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Today's Reading:

July 29

Pastor’s Note

What a great declaration in Psalm 56 of our need to trust God when circumstances tempt us to fear (compare v.3 and v.11). Let the praise of Psalm 57 and the sobriety of Psalm 58 be reflected in our thoughts and prayers today. In Acts 28 we see a fulfillment of Christ’s promise of protection when we give our lives and energy to reach others with the gospel in the name of Christ.

— Pastor Mike

Psalms 56-58

In God I Trust

To the choirmaster: according to The Dove on Far-off Terebinths. A Miktam [1] of David, when the Philistines seized him in Gath.

56:1 Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me;
all day long an attacker oppresses me;
my enemies trample on me all day long,
for many attack me proudly.
When I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me?

All day long they injure my cause; [2]
all their thoughts are against me for evil.
They stir up strife, they lurk;
they watch my steps,
as they have waited for my life.
For their crime will they escape?
In wrath cast down the peoples, O God!

You have kept count of my tossings; [3]
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?
Then my enemies will turn back
in the day when I call.
This I know, that [4] God is for me.
10 In God, whose word I praise,
in the Lord, whose word I praise,
11 in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can man do to me?

12 I must perform my vows to you, O God;
I will render thank offerings to you.
13 For you have delivered my soul from death,
yes, my feet from falling,
that I may walk before God
in the light of life.

Let Your Glory Be over All the Earth

To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Miktam [5] of David, when he fled from Saul, in the cave.

57:1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
till the storms of destruction pass by.
I cry out to God Most High,
to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
He will send from heaven and save me;
he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah
God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!

My soul is in the midst of lions;
I lie down amid fiery beasts—
the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows,
whose tongues are sharp swords.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!

They set a net for my steps;
my soul was bowed down.
They dug a pit in my way,
but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah
My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast!
I will sing and make melody!
Awake, my glory! [6]
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
10 For your steadfast love is great to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.

11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!

God Who Judges the Earth

To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Miktam [7] of David.

58:1 Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods? [8]
Do you judge the children of man uprightly?
No, in your hearts you devise wrongs;
your hands deal out violence on earth.

The wicked are estranged from the womb;
they go astray from birth, speaking lies.
They have venom like the venom of a serpent,
like the deaf adder that stops its ear,
so that it does not hear the voice of charmers
or of the cunning enchanter.

O God, break the teeth in their mouths;
tear out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord!
Let them vanish like water that runs away;
when he aims his arrows, let them be blunted.
Let them be like the snail that dissolves into slime,
like the stillborn child who never sees the sun.
Sooner than your pots can feel the heat of thorns,
whether green or ablaze, may he sweep them away! [9]

10 The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance;
he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked.
11 Mankind will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous;
surely there is a God who judges on earth.”

Acts 28:1-15

Paul on Malta

28:1 After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta. The native people [10] showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold. When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice [11] has not allowed him to live.” He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.

Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days. It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him. And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured. 10 They also honored us greatly, [12] and when we were about to sail, they put on board whatever we needed.

Paul Arrives at Rome

11 After three months we set sail in a ship that had wintered in the island, a ship of Alexandria, with the twin gods [13] as a figurehead.12 Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days. 13 And from there we made a circuit and arrived at Rhegium. And after one day a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli. 14 There we found brothers [14] and were invited to stay with them for seven days. And so we came to Rome. 15 And the brothers there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 56:1 Probably a musical or liturgical term
[2] 56:5 Or they twist my words
[3] 56:8 Or wanderings
[4] 56:9 Or because
[5] 57:1 Probably a musical or liturgical term
[6] 57:8 Or my whole being
[7] 58:1 Probably a musical or liturgical term
[8] 58:1 Or mighty lords (by revocalization; Hebrew in silence)
[9] 58:9 The meaning of the Hebrew verse is uncertain
[10] 28:2 Greek barbaroi (that is, non–Greek speakers); also verse 4
[11] 28:4 Or justice
[12] 28:10 Greek honored us with many honors
[13] 28:11 That is, the Greek gods Castor and Pollux
[14] 28:14 Or brothers and sisters; also verses 15, 21