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July 22

Pastor’s Note

Let today’s Old Testament reading be cause for your own resolve to trust God regardless of the world’s situation, or the problems that you may encounter from day to day. “Refrain from anger” and “fret not” (Ps.37:8) because you know the One who has promised to bring his kingdom to earth at the return of Christ. Trust in him and be glad regardless. May we, with Paul in Acts 23, continue to live our lives “before God in all good conscience” (v.1) not shaken or rattled by the opposition we face, or the pervasive darkness of our culture.

— Pastor Mike

Psalms 36-37

How Precious Is Your Steadfast Love

To the choirmaster. Of David, the servant of the Lord.

36:1 Transgression speaks to the wicked
 deep in his heart; [1]
there is no fear of God
 before his eyes.
For he flatters himself in his own eyes
 that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit;
 he has ceased to act wisely and do good.
He plots trouble while on his bed;
 he sets himself in a way that is not good;
 he does not reject evil.

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
 your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
 your judgments are like the great deep;
 man and beast you save, O Lord.

How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
 The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
 and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
 in your light do we see light.

10 Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
 and your righteousness to the upright of heart!
11 Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me,
 nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12 There the evildoers lie fallen;
 they are thrust down, unable to rise.

He Will Not Forsake His Saints

 [2] Of David.

37:1 Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
 be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass
 and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
 dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. [3]
Delight yourself in the Lord,
 and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
 trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
 and your justice as the noonday.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
 fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
 over the man who carries out evil devices!

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
 Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
For the evildoers shall be cut off,
 but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
 though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
11 But the meek shall inherit the land
 and delight themselves in abundant peace.

12 The wicked plots against the righteous
 and gnashes his teeth at him,
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
 for he sees that his day is coming.

14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
 to bring down the poor and needy,
 to slay those whose way is upright;
15 their sword shall enter their own heart,
 and their bows shall be broken.

16 Better is the little that the righteous has
 than the abundance of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
 but the Lord upholds the righteous.

18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
 and their heritage will remain forever;
19 they are not put to shame in evil times;
 in the days of famine they have abundance.

20 But the wicked will perish;
 the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures;
 they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.

21 The wicked borrows but does not pay back,
 but the righteous is generous and gives;
22 for those blessed by the Lord [4] shall inherit the land,
 but those cursed by him shall be cut off.

23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
 when he delights in his way;
24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
 for the Lord upholds his hand.

25 I have been young, and now am old,
 yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
 or his children begging for bread.
26 He is ever lending generously,
 and his children become a blessing.

27 Turn away from evil and do good;
 so shall you dwell forever.
28 For the Lord loves justice;
 he will not forsake his saints.
They are preserved forever,
 but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land
 and dwell upon it forever.

30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
 and his tongue speaks justice.
31 The law of his God is in his heart;
 his steps do not slip.

32 The wicked watches for the righteous
 and seeks to put him to death.
33 The Lord will not abandon him to his power
 or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.

34 Wait for the Lord and keep his way,
 and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
 you will look on when the wicked are cut off.

35 I have seen a wicked, ruthless man,
 spreading himself like a green laurel tree. [5]
36 But he passed away, [6] and behold, he was no more;
 though I sought him, he could not be found.

37 Mark the blameless and behold the upright,
 for there is a future for the man of peace.
38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;
 the future of the wicked shall be cut off.

39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
 he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;
 he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
 because they take refuge in him.

Acts 23:1-11

23:1 And looking intently at the council, Paul said, “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.” And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?” Those who stood by said, “Would you revile God’s high priest?” And Paul said, “I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”

Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.” And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. Then a great clamor arose, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ party stood up and contended sharply, “We find nothing wrong in this man. What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?” 10 And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him away from among them by force and bring him into the barracks.

11 The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.”

Footnotes

[1] 36:1 Some Hebrew manuscripts, Syriac, Jerome (compare Septuagint); most Hebrew manuscripts in my heart
[2] 37:1 This psalm is an acrostic poem, each stanza beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet
[3] 37:3 Or and feed on faithfulness, or and find safe pasture
[4] 37:22 Hebrew by him
[5] 37:35 The identity of this tree is uncertain
[6] 37:36 Or But one passed by

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