January 17 - Luke 13.18-35, Genesis 24 and Psalm 17
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
The Parable of the Yeast
The Narrow Door
Jesus answered them, 24"Do your best to go in through the narrow door; because many people will surely try to go in but will not be able. 25The master of the house will get up and close the door; then when you stand outside and begin to knock on the door and say, 'Open the door for us, sir!' he will answer you, 'I don't know where you come from!' 26Then you will answer, 'We ate and drank with you; you taught in our town!' 27But he will say again, 'I don't know where you come from. Get away from me, all you wicked people!' 28How you will cry and gnash your teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God, while you are thrown out! 29People will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down at the feast in the Kingdom of God. 30Then those who are now last will be first, and those who are now first will be last."
Jesus' Love for Jerusalem
32Jesus answered them, "Go and tell that fox: 'I am driving out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I shall finish my work.' 33Yet I must be on my way today, tomorrow, and the next day; it is not right for a prophet to be killed anywhere except in Jerusalem.
34"Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You kill the prophets, you stone the messengers God has sent you! How many times I wanted to put my arms around all your people, just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not let me! 35And so your Temple will be abandoned. I assure you that you will not see me until the time comes when you say, 'God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord.'"
A Wife for IsaacGenesis 24 Abraham was now very old, and the LORD had blessed him in everything he did. 2He said to his oldest servant, who was in charge of all that he had, "Place your hand between my thighs and make a vow. 3I want you to make a vow in the name of the LORD, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not choose a wife for my son from the people here in Canaan. 4You must go back to the country where I was born and get a wife for my son Isaac from among my relatives."
5But the servant asked, "What if the young woman will not leave home to come with me to this land? Shall I send your son back to the land you came from?"
6Abraham answered, "Make sure that you don't send my son back there! 7The LORD, the God of heaven, brought me from the home of my father and from the land of my relatives, and he solemnly promised me that he would give this land to my descendants. He will send his angel before you, so that you can get a wife there for my son. 8If the young woman is not willing to come with you, you will be free from this promise. But you must not under any circumstances take my son back there." 9So the servant put his hand between the thighs of Abraham, his master, and made a vow to do what Abraham had asked.
10The servant, who was in charge of Abraham's property, took ten of his master's camels and went to the city where Nahor had lived in northern Mesopotamia. 11When he arrived, he made the camels kneel down at the well outside the city. It was late afternoon, the time when women came out to get water. 12He prayed, "LORD, God of my master Abraham, give me success today and keep your promise to my master. 13Here I am at the well where the young women of the city will be coming to get water. 14I will say to one of them, 'Please, lower your jar and let me have a drink.' If she says, 'Drink, and I will also bring water for your camels,' may she be the one that you have chosen for your servant Isaac. If this happens, I will know that you have kept your promise to my master."
15Before he had finished praying, Rebecca arrived with a water jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel, who was the son of Abraham's brother Nahor and his wife Milcah. 16She was a very beautiful young woman and still a virgin. She went down to the well, filled her jar, and came back. 17The servant ran to meet her and said, "Please give me a drink of water from your jar."
18She said, "Drink, sir," and quickly lowered her jar from her shoulder and held it while he drank. 19When he had finished, she said, "I will also bring water for your camels and let them have all they want." 20She quickly emptied her jar into the animals' drinking trough and ran to the well to get more water, until she had watered all his camels. 21The man kept watching her in silence, to see if the LORD had given him success.
22When she had finished, the man took an expensive gold ring and put it in her nose and put two large gold bracelets on her arms. 23He said, "Please tell me who your father is. Is there room in his house for my men and me to spend the night?"
24"My father is Bethuel son of Nahor and Milcah," she answered. 25"There is plenty of straw and fodder at our house, and there is a place for you to stay."
26Then the man knelt down and worshiped the LORD. 27He said, "Praise the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has faithfully kept his promise to my master. The LORD has led me straight to my master's relatives."
28The young woman ran to her mother's house and told the whole story. 29Now Rebecca had a brother named Laban, and he ran outside to go to the well where Abraham's servant was. 30Laban had seen the nose ring and the bracelets on his sister's arms and had heard her say what the man had told her. He went to Abraham's servant, who was standing by his camels at the well, 31and said, "Come home with me. You are a man whom the LORD has blessed. Why are you standing out here? I have a room ready for you in my house, and there is a place for your camels."
32So the man went into the house, and Laban unloaded the camels and gave them straw and fodder. Then he brought water for Abraham's servant and his men to wash their feet. 33When food was brought, the man said, "I will not eat until I have said what I have to say."
Laban said, "Go on and speak."
34"I am the servant of Abraham," he began. 35"The LORD has greatly blessed my master and made him a rich man. He has given him flocks of sheep and goats, cattle, silver, gold, male and female slaves, camels, and donkeys. 36Sarah, my master's wife, bore him a son when she was old, and my master has given everything he owns to him. 37My master made me promise with a vow to obey his command. He said, 'Do not choose a wife for my son from the young women in the land of Canaan. 38Instead, go to my father's people, to my relatives, and choose a wife for him.' 39And I asked my master, 'What if she will not come with me?' 40He answered, 'The LORD, whom I have always obeyed, will send his angel with you and give you success. You will get for my son a wife from my own people, from my father's family. 41There is only one way for you to be free from your vow: if you go to my relatives and they refuse you, then you will be free.'
42"When I came to the well today, I prayed, 'LORD, God of my master Abraham, please give me success in what I am doing. 43Here I am at the well. When a young woman comes out to get water, I will ask her to give me a drink of water from her jar. 44If she agrees and also offers to bring water for my camels, may she be the one that you have chosen as the wife for my master's son.' 45Before I had finished my silent prayer, Rebecca came with a water jar on her shoulder and went down to the well to get water. I said to her, 'Please give me a drink.' 46She quickly lowered her jar from her shoulder and said, 'Drink, and I will also water your camels.' So I drank, and she watered the camels. 47I asked her, 'Who is your father?' And she answered, 'My father is Bethuel son of Nahor and Milcah.' Then I put the ring in her nose and the bracelets on her arms. 48I knelt down and worshiped the LORD. I praised the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me straight to my master's relative, where I found his daughter for my master's son. 49Now, if you intend to fulfill your responsibility toward my master and treat him fairly, please tell me; if not, say so, and I will decide what to do."
50Laban and Bethuel answered, "Since this matter comes from the LORD, it is not for us to make a decision. 51Here is Rebecca; take her and go. Let her become the wife of your master's son, as the LORD himself has said." 52When the servant of Abraham heard this, he bowed down and worshiped the LORD. 53Then he brought out clothing and silver and gold jewelry, and gave them to Rebecca. He also gave expensive gifts to her brother and to her mother.
54Then Abraham's servant and the men with him ate and drank, and spent the night there. When they got up in the morning, he said, "Let me go back to my master."
55But Rebecca's brother and her mother said, "Let her stay with us a week or ten days, and then she may go."
56But he said, "Don't make us stay. The LORD has made my journey a success; let me go back to my master."
57They answered, "Let's call her and find out what she has to say." 58So they called Rebecca and asked, "Do you want to go with this man?"
"Yes," she answered.
59So they let Rebecca and her old family servant go with Abraham's servant and his men. 60And they gave Rebecca their blessing in these words:
"May you, sister, become the mother of millions!
May your descendants conquer the cities of their enemies!"
61Then Rebecca and her young women got ready and mounted the camels to go with Abraham's servant, and they all started out.
62Isaac had come into the wilderness of "The Well of the Living One Who Sees Me" and was staying in the southern part of Canaan. 63He went out in the early evening to take a walk in the fields and saw camels coming. 64When Rebecca saw Isaac, she got down from her camel 65and asked Abraham's servant, "Who is that man walking toward us in the field?"
"He is my master," the servant answered. So she took her scarf and covered her face.
66The servant told Isaac everything he had done. 67Then Isaac brought Rebecca into the tent that his mother Sarah had lived in, and she became his wife. Isaac loved Rebecca, and so he was comforted for the loss of his mother.
The Prayer of an Innocent PersonPsalm 17 Listen, O LORD, to my plea for justice;
pay attention to my cry for help!
Listen to my honest prayer.
2You will judge in my favor,
because you know what is right.
3You know my heart.
You have come to me at night;
you have examined me completely
and found no evil desire in me.
I speak no evil, 4as others do;
I have obeyed your command
and have not followed paths of violence.
5I have always walked in your way
and have never strayed from it.
6I pray to you, O God, because you answer me;
so turn to me and listen to my words.
7Reveal your wonderful love and save me;
at your side I am safe from my enemies.
8Protect me as you would your very eyes;
hide me in the shadow of your wings
9from the attacks of the wicked.
Deadly enemies surround me;
10they have no pity and speak proudly.
11They are around me now, wherever I turn,
watching for a chance to pull me down.
12They are like lions, waiting for me,
wanting to tear me to pieces.
13Come, LORD! Oppose my enemies and defeat them!
Save me from the wicked by your sword;
14save me from those who in this life have all they want.
Punish them with the sufferings you have stored up for them;
may there be enough for their children
and some left over for their children's children!
15But I will see you, because I have done no wrong;
and when I awake, your presence will fill me with joy.
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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