Rescue me from my enemies, O my God; set me high above those that rise up against me. Save me from the evildoers and from murderous foes deliver me. For see how they lie in wait for my soul and the mighty stir up trouble against me. Not for any fault or sin of mine, O Lord; for no offence, they run and prepare themselves for war.
Rouse yourself, come to my aid and see; for you are the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel. Awake, and judge all the nations; show no mercy to the evil traitors. They return at nightfall and snarl like dogs and prowl about the city. They pour out evil words with their mouths; swords are on their lips; ‘For who’, they say, ‘can hear us?’
But you laugh at them, O Lord; you hold all the nations in derision. For you, O my strength, will I watch; you, O God, are my strong tower.
My God in his steadfast love will come to me; he will let me behold the downfall of my enemies. Slay them not, lest my people forget; send them reeling by your might and bring them down, O Lord our shield. For the sins of their mouth, for the words of their lips, let them be taken in their pride. For the cursing and falsehood they have uttered, consume them in wrath, consume them till they are no more. And they shall know that God rules in Jacob, and to the ends of the earth.
And still they return at nightfall and snarl like dogs and prowl about the city. Though they forage for something to devour, and howl if they are not filled, Yet will I sing of your strength and every morning praise your steadfast love; For you have been my stronghold, my refuge in the day of my trouble.
To you, O my strength, will I sing; for you, O God, are my refuge, my God of steadfast love.
O God, you are my God; eagerly I seek you; my soul is athirst for you. My flesh also faints for you, as in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So would I gaze upon you in your holy place, that I might behold your power and your glory.
Your loving-kindness is better than life itself and so my lips shall praise you. I will bless you as long as I live and lift up my hands in your name. My soul shall be satisfied, as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise you with joyful lips, When I remember you upon my bed and meditate on you in the watches of the night. For you have been my helper and under the shadow of your wings will I rejoice.
My soul clings to you; your right hand shall hold me fast. But those who seek my soul to destroy it shall go down to the depths of the earth; Let them fall by the edge of the sword and become a portion for jackals. But the king shall rejoice in God: all those who swear by him shall be glad, for the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.
Now the famine was severe in the land. And when they had eaten up the grain that they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, ‘Go again, buy us a little more food.’ But Judah said to him, ‘The man solemnly warned us, saying, “You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.” If you will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy you food; but if you will not send him, we will not go down, for the man said to us, “You shall not see my face, unless your brother is with you.” ’ Israel said, ‘Why did you treat me so badly as to tell the man that you had another brother?’
They replied, ‘The man questioned us carefully about ourselves and our kindred, saying, “Is your father still alive? Have you another brother?” What we told him was in answer to these questions. Could we in any way know that he would say, “Bring your brother down”?’ Then Judah said to his father Israel, ‘Send the boy with me, and let us be on our way, so that we may live and not die—you and we and also our little ones. I myself will be surety for him; you can hold me accountable for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame for ever. If we had not delayed, we would now have returned twice.’
Then their father Israel said to them, ‘If it must be so, then do this: take some of the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry them down as a present to the man—a little balm and a little honey, gum, resin, pistachio nuts, and almonds. Take double the money with you. Carry back with you the money that was returned in the top of your sacks; perhaps it was an oversight. Take your brother also, and be on your way again to the man; may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man, so that he may send back your other brother and Benjamin. As for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.’ So the men took the present, and they took double the money with them, as well as Benjamin. Then they went on their way down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph.
My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ. For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves. All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbour’s work, will become a cause for pride. For all must carry their own loads.
Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher.
Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.
See what large letters I make when I am writing in my own hand! It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that try to compel you to be circumcised—only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. Even the circumcised do not themselves obey the law, but they want you to be circumcised so that they may boast about your flesh. May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything! As for those who will follow this rule—peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
From now on, let no one make trouble for me; for I carry the marks of Jesus branded on my body.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.
Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ fasted forty days in the wilderness, and was tempted as we are, yet without sin: give us grace to discipline ourselves in obedience to your Spirit; and, as you know our weakness, so may we know your power to save; 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.