Today our passages are Exodus 39:1–40:38; Mark 1:1-28; Psalm 35:1-16; and Proverbs 9:11-12. The readings are from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson. If you find these readings helpful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.
Exodus 39-40:38 (The Message)
Exodus 391 Vestments. Using the blue, purple, and scarlet fabrics, they made the woven vestments for ministering in the Sanctuary. Also they made the sacred vestments for Aaron, as God had commanded Moses. 2-5 Ephod. They made the Ephod using gold and blue, purple, and scarlet fabrics and finely twisted linen. They hammered out gold leaf and sliced it into threads that were then worked into designs in the blue, purple, and scarlet fabric and fine linen. They made shoulder pieces fastened at the two ends. The decorated band was made of the same material—gold, blue, purple, and scarlet material, and of fine twisted linen—and of one piece with it, just as God had commanded Moses.
6-7 They mounted the onyx stones in a setting of filigreed gold and engraved the names of the sons of Israel on them, then fastened them on the shoulder pieces of the Ephod as memorial stones for the Israelites, just as God had commanded Moses.
8-10 Breastpiece. They made a Breastpiece designed like the Ephod from gold, blue, purple, and scarlet material, and fine twisted linen. Doubled, the Breastpiece was nine inches square. They mounted four rows of precious gemstones on it.
First row: carnelian, topaz, emerald.
11 Second row: ruby, sapphire, crystal.
12 Third row: jacinth, agate, amethyst.
13-14 Fourth row: beryl, onyx, jasper.
The stones were mounted in a gold filigree. The twelve stones corresponded to the names of the sons of Israel, twelve names engraved as on a seal, one for each of the twelve tribes.
15-21 They made braided chains of pure gold for the Breastpiece, like cords. They made two settings of gold filigree and two rings of gold, put the two rings at the two ends of the Breastpiece, and fastened the two ends of the cords to the two rings at the end of the Breastpiece. Then they fastened the cords to the settings of filigree, attaching them to the shoulder pieces of the Ephod in front. Then they made two rings of gold and fastened them to the two ends of the Breastpiece on its inside edge facing the Ephod. They made two more rings of gold and fastened them in the front of the Ephod to the lower part of the two shoulder pieces, near the seam above the decorated band of the Ephod. The Breastpiece was fastened by running a cord of blue through its rings to the rings of the Ephod so that it rested secure on the decorated band of the Ephod and wouldn't come loose, just as God had commanded Moses.
22-26 Robe. They made the robe for the Ephod entirely of blue. The opening of the robe at the center was like a collar, the edge hemmed so that it wouldn't tear. On the hem of the robe they made pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet material and fine twisted linen. They also made bells of pure gold and alternated the bells and pomegranates—a bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate—all around the hem of the robe that was worn for ministering, just as God had commanded Moses.
27-29 They also made the tunics of fine linen, the work of a weaver, for Aaron and his sons, the turban of fine linen, the linen hats, the linen underwear made of fine twisted linen, and sashes of fine twisted linen, blue, purple, and scarlet material and embroidered, just as God had commanded Moses.
30-31 They made the plate, the sacred crown, of pure gold and engraved on it as on a seal: "Holy to God." They attached a blue cord to it and fastened it to the turban, just as God had commanded Moses.
32 That completed the work of The Dwelling, the Tent of Meeting. The People of Israel did what God had commanded Moses. They did it all.
33-41 They presented The Dwelling to Moses, the Tent and all its furnishings:
tenting of tanned ram skins
tenting of dolphin skins
veil of the screen
Chest of The Testimony
with its poles
with its utensils
and the Bread of the Presence
Lampstand of pure gold
and its lamps all fitted out
and all its utensils
and the oil for the light
screen for the entrance to the Tent
with its bronze grate
its poles and all its utensils
and its base
hangings for the Courtyard
its posts and bases
screen for the gate of the Courtyard
its cords and its pegs
utensils for ministry in The Dwelling, the Tent of Meeting
woven vestments for ministering in the Sanctuary
sacred vestments for Aaron the priest,
and his sons when serving as priests
42-43 The Israelites completed all the work, just as God had commanded. Moses saw that they had done all the work and done it exactly as God had commanded. Moses blessed them.
"Moses Finished the Work"1-3 God spoke to Moses: "On the first day of the first month, set up The Dwelling, the Tent of Meeting. Place the Chest of The Testimony in it and screen the Chest with the curtain.
4 "Bring in the Table and set it, arranging its Lampstand and lamps. 5 "Place the Gold Altar of Incense before the Chest of The Testimony and hang the curtain at the door of The Dwelling. 6 "Place the Altar of Whole-Burnt-Offering at the door of The Dwelling, the Tent of Meeting.
7 "Place the Washbasin between the Tent of Meeting and the Altar and fill it with water.
8 "Set up the Courtyard on all sides and hang the curtain at the entrance to the Courtyard.
9-11 "Then take the anointing oil and anoint The Dwelling and everything in it; consecrate it and all its furnishings so that it becomes holy. Anoint the Altar of Whole-Burnt-Offering and all its utensils, consecrating the Altar so that it is completely holy. Anoint the Washbasin and its base: consecrate it.
12-15 "Finally, bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and wash them with water. Dress Aaron in the sacred vestments. Anoint him. Consecrate him to serve me as priest. Bring his sons and put tunics on them. Anoint them, just as you anointed their father, to serve me as priests. Their anointing will bring them into a perpetual priesthood, down through the generations."
16 Moses did everything God commanded. He did it all.
17-19 On the first day of the first month of the second year, The Dwelling was set up. Moses set it up: He laid its bases, erected the frames, placed the crossbars, set the posts, spread the tent over The Dwelling, and put the covering over the tent, just as God had commanded Moses.
20-21 He placed The Testimony in the Chest, inserted the poles for carrying the Chest, and placed the lid, the Atonement-Cover, on it. He brought the Chest into The Dwelling and set up the curtain, screening off the Chest of The Testimony, just as God had commanded Moses.
22-23 He placed the Table in the Tent of Meeting on the north side of The Dwelling, outside the curtain, and arranged the Bread there before God, just as God had commanded him.
24-25 He placed the Lampstand in the Tent of Meeting opposite the Table on the south side of The Dwelling and set up the lamps before God, just as God had commanded him.
26-27 Moses placed the Gold Altar in the Tent of Meeting in front of the curtain and burned fragrant incense on it, just as God had commanded him.
28 He placed the screen at the entrance to The Dwelling.
29 He set the Altar of Whole-Burnt-Offering at the door of The Dwelling, the Tent of Meeting, and offered up the Whole-Burnt-Offerings and the Grain-Offerings, just as God had commanded Moses.
30-32 He placed the Washbasin between the Tent of Meeting and the Altar, and filled it with water for washing. Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and feet there. When they entered the Tent of Meeting and when they served at the Altar, they washed, just as God had commanded Moses.
33 Finally, he erected the Courtyard all around The Dwelling and the Altar, and put up the screen for the Courtyard entrance.
Moses finished the work.
34-35 The Cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the Glory of God filled The Dwelling. Moses couldn't enter the Tent of Meeting because the Cloud was upon it, and the Glory of God filled The Dwelling.
36-38 Whenever the Cloud lifted from The Dwelling, the People of Israel set out on their travels, but if the Cloud did not lift, they wouldn't set out until it did lift. The Cloud of God was over The Dwelling during the day and the fire was in it at night, visible to all the Israelites in all their travels.
Mark 1:1-28 (The Message)
John the Baptizer
Watch closely: I'm sending my preacher ahead of you;
He'll make the road smooth for you.
Thunder in the desert!
Prepare for God's arrival!
Make the road smooth and straight!
4-6John the Baptizer appeared in the wild, preaching a baptism of life-change that leads to forgiveness of sins. People thronged to him from Judea and Jerusalem and, as they confessed their sins, were baptized by him in the Jordan River into a changed life. John wore a camel-hair habit, tied at the waist with a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild field honey.
7-8As he preached he said, "The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I'm a mere stagehand, will change your life. I'm baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. His baptism—a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit—will change you from the inside out."
9-11At this time, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. The moment he came out of the water, he saw the sky split open and God's Spirit, looking like a dove, come down on him. Along with the Spirit, a voice: "You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life."
God's Kingdom Is Here
12-13At once, this same Spirit pushed Jesus out into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by Satan. Wild animals were his companions, and angels took care of him.
14-15After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee preaching the Message of God: "Time's up! God's kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message."
16-18Passing along the beach of Lake Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew net-fishing. Fishing was their regular work. Jesus said to them, "Come with me. I'll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I'll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass." They didn't ask questions. They dropped their nets and followed.
19-20A dozen yards or so down the beach, he saw the brothers James and John, Zebedee's sons. They were in the boat, mending their fishnets. Right off, he made the same offer. Immediately, they left their father Zebedee, the boat, and the hired hands, and followed.
21-22Then they entered Capernaum. When the Sabbath arrived, Jesus lost no time in getting to the meeting place. He spent the day there teaching. They were surprised at his teaching—so forthright, so confident—not quibbling and quoting like the religion scholars.
23-24Suddenly, while still in the meeting place, he was interrupted by a man who was deeply disturbed and yelling out, "What business do you have here with us, Jesus? Nazarene! I know what you're up to! You're the Holy One of God, and you've come to destroy us!"
25-26Jesus shut him up: "Quiet! Get out of him!" The afflicting spirit threw the man into spasms, protesting loudly—and got out.
27-28Everyone there was incredulous, buzzing with curiosity. "What's going on here? A new teaching that does what it says? He shuts up defiling, demonic spirits and sends them packing!" News of this traveled fast and was soon all over Galilee.
Psalm 35:1-16 (The Message)
A David Psalm1-3 Harass these hecklers, God, punch these bullies in the nose.
Grab a weapon, anything at hand;
stand up for me!
Get ready to throw the spear, aim the javelin,
at the people who are out to get me.
Reassure me; let me hear you say,
"I'll save you."
4-8 When those thugs try to knife me in the back,
make them look foolish.
Frustrate all those
who are plotting my downfall.
Make them like cinders in a high wind,
with God's angel working the bellows.
Make their road lightless and mud-slick,
with God's angel on their tails.
Out of sheer cussedness they set a trap to catch me;
for no good reason they dug a ditch to stop me.
Surprise them with your ambush—
catch them in the very trap they set,
the disaster they planned for me.
9-10 But let me run loose and free,
celebrating God's great work,
Every bone in my body laughing, singing, "God,
there's no one like you.
You put the down-and-out on their feet
and protect the unprotected from bullies!"
11-12 Hostile accusers appear out of nowhere,
they stand up and badger me.
They pay me back misery for mercy,
leaving my soul empty.
13-14 When they were sick, I dressed in black;
instead of eating, I prayed.
My prayers were like lead in my gut,
like I'd lost my best friend, my brother.
I paced, distraught as a motherless child,
hunched and heavyhearted.
15-16 But when I was down
they threw a party!
All the nameless riffraff of the town came
chanting insults about me.
Like barbarians desecrating a shrine,
they destroyed my reputation.
Proverbs 9:11-12 (The Message)
7-12 If you reason with an arrogant cynic, you'll get slapped in the face;
confront bad behavior and get a kick in the shins.
So don't waste your time on a scoffer;
all you'll get for your pains is abuse.
But if you correct those who care about life,
that's different—they'll love you for it!
Save your breath for the wise—they'll be wiser for it;
tell good people what you know—they'll profit from it.
Skilled living gets its start in the Fear-of-God,
insight into life from knowing a Holy God.
It's through me, Lady Wisdom, that your life deepens,
and the years of your life ripen.
Live wisely and wisdom will permeate your life;
mock life and life will mock you.
Verse of the Day
“Real love isn't our love for God, but his love for us. God sent his Son to be the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven.” - 1 John 4:10
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.
Thought for the Day
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1986 until his death in 2016, Antonin Scalia wrote, “Life is too short to pursue every human act to its most remote consequences; ‘for want of a nail, a kingdom was lost’ is a commentary on fate, not the statement of a major cause of action against a blacksmith.”