The Lord said to my lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’
May the Lord stretch forth the sceptre of your power; rule from Zion in the midst of your enemies. ‘Noble are you on this day of your birth; on the holy mountain, from the womb of the daw the dew of your new birth is upon you.’
The Lord has sworn and will not retract: ‘You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.’
The king at your right hand, O Lord, shall smite down kings in the day of his wrath. In all his majesty, he shall judge among the nations, smiting heads over all the wide earth. He shall drink from the brook beside the way; therefore shall he lift high his head.
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the faithful and in the congregation.
The works of the Lord are great, sought out by all who delight in them. His work is full of majesty and honour and his righteousness endures for ever. He appointed a memorial for his marvellous deeds; the Lord is gracious and full of compassion.
He gave food to those who feared him; he is ever mindful of his covenant. He showed his people the power of his works in giving them the heritage of the nations.
The works of his hands are truth and justice; all his commandments are sure.
They stand fast for ever and ever; they are done in truth and equity. He sent redemption to his people; he commanded his covenant for ever; holy and awesome is his name.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, a good understanding have those who live by it; his praise endures for ever.
Blessed are those who fear the Lord and have great delight in his commandments. Their descendants will be mighty in the land, a generation of the faithful that will be blest. Wealth and riches will be in their house, and their righteousness endures for ever.
Light shines in the darkness for the upright; gracious and full of compassion are the righteous. It goes well with those who are generous in lending and order their affairs with justice, For they will never be shaken; the righteous will be held in everlasting remembrance. They will not be afraid of any evil tidings; their heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Their heart is sustained and will not fear, until they see the downfall of their foes. They have given freely to the poor; their righteousness stands fast for ever; their head will be exalted with honour. The wicked shall see it and be angry; they shall gnash their teeth in despair; the desire of the wicked shall perish.
2 Samuel 15.1-12
After this Absalom got himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run ahead of him. Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the road into the gate; and when anyone brought a suit before the king for judgement, Absalom would call out and say, ‘From what city are you?’ When the person said, ‘Your servant is of such and such a tribe in Israel’, Absalom would say, ‘See, your claims are good and right; but there is no one deputed by the king to hear you.’ Absalom said moreover, ‘If only I were judge in the land! Then all who had a suit or cause might come to me, and I would give them justice.’ Whenever people came near to do obeisance to him, he would put out his hand and take hold of them, and kiss them. Thus Absalom did to every Israelite who came to the king for judgement; so Absalom stole the hearts of the people of Israel.
At the end of four years Absalom said to the king, ‘Please let me go to Hebron and pay the vow that I have made to the Lord. For your servant made a vow while I lived at Geshur in Aram: If the Lord will indeed bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will worship the Lord in Hebron.’ The king said to him, ‘Go in peace.’ So he got up, and went to Hebron. But Absalom sent secret messengers throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, ‘As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then shout: Absalom has become king at Hebron!’ Two hundred men from Jerusalem went with Absalom; they were invited guests, and they went in their innocence, knowing nothing of the matter. While Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counsellor, from his city Giloh. The conspiracy grew in strength, and the people with Absalom kept increasing.
For several days he (Saul) was with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.’ All who heard him were amazed and said, ‘Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem among those who invoked this name? And has he not come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?’ Saul became increasingly more powerful and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Messiah.
After some time had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night so that they might kill him; but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.
When he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, brought him to the apostles, and described for them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus. So he went in and out among them in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. He spoke and argued with the Hellenists; but they were attempting to kill him. When the believers learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
Meanwhile the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was built up. Living in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.
Almighty and everlasting God,
you are always more ready to hear than we to pray and to give more than either we desire or deserve:
pour down upon us the abundance of your mercy,
forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask but through the merits and mediation of 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.