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.
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 Kings 1.5-31
Now Adonijah son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, ‘I will be king’; he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. His father had never at any time displeased him by asking, ‘Why have you done that?’ He was also a very handsome man, and he was born next after Absalom. He conferred with Joab son of Zeruiah and with the priest Abiathar, and they supported Adonijah. But the priest Zadok, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the prophet Nathan, and Shimei, and Rei, and David’s own warriors did not side with Adonijah.
Adonijah sacrificed sheep, oxen, and fatted cattle by the stone Zoheleth, which is beside En-rogel, and he invited all his brothers, the king’s sons, and all the royal officials of Judah, but he did not invite the prophet Nathan or Benaiah or the warriors or his brother Solomon.
Then Nathan said to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, ‘Have you not heard that Adonijah son of Haggith has become king and our lord David does not know it? Now therefore come, let me give you advice, so that you may save your own life and the life of your son Solomon. Go in at once to King David, and say to him, “Did you not, my lord the king, swear to your servant, saying: Your son Solomon shall succeed me as king, and he shall sit on my throne? Why then is Adonijah king?” Then while you are still there speaking with the king, I will come in after you and confirm your words.’
So Bathsheba went to the king in his room. The king was very old; Abishag the Shunammite was attending the king. Bathsheba bowed and did obeisance to the king, and the king said, ‘What do you wish?’ She said to him, ‘My lord, you swore to your servant by the Lord your God, saying: Your son Solomon shall succeed me as king, and he shall sit on my throne. But now suddenly Adonijah has become king, though you, my lord the king, do not know it. He has sacrificed oxen, fatted cattle, and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the children of the king, the priest Abiathar, and Joab the commander of the army; but your servant Solomon he has not invited. But you, my lord the king—the eyes of all Israel are on you to tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. Otherwise it will come to pass, when my lord the king sleeps with his ancestors, that my son Solomon and I will be counted offenders.’
While she was still speaking with the king, the prophet Nathan came in. The king was told, ‘Here is the prophet Nathan.’ When he came in before the king, he did obeisance to the king, with his face to the ground. Nathan said, ‘My lord the king, have you said, “Adonijah shall succeed me as king, and he shall sit on my throne”? For today he has gone down and has sacrificed oxen, fatted cattle, and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the king’s children, Joab the commander of the army, and the priest Abiathar, who are now eating and drinking before him, and saying, “Long live King Adonijah!” But he did not invite me, your servant, and the priest Zadok, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and your servant Solomon. Has this thing been brought about by my lord the king and you have not let your servants know who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?’
King David answered, ‘Summon Bathsheba to me.’ So she came into the king’s presence, and stood before the king. The king swore, saying, ‘As the Lord lives, who has saved my life from every adversity, as I swore to you by the Lord, the God of Israel, “Your son Solomon shall succeed me as king, and he shall sit on my throne in my place”, so will I do this day.’ Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the ground, and did obeisance to the king, and said, ‘May my lord King David live for ever!’
Then Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. John, however, left them and returned to Jerusalem; but they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. And on the sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. After the reading of the law and the prophets, the officials of the synagogue sent them a message, saying, ‘Brothers, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, give it.’ So Paul stood up and with a gesture began to speak:
‘You Israelites, and others who fear God, listen. The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. For about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness. After he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance for about four hundred and fifty years. After that he gave them judges until the time of the prophet Samuel. Then they asked for a king; and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for forty years. When he had removed him, he made David their king. In his testimony about him he said, “I have found David, son of Jesse, to be a man after my heart, who will carry out all my wishes.” Of this man’s posterity God has brought to Israel a Saviour, Jesus, as he promised; before his coming John had already proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. And as John was finishing his work, he said, “What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but one is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of the sandals on his feet.”
‘My brothers, you descendants of Abraham’s family, and others who fear God, to us the message of this salvation has been sent. Because the residents of Jerusalem and their leaders did not recognize him or understand the words of the prophets that are read every sabbath, they fulfilled those words by condemning him. Even though they found no cause for a sentence of death, they asked Pilate to have him killed. When they had carried out everything that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead; and for many days he appeared to those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, and they are now his witnesses to the people. And we bring you the good news that what God promised to our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.”
As to his raising him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way, “I will give you the holy promises made to David.”
Therefore he has also said in another psalm, “You will not let your Holy One experience corruption.”
For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, died, was laid beside his ancestors, and experienced corruption; but he whom God raised up experienced no corruption. Let it be known to you therefore, my brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you; by this Jesus everyone who believes is set free from all those sins from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. Beware, therefore, that what the prophets said does not happen to you:
“Look, you scoffers! Be amazed and perish, for in your days I am doing a work, a work that you will never believe, even if someone tells you.” ’
As Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people urged them to speak about these things again the next sabbath. When the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.
Merciful Father, who chose your bishop Gregory to be a servant of the servants of God: grant that, like him, we may ever long to serve you by proclaiming your gospel to the nations, and may ever rejoice to sing your praises; 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.