As you’re reading, try asking these questions:
1. What does the passage actually say?
2. What are some lessons from it?
3. What might God be saying to me in it?
Daily Reading for December 1, 2023
1I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise;
2I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness; for you have exalted your name and your word above everything.
3On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul.
4All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O Lord, for they have heard the words of your mouth.
5They shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord.
6For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly; but the haughty he perceives from far away.
7Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies; you stretch out your hand, and your right hand delivers me.
8The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
9I am speaking the truth in ChristI am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit 2I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. 4They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; 5to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
6It is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all Israelites truly belong to Israel, 7and not all of Abrahams children are his true descendants; but It is through Isaac that descendants shall be named for you. 8This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as descendants. 9For this is what the promise said, About this time I will return and Sarah shall have a son. 10Nor is that all; something similar happened to Rebecca when she had conceived children by one husband, our ancestor Isaac. 11Even before they had been born or had done anything good or bad (so that Gods purpose of election might continue, 12not by works but by his call) she was told, The elder shall serve the younger. 13As it is written, I have loved Jacob, but I have hated Esau.
14What then are we to say? Is there injustice on Gods part? By no means! 15For he says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. 16So it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who shows mercy. 17For the scripture says to Pharaoh, I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. 18So then he has mercy on whomever he chooses, and he hardens the heart of whomever he chooses. 19You will say to me then, Why then does he still find fault? For who can resist his will? 20But who indeed are you, a human being, to argue with God? Will what is molded say to the one who molds it, Why have you made me like this? 21Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one object for special use and another for ordinary use? 22What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath that are made for destruction; 23and what if he has done so in order to make known the riches of his glory for the objects of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory 24including us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?
25As indeed he says in Hosea, Those who were not my people I will call my people, and her who was not beloved I will call beloved. 26And in the very place where it was said to them, You are not my people, there they shall be called children of the living God. 27And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel were like the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved; 28for the Lord will execute his sentence on the earth quickly and decisively. 29And as Isaiah predicted, If the Lord of hosts had not left survivors to us, we would have fared like Sodom and been made like Gomorrah.
30What then are we to say? Gentiles, who did not strive for righteousness, have attained it, that is, righteousness through faith; 31but Israel, who did strive for the righteousness that is based on the law, did not succeed in fulfilling that law. 32Why not? Because they did not strive for it on the basis of faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33as it is written, See, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make people stumble, a rock that will make them fall, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.