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Old Testament:  Psalms 79-80

Psalms 79

A psalm of Asaph.
 1  O God, pagan nations have conquered your land,
  your special possession.
They have defiled your holy Temple
  and made Jerusalem a heap of ruins.
 2  They have left the bodies of your servants
  as food for the birds of heaven.
The flesh of your godly ones
  has become food for the wild animals.
 3  Blood has flowed like water all around Jerusalem;
  no one is left to bury the dead.
 4  We are mocked by our neighbors,
  an object of scorn and derision to those around us.

 5  O LORD, how long will you be angry with us? Forever?
  How long will your jealousy burn like fire?
 6  Pour out your wrath on the nations that refuse to acknowledge you—
  on kingdoms that do not call upon your name.
 7  For they have devoured your people Israel, [7] 
  making the land a desolate wilderness.
 8  Do not hold us guilty for the sins of our ancestors!
  Let your compassion quickly meet our needs,
  for we are on the brink of despair.

 9  Help us, O God of our salvation!
  Help us for the glory of your name.
Save us and forgive our sins
  for the honor of your name.
 10  Why should pagan nations be allowed to scoff,
  asking, "Where is their God?"
Show us your vengeance against the nations,
  for they have spilled the blood of your servants.
 11  Listen to the moaning of the prisoners.
  Demonstrate your great power by saving those condemned to die.

 12  O Lord, pay back our neighbors seven times
  for the scorn they have hurled at you.
 13  Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture,
  will thank you forever and ever,
  praising your greatness from generation to generation.

Psalms 80

For the choir director: A psalm of Asaph, to be sung to the tune "Lilies of the Covenant."
 1  Please listen, O Shepherd of Israel,
  you who lead Joseph's descendants like a flock.
O God, enthroned above the cherubim,
  display your radiant glory
 2    to Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh.
Show us your mighty power.
  Come to rescue us!

 3  Turn us again to yourself, O God. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved.  4  O LORD God of Heaven's Armies,
  how long will you be angry with our prayers?
 5  You have fed us with sorrow
  and made us drink tears by the bucketful.
 6  You have made us the scorn [6]  of neighboring nations.
  Our enemies treat us as a joke.

 7  Turn us again to yourself, O God of Heaven's Armies.
  Make your face shine down upon us.
  Only then will we be saved.
 8  You brought us from Egypt like a grapevine;
  you drove away the pagan nations and transplanted us into your land.
 9  You cleared the ground for us,
  and we took root and filled the land.
 10  Our shade covered the mountains;
  our branches covered the mighty cedars.
 11  We spread our branches west to the Mediterranean Sea;
  our shoots spread east to the Euphrates River. [11] 
 12  But now, why have you broken down our walls
  so that all who pass by may steal our fruit?
 13  The wild boar from the forest devours it,
  and the wild animals feed on it.

 14  Come back, we beg you, O God of Heaven's Armies.
  Look down from heaven and see our plight.
Take care of this grapevine
 15    that you yourself have planted,
  this son you have raised for yourself.
 16  For we are chopped up and burned by our enemies.
  May they perish at the sight of your frown.
 17  Strengthen the man you love,
  the son of your choice.
 18  Then we will never abandon you again.
  Revive us so we can call on your name once more.

 19  Turn us again to yourself, O LORD God of Heaven's Armies.
  Make your face shine down upon us.
  Only then will we be saved.
<<  79:7 Hebrew devoured Jacob. See note on 44:4.
<<  80:6 As in Syriac version; Hebrew reads the strife.
<<  80:11 Hebrew west to the sea, . . . east to the river.

New Testament:  Romans 11:1-18

Romans 11 : 1-18

God's Mercy on Israel
 1  I ask, then, has God rejected his own people, the nation of Israel? Of course not! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham and a member of the tribe of Benjamin.
   2  No, God has not rejected his own people, whom he chose from the very beginning. Do you realize what the Scriptures say about this? Elijah the prophet complained to God about the people of Israel and said,  3  "LORD, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too." [3] 
   4  And do you remember God's reply? He said, "No, I have 7,000 others who have never bowed down to Baal!" [4] 
   5  It is the same today, for a few of the people of Israel [5]  have remained faithful because of God's grace—his undeserved kindness in choosing them.  6  And since it is through God's kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God's grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved.
   7  So this is the situation: Most of the people of Israel have not found the favor of God they are looking for so earnestly. A few have—the ones God has chosen—but the hearts of the rest were hardened.  8  As the Scriptures say,

"God has put them into a deep sleep.
To this day he has shut their eyes so they do not see,
  and closed their ears so they do not hear." [8] 

 9  Likewise, David said,

"Let their bountiful table become a snare,
  a trap that makes them think all is well.
Let their blessings cause them to stumble,
  and let them get what they deserve.
 10  Let their eyes go blind so they cannot see,
  and let their backs be bent forever." [10] 

   11  Did God's people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves.  12  Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God's offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it.
   13  I am saying all this especially for you Gentiles. God has appointed me as the apostle to the Gentiles. I stress this,  14  for I want somehow to make the people of Israel jealous of what you Gentiles have, so I might save some of them.  15  For since their rejection meant that God offered salvation to the rest of the world, their acceptance will be even more wonderful. It will be life for those who were dead!  16  And since Abraham and the other patriarchs were holy, their descendants will also be holy—just as the entire batch of dough is holy because the portion given as an offering is holy. For if the roots of the tree are holy, the branches will be, too.
   17  But some of these branches from Abraham's tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God's special olive tree.  18  But you must not brag about being grafted in to replace the branches that were broken off. You are just a branch, not the root.
<<  11:3 1 Kgs 19:10, 14.
<<  11:4 1 Kgs 19:18.
<<  11:5 Greek for a remnant.
<<  11:8 Isa 29:10; Deut 29:4.
<<  11:9-10 Ps 69:22-23 (Greek version).

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