Blessed are they who have not walked
in the counsel of the wicked,
nor lingered in the way of sinners,
nor sat in the assembly of the scornful.
Their delight is in the law of the Lord and they meditate on his law day and night.
Like a tree planted by streams of water bearing fruit in due season,
with leaves that do not wither,
whatever they do, it shall prosper.
As for the wicked, it is not so with them;
they are like chaff which the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked shall not be able to stand in the judgement,
nor the sinner in the congregation of the righteous.
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked shall perish.
Why are the nations in tumult,
and why do the peoples devise a vain plot?
The kings of the earth rise up,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his anointed:
‘Let us break their bonds asunder and cast away their cords from us.’
He who dwells in heaven shall laugh them to scorn;
the Lord shall have them in derision.
Then shall he speak to them in his wrath and terrify them in his fury:
‘Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.’
I will proclaim the decree of the Lord;
he said to me: ‘You are my Son; this day have I begotten you.
‘Ask of me and I will give you the nations for your inheritance
and the ends of the earth for your possession.
‘You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’
Now therefore be wise, O kings;
be prudent, you judges of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear, and with trembling kiss his feet,
lest he be angry and you perish from the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Happy are all they who take refuge in him.
Lord, how many are my adversaries;
many are they who rise up against me.
Many are they who say to my soul,
‘There is no help for you in your God.’
But you, Lord, are a shield about me;
you are my glory, and the lifter up of my head.
When I cry aloud to the Lord,
he will answer me from his holy hill;
I lie down and sleep and rise again,
because the Lord sustains me.
I will not be afraid of hordes of the peoples
that have set themselves against me all around.
Rise up, O Lord, and deliver me, O my God,
for you strike all my enemies on the cheek
and break the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation belongs to the Lord:
may your blessing be upon your people.
1 Chronicles 10.1-11.9
Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines, and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. The Philistines overtook Saul and his sons; and the Philistines killed Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchishua, sons of Saul. The battle pressed hard on Saul; and the archers found him, and he was wounded by the archers. Then Saul said to his armour-bearer, ‘Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, so that these uncircumcised may not come and make sport of me.’ But his armour-bearer was unwilling, for he was terrified. So Saul took his own sword and fell on it. When his armour-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword and died. Thus Saul died; he and his three sons and all his house died together. When all the men of Israel who were in the valley saw that the army had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their towns and fled; and the Philistines came and occupied them.
The next day when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. They stripped him and took his head and his armour, and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to carry the good news to their idols and to the people. They put his armour in the temple of their gods, and fastened his head in the temple of Dagon. But when all Jabesh-gilead heard everything that the Philistines had done to Saul, all the valiant warriors got up and took away the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons, and brought them to Jabesh. Then they buried their bones under the oak in Jabesh, and fasted for seven days.
So Saul died for his unfaithfulness; he was unfaithful to the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord; moreover, he had consulted a medium, seeking guidance, and did not seek guidance from the Lord. Therefore the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.
Then all Israel gathered together to David at Hebron and said, ‘See, we are your bone and flesh. For some time now, even while Saul was king, it was you who commanded the army of Israel. The Lord your God said to you: It is you who shall be shepherd of my people Israel, you who shall be ruler over my people Israel.’ So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord. And they anointed David king over Israel, according to the word of the Lord by Samuel.
David and all Israel marched to Jerusalem, that is, Jebus where the Jebusites were, the inhabitants of the land. The inhabitants of Jebus said to David, ‘You will not come in here.’ Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, now the city of David. David had said, ‘Whoever attacks the Jebusites first shall be chief and commander.’ And Joab son of Zeruiah went up first, so he became chief. David resided in the stronghold; therefore it was called the city of David. He built the city all round, from the Millo in a complete circuit; and Joab repaired the rest of the city. And David became greater and greater, for the Lord of hosts was with him.
John said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.’ But Jesus said, ‘Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterwards to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.
‘If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.
‘For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.’
whose only Son has opened for us
a new and living way into your presence:
give us pure hearts and steadfast wills
to worship you in spirit and in truth;
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.