Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvellous things. His own right hand and his holy arm have won for him the victory. The Lord has made known his salvation; his deliverance has he openly shown in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his mercy and faithfulness towards the house of Israel, and all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Sound praises to the Lord, all the earth; break into singing and make music. Make music to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the voice of melody. With trumpets and the sound of the horn sound praises before the Lord, the King. Let the sea thunder and all that fills it, the world and all that dwell upon it. Let the rivers clap their hands and let the hills ring out together before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. In righteousness shall he judge the world and the peoples with equity.
The Lord is king: let the peoples tremble; he is enthroned above the cherubim: let the earth shake. The Lord is great in Zion and high above all peoples. Let them praise your name, which is great and awesome; the Lord our God is holy. Mighty king, who loves justice, you have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob. Exalt the Lord our God; bow down before his footstool, for he is holy. Moses and Aaron among his priests and Samuel among those who call upon his name, they called upon the Lord and he answered them. He spoke to them out of the pillar of cloud; they kept his testimonies and the law that he gave them. You answered them, O Lord our God; you were a God who forgave them and pardoned them for their offences. Exalt the Lord our God and worship him upon his holy hill, for the Lord our God is holy.
O be joyful in the Lord, all the earth; serve the Lord with gladness and come before his presence with a song. Know that the Lord is God; it is he that has made us and we are his; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and bless his name. For the Lord is gracious; his steadfast love is everlasting, and his faithfulness endures from generation to generation.
When Balak heard that Balaam had come, he went out to meet him at Ir-moab, on the boundary formed by the Arnon, at the farthest point of the boundary. Balak said to Balaam, ‘Did I not send to summon you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able to honour you?’ Balaam said to Balak, ‘I have come to you now, but do I have power to say just anything? The word God puts in my mouth, that is what I must say.’ Then Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kiriath-huzoth. Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep, and sent them to Balaam and to the officials who were with him.
On the next day Balak took Balaam and brought him up to Bamoth-baal; and from there he could see part of the people of Israel.
Then Balaam said to Balak, ‘Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.’ Balak did as Balaam had said; and Balak and Balaam offered a bull and a ram on each altar. Then Balaam said to Balak, ‘Stay here beside your burnt-offerings while I go aside. Perhaps the Lord will come to meet me. Whatever he shows me I will tell you.’ And he went to a bare height.
Then God met Balaam; and Balaam said to him, ‘I have arranged the seven altars, and have offered a bull and a ram on each altar.’ The Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth, and said, ‘Return to Balak, and this is what you must say.’ So he returned to Balak, who was standing beside his burnt-offerings with all the officials of Moab. Then Balaam uttered his oracle, saying:
‘Balak has brought me from Aram, the king of Moab from the eastern mountains: “Come, curse Jacob for me; Come, denounce Israel!” How can I curse whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce those whom the Lord has not denounced? For from the top of the crags I see him, from the hills I behold him; Here is a people living alone, and not reckoning itself among the nations! Who can count the dust of Jacob, or number the dust-cloud of Israel? Let me die the death of the upright, and let my end be like his!’
Then Balak said to Balaam, ‘What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, but now you have done nothing but bless them.’ He answered, ‘Must I not take care to say what the Lord puts into my mouth?’
Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.
When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: ‘A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.’ As he said this, he called out, ‘Let anyone with ears to hear listen!’
Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, ‘To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speak in parables, so that “looking they may not perceive, and listening they may not understand.”
‘Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away. As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.
O God the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: we beseech you, leave us not comfortless, but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us and exalt us to the place where our Saviour Christ is gone before, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.