May 27 - Romans 2.1-3.8, 1 Samuel 10.17-11.15 and Psalm 56
God's JudgmentRomans 2 Do you, my friend, pass judgment on others? You have no excuse at all, whoever you are. For when you judge others and then do the same things which they do, you condemn yourself. 2We know that God is right when he judges the people who do such things as these. 3But you, my friend, do those very things for which you pass judgment on others! Do you think you will escape God's judgment? 4Or perhaps you despise his great kindness, tolerance, and patience. Surely you know that God is kind, because he is trying to lead you to repent. 5But you have a hard and stubborn heart, and so you are making your own punishment even greater on the Day when God's anger and righteous judgments will be revealed. 6For God will reward each of us according to what we have done. 7Some people keep on doing good, and seek glory, honor, and immortal life; to them God will give eternal life. 8Other people are selfish and reject what is right, in order to follow what is wrong; on them God will pour out his anger and fury. 9There will be suffering and pain for all those who do what is evil, for the Jews first and also for the Gentiles. 10But God will give glory, honor, and peace to all who do what is good, to the Jews first and also to the Gentiles. 11For God judges everyone by the same standard.
12The Gentiles do not have the Law of Moses; they sin and are lost apart from the Law. The Jews have the Law; they sin and are judged by the Law. 13For it is not by hearing the Law that people are put right with God, but by doing what the Law commands. 14The Gentiles do not have the Law; but whenever they do by instinct what the Law commands, they are their own law, even though they do not have the Law. 15Their conduct shows that what the Law commands is written in their hearts. Their consciences also show that this is true, since their thoughts sometimes accuse them and sometimes defend them. 16And so, according to the Good News I preach, this is how it will be on that Day when God through Jesus Christ will judge the secret thoughts of all.
The Jews and the Law17What about you? You call yourself a Jew; you depend on the Law and boast about God; 18you know what God wants you to do, and you have learned from the Law to choose what is right; 19you are sure that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in darkness, 20an instructor for the foolish, and a teacher for the ignorant. You are certain that in the Law you have the full content of knowledge and of truth. 21You teach others--why don't you teach yourself ? You preach, "Do not steal"--but do you yourself steal? 22You say, "Do not commit adultery"--but do you commit adultery? You detest idols--but do you rob temples? 23You boast about having God's law--but do you bring shame on God by breaking his law? 24The scripture says, "Because of you Jews, the Gentiles speak evil of God."
25If you obey the Law, your circumcision is of value; but if you disobey the Law, you might as well never have been circumcised. 26If the Gentile, who is not circumcised, obeys the commands of the Law, will not God regard him as though he were circumcised? 27And so you Jews will be condemned by the Gentiles because you break the Law, even though you have it written down and are circumcised; but they obey the Law, even though they are not physically circumcised. 28After all, who is a real Jew, truly circumcised? It is not the man who is a Jew on the outside, whose circumcision is a physical thing. 29Rather, the real Jew is the person who is a Jew on the inside, that is, whose heart has been circumcised, and this is the work of God's Spirit, not of the written Law. Such a person receives praise from God, not from human beings.
Romans 3 Do the Jews then have any advantage over the Gentiles? Or is there any value in being circumcised? 2Much, indeed, in every way! In the first place, God trusted his message to the Jews. 3But what if some of them were not faithful? Does this mean that God will not be faithful? 4Certainly not! God must be true, even though all human beings are liars. As the scripture says,
"You must be shown to be right when you speak;
you must win your case when you are being tried."
5But what if our doing wrong serves to show up more clearly God's doing right? Can we say that God does wrong when he punishes us? (This would be the natural question to ask.) 6By no means! If God is not just, how can he judge the world?
7But what if my untruth serves God's glory by making his truth stand out more clearly? Why should I still be condemned as a sinner? 8Why not say, then, "Let us do evil so that good may come"? Some people, indeed, have insulted me by accusing me of saying this very thing! They will be condemned, as they should be.
Saul Is Acclaimed as King1 Samuel 10 17Samuel called the people together for a religious gathering at Mizpah 18and said to them, "The LORD, the God of Israel, says, 'I brought you out of Egypt and rescued you from the Egyptians and all the other peoples who were oppressing you. 19I am your God, the one who rescues you from all your troubles and difficulties, but today you have rejected me and have asked me to give you a king. Very well, then, gather yourselves before the LORD by tribes and by clans.'"
20Then Samuel had each tribe come forward, and the LORD picked the tribe of Benjamin. 21Then Samuel had the families of the tribe of Benjamin come forward, and the family of Matri was picked out. Then the men of the family of Matri came forward, and Saul son of Kish was picked out. They looked for him, but when they could not find him, 22they asked the LORD, "Is there still someone else?"
The LORD answered, "Saul is over there, hiding behind the supplies."
23So they ran and brought Saul out to the people, and they could see that he was a foot taller than anyone else. 24Samuel said to the people, "Here is the man the LORD has chosen! There is no one else among us like him."
All the people shouted, "Long live the king!"
25Samuel explained to the people the rights and duties of a king, and then wrote them in a book, which he deposited in a holy place. Then he sent everyone home. 26Saul also went back home to Gibeah. Some powerful men, whose hearts God had touched, went with him. 27But some worthless people said, "How can this fellow do us any good?" They despised Saul and did not bring him any gifts.
Saul Defeats the Ammonites1 Samuel 11 About a month later King Nahash of Ammon led his army against the town of Jabesh in the territory of Gilead and besieged it. The men of Jabesh said to Nahash, "Make a treaty with us, and we will accept you as our ruler."
2Nahash answered, "I will make a treaty with you on one condition: I will put out everyone's right eye and so bring disgrace on all Israel."
3The leaders of Jabesh said, "Give us seven days to send messengers throughout the land of Israel. If no one will help us, then we will surrender to you."
4The messengers arrived at Gibeah, where Saul lived, and when they told the news, the people started crying in despair. 5Saul was just then coming in from the field with his oxen, and he asked, "What's wrong? Why is everyone crying?" They told him what the messengers from Jabesh had reported. 6When Saul heard this, the spirit of God took control of him, and he became furious. 7He took two oxen, cut them in pieces, and had messengers carry the pieces throughout the land of Israel with this warning: "Whoever does not follow Saul and Samuel into battle will have this done to his oxen!"
The people of Israel were afraid of what the LORD might do, and all of them, without exception, came out together. 8Saul gathered them at Bezek: there were 300,000 from Israel and 30,000 from Judah. 9They said to the messengers from Jabesh, "Tell your people that before noon tomorrow they will be rescued." When the people of Jabesh received the message, they were overjoyed 10and said to Nahash, "Tomorrow we will surrender to you, and you can do with us whatever you wish."
11That night Saul divided his men into three groups, and at dawn the next day they rushed into the enemy camp and attacked the Ammonites. By noon they had slaughtered them. The survivors scattered, each man running off by himself.
12Then the people of Israel said to Samuel, "Where are the people who said that Saul should not be our king? Hand them over to us, and we will kill them!"
13But Saul said, "No one will be put to death today, for this is the day the LORD rescued Israel." 14And Samuel said to them, "Let us all go to Gilgal and once more proclaim Saul as our king." 15So they all went to Gilgal, and there at the holy place they proclaimed Saul king. They offered fellowship sacrifices, and Saul and all the people of Israel celebrated the event.
A Prayer of Trust in GodPsalm 56 Be merciful to me, O God,
because I am under attack;
my enemies persecute me all the time.
2All day long my opponents attack me.
There are so many who fight against me.
3When I am afraid, O LORD Almighty,
I put my trust in you.
4I trust in God and am not afraid;
I praise him for what he has promised.
What can a mere human being do to me?
5My enemies make trouble for me all day long;
they are always thinking up some way to hurt me!
6They gather in hiding places
and watch everything I do,
hoping to kill me.
7Punish them, O God, for their evil;
defeat those people in your anger!
8You know how troubled I am;
you have kept a record of my tears.
Aren't they listed in your book?
9The day I call to you,
my enemies will be turned back.
I know this: God is on my side--
10the LORD, whose promises I praise.
11In him I trust, and I will not be afraid.
What can a mere human being do to me?
12O God, I will offer you what I have promised;
I will give you my offering of thanksgiving,
13because you have rescued me from death
and kept me from defeat.
And so I walk in the presence of God,
in the light that shines on the living.
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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