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Today's Reading:

August 2

Pastor’s Note

While today’s two psalms remind us of the reality of relative, or comparative righteous behavior, Romans 3 impresses on us the truth that when it comes to absolute righteousness, “there is none righteous, no, not one” (v.10). Let us not deny the truth or the importance of the former, in our affirmation of the latter.

— Pastor Mike

Psalms 68-69

God Shall Scatter His Enemies

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. A Song.

68:1 God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered;
 and those who hate him shall flee before him!
As smoke is driven away, so you shall drive them away;
 as wax melts before fire,
 so the wicked shall perish before God!
But the righteous shall be glad;
 they shall exult before God;
 they shall be jubilant with joy!

Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
 lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts;
his name is the Lord;
 exult before him!
Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
 is God in his holy habitation.
God settles the solitary in a home;
 he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
 but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

O God, when you went out before your people,
 when you marched through the wilderness, Selah
the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain,
 before God, the One of Sinai,
 before God, the God of Israel.
Rain in abundance, O God, you shed abroad;
 you restored your inheritance as it languished;
10 your flock [1] found a dwelling in it;
 in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.

11 The Lord gives the word;
 the women who announce the news are a great host:
 12 “The kings of the armies—they flee, they flee!”
The women at home divide the spoil—
 13 though you men lie among the sheepfolds—
the wings of a dove covered with silver,
 its pinions with shimmering gold.
14 When the Almighty scatters kings there,
 let snow fall on Zalmon.

15 O mountain of God, mountain of Bashan;
 O many-peaked [2] mountain, mountain of Bashan!
16 Why do you look with hatred, O many-peaked mountain,
 at the mount that God desired for his abode,
 yes, where the Lord will dwell forever?
17 The chariots of God are twice ten thousand,
 thousands upon thousands;
 the Lord is among them; Sinai is now in the sanctuary.
18 You ascended on high,
 leading a host of captives in your train
 and receiving gifts among men,
even among the rebellious, that the Lord God may dwell there.

19 Blessed be the Lord,
 who daily bears us up;
 God is our salvation. Selah
20 Our God is a God of salvation,
 and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.
21 But God will strike the heads of his enemies,
 the hairy crown of him who walks in his guilty ways.
22 The Lord said,
 “I will bring them back from Bashan,
I will bring them back from the depths of the sea,
23 that you may strike your feet in their blood,
 that the tongues of your dogs may have their portion from the foe.”

24 Your procession is [3] seen, O God,
 the procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary—
25 the singers in front, the musicians last,
 between them virgins playing tambourines:
26 “Bless God in the great congregation,
 the Lord, O you [4] who are of Israel’s fountain!”
27 There is Benjamin, the least of them, in the lead,
 the princes of Judah in their throng,
 the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali.

28 Summon your power, O God, [5]
 the power, O God, by which you have worked for us.
29 Because of your temple at Jerusalem
 kings shall bear gifts to you.
30 Rebuke the beasts that dwell among the reeds,
 the herd of bulls with the calves of the peoples.
Trample underfoot those who lust after tribute;
 scatter the peoples who delight in war. [6]
31 Nobles shall come from Egypt;
 Cush shall hasten to stretch out her hands to God.

32 O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God;
 sing praises to the Lord, Selah
33 to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens;
 behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.
34 Ascribe power to God,
 whose majesty is over Israel,
 and whose power is in the skies.
35 Awesome is God from his [7] sanctuary;
 the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people.
Blessed be God!

Save Me, O God

To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. Of David.

69:1 Save me, O God!
 For the waters have come up to my neck. [8]
I sink in deep mire,
 where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
 and the flood sweeps over me.
I am weary with my crying out;
 my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
 with waiting for my God.

More in number than the hairs of my head
 are those who hate me without cause;
mighty are those who would destroy me,
 those who attack me with lies.
What I did not steal
 must I now restore?
O God, you know my folly;
 the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me,
 O Lord God of hosts;
let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me,
 O God of Israel.
For it is for your sake that I have borne reproach,
 that dishonor has covered my face.
I have become a stranger to my brothers,
 an alien to my mother’s sons.

For zeal for your house has consumed me,
 and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.
10 When I wept and humbled [9] my soul with fasting,
 it became my reproach.
11 When I made sackcloth my clothing,
 I became a byword to them.
12 I am the talk of those who sit in the gate,
 and the drunkards make songs about me.

13 But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord.
 At an acceptable time, O God,
 in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.
14 Deliver me
 from sinking in the mire;
let me be delivered from my enemies
 and from the deep waters.
15 Let not the flood sweep over me,
 or the deep swallow me up,
 or the pit close its mouth over me.

16 Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good;
 according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
17 Hide not your face from your servant;
 for I am in distress; make haste to answer me.
18 Draw near to my soul, redeem me;
 ransom me because of my enemies!

19 You know my reproach,
 and my shame and my dishonor;
 my foes are all known to you.
20 Reproaches have broken my heart,
 so that I am in despair.
I looked for pity, but there was none,
 and for comforters, but I found none.
21 They gave me poison for food,
 and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.

22 Let their own table before them become a snare;
 and when they are at peace, let it become a trap. [10]
23 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see,
 and make their loins tremble continually.
24 Pour out your indignation upon them,
 and let your burning anger overtake them.
25 May their camp be a desolation;
 let no one dwell in their tents.
26 For they persecute him whom you have struck down,
 and they recount the pain of those you have wounded.
27 Add to them punishment upon punishment;
 may they have no acquittal from you. [11]
28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living;
 let them not be enrolled among the righteous.

29 But I am afflicted and in pain;
 let your salvation, O God, set me on high!

30 I will praise the name of God with a song;
 I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
31 This will please the Lord more than an ox
 or a bull with horns and hoofs.
32 When the humble see it they will be glad;
 you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
33 For the Lord hears the needy
 and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.

34 Let heaven and earth praise him,
 the seas and everything that moves in them.
35 For God will save Zion
 and build up the cities of Judah,
and people shall dwell there and possess it;
 36 the offspring of his servants shall inherit it,
 and those who love his name shall dwell in it.

Romans 3

God’s Righteousness Upheld

3:1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written,

“That you may be justified in your words,
 and prevail when you are judged.”

But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.

No One Is Righteous

What then? Are we Jews [12] any better off? [13] No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;
 11 no one understands;
 no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
 no one does good,
 not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave;
 they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
 14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
 16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being [14] will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

The Righteousness of God Through Faith

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

Footnotes

[1] 68:10 Or your congregation
[2] 68:15 Or hunch-backed; also verse 16
[3] 68:24 Or has been
[4] 68:26 The Hebrew for you is plural here
[5] 68:28 Probable reading; Hebrew Your God has summoned your power
[6] 68:30 The meaning of the Hebrew verse is uncertain
[7] 68:35 Septuagint; Hebrew your
[8] 69:1 Or waters threaten my life
[9] 69:10 Hebrew lacks and humbled
[10] 69:22 Hebrew; a slight revocalization yields (compare Septuagint, Syriac, Jerome) a snare, and retribution and a trap
[11] 69:27 Hebrew may they not come into your righteousness
[12] 3:9 Greek Are we
[13] 3:9 Or at any disadvantage?
[14] 3:20 Greek flesh