Read the Bible in a Year

Each day, we'll post passages so that you can read the Bible in one year. This is part of The Colossians 13:16 Project, sponsored by Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia. You're invited to worship with us Sundays, at 11:00 a.m. or Saturdays, at 6:30 p.m. You may also want to consider joining one our adult Bible Studies: Thursdays at 12:00 noon and Sundays at 9:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. We also have a full range of programs for children. If you want more information about the church, check out the other blogs. And please feel free to leave any comments.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bible Readings for May 29, 2014

Today our passages are 2 Samuel 14:1–15:22; John 18:1-24; Psalm 119:97-112; and Proverbs 16:8-9. The readings are from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson. If you missed a day, you can find all the readings at our blog, The Bible in a Year.

2 Samuel 14-15:22 (The Message)

2 Samuel 14

 1-3 Joab son of Zeruiah knew that the king, deep down, still cared for Absalom. So he sent to Tekoa for a wise woman who lived there and instructed her, "Pretend you are in mourning. Dress in black and don't comb your hair, so you'll look like you've been grieving over a dead loved one for a long time. Then go to the king and tell him this..." Joab then told her exactly what to say.  4 The woman of Tekoa went to the king, bowed deeply before him in homage, and said, "O King, help!"
 5-7 He said, "How can I help?"
    "I'm a widow," she said. "My husband is dead. I had two sons. The two of them got into a fight out in the field and there was no one around to step between them. The one struck the other and killed him. Then the whole family ganged up against me and demanded, 'Hand over this murderer so we can kill him for the life of the brother he murdered!' They want to wipe out the heir and snuff out the one spark of life left to me. And then there would be nothing left of my husband—not so much as a name—on the face of the earth.
 15-17 "So now I've dared come to the king, my master, about all this. They're making my life miserable, and I'm afraid. I said to myself, 'I'll go to the king. Maybe he'll do something! When the king hears what's going on, he'll step in and rescue me from the abuse of the man who would get rid of me and my son and God's inheritance—the works!' As your handmaid, I decided ahead of time, 'The word of my master, the king, will be the last word in this, for my master is like an angel of God in discerning good and evil.' God be with you!"
 8 The king said, "Go home, and I'll take care of this for you."
 9 "I'll take all responsibility for what happens," the woman of Tekoa said. "I don't want to compromise the king and his reputation."
 10 "Bring the man who has been harassing you," the king continued. "I'll see to it that he doesn't bother you anymore."
 11 "Let the king invoke the name of God," said the woman, "so this self-styled vigilante won't ruin everything, to say nothing of killing my son."
    "As surely as God lives," he said, "not so much as a hair of your son's head will be lost."
 12 Then she asked, "May I say one more thing to my master, the king?"
    He said, "Go ahead."
 13-14 "Why, then," the woman said, "have you done this very thing against God's people? In his verdict, the king convicts himself by not bringing home his exiled son. We all die sometime. Water spilled on the ground can't be gathered up again. But God does not take away life. He works out ways to get the exile back."
 18 The king then said, "I'm going to ask you something. Answer me truthfully."
    "Certainly," she said. "Let my master, the king, speak."
 19-20 The king said, "Is the hand of Joab mixed up in this?"
    "On your life, my master king, a body can't veer an inch right or left and get by with it in the royal presence! Yes, it was your servant Joab who put me up to this, and put these very words in my mouth. It was because he wanted to turn things around that your servant Joab did this. But my master is as wise as God's angels in knowing how to handle things on this earth."
 21 The king spoke to Joab. "All right, I'll do it. Go and bring the young man Absalom back."
 22 Joab bowed deeply in reverence and blessed the king. "I'm reassured to know that I'm still in your good graces and have your confidence, since the king is taking the counsel of his servant."
 23-24 Joab got up, went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. The king said, "He may return to his house, but he is not to see me face-to-face." So Absalom returned home, but was not permitted to see the king.
 25-27 This Absalom! There wasn't a man in all Israel talked about so much for his handsome good looks—and not a blemish on him from head to toe! When he cut his hair—he always cut it short in the spring because it had grown so heavy—the weight of the hair from his head was over two pounds! Three sons were born to Absalom, and one daughter. Her name was Tamar—and she was a beauty.
 28-31 Absalom lived in Jerusalem for two years, and not once did he see the king face-to-face. He sent for Joab to get him in to see the king, but Joab still wouldn't budge. He tried a second time and Joab still wouldn't. So he told his servants, "Listen. Joab's field adjoins mine, and he has a crop of barley in it. Go set fire to it." So Absalom's servants set fire to the field. That got him moving—Joab came to Absalom at home and said, "Why did your servants set my field on fire?"
 32 Absalom answered him, "Listen, I sent for you saying, 'Come, and soon. I want to send you to the king to ask, "What's the point of my coming back from Geshur? I'd be better off still there!" Let me see the king face-to-face. If he finds me guilty, then he can put me to death.'"
 33 Joab went to the king and told him what was going on. Absalom was then summoned—he came and bowed deeply in reverence before him. And the king kissed Absalom.

2 Samuel 15

 1-2 As time went on, Absalom took to riding in a horse-drawn chariot, with fifty men running in front of him. Early each morning he would take up his post beside the road at the city gate. When anyone showed up with a case to bring to the king for a decision, Absalom would call him over and say, "Where do you hail from?"     And the answer would come, "Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel."
 3-6 Then Absalom would say, "Look, you've got a strong case; but the king isn't going to listen to you." Then he'd say, "Why doesn't someone make me a judge for this country? Anybody with a case could bring it to me and I'd settle things fair and square." Whenever someone would treat him with special honor, he'd shrug it off and treat him like an equal, making him feel important. Absalom did this to everyone who came to do business with the king and stole the hearts of everyone in Israel.
 7-8 After four years of this, Absalom spoke to the king, "Let me go to Hebron to pay a vow that I made to God. Your servant made a vow when I was living in Geshur in Aram saying, 'If God will bring me back to Jerusalem, I'll serve him with my life.'"
 9 The king said, "Go with my blessing." And he got up and set off for Hebron.
 10-12 Then Absalom sent undercover agents to all the tribes of Israel with the message, "When you hear the blast of the ram's horn trumpet, that's your signal: Shout, 'Absalom is king in Hebron!'" Two hundred men went with Absalom from Jerusalem. But they had been called together knowing nothing of the plot and made the trip innocently. While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he managed also to involve Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's advisor, calling him away from his hometown of Giloh. The conspiracy grew powerful and Absalom's supporters multiplied.
 13 Someone came to David with the report, "The whole country has taken up with Absalom!"
 14 "Up and out of here!" called David to all his servants who were with him in Jerusalem. "We've got to run for our lives or none of us will escape Absalom! Hurry, he's about to pull the city down around our ears and slaughter us all!"
 15 The king's servants said, "Whatever our master, the king, says, we'll do; we're with you all the way!"
 16-18 So the king and his entire household escaped on foot. The king left ten concubines behind to tend to the palace. And so they left, step by step by step, and then paused at the last house as the whole army passed by him—all the Kerethites, all the Pelethites, and the six hundred Gittites who had marched with him from Gath, went past.
 19-20 The king called out to Ittai the Gittite, "What are you doing here? Go back with King Absalom. You're a stranger here and freshly uprooted from your own country. You arrived only yesterday, and am I going to let you take your chances with us as I live on the road like a gypsy? Go back, and take your family with you. And God's grace and truth go with you!"
 21 But Ittai answered, "As God lives and my master the king lives, where my master is, that's where I'll be—whether it means life or death."
 22 "All right," said David, "go ahead." And they went on, Ittai the Gittite with all his men and all the children he had with him.

John 18:1-24 (The Message)

John 18

Seized in the Garden at Night
 1 Jesus, having prayed this prayer, left with his disciples and crossed over the brook Kidron at a place where there was a garden. He and his disciples entered it.  2-4Judas, his betrayer, knew the place because Jesus and his disciples went there often. So Judas led the way to the garden, and the Roman soldiers and police sent by the high priests and Pharisees followed. They arrived there with lanterns and torches and swords. Jesus, knowing by now everything that was coming down on him, went out and met them. He said, "Who are you after?"
   They answered, "Jesus the Nazarene."
 5-6He said, "That's me." The soldiers recoiled, totally taken aback. Judas, his betrayer, stood out like a sore thumb.
 7Jesus asked again, "Who are you after?"
   They answered, "Jesus the Nazarene."
 8-9"I told you," said Jesus, "that's me. I'm the one. So if it's me you're after, let these others go." (This validated the words in his prayer, "I didn't lose one of those you gave.")
 10Just then Simon Peter, who was carrying a sword, pulled it from its sheath and struck the Chief Priest's servant, cutting off his right ear. Malchus was the servant's name.
 11Jesus ordered Peter, "Put back your sword. Do you think for a minute I'm not going to drink this cup the Father gave me?"
 12-14Then the Roman soldiers under their commander, joined by the Jewish police, seized Jesus and tied him up. They took him first to Annas, father-in-law of Caiaphas. Caiaphas was the Chief Priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it was to their advantage that one man die for the people.
 15-16Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. That other disciple was known to the Chief Priest, and so he went in with Jesus to the Chief Priest's courtyard. Peter had to stay outside. Then the other disciple went out, spoke to the doorkeeper, and got Peter in.
 17The young woman who was the doorkeeper said to Peter, "Aren't you one of this man's disciples?"
   He said, "No, I'm not."
 18The servants and police had made a fire because of the cold and were huddled there warming themselves. Peter stood with them, trying to get warm.
The Interrogation
 19-21Annas interrogated Jesus regarding his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered, "I've spoken openly in public. I've taught regularly in meeting places and the Temple, where the Jews all come together. Everything has been out in the open. I've said nothing in secret. So why are you treating me like a conspirator? Question those who have been listening to me. They know well what I have said. My teachings have all been aboveboard."  22When he said this, one of the policemen standing there slapped Jesus across the face, saying, "How dare you speak to the Chief Priest like that!"
 23Jesus replied, "If I've said something wrong, prove it. But if I've spoken the plain truth, why this slapping around?"
 24Then Annas sent him, still tied up, to the Chief Priest Caiaphas.

Psalm 119:97-112 (The Message)

 97-104 Oh, how I love all you've revealed;
      I reverently ponder it all the day long.
   Your commands give me an edge on my enemies;
      they never become obsolete.
   I've even become smarter than my teachers
      since I've pondered and absorbed your counsel.
   I've become wiser than the wise old sages
      simply by doing what you tell me.
   I watch my step, avoiding the ditches and ruts of evil
      so I can spend all my time keeping your Word.
   I never make detours from the route you laid out;
      you gave me such good directions.
   Your words are so choice, so tasty;
      I prefer them to the best home cooking.
   With your instruction, I understand life;
      that's why I hate false propaganda.

 105-112 By your words I can see where I'm going;
      they throw a beam of light on my dark path.
   I've committed myself and I'll never turn back
      from living by your righteous order.
   Everything's falling apart on me, God;
      put me together again with your Word.
   Festoon me with your finest sayings, God;
      teach me your holy rules.
   My life is as close as my own hands,
      but I don't forget what you have revealed.
   The wicked do their best to throw me off track,
      but I don't swerve an inch from your course.
   I inherited your book on living; it's mine forever—
      what a gift! And how happy it makes me!
   I concentrate on doing exactly what you say—
      I always have and always will.

Proverbs 16:8-9 (The Message)

 8 Far better to be right and poor
   than to be wrong and rich.

 9 We plan the way we want to live,
   but only God makes us able to live it.

Verse of the Day

“The LORD is always kind to those who worship him, and he keeps his promises to their descendants who faithfully obey him.” - Psalm 103:17-18
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

John F. Kennedy, White House photo portrait, looking up.jpg
Thought for the Day

The 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy wrote, “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.”

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