Daily Devotional

by Larry Stockstill

We call the leading character in a movie, a play, or an athletic event the star. God has a Star and desires that every eye be upon Him!

In his final prophecies, Balaam saw a vision of a star rising out of Jacob. In the distance beyond the camp of Israel, Balaam could see Israel's supreme Leader who would crush Moab. When the devil looks out over the Church, he is blinded by the light of our Bright and Morning Star, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus rises above all our enemies in His glory.

The shepherds saw the Star of all history face-to-face the night He was born in a manger (Luke 2:16). Tradition says the star Balaam saw was the same one the wise men followed from the East to find Christ. Moved by the Spirit, Simeon entered the temple and held in his arms the "light to reveal God to the nations" (Luke 2:32).

May we never move our eyes away from the Centerpiece of God's universe: Jesus, the Star of Jacob.

Numbers 24:1-25:18

24 Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel,S Nu 23:20 he did not resort to divinationS Nu 23:23 as at other times, but turned his face toward the wilderness.Nu 23:28When Balaam looked out and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God came on himS Nu 11:25, 26and he spoke his message:

“The prophecy of Balaam son of Beor,

the prophecy of one whose eye sees clearly,ver 15

the prophecy of one who hears the words of God,S Nu 22:9

who sees a vision from the Almighty,Hebrew Shaddai; also in verse 16S Ge 15:1

who falls prostrate, and whose eyes are opened:

“How beautiful are your tents,Jer 4:20; 30:18; Mal 2:12 Jacob,

your dwelling places, Israel!

“Like valleys they spread out,

like gardens beside a river,S Ge 2:10

like aloesPs 45:8; SS 4:14 planted by the Lord,

like cedars beside the waters.Job 29:19; Ps 1:3; 104:16; Eze 31:5

Water will flow from their buckets;

their seed will have abundant water.

“Their king will be greater than Agag;S Ex 17:8-16

their kingdom will be exalted.Dt 28:1; 2Sa 5:12; 1Ch 14:2; Ps 89:27; 145:11-13

“God brought them out of Egypt;

they have the strength of a wild ox.

They devour hostile nations

and break their bones in pieces;S Ex 15:6; Jer 50: 17

with their arrows they pierce them.2Sa 18:14; Ps 45:5

Like a lion they crouch and lie down,

like a lionessS Nu 23:24—who dares to rouse them?

“May those who bless you be blessedS Ge 12:2

and those who curse you be cursed!”S Ge 12:3

10 Then Balak’s anger burnedS Ex 4:14 against Balaam. He struck his hands togetherJob 27:23; 34:37; La 2:15; Eze 21:14; 22:13; 25:6 and said to him, “I summoned you to curse my enemies,S Nu 22:6 but you have blessed themS Nu 23:11; S Dt 23:5 these three times.ver 3-9; Nu 23:7-10, 18-2411 Now leave at once and go home!ver 14, 25 I said I would reward you handsomely,S Nu 22:17 but the Lord has kept you from being rewarded.”

12 Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not tell the messengers you sent me,Nu 22:1813 ‘Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not do anything of my own accord, good or bad, to go beyond the command of the LordS Nu 22:18—and I must say only what the Lord says’?S Nu 22:2014 Now I am going back to my people, but come, let me warn you of what this people will do to your people in days to come.”S Ge 49:1; Nu 31:8, 16; Mic 6:5

Balaam’s Fourth Message

15 Then he spoke his message:

“The prophecy of Balaam son of Beor,

the prophecy of one whose eye sees clearly,

16 the prophecy of one who hears the wordsS Nu 22:9 of God,

who has knowledge from the Most High,Ge 14:18; Isa 14:14

who sees a vision from the Almighty,

who falls prostrate, and whose eyes are opened:

17 “I see him, but not now;

I behold him, but not near.Rev 1:7

A star will come out of Jacob;Mt 2:2

a scepter will rise out of Israel.S Ge 49:10

He will crush the foreheads of Moab,S Ge 19:37; S Nu 21:29; S Dt 23:6; Isa 15:1-16:14

the skullsSamaritan Pentateuch (see also Jer. 48:45); the meaning of the word in the Masoretic Text is uncertain.Jer 48:45 ofOr possibly Moab, / batter all the people of Sheth.Or all the noisy boasters

18 Edom2Sa 8:12; 1Ch 18:11; Ps 60:8; Isa 11:14; Am 9:12 will be conquered;

Seir,S Ge 14:6; Dt 1:44; Jos 12:7; 15:10; Jdg 5:4 his enemy, will be conquered,Ob 1:2

but IsraelS Ge 9:25 will grow strong.

19 A ruler will come out of JacobS Ge 49:10; Mic 5:2

and destroy the survivors of the city.”

Balaam’s Fifth Message

20 Then Balaam saw AmalekS Ge 14:7; S Ex 17:14 and spoke his message:

“Amalek was first among the nations,

but their end will be utter destruction.”Dt 25:19; 1Sa 15:20; 30:17-20; 2Sa 8:12; 1Ch 18:11

Balaam’s Sixth Message

21 Then he saw the KenitesS Ge 15:19 and spoke his message:

“Your dwelling place is secure,Ps 37:27; Pr 1:33; Isa 32:18; Eze 34:27

your nest is set in a rock;

22 yet you Kenites will be destroyed

when AshurS Ge 10:22 takes you captive.”

Balaam’s Seventh Message

23 Then he spoke his message:

“Alas! Who can live when God does this?Masoretic Text; with a different word division of the Hebrew The people from the islands will gather from the north.

24 Ships will come from the shores of Cyprus;S Ge 10:4

they will subdue Ashurver 22 and Eber,S Ge 10:21

but they too will come to ruin.ver 20

25 Then BalaamS Nu 22:5 got up and returned home, and Balak went his own way.

Moab Seduces Israel

25 While Israel was staying in Shittim,S Nu 21:16; Jos 2:1; Isa 66:11; Joel 3:18; Mic 6:5 the men began to indulge in sexual immoralityJer 5:7; 7:9; 9:2; 1Co 10:8; Rev 2:14 with MoabiteS Ge 19:37 women,Nu 31:16who invited them to the sacrificesS Ex 32:6 to their gods.Ex 20:5; Dt 32:38; 1Co 10:20 The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods.So Israel yoked themselves toDt 4:19; Jdg 2:19; 1Ki 9:9; Jer 1:16; 44:3 the Baal of Peor.S Nu 23:28 And the Lord’s anger burned against them.

The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leadersNu 7:2; 13:3 of these people, kill them and expose2Sa 21:6 them in broad daylight before the Lord,Dt 4:3 so that the Lord’s fierce angerEx 32:12; Dt 13:17; Jos 7:26; 2Ki 23:26; 2Ch 28:11; 29:10; 30:8; Ezr 10:14; Jer 44:3 may turn away from Israel.”

So Moses said to Israel’s judges, “Each of you must put to deathS Ex 32:27 those of your people who have yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor.”Hos 9:10

Then an Israelite man brought into the camp a MidianiteS Ge 25:2 woman right before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly of Israel while they were weepingS Nu 14:1; Jdg 2:4; Ru 1:9; 1Sa 11:4; 2Sa 15:30; Ezr 10:1; Ps 126:6; Jer 41:6 at the entrance to the tent of meeting.When PhinehasS Ex 6:25; Jos 22:13; Jdg 20:28 son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, he left the assembly, took a spearJdg 5:8; 1Sa 13:19, 22; 1Ki 18:28; Ps 35:3; 46:9; Joel 3:10; Mic 4:3 in his handand followed the Israelite into the tent. He drove the spear into both of them, right through the Israelite man and into the woman’s stomach. Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped;Ps 106:30but those who died in the plagueS Nu 14:37; 1Co 10:8 numbered 24,000.Nu 31:16

10 The Lord said to Moses,11 “Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites.Ps 106:30 Since he was as zealous for my honorEx 20:5; Dt 32:16, 21; Ps 78:58 among them as I am, I did not put an end to them in my zeal.12 Therefore tell him I am making my covenant of peaceIsa 11:9; 54:10; Eze 34:25; 37:26; Mal 2:4, 5 with him.13 He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood,S Ex 29:9 because he was zealous1Ki 19:10; 2Ki 10:16 for the honorver 11 of his God and made atonementS Ex 29:36; S Ro 3:25 for the Israelites.”Ps 106:31; Jer 33:18

14 The name of the Israelite who was killed with the Midianite womanver 6 was Zimri son of Salu, the leader of a Simeonite family.S Nu 1:615 And the name of the Midianite woman who was put to death was Kozbiver 18 daughter of Zur, a tribal chief of a Midianite family.Nu 31:8; Jos 13:21; Hab 3:7

16 The Lord said to Moses,Nu 31:717 “Treat the MidianitesNu 31:1-3 as enemiesEx 23:22; Jdg 2:16-18; Ne 9:27; Ps 8:2; 21:8; 74:23 and kill them.Dt 21:1; 1Sa 17:9, 35; 2Ki 9:27; 10:2518 They treated you as enemies when they deceived you in the Peor incidentS Nu 23:28 involving their sister Kozbi, the daughter of a Midianite leader, the woman who was killed when the plague came as a result of that incident.”

24 By now Balaam realized that the Lord was determined to bless Israel, so he did not resort to divination as before. Instead, he turned and looked out toward the wilderness,where he saw the people of Israel camped, tribe by tribe. Then the Spirit of God came upon him,and this is the message he delivered:

“This is the message of Balaam son of Beor,

the message of the man whose eyes see clearly,

the message of one who hears the words of God,

who sees a vision from the Almighty,

who bows down with eyes wide open:

How beautiful are your tents, O Jacob;

how lovely are your homes, O Israel!

They spread before me like palm groves,Or like a majestic valley.

like gardens by the riverside.

They are like tall trees planted by the Lord,

like cedars beside the waters.

Water will flow from their buckets;

their offspring have all they need.

Their king will be greater than Agag;

their kingdom will be exalted.

God brought them out of Egypt;

for them he is as strong as a wild ox.

He devours all the nations that oppose him,

breaking their bones in pieces,

shooting them with arrows.

Like a lion, Israel crouches and lies down;

like a lioness, who dares to arouse her?

Blessed is everyone who blesses you, O Israel,

and cursed is everyone who curses you.”

10 King Balak flew into a rage against Balaam. He angrily clapped his hands and shouted, “I called you to curse my enemies! Instead, you have blessed them three times.11 Now get out of here! Go back home! I promised to reward you richly, but the Lord has kept you from your reward.”

12 Balaam told Balak, “Don’t you remember what I told your messengers? I said,13 ‘Even if Balak were to give me his palace filled with silver and gold, I would be powerless to do anything against the will of the Lord.’ I told you that I could say only what the Lord says!14 Now I am returning to my own people. But first let me tell you what the Israelites will do to your people in the future.”

Balaam’s Final Messages

15 This is the message Balaam delivered:

“This is the message of Balaam son of Beor,

the message of the man whose eyes see clearly,

16 the message of one who hears the words of God,

who has knowledge from the Most High,

who sees a vision from the Almighty,

who bows down with eyes wide open:

17 I see him, but not here and now.

I perceive him, but far in the distant future.

A star will rise from Jacob;

a scepter will emerge from Israel.

It will crush the heads of Moab’s people,

cracking the skullsAs in Samaritan Pentateuch; the meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain. of the people of Sheth.

18 Edom will be taken over,

and Seir, its enemy, will be conquered,

while Israel marches on in triumph.

19 A ruler will rise in Jacob

who will destroy the survivors of Ir.”

20 Then Balaam looked over toward the people of Amalek and delivered this message:

“Amalek was the greatest of nations,

but its destiny is destruction!”

21 Then he looked over toward the Kenites and delivered this message:

“Your home is secure;

your nest is set in the rocks.

22 But the Kenites will be destroyed

when AssyriaHebrew Asshur; also in 24:24. takes you captive.”

23 Balaam concluded his messages by saying:

“Alas, who can survive

unless God has willed it?

24 Ships will come from the coasts of CyprusHebrew Kittim.;

they will oppress Assyria and afflict Eber,

but they, too, will be utterly destroyed.”

25 Then Balaam left and returned home, and Balak also went on his way.

Moab Seduces Israel

25 While the Israelites were camped at Acacia Grove,Hebrew Shittim. some of the men defiled themselves by havingAs in Greek version; Hebrew reads some of the men began having. sexual relations with local Moabite women.These women invited them to attend sacrifices to their gods, so the Israelites feasted with them and worshiped the gods of Moab.In this way, Israel joined in the worship of Baal of Peor, causing the Lord’s anger to blaze against his people.

The Lord issued the following command to Moses: “Seize all the ringleaders and execute them before the Lord in broad daylight, so his fierce anger will turn away from the people of Israel.”

So Moses ordered Israel’s judges, “Each of you must put to death the men under your authority who have joined in worshiping Baal of Peor.”

Just then one of the Israelite men brought a Midianite woman into his tent, right before the eyes of Moses and all the people, as everyone was weeping at the entrance of the Tabernacle.Hebrew the Tent of Meeting.When Phinehas son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron the priest saw this, he jumped up and left the assembly. He took a spearand rushed after the man into his tent. Phinehas thrust the spear all the way through the man’s body and into the woman’s stomach. So the plague against the Israelites was stopped,but not before 24,000 people had died.

10 Then the Lord said to Moses,11 “Phinehas son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron the priest has turned my anger away from the Israelites by being as zealous among them as I was. So I stopped destroying all Israel as I had intended to do in my zealous anger.12 Now tell him that I am making my special covenant of peace with him.13 In this covenant, I give him and his descendants a permanent right to the priesthood, for in his zeal for me, his God, he purified the people of Israel, making them right with me.Or he made atonement for the people of Israel.

14 The Israelite man killed with the Midianite woman was named Zimri son of Salu, the leader of a family from the tribe of Simeon.15 The woman’s name was Cozbi; she was the daughter of Zur, the leader of a Midianite clan.

16 Then the Lord said to Moses,17 “Attack the Midianites and destroy them,18 because they assaulted you with deceit and tricked you into worshiping Baal of Peor, and because of Cozbi, the daughter of a Midianite leader, who was killed at the time of the plague because of what happened at Peor.”

24 And when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness.

And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes; and the spirit of God came upon him.

And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said:

He hath said, which heard the words of God, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open:

How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel!

As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river's side, as the trees of lign aloes which the Lord hath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters.

He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.

God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows.

He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion: who shall stir him up? Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee.

10 And Balak's anger was kindled against Balaam, and he smote his hands together: and Balak said unto Balaam, I called thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast altogether blessed them these three times.

11 Therefore now flee thou to thy place: I thought to promote thee unto great honour; but, lo, the Lord hath kept thee back from honour.

12 And Balaam said unto Balak, Spake I not also to thy messengers which thou sentest unto me, saying,

13 If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the commandment of the Lord, to do either good or bad of mine own mind; but what the Lord saith, that will I speak?

14 And now, behold, I go unto my people: come therefore, and I will advertise thee what this people shall do to thy people in the latter days.

15 And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said:

16 He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open:

17 I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

18 And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly.

19 Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city.

20 And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations; but his latter end shall be that he perish for ever.

21 And he looked on the Kenites, and took up his parable, and said, Strong is thy dwellingplace, and thou puttest thy nest in a rock.

22 Nevertheless the Kenite shall be wasted, until Asshur shall carry thee away captive.

23 And he took up his parable, and said, Alas, who shall live when God doeth this!

24 And ships shall come from the coast of Chittim, and shall afflict Asshur, and shall afflict Eber, and he also shall perish for ever.

25 And Balaam rose up, and went and returned to his place: and Balak also went his way.

25 And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.

And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.

And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel.

And the Lord said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the Lord against the sun, that the fierce anger of the Lord may be turned away from Israel.

And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baalpeor.

And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand;

And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.

And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.

10 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

11 Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy.

12 Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace:

13 And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.

14 Now the name of the Israelite that was slain, even that was slain with the Midianitish woman, was Zimri, the son of Salu, a prince of a chief house among the Simeonites.

15 And the name of the Midianitish woman that was slain was Cozbi, the daughter of Zur; he was head over a people, and of a chief house in Midian.

16 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

17 Vex the Midianites, and smite them:

18 For they vex you with their wiles, wherewith they have beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a prince of Midian, their sister, which was slain in the day of the plague for Peor's sake.

Luke 2:1-35

The Birth of Jesus

In those days Caesar AugustusMt 22:17; Lk 3:1 issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.S Mt 24:14(This was the first census that took place whileOr This census took place before Quirinius was governor of Syria.)Mt 4:24; Ac 15:23, 41; 21:3; Gal 1:21And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to BethlehemS Jn 7:42 the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to himLk 1:27 and was expecting a child.While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.An angelS Ac 5:19 of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.S Mt 14:27 I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.11 Today in the town of David a SaviorS Mt 1:21; S Jn 3:17; 4:42; Ac 5:31; 13:23; S Ro 11:14; 1Ti 4:10; 1Jn 4:14 has been born to you; he is the Messiah,Mt 1:16; 16:16, 20; Jn 11:27; Ac 2:36; 3:20; S 9:22 the Lord.S Jn 13:1312 This will be a sign1Sa 2:34; 10:7; 2Ki 19:29; Ps 86:17; Isa 7:14 to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,

and on earth peaceIsa 9:6; 52:7; 53:5; Mic 5:5; Lk 1:79; S Jn 14:27; Ro 5:1; Eph 2:14, 17 to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.ver 717 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.ver 5120 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising GodS Mt 9:8 for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child,S Lk 1:59 he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.S Lk 1:31

Jesus Presented in the Temple

22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses,Lev 12:2-8 Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”Exodus 13:2,12),Ex 13:2, 12, 15; Nu 3:1324 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”Lev. 12:8Lev 12:8

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout.Lk 1:6 He was waiting for the consolation of Israel,ver 38; Isa 52:9; Lk 23:51 and the Holy Spirit was on him.26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required,ver 2228 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,ver 26

you may now dismissOr promised, / now dismiss your servant in peace.Ac 2:24

30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,Isa 40:5; 52:10; Lk 3:6

31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:

32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,

and the glory of your people Israel.”Isa 42:6; 49:6; Ac 13:47; 26:23

33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother:S Mt 12:46 “This child is destined to cause the fallingIsa 8:14; Mt 21:44; 1Co 1:23; 2Co 2:16; Gal 5:11; 1Pe 2:7, 8 and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against,35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

The Birth of Jesus

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire.(This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.)All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census.And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee.He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born.She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

The Shepherds and Angels

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified,10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,

and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger.17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished,19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

Jesus Is Presented in the Temple

21 Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived.

22 Then it was time for their purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.23 The law of the Lord says, “If a woman’s first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the Lord.”Exod 13:2.24 So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord—“either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”Lev 12:8.

The Prophecy of Simeon

25 At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required,28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,

29 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace,

as you have promised.

30 I have seen your salvation,

31 which you have prepared for all people.

32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations,

and he is the glory of your people Israel!”

33 Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him.34 Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him.35 As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;

23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)

24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.

26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.

27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,

28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,

29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:

30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,

31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;

32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.

34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;

35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

Psalm 59:1-17

Psalm 59In Hebrew texts 59:1-17 is numbered 59:2-18.

For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” Of David. A miktam.Title: Probably a literary or musical term When Saul had sent men to watch David’s house1Sa 19:11 in order to kill him.

Deliver me from my enemies, O God;Ps 143:9

be my fortress against those who are attacking me.S Ps 20:1

Deliver me from evildoersPs 14:4; 36:12; 53:4; 92:7; 94:16

and save me from those who are after my blood.S Ps 26:9; 139:19; Pr 29:10

See how they lie in wait for me!

Fierce men conspireS Ps 56:6 against me

for no offense or sin of mine, Lord.

I have done no wrong,Ps 119:3 yet they are ready to attack me.Mt 5:11

Arise to help me; look on my plight!S Ps 13:3

You, Lord God Almighty,

you who are the God of Israel,Ps 69:6; 80:4; 84:8

rouse yourselfS Ps 44:23 to punish all the nations;S Ps 9:5; S Isa 10:3

show no mercy to wicked traitors.The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the end of verse 13.Jer 18:23

They return at evening,

snarling like dogs,ver 14; Ps 22:16

and prowl about the city.

See what they spew from their mouthsPs 94:4; Pr 10:32; 12:23; 15:2, 28

the words from their lips are sharp as swords,S Ps 55:21

and they think, “Who can hear us?”S Job 22:13

But you laugh at them, Lord;Ps 37:13; Pr 1:26

you scoff at all those nations.Ps 2:4

You are my strength,S Ps 18:1 I watch for you;

you, God, are my fortress,Ps 9:9; 18:2; 62:2; 71:3

10 my God on whom I can rely.

God will go before me

and will let me gloat over those who slander me.

11 But do not kill them, Lord our shield,Or sovereignPs 3:3; 84:9

or my people will forget.Dt 4:9; 6:12

In your might uproot them

and bring them down.Ps 89:10; 106:27; 144:6; Isa 33:3

12 For the sins of their mouths,Ps 10:7

for the words of their lips,Ps 64:8; Pr 10:14; 12:13

let them be caught in their pride.Isa 2:12; 5:15; Zep 3:11

For the curses and lies they utter,

13 consume them in your wrath,

consume them till they are no more.Ps 104:35

Then it will be known to the ends of the earth

that God rules over Jacob.Ps 83:18

14 They return at evening,

snarling like dogs,

and prowl about the city.

15 They wander about for foodJob 15:23

and howl if not satisfied.

16 But I will singPs 108:1 of your strength,S 1Sa 2:10

in the morningPs 5:3; 88:13 I will sing of your love;Ps 101:1

for you are my fortress,S 2Sa 22:3

my refuge in times of trouble.S Dt 4:30

17 You are my strength, I sing praise to you;

you, God, are my fortress,

my God on whom I can rely.ver 10

Psalm 59

For the choir director: A psalmHebrew miktam. This may be a literary or musical term. of David, regarding the time Saul sent soldiers to watch David’s house in order to kill him. To be sung to the tune “Do Not Destroy!”

Rescue me from my enemies, O God.

Protect me from those who have come to destroy me.

Rescue me from these criminals;

save me from these murderers.

They have set an ambush for me.

Fierce enemies are out there waiting, Lord,

though I have not sinned or offended them.

I have done nothing wrong,

yet they prepare to attack me.

Wake up! See what is happening and help me!

O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel,

wake up and punish those hostile nations.

Show no mercy to wicked traitors. Interlude

They come out at night,

snarling like vicious dogs

as they prowl the streets.

Listen to the filth that comes from their mouths;

their words cut like swords.

“After all, who can hear us?” they sneer.

But Lord, you laugh at them.

You scoff at all the hostile nations.

You are my strength; I wait for you to rescue me,

for you, O God, are my fortress.

10 In his unfailing love, my God will stand with me.

He will let me look down in triumph on all my enemies.

11 Don’t kill them, for my people soon forget such lessons;

stagger them with your power, and bring them to their knees,

O Lord our shield.

12 Because of the sinful things they say,

because of the evil that is on their lips,

let them be captured by their pride,

their curses, and their lies.

13 Destroy them in your anger!

Wipe them out completely!

Then the whole world will know

that God reigns in Israel.Hebrew in Jacob. See note on 44:4. Interlude

14 My enemies come out at night,

snarling like vicious dogs

as they prowl the streets.

15 They scavenge for food

but go to sleep unsatisfied.Or and growl if they don’t get enough.

16 But as for me, I will sing about your power.

Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love.

For you have been my refuge,

a place of safety when I am in distress.

17 O my Strength, to you I sing praises,

for you, O God, are my refuge,

the God who shows me unfailing love.

59 Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God: defend me from them that rise up against me.

Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloody men.

For, lo, they lie in wait for my soul: the mighty are gathered against me; not for my transgression, nor for my sin, O Lord.

They run and prepare themselves without my fault: awake to help me, and behold.

Thou therefore, O Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel, awake to visit all the heathen: be not merciful to any wicked transgressors. Selah.

They return at evening: they make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city.

Behold, they belch out with their mouth: swords are in their lips: for who, say they, doth hear?

But thou, O Lord, shalt laugh at them; thou shalt have all the heathen in derision.

Because of his strength will I wait upon thee: for God is my defence.

10 The God of my mercy shall prevent me: God shall let me see my desire upon mine enemies.

11 Slay them not, lest my people forget: scatter them by thy power; and bring them down, O Lord our shield.

12 For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips let them even be taken in their pride: and for cursing and lying which they speak.

13 Consume them in wrath, consume them, that they may not be: and let them know that God ruleth in Jacob unto the ends of the earth. Selah.

14 And at evening let them return; and let them make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city.

15 Let them wander up and down for meat, and grudge if they be not satisfied.

16 But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.

17 Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: for God is my defence, and the God of my mercy.

Proverbs 11:14

14 For lack of guidance a nation falls,Pr 20:18

but victory is won through many advisers.S 2Sa 15:34; Pr 15:22; 24:6

14 Without wise leadership, a nation falls;

there is safety in having many advisers.

14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

Mar 15 Mar 17
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