Day 250 – September 7
14 The Lord your redeemer,
the holy one of Israel, says,
For your sake, I have sent an army[a] to Babylon,
and brought down all the bars,
turning the Chaldeans’ singing into a lament.[b]
15 I am the Lord, your holy one,
Israel’s creator, your king!
16 The Lord says—who makes a way in the sea
and a path in the mighty waters,
17 who brings out chariot and horse,
army and battalion;
they will lie down together and will not rise;
they will be extinguished, extinguished like a wick.
18 Don’t remember the prior things;
don’t ponder ancient history.
19 Look! I’m doing a new thing;
now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it?
I’m making a way in the desert,
paths[c] in the wilderness.
20 The beasts of the field,
the jackals and ostriches, will honor me,
because I have put water in the desert
and streams in the wilderness
to give water to my people,
my chosen ones,
21 this people whom I formed for myself,
who will recount my praise.
22 But you didn’t call out to me, Jacob;
you were tired of me, Israel.
23 You didn’t bring me lambs for your entirely burned offering;
you didn’t honor me with your sacrifices.
I didn’t make you worship with offerings;
I didn’t weary you with frankincense.
24 You didn’t buy spices for me with your money,
or satisfy me with the fat of your sacrifices.
Instead, you have burdened me with your sins
and wearied me with your evil actions.
25 I, I am the one who wipes out your rebellious behavior for my sake. I won’t remember your sin.
26 Summon me, and let’s go to trial together;
you tell your story so that you may be vindicated!
27 Your first ancestor sinned,
and your officials rebelled against me.
28 So I made the holy officials impure,
handed over Jacob to destruction and Israel to abuse.
Comment: though I have chosen the wonderful texts of hope, interwoven through each is also a reminder of our failings. In this passage both are included to etch into the reader’s mind and heart God’s perpetual response: “Summon me, and let’s go to trial together . . . I, I am the One who blots out your transgressions for my own sake.” Thank you Lord!
Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. 3 He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money—not even an extra tunic. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there, and leave from there. 5 Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving that town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 They departed and went through the villages, bringing the good news and curing diseases everywhere.
7 Now Herod the ruler heard about all that had taken place, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, 8 by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the ancient prophets had arisen. 9 Herod said, “John I beheaded; but who is this about whom I hear such things?” And he tried to see him.
10 On their return the apostles told Jesus[c] all they had done. He took them with him and withdrew privately to a city called Bethsaida. 11 When the crowds found out about it, they followed him; and he welcomed them, and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed to be cured.
12 The day was drawing to a close, and the twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a deserted place.” 13 But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” 14 For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 They did so and made them all sit down. 16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 And all ate and were filled. What was left over was gathered up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.
Comment: ever wonder about those broken pieces left over in the 12 baskets? Why broken? Are they an indication of collecting something left over from everyone? No rejected loaves in this bunch; everyone had sufficient plus left overs. What a contrast to the manna provided in the desert. There were no leftovers; just enough to fully satisfy everyone. But with Jesus there are pieces of blessings left over, enough to fill 12 baskets.
But remember this, that if a father dies and leaves great wealth for his little son, that child is not much better off than a slave until he grows up, even though he actually owns everything his father had. 2 He has to do what his guardians and managers tell him to until he reaches whatever age his father set.
3 And that is the way it was with us before Christ came. We were slaves to Jewish laws and rituals, for we thought they could save us. 4 But when the right time came, the time God decided on, he sent his Son, born of a woman, born as a Jew, 5 to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law so that he could adopt us as his very own sons. 6 And because we are his sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, so now we can rightly speak of God as our dear Father. 7 Now we are no longer slaves but God’s own sons. And since we are his sons, everything he has belongs to us, for that is the way God planned.
8 Before you Gentiles knew God you were slaves to so-called gods that did not even exist. 9 And now that you have found God (or I should say, now that God has found you), how can it be that you want to go back again and become slaves once more to another poor, weak, useless religion of trying to get to heaven by obeying God’s laws? 10 You are trying to find favor with God by what you do or don’t do on certain days or months or seasons or years. 11 I fear for you. I am afraid that all my hard work for you was worth nothing.
12 Dear brothers, please feel as I do about these things, for I am as free from these chains as you used to be. You did not despise me then when I first preached to you, 13 even though I was sick when I first brought you the Good News of Christ. 14 But even though my sickness was revolting to you, you didn’t reject me and turn me away. No, you took me in and cared for me as though I were an angel from God or even Jesus Christ himself.
Prayer: dear Lord, from whom all things come, to whom all things return, we look to you for strength, guidance, and purpose this new day. Amen.