May 28 - Romans 3.9-31, 1 Samuel 12 and Psalm 57

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No One Is Righteous

Romans 3 9Well then, are we Jews in any better condition than the Gentiles? Not at all! I have already shown that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10As the Scriptures say:
"There is no one who is righteous,
11 no one who is wise
or who worships God.
12All have turned away from God;
they have all gone wrong;
no one does what is right, not even one.
13Their words are full of deadly deceit;
wicked lies roll off their tongues,
and dangerous threats, like snake's poison, from their lips;
14 their speech is filled with bitter curses.
15They are quick to hurt and kill;
16 they leave ruin and destruction wherever they go.
17They have not known the path of peace,
18 nor have they learned reverence for God."
19Now we know that everything in the Law applies to those who live under the Law, in order to stop all human excuses and bring the whole world under God's judgment. 20For no one is put right in God's sight by doing what the Law requires; what the Law does is to make us know that we have sinned.

How We Are Put Right with God

21But now God's way of putting people right with himself has been revealed. It has nothing to do with law, even though the Law of Moses and the prophets gave their witness to it. 22God puts people right through their faith in Jesus Christ. God does this to all who believe in Christ, because there is no difference at all: 23everyone has sinned and is far away from God's saving presence. 24But by the free gift of God's grace all are put right with him through Christ Jesus, who sets them free. 25-26God offered him, so that by his blood he should become the means by which people's sins are forgiven through their faith in him. God did this in order to demonstrate that he is righteous. In the past he was patient and overlooked people's sins; but in the present time he deals with their sins, in order to demonstrate his righteousness. In this way God shows that he himself is righteous and that he puts right everyone who believes in Jesus.
27What, then, can we boast about? Nothing! And what is the reason for this? Is it that we obey the Law? No, but that we believe. 28For we conclude that a person is put right with God only through faith, and not by doing what the Law commands. 29Or is God the God of the Jews only? Is he not the God of the Gentiles also? Of course he is. 30God is one, and he will put the Jews right with himself on the basis of their faith, and will put the Gentiles right through their faith. 31Does this mean that by this faith we do away with the Law? No, not at all; instead, we uphold the Law.

Samuel Addresses the People

1 Samuel 12 Then Samuel said to the people of Israel, "I have done what you asked me to do. I have given you a king to rule you, 2and now you have him to lead you. As for me, I am old and gray, and my sons are with you. I have been your leader from my youth until now. 3Here I am. If I have done anything wrong, accuse me now in the presence of the LORD and the king he has chosen. Have I taken anybody's cow or anybody's donkey? Have I cheated or oppressed anyone? Have I accepted a bribe from anyone? If I have done any of these things, I will pay back what I have taken."
4The people answered, "No, you have not cheated us or oppressed us; you have not taken anything from anyone."
5Samuel replied, "The LORD and the king he has chosen are witnesses today that you have found me to be completely innocent."
"Yes, the LORD is our witness," they answered.
6Samuel continued, "The LORD is the one who chose Moses and Aaron and who brought your ancestors out of Egypt. 7Now stand where you are, and I will accuse you before the LORD by reminding you of all the mighty actions the LORD did to save you and your ancestors. 8When Jacob and his family went to Egypt and the Egyptians oppressed them, your ancestors cried to the LORD for help, and he sent Moses and Aaron, who brought them out of Egypt and settled them in this land. 9But the people forgot the LORD their God, and so he let the Philistines and the king of Moab and Sisera, commander of the army of the city of Hazor, fight against your ancestors and conquer them. 10Then they cried to the LORD for help and said, 'We have sinned, because we turned away from you, LORD, and worshiped the idols of Baal and Astarte. Rescue us from our enemies, and we will worship you!' 11And the LORD sent Gideon, Barak, Jephthah, and finally me. Each of us rescued you from your enemies, and you lived in safety. 12But when you saw that King Nahash of Ammon was about to attack you, you rejected the LORD as your king and said to me, 'We want a king to rule us.'
13"Now here is the king you chose; you asked for him, and now the LORD has given him to you. 14All will go well with you if you honor the LORD your God, serve him, listen to him, and obey his commands, and if you and your king follow him. 15But if you do not listen to the LORD but disobey his commands, he will be against you and your king. 16So then, stand where you are, and you will see the great thing which the LORD is going to do. 17It's the dry season, isn't it? But I will pray, and the LORD will send thunder and rain. When this happens, you will realize that you committed a great sin against the LORD when you asked him for a king."
18So Samuel prayed, and on that same day the LORD sent thunder and rain. Then all the people became afraid of the LORD and of Samuel, 19and they said to Samuel, "Please, sir, pray to the LORD your God for us, so that we won't die. We now realize that, besides all our other sins, we have sinned by asking for a king."
20"Don't be afraid," Samuel answered. "Even though you have done such an evil thing, do not turn away from the LORD, but serve him with all your heart. 21Don't go after false gods; they cannot help you or save you, for they are not real. 22The LORD has made a solemn promise, and he will not abandon you, for he has decided to make you his own people. 23As for me, the LORD forbid that I should sin against him by no longer praying for you. Instead, I will teach you what is good and right for you to do. 24Obey the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. Remember the great things he has done for you. 25But if you continue to sin, you and your king will be destroyed."

A Prayer for Help

Psalm 57 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful,
because I come to you for safety.
In the shadow of your wings I find protection
until the raging storms are over.

2I call to God, the Most High,
to God, who supplies my every need.
3He will answer from heaven and save me;
he will defeat my oppressors.
God will show me his constant love and faithfulness.

4I am surrounded by enemies,
who are like lions hungry for human flesh.
Their teeth are like spears and arrows;
their tongues are like sharp swords.

5Show your greatness in the sky, O God,
and your glory over all the earth.

6My enemies have spread a net to catch me;
I am overcome with distress.
They dug a pit in my path,
but fell into it themselves.

7I have complete confidence, O God;
I will sing and praise you!
8Wake up, my soul!
Wake up, my harp and lyre!
I will wake up the sun.
9I will thank you, O Lord, among the nations.
I will praise you among the peoples.
10Your constant love reaches the heavens;
your faithfulness touches the skies.
11Show your greatness in the sky, O God,
and your glory over all the earth.

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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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