January 18 - Luke 14.1-24, Genesis 25 and Psalm 18

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Jesus Heals a Sick Man

Luke 14 One Sabbath Jesus went to eat a meal at the home of one of the leading Pharisees; and people were watching Jesus closely. 2A man whose legs and arms were swollen came to Jesus, 3and Jesus spoke up and asked the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees, "Does our Law allow healing on the Sabbath or not?"
4But they would not say a thing. Jesus took the man, healed him, and sent him away. 5Then he said to them, "If any one of you had a child or an ox that happened to fall in a well on a Sabbath, would you not pull it out at once on the Sabbath itself ?"
6But they were not able to answer him about this.

Humility and Hospitality

7Jesus noticed how some of the guests were choosing the best places, so he told this parable to all of them: 8"When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place. It could happen that someone more important than you has been invited, 9and your host, who invited both of you, would have to come and say to you, 'Let him have this place.' Then you would be embarrassed and have to sit in the lowest place. 10Instead, when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that your host will come to you and say, 'Come on up, my friend, to a better place.' This will bring you honor in the presence of all the other guests. 11For those who make themselves great will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be made great."
12Then Jesus said to his host, "When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your rich neighbors--for they will invite you back, and in this way you will be paid for what you did. 13When you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind; 14and you will be blessed, because they are not able to pay you back. God will repay you on the day the good people rise from death."

The Parable of the Great Feast
(Matthew 22.1-10)

15When one of the guests sitting at the table heard this, he said to Jesus, "How happy are those who will sit down at the feast in the Kingdom of God!"
16Jesus said to him, "There was once a man who was giving a great feast to which he invited many people. 17When it was time for the feast, he sent his servant to tell his guests, 'Come, everything is ready!' 18But they all began, one after another, to make excuses. The first one told the servant, 'I have bought a field and must go and look at it; please accept my apologies.' 19Another one said, 'I have bought five pairs of oxen and am on my way to try them out; please accept my apologies.' 20Another one said, 'I have just gotten married, and for that reason I cannot come.' 21The servant went back and told all this to his master. The master was furious and said to his servant, 'Hurry out to the streets and alleys of the town, and bring back the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.' 22Soon the servant said, 'Your order has been carried out, sir, but there is room for more.' 23So the master said to the servant, 'Go out to the country roads and lanes and make people come in, so that my house will be full. 24I tell you all that none of those who were invited will taste my dinner!'"

Other Descendants of Abraham
(1 Chronicles 1.32, 33)

Genesis 25 Abraham married another woman, whose name was Keturah. 2She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. 3Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan, and the descendants of Dedan were the Asshurim, the Letushim, and the Leummim. 4The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. All these were Keturah's descendants.
5Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac; 6but while he was still alive, he gave presents to the sons his other wives had borne him. Then he sent these sons to the land of the East, away from his son Isaac.

The Death and Burial of Abraham

7-8Abraham died at the ripe old age of 175. 9His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in Machpelah Cave, in the field east of Mamre that had belonged to Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite. 10It was the field that Abraham had bought from the Hittites; both Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried there. 11After the death of Abraham, God blessed his son Isaac, who lived near "The Well of the Living One Who Sees Me."

The Descendants of Ishmael
(1 Chronicles 1.28-31)

12Ishmael, whom Hagar, the Egyptian slave of Sarah, bore to Abraham, 13had the following sons, listed in the order of their birth: Nebaioth, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 14Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. 16They were the ancestors of twelve tribes, and their names were given to their villages and camping places. 17Ishmael was 137 years old when he died. 18The descendants of Ishmael lived in the territory between Havilah and Shur, to the east of Egypt on the way to Assyria. They lived apart from the other descendants of Abraham.

The Birth of Esau and Jacob

19This is the story of Abraham's son Isaac. 20Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebecca, the daughter of Bethuel (an Aramean from Mesopotamia) and sister of Laban. 21Because Rebecca had no children, Isaac prayed to the LORD for her. The LORD answered his prayer, and Rebecca became pregnant. 22She was going to have twins, and before they were born, they struggled against each other in her womb. She said, "Why should something like this happen to me?" So she went to ask the LORD for an answer.
23The LORD said to her,
"Two nations are within you;
You will give birth to two rival peoples.
One will be stronger than the other;
The older will serve the younger."
24The time came for her to give birth, and she had twin sons. 25The first one was reddish, and his skin was like a hairy robe, so he was named Esau. 26The second one was born holding on tightly to the heel of Esau, so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when they were born.

Esau Sells His Rights as the First-Born Son

27The boys grew up, and Esau became a skilled hunter, a man who loved the outdoors, but Jacob was a quiet man who stayed at home. 28Isaac preferred Esau, because he enjoyed eating the animals Esau killed, but Rebecca preferred Jacob.
29One day while Jacob was cooking some bean soup, Esau came in from hunting. He was hungry 30and said to Jacob, "I'm starving; give me some of that red stuff." (That is why he was named Edom.)
31Jacob answered, "I will give it to you if you give me your rights as the first-born son."
32Esau said, "All right! I am about to die; what good will my rights do me?"
33Jacob answered, "First make a vow that you will give me your rights."
Esau made the vow and gave his rights to Jacob. 34Then Jacob gave him some bread and some of the soup. He ate and drank and then got up and left. That was all Esau cared about his rights as the first-born son.

David's Song of Victory
(2 Samuel 22.1-51)

Psalm 18 How I love you, LORD!
You are my defender.

2The LORD is my protector;
he is my strong fortress.
My God is my protection,
and with him I am safe.
He protects me like a shield;
he defends me and keeps me safe.
3I call to the LORD,
and he saves me from my enemies.
Praise the LORD!

4The danger of death was all around me;
the waves of destruction rolled over me.
5The danger of death was around me,
and the grave set its trap for me.
6In my trouble I called to the LORD;
I called to my God for help.
In his temple he heard my voice;
he listened to my cry for help.

7Then the earth trembled and shook;
the foundations of the mountains rocked and quivered,
because God was angry.
8Smoke poured out of his nostrils,
a consuming flame and burning coals from his mouth.
9He tore the sky open and came down
with a dark cloud under his feet.
10He flew swiftly on his winged creature;
he traveled on the wings of the wind.
11He covered himself with darkness;
thick clouds, full of water, surrounded him.
12Hailstones and flashes of fire
came from the lightning before him
and broke through the dark clouds.

13Then the LORD thundered from the sky;
and the voice of the Most High was heard.
14He shot his arrows and scattered his enemies;
with flashes of lightning he sent them running.
15The floor of the ocean was laid bare,
and the foundations of the earth were uncovered,
when you rebuked your enemies, LORD,
and roared at them in anger.

16The LORD reached down from above and took hold of me;
he pulled me out of the deep waters.
17He rescued me from my powerful enemies
and from all those who hate me--
they were too strong for me.
18When I was in trouble, they attacked me,
but the LORD protected me.
19He helped me out of danger;
he saved me because he was pleased with me.

20The LORD rewards me because I do what is right;
he blesses me because I am innocent.
21I have obeyed the law of the LORD;
I have not turned away from my God.
22I have observed all his laws;
I have not disobeyed his commands.
23He knows that I am faultless,
that I have kept myself from doing wrong.
24And so he rewards me because I do what is right,
because he knows that I am innocent.

25O LORD, you are faithful to those who are faithful to you;
completely good to those who are perfect.
26You are pure to those who are pure,
but hostile to those who are wicked.
27You save those who are humble,
but you humble those who are proud.

28O LORD, you give me light;
you dispel my darkness.
29You give me strength to attack my enemies
and power to overcome their defenses.

30This God--how perfect are his deeds!
How dependable his words!
He is like a shield
for all who seek his protection.
31The LORD alone is God;
God alone is our defense.
32He is the God who makes me strong,
who makes my pathway safe.
33He makes me sure-footed as a deer;
he keeps me safe on the mountains.
34He trains me for battle,
so that I can use the strongest bow.

35O LORD, you protect me and save me;
your care has made me great,
and your power has kept me safe.
36You have kept me from being captured,
and I have never fallen.
37I pursue my enemies and catch them;
I do not stop until I destroy them.
38I strike them down, and they cannot rise;
they lie defeated before me.
39You give me strength for the battle
and victory over my enemies.
40You make my enemies run from me;
I destroy those who hate me.
41They cry for help, but no one saves them;
they call to the LORD, but he does not answer.
42I crush them, so that they become like dust
which the wind blows away.
I trample on them like mud in the streets.

43You saved me from a rebellious people
and made me ruler over the nations;
people I did not know have now become my subjects.
44Foreigners bow before me;
when they hear me, they obey.
45They lose their courage
and come trembling from their fortresses.

46The LORD lives! Praise my defender!
Proclaim the greatness of the God who saves me.
47He gives me victory over my enemies;
he subdues the nations under me
48and saves me from my foes.

O LORD, you give me victory over my enemies
and protect me from violent people.
49And so I praise you among the nations;
I sing praises to you.

50God gives great victories to his king;
he shows constant love to the one he has chosen,
to David and his descendants forever.

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This reading is from The Holy Bible, Today's English Version, Second Edition copyright © American Bible Society, 1992;
Old Testament copyright © American Bible Society, 1976, 1992; New Testament © American Bible Society, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1992.

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