Daily Readings for Thursday, July 22, 2021

The third mark of Discipleship is Bible Reading. Below are today's readings from the Daily Lectionary & Revised Common Lectionary for Sundays. You may click on each reading to see the text on Bible Gateway.

Morning Psalms

Psalm 36 (Listen)

How Precious Is Your Steadfast Love

To the choirmaster. Of David, the servant of the LORD.

  Transgression speaks to the wicked
    deep in his heart;
  there is no fear of God
    before his eyes.
  For he flatters himself in his own eyes
    that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
  The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit;
    he has ceased to act wisely and do good.
  He plots trouble while on his bed;
    he sets himself in a way that is not good;
    he does not reject evil.
  Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
    your faithfulness to the clouds.
  Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
    your judgments are like the great deep;
    man and beast you save, O LORD.
  How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
    The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
  They feast on the abundance of your house,
    and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
  For with you is the fountain of life;
    in your light do we see light.
  Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
    and your righteousness to the upright of heart!
  Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me,
    nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
  There the evildoers lie fallen;
    they are thrust down, unable to rise.


Psalm 147:12–20 (Listen)

  Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem!
    Praise your God, O Zion!
  For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
    he blesses your children within you.
  He makes peace in your borders;
    he fills you with the finest of the wheat.
  He sends out his command to the earth;
    his word runs swiftly.
  He gives snow like wool;
    he scatters frost like ashes.
  He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs;
    who can stand before his cold?
  He sends out his word, and melts them;
    he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.
  He declares his word to Jacob,
    his statutes and rules to Israel.
  He has not dealt thus with any other nation;
    they do not know his rules.
  Praise the LORD!

First Reading

1 Samuel 28:3–20 (Listen)

Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his own city. And Saul had put the mediums and the necromancers out of the land. The Philistines assembled and came and encamped at Shunem. And Saul gathered all Israel, and they encamped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets. Then Saul said to his servants, “Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “Behold, there is a medium at En-dor.”

So Saul disguised himself and put on other garments and went, he and two men with him. And they came to the woman by night. And he said, “Divine for me by a spirit and bring up for me whomever I shall name to you.” The woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the necromancers from the land. Why then are you laying a trap for my life to bring about my death?” But Saul swore to her by the LORD, “As the LORD lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing.” Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” He said, “Bring up Samuel for me.” When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul.” The king said to her, “Do not be afraid. What do you see?” And the woman said to Saul, “I see a god coming up out of the earth.” He said to her, “What is his appearance?” And she said, “An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped in a robe.” And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and paid homage.

Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Saul answered, “I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. Therefore I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do.” And Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the LORD has turned from you and become your enemy? The LORD has done to you as he spoke by me, for the LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. Because you did not obey the voice of the LORD and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, therefore the LORD has done this thing to you this day. Moreover, the LORD will give Israel also with you into the hand of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons shall be with me. The LORD will give the army of Israel also into the hand of the Philistines.”

Then Saul fell at once full length on the ground, filled with fear because of the words of Samuel. And there was no strength in him, for he had eaten nothing all day and all night.

Second Reading

Acts 15:1–11 (Listen)

The Jerusalem Council

But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them. But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.”

The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”

Gospel Reading

Mark 5:1–20 (Listen)

Jesus Heals a Man with a Demon

They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.

The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.

Evening Psalms

Psalm 80 (Listen)

Restore Us, O God

To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. A Testimony. Of Asaph, a Psalm.

  Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
    you who lead Joseph like a flock.
  You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth.
    Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh,
  stir up your might
    and come to save us!
  Restore us, O God;
    let your face shine, that we may be saved!
  O LORD God of hosts,
    how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
  You have fed them with the bread of tears
    and given them tears to drink in full measure.
  You make us an object of contention for our neighbors,
    and our enemies laugh among themselves.
  Restore us, O God of hosts;
    let your face shine, that we may be saved!
  You brought a vine out of Egypt;
    you drove out the nations and planted it.
  You cleared the ground for it;
    it took deep root and filled the land.
  The mountains were covered with its shade,
    the mighty cedars with its branches.
  It sent out its branches to the sea
    and its shoots to the River.
  Why then have you broken down its walls,
    so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?
  The boar from the forest ravages it,
    and all that move in the field feed on it.
  Turn again, O God of hosts!
    Look down from heaven, and see;
  have regard for this vine,
    the stock that your right hand planted,
    and for the son whom you made strong for yourself.
  They have burned it with fire; they have cut it down;
    may they perish at the rebuke of your face!
  But let your hand be on the man of your right hand,
    the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself!
  Then we shall not turn back from you;
    give us life, and we will call upon your name!
  Restore us, O LORD God of hosts!
    Let your face shine, that we may be saved!


Psalm 27 (Listen)

The Lord Is My Light and My Salvation

Of David.

  The LORD is my light and my salvation;
    whom shall I fear?
  The LORD is the stronghold of my life;
    of whom shall I be afraid?
  When evildoers assail me
    to eat up my flesh,
  my adversaries and foes,
    it is they who stumble and fall.
  Though an army encamp against me,
    my heart shall not fear;
  though war arise against me,
    yet I will be confident.
  One thing have I asked of the LORD,
    that will I seek after:
  that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
    all the days of my life,
  to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
    and to inquire in his temple.
  For he will hide me in his shelter
    in the day of trouble;
  he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
    he will lift me high upon a rock.
  And now my head shall be lifted up
    above my enemies all around me,
  and I will offer in his tent
    sacrifices with shouts of joy;
  I will sing and make melody to the LORD.
  Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud;
    be gracious to me and answer me!
  You have said, “Seek my face.”
  My heart says to you,
    “Your face, LORD, do I seek.”
    Hide not your face from me.
  Turn not your servant away in anger,
    O you who have been my help.
  Cast me not off; forsake me not,
    O God of my salvation!
  For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
    but the LORD will take me in.
  Teach me your way, O LORD,
    and lead me on a level path
    because of my enemies.
  Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
    for false witnesses have risen against me,
    and they breathe out violence.
  I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD
    in the land of the living!
  Wait for the LORD;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the LORD!

Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service. Reader: David Cochran Heath.