A refuge for the oppressed: Psalm 9.1–12 (4 April 2020)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.

Pray

Pray

Lord, prepare me to receive your word. Clear my mind and warm my heart. Assure me of your loving purposes for me, and speak into my life today.

Read

Read

The Ordination of Aaron and his Sons

1The LORD said to Moses, 2“Take Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the Tent of my presence and bring the priestly garments, the anointing oil, the young bull for the sin offering, the two rams, and the basket of unleavened bread. 3Then call the whole community together there.”

4Moses did as the LORD had commanded, and when the community had assembled, 5he said to them, “What I am now about to do is what the LORD has commanded.”

6Moses brought Aaron and his sons forward and told them to take a ritual bath. 7He put the shirt and the robe on Aaron and the sash round his waist. He put the ephod on him and fastened it by putting its finely woven belt round his waist. 8He put the breastpiece on him and put the Urim and Thummim in it. 9He placed the turban on his head, and on the front of it he put the gold ornament, the sacred sign of dedication, just as the LORD had commanded him.

10Then Moses took the anointing oil and put it on the Tent of the LORD's presence and everything that was in it, and in this way he dedicated it all to the LORD. 11He took some of the oil and sprinkled it seven times on the altar and its equipment and on the basin and its base, in order to dedicate them to the LORD. 12He ordained Aaron by pouring some of the anointing oil on his head. 13Next, Moses brought the sons of Aaron forward and put shirts on them, put sashes round their waists, and tied caps on their heads, just as the LORD had commanded.

14Then Moses brought the young bull for the sin offering, and Aaron and his sons put their hands on its head. 15Moses killed it and took some of the blood, and with his finger put it on the projections at the corners of the altar, in order to dedicate it. He then poured out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar. In this way he dedicated it and purified it. 16Moses took all the fat on the internal organs, the best part of the liver, and the kidneys with the fat on them, and burnt it all on the altar. 17He took the rest of the bull, including its skin, flesh, and intestines, and burnt it outside the camp, just as the LORD had commanded.

18Next, Moses brought the ram for the burnt offering, and Aaron and his sons put their hands on its head. 19Moses killed it and threw the blood on all four sides of the altar. 20-21He cut the ram in pieces, washed the internal organs and the hind legs with water, and burnt the head, the fat, and all the rest of the ram on the altar, just as the LORD had commanded. This burnt offering was a food offering, and the smell was pleasing to the LORD.

22Then Moses brought the second ram, which was for the ordination of priests, and Aaron and his sons put their hands on its head. 23Moses killed it and took some of the blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron's right ear, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot. 24Then he brought Aaron's sons forward and put some of the blood on the lobes of their right ears, on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet. Moses then threw the rest of the blood on all four sides of the altar. 25He took the fat, the fat tail, all the fat covering the internal organs, the best part of the liver, the kidneys with the fat on them, and the right hind leg. 26Then he took one loaf of bread from the basket of unleavened bread dedicated to the LORD, one loaf made with oil, and one biscuit, and he put them on top of the fat and the right hind leg. 27He put all this food in the hands of Aaron and his sons, and they presented it as a special gift to the LORD. 28Then Moses took the food from them and burnt it on the altar, on top of the burnt offering, as an ordination offering. This was a food offering, and the smell was pleasing to the LORD. 29Then Moses took the breast and presented it as a special gift to the LORD. It was Moses' part of the ordination ram. Moses did everything just as the LORD had commanded.

30Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood that was on the altar and sprinkled them on Aaron and his sons and on their clothes. In this way he consecrated them and their clothes to the LORD.

31Moses said to Aaron and his sons, “Take the meat to the entrance of the Tent of the LORD's presence, boil it, and eat it there with the bread that is in the basket of ordination offerings, just as the LORD commanded. 32Burn up any meat or bread that is left over. 33You shall not leave the entrance of the Tent for seven days, until your ordination rites are completed. 34The LORD commanded us to do what we have done today, in order to take away your sin. 35You must stay at the entrance of the Tent day and night for seven days, doing what the LORD has commanded. If you don't, you will die. This is what the LORD has commanded me.” 36So Aaron and his sons did everything that the LORD had commanded through Moses.

Thanksgiving to God for his Justice

1I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart;

I will tell of all the wonderful things you have done.

2I will sing with joy because of you.

I will sing praise to you, Almighty God.

 

3My enemies turn back when you appear;

they fall down and die.

4You are fair and honest in your judgements,

and you have judged in my favour.

 

5You have condemned the heathen

and destroyed the wicked;

they will be remembered no more.

6Our enemies are finished for ever;

you have destroyed their cities,

and they are completely forgotten.

 

7But the LORD is king for ever;

he has set up his throne for judgement.

8He rules the world with righteousness;

he judges the nations with justice.

 

9The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed,

a place of safety in times of trouble.

10Those who know you, LORD, will trust you;

you do not abandon anyone who comes to you.

 

11Sing praise to the LORD, who rules in Zion!

Tell every nation what he has done!

12God remembers those who suffer;

he does not forget their cry,

and he punishes those who wrong them.

 

13Be merciful to me, O LORD!

See the sufferings my enemies cause me!

Rescue me from death, O LORD,

14that I may stand before the people of Jerusalem

and tell them all the things for which I praise you.

I will rejoice because you saved me.

 

15The heathen have dug a pit and fallen in;

they have been caught in their own trap.

16The LORD has revealed himself by his righteous judgements,

and the wicked are trapped by their own deeds.

 

17Death is the destiny of all the wicked,

of all those who reject God.

18The needy will not always be neglected;

the hope of the poor will not be crushed for ever.

 

19Come, LORD! Do not let human beings defy you!

Bring the heathen before you

and pronounce judgement on them.

20Make them afraid, O LORD;

make them know that they are only mortal beings.

The Sixth Saying

1When you sit down to eat with someone important, keep in mind who he is. 2If you have a big appetite, restrain yourself. 3Don't be greedy for the fine food he serves; he may be trying to trick you.

The Seventh Saying

4Be wise enough not to wear yourself out trying to get rich. 5Your money can be gone in a flash, as if it had grown wings and flown away like an eagle.

The Eighth Saying

6Don't eat at the table of a stingy person or be greedy for the fine food he serves. 7“Come on and have some more,” he says, but he doesn't mean it. What he thinks is what he really is. 8You will vomit up what you have eaten, and all your flattery will be wasted.

The Ninth Saying

9Don't try to talk sense to a fool; he can't appreciate it.

The Tenth Saying

10Never move an old boundary mark or take over land owned by orphans. 11The LORD is their powerful defender, and he will argue their case against you.

The Eleventh Saying

12Pay attention to your teacher and learn all you can.

The Twelfth Saying

13Don't hesitate to discipline children. A good spanking won't kill them. 14As a matter of fact, it may save their lives.

The Thirteenth Saying

15Son, if you become wise, I will be very happy. 16I will be proud when I hear you speaking words of wisdom.

The Fourteenth Saying

17Don't be envious of sinful people; let reverence for the LORD be the concern of your life. 18If it is, you have a bright future.

The Fifteenth Saying

19Listen, my child, be wise and give serious thought to the way you live. 20Don't associate with people who drink too much wine or stuff themselves with food. 21Drunkards and gluttons will be reduced to poverty. If all you do is eat and sleep, you will soon be wearing rags.

The Sixteenth Saying

22Listen to your father; without him you would not exist. When your mother is old, show her your appreciation.

23Truth, wisdom, learning, and good sense — these are worth paying for, but too valuable for you to sell.

24A righteous man's father has good reason to be happy. You can take pride in a wise son.

25Make your father and mother proud of you; give your mother that happiness.

The Seventeenth Saying

26Pay close attention, son, and let my life be your example. 27Prostitutes and immoral women are a deadly trap. 28They wait for you like robbers and cause many men to be unfaithful.

The Eighteenth Saying

29-30Show me someone who drinks too much, who has to try out some new drink, and I will show you someone miserable and sorry for himself, always causing trouble and always complaining. His eyes are bloodshot, and he has bruises that could have been avoided. 31Don't let wine tempt you, even though it is rich red, though it sparkles in the cup, and it goes down smoothly. 32The next morning you will feel as if you had been bitten by a poisonous snake. 33Weird sights will appear before your eyes, and you will not be able to think or speak clearly. 34You will feel as if you were out on the ocean, sea-sick, swinging high up in the rigging of a tossing ship. 35“I must have been hit,” you will say; “I must have been beaten up, but I don't remember it. Why can't I wake up? I need another drink.”

Paul's Work in Thessalonica

1Our brothers and sisters, you yourselves know that our visit to you was not a failure. 2You know how we had already been ill-treated and insulted in Philippi before we came to you in Thessalonica. And even though there was much opposition, our God gave us courage to tell you the Good News that comes from him. 3Our appeal to you is not based on error or impure motives, nor do we try to trick anyone. 4Instead, we always speak as God wants us to, because he has judged us worthy to be entrusted with the Good News. We do not try to please people, but to please God, who tests our motives. 5You know very well that we did not come to you with flattering talk, nor did we use words to cover up greed — God is our witness! 6We did not try to get praise from anyone, either from you or from others, 7even though as apostles of Christ we could have made demands on you. But we were gentle when we were with you, like a mother taking care of her children. 8Because of our love for you we were ready to share with you not only the Good News from God but even our own lives. You were so dear to us! 9Surely you remember, our brothers and sisters, how we worked and toiled! We worked day and night so that we would not be any trouble to you as we preached to you the Good News from God.

10You are our witnesses, and so is God, that our conduct towards you who believe was pure, right, and without fault. 11You know that we treated each one of you just as a father treats his own children. 12We encouraged you, we comforted you, and we kept urging you to live the kind of life that pleases God, who calls you to share in his own Kingdom and glory.

13And there is another reason why we always give thanks to God. When we brought you God's message, you heard it and accepted it, not as a message from human beings but as God's message, which indeed it is. For God is at work in you who believe. 14Our brothers and sisters, the same things happened to you that happened to the churches of God in Judea, to the people there who belong to Christ Jesus. You suffered the same persecutions from your own people that they suffered from the Jews, 15who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and persecuted us. How displeasing they are to God! How hostile they are to everyone! 16They even tried to stop us from preaching to the Gentiles the message that would bring them salvation. In this way they have brought to completion all the sins they have always committed. And now God's anger has at last come down on them!

Paul's Desire to Visit them Again

17As for us, brothers and sisters, when we were separated from you for a little while — not in our thoughts, of course, but only in body — how we missed you and how hard we tried to see you again! 18We wanted to return to you. I myself tried to go back more than once, but Satan would not let us. 19After all, it is you — you, no less than others! — who are our hope, our joy, and our reason for boasting of our victory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes. 20Indeed, you are our pride and our joy!

Reflect

Daily Reflection: Psalm 9

In a world where information is more available than it's ever been before and where we're all connected with everyone else, we're deeply conscious that the world is not the place it was meant to be. With all its beauty and hope, there are far too many places where people live narrow, painful and short lives that are full of fear. Psalm 9 is framed as a personal appeal to God to act with justice, but it goes wider than that: it's not just about one person's plight, but the world's. 'The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed', the psalmist says (verse 9); 'God remembers those who suffer' (verse 12).

This vision of justice for those who suffer wrong is built in to Scripture from the very beginning. God is against those who oppress people weaker than themselves. If we are in that position, God is on our side; and we should be on the side of all those in that position. And when we read this psalm we should allow it to challenge us as well as comfort us ­– are we quite sure there's no one who could accuse us of being on the side of the oppressors? Everyone lives under his judgement, whether they know it or not – the classroom, church or workplace bully as well as the warlord or dictator.

Pray

Pray

God, thank you that you are a refugee for the oppressed, and that the hope of the needy will not be crushed forever. Open my eyes to the needs of others, and teach me your holy outrage at injustice.

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