Through The Bible Friday 03-16-18 Devotions
A Warning against Idolatry
13 [a]“Suppose there are prophets among you or those who dream dreams about the future, and they promise you signs or miracles, 2 and the predicted signs or miracles occur. If they then say, ‘Come, let us worship other gods’—gods you have not known before— 3 do not listen to them. The Lord your God is testing you to see if you truly love him with all your heart and soul. 4 Serve only the Lord your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him. 5 The false prophets or visionaries who try to lead you astray must be put to death, for they encourage rebellion against the Lord your God, who redeemed you from slavery and brought you out of the land of Egypt. Since they try to lead you astray from the way the Lord your God commanded you to live, you must put them to death. In this way you will purge the evil from among you.
6 “Suppose someone secretly entices you—even your brother, your son or daughter, your beloved wife, or your closest friend—and says, ‘Let us go worship other gods’—gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known. 7 They might suggest that you worship the gods of peoples who live nearby or who come from the ends of the earth. 8 But do not give in or listen. Have no pity, and do not spare or protect them. 9 You must put them to death! Strike the first blow yourself, and then all the people must join in. 10 Stone the guilty ones to death because they have tried to draw you away from the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of slavery. 11 Then all Israel will hear about it and be afraid, and no one will act so wickedly again.
12 “When you begin living in the towns the Lord your God is giving you, you may hear 13 that scoundrels among you are leading their fellow citizens astray by saying, ‘Let us go worship other gods’—gods you have not known before. 14 In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find that the report is true and such a detestable act has been committed among you, 15 you must attack that town and completely destroy[b] all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. 16 Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the open square and burn it. Burn the entire town as a burnt offering to the Lord your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. 17 Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the Lord will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a large nation, just as he swore to your ancestors.
18 “The Lord your God will be merciful only if you listen to his voice and keep all his commands that I am giving you today, doing what pleases him.
Ceremonially Clean and Unclean Animals
14 “Since you are the people of the Lord your God, never cut yourselves or shave the hair above your foreheads in mourning for the dead. 2 You have been set apart as holy to the Lord your God, and he has chosen you from all the nations of the earth to be his own special treasure.
3 “You must not eat any detestable animals that are ceremonially unclean. 4 These are the animals[c] you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, 5 the deer, the gazelle, the roe deer, the wild goat, the addax, the antelope, and the mountain sheep.
6 “You may eat any animal that has completely split hooves and chews the cud, 7 but if the animal doesn’t have both, it may not be eaten. So you may not eat the camel, the hare, or the hyrax.[d] They chew the cud but do not have split hooves, so they are ceremonially unclean for you. 8 And you may not eat the pig. It has split hooves but does not chew the cud, so it is ceremonially unclean for you. You may not eat the meat of these animals or even touch their carcasses.
9 “Of all the marine animals, you may eat whatever has both fins and scales. 10 You may not, however, eat marine animals that do not have both fins and scales. They are ceremonially unclean for you.
11 “You may eat any bird that is ceremonially clean. 12 These are the birds you may not eat: the griffon vulture, the bearded vulture, the black vulture, 13 the kite, the falcon, buzzards of all kinds, 14 ravens of all kinds, 15 the eagle owl, the short-eared owl, the seagull, hawks of all kinds, 16 the little owl, the great owl, the barn owl, 17 the desert owl, the Egyptian vulture, the cormorant, 18 the stork, herons of all kinds, the hoopoe, and the bat.
19 “All winged insects that walk along the ground are ceremonially unclean for you and may not be eaten. 20 But you may eat any winged bird or insect that is ceremonially clean.
21 “You must not eat anything that has died a natural death. You may give it to a foreigner living in your town, or you may sell it to a stranger. But do not eat it yourselves, for you are set apart as holy to the Lord your God.
“You must not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.
The Giving of Tithes
22 “You must set aside a tithe of your crops—one-tenth of all the crops you harvest each year. 23 Bring this tithe to the designated place of worship—the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to be honored—and eat it there in his presence. This applies to your tithes of grain, new wine, olive oil, and the firstborn males of your flocks and herds. Doing this will teach you always to fear the Lord your God.
24 “Now when the Lord your God blesses you with a good harvest, the place of worship he chooses for his name to be honored might be too far for you to bring the tithe. 25 If so, you may sell the tithe portion of your crops and herds, put the money in a pouch, and go to the place the Lord your God has chosen. 26 When you arrive, you may use the money to buy any kind of food you want—cattle, sheep, goats, wine, or other alcoholic drink. Then feast there in the presence of the Lord your God and celebrate with your household. 27 And do not neglect the Levites in your town, for they will receive no allotment of land among you.
28 “At the end of every third year, bring the entire tithe of that year’s harvest and store it in the nearest town. 29 Give it to the Levites, who will receive no allotment of land among you, as well as to the foreigners living among you, the orphans, and the widows in your towns, so they can eat and be satisfied. Then the Lord your God will bless you in all your work.
Release for Debtors
15 “At the end of every seventh year you must cancel the debts of everyone who owes you money. 2 This is how it must be done. Everyone must cancel the loans they have made to their fellow Israelites. They must not demand payment from their neighbors or relatives, for the Lord’s time of release has arrived. 3 This release from debt, however, applies only to your fellow Israelites—not to the foreigners living among you.
4 “There should be no poor among you, for the Lord your God will greatly bless you in the land he is giving you as a special possession. 5 You will receive this blessing if you are careful to obey all the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today. 6 The Lord your God will bless you as he has promised. You will lend money to many nations but will never need to borrow. You will rule many nations, but they will not rule over you.
7 “But if there are any poor Israelites in your towns when you arrive in the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tightfisted toward them. 8 Instead, be generous and lend them whatever they need. 9 Do not be mean-spirited and refuse someone a loan because the year for canceling debts is close at hand. If you refuse to make the loan and the needy person cries out to the Lord, you will be considered guilty of sin. 10 Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do. 11 There will always be some in the land who are poor. That is why I am commanding you to share freely with the poor and with other Israelites in need.
Release for Hebrew Slaves
12 “If a fellow Hebrew sells himself or herself to be your servant[e] and serves you for six years, in the seventh year you must set that servant free.
13 “When you release a male servant, do not send him away empty-handed. 14 Give him a generous farewell gift from your flock, your threshing floor, and your winepress. Share with him some of the bounty with which the Lord your God has blessed you. 15 Remember that you were once slaves in the land of Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you! That is why I am giving you this command.
16 “But suppose your servant says, ‘I will not leave you,’ because he loves you and your family, and he has done well with you. 17 In that case, take an awl and push it through his earlobe into the door. After that, he will be your servant for life. And do the same for your female servants.
18 “You must not consider it a hardship when you release your servants. Remember that for six years they have given you services worth double the wages of hired workers, and the Lord your God will bless you in all you do.
Sacrificing Firstborn Male Animals
19 “You must set aside for the Lord your God all the firstborn males from your flocks and herds. Do not use the firstborn of your herds to work your fields, and do not shear the firstborn of your flocks. 20 Instead, you and your family must eat these animals in the presence of the Lord your God each year at the place he chooses. 21 But if this firstborn animal has any defect, such as lameness or blindness, or if anything else is wrong with it, you must not sacrifice it to the Lord your God. 22 Instead, use it for food for your family in your hometown. Anyone, whether ceremonially clean or unclean, may eat it, just as anyone may eat a gazelle or deer. 23 But you must not consume the blood. You must pour it out on the ground like water.
13:1 Verses 13:1-18 are numbered 13:2-19 in Hebrew text.
13:15 The Hebrew term used here refers to the complete consecration of things or people to the Lord, either by destroying them or by giving them as an offering; similarly in 13:17.
14:4 The identification of some of the animals and birds listed in this chapter is uncertain.
14:7 Or coney, or rock badger.
15:12 Or If a Hebrew man or woman is sold to you.
For the choir director: A psalm[a] of David, regarding the time Doeg the Edomite said to Saul, “David has gone to see Ahimelech.”
1 Why do you boast about your crimes, great warrior?
Don’t you realize God’s justice continues forever?
2 All day long you plot destruction.
Your tongue cuts like a sharp razor;
you’re an expert at telling lies.
3 You love evil more than good
and lies more than truth. Interlude
4 You love to destroy others with your words,
5 But God will strike you down once and for all.
He will pull you from your home
and uproot you from the land of the living. Interlude
6 The righteous will see it and be amazed.
They will laugh and say,
7 “Look what happens to mighty warriors
who do not trust in God.
They trust their wealth instead
and grow more and more bold in their wickedness.”
8 But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God.
I will always trust in God’s unfailing love.
9 I will praise you forever, O God,
for what you have done.
I will trust in your good name
in the presence of your faithful people.
52:Title Hebrew maskil. This may be a literary or musical term.
Teaching about Prayer
11 Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
2 Jesus said, “This is how you should pray:[a]
“Father, may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
3 Give us each day the food we need,[b] 4 and forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation.[c]”
5 Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, 6 ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ 7 And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ 8 But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.[d]
9 “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
11 “You fathers—if your children ask[e] for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”
Jesus and the Prince of Demons
14 One day Jesus cast out a demon from a man who couldn’t speak, and when the demon was gone, the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed, 15 but some of them said, “No wonder he can cast out demons. He gets his power from Satan,[f] the prince of demons.” 16 Others, trying to test Jesus, demanded that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.
17 He knew their thoughts, so he said, “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A family splintered by feuding will fall apart. 18 You say I am empowered by Satan. But if Satan is divided and fighting against himself, how can his kingdom survive? 19 And if I am empowered by Satan, what about your own exorcists? They cast out demons, too, so they will condemn you for what you have said. 20 But if I am casting out demons by the power of God,[g] then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you. 21 For when a strong man is fully armed and guards his palace, his possessions are safe— 22 until someone even stronger attacks and overpowers him, strips him of his weapons, and carries off his belongings.
23 “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.
24 “When an evil[h] spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ 25 So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order. 26 Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.”
27 As he was speaking, a woman in the crowd called out, “God bless your mother—the womb from which you came, and the breasts that nursed you!”
28 Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”
The Sign of Jonah
29 As the crowd pressed in on Jesus, he said, “This evil generation keeps asking me to show them a miraculous sign. But the only sign I will give them is the sign of Jonah. 30 What happened to him was a sign to the people of Nineveh that God had sent him. What happens to the Son of Man[i] will be a sign to these people that he was sent by God.
31 “The queen of Sheba[j] will stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for she came from a distant land to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Now someone greater than Solomon is here—but you refuse to listen. 32 The people of Nineveh will also stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for they repented of their sins at the preaching of Jonah. Now someone greater than Jonah is here—but you refuse to repent.
Receiving the Light
33 “No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket.[k] Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.
34 “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is unhealthy, your body is filled with darkness. 35 Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. 36 If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.”
Jesus Criticizes the Religious Leaders
37 As Jesus was speaking, one of the Pharisees invited him home for a meal. So he went in and took his place at the table.[l] 38 His host was amazed to see that he sat down to eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony required by Jewish custom. 39 Then the Lord said to him, “You Pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and wickedness! 40 Fools! Didn’t God make the inside as well as the outside? 41 So clean the inside by giving gifts to the poor, and you will be clean all over.
42 “What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens,[m] but you ignore justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.
43 “What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you love to sit in the seats of honor in the synagogues and receive respectful greetings as you walk in the marketplaces. 44 Yes, what sorrow awaits you! For you are like hidden graves in a field. People walk over them without knowing the corruption they are stepping on.”
45 “Teacher,” said an expert in religious law, “you have insulted us, too, in what you just said.”
46 “Yes,” said Jesus, “what sorrow also awaits you experts in religious law! For you crush people with unbearable religious demands, and you never lift a finger to ease the burden. 47 What sorrow awaits you! For you build monuments for the prophets your own ancestors killed long ago. 48 But in fact, you stand as witnesses who agree with what your ancestors did. They killed the prophets, and you join in their crime by building the monuments! 49 This is what God in his wisdom said about you:[n] ‘I will send prophets and apostles to them, but they will kill some and persecute the others.’
50 “As a result, this generation will be held responsible for the murder of all God’s prophets from the creation of the world— 51 from the murder of Abel to the murder of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, it will certainly be charged against this generation.
52 “What sorrow awaits you experts in religious law! For you remove the key to knowledge from the people. You don’t enter the Kingdom yourselves, and you prevent others from entering.”
53 As Jesus was leaving, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees became hostile and tried to provoke him with many questions. 54 They wanted to trap him into saying something they could use against him.
11:2 Some manuscripts add additional phrases from the Lord’s Prayer as it reads in Matt 6:9-13.
11:3 Or Give us each day our food for the day; or Give us each day our food for tomorrow.
11:4 Or And keep us from being tested.
11:8 Or in order to avoid shame, or so his reputation won’t be damaged.
11:11 Some manuscripts add for bread, do you give them a stone? Or [if they ask].
11:15 Greek Beelzeboul; also in 11:18, 19. Other manuscripts read Beezeboul; Latin version reads Beelzebub.
11:20 Greek by the finger of God.
11:24 Greek unclean.
11:30 “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself.
11:31 Greek The queen of the south.
11:33 Some manuscripts do not include or puts it under a basket.
11:37 Or and reclined.
11:42 Greek tithe the mint, the rue, and every herb.
11:49 Greek Therefore, the wisdom of God said.
21 The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord;
he guides it wherever he pleases.
2 People may be right in their own eyes,
but the Lord examines their heart.
3 The Lord is more pleased when we do what is right and just
than when we offer him sacrifices.
4 Haughty eyes, a proud heart,
and evil actions are all sin.
5 Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity,
but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.
6 Wealth created by a lying tongue
is a vanishing mist and a deadly trap.[a] 7 The violence of the wicked sweeps them away,
because they refuse to do what is just.
8 The guilty walk a crooked path;
the innocent travel a straight road.
9 It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic
than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.
10 Evil people desire evil;
their neighbors get no mercy from them.
21:6 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads mist for those who seek death.
Monday, March 19, 2018