When I was in trouble I called to the Lord;
I called to the Lord and he answered me.
Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips and from a deceitful tongue.
What shall be given to you?
What more shall be done to you, deceitful tongue?
The sharp arrows of a warrior, tempered in burning coals!
Woe is me, that I must lodge in Meshech and dwell among the tents of Kedar.
My soul has dwelt too long with enemies of peace.
I am for making peace, but when I speak of it, they make ready for war.
I lift up my eyes to the hills; from where is my help to come?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
He will not suffer your foot to stumble;
he who watches over you will not sleep.
Behold, he who keeps watch over Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord himself watches over you;
the Lord is your shade at your right hand,
So that the sun shall not strike you by day, neither the moon by night.
The Lord shall keep you from all evil;
it is he who shall keep your soul.
The Lord shall keep watch over your going out and your coming in,
from this time forth for evermore.
I was glad when they said to me,
‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’
And now our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem;
Jerusalem, built as a city that is at unity in itself.
Thither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord,
as is decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
For there are set the thrones of judgement,
the thrones of the house of David.
O pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
‘May they prosper who love you.
‘Peace be within your walls and tranquillity within your palaces.’
For my kindred and companions’ sake, I will pray that peace be with you.
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek to do you good.
Then he cried in my hearing with a loud voice, saying, ‘Draw near, you executioners of the city, each with his destroying weapon in his hand.’ And six men came from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with his weapon for slaughter in his hand; among them was a man clothed in linen, with a writing-case at his side. They went in and stood beside the bronze altar.
Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up, from the cherub on which it rested, to the threshold of the house. The Lord called to the man clothed in linen, who had the writing-case at his side, and said to him, ‘Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of those who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.’ To the others he said in my hearing, ‘Pass through the city after him, and kill; your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity. Cut down old men, young men and young women, little children and women, but touch no one who has the mark. And begin at my sanctuary.’ So they began with the elders who were in front of the house. Then he said to them, ‘Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain. Go!’ So they went out and killed in the city. While they were killing, and I was left alone, I fell prostrate on my face and cried out, ‘Ah Lord God! will you destroy all who remain of Israel as you pour out your wrath upon Jerusalem?’ He said to me, ‘The guilt of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great; the land is full of bloodshed and the city full of perversity; for they say, “The Lord has forsaken the land, and the Lord does not see.” As for me, my eye will not spare, nor will I have pity, but I will bring down their deeds upon their heads.’
Then the man clothed in linen, with the writing-case at his side, brought back word, saying, ‘I have done as you commanded me.’
2 Corinthians 5
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling—if indeed, when we have taken it off we will not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord—for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For all of us must appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.
Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences. We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.
From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Almighty and everlasting God,
by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified:
hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people,
that in their vocation and ministry
they may serve you in holiness and truth
to the glory of your name;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.