promised land

Revised Common Lectionary Proper 11
Roman Catholic Proper 16

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Torah: Genesis 13:1-18

So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb. Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. He journeyed on by stages from the Negeb as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place where he had made an altar at the first; and there Abram called on the name of the Lord.

Now Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them living together; for their possessions were so great that they could not live together, and there was strife between the herders of Abram's livestock and the herders of Lot's livestock. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites lived in the land.

Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herders and my herders; for we are kindred. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.” Lot looked about him, and saw that the plain of the Jordan was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar; this was before the Lord had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. So Lot chose for himself all the plain of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward; thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the Plain and moved his tent as far as Sodom. Now the people of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord.

The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Raise your eyes now, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever.¹ I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth; so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Rise up, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” So Abram moved his tent, and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron; and there he built an altar to the Lord.

This verse is referred to at least twice in the New Testament. First at Acts 7:5 in Stephen's defense before the Sanhedrin in Acts 7:1-53. then again in Galatians 3:15-18, where Paul shows that Christ is Abraham's heir.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Twelve Prophets: Amos 5:18-27

Alas for you who desire the day of the Lord!
 Why do you want the day of the Lord?
It is darkness, not light;
 as if someone fled from a lion,
 and was met by a bear;
or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall,
 and was bitten by a snake. Is not the day of the Lord darkness, not light,
 and gloom with no brightness in it?
I hate, I despise your festivals,
 and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.

Even though you offer me your burnt-offerings and grain-offerings,
 I will not accept them;
and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals
 I will not look upon.
Take away from me the noise of your songs;
 I will not listen to the melody of your harps.
But let justice roll down like waters,
 and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

Did you bring to me sacrifices and offerings the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? You shall take up Sakkuth your king, and Kaiwan your star-god, your images that you made for yourselves; therefore I will take you into exile beyond Damascus, says the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts.¹

¹Stephen quotes these verses (Acts 7:42-43) in hisdefense before the Sanhedrin in Acts 7:1-53.

Complementary Psalm 15

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

Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right,
 and speak the truth from their heart;
who do not slander with their tongue,
 and do no evil to their friends,
 nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;
in whose eyes the wicked are despised,
 but who honor those who fear the Lord;
who stand by their oath even to their hurt;
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.

Semi-continuous Psalm 52

Why do you boast, O mighty one,
 of mischief done against the godly?
 All day long you are plotting destruction.
Your tongue is like a sharp razor,
 you worker of treachery.
You love evil more than good,
 and lying more than speaking the truth.
You love all words that devour,
 O deceitful tongue.

But God will break you down forever;
 he will snatch and tear you from your tent;
 he will uproot you from the land of the living.
The righteous will see, and fear,
 and will laugh at the evildoer, saying
“See the one who would not
 take refuge in God,
but trusted in abundant riches,
 and sought refuge in wealth!”

But I am like a green olive tree
 in the house of God.
I trust in the steadfast love of God
 forever and ever.
I will thank you forever,
 because of what you have done.
In the presence of the faithful
 I will proclaim your name, for it is good.

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New Testament Epistle Lesson: Ephesians 3:14-21

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Year C Ordinary 16 Friday

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

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from New Revised Standard Version Bible (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 rights reserved.

Footnotes in the Hebrew Scriptures that show where the passage is used in the Christian Scriptures are based on information from the The Complete Jewish Bible (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: Mosiac image of the Transfiguration downloaded from http://www.pravoslavie.ru/foto/image13300.htm

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The Second Sunday in Lent

Hebrew Scripture Torah Lesson: Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18

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After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.” But the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.” He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”¹ And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.² ³

Then he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess.” But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” He brought him all these and cut them in two, laying each half over against the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.

As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and a deep and terrifying darkness descended upon him.

When the sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates.”

¹St. Stephen refers to these three sentences in his defense before the Sanhedrin.    ²This and the preceding sentence are used as an example of Abraham's faith in Hebrews 11.    ³St. Paul uses this verse twice. Once, in Romans 4:9-23, where he argues that God's grace extends to the uncircumcised, and a second time in Galatians 3:6, explaining that we are made right with God (sanctified) by faith and not by the law.

Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
 whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
 of whom shall I be afraid? 

When evildoers assail me
 to devour my flesh—
my adversaries and foes—
 they shall stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me,
 my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
 yet I will be confident.

One thing I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
 to live in the house of the Lord
 all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord,
 and to inquire in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter
 in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
 he will set me high on a rock.

Now my head is lifted up
 above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
 sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
 be gracious to me and answer me!
“Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, do I seek.
 Do not hide your face from me.

Do not turn your servant away in anger,
 you who have been my help.
Do not cast me off, do not forsake me,
 O God of my salvation!
If my father and mother forsake me,
 the Lord will take me up.

Teach me your way, O Lord,
 and lead me on a level path
 because of my enemies.
Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries,
 for false witnesses have risen against me,
 and they are breathing out violence.

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
 in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
 be strong, and let your heart take courage;
 wait for the Lord!

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Philippians 3:17-4:1

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Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Luke 13:31-35

(The alternate Gospel reading, Luke 9:28-36, is below.)

Jesus' lament over Jerusalem is also found at Matthew 23:37-39

At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’¹”

¹Psalm 118:26

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Luke 9:28-36

(The alternate Gospel reading, Luke 13:31-35, is above.)

There are parallel passages at Matthew 17:1-8 and Mark 9:2-8.

Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” —not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.

Year C Lent 2 Sunday

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.

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.

Image credits: Night sky image courtesy of NASA
Citizenship in Heaven image from Unsplash.com via Pexels.com, cropped and texted added by Gilbertson using Photoshop 6 February 2016. This is a public domain image.

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Friday: Preparation for the Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Complementary Deuteronomy 1:34-40 God is angry that the Israelites refused to enter the promised land. Only Caleb and Joshua shall enter it.

Semi-continuous 1 Samuel 5 There is trouble wherever the Philistines send the ark.

Both 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 We await the new body.

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Tuesday: Reflection on the Fourth Sunday in Lent

Numbers 20:1-13 The people quarreled with Moses in the Zin wilderness because there was no water. God told Moses, “Take the staff, assemble the congregation, and command the rock before their eyes to yield its water.” Moses took the staff, spoke harshly to the people, and struck the rock with it. Water came out abundantly. God said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me to show my holiness before the Israelites, you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” These are the waters of Meribah, where the people of Israel quarreled with the Lord, and by which he showed his holiness.

1 Corinthians 10:6-13 God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

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Thursday: Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Epiphany

Deuteronomy 3:23-29 After refusing Moses’ request to enter the promised land, God tells him “Go up to the top of Pisgah and look around you to the west, to the north, to the south, and to the east. Look well, for you shall not cross over this Jordan. But charge Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, because it is he who shall cross over at the head of this people.”

Romans 9:6-18 It is not as though the word of God has failed. He has mercy on whomever he chooses, and he hardens the heart of whomever he chooses.

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Monday: Reflection on the Third Sunday in Epiphany

Genesis 12:1-9 God sends Abram from his own country to Canaan, and promises to give that land to Abram’s descendants.

1 Corinthians 7:17-24 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing; but obeying the commandments of God is everything. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of human masters. In whatever condition you were called, brothers and sisters, there remain with God.

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