I speak the truth in Christ--I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit--
I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.
For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race,
the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises.
Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.
Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned."
In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring.
For this was how the promise was stated: "At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son."
Not only that, but Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father Isaac.
Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad--in order that God's purpose in election might stand:
not by works but by him who calls--she was told, "The older will serve the younger."
Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."
What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all!
For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."
It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy.
For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."
Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?"
But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' "
Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?
What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath--prepared for destruction?
What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory--
even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
As he says in Hosea: "I will call them 'my people' who are not my people; and I will call her 'my loved one' who is not my loved one,"
and, "It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' they will be called 'sons of the living God.' "
Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved.
For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality."
It is just as Isaiah said previously: "Unless the Lord Almighty had left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah."
As Saul watched David going out to meet the Philistine, he said to Abner, commander of the army, "Abner, whose son is that young man?" Abner replied, "As surely as you live, O king, I don't know."
The king said, "Find out whose son this young man is."
As soon as David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with David still holding the Philistine's head.
"Whose son are you, young man?" Saul asked him. David said, "I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem."
After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.
From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return to his father's house.
And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.
Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.
Whatever Saul sent him to do, David did it so successfully that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the people, and Saul's officers as well.
When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with tambourines and lutes.
As they danced, they sang: "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands."
Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. "They have credited David with tens of thousands," he thought, "but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?"
And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.
The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully upon Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the harp, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand
and he hurled it, saying to himself, "I'll pin David to the wall." But David eluded him twice.
Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with David but had left Saul.
So he sent David away from him and gave him command over a thousand men, and David led the troops in their campaigns.
In everything he did he had great success, because the LORD was with him.
When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him.
But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them in their campaigns.
Saul said to David, "Here is my older daughter Merab. I will give her to you in marriage; only serve me bravely and fight the battles of the LORD." For Saul said to himself, "I will not raise a hand against him. Let the Philistines do that!"
But David said to Saul, "Who am I, and what is my family or my father's clan in Israel, that I should become the king's son-in-law?"
So when the time came for Merab, Saul's daughter, to be given to David, she was given in marriage to Adriel of Meholah.
Now Saul's daughter Michal was in love with David, and when they told Saul about it, he was pleased.
"I will give her to him," he thought, "so that she may be a snare to him and so that the hand of the Philistines may be against him." So Saul said to David, "Now you have a second opportunity to become my son-in-law."
Then Saul ordered his attendants: "Speak to David privately and say, 'Look, the king is pleased with you, and his attendants all like you; now become his son-in-law.' "
They repeated these words to David. But David said, "Do you think it is a small matter to become the king's son-in-law? I'm only a poor man and little known."
When Saul's servants told him what David had said,
Saul replied, "Say to David, 'The king wants no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on his enemies.' " Saul's plan was to have David fall by the hands of the Philistines.
When the attendants told David these things, he was pleased to become the king's son-in-law. So before the allotted time elapsed,
David and his men went out and killed two hundred Philistines. He brought their foreskins and presented the full number to the king so that he might become the king's son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage.
When Saul realized that the LORD was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David,
Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days.
The Philistine commanders continued to go out to battle, and as often as they did, David met with more success than the rest of Saul's officers, and his name became well known.
O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.
My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
They who seek my life will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth.
They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals.
But the king will rejoice in God; all who swear by God's name will praise him, while the mouths of liars will be silenced.