Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
‘Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.’
The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.
He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
‘I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.’
I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me,
‘You are my son; today I have become your father.
Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.
You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.’
Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.
Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise,
in the city of our God, his holy mountain.
Beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth,
like the heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King.
God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress.
When the kings joined forces, when they advanced together, they saw her and were astounded; they fled in terror.
Trembling seized them there, pain like that of a woman in labour.
You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish shattered by an east wind.
As we have heard, so we have seen in the city of the Lord Almighty, in the city of our God: God makes her secure for ever.
Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.
Like your name, O God,
your praise reaches to the ends of the earth;
your right hand is filled with righteousness.
Mount Zion rejoices, the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments.
Walk about Zion, go round her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts,
view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation.
For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end
I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted.
I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.
You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
I thought about the former days, the years of long ago;
I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart meditated and my spirit asked:
‘Will the Lord reject for ever?
Will he never show his favour again?
Has his unfailing love vanished for ever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?’
Then I thought,
‘To this I will appeal:
the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.’
Your ways, God, are holy.
What god is as great as our God?
You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
The waters saw you, God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.
The clouds poured down water,
the heavens resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth.
Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked.
Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.
You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
‘I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, “Here am I, here am I.”
All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations - a people who continually provoke me to my very face,
offering sacrifices in gardens and burning incense on altars of brick; who sit among the graves and spend their nights keeping secret vigil; who eat the flesh of pigs, and whose pots hold broth of impure meat; who say, “Keep away; don’t come near me, for I am too sacred for you!”
Such people are smoke in my nostrils, a fire that keeps burning all day.
'See, it stands written before me; I will not keep silent but will pay back in full; I will pay it back into their laps - both your sins and the sins of your ancestors,’
says the Lord.
‘Because they burned sacrifices on the mountains and defied me on the hills, I will measure into their lap the full payment for their former deeds.’
This is what the Lord says:
‘As when juice is still found in a cluster of grapes and people say, “Don’t destroy it, there is still a blessing in it,” so will I do on behalf of my servants; I will not destroy them all. I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah those who will possess my mountains; my chosen people will inherit them, and there will my servants live. Sharon will become a pasture for flocks, and the Valley of Achor a resting-place for herds, for my people who seek me.
‘But as for you who forsake the Lord and forget my holy mountain, who spread a table for Fortune and fill bowls of mixed wine for Destiny, I will destine you for the sword, and all of you will fall in the slaughter; for I called but you did not answer, I spoke but you did not listen. You did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me.’
Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
‘My servants will eat, but you will go hungry; my servants will drink, but you will go thirsty; my servants will rejoice, but you will be put to shame.
My servants will sing out of the joy of their hearts, but you will cry out from anguish of heart and wail in brokenness of spirit.
You will leave your name for my chosen ones to use in their curses; the Sovereign Lord will put you to death, but to his servants he will give another name.
Whoever invokes a blessing in the land will do so by the one true God; whoever takes an oath in the land will swear by the one true God. For the past troubles will be forgotten and hidden from my eyes.
1 John 5.1-12
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
This is the one who came by water and blood - Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son.
Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony.
Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.
And this is the testimony:
God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
Whoever has the Son has life;
whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
who by the leading of a star
manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth:
mercifully grant that we,
who know you now by faith,
may at last behold your glory face to face;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.