LECTIO DIVINA

There are lots of ways to read the Bible, this is one way that we like to stop and reflect on scripture.


SILENCE

take 60 seconds (or more) in silent preparation for sacred reading


READ

listen to the text by reading out loud slowly and repeat up to 3x if desired


MEDITATE

reflect on - what word, words, phrase, or sentence speaks to you from the text, then write them down


PRAY

pray as responding to the words, phrase, sentence that God has stirred within you


CONTEMPLATE

rest in the presence of God, allowing the words revealed to take root

    • Proverbs 16:1-3

      We can make our own plans,

          but the Lord gives the right answer.

      2 People may be pure in their own eyes,

          but the Lord examines their motives.

      3 Commit your actions to the Lord,

          and your plans will succeed.

    • Habakkuk 2:12-20

      12 “What sorrow awaits you who build cities

          with money gained through murder and corruption!

      13 Has not the Lord of Heaven’s Armies promised

          that the wealth of nations will turn to ashes?

      They work so hard,

          but all in vain!

      14 For as the waters fill the sea,

          the earth will be filled with an awareness

          of the glory of the Lord.

      15 “What sorrow awaits you who make your neighbors drunk!

          You force your cup on them

          so you can gloat over their shameful nakedness.

      16 But soon it will be your turn to be disgraced.

          Come, drink and be exposed![a]

      Drink from the cup of the Lord’s judgment,

          and all your glory will be turned to shame.

      17 You cut down the forests of Lebanon.

          Now you will be cut down.

      You destroyed the wild animals,

          so now their terror will be yours.

      You committed murder throughout the countryside

          and filled the towns with violence.

      18 “What good is an idol carved by man,

          or a cast image that deceives you?

      How foolish to trust in your own creation—

          a god that can’t even talk!

      19 What sorrow awaits you who say to wooden idols,

          ‘Wake up and save us!’

      To speechless stone images you say,

          ‘Rise up and teach us!’

          Can an idol tell you what to do?

      They may be overlaid with gold and silver,

          but they are lifeless inside.

      20 But the Lord is in his holy Temple.

          Let all the earth be silent before him.”

    • Jude 1:5-21

      5 So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus[a] first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful. 6 And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. 7 And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.

      8 In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings.[b] 9 But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels,[c] did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) 10 But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction. 11 What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion.

      12 When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you.[d] They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots. 13 They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their shameful deeds. They are like wandering stars, doomed forever to blackest darkness.

      14 Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones 15 to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”[e]

      16 These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.

      A Call to Remain Faithful

      17 But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. 18 They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. 19 These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.

      20 But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,[f] 21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.

    • Psalm 142

      A psalm[a] of David, regarding his experience in the cave. A prayer.

      1 I cry out to the Lord;

          I plead for the Lord’s mercy.

      2 I pour out my complaints before him

          and tell him all my troubles.

      3 When I am overwhelmed,

          you alone know the way I should turn.

      Wherever I go,

          my enemies have set traps for me.

      4 I look for someone to come and help me,

          but no one gives me a passing thought!

      No one will help me;

          no one cares a bit what happens to me.

      5 Then I pray to you, O Lord.

          I say, “You are my place of refuge.

          You are all I really want in life.

      6 Hear my cry,

          for I am very low.

      Rescue me from my persecutors,

          for they are too strong for me.

      7 Bring me out of prison

          so I can thank you.

      The godly will crowd around me,

          for you are good to me.”

    • Luke 14:1-14

      Jesus Heals on the Sabbath

      14 One Sabbath day Jesus went to eat dinner in the home of a leader of the Pharisees, and the people were watching him closely. 2 There was a man there whose arms and legs were swollen.[a] 3 Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in religious law, “Is it permitted in the law to heal people on the Sabbath day, or not?”4 When they refused to answer, Jesus touched the sick man and healed him and sent him away. 5 Then he turned to them and said, “Which of you doesn’t work on the Sabbath? If your son[b] or your cow falls into a pit, don’t you rush to get him out?” 6 Again they could not answer.

      Jesus Teaches about Humility

      7 When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit in the seats of honor near the head of the table, he gave them this advice: 8 “When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited? 9 The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table!

      10 “Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. 11 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

      12 Then he turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. 13 Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14 Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”

    • Proverbs 16:21-30

      21 The wise are known for their understanding,

          and pleasant words are persuasive.

      22 Discretion is a life-giving fountain to those who possess it,

          but discipline is wasted on fools.

      23 From a wise mind comes wise speech;

          the words of the wise are persuasive.

      24 Kind words are like honey—

          sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

      25 There is a path before each person that seems right,

          but it ends in death.

      26 It is good for workers to have an appetite;

          an empty stomach drives them on.

      27 Scoundrels create trouble;

          their words are a destructive blaze.

      28 A troublemaker plants seeds of strife;

          gossip separates the best of friends.

      29 Violent people mislead their companions,

          leading them down a harmful path.

      30 With narrowed eyes, people plot evil;

          with a smirk, they plan their mischief.

    • Haggai 2:10-19

      Blessings Promised for Obedience

      10 On December 18[a] of the second year of King Darius’s reign, the Lord sent this message to the prophet Haggai: 11 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says. Ask the priests this question about the law: 12 ‘If one of you is carrying some meat from a holy sacrifice in his robes and his robe happens to brush against some bread or stew, wine or olive oil, or any other kind of food, will it also become holy?’”

      The priests replied, “No.”

      13 Then Haggai asked, “If someone becomes ceremonially unclean by touching a dead person and then touches any of these foods, will the food be defiled?”

      And the priests answered, “Yes.”

      14 Then Haggai responded, “That is how it is with this people and this nation, says the Lord. Everything they do and everything they offer is defiled by their sin.15 Look at what was happening to you before you began to lay the foundation of the Lord’s Temple. 16 When you hoped for a twenty-bushel crop, you harvested only ten. When you expected to draw fifty gallons from the winepress, you found only twenty. 17 I sent blight and mildew and hail to destroy everything you worked so hard to produce. Even so, you refused to return to me, says the Lord.

      18 “Think about this eighteenth day of December, the day[b] when the foundation of the Lord’s Temple was laid. Think carefully. 19 I am giving you a promise now while the seed is still in the barn.[c] You have not yet harvested your grain, and your grapevines, fig trees, pomegranates, and olive trees have not yet produced their crops. But from this day onward I will bless you.”

    • 2 John 1:1-13

      Greetings

      1 This letter is from John, the elder.[a]

      I am writing to the chosen lady and to her children,[b] whom I love in the truth—as does everyone else who knows the truth— 2 because the truth lives in us and will be with us forever.

      3 Grace, mercy, and peace, which come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ—the Son of the Father—will continue to be with us who live in truth and love.

      Live in the Truth

      4 How happy I was to meet some of your children and find them living according to the truth, just as the Father commanded.

      5 I am writing to remind you, dear friends,[c] that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning. 6 Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.

      7 I say this because many deceivers have gone out into the world. They deny that Jesus Christ came[d] in a real body. Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist.8 Watch out that you do not lose what we[e] have worked so hard to achieve. Be diligent so that you receive your full reward. 9 Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no relationship with God. But anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ has a relationship with both the Father and the Son.

      10 If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don’t invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement.11 Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their evil work.

      Conclusion

      12 I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to do it with paper and ink. For I hope to visit you soon and talk with you face to face. Then our joy will be complete.

      13 Greetings from the children of your sister,[f] chosen by God.

    • Psalm 98

      1 Sing a new song to the Lord,

          for he has done wonderful deeds.

      His right hand has won a mighty victory;

          his holy arm has shown his saving power!

      2 The Lord has announced his victory

          and has revealed his righteousness to every nation!

      3 He has remembered his promise to love and be faithful to Israel.

          The ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.

      4 Shout to the Lord, all the earth;

          break out in praise and sing for joy!

      5 Sing your praise to the Lord with the harp,

          with the harp and melodious song,

      6 with trumpets and the sound of the ram’s horn.

          Make a joyful symphony before the Lord, the King!

      7 Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!

          Let the earth and all living things join in.

      8 Let the rivers clap their hands in glee!

          Let the hills sing out their songs of joy

      9 before the Lord,

          for he is coming to judge the earth.

      He will judge the world with justice,

          and the nations with fairness.

    • Luke 14:25-35

      The Cost of Being a Disciple

      25 A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, 26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.

      28 “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? 29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. 30 They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’

      31 “Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? 32 And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. 33 So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.

      34 “Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? 35 Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown away. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!”

    • Proverbs 17:9-14

      9 Love prospers when a fault is forgiven,

          but dwelling on it separates close friends.

      10 A single rebuke does more for a person of understanding

          than a hundred lashes on the back of a fool.

      11 Evil people are eager for rebellion,

          but they will be severely punished.

      12 It is safer to meet a bear robbed of her cubs

          than to confront a fool caught in foolishness.

      13 If you repay good with evil,

          evil will never leave your house.

      14 Starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate,

          so stop before a dispute breaks out.

    • Isaiah 60:17-22

      17 I will exchange your bronze for gold,

          your iron for silver,

      your wood for bronze,

          and your stones for iron.

      I will make peace your leader

          and righteousness your ruler.

      18 Violence will disappear from your land;

          the desolation and destruction of war will end.

      Salvation will surround you like city walls,

          and praise will be on the lips of all who enter there.

      19 “No longer will you need the sun to shine by day,

          nor the moon to give its light by night,

      for the Lord your God will be your everlasting light,

          and your God will be your glory.

      20 Your sun will never set;

          your moon will not go down.

      For the Lord will be your everlasting light.

          Your days of mourning will come to an end.

      21 All your people will be righteous.

          They will possess their land forever,

      for I will plant them there with my own hands

          in order to bring myself glory.

      22 The smallest family will become a thousand people,

          and the tiniest group will become a mighty nation.

          At the right time, I, the Lord, will make it happen.”

    • 1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1

      23 You say, “I am allowed to do anything”[a]—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. 24 Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.

      25 So you may eat any meat that is sold in the marketplace without raising questions of conscience. 26 For “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”[b]

      27 If someone who isn’t a believer asks you home for dinner, accept the invitation if you want to. Eat whatever is offered to you without raising questions of conscience. 28 (But suppose someone tells you, “This meat was offered to an idol.” Don’t eat it, out of consideration for the conscience of the one who told you.29 It might not be a matter of conscience for you, but it is for the other person.) For why should my freedom be limited by what someone else thinks? 30 If I can thank God for the food and enjoy it, why should I be condemned for eating it?

      31 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.32 Don’t give offense to Jews or Gentiles[c] or the church of God. 33 I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved. 11 1 And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.

    • Psalm 76

      For the choir director: A psalm of Asaph. A song to be accompanied by stringed instruments.

      1 God is honored in Judah;

          his name is great in Israel.

      2 Jerusalem[a] is where he lives;

          Mount Zion is his home.

      3 There he has broken the fiery arrows of the enemy,

          the shields and swords and weapons of war. Interlude

      4 You are glorious and more majestic

          than the everlasting mountains.[b]

      5 Our boldest enemies have been plundered.

          They lie before us in the sleep of death.

          No warrior could lift a hand against us.

      6 At the blast of your breath, O God of Jacob,

          their horses and chariots lay still.

      7 No wonder you are greatly feared!

          Who can stand before you when your anger explodes?

      8 From heaven you sentenced your enemies;

          the earth trembled and stood silent before you.

      9 You stand up to judge those who do evil, O God,

          and to rescue the oppressed of the earth. Interlude

      10 Human defiance only enhances your glory,

          for you use it as a weapon.[c]

      11 Make vows to the Lord your God, and keep them.

          Let everyone bring tribute to the Awesome One.

      12 For he breaks the pride of princes,

          and the kings of the earth fear him.

    • Luke 15:1-10

      Parable of the Lost Sheep

      15 Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. 2 This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!

      3 So Jesus told them this story: 4 “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. 6 When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!

      Parable of the Lost Coin

      8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins[a] and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”

    • Proverbs 18:1-8

      1 Unfriendly people care only about themselves;

          they lash out at common sense.

      2 Fools have no interest in understanding;

          they only want to air their own opinions.

      3 Doing wrong leads to disgrace,

          and scandalous behavior brings contempt.

      4 Wise words are like deep waters;

          wisdom flows from the wise like a bubbling brook.

      5 It is not right to acquit the guilty

          or deny justice to the innocent.

      6 Fools’ words get them into constant quarrels;

          they are asking for a beating.

      7 The mouths of fools are their ruin;

          they trap themselves with their lips.

      8 Rumors are dainty morsels

          that sink deep into one’s heart.

    • Jeremiah 30:1-17

      Promises of Deliverance

      30 The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 2 “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Write down for the record everything I have said to you, Jeremiah. 3 For the time is coming when I will restore the fortunes of my people of Israel and Judah. I will bring them home to this land that I gave to their ancestors, and they will possess it again. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

      4 This is the message the Lord gave concerning Israel and Judah. 5 This is what the Lord says:

      “I hear cries of fear;

          there is terror and no peace.

      6 Now let me ask you a question:

          Do men give birth to babies?

      Then why do they stand there, ashen-faced,

          hands pressed against their sides

          like a woman in labor?

      7 In all history there has never been such a time of terror.

          It will be a time of trouble for my people Israel.[a]

          Yet in the end they will be saved!

      8 For in that day,”

          says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,

      “I will break the yoke from their necks

          and snap their chains.

      Foreigners will no longer be their masters.

      9     For my people will serve the Lord their God

      and their king descended from David—

          the king I will raise up for them.

      10 “So do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant;

          do not be dismayed, Israel,”

          says the Lord.

      “For I will bring you home again from distant lands,

          and your children will return from their exile.

      Israel will return to a life of peace and quiet,

          and no one will terrorize them.

      11 For I am with you and will save you,”

          says the Lord.

      “I will completely destroy the nations where I have scattered you,

          but I will not completely destroy you.

      I will discipline you, but with justice;

          I cannot let you go unpunished.”

      12 This is what the Lord says:

      “Your injury is incurable—

          a terrible wound.

      13 There is no one to help you

          or to bind up your injury.

          No medicine can heal you.

      14 All your lovers—your allies—have left you

          and do not care about you anymore.

      I have wounded you cruelly,

          as though I were your enemy.

      For your sins are many,

          and your guilt is great.

      15 Why do you protest your punishment—

          this wound that has no cure?

      I have had to punish you

          because your sins are many

          and your guilt is great.

      16 “But all who devour you will be devoured,

          and all your enemies will be sent into exile.

      All who plunder you will be plundered,

          and all who attack you will be attacked.

      17 I will give you back your health

          and heal your wounds,” says the Lord.

      “For you are called an outcast—

          ‘Jerusalem[b] for whom no one cares.’”

    • Revelation 22:8-21

      8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw all these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me.9 But he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this book. Worship only God!”

      10 Then he instructed me, “Do not seal up the prophetic words in this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the one who is doing harm continue to do harm; let the one who is vile continue to be vile; let the one who is righteous continue to live righteously; let the one who is holy continue to be holy.”

      12 “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

      14 Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life. 15 Outside the city are the dogs—the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie.

      16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches. I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne.[a] I am the bright morning star.”

      17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life. 18 And I solemnly declare to everyone who hears the words of prophecy written in this book: If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone removes any of the words from this book of prophecy, God will remove that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book.

      20 He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!”

      Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!

      21 May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people.

    • PSALM 117

      1 Praise the Lord, all you nations.

          Praise him, all you people of the earth.

      2 For his unfailing love for us is powerful;

          the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever.

      Praise the Lord!

    • Luke 15:11-32

      Parable of the Lost Son

      11 To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons.12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.

      13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

      17 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you,19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’

      20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.[a]’

      22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

      25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’

      28 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’

      31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”

    • Proverbs 19:19-25

      19 Hot-tempered people must pay the penalty.

          If you rescue them once, you will have to do it again.

      20 Get all the advice and instruction you can,

          so you will be wise the rest of your life.

      21 You can make many plans,

          but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.

      22 Loyalty makes a person attractive.

          It is better to be poor than dishonest.

      23 Fear of the Lord leads to life,

          bringing security and protection from harm.

      24 Lazy people take food in their hand

          but don’t even lift it to their mouth.

      25 If you punish a mocker, the simpleminded will learn a lesson;

          if you correct the wise, they will be all the wiser.

    • Genesis 8:1-19

      The Flood Recedes

      8 But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and livestock with him in the boat. He sent a wind to blow across the earth, and the floodwaters began to recede. 2 The underground waters stopped flowing, and the torrential rains from the sky were stopped. 3 So the floodwaters gradually receded from the earth. After 150 days, 4 exactly five months from the time the flood began,[a] the boat came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5 Two and a half months later,[b] as the waters continued to go down, other mountain peaks became visible.

      6 After another forty days, Noah opened the window he had made in the boat7 and released a raven. The bird flew back and forth until the floodwaters on the earth had dried up. 8 He also released a dove to see if the water had receded and it could find dry ground. 9 But the dove could find no place to land because the water still covered the ground. So it returned to the boat, and Noah held out his hand and drew the dove back inside. 10 After waiting another seven days, Noah released the dove again. 11 This time the dove returned to him in the evening with a fresh olive leaf in its beak. Then Noah knew that the floodwaters were almost gone. 12 He waited another seven days and then released the dove again. This time it did not come back.

      13 Noah was now 601 years old. On the first day of the new year, ten and a half months after the flood began,[c] the floodwaters had almost dried up from the earth. Noah lifted back the covering of the boat and saw that the surface of the ground was drying. 14 Two more months went by,[d] and at last the earth was dry!

      15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Leave the boat, all of you—you and your wife, and your sons and their wives. 17 Release all the animals—the birds, the livestock, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—so they can be fruitful and multiply throughout the earth.”

      18 So Noah, his wife, and his sons and their wives left the boat. 19 And all of the large and small animals and birds came out of the boat, pair by pair.

    • Hebrews 11:32-40

      32 How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. 33 By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions,34 quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. 35 Women received their loved ones back again from death.

      But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. 36 Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. 37 Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half,[a] and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. 38 They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.

      39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. 40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.

    • Psalm 124

      A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of David.

      1 What if the Lord had not been on our side?

          Let all Israel repeat:

      2 What if the Lord had not been on our side

          when people attacked us?

      3 They would have swallowed us alive

          in their burning anger.

      4 The waters would have engulfed us;

          a torrent would have overwhelmed us.

      5 Yes, the raging waters of their fury

          would have overwhelmed our very lives.

      6 Praise the Lord,

          who did not let their teeth tear us apart!

      7 We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap.

          The trap is broken, and we are free!

      8 Our help is from the Lord,

          who made heaven and earth.

    • Luke 16:1-15

      Parable of the Shrewd Manager

      16 Jesus told this story to his disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a manager handling his affairs. One day a report came that the manager was wasting his employer’s money. 2 So the employer called him in and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? Get your report in order, because you are going to be fired.’

      3 “The manager thought to himself, ‘Now what? My boss has fired me. I don’t have the strength to dig ditches, and I’m too proud to beg. 4 Ah, I know how to ensure that I’ll have plenty of friends who will give me a home when I am fired.’

      5 “So he invited each person who owed money to his employer to come and discuss the situation. He asked the first one, ‘How much do you owe him?’ 6 The man replied, ‘I owe him 800 gallons of olive oil.’ So the manager told him, ‘Take the bill and quickly change it to 400 gallons.[a]’

      7 “‘And how much do you owe my employer?’ he asked the next man. ‘I owe him 1,000 bushels of wheat,’ was the reply. ‘Here,’ the manager said, ‘take the bill and change it to 800 bushels.[b]’

      8 “The rich man had to admire the dishonest rascal for being so shrewd. And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light. 9 Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.[c]

      10 “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. 11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? 12 And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?

      13 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.”

      14 The Pharisees, who dearly loved their money, heard all this and scoffed at him.15 Then he said to them, “You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts. What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God.

    • Proverbs 20:1-9

      1 Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls.

          Those led astray by drink cannot be wise.

      2 The king’s fury is like a lion’s roar;

          to rouse his anger is to risk your life.

      3 Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor;

          only fools insist on quarreling.

      4 Those too lazy to plow in the right season

          will have no food at the harvest.

      5 Though good advice lies deep within the heart,

          a person with understanding will draw it out.

      6 Many will say they are loyal friends,

          but who can find one who is truly reliable?

      7 The godly walk with integrity;

          blessed are their children who follow them.

      8 When a king sits in judgment, he weighs all the evidence,

          distinguishing the bad from the good.

      9 Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart;

          I am pure and free from sin”?

    • Isaiah 24:1-16a

      Destruction of the Earth

      1 Look! The Lord is about to destroy the earth

          and make it a vast wasteland.

      He devastates the surface of the earth

          and scatters the people.

      2 Priests and laypeople,

          servants and masters,

          maids and mistresses,

          buyers and sellers,

          lenders and borrowers,

          bankers and debtors—none will be spared.

      3 The earth will be completely emptied and looted.

          The Lord has spoken!

      4 The earth mourns and dries up,

          and the land wastes away and withers.

          Even the greatest people on earth waste away.

      5 The earth suffers for the sins of its people,

          for they have twisted God’s instructions,

      violated his laws,

          and broken his everlasting covenant.

      6 Therefore, a curse consumes the earth.

          Its people must pay the price for their sin.

      They are destroyed by fire,

          and only a few are left alive.

      7 The grapevines waste away,

          and there is no new wine.

          All the merrymakers sigh and mourn.

      8 The cheerful sound of tambourines is stilled;

          the happy cries of celebration are heard no more.

          The melodious chords of the harp are silent.

      9 Gone are the joys of wine and song;

          alcoholic drink turns bitter in the mouth.

      10 The city writhes in chaos;

          every home is locked to keep out intruders.

      11 Mobs gather in the streets, crying out for wine.

          Joy has turned to gloom.

          Gladness has been banished from the land.

      12 The city is left in ruins,

          its gates battered down.

      13 Throughout the earth the story is the same—

          only a remnant is left,

      like the stray olives left on the tree

          or the few grapes left on the vine after harvest.

      14 But all who are left shout and sing for joy.

          Those in the west praise the Lord’s majesty.

      15 In eastern lands, give glory to the Lord.

          In the lands beyond the sea, praise the name of the Lord, the God of Israel.

      16 We hear songs of praise from the ends of the earth,

          songs that give glory to the Righteous One!

      But my heart is heavy with grief.

          Weep for me, for I wither away.

      Deceit still prevails,

          and treachery is everywhere.

    • Romans 15:14-21

      Paul’s Reason for Writing

      14 I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters,[a] that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well you can teach each other all about them. 15 Even so, I have been bold enough to write about some of these points, knowing that all you need is this reminder. For by God’s grace, 16 I am a special messenger from Christ Jesus to you Gentiles. I bring you the Good News so that I might present you as an acceptable offering to God, made holy by the Holy Spirit.17 So I have reason to be enthusiastic about all Christ Jesus has done through me in my service to God. 18 Yet I dare not boast about anything except what Christ has done through me, bringing the Gentiles to God by my message and by the way I worked among them. 19 They were convinced by the power of miraculous signs and wonders and by the power of God’s Spirit.[b] In this way, I have fully presented the Good News of Christ from Jerusalem all the way to Illyricum.[c]

      20 My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else. 21 I have been following the plan spoken of in the Scriptures, where it says,

      “Those who have never been told about him will see,

          and those who have never heard of him will understand.”

    • Psalm 21

      For the choir director: A psalm of David.

      1 How the king rejoices in your strength, O Lord!

          He shouts with joy because you give him victory.

      2 For you have given him his heart’s desire;

          you have withheld nothing he requested. Interlude

      3 You welcomed him back with success and prosperity.

          You placed a crown of finest gold on his head.

      4 He asked you to preserve his life,

          and you granted his request.

          The days of his life stretch on forever.

      5 Your victory brings him great honor,

          and you have clothed him with splendor and majesty.

      6 You have endowed him with eternal blessings

          and given him the joy of your presence.

      7 For the king trusts in the Lord.

          The unfailing love of the Most High will keep him from stumbling.

      8 You will capture all your enemies.

          Your strong right hand will seize all who hate you.

      9 You will throw them in a flaming furnace

          when you appear.

      The Lord will consume them in his anger;

          fire will devour them.

      10 You will wipe their children from the face of the earth;

          they will never have descendants.

      11 Although they plot against you,

          their evil schemes will never succeed.

      12 For they will turn and run

          when they see your arrows aimed at them.

      13 Rise up, O Lord, in all your power.

          With music and singing we celebrate your mighty acts.

    • Luke 17:11-19

      Ten Healed of Leprosy

      11 As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. 12 As he entered a village there, ten men with leprosy stood at a distance, 13 crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

      14 He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”[a] And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.

      15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” 16 He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.

      17 Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.[b]”

    • Proverbs 21:25-31

      25 Despite their desires, the lazy will come to ruin,

          for their hands refuse to work.

      26 Some people are always greedy for more,

          but the godly love to give!

      27 The sacrifice of an evil person is detestable,

          especially when it is offered with wrong motives.

      28 A false witness will be cut off,

          but a credible witness will be allowed to speak.

      29 The wicked bluff their way through,

          but the virtuous think before they act.

      30 No human wisdom or understanding or plan

          can stand against the Lord.

      31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle,

          but the victory belongs to the Lord.

    • Isaiah 29:17-24

      17 Soon—and it will not be very long—

          the forests of Lebanon will become a fertile field,

          and the fertile field will yield bountiful crops.

      18 In that day the deaf will hear words read from a book,

          and the blind will see through the gloom and darkness.

      19 The humble will be filled with fresh joy from the Lord.

          The poor will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.

      20 The scoffer will be gone,

          the arrogant will disappear,

          and those who plot evil will be killed.

      21 Those who convict the innocent

          by their false testimony will disappear.

      A similar fate awaits those who use trickery to pervert justice

          and who tell lies to destroy the innocent.

      22 That is why the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, says to the people of Israel,[a]

      “My people will no longer be ashamed

          or turn pale with fear.

      23 For when they see their many children

          and all the blessings I have given them,

      they will recognize the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob.

          They will stand in awe of the God of Israel.

      24 Then the wayward will gain understanding,

          and complainers will accept instruction.

    • Jude 1:17-25

      17 But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. 18 They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. 19 These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.

      20 But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,[a] 21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.

      22 And you must show mercy to[b] those whose faith is wavering. 23 Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others,[c] but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.[d]

      A Prayer of Praise

      24 Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. 25 All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.

    • PSALM 42

      For the choir director: A psalm[a] of the descendants of Korah.

      1 As the deer longs for streams of water,

          so I long for you, O God.

      2 I thirst for God, the living God.

          When can I go and stand before him?

      3 Day and night I have only tears for food,

          while my enemies continually taunt me, saying,

          “Where is this God of yours?”

      4 My heart is breaking

          as I remember how it used to be:

      I walked among the crowds of worshipers,

          leading a great procession to the house of God,

      singing for joy and giving thanks

          amid the sound of a great celebration!

      5 Why am I discouraged?

          Why is my heart so sad?

      I will put my hope in God!

          I will praise him again—

          my Savior and 6 my God!

      Now I am deeply discouraged,

          but I will remember you—

      even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan,

          from the land of Mount Mizar.

      7 I hear the tumult of the raging seas

          as your waves and surging tides sweep over me.

      8 But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me,

          and through each night I sing his songs,

          praying to God who gives me life.

      9 “O God my rock,” I cry,

          “Why have you forgotten me?

      Why must I wander around in grief,

          oppressed by my enemies?”

      10 Their taunts break my bones.

          They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?”

      11 Why am I discouraged?

          Why is my heart so sad?

      I will put my hope in God!

          I will praise him again—

          my Savior and my God!

    • Luke 18:35-43

      Jesus Heals a Blind Beggar

      35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting beside the road.36 When he heard the noise of a crowd going past, he asked what was happening.37 They told him that Jesus the Nazarene[a] was going by. 38 So he began shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

      39 “Be quiet!” the people in front yelled at him.

      But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

      40 When Jesus heard him, he stopped and ordered that the man be brought to him. As the man came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”

      “Lord,” he said, “I want to see!”

      42 And Jesus said, “All right, receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.”43 Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too.

    • Proverbs 22:17-29

      Sayings of the Wise

      17 Listen to the words of the wise;

          apply your heart to my instruction.

      18 For it is good to keep these sayings in your heart

          and always ready on your lips.

      19 I am teaching you today—yes, you—

          so you will trust in the Lord.

      20 I have written thirty sayings[a] for you,

          filled with advice and knowledge.

      21 In this way, you may know the truth

          and take an accurate report to those who sent you.

      22 Don’t rob the poor just because you can,

          or exploit the needy in court.

      23 For the Lord is their defender.

          He will ruin anyone who ruins them.

      24 Don’t befriend angry people

          or associate with hot-tempered people,

      25 or you will learn to be like them

          and endanger your soul.

      26 Don’t agree to guarantee another person’s debt

          or put up security for someone else.

      27 If you can’t pay it,

          even your bed will be snatched from under you.

      28 Don’t cheat your neighbor by moving the ancient boundary markers

          set up by previous generations.

      29 Do you see any truly competent workers?

          They will serve kings

          rather than working for ordinary people.

    • 2 Samuel 7:18, 23-29

      18 Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and prayed,

      “Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?

      23 What other nation on earth is like your people Israel? What other nation, O God, have you redeemed from slavery to be your own people? You made a great name for yourself when you redeemed your people from Egypt. You performed awesome miracles and drove out the nations and gods that stood in their way.[a] 24 You made Israel your very own people forever, and you, O Lord, became their God.

      25 “And now, O Lord God, I am your servant; do as you have promised concerning me and my family. Confirm it as a promise that will last forever.26 And may your name be honored forever so that everyone will say, ‘The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is God over Israel!’ And may the house of your servant David continue before you forever.

      27 “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, God of Israel, I have been bold enough to pray this prayer to you because you have revealed all this to your servant, saying, ‘I will build a house for you—a dynasty of kings!’ 28 For you are God, O Sovereign Lord. Your words are truth, and you have promised these good things to your servant. 29 And now, may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you have spoken, and when you grant a blessing to your servant, O Sovereign Lord, it is an eternal blessing!”

    • Luke 1:46-56

      46 Mary responded,

      “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.

      47     How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!

      48 For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,

          and from now on all generations will call me blessed.

      49 For the Mighty One is holy,

          and he has done great things for me.

      50 He shows mercy from generation to generation

          to all who fear him.

      51 His mighty arm has done tremendous things!

          He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.

      52 He has brought down princes from their thrones

          and exalted the humble.

      53 He has filled the hungry with good things

          and sent the rich away with empty hands.

      54 He has helped his servant Israel

          and remembered to be merciful.

      55 For he made this promise to our ancestors,

          to Abraham and his children forever.”

      56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back to her own home.

    • Luke 2:1-21

      At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2 (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. 4 And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5 He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.

      6 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7 She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

      The Shepherds and Angels

      8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

      13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

      14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,

          and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

      15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

      16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

      Jesus Is Presented in the Temple

      21 Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived.

    • Luke 19:1-10

      Jesus and Zacchaeus

      19 Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. 2 There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. 3 He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.

      5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”

      6 Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. 7 But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.

      8 Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”

      9 Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man[a] came to seek and save those who are lost.”

    • Proverbs 24:23-34

      More Sayings of the Wise

      23 Here are some further sayings of the wise:

      It is wrong to show favoritism when passing judgment.

      24 A judge who says to the wicked, “You are innocent,”

          will be cursed by many people and denounced by the nations.

      25 But it will go well for those who convict the guilty;

          rich blessings will be showered on them.

      26 An honest answer

          is like a kiss of friendship.

      27 Do your planning and prepare your fields

          before building your house.

      28 Don’t testify against your neighbors without cause;

          don’t lie about them.

      29 And don’t say, “Now I can pay them back for what they’ve done to me!

          I’ll get even with them!”

      30 I walked by the field of a lazy person,

          the vineyard of one with no common sense.

      31 I saw that it was overgrown with nettles.

          It was covered with weeds,

          and its walls were broken down.

      32 Then, as I looked and thought about it,

          I learned this lesson:

      33 A little extra sleep, a little more slumber,

          a little folding of the hands to rest—

      34 then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit;

          scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.

    • Isaiah 26:1-9

      A Song of Praise to the Lord

      26 In that day, everyone in the land of Judah will sing this song:

      Our city is strong!

          We are surrounded by the walls of God’s salvation.

      2 Open the gates to all who are righteous;

          allow the faithful to enter.

      3 You will keep in perfect peace

          all who trust in you,

          all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

      4 Trust in the Lord always,

          for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.

      5 He humbles the proud

          and brings down the arrogant city.

          He brings it down to the dust.

      6 The poor and oppressed trample it underfoot,

          and the needy walk all over it.

      7 But for those who are righteous,

          the way is not steep and rough.

      You are a God who does what is right,

          and you smooth out the path ahead of them.

      8 Lord, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws;

          our heart’s desire is to glorify your name.

      9 In the night I search for you;

          in the morning[a] I earnestly seek you.

      For only when you come to judge the earth

          will people learn what is right.

    • Hebrews 11:1-12

      Great Examples of Faith

      11 Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. 2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.

      3 By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.

      4 It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.

      5 It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.”[a] For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. 6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

      7 It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.

      8 It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. 9 And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. 10 Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.

      11 It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed[b] that God would keep his promise. 12 And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them.