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Reading Plan

Psalm chapter 81

1
For the director of music. According to gittith. Of Asaph. Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob!
2
Begin the music, strike the tambourine, play the melodious harp and lyre.
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Sound the ram's horn at the New Moon, and when the moon is full, on the day of our Feast;
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this is a decree for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
5
He established it as a statute for Joseph when he went out against Egypt, where we heard a language we did not understand.
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He says, "I removed the burden from their shoulders; their hands were set free from the basket.
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In your distress you called and I rescued you, I answered you out of a thundercloud; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah
8
"Hear, O my people, and I will warn you-- if you would but listen to me, O Israel!
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You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not bow down to an alien god.
10
I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.
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"But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me.
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So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.
13
"If my people would but listen to me, if Israel would follow my ways,
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how quickly would I subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes!
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Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him, and their punishment would last forever.
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But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you."

Daniel chapter 3

1
King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, ninety feet high and nine feet wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.
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He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up.
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So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it.
4
Then the herald loudly proclaimed, "This is what you are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every language:
5
As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.
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Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace."
7
Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations and men of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
8
At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews.
9
They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "O king, live forever!
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You have issued a decree, O king, that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold,
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and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace.
12
But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon-- Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego-- who pay no attention to you, O king. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up."
13
Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king,
14
and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up?
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Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?"
16
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.
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If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.
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But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."
19
Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual
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and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace.
21
So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace.
22
The king's command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego,
23
and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.
24
Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, "Weren't there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?" They replied, "Certainly, O king."
25
He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods."
26
Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!" So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire,
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and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.
28
Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king's command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.
29
Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way."
30
Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

Daniel chapter 4

1
King Nebuchadnezzar, To the peoples, nations and men of every language, who live in all the world: May you prosper greatly!
2
It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me.
3
How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.
4
I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at home in my palace, contented and prosperous.
5
I had a dream that made me afraid. As I was lying in my bed, the images and visions that passed through my mind terrified me.
6
So I commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be brought before me to interpret the dream for me.
7
When the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners came, I told them the dream, but they could not interpret it for me.
8
Finally, Daniel came into my presence and I told him the dream. (He is called Belteshazzar, after the name of my god, and the spirit of the holy gods is in him.)
9
I said, "Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you, and no mystery is too difficult for you. Here is my dream; interpret it for me.
10
These are the visions I saw while lying in my bed: I looked, and there before me stood a tree in the middle of the land. Its height was enormous.
11
The tree grew large and strong and its top touched the sky; it was visible to the ends of the earth.
12
Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all. Under it the beasts of the field found shelter, and the birds of the air lived in its branches; from it every creature was fed.
13
"In the visions I saw while lying in my bed, I looked, and there before me was a messenger, a holy one, coming down from heaven.
14
He called in a loud voice: 'Cut down the tree and trim off its branches; strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the animals flee from under it and the birds from its branches.
15
But let the stump and its roots, bound with iron and bronze, remain in the ground, in the grass of the field. "'Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him live with the animals among the plants of the earth.
16
Let his mind be changed from that of a man and let him be given the mind of an animal, till seven times pass by for him.
17
"'The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men.'
18
"This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. Now, Belteshazzar, tell me what it means, for none of the wise men in my kingdom can interpret it for me. But you can, because the spirit of the holy gods is in you."
19
Then Daniel (also called Belteshazzar) was greatly perplexed for a time, and his thoughts terrified him. So the king said, "Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its meaning alarm you." Belteshazzar answered, "My lord, if only the dream applied to your enemies and its meaning to your adversaries!
20
The tree you saw, which grew large and strong, with its top touching the sky, visible to the whole earth,
21
with beautiful leaves and abundant fruit, providing food for all, giving shelter to the beasts of the field, and having nesting places in its branches for the birds of the air--
22
you, O king, are that tree! You have become great and strong; your greatness has grown until it reaches the sky, and your dominion extends to distant parts of the earth.
23
"You, O king, saw a messenger, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, 'Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump, bound with iron and bronze, in the grass of the field, while its roots remain in the ground. Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven; let him live like the wild animals, until seven times pass by for him.'
24
"This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree the Most High has issued against my lord the king:
25
You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.
26
The command to leave the stump of the tree with its roots means that your kingdom will be restored to you when you acknowledge that Heaven rules.
27
Therefore, O king, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue."
28
All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar.
29
Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon,
30
he said, "Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?"
31
The words were still on his lips when a voice came from heaven, "This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you.
32
You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes."
33
Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like cattle. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.
34
At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation.
35
All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: "What have you done?"
36
At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before.
37
Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

Revelation chapter 17

1
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits on many waters.
2
With her the kings of the earth committed adultery and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries."
3
Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns.
4
The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries.
5
This title was written on her forehead: MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
6
I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished.
7
Then the angel said to me: "Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns.
8
The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come.
9
"This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits.
10
They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while.
11
The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.
12
"The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast.
13
They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast.
14
They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings-- and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers."
15
Then the angel said to me, "The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages.
16
The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire.
17
For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God's words are fulfilled.
18
The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth."