In the Lord have I taken refuge; how then can you say to me, ‘Flee like a bird to the hills, for see how the wicked bend the bow and fit their arrows to the string, to shoot from the shadows at the true of heart. when the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?’
The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven. His eyes behold, his eyelids try every mortal being.
The Lord tries the righteous as well as the wicked, but those who delight in violence his soul abhors.
Upon the wicked he shall rain coals of fire and burning sulphur; scorching wind shall be their portion to drink. For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds, and those who are upright shall behold his face.
Lord, who may dwell in your tabernacle? Who may rest upon your holy hill?
Whoever leads an uncorrupt life and does the thing that is right; who speaks the truth from the heart and bears no deceit on the tongue; who does no evil to a friend and pours no scorn on a neighbour; in whose sight the wicked are not esteemed, but who honours those who fear the Lord.
Whoever has sworn to a neighbour and never goes back on that word; who does not lend money in hope of gain, nor takes a bribe against the innocent; whoever does these things shall never fall.
Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights.
Praise him, all you his angels; praise him, all his host.
Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you stars of light.
Praise him, heaven of heavens, and you waters above the heavens.
Let them praise the name of the Lord; for he commanded and they were created. He made them fast for ever and ever; he gave them a law which shall not pass away.
Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps; fire and hail, snow and mist, tempestuous wind, fulfilling his word; mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars; wild beasts and all cattle, creeping things and birds on the wing; kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the world; young men and women, old and young together; let them praise the name of the Lord. For his name only is exalted, His splendour above earth and heaven. He has raised up the horn of his people and praise for all his faithful servants, the children of Israel, a people who are near him.
For the Lord of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up and high; against all the cedars of Lebanon, lofty and lifted up; and against all the oaks of Bashan; against all the high mountains, and against all the lofty hills; against every high tower, and against every fortified wall; against all the ships of Tarshish, and against all the beautiful craft. The haughtiness of people shall be humbled, and the pride of everyone shall be brought low; and the Lord alone will be exalted on that day. The idols shall utterly pass away.
Enter the caves of the rocks and the holes of the ground, from the terror of the Lord, and from the glory of his majesty, when he rises to terrify the earth. On that day people will throw away to the moles and to the bats their idols of silver and their idols of gold, which they made for themselves to worship, to enter the caverns of the rocks and the clefts in the crags, from the terror of the Lord, and from the glory of his majesty, when he rises to terrify the earth. Turn away from mortals, who have only breath in their nostrils, for of what account are they?
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’
This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,
‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” ’
Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
‘I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing-floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’
Almighty and eternal God, You have kindled the flame of love in the hearts of the saints: grant to us the same faith and power of love, that, as we rejoice in their triumphs, we may be sustained by their example and fellowship; 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.