imprisonment. 30 When I was informed that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, ordering his accusers also to state before you what they have against him.”

31 So the soldiers, according to their instructions, took Paul and brought him during the night to Antipatris. 32 The next day they let the horsemen go on with him, while they returned to the barracks. 33 When they came to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they presented Paul also before him. 34 On reading the letter, he asked what province he belonged to, and when he learned that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will give you a hearing when your accusers arrive.” Then he ordered that he be kept under guard in Herod’s headquarters.

Mark 12:13-27

13 Then they sent to him some Pharisees and some Herodians to trap him in what he said. 14 And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not? 15 Should we pay them, or should we not?” But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why are you putting me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me see it.” 16 And they brought one. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s.” 17 Jesus said to them, “Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were utterly amazed at him.

18 Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, saying, 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that ‘if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother.’ 20 There were seven brothers; the first married and, when he died, left no children; 21 and the second married her and died, leaving no children; and the third likewise; 22 none of the seven left children. Last of all the woman herself died. 23 In the resurrection whose wife will she be? For the seven had married her.”

24 Jesus said to them, “Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story about the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is God not of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong.”

Evening

Psalm 48

1 Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God. His holy mountain,

2 beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King.

3 Within its citadels God has shown himself a sure defense.

4 Then the kings assembled, they came on together.

5 As soon as they saw it, they were astounded; they were in panic, they took to flight;

6 trembling took hold of them there, pains as of a woman in labor,

7 as when an east wind shatters the ships of Tarshish.

8 As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God, which God establishes forever.

9 We ponder your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple.

10 Your name, O God, like your praise, reaches to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is filled with victory.

11 Let Mount Zion be glad, let the towns of Judah rejoice because of your judgments.

12 Walk about Zion, go all around it, count its towers,

13 consider well its ramparts; go through its citadels, that you may tell the next generation

14 that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will be our guide forever.

Psalm 4

1 Answer me when I call, O God of my right! You gave me room when I was in distress. Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.

2 How long, you people, shall my honor suffer shame? How long will you love vain words, and seek after lies?

3 But know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.

4 When you are disturbed, do not sin; ponder it on your beds, and be silent.

5 Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord .

6 There are many who say, “O that we might see some good! Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord !”

7 You have put gladness in my heart more than when their grain and wine abound.

8 I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.


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.