Lord, remember for David all the hardships he endured; How he swore an oath to the Lord and vowed a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
‘I will not come within the shelter of my house, nor climb up into my bed;
I will not allow my eyes to sleep, nor let my eyelids slumber,
Until I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.’
Now, we heard of the ark in Ephrathah and found it in the fields of Ja-ar. Let us enter his dwelling place and fall low before his footstool.
Arise, O Lord, into your resting place, you and the ark of your strength. Let your priests be clothed with righteousness and your faithful ones sing with joy. For your servant David’s sake, turn not away the face of your anointed.
The Lord has sworn an oath to David, a promise from which he will not shrink:
‘Of the fruit of your body shall I set upon your throne.
If your children keep my covenant and my testimonies that I shall teach them,
their children also shall sit upon your throne for evermore.’
For the Lord has chosen Zion for himself; he has desired her for his habitation:
‘This shall be my resting place for ever; here will I dwell, for I have longed for her.
I will abundantly bless her provision; her poor will I satisfy with bread.
I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her faithful ones shall rejoice and sing.
There will I make a horn to spring up for David; I will keep a lantern burning for my anointed.
As for his enemies, I will clothe them with shame; but on him shall his crown be bright.’
Behold how good and pleasant it is to dwell together in unity. It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down upon the beard, Even on Aaron’s beard, running down upon the collar of his clothing. It is like the dew of Hermon running down upon the hills of Zion. For there the Lord has promised his blessing: even life for evermore.
2 Samuel 18.19-19.8a
Then Ahimaaz son of Zadok said, ‘Let me run, and carry tidings to the king that the Lord has delivered him from the power of his enemies.’ Joab said to him, ‘You are not to carry tidings today; you may carry tidings another day, but today you shall not do so, because the king’s son is dead.’ Then Joab said to a Cushite, ‘Go, tell the king what you have seen.’ The Cushite bowed before Joab, and ran. Then Ahimaaz son of Zadok said again to Joab, ‘Come what may, let me also run after the Cushite.’ And Joab said, ‘Why will you run, my son, seeing that you have no reward for the tidings?’ ‘Come what may,’ he said, ‘I will run.’ So he said to him, ‘Run.’ Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the Plain, and outran the Cushite.
Now David was sitting between the two gates. The sentinel went up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and when he looked up, he saw a man running alone. The sentinel shouted and told the king. The king said, ‘If he is alone, there are tidings in his mouth.’ He kept coming, and drew near. Then the sentinel saw another man running; and the sentinel called to the gatekeeper and said, ‘See, another man running alone!’ The king said, ‘He also is bringing tidings.’ The sentinel said, ‘I think the running of the first one is like the running of Ahimaaz son of Zadok.’ The king said, ‘He is a good man, and comes with good tidings.’
Then Ahimaaz cried out to the king, ‘All is well!’ He prostrated himself before the king with his face to the ground, and said, ‘Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king.’ The king said, ‘Is it well with the young man Absalom?’ Ahimaaz answered, ‘When Joab sent your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I do not know what it was.’ The king said, ‘Turn aside, and stand here.’ So he turned aside, and stood still.
Then the Cushite came; and the Cushite said, ‘Good tidings for my lord the king! For the Lord has vindicated you this day, delivering you from the power of all who rose up against you.’ The king said to the Cushite, ‘Is it well with the young man Absalom?’ The Cushite answered, ‘May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up to do you harm, be like that young man.’
The king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went, he said, ‘O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would that I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!’
It was told Joab, ‘The king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.’ So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the troops; for the troops heard that day, ‘The king is grieving for his son.’ The troops stole into the city that day as soldiers steal in who are ashamed when they flee in battle. The king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, ‘O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!’ Then Joab came into the house to the king, and said, ‘Today you have covered with shame the faces of all your officers who have saved your life today, and the lives of your sons and your daughters, and the lives of your wives and your concubines, for love of those who hate you and for hatred of those who love you. You have made it clear today that commanders and officers are nothing to you; for I perceive that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead today, then you would be pleased. So go out at once and speak kindly to your servants; for I swear by the Lord, if you do not go, not a man will stay with you this night; and this will be worse for you than any disaster that has come upon you from your youth until now.’ Then the king got up and took his seat in the gate. The troops were all told, ‘See, the king is sitting in the gate’; and all the troops came before the king.
Meanwhile, all the Israelites had fled to their homes.
Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him, saying, ‘Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?’ Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying, ‘I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me. As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air. I also heard a voice saying to me, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.” But I replied, “By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.” But a second time the voice answered from heaven, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.” This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven.
At that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were. The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, “Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter; he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.” And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?’ When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, ‘Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.’
Almighty God, you search us and know us:
may we rely on you in strength and rest on you in weakness,
now and in all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.