Will you go beyond hearings and being a hearer of the Word and instead listen and become a doer of the Word? What did God’s Word speak to you? What instruction did God’s Word give to you? What direction did God’s Word give to you? Are you being an active listener rather than just a hearer? Are you being an active listener and becoming a doer? We aren’t saved by our works! We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus! We have people around us watching how we live and are they seeing that we live what we believe? that we are not just people who know the Word but rather are people who live out the Word? Today is a new day! Are you ready to start today? This is the day that the Lord has made so let us rejoice and be glad in it! Let’s allow the joy of the Lord be our strength!
Are you ready to listen? Are you ready to do?
Today’s reading gets us started in Deuteronomy. I took the song Moses shared publicly and generated the word cloud I used for today’s post.
‘So Moses recited this entire song publicly to the assembly of Israel:’—Deuteronomy 31:30
‘“Listen, O heavens, and I will speak! Hear, O earth, the words that I say! Let my teaching fall on you like rain; let my speech settle like dew. Let my words fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants. I will proclaim the name of the Lord ; how glorious is our God! He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is! “But they have acted corruptly toward him; when they act so perversely, are they really his children? They are a deceitful and twisted generation. Is this the way you repay the Lord , you foolish and senseless people? Isn’t he your Father who created you? Has he not made you and established you? Remember the days of long ago; think about the generations past. Ask your father, and he will inform you. Inquire of your elders, and they will tell you. When the Most High assigned lands to the nations, when he divided up the human race, he established the boundaries of the peoples according to the number in his heavenly court. “For the people of Israel belong to the Lord ; Jacob is his special possession. He found them in a desert land, in an empty, howling wasteland. He surrounded them and watched over them; he guarded them as he would guard his own eyes. Like an eagle that rouses her chicks and hovers over her young, so he spread his wings to take them up and carried them safely on his pinions. The Lord alone guided them; they followed no foreign gods. He let them ride over the highlands and feast on the crops of the fields. He nourished them with honey from the rock and olive oil from the stony ground. He fed them yogurt from the herd and milk from the flock, together with the fat of lambs. He gave them choice rams from Bashan, and goats, together with the choicest wheat. You drank the finest wine, made from the juice of grapes. “But Israel soon became fat and unruly; the people grew heavy, plump, and stuffed! Then they abandoned the God who had made them; they made light of the Rock of their salvation. They stirred up his jealousy by worshiping foreign gods; they provoked his fury with detestable deeds. They offered sacrifices to demons, which are not God, to gods they had not known before, to new gods only recently arrived, to gods their ancestors had never feared. You neglected the Rock who had fathered you; you forgot the God who had given you birth. “The Lord saw this and drew back, provoked to anger by his own sons and daughters. He said, ‘I will abandon them; then see what becomes of them. For they are a twisted generation, children without integrity. They have roused my jealousy by worshiping things that are not God; they have provoked my anger with their useless idols. Now I will rouse their jealousy through people who are not even a people; I will provoke their anger through the foolish Gentiles. For my anger blazes forth like fire and burns to the depths of the grave. It devours the earth and all its crops and ignites the foundations of the mountains. I will heap disasters upon them and shoot them down with my arrows. I will weaken them with famine, burning fever, and deadly disease. I will send the fangs of wild beasts and poisonous snakes that glide in the dust. Outside, the sword will bring death, and inside, terror will strike both young men and young women, both infants and the aged. I would have annihilated them, wiping out even the memory of them. But I feared the taunt of Israel’s enemy, who might misunderstand and say, “Our own power has triumphed! The Lord had nothing to do with this!”’ “But Israel is a senseless nation; the people are foolish, without understanding. Oh, that they were wise and could understand this! Oh, that they might know their fate! How could one person chase a thousand of them, and two people put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, unless the Lord had given them up? But the rock of our enemies is not like our Rock, as even they recognize. Their vine grows from the vine of Sodom, from the vineyards of Gomorrah. Their grapes are poison, and their clusters are bitter. Their wine is the venom of serpents, the deadly poison of cobras. “The Lord says, ‘Am I not storing up these things, sealing them away in my treasury? I will take revenge; I will pay them back. In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, and their destiny will overtake them.’ “Indeed, the Lord will give justice to his people, and he will change his mind about his servants, when he sees their strength is gone and no one is left, slave or free. Then he will ask, ‘Where are their gods, the rocks they fled to for refuge? Where now are those gods, who ate the fat of their sacrifices and drank the wine of their offerings? Let those gods arise and help you! Let them provide you with shelter! Look now; I myself am he! There is no other god but me! I am the one who kills and gives life; I am the one who wounds and heals; no one can be rescued from my powerful hand! Now I raise my hand to heaven and declare, “As surely as I live, when I sharpen my flashing sword and begin to carry out justice, I will take revenge on my enemies and repay those who reject me. I will make my arrows drunk with blood, and my sword will devour flesh— the blood of the slaughtered and the captives, and the heads of the enemy leaders.”’ “Rejoice with him, you heavens, and let all of God’s angels worship him. Rejoice with his people, you Gentiles, and let all the angels be strengthened in him. For he will avenge the blood of his children ; he will take revenge against his enemies. He will repay those who hate him and cleanse his people’s land.” So Moses came with Joshua son of Nun and recited all the words of this song to the people. When Moses had finished reciting all these words to the people of Israel, he added: “Take to heart all the words of warning I have given you today. Pass them on as a command to your children so they will obey every word of these instructions. These instructions are not empty words—they are your life! By obeying them you will enjoy a long life in the land you will occupy when you cross the Jordan River.”’—Deuteronomy 32:1-47
Today’s reading then brings us into Isaiah:
‘What sorrow awaits you Assyrians, who have destroyed others but have never been destroyed yourselves. You betray others, but you have never been betrayed. When you are done destroying, you will be destroyed. When you are done betraying, you will be betrayed. But Lord , be merciful to us, for we have waited for you. Be our strong arm each day and our salvation in times of trouble. The enemy runs at the sound of your voice. When you stand up, the nations flee! Just as caterpillars and locusts strip the fields and vines, so the fallen army of Assyria will be stripped! Though the Lord is very great and lives in heaven, he will make Jerusalem his home of justice and righteousness. In that day he will be your sure foundation, providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of the Lord will be your treasure. But now your brave warriors weep in public. Your ambassadors of peace cry in bitter disappointment. Your roads are deserted; no one travels them anymore. The Assyrians have broken their peace treaty and care nothing for the promises they made before witnesses. They have no respect for anyone. The land of Israel wilts in mourning. Lebanon withers with shame. The plain of Sharon is now a wilderness. Bashan and Carmel have been plundered. But the Lord says: “Now I will stand up. Now I will show my power and might. You Assyrians produce nothing but dry grass and stubble. Your own breath will turn to fire and consume you. Your people will be burned up completely, like thornbushes cut down and tossed in a fire. Listen to what I have done, you nations far away! And you that are near, acknowledge my might!” The sinners in Jerusalem shake with fear. Terror seizes the godless. “Who can live with this devouring fire?” they cry. “Who can survive this all-consuming fire?” Those who are honest and fair, who refuse to profit by fraud, who stay far away from bribes, who refuse to listen to those who plot murder, who shut their eyes to all enticement to do wrong— these are the ones who will dwell on high. The rocks of the mountains will be their fortress. Food will be supplied to them, and they will have water in abundance. Your eyes will see the king in all his splendor, and you will see a land that stretches into the distance. You will think back to this time of terror, asking, “Where are the Assyrian officers who counted our towers? Where are the bookkeepers who recorded the plunder taken from our fallen city?” You will no longer see these fierce, violent people with their strange, unknown language. Instead, you will see Zion as a place of holy festivals. You will see Jerusalem, a city quiet and secure. It will be like a tent whose ropes are taut and whose stakes are firmly fixed. The Lord will be our Mighty One. He will be like a wide river of protection that no enemy can cross, that no enemy ship can sail upon. For the Lord is our judge, our lawgiver, and our king. He will care for us and save us. The enemies’ sails hang loose on broken masts with useless tackle. Their treasure will be divided by the people of God. Even the lame will take their share! The people of Israel will no longer say, “We are sick and helpless,” for the Lord will forgive their sins.’—Isaiah 33
Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament starting in Matthew:
‘“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. And now, look, your house is abandoned and desolate. For I tell you this, you will never see me again until you say, ‘Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord !’”’—Matthew 23:37-39
‘As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, his disciples pointed out to him the various Temple buildings. But he responded, “Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”’—Matthew 24:1-2
Today’s reading continues into Ephesians:
‘Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.’—Ephesians 5:11-21
Today’s reading concludes in the book of Psalms:
‘Praise the Lord ! Let all that I am praise the Lord . I will praise the Lord as long as I live. I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath. Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. When they breathe their last, they return to the earth, and all their plans die with them. But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He keeps every promise forever. He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry. The Lord frees the prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down. The Lord loves the godly. The Lord protects the foreigners among us. He cares for the orphans and widows, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked. The Lord will reign forever. He will be your God, O Jerusalem, throughout the generations. Praise the Lord !’—Psalms 146