Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge[b]—
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent. . . .
“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”. Psalm 91:9-10, 14-16
“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. . . .
“Your words have been hard against me, says the Lord. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.’”
Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name. “They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him. Malachi 3:6-7, 13-18
Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
“The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people dwelling in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
on them a light has dawned.”
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:12-17
[We do] well to note what class of people takes comfort in the thought of God. Surely not that perverse and crooked generation to whom it was said, “Woe unto you that are rich; for you have received your consolation” (Luke 6:24). Rather, those who can say with truth, “My soul refuses comfort” (Psalm 77:2). For it is meet that those who are not satisfied by the present should be sustained by the thought of the future, and that the contemplation of eternal happiness should solace those who scorn to drink from the river of transitory joys. . . .
In that day those who have not set their hearts aright will feel, too late, how easy is Christ’s yoke, to which they would not bend their necks, and how light His burden, in comparison with the pains they must then endure. O wretched slaves of Mammon, you cannot glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ while you trust in treasures laid up on earth; you cannot taste and see how gracious the Lord is while you are hungering for gold. If you have not rejoiced at the thought of His coming, that day will be indeed a day of wrath to you. [Bernard of Clairvaux–12th century French theologian and hymnist]
DAILY PRAYER for TUESDAY
Almighty God, heavenly Father; we praise Your fathomless mercy, with which You take pity on sinful men. All the prophets and apostles preach this to us in Your Holy Word.
Let our hope not be put to shame when we pray to You for all who suffer at this time. For behold, the evil foe has become mighty, and the great ones of this world rule often with unrighteousness. O God, who in former times caused Your saints to overcome injustice, strengthen also today all who stand in need of Your help. Grant that all prisoners of war—held as slaves and sacrifices of earthly wrath—may return to their homes. Stand by all refugees and homeless people, and be their justice. Be a father to the widows and orphans with Your strong protection.
Go through bars and fences to those who are imprisoned for the sake of Your name; strengthen them for a good witness, and let them not waver in the confession of Your name. Teach us through their example, and the example of so many holy martyrs, to be ever watchful of the confession of Your Son’s name. Let us not be put to shame when the evil foe lays his hand on us. But if it is Your will that we be persecuted for confessing Jesus as our Lord and only Savior, then support us in Your grace that we may withstand all trials, and grant us peaceful rest; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.