Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 175

Psalms 64, 88, 105 & 130, Romans 8, Ephesians 2

Bible text(s)

A Prayer for Protection

1I am in trouble, God — listen to my prayer!

I am afraid of my enemies — save my life!

2Protect me from the plots of the wicked,

from evil mobs.

3They sharpen their tongues like swords

and aim cruel words like arrows.

4They are quick to spread their shameless lies;

they destroy good people with cowardly slander.

5They encourage each other in their evil plots;

they plan where to place their traps.

“No one can see them,” they say.

6They make evil plans and say,

“We have planned a perfect crime.”

The human heart and mind are a mystery.

7But God shoots his arrows at them,

and suddenly they are wounded.

8He will destroy them because of those words;

all who see them will shake their heads.

9They will all be afraid;

they will think about what God has done

and tell about his deeds.

10All righteous people will rejoice

because of what the LORD has done.

They will find safety in him;

all good people will praise him.

A Cry for Help

1LORD God, my saviour, I cry out all day,

and at night I come before you.

2Hear my prayer;

listen to my cry for help!

3So many troubles have fallen on me

that I am close to death.

4I am like all others who are about to die;

all my strength is gone.

5I am abandoned among the dead;

I am like the slain lying in their graves,

those you have forgotten completely,

who are beyond your help.

6You have thrown me into the depths of the tomb,

into the darkest and deepest pit.

7Your anger lies heavy on me,

and I am crushed beneath its waves.

8You have caused my friends to abandon me;

you have made me repulsive to them.

I am closed in and cannot escape;

9my eyes are weak from suffering.

LORD, every day I call to you

and lift my hands to you in prayer.

10Do you perform miracles for the dead?

Do they rise up and praise you?

11Is your constant love spoken of in the grave

or your faithfulness in the place of destruction?

12Are your miracles seen in that place of darkness

or your goodness in the land of the forgotten?

13LORD, I call to you for help;

every morning I pray to you.

14Why do you reject me, LORD?

Why do you turn away from me?

15Ever since I was young, I have suffered and been near death;

I am worn out from the burden of your punishments.

16Your furious anger crushes me;

your terrible attacks destroy me.

17All day long they surround me like a flood;

they close in on me from every side.

18You have made even my closest friends abandon me,

and darkness is my only companion.

God and his People

(1 Chr 16.8–22)

1Give thanks to the LORD, proclaim his greatness;

tell the nations what he has done.

2Sing praise to the LORD;

tell of the wonderful things he has done.

3Be glad that we belong to him;

let all who worship him rejoice.

4Go to the LORD for help;

and worship him continually.

5-6You descendants of Abraham, his servant;

you descendants of Jacob, the man he chose:

remember the miracles that God performed

and the judgements that he gave.

7The LORD is our God;

his commands are for all the world.

8He will keep his covenant for ever,

his promises for a thousand generations.

9He will keep the agreement he made with Abraham

and his promise to Isaac.

10The LORD made a covenant with Jacob,

one that will last for ever.

11“I will give you the land of Canaan,” he said.

“It will be your own possession.”

12God's people were few in number,

strangers in the land of Canaan.

13They wandered from country to country,

from one kingdom to another.

14But God let no one oppress them;

to protect them, he warned the kings:

15“Don't harm my chosen servants;

do not touch my prophets.”

16The LORD sent famine to their country

and took away all their food.

17But he sent a man ahead of them,

Joseph, who had been sold as a slave.

18His feet were kept in chains,

and an iron collar was round his neck,

19until what he had predicted came true.

The word of the LORD proved him right.

20Then the king of Egypt had him released;

the ruler of nations set him free.

21He put him in charge of his government

and made him ruler over all the land,

22with power over the king's officials

and authority to instruct his advisers.

23Then Jacob went to Egypt

and settled in that country.

24The LORD gave many children to his people

and made them stronger than their enemies.

25He made the Egyptians hate his people

and treat his servants with deceit.

26Then he sent his servant Moses,

and Aaron, whom he had chosen.

27They did God's mighty acts

and performed miracles in Egypt.

28God sent darkness on the country,

but the Egyptians did not obey his command.

29He turned their rivers into blood

and killed all their fish.

30Their country was overrun with frogs,

even the palace was filled with them.

31God commanded, and flies and gnats

swarmed throughout the whole country.

32He sent hail and lightning on their land

instead of rain;

33he destroyed their grapevines and fig trees

and broke down all the trees.

34He commanded, and the locusts came,

countless millions of them;

35they ate all the plants in the land;

they ate all the crops.

36He killed the firstborn sons

of all the families of Egypt.

37Then he led the Israelites out;

they carried silver and gold,

and all of them were healthy and strong.

38The Egyptians were afraid of them

and were glad when they left.

39God put a cloud over his people

and a fire at night to give them light.

40They asked, and he sent quails;

he gave them food from heaven to satisfy them.

41He opened a rock, and water gushed out,

flowing through the desert like a river.

42He remembered his sacred promise

to Abraham his servant.

43So he led his chosen people out,

and they sang and shouted for joy.

44He gave them the lands of other peoples

and let them take over their fields,

45so that his people would obey his laws

and keep all his commands.

Praise the LORD!

Psalms 105GNBOpen in Bible reader

A Prayer for Help

1From the depths of my despair I call to you, LORD.

2Hear my cry, O Lord;

listen to my call for help!

3If you kept a record of our sins,

who could escape being condemned?

4But you forgive us,

so that we should stand in awe of you.

5I wait eagerly for the LORD's help,

and in his word I trust.

6I wait for the Lord

more eagerly than watchmen wait for the dawn —

than watchmen wait for the dawn.

7Israel, trust in the LORD,

because his love is constant

and he is always willing to save.

8He will save his people Israel

from all their sins.

Psalms 130GNBOpen in Bible reader

Life in the Spirit

1There is no condemnation now for those who live in union with Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit, which brings us life in union with Christ Jesus, has set me free from the law of sin and death. 3What the Law could not do, because human nature was weak, God did. He condemned sin in human nature by sending his own Son, who came with a nature like sinful human nature, to do away with sin. 4God did this so that the righteous demands of the Law might be fully satisfied in us who live according to the Spirit, and not according to human nature. 5Those who live as their human nature tells them to, have their minds controlled by what human nature wants. Those who live as the Spirit tells them to, have their minds controlled by what the Spirit wants. 6To be controlled by human nature results in death; to be controlled by the Spirit results in life and peace. 7And so people become enemies of God when they are controlled by their human nature; for they do not obey God's law, and in fact they cannot obey it. 8Those who obey their human nature cannot please God.

9But you do not live as your human nature tells you to; instead, you live as the Spirit tells you to — if, in fact, God's Spirit lives in you. Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10But if Christ lives in you, the Spirit is life for you because you have been put right with God, even though your bodies are going to die because of sin. 11If the Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from death, lives in you, then he who raised Christ from death will also give life to your mortal bodies by the presence of his Spirit in you.

12So then, my brothers and sisters, we have an obligation, but it is not to live as our human nature wants us to. 13For if you live according to your human nature, you are going to die; but if by the Spirit you put to death your sinful actions, you will live. 14Those who are led by God's Spirit are God's children. 15For the Spirit that God has given you does not make you slaves and cause you to be afraid; instead, the Spirit makes you God's children, and by the Spirit's power we cry out to God, “Father! my Father!” 16God's Spirit joins himself to our spirits to declare that we are God's children. 17Since we are his children, we will possess the blessings he keeps for his people, and we will also possess with Christ what God has kept for him; for if we share Christ's suffering, we will also share his glory.

The Future Glory

18I consider that what we suffer at this present time cannot be compared at all with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. 19All of creation waits with eager longing for God to reveal his children. 20For creation was condemned to lose its purpose, not of its own will, but because God willed it to be so. Yet there was the hope 21that creation itself would one day be set free from its slavery to decay and would share the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22For we know that up to the present time all of creation groans with pain, like the pain of childbirth. 23But it is not just creation alone which groans; we who have the Spirit as the first of God's gifts also groan within ourselves, as we wait for God to make us his children and set our whole being free. 24For it was by hope that we were saved; but if we see what we hope for, then it is not really hope. For which of us hopes for something we see? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

26In the same way the Spirit also comes to help us, weak as we are. For we do not know how we ought to pray; the Spirit himself pleads with God for us in groans that words cannot express. 27And God, who sees into our hearts, knows what the thought of the Spirit is; because the Spirit pleads with God on behalf of his people and in accordance with his will.

28We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose. 29Those whom God had already chosen he also set apart to become like his Son, so that the Son would be the eldest brother in a large family. 30And so those whom God set apart, he called; and those he called, he put right with himself, and he shared his glory with them.

God's Love in Christ Jesus

31In view of all this, what can we say? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32Certainly not God, who did not even keep back his own Son, but offered him for us all! He gave us his Son — will he not also freely give us all things? 33Who will accuse God's chosen people? God himself declares them not guilty! 34Who, then, will condemn them? Not Christ Jesus, who died, or rather, who was raised to life and is at the right-hand side of God, pleading with him for us! 35Who, then, can separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble do it, or hardship or persecution or hunger or poverty or danger or death? 36As the scripture says,

“For your sake we are in danger of death at all times;

we are treated like sheep that are going to be slaughtered.”

37No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! 38For I am certain that nothing can separate us from his love: neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers or powers, neither the present nor the future, 39neither the world above nor the world below — there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.

From Death to Life

1In the past you were spiritually dead because of your disobedience and sins. 2At that time you followed the world's evil way; you obeyed the ruler of the spiritual powers in space, the spirit who now controls the people who disobey God. 3Actually all of us were like them and lived according to our natural desires, doing whatever suited the wishes of our own bodies and minds. In our natural condition we, like everyone else, were destined to suffer God's anger.

4But God's mercy is so abundant, and his love for us is so great, 5that while we were spiritually dead in our disobedience he brought us to life with Christ. It is by God's grace that you have been saved. 6In our union with Christ Jesus he raised us up with him to rule with him in the heavenly world. 7He did this to demonstrate for all time to come the extraordinary greatness of his grace in the love he showed us in Christ Jesus. 8-9For it is by God's grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God's gift, so that no one can boast about it. 10God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus he has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do.

One in Christ

11You Gentiles by birth — called “the uncircumcised” by the Jews, who call themselves “the circumcised” (which refers to what men do to their bodies) — remember what you were in the past. 12At that time you were apart from Christ. You were foreigners and did not belong to God's chosen people. You had no part in the covenants, which were based on God's promises to his people, and you lived in this world without hope and without God. 13But now, in union with Christ Jesus, you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For Christ himself has brought us peace by making Jews and Gentiles one people. With his own body he broke down the wall that separated them and kept them enemies. 15He abolished the Jewish Law with its commandments and rules, in order to create out of the two races one new people in union with himself, in this way making peace. 16By his death on the cross Christ destroyed their enmity; by means of the cross he united both races into one body and brought them back to God. 17So Christ came and preached the Good News of peace to all — to you Gentiles, who were far away from God, and to the Jews, who were near to him. 18It is through Christ that all of us, Jews and Gentiles, are able to come in the one Spirit into the presence of the Father.

19So then, you Gentiles are not foreigners or strangers any longer; you are now fellow-citizens with God's people and members of the family of God. 20You, too, are built upon the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, the cornerstone being Christ Jesus himself. 21He is the one who holds the whole building together and makes it grow into a sacred temple dedicated to the Lord. 22In union with him you too are being built together with all the others into a place where God lives through his Spirit.

Ephesians 2GNBOpen in Bible reader
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