Readings for Wednesday, September 29, 2021

“In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” — Matthew 7:17-18

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Morning

Psalm 96

1 O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.

2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.

3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples.

4 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be revered above all gods.

5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.

6 Honor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

7 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts.

9 Worship the Lord in holy splendor; tremble before him, all the earth.

10 Say among the nations, “The Lord is king! The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved. He will judge the peoples with equity.”

11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it;

12 let the field exult, and everything in it. Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy

13 before the Lord ; for he is coming, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his truth.

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 Kings 18:9-25

9 In the fourth year of King Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of King Hoshea son of Elah of Israel, King Shalmaneser of Assyria came up against Samaria, besieged it, 10 and at the end of three years, took it. In the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of King Hoshea of Israel, Samaria was taken. 11 The king of Assyria carried the Israelites away to Assyria, settled them in Halah, on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes, 12 because they did not obey the voice of the Lord their God but transgressed his covenant—all that Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded; they neither listened nor obeyed.

13 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, King Sennacherib of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 14 King Hezekiah of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong; withdraw from me; whatever you impose on me I will bear.” The king of Assyria demanded of King Hezekiah of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15 Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the Lord and in the treasuries of the king’s house. 16 At that time Hezekiah stripped the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, and from the doorposts that King Hezekiah of Judah had overlaid and gave it to the king of Assyria.

17 The king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rab-saris, and the Rabshakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They went up and came to Jerusalem. When they arrived, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the highway to the Fuller’s Field. 18 When they called for the king, there came out to them Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebnah the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the recorder.

19 The Rabshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiah: Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you base this confidence of yours? 20 Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? On whom do you now rely, that you have rebelled against me? 21 See, you are relying now on Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of anyone who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who rely on him.

22 But if you say to me, ‘We rely on the Lord our God,’ is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem’? 23 Come now, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them. 24 How then can you repulse a single captain among the least of my master’s servants, when you rely on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? 25 Moreover, is it without the Lord that I have come up against this place to destroy it? The Lord said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.”

1 Corinthians 8:1-13

8 Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2 Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; 3 but anyone who loves God is known by him.

4 Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “no idol in the world really exists,” and that “there is no God but one.” 5 Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lords— 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

7 It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 “Food will not bring us close to God.” We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. 9 But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.

10 For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols? 11 So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed. 12 But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.

Matthew 7:13-21

13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. 14 For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17 In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will know them by their fruits.

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

Evening

Psalm 132

1 O Lord, remember in David’s favor all the hardships he endured;

2 how he swore to the Lord and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,

3 “I will not enter my house or get into my bed;

4 I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids,

5 until I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

6 We heard of it in Ephrathah; we found it in the fields of Jaar.

7 “Let us go to his dwelling place; let us worship at his footstool.”

8 Rise up, O Lord, and go to your resting place, you and the ark of your might.

9 Let your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let your faithful shout for joy.

10 For your servant David’s sake do not turn away the face of your anointed one.

11 The Lord swore to David a sure oath from which he will not turn back: “One of the sons of your body I will set on your throne.

12 If your sons keep my covenant and my decrees that I shall teach them, their sons also, forevermore, shall sit on your throne.”

13 For the Lord has chosen Zion; he has desired it for his habitation:

14 “This is my resting place forever; here I will reside, for I have desired it.

15 I will abundantly bless its provisions; I will satisfy its poor with bread.

16 Its priests I will clothe with salvation, and its faithful will shout for joy.

17 There I will cause a horn to sprout up for David; I have prepared a lamp for my anointed one.

18 His enemies I will clothe with disgrace, but on him, his crown will gleam.”

Psalm 134

1 Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who stand by night in the house of the Lord !

2 Lift up your hands to the holy place, and bless the Lord .

3 May the Lord, maker of heaven and earth, bless you from Zion.


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.