Friday, February 19, 2021
Fifth Day of Great Lent
 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD;
 and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.
 And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart;
 and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
 And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
 And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
 “And when the LORD your God brings you into the land which he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you, with great and goodly cities, which you did not build,
 and houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, and cisterns hewn out, which you did not hew, and vineyards and olive trees, which you did not plant, and when you eat and are full,
 then take heed lest you forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
 You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve him, and swear by his name.
 You shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the peoples who are round about you;
 for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.
 “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.
 You shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he has commanded you.
 And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, that it may go well with you, and that you may go in and take possession of the good land which the LORD swore to give to your fathers
 by thrusting out all your enemies from before you, as the LORD has promised.
 “When your son asks you in time to come, `What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the ordinances which the LORD our God has commanded you?’
 then you shall say to your son, `We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand;
 and the LORD showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes;
 and he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land which he swore to give to our fathers.
 And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as at this day.
 And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.’
 “When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Gir’gashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Per’izzites, the Hivites, and the Jeb’usites, seven nations greater and mightier than yourselves,
 and when the LORD your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them; then you must utterly destroy them; you shall make no covenant with them, and show no mercy to them.
 You shall not make marriages with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons.
 For they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods; then the anger of the LORD would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly.
 But thus shall you deal with them: you shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and hew down their Ashe’rim, and burn their graven images with fire.
 “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his own possession, out of all the peoples that are on the face of the earth.
 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love upon you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples;
 but it is because the LORD loves you, and is keeping the oath which he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,
 and requites to their face those who hate him, by destroying them; he will not be slack with him who hates him, he will requite him to his face.
 “O that my vexation were weighed,
and all my calamity laid in the balances!
 For then it would be heavier than the sand of the sea;
therefore my words have been rash.
 For the arrows of the Almighty are in me;
my spirit drinks their poison;
the terrors of God are arrayed against me.
 Does the wild ass bray when he has grass,
or the ox low over his fodder?
 Can that which is tasteless be eaten without salt,
or is there any taste in the slime of the purslane?
 My appetite refuses to touch them;
they are as food that is loathsome to me.
 “O that I might have my request,
and that God would grant my desire;
 that it would please God to crush me,
that he would let loose his hand and cut me off!
 This would be my consolation;
I would even exult in pain unsparing;
for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.
 What is my strength, that I should wait?
And what is my end, that I should be patient?
 Is my strength the strength of stones,
or is my flesh bronze?
 In truth I have no help in me,
and any resource is driven from me.
 “He who withholds kindness from a friend
forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
 My brethren are treacherous as a torrent-bed,
as freshets that pass away,
 which are dark with ice,
and where the snow hides itself.
 In time of heat they disappear;
when it is hot, they vanish from their place.
 The caravans turn aside from their course;
they go up into the waste, and perish.
 The caravans of Tema look,
the travelers of Sheba hope.
 They are disappointed because they were confident;
they come thither and are confounded.
 Such you have now become to me;
you see my calamity, and are afraid.
 Have I said, `Make me a gift’?
Or, `From your wealth offer a bribe for me’?
 Or, `Deliver me from the adversary’s hand’?
Or, `Ransom me from the hand of oppressors’?
 “Teach me, and I will be silent;
make me understand how I have erred.
 How forceful are honest words!
But what does reproof from you reprove?
 Do you think that you can reprove words,
when the speech of a despairing man is wind?
 You would even cast lots over the fatherless,
and bargain over your friend.
 “But now, be pleased to look at me;
for I will not lie to your face.
 Turn, I pray, let no wrong be done.
Turn now, my vindication is at stake.
 Is there any wrong on my tongue?
Cannot my taste discern calamity?
 “Has not man a hard service upon earth,
and are not his days like the days of a hireling?
 Like a slave who longs for the shadow,
and like a hireling who looks for his wages,
 so I am allotted months of emptiness,
and nights of misery are apportioned to me.
 When I lie down I say, `When shall I arise?’
But the night is long,
and I am full of tossing till the dawn.
 My flesh is clothed with worms and dirt;
my skin hardens, then breaks out afresh.
 My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle,
and come to their end without hope.
 “Remember that my life is a breath;
my eye will never again see good.
 The eye of him who sees me will behold me no more;
while thy eyes are upon me, I shall be gone.
 As the cloud fades and vanishes,
so he who goes down to Sheol does not come up;
 he returns no more to his house,
nor does his place know him any more.
 “Therefore I will not restrain my mouth;
I will speak in the anguish of my spirit;
I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
 Am I the sea, or a sea monster,
that thou settest a guard over me?
 When I say, `My bed will comfort me,
my couch will ease my complaint,’
 Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the LORD’s hand
double for all her sins.
 A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
 Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
 A voice says, “Cry!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
 The grass withers, the flower fades,
when the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
surely the people is grass.
 The grass withers, the flower fades;
but the word of our God will stand for ever.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America