Galatians 4:21-31; Lamentations 3; Lamentations 4; Psalm 146

Galatians 4:21-31

Hagar and Sarah

21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise. 24 These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written: “Be glad, barren woman, you who never bore a child; shout for joy and cry aloud, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.” 28 Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30 But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” 31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

Lamentations 3

1 I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of the LORD’s wrath. 2 He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light; 3 indeed, he has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long. 4 He has made my skin and my flesh grow old and has broken my bones. 5 He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship. 6 He has made me dwell in darkness like those long dead. 7 He has walled me in so I cannot escape; he has weighed me down with chains. 8 Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer. 9 He has barred my way with blocks of stone; he has made my paths crooked. 10 Like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in hiding, 11 he dragged me from the path and mangled me and left me without help. 12 He drew his bow and made me the target for his arrows. 13 He pierced my heart with arrows from his quiver. 14 I became the laughingstock of all my people; they mock me in song all day long. 15 He has filled me with bitter herbs and given me gall to drink. 16 He has broken my teeth with gravel; he has trampled me in the dust. 17 I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is. 18 So I say, “My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD.” 19 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. 20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. 21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: 22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” 25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; 26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. 27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young. 28 Let him sit alone in silence, for the LORD has laid it on him. 29 Let him bury his face in the dust— there may yet be hope. 30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace. 31 For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. 32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. 33 For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone. 34 To crush underfoot all prisoners in the land, 35 to deny people their rights before the Most High, 36 to deprive them of justice— would not the Lord see such things? 37 Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it? 38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come? 39 Why should the living complain when punished for their sins? 40 Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD. 41 Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say: 42 “We have sinned and rebelled and you have not forgiven. 43 “You have covered yourself with anger and pursued us; you have slain without pity. 44 You have covered yourself with a cloud so that no prayer can get through. 45 You have made us scum and refuse among the nations. 46 “All our enemies have opened their mouths wide against us. 47 We have suffered terror and pitfalls, ruin and destruction.” 48 Streams of tears flow from my eyes because my people are destroyed. 49 My eyes will flow unceasingly, without relief, 50 until the LORD looks down from heaven and sees. 51 What I see brings grief to my soul because of all the women of my city. 52 Those who were my enemies without cause hunted me like a bird. 53 They tried to end my life in a pit and threw stones at me; 54 the waters closed over my head, and I thought I was about to perish. 55 I called on your name, LORD, from the depths of the pit. 56 You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.” 57 You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.” 58 You, Lord, took up my case; you redeemed my life. 59 LORD, you have seen the wrong done to me. Uphold my cause! 60 You have seen the depth of their vengeance, all their plots against me. 61 LORD, you have heard their insults, all their plots against me— 62 what my enemies whisper and mutter against me all day long. 63 Look at them! Sitting or standing, they mock me in their songs. 64 Pay them back what they deserve, LORD, for what their hands have done. 65 Put a veil over their hearts, and may your curse be on them! 66 Pursue them in anger and destroy them from under the heavens of the LORD.

Lamentations 4

1 How the gold has lost its luster, the fine gold become dull! The sacred gems are scattered at every street corner. 2 How the precious children of Zion, once worth their weight in gold, are now considered as pots of clay, the work of a potter’s hands! 3 Even jackals offer their breasts to nurse their young, but my people have become heartless like ostriches in the desert. 4 Because of thirst the infant’s tongue sticks to the roof of its mouth; the children beg for bread, but no one gives it to them. 5 Those who once ate delicacies are destitute in the streets. Those brought up in royal purple now lie on ash heaps. 6 The punishment of my people is greater than that of Sodom, which was overthrown in a moment without a hand turned to help her. 7 Their princes were brighter than snow and whiter than milk, their bodies more ruddy than rubies, their appearance like lapis lazuli. 8 But now they are blacker than soot; they are not recognized in the streets. Their skin has shriveled on their bones; it has become as dry as a stick. 9 Those killed by the sword are better off than those who die of famine; racked with hunger, they waste away for lack of food from the field. 10 With their own hands compassionate women have cooked their own children, who became their food when my people were destroyed. 11 The LORD has given full vent to his wrath; he has poured out his fierce anger. He kindled a fire in Zion that consumed her foundations. 12 The kings of the earth did not believe, nor did any of the peoples of the world, that enemies and foes could enter the gates of Jerusalem. 13 But it happened because of the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests, who shed within her the blood of the righteous. 14 Now they grope through the streets as if they were blind. They are so defiled with blood that no one dares to touch their garments. 15 “Go away! You are unclean!” people cry to them. “Away! Away! Don’t touch us!” When they flee and wander about, people among the nations say, “They can stay here no longer.” 16 The LORD himself has scattered them; he no longer watches over them. The priests are shown no honor, the elders no favor. 17 Moreover, our eyes failed, looking in vain for help; from our towers we watched for a nation that could not save us. 18 People stalked us at every step, so we could not walk in our streets. Our end was near, our days were numbered, for our end had come. 19 Our pursuers were swifter than eagles in the sky; they chased us over the mountains and lay in wait for us in the desert. 20 The LORD’s anointed, our very life breath, was caught in their traps. We thought that under his shadow we would live among the nations. 21 Rejoice and be glad, Daughter Edom, you who live in the land of Uz. But to you also the cup will be passed; you will be drunk and stripped naked. 22 Your punishment will end, Daughter Zion; he will not prolong your exile. But he will punish your sin, Daughter Edom, and expose your wickedness.

Psalm 146

1 Praise the LORD.Praise the LORD, my soul. 2 I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. 3 Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. 4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. 5 Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God. 6 He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever. 7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, 8 the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous. 9 The LORD watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. 10 The LORD reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the LORD.