Today our passages are Numbers 32:1–33:39; Luke 4:31–5:11; Psalm 64:1-10; and Proverbs 11:22. 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.
Numbers 32-33:39 (The Message)
Tribes East of the Jordan1-4 The families of Reuben and Gad had huge herds of livestock. They saw that the country of Jazer and Gilead was just the place for grazing livestock. And so they came, the families of Gad and of Reuben, and spoke to Moses and Eleazar the priest and the leaders of the congregation, saying, "Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo, and Beon—the country that God laid low before the community of Israel—is a country just right for livestock, and we have livestock." 5 They continued, "If you think we've done a good job so far, give us this country for our inheritance. Don't make us go across the Jordan."
6-12 Moses answered the families of Gad and Reuben: "Do you mean that you are going to leave the fighting that's ahead to your brothers while you settle down here? Why would you even think of letting the People of Israel down, demoralizing them just as they're about to move into the land God gave them? That's exactly what your ancestors did when I sent them from Kadesh Barnea to survey the country. They went as far as the Valley of Eshcol, took one look and quit. They completely demoralized the People of Israel from entering the land God had given them. And God got angry—oh, did he get angry! He swore: 'They'll never get to see it; none of those who came up out of Egypt who are twenty years and older will ever get to see the land that I promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They weren't interested in following me—their hearts weren't in it. None, except for Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite, and Joshua son of Nun; they followed me—their hearts were in it.'
13 "God's anger smoked against Israel. He made them wander in the wilderness for forty years, until that entire generation that acted out evil in his sight had died out.
14-15 "And now here you are, just one more mob of sinners stepping up to replace your ancestors, throwing fuel on the already blazing anger of God against Israel. If you won't follow him, he'll do it again. He'll dump them in the desert and the disaster will be all your fault."
16-19 They came close to him and said, "All we want to do is build corrals for our livestock and towns for our families. Then we'll take up arms and take the front lines, leading the People of Israel to their place. We'll be able to leave our families behind, secure in fortified towns, safe from those who live in the land. But we won't go back home until every Israelite is in full possession of his inheritance. We won't expect any inheritance west of the Jordan; we are claiming all our inheritance east of the Jordan."
20-22 Moses said, "If you do what you say, take up arms before God for battle and together go across the Jordan ready, before God, to fight until God has cleaned his enemies out of the land, then when the land is secure you will have fulfilled your duty to God and Israel. Then this land will be yours to keep before God.
23-24 "But if you don't do what you say, you will be sinning against God; you can be sure that your sin will track you down. So, go ahead. Build towns for your families and corrals for your livestock. Do what you said you'd do."
25-27 The families of Gad and Reuben told Moses: "We will do as our master commands. Our children and wives, our flocks and herds will stay behind here in the towns of Gilead. But we, every one of us fully armed, will cross the river to fight for God, just as our master has said."
28-30 So Moses issued orders for them to Eleazar the priest, Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the ancestral tribes of the People of Israel. Moses said, "If the families of Gad and Reuben cross the Jordan River with you and before God, all armed and ready to fight, then after the land is secure, you may give them the land of Gilead as their inheritance. But if they don't cross over with you, they'll have to settle up with you in Canaan."
31-32 The families of Gad and Reuben responded: "We will do what God has said. We will cross the Jordan before God, ready and willing to fight. But the land we inherit will be here, to the east of the Jordan."
33 Moses gave the families of Gad, Reuben, and the half-tribe of Manasseh son of Joseph the kingdom of Sihon, king of the Amorites, and the kingdom of Og, king of Bashan—the land, its towns, and all the territories connected with them—the works.
34-36 The Gadites rebuilt Dibon, Ataroth, Aroer, Atroth Shophan, Jazer, Jogbehah, Beth Nimrah, and Beth Haran as fortified cities; they also built corrals for their animals.
37-38 The Reubenites rebuilt Heshbon, Elealeh, and Kiriathaim, also Nebo and Baal Meon and Sibmah. They renamed the cities that they rebuilt.
39-40 The family of Makir son of Manasseh went to Gilead, captured it, and drove out the Amorites who lived there. Moses then gave Gilead to the Makirites, the descendants of Manasseh. They moved in and settled there.
41 Jair, another son of Manasseh, captured some villages and named them Havvoth Jair (Jair's Tent-Camps).
42 Nobah captured Kenath and its surrounding camps. He renamed it after himself, Nobah.
Campsites from Rameses to Jordan-Jericho1-2 These are the camping sites in the journey of the People of Israel after they left Egypt, deployed militarily under the command of Moses and Aaron. Under God's instruction Moses kept a log of every time they moved, camp by camp: 3-4 They marched out of Rameses the day after the Passover. It was the fifteenth day of the first month. They marched out heads high and confident. The Egyptians, busy burying their firstborn whom God had killed, watched them go. God had exposed the nonsense of their gods.
5-36 The People of Israel:
left Rameses and camped at Succoth;
left Succoth and camped at Etham at the edge of the wilderness;
left Etham, circled back to Pi Hahiroth east of Baal Zephon, and camped near Migdol;
left Pi Hahiroth and crossed through the Sea into the wilderness; three days into the Wilderness of Etham they camped at Marah;
left Marah and came to Elim where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees; they camped there;
left Elim and camped by the Red Sea;
left the Red Sea and camped in the Wilderness of Sin;
left the Wilderness of Sin and camped at Dophkah;
left Dophkah and camped at Alush;
left Alush and camped at Rephidim where there was no water for the people to drink;
left Rephidim and camped in the Wilderness of Sinai;
left the Wilderness of Sinai and camped at Kibroth Hattaavah;
left Kibroth Hattaavah and camped at Hazeroth;
left Hazeroth and camped at Rithmah;
left Rithmah and camped at Rimmon Perez;
left Rimmon Perez and camped at Libnah;
left Libnah and camped at Rissah;
left Rissah and camped at Kehelathah;
left Kehelathah and camped at Mount Shepher;
left Mount Shepher and camped at Haradah;
left Haradah and camped at Makheloth;
left Makheloth and camped at Tahath;
left Tahath and camped at Terah;
left Terah and camped at Mithcah;
left Mithcah and camped at Hashmonah;
left Hashmonah and camped at Moseroth;
left Moseroth and camped at Bene Jaakan;
left Bene Jaakan and camped at Hor Haggidgad;
left Hor Haggidgad and camped at Jotbathah;
left Jotbathah and camped at Abronah;
left Abronah and camped at Ezion Geber;
left Ezion Geber and camped at Kadesh in the Wilderness of Zin.
37-39 After they left Kadesh and camped at Mount Hor at the border of Edom, Aaron the priest climbed Mount Hor at God's command and died there. It was the first day of the fifth month in the fortieth year after the People of Israel had left Egypt. Aaron was 123 years old when he died on Mount Hor.
Luke 4:31-5:11 (The Message)
31-32He went down to Capernaum, a village in Galilee. He was teaching the people on the Sabbath. They were surprised and impressed—his teaching was so forthright, so confident, so authoritative, not the quibbling and quoting they were used to.
33-34In the meeting place that day there was a man demonically disturbed. He screamed, "Ho! 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!"
35Jesus shut him up: "Quiet! Get out of him!" The demonic spirit threw the man down in front of them all and left. The demon didn't hurt him.
36-37That set everyone back on their heels, whispering and wondering, "What's going on here? Someone whose words make things happen? Someone who orders demonic spirits to get out and they go?" Jesus was the talk of the town.
He Healed Them All
38-39He left the meeting place and went to Simon's house. Simon's mother-in-law was running a high fever and they asked him to do something for her. He stood over her, told the fever to leave—and it left. Before they knew it, she was up getting dinner for them.
40-41When the sun went down, everyone who had anyone sick with some ailment or other brought them to him. One by one he placed his hands on them and healed them. Demons left in droves, screaming, "Son of God! You're the Son of God!" But he shut them up, refusing to let them speak because they knew too much, knew him to be the Messiah.
42-44He left the next day for open country. But the crowds went looking and, when they found him, clung to him so he couldn't go on. He told them, "Don't you realize that there are yet other villages where I have to tell the Message of God's kingdom, that this is the work God sent me to do?" Meanwhile he continued preaching in the meeting places of Galilee.
Push Out into Deep Water
1-3Once when he was standing on the shore of Lake Gennesaret, the crowd was pushing in on him to better hear the Word of God. He noticed two boats tied up. The fishermen had just left them and were out scrubbing their nets. He climbed into the boat that was Simon's and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Sitting there, using the boat for a pulpit, he taught the crowd.
4When he finished teaching, he said to Simon, "Push out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch."
5-7Simon said, "Master, we've been fishing hard all night and haven't caught even a minnow. But if you say so, I'll let out the nets." It was no sooner said than done—a huge haul of fish, straining the nets past capacity. They waved to their partners in the other boat to come help them. They filled both boats, nearly swamping them with the catch.
8-10Simon Peter, when he saw it, fell to his knees before Jesus. "Master, leave. I'm a sinner and can't handle this holiness. Leave me to myself." When they pulled in that catch of fish, awe overwhelmed Simon and everyone with him. It was the same with James and John, Zebedee's sons, coworkers with Simon.
10-11Jesus said to Simon, "There is nothing to fear. From now on you'll be fishing for men and women." They pulled their boats up on the beach, left them, nets and all, and followed him.
Psalm 64:1-10 (The Message)
A David Psalm1 Listen and help, O God. I'm reduced to a whine
And a whimper, obsessed
with feelings of doomsday.
2-6 Don't let them find me—
the conspirators out to get me,
Using their tongues as weapons,
flinging poison words,
They shoot from ambush,
shoot without warning,
not caring who they hit.
They keep fit doing calisthenics
of evil purpose,
They keep lists of the traps
they've secretly set.
They say to each other,
"No one can catch us,
no one can detect our perfect crime."
The Detective detects the mystery
in the dark of the cellar heart.
7-8 The God of the Arrow shoots!
They double up in pain,
Fall flat on their faces
in full view of the grinning crowd.
9-10 Everyone sees it. God's
work is the talk of the town.
Be glad, good people! Fly to God!
Good-hearted people, make praise your habit.
Proverbs 11:22 (The Message)
22 Like a gold ring in a pig's snout
is a beautiful face on an empty head.
Verse of the Day
“But I will bless those who trust me. They will be like trees growing beside a stream-- trees with roots that reach down to the water, and with leaves that are always green. They bear fruit every year and are never worried by a lack of rain.” - Jeremiah 17:7-8
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.
Thought for the Day
American author and motivational speaker, and a professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Southern California, Leo Buscaglia wrote, “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”