Thursday 27 July 2023 DAILY LECTIONARY

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Thu Jul 27 02:00:04 EDT 2023

Thursday 27 July 2023 

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1 Samuel 28:3-20

Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him
in Ramah, his own city. Saul had expelled the mediums and the wizards
from the land. The Philistines assembled, and came and encamped at
Shunem. Saul gathered all Israel, and they encamped at Gilboa. When
Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart
trembled greatly. When Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not
answer him, not by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. Then Saul
said to his servants, ‘Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, so
that I may go to her and inquire of her.’ His servants said to him,
‘There is a medium at Endor.’ 
So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothes and went there, he
and two men with him. They came to the woman by night. And he said,
‘Consult a spirit for me, and bring up for me the one whom I name to
you.’ The woman said to him, ‘Surely you know what Saul has done,
how he has cut off the mediums and the wizards from the land. Why then
are you laying a snare for my life to bring about my death?’ But
Saul swore to her by the Lord, ‘As the Lord lives, no punishment
shall come upon you for this thing.’ Then the woman said, ‘Whom
shall I bring up for you?’ He answered, ‘Bring up Samuel for
me.’ When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice; and
the woman said to Saul, ‘Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!’
The king said to her, ‘Have no fear; what do you see?’ The woman
said to Saul, ‘I see a divine being coming up out of the ground.’
He said to her, ‘What is his appearance?’ She said, ‘An old man
is coming up; he is wrapped in a robe.’ So Saul knew that it was
Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground, and did obeisance. 
Then Samuel said to Saul, ‘Why have you disturbed me by bringing me
up?’ Saul answered, ‘I am in great distress, for the Philistines
are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me
no more, either by prophets or by dreams; so I have summoned you to
tell me what I should do.’ Samuel said, ‘Why then do you ask me,
since the Lord has turned from you and become your enemy? The Lord has
done to you just as he spoke by me; for the Lord has torn the kingdom
out of your hand, and given it to your neighbour David. Because you
did not obey the voice of the Lord, and did not carry out his fierce
wrath against Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you
today. Moreover, the Lord will give Israel along with you into the
hands of the Philistines; and tomorrow you and your sons shall be with
me; the Lord will also give the army of Israel into the hands of the
Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, filled with fear
because of the words of Samuel; and there was no strength in him, for
he had eaten nothing all day and all night.
Acts 15:1-11

Then certain individuals came down from Judea and were teaching the
brothers, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of
Moses, you cannot be saved.’ And after Paul and Barnabas had no
small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of
the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to discuss this
question with the apostles and the elders. So they were sent on their
way by the church, and as they passed through both Phoenicia and
Samaria, they reported the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought
great joy to all the believers. When they came to Jerusalem, they were
welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they
reported all that God had done with them. But some believers who
belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and said, ‘It is
necessary for them to be circumcised and ordered to keep the law of
The apostles and the elders met together to consider this matter.
After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them,
‘My brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice
among you, that I should be the one through whom the Gentiles would
hear the message of the good news and become believers. And God, who
knows the human heart, testified to them by giving them the Holy
Spirit, just as he did to us; and in cleansing their hearts by faith
he has made no distinction between them and us. Now therefore why are
you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a
yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? On the
contrary, we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the
Lord Jesus, just as they will.’

Mark 5:1-20

They came to the other side of the lake, to the country of the
Gerasenes. And when he had stepped out of the boat, immediately a man
out of the tombs with an unclean spirit met him. He lived among the
tombs; and no one could restrain him any more, even with a chain; for
he had often been restrained with shackles and chains, but the chains
he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had
the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the
mountains he was always howling and bruising himself with stones. When
he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down before him; and he
shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What have you to do with me,
Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment
me.’ For he had said to him, ‘Come out of the man, you unclean
spirit!’ Then Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ He replied,
‘My name is Legion; for we are many.’ He begged him earnestly not
to send them out of the country. Now there on the hillside a great
herd of swine was feeding; and the unclean spirits begged him, ‘Send
us into the swine; let us enter them.’ So he gave them permission.
And the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine; and the herd,
numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the
lake, and were drowned in the lake. 
The swineherds ran off and told it in the city and in the country.
Then people came to see what it was that had happened. They came to
Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right
mind, the very man who had had the legion; and they were afraid. Those
who had seen what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine
reported it. Then they began to beg Jesus to leave their
neighbourhood. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been
possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. But Jesus
refused, and said to him, ‘Go home to your friends, and tell them
how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown
you.’ And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how
much Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.

Morning Psalms:  Psalm 50

Psalm 50

The mighty one, God the Lord,
   speaks and summons the earth
   from the rising of the sun to its setting. 
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
   God shines forth. 

Our God comes and does not keep silence,
   before him is a devouring fire,
   and a mighty tempest all around him. 
He calls to the heavens above
   and to the earth, that he may judge his people: 
‘Gather to me my faithful ones,
   who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!’ 
The heavens declare his righteousness,
   for God himself is judge.

‘Hear, O my people, and I will speak,
   O Israel, I will testify against you.
   I am God, your God. 
Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you;
   your burnt-offerings are continually before me. 
I will not accept a bull from your house,
   or goats from your folds. 
For every wild animal of the forest is mine,
   the cattle on a thousand hills. 
I know all the birds of the air,
   and all that moves in the field is mine. 

‘If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
   for the world and all that is in it is mine. 
Do I eat the flesh of bulls,
   or drink the blood of goats? 
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
   and pay your vows to the Most High. 
Call on me in the day of trouble;
   I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.’ 

But to the wicked God says:
   ‘What right have you to recite my statutes,
   or take my covenant on your lips? 
For you hate discipline,
   and you cast my words behind you. 
You make friends with a thief when you see one,
   and you keep company with adulterers. 

‘You give your mouth free rein for evil,
   and your tongue frames deceit. 
You sit and speak against your kin;
   you slander your own mother’s child. 
These things you have done and I have been silent;
   you thought that I was one just like yourself.
But now I rebuke you, and lay the charge before you. 

‘Mark this, then, you who forget God,
   or I will tear you apart, and there will be no one to deliver. 
Those who bring thanksgiving as their sacrifice honour me;
   to those who go the right way
   I will show the salvation of God.’

Evening Psalms: Psalm 59, 60 

Psalm 59

Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;
   protect me from those who rise up against me. 
Deliver me from those who work evil;
   from the bloodthirsty save me. 

Even now they lie in wait for my life;
   the mighty stir up strife against me.
For no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord, 
   for no fault of mine, they run and make ready. 

Rouse yourself, come to my help and see! 
   You, Lord God of hosts, are God of Israel.
Awake to punish all the nations;
   spare none of those who treacherously plot evil.

Each evening they come back,
   howling like dogs
   and prowling about the city. 
There they are, bellowing with their mouths,
   with sharp words* on their lips—
   for ‘Who’, they think,* ‘will hear us?’ 

But you laugh at them, O Lord;
   you hold all the nations in derision. 
O my strength, I will watch for you;
   for you, O God, are my fortress. 
My God in his steadfast love will meet me;
   my God will let me look in triumph on my enemies. 

Do not kill them, or my people may forget;
   make them totter by your power, and bring them down,
   O Lord, our shield. 
For the sin of their mouths, the words of their lips,
   let them be trapped in their pride.
For the cursing and lies that they utter, 
   consume them in wrath;
   consume them until they are no more.
Then it will be known to the ends of the earth
   that God rules over Jacob.

Each evening they come back,
   howling like dogs
   and prowling about the city. 
They roam about for food,
   and growl if they do not get their fill. 

But I will sing of your might;
   I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.
For you have been a fortress for me
   and a refuge on the day of my distress. 
O my strength, I will sing praises to you,
   for you, O God, are my fortress,
   the God who shows me steadfast love.

Psalm 60

O God, you have rejected us, broken our defences;
   you have been angry; now restore us! 
You have caused the land to quake; you have torn it open;
   repair the cracks in it, for it is tottering. 
You have made your people suffer hard things;
   you have given us wine to drink that made us reel. 

You have set up a banner for those who fear you,
   to rally to it out of bowshot.* 
Give victory with your right hand, and answer us,*
   so that those whom you love may be rescued. 

God has promised in his sanctuary:*
   ‘With exultation I will divide up Shechem,
   and portion out the Vale of Succoth. 
Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine;
   Ephraim is my helmet;
   Judah is my sceptre. 
Moab is my wash-basin;
   on Edom I hurl my shoe;
   over Philistia I shout in triumph.’ 

Who will bring me to the fortified city?
   Who will lead me to Edom? 
Have you not rejected us, O God?
   You do not go out, O God, with our armies. 
O grant us help against the foe,
   for human help is worthless. 
With God we shall do valiantly;
   it is he who will tread down our foes.

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