Babylon

Wednesday: Reflection on the Thirty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week's blog post is here. It has a review of The Complete Jewish Bible (which has both testaments), and some perspective on what often seems like John the Evangelist's anti-Semitism.

More information about the complementary and semi-continuous series is here: Which Series?

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from The Latter Prophets: Ezekiel 30:20-26

In the eleventh year, in the first month, on the seventh day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me: Mortal, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt; it has not been bound up for healing or wrapped with a bandage, so that it may become strong to wield the sword. Therefore thus says the Lord God: I am against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and will break his arms, both the strong arm and the one that was broken; and I will make the sword fall from his hand. I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and disperse them throughout the lands. I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, and put my sword in his hand; but I will break the arms of Pharaoh, and he will groan before him with the groans of one mortally wounded. I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, but the arms of Pharaoh shall fall. And they shall know that I am the Lord, when I put my sword into the hand of the king of Babylon. He shall stretch it out against the land of Egypt, and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them throughout the countries. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture: 2 Samuel 2:1-7

After this David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?” The Lord said to him, “Go up.” David said, “To which shall I go up?” He said, “To Hebron.” So David went up there, along with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. David brought up the men who were with him, every one with his household; and they settled in the towns of Hebron. Then the people of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.

When they told David, “It was the people of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul,” David sent messengers to the people of Jabesh-gilead, and said to them, “May you be blessed by the Lord, because you showed this loyalty to Saul your lord, and buried him! Now may the Lord show steadfast love and faithfulness to you! And I too will reward you because you have done this thing. Therefore let your hands be strong, and be valiant; for Saul your lord is dead, and the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.”

Complementary Psalm 76

In Judah God is known,
 his name is great in Israel.
His abode has been established in Salem,
 his dwelling place in Zion.
There he broke the flashing arrows,
 the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war.

Glorious are you, more majestic
 than the everlasting mountains.
The stouthearted were stripped of their spoil;
 they sank into sleep;
none of the troops
 was able to lift a hand.
At your rebuke, O God of Jacob,
 both rider and horse lay stunned.

But you indeed are awesome!
Who can stand before you
 when once your anger is roused?
From the heavens you uttered judgment;
 the earth feared and was still
when God rose up to establish judgment,
 to save all the oppressed of the earth.

Human wrath serves only to praise you,
 when you bind the last bit of your wrath around you.
Make vows to the Lord your God, and perform them;
 let all who are around him bring gifts
 to the one who is awesome,
who cuts off the spirit of princes,
 who inspires fear in the kings of the earth.

Semi-continuous Psalm 63

O God, you are my God, I seek you,
 my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
 as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
 beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
 my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
 I will lift up my hands and call on your name.

My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast,
 and my mouth praises you with joyful lips
when I think of you on my bed,
 and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
 and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
 your right hand upholds me.

But those who seek to destroy my life
 shall go down into the depths of the earth;
they shall be given over to the power of the sword,
 they shall be prey for jackals.
But the king shall rejoice in God;
 all who swear by him shall exult,
 for the mouths of liars will be stopped.

New Testament Lesson: John 16:25-33

John 16:33

“I have said these things to you with the help of illustrations; however, a time is coming when I will no longer speak indirectly but will talk about the Father in plain language. When that day comes, you will ask in my name. I am not telling you that i will pray to the Father on your behalf, for the Father loves you, because you have loved me and believed that I came from God.

“I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and returning to the Father.”

The talmidim said to him, “Look, you're talking plainly right now; you're not speaking indirectly at all. Now we know that you know everything, and that you don't need to have people put their questions into words. This makes us believe that you came from God.”

Yeshua answered, “Now you do believe. But a time is coming—indeed it has come already—when you will be scattered, each looking out for himself; and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.

“I have said these things to you so that, united with me, you may have shalom. In the world, you have tsuris. But be brave! I have conquered the world.” (CJB)

Here are definitions:
Shalom means peace, tranquility, contentment, integrity.
Talmidim means disciple or student. The relationship between a talmid and his rabbi was very close.
Tsuris means trouble, woe, or aggravation.

Year B Ordinary 34 Wednesday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) 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.

Footnotes in the Hebrew Scriptures that show where the passage is used in the Christian Scriptures are based on information from the Complete Jewish Bible (Updated) (CJB) by David H. Stern, Copyright © 1998 and 2006 by David H. Stern, used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, www.messianicjewish.net. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the CJB, the passage ends with (CJB) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Image credit: John 16:33 downloaded from achristianwalkinfaith.

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Thursday: Preparation for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week's blog post is here. It has a review of The Amplified Bible, a chance to think about our own blindness, and summaries and links for the lessons through Wednesday.

More information about the complementary and semi-continuous series is here: Which Series?

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 23:9-15

“Concerning the prophets:
My heart is crushed within me,
 all my bones shake;
I have become like a drunkard,
 like one overcome by wine,
because of the Lord
 and because of his holy words.
For the land is full of adulterers;
 because of the curse the land mourns,
 and the pastures of the wilderness are dried up.
Their course has been evil,
 and their might is not right.
Both prophet and priest are ungodly;
 even in my house I have found their wickedness,
   says the Lord.

“Therefore their way shall be to them
 like slippery paths in the darkness,
 into which they shall be driven and fall;
for I will bring disaster upon them
 in the year of their punishment,
   says the Lord.

“In the prophets of Samaria
 I saw a disgusting thing:
they prophesied by Baal
 and led my people Israel astray.
But in the prophets of Jerusalem
 I have seen a more shocking thing:
they commit adultery and walk in lies;
 they strengthen the hands of evildoers,
 so that no one turns from wickedness;
all of them have become like Sodom to me,
 and its inhabitants like Gomorrah.
Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets:
“I am going to make them eat wormwood,
 and give them poisoned water to drink;
for from the prophets of Jerusalem
 ungodliness has spread throughout the land.”

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture: 2 Kings 20:12-19

At that time King Merodach-baladan son of Baladan of Babylon sent envoys with letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick. Hezekiah welcomed them; he showed them all his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his armory, all that was found in his storehouses; there was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them. Then the prophet Isaiah came to King Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say? From where did they come to you?” Hezekiah answered, “They have come from a far country, from Babylon.” He said, “What have they seen in your house?” Hezekiah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them.”

Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord: Days are coming when all that is in your house, and that which your ancestors have stored up until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left, says the Lord. Some of your own sons who are born to you shall be taken away; they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?”

Complementary Psalm 126

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
 we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
 and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
 “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
 and we rejoiced.

Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
 like the watercourses in the Negeb.
May those who sow in tears
 reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
 bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
 carrying their sheaves.

Semi-continuous Psalm 34:1-8, 19-22

I will bless the Lord at all times;
 his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
 let the humble hear and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me,
 and let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
 and delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him, and be radiant;
 so your faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord,
 and was saved from every trouble.
The angel of the Lord encamps
 around those who fear him, and delivers them.
O taste and see that the Lord is good;¹
 happy are those who take refuge in him.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
 but the Lord rescues them from them all.
He keeps all their bones;
 not one of them will be broken.²
Evil brings death to the wicked,
 and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
 none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

¹Peter uses this phrase in his instructions to believers in 1 Peter 2:1-10, which is our Monday Epistle Lesson.
²In
John 19:31-37 (part of the recounting of the crucifixion), this scripture is fulfilled. Ordinarily, when the soldiers grew weary of watching their crucified victims, they would break their femurs, which hastened death. Jesus died before this was done.

New Testament Lesson: Hebrews 7:1-10

This “King Melchizedek of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham as he was returning from defeating the kings and blessed him”;¹ and to him Abraham apportioned “one-tenth of everything.”¹ His name, in the first place, means “king of righteousness”; next he is also king of Salem, that is, “king of peace.” Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.

The Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek

See how great he is! Even Abraham the patriarch gave him a tenth of the spoils. And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to collect tithes from the people, that is, from their kindred, though these also are descended from Abraham. But this man, who does not belong to their ancestry, collected tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had received the promises. It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. In the one case, tithes are received by those who are mortal; in the other, by one of whom it is testified that he lives. One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.

¹These quotations are from the interaction of Abram with Melchizedek after Abram has rescued his nephew Lot, defeating several kings (Genesis 14:12-24).

Year B Ordinary 30 Thursday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books (NRSV) 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.

Footnotes in the Hebrew Scriptures that show where the passage is used in the Christian Scriptures are based on information from the Complete Jewish Bible (Updated) (CJB) by David H. Stern, Copyright © 1998 and 2006 by David H. Stern, used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, www.messianicjewish.net. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the CJB, the passage ends with (CJB) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Parallel passages are as indicated in the Modern English Version (MEV) , copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Used by permission. All rights reserved. When text is taken from the MEV, the passage ends with (MEV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Scriptures designated (NET) are from the Net Bible-New English Translation ® copyright © 2005 by Biblical Studies Press, LLC (www.bible.org) used by permission. All rights reserved. Additional citations of Hebrew Scripture used in Christian Scripture are from the NET Bible.

Note: The links in the titles above take you to Amazon, where you can purchase them and benefit The Lectionary Company.

Image credit: The Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek by Peter Paul Reubens, via the National Gallery of Art. This is a public domain image.

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Friday: Preparation for the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week's blog post is here. It has a review of The Inclusive Bible, summaries and links for this week's readings, Christ's discussion of humility, and more about the Book of Job.

More information about the comlementary and semi-continuous series is here: Which Series?

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Isaiah 47:1-9

Come down and sit in the dust,
 virgin daughter Babylon!
Sit on the ground without a throne,
 daughter Chaldea!
For you shall no more be called
 tender and delicate.
Take the millstones and grind meal,
 remove your veil,
strip off your robe, uncover your legs,
 pass through the rivers.
Your nakedness shall be uncovered,
 and your shame shall be seen.
I will take vengeance,
 and I will spare no one.
Our Redeemer—the Lord of hosts is his name—
 is the Holy One of Israel.

Sit in silence, and go into darkness,
 daughter Chaldea!
For you shall no more be called
 the mistress of kingdoms.
I was angry with my people,
 I profaned my heritage;
I gave them into your hand,
 you showed them no mercy;
on the aged you made your yoke
 exceedingly heavy.
You said,“I shall be mistress forever,”
 so that you did not lay these things to heart
 or remember their end.

Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures,
 who sit securely,
who say in your heart,
 “I am, and there is no one besides me;
I shall not sit as a widow
 or know the loss of children”—
both these things shall come upon you
 in a moment, in one day:
the loss of children and widowhood
 shall come upon you in full measure,
in spite of your many sorceries
 and the great power of your enchantments.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Writings: Job 37:1-24

[Elihu continued and said {36:1}]

“At this also my heart trembles,
 and leaps out of its place.
Listen, listen to the thunder of his voice
 and the rumbling that comes from his mouth.
Under the whole heaven he lets it loose,
 and his lightning to the corners of the earth.
After it his voice roars;
 he thunders with his majestic voice
and he does not restrain the lightnings when his voice is heard.
God thunders wondrously with his voice;
 he does great things that we cannot comprehend.
For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth’;
 and the shower of rain, his heavy shower of rain,
serves as a sign on everyone's hand,
 so that all whom he has made may know it.
Then the animals go into their lairs
 and remain in their dens.
From its chamber comes the whirlwind,
 and cold from the scattering winds.
By the breath of God ice is given,
 and the broad waters are frozen fast.
He loads the thick cloud with moisture;
 the clouds scatter his lightning.
They turn round and round by his guidance,
 to accomplish all that he commands them
 on the face of the habitable world.
Whether for correction, or for his land,
 or for love, he causes it to happen.

“Hear this, O Job;
 stop and consider the wondrous works of God.
Do you know how God lays his command upon them,
 and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine?
Do you know the balancings of the clouds,
 the wondrous works of the one whose knowledge is perfect,
you whose garments are hot
 when the earth is still because of the south wind?
Can you, like him, spread out the skies,
 hard as a molten mirror?
Teach us what we shall say to him;
 we cannot draw up our case because of darkness.
Should he be told that I want to speak?
 Did anyone ever wish to be swallowed up?
Now, no one can look on the light
 when it is bright in the skies,
 when the wind has passed and cleared them.
Out of the north comes golden splendor;
 around God is awesome majesty.
The Almighty—we cannot find him;
 he is great in power and justice,
 and abundant righteousness he will not violate.
Therefore mortals fear him;
 he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.”

Complementary Psalm 91:9-16

Because you have made the Lord your refuge,
 the Most High your dwelling place,
no evil shall befall you,
 no scourge come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you
 to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
 so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.¹
You will tread on the lion and the adder,
 the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.

Those who love me, I will deliver;
 I will protect those who know my name.
When they call to me, I will answer them;
 I will be with them in trouble,
 I will rescue them and honor them.
With long life I will satisfy them,
 and show them my salvation.

¹Satan uses these phrases when tempting Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13).

Semi-continuous Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35b

Bless the Lord, O my soul.
O Lord my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
 wrapped in light as with a garment.
You stretch out the heavens like a tent,
 you set the beams of your chambers on the waters,
you make the clouds your chariot,
 you ride on the wings of the wind,
you make the winds your messengers,
 fire and flame your ministers.¹

You set the earth on its foundations,
 so that it shall never be shaken.
You cover it with the deep as with a garment;
 the waters stood above the mountains.
At your rebuke they flee;
 at the sound of your thunder they take to flight.
They rose up to the mountains,
 ran down to the valleys
to the place that you appointed for them.
You set a boundary that they may not pass,
 so that they might not again cover the earth.

O Lord, how manifold are your works!
 In wisdom you have made them all;
 the earth is full of your creatures.

Bless the Lord, O my soul.
 Praise the Lord!

This idea is used in Hebrews 1:5-13, about how the Son is superior to the angels.

New Testament Lesson: Revelation 17:1-18

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great whore who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and with the wine of whose fornication the inhabitants of the earth have become drunk.” So he carried me away in the spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her fornication; and on her forehead was written a name, a mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of whores and of earth's abominations.” And I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of the witnesses to Jesus.

When I saw her, I was greatly amazed. But the angel said to me, “Why are you so amazed? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to ascend from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the inhabitants of the earth, whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will be amazed when they see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come.

“This calls for a mind that has wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; also, they are seven kings, of whom five have fallen, one is living, and the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain only a little while. As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. These are united in yielding their power and authority to the beast; they will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”

And he said to me, “The waters that you saw, where the whore is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages. And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the whore; they will make her desolate and naked; they will devour her flesh and burn her up with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by agreeing to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled. The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.”

Year B Ordinary 29 Friday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books (NRSV) 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.

Footnotes in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) that show where the passage is used in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) from the Complete Jewish Bible (Updated) (CJB) by David H. Stern, Copyright © 1998 and 2006 by David H. Stern, used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, www.messianicjewish.net. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the CJB, the passage ends with (CJB) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Note: The links in the titles above take you to Amazon, where you can purchase them and benefit The Lectionary Company.

Image credit: The Whore of Babylon by an unidentified Russian engraver via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image. series is here: Which Series?

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Isaiah 47:1-9

Come down and sit in the dust,
 virgin daughter Babylon!
Sit on the ground without a throne,
 daughter Chaldea!
For you shall no more be called
 tender and delicate.
Take the millstones and grind meal,
 remove your veil,
strip off your robe, uncover your legs,
 pass through the rivers.
Your nakedness shall be uncovered,
 and your shame shall be seen.
I will take vengeance,
 and I will spare no one.
Our Redeemer—the Lord of hosts is his name—
 is the Holy One of Israel.

Sit in silence, and go into darkness,
 daughter Chaldea!
For you shall no more be called
 the mistress of kingdoms.
I was angry with my people,
 I profaned my heritage;
I gave them into your hand,
 you showed them no mercy;
on the aged you made your yoke
 exceedingly heavy.
You said,“I shall be mistress forever,”
 so that you did not lay these things to heart
 or remember their end.

Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures,
 who sit securely,
who say in your heart,
 “I am, and there is no one besides me;
I shall not sit as a widow
 or know the loss of children”—
both these things shall come upon you
 in a moment, in one day:
the loss of children and widowhood
 shall come upon you in full measure,
in spite of your many sorceries
 and the great power of your enchantments.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Writings: Job 37:1-24

[Elihu continued and said {36:1}]

“At this also my heart trembles,
 and leaps out of its place.
Listen, listen to the thunder of his voice
 and the rumbling that comes from his mouth.
Under the whole heaven he lets it loose,
 and his lightning to the corners of the earth.
After it his voice roars;
 he thunders with his majestic voice
and he does not restrain the lightnings when his voice is heard.
God thunders wondrously with his voice;
 he does great things that we cannot comprehend.
For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth’;
 and the shower of rain, his heavy shower of rain,
serves as a sign on everyone's hand,
 so that all whom he has made may know it.
Then the animals go into their lairs
 and remain in their dens.
From its chamber comes the whirlwind,
 and cold from the scattering winds.
By the breath of God ice is given,
 and the broad waters are frozen fast.
He loads the thick cloud with moisture;
 the clouds scatter his lightning.
They turn round and round by his guidance,
 to accomplish all that he commands them
 on the face of the habitable world.
Whether for correction, or for his land,
 or for love, he causes it to happen.

“Hear this, O Job;
 stop and consider the wondrous works of God.
Do you know how God lays his command upon them,
 and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine?
Do you know the balancings of the clouds,
 the wondrous works of the one whose knowledge is perfect,
you whose garments are hot
 when the earth is still because of the south wind?
Can you, like him, spread out the skies,
 hard as a molten mirror?
Teach us what we shall say to him;
 we cannot draw up our case because of darkness.
Should he be told that I want to speak?
 Did anyone ever wish to be swallowed up?
Now, no one can look on the light
 when it is bright in the skies,
 when the wind has passed and cleared them.
Out of the north comes golden splendor;
 around God is awesome majesty.
The Almighty—we cannot find him;
 he is great in power and justice,
 and abundant righteousness he will not violate.
Therefore mortals fear him;
 he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.”

Complementary Psalm 91:9-16

Because you have made the Lord your refuge,
 the Most High your dwelling place,
no evil shall befall you,
 no scourge come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you
 to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
 so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.¹
You will tread on the lion and the adder,
 the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.

Those who love me, I will deliver;
 I will protect those who know my name.
When they call to me, I will answer them;
 I will be with them in trouble,
 I will rescue them and honor them.
With long life I will satisfy them,
 and show them my salvation.

¹Satan uses these phrases when tempting Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13).

Semi-continuous Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35b

Bless the Lord, O my soul.
O Lord my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
 wrapped in light as with a garment.
You stretch out the heavens like a tent,
 you set the beams of your chambers on the waters,
you make the clouds your chariot,
 you ride on the wings of the wind,
you make the winds your messengers,
 fire and flame your ministers.¹

You set the earth on its foundations,
 so that it shall never be shaken.
You cover it with the deep as with a garment;
 the waters stood above the mountains.
At your rebuke they flee;
 at the sound of your thunder they take to flight.
They rose up to the mountains,
 ran down to the valleys
to the place that you appointed for them.
You set a boundary that they may not pass,
 so that they might not again cover the earth.

O Lord, how manifold are your works!
 In wisdom you have made them all;
 the earth is full of your creatures.

Bless the Lord, O my soul.
 Praise the Lord!

This idea is used in Hebrews 1:5-13, about how the Son is superior to the angels.

New Testament Lesson: Revelation 17:1-18

The Whore of Babylon

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great whore who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and with the wine of whose fornication the inhabitants of the earth have become drunk.” So he carried me away in the spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her fornication; and on her forehead was written a name, a mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of whores and of earth's abominations.” And I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of the witnesses to Jesus.

When I saw her, I was greatly amazed. But the angel said to me, “Why are you so amazed? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to ascend from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the inhabitants of the earth, whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will be amazed when they see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come.

“This calls for a mind that has wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; also, they are seven kings, of whom five have fallen, one is living, and the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain only a little while. As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. These are united in yielding their power and authority to the beast; they will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”

And he said to me, “The waters that you saw, where the whore is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages. And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the whore; they will make her desolate and naked; they will devour her flesh and burn her up with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by agreeing to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled. The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.”

Year B Ordinary 29 Friday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books (NRSV) 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.

Footnotes in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) that show where the passage is used in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) from the Complete Jewish Bible (Updated) (CJB) by David H. Stern, Copyright © 1998 and 2006 by David H. Stern, used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, www.messianicjewish.net. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the CJB, the passage ends with (CJB) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

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Image credit: The Whore of Babylon by an unidentified Russian engraver via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image.

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Monday: Reflection on the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Complementary Jeremiah 50:1-7 Babylon will be overthrown, and the people will return to God.

Semi-continuous 2 Samuel 7:18-29 David’s prayer of gratitude to God.

Both Hebrews 13:17-25 Jesus is the Great Shepherd.

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Saturday: Preparation for the Second Sunday of Easter

Daniel 2:24-49 Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar the interpretation of the dream, which concerns the end time. He and his companions are promoted.

John 12:44-50 Jesus came as light to save the world.

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Friday: Preparation for the Second Sunday of Easter

Daniel 2:1-23 King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream which none of the other wise men could interpret. God gave Daniel the interpretation.

Acts 4:23-31 The believers pray for boldness. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and fearlessly spoke the Word of God.

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Thursday: Preparation for the Third Sunday in Epiphany

Jeremiah 19:1-15 Jeremiah said to all the people: Thus says the God of Israel: I am now bringing upon this city and all its towns all the disaster that I have pronounced against it, because they have stiffened their necks, refusing to hear my words.

Revelation 18:11-20 Babylon falls. All who gain wealth from her mourn.

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Tuesday: Reflection on the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Tuesday: Reflection on the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Complementary: Daniel 3:19-30 The fire had no power over Daniel and his companions. Nebuchadnezzar saw that no other god could deliver in this way, and killed their accusers.

Semi-continuous: Numbers 12:1-9 Moses was very humble. Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of his Cushite wife. God told Miriam and Aaron “When there are prophets, I make myself known in visions and dreams. Not so with Moses. With him I speak face to face.”

Both: Revelation 18:21-24 Then a mighty angel took up a great stone and threw it into the sea, saying, “With such violence Babylon will be thrown down.”

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