Numbers 8; Psalm 123; 1 Kings 21; Ezekiel 2; Romans 8

The Seven Lamps

Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to Aaron and say to him, When you set up the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lampstand. And Aaron did so: he set up its lamps in front of the lampstand, as the Lord commanded Moses. And ithis was the workmanship of the lampstand, hammered work of gold. From its base to its flowers, it was hammered work; according to the pattern that the Lord had shown Moses, so he made the lampstand.

Cleansing of the Levites

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Take the Levites from among the people of Israel and cleanse them. Thus you shall do to them to cleanse them: sprinkle the jwater of purification upon them, and klet them go with a razor over all their body, and wash their clothes and cleanse themselves. Then let them take a bull from the herd and lits grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, mand you shall take another bull from the herd for a sin offering. nAnd you shall bring the Levites before the tent of meeting oand assemble the whole congregation of the people of Israel. 10 When you bring the Levites before the Lord, the people of Israel pshall lay their hands on the Levites, 11 and Aaron shall offer the Levites before the Lord as a wave offering from the people of Israel, that they may do the service of the Lord. 12 Then the Levites qshall lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, and you shall offer rthe one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering to the Lord to make atonement for the Levites. 13 And you shall set the Levites before Aaron and his sons, and shall offer them as sa wave offering to the Lord.

14 Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the people of Israel, and tthe Levites shall be mine. 15 And after that the Levites shall go in to serve at the tent of meeting, when you have cleansed them and offered them as a swave offering. 16 For they are uwholly given to me from among the people of Israel. vInstead of all who open the womb, the firstborn of all the people of Israel, I have taken them for myself. 17 wFor all the firstborn among the people of Israel are mine, both of man and of beast. On the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I consecrated them for myself, 18 and I have taken the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the people of Israel. 19 uAnd I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and his sons from among the people of Israel, to do the service for the people of Israel at the tent of meeting and xto make atonement for the people of Israel, ythat there may be no plague among the people of Israel when the people of Israel come near the sanctuary.

20 Thus did Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the people of Israel to the Levites. According to all that the Lord commanded Moses concerning the Levites, the people of Israel did to them. 21 And zthe Levites purified themselves from sin and washed their clothes, and aAaron offered them as a wave offering before the Lord, and Aaron made atonement for them to cleanse them. 22 And after that the Levites went in to do their service in the tent of meeting before Aaron and his sons; as the Lord had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so they did to them.

Retirement of the Levites

23 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 24 This applies to the Levites: bfrom twenty-five years old and upward they1 shall come to do duty in the service of the tent of meeting. 25 And from the age of fifty years they shall withdraw from the duty of the service and serve no more. 26 They minister2 to their brothers in the tent of meeting cby keeping guard, but they shall do no service. Thus shall you do to the Levites in assigning their duties.


Our Eyes Look to the Lord Our God

A Song of mAscents.

123  To you I qlift up my eyes,

O you who are renthroned in the heavens!

Behold, as the eyes of servants

look to the hand of their master,

as the eyes of a maidservant

to the hand of her mistress,

so our eyes look to the Lord our God,

till he has mercy upon us.

sHave mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us,

for we have had more than enough of tcontempt.

Our soul has had more than enough

of uthe scorn of vthose who are at ease,

of the contempt of wthe proud.


Naboth’s Vineyard

21 Now Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in qJezreel, beside the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. And after this Ahab said to Naboth, rGive me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house, and I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its value in money. But Naboth said to Ahab, The Lord forbid sthat I should give you the inheritance of my fathers. And Ahab twent into his house vexed and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him, for he had said, I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers. And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face and would eat no food.

But Jezebel his wife came to him and said to him, Why is your spirit so vexed that you eat no food? And he said to her, Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, Give me your vineyard for money, or else, if it please you, I will give you another vineyard for it. And he answered, I will not give you my vineyard. And Jezebel his wife said to him, Do you now govern Israel? Arise and eat bread and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.

uSo she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal, and she sent the letters to vthe elders and the leaders who lived with Naboth in his city. And she wrote in the letters, Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth at the head of the people. 10 And set two wworthless men opposite him, and let them bring a charge against him, saying, xYou have cursed1 God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death. 11 And the men of his city, vthe elders and the leaders who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had sent word to them. As it was written in the letters that she had sent to them, 12 ythey proclaimed a fast and set Naboth at the head of the people. 13 And the two worthless men came in and sat opposite him. And the worthless men brought a charge against Naboth in the presence of the people, saying, Naboth cursed God and the king. So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death with stones. 14 Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, Naboth has been stoned; he is dead.

15 As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money, for Naboth is not alive, but dead. 16 And as soon as Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, Ahab arose to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.

The Lord Condemns Ahab

17 zThen the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 18 Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who is in aSamaria; behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone to take possession. 19 And you shall say to him, Thus says the Lord, Have you killed and also taken possession? And you shall say to him, Thus says the Lord: bIn the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick your own blood.

20 Ahab said to Elijah, cHave you found me, O my enemy? He answered, I have found you, because dyou have sold yourself to do what is evil in the sight of the Lord. 21 Behold, I will bring disaster upon you. I will utterly burn you up, and ewill cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel. 22 And I will make your house like fthe house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like gthe house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the anger to which you have provoked me, and because you hhave made Israel to sin. 23 And of Jezebel the Lord also said, iThe dogs shall eat Jezebel within jthe walls of Jezreel. 24 kAnyone belonging to Ahab who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone of his who dies in the open country the birds of the heavens shall eat.

Ahab’s Repentance

25 (lThere was none who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord like Ahab, whom Jezebel his wife incited. 26 He acted very abominably in going after midols, as nthe Amorites had done, whom the Lord cast out before the people of Israel.)

27 And when Ahab heard those words, he otore his clothes and pput sackcloth on his flesh and qfasted and lay in sackcloth and went about dejectedly. 28 And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 29 Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; rbut in his son’s days I will bring the disaster upon his house.


Ezekiel’s Call

And he said to me, cSon of man,1 dstand on your feet, and I will speak with you. And as he spoke to me, ethe Spirit entered into me and fset me on my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. And he said to me, Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to gnations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. hThey and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. The descendants also are iimpudent and stubborn: I send you to them, and you shall say to them, Thus says the Lord God. And jwhether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are ga rebellious house) kthey will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, lbe not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, mthough briers and thorns are with you and you sit on nscorpions.2 Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. And you shall speak my words to them, jwhether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house.

But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. oBe not rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and peat what I give you. And when I looked, behold, qa hand was stretched out to me, and behold, ra scroll of a book was in it. 10 And he spread it before me. And it had writing son the front and on the back, and there were written on it words of lamentation and mourning and woe.


Life in the Spirit

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.1 For the law of hthe Spirit of life ihas set you2 free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For jGod has done what the law, kweakened by the flesh, lcould not do. mBy sending his own Son nin the likeness of sinful flesh and ofor sin,3 he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that pthe righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, qwho walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For rthose who live according to the flesh set their minds on sthe things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on tthe things of the Spirit. For to set uthe mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is vhostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; windeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact xthe Spirit of God dwells in you. yAnyone who does not have zthe Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of ahim who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus4 from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies bthrough his Spirit who dwells in you.

Heirs with Christ

12 So then, brothers,5 we are debtors, cnot to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you dput to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are eled by the Spirit of God are fsons6 of God. 15 For gyou did not receive hthe spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of iadoption as sons, by whom we cry, jAbba! Father! 16 kThe Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then lheirsheirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, mprovided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Future Glory

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time nare not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for othe revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation pwas subjected to futility, not willingly, but qbecause of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that rthe creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that sthe whole creation thas been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have uthe firstfruits of the Spirit, vgroan inwardly as wwe wait eagerly for adoption as sons, xthe redemption of our bodies. 24 For yin this hope we were saved. Now zhope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we await for it with patience.

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For bwe do not know what to pray for as we ought, but cthe Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And dhe who searches hearts knows what is ethe mind of the Spirit, because7 the Spirit fintercedes for the saints gaccording to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together hfor good,8 for ithose who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he jforeknew he also kpredestined lto be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be mthe firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also njustified, and those whom he justified he also oglorified.

God’s Everlasting Love

31 What then shall we say to these things? pIf God is for us, who can be9 against us? 32 qHe who did not spare his own Son but rgave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? sIt is God who justifies. 34 tWho is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who diedmore than that, who was raiseduwho is at the right hand of God, vwho indeed is interceding for us.10 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

wFor your sake xwe are being killed all the day long;

we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.

37 No, in all these things we are more than yconquerors through zhim who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.