Hebrew Scripture: Isaiah 31
Alas for those who go down to Egypt for help
and who rely on horses,
who trust in chariots because they are many
and in horsemen because they are very strong,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel
or consult the Lord!
Yet he too is wise and brings disaster;
he does not call back his words,
but will rise against the house of the evildoers,
and against the helpers of those who work iniquity.
The Egyptians are human, and not God;
their horses are flesh, and not spirit.
When the Lord stretches out his hand,
the helper will stumble,
and the one helped will fall,
and they will all perish together.
For thus the Lord said to me,
As a lion or a young lion growls over its prey,
and–when a band of shepherds is called out against it–
is not terrified by their shouting
or daunted at their noise,
so the Lord of hosts will come down
to fight upon Mount Zion and upon its hill.
Like birds hovering overhead,
so the Lord of hosts will protect Jerusalem;
he will protect and deliver it,
he will spare and rescue it.
Turn back to him whom you have deeply betrayed,
O people of Israel.
For on that day all of you
shall throw away your idols of silver
and idols of gold,
which your hands have sinfully made for you.
“Then the Assyrian shall fall by a sword,
not of mortals; and a sword, not of humans, shall devour him;
he shall flee from the sword,
and his young men shall be put to forced labor.
His rock shall pass away in terror,
and his officers desert the standard in panic,”
says the Lord, whose fire is in Zion,
and whose furnace is in Jerusalem.
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things too great
and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time on and forevermore.
New Testament Gospel Lesson: Luke 11:14-23
Now he [Jesus] was casting out a demon that was mute; when the demon had gone out, the one who had been mute spoke, and the crowds were amazed. But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” Others, to test him, kept demanding from him a sign from heaven. But he knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?–for you say that I cast out the demons by Beelzebul. Now if I cast out the demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle, his property is safe. But when one stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his plunder. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
Bible verses from The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.
Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright 1985 by the Consultation on Common Texts.
Image Credit: Beelzebub from the Dictionnaire Infernal, by Collin de Plancy (1863), via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image.