Daily scripture readings from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer

Wednesday, January 24

Today's readings include passages from Psalms, Genesis, Hebrews and John.

Psalm 49

1 Hear this, all peoples!     Give ear, all inhabitants of the world, 2 both low and high,     rich and poor together! 3 My mouth shall speak wisdom;     the meditation of my heart shall be understanding. 4 I will incline my ear to a proverb;     I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre. 5 Why should I fear in times of trouble,     when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me, 6 those who trust in their wealth     and boast of the abundance of their riches? 7 Truly no man can ransom another,     or give to God the price of his life, 8 for the ransom of their life is costly     and can never suffice, 9 that he should live on forever     and never see the pit. 10 For he sees that even the wise die;     the fool and the stupid alike must perish     and leave their wealth to others. 11 Their graves are their homes forever,     their dwelling places to all generations,     though they called lands by their own names. 12 Man in his pomp will not remain;     he is like the beasts that perish. 13 This is the path of those who have foolish confidence;     yet after them people approve of their boasts. Selah 14 Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol;     death shall be their shepherd,     and the upright shall rule over them in the morning.     Their form shall be consumed in Sheol, with no place to dwell. 15 But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,     for he will receive me. Selah 16 Be not afraid when a man becomes rich,     when the glory of his house increases. 17 For when he dies he will carry nothing away;     his glory will not go down after him. 18 For though, while he lives, he counts himself blessed     —and though you get praise when you do well for yourself— 19 his soul will go to the generation of his fathers,     who will never again see light. 20 Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish.

Psalm 53

1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”     They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity;     there is none who does good. 2 God looks down from heaven     on the children of man     to see if there are any who understand,     who seek after God. 3 They have all fallen away;     together they have become corrupt;     there is none who does good,     not even one. 4 Have those who work evil no knowledge,     who eat up my people as they eat bread,     and do not call upon God? 5 There they are, in great terror,     where there is no terror!     For God scatters the bones of him who encamps against you;     you put them to shame, for God has rejected them. 6 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!     When God restores the fortunes of his people,     let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

Psalm 119:49-72

49 Remember your word to your servant,     in which you have made me hope. 50 This is my comfort in my affliction,     that your promise gives me life. 51 The insolent utterly deride me,     but I do not turn away from your law. 52 When I think of your rules from of old,     I take comfort, O Lord. 53 Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked,     who forsake your law. 54 Your statutes have been my songs     in the house of my sojourning. 55 I remember your name in the night, O Lord,     and keep your law. 56 This blessing has fallen to me,     that I have kept your precepts. 57 The Lord is my portion;     I promise to keep your words. 58 I entreat your favor with all my heart;     be gracious to me according to your promise. 59 When I think on my ways,     I turn my feet to your testimonies; 60 I hasten and do not delay     to keep your commandments. 61 Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,     I do not forget your law. 62 At midnight I rise to praise you,     because of your righteous rules. 63 I am a companion of all who fear you,     of those who keep your precepts. 64 The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love;     teach me your statutes! 65 You have dealt well with your servant,     Lord, according to your word. 66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge,     for I believe in your commandments. 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,     but now I keep your word. 68 You are good and do good;     teach me your statutes. 69 The insolent smear me with lies,     but with my whole heart I keep your precepts; 70 their heart is unfeeling like fat,     but I delight in your law. 71 It is good for me that I was afflicted,     that I might learn your statutes. 72 The law of your mouth is better to me     than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

Genesis 16:1-14

1 Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. 2 And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. 3 So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. 4 And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. 5 And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!” 6 But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her. 7 The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. 8 And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” 9 The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” 11 And the angel of the Lord said to her, “Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has listened to your affliction. 12 He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.” 13 So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered.

Hebrews 9:15-28

15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. 23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

John 5:19-29

19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. 25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.