Read the Bible | July 23rd
What Is the Measure of My Days?
To the choirmaster: to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.
 I said, “I will guard my ways,
that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will guard my mouth with a muzzle,
so long as the wicked are in my presence.”
 I was mute and silent;
I held my peace to no avail,
and my distress grew worse.
 My heart became hot within me.
As I mused, the fire burned;
then I spoke with my tongue:
 “O LORD, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
 Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
 Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;
man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!
 “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in you.
 Deliver me from all my transgressions.
Do not make me the scorn of the fool!
 I am mute; I do not open my mouth,
for it is you who have done it.
 Remove your stroke from me;
I am spent by the hostility of your hand.
 When you discipline a man
with rebukes for sin,
you consume like a moth what is dear to him;
surely all mankind is a mere breath! Selah
 “Hear my prayer, O LORD,
and give ear to my cry;
hold not your peace at my tears!
For I am a sojourner with you,
a guest, like all my fathers.
 Look away from me, that I may smile again,
before I depart and am no more!” (ESV)
My Help and My Deliverer
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
 He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
 He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the LORD.
 Blessed is the man who makes
the LORD his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie!
 You have multiplied, O LORD my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told.
 In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt offering and sin offering
you have not required.
 Then I said, “Behold, I have come;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
 I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”
 I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O LORD.
 I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.
 As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain
your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
ever preserve me!
 For evils have encompassed me
my iniquities have overtaken me,
and I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head;
my heart fails me.
 Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me!
O LORD, make haste to help me!
 Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether
who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
who delight in my hurt!
 Let those be appalled because of their shame
who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”
 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, “Great is the LORD!”
 As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God! (ESV)
O LORD, Be Gracious to Me
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
 Blessed is the one who considers the poor!
In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him;
 the LORD protects him and keeps him alive;
he is called blessed in the land;
you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.
 The LORD sustains him on his sickbed;
in his illness you restore him to full health.
 As for me, I said, “O LORD, be gracious to me;
heal me, for I have sinned against you!”
 My enemies say of me in malice,
“When will he die, and his name perish?”
 And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words,
while his heart gathers iniquity;
when he goes out, he tells it abroad.
 All who hate me whisper together about me;
they imagine the worst for me.
 They say, “A deadly thing is poured out on him;
he will not rise again from where he lies.”
 Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.
 But you, O LORD, be gracious to me,
and raise me up, that I may repay them!
 By this I know that you delight in me:
my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.
 But you have upheld me because of my integrity,
and set me in your presence forever.
 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting!
Amen and Amen. (ESV)
Paul Appeals to Caesar
 Now three days after Festus had arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea.  And the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews laid out their case against Paul, and they urged him,  asking as a favor against Paul that he summon him to Jerusalem—because they were planning an ambush to kill him on the way.  Festus replied that Paul was being kept at Caesarea and that he himself intended to go there shortly.  “So,” said he, “let the men of authority among you go down with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them bring charges against him.”
 After he stayed among them not more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea. And the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought.  When he had arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him that they could not prove.  Paul argued in his defense, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I committed any offense.”  But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and there be tried on these charges before me?”  But Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar's tribunal, where I ought to be tried. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you yourself know very well.  If then I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar.”  Then Festus, when he had conferred with his council, answered, “To Caesar you have appealed; to Caesar you shall go.”
Paul Before Agrippa and Bernice
 Now when some days had passed, Agrippa the king and Bernice arrived at Caesarea and greeted Festus.  And as they stayed there many days, Festus laid Paul's case before the king, saying, “There is a man left prisoner by Felix,  and when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews laid out their case against him, asking for a sentence of condemnation against him.  I answered them that it was not the custom of the Romans to give up anyone before the accused met the accusers face to face and had opportunity to make his defense concerning the charge laid against him.  So when they came together here, I made no delay, but on the next day took my seat on the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought.  When the accusers stood up, they brought no charge in his case of such evils as I supposed.  Rather they had certain points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive.  Being at a loss how to investigate these questions, I asked whether he wanted to go to Jerusalem and be tried there regarding them.  But when Paul had appealed to be kept in custody for the decision of the emperor, I ordered him to be held until I could send him to Caesar.”  Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow,” said he, “you will hear him.”
 So on the next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp, and they entered the audience hall with the military tribunes and the prominent men of the city. Then, at the command of Festus, Paul was brought in.  And Festus said, “King Agrippa and all who are present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Jewish people petitioned me, both in Jerusalem and here, shouting that he ought not to live any longer.  But I found that he had done nothing deserving death. And as he himself appealed to the emperor, I decided to go ahead and send him.  But I have nothing definite to write to my lord about him. Therefore I have brought him before you all, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that, after we have examined him, I may have something to write.  For it seems to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not to indicate the charges against him.” (ESV)