Today our passages are Deuteronomy 32:28-52; Luke 12:35-59; Psalm 78:56-64; and Proverbs 12:24. 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.
Deuteronomy 32:28-52 (The Message)
28-33 They are a nation of ninnies,
they don't know enough to come in out of the rain.
If they had any sense at all, they'd know this;
they would see what's coming down the road.
How could one soldier chase a thousand enemies off,
or two men run off two thousand,
Unless their Rock had sold them,
unless God had given them away?
For their rock is nothing compared to our Rock;
even our enemies say that.
They're a vine that comes right out of Sodom,
who they are is rooted in Gomorrah;
Their grapes are poison grapes,
their grape-clusters bitter.
Their wine is rattlesnake venom,
mixed with lethal cobra poison.
34-35 Don't you realize that I have my shelves
well stocked, locked behind iron doors?
I'm in charge of vengeance and payback,
just waiting for them to slip up;
And the day of their doom is just around the corner,
sudden and swift and sure.
36-38 Yes, God will judge his people,
but oh how compassionately he'll do it.
When he sees their weakened plight
and there is no one left, slave or free,
He'll say, "So where are their gods,
the rock in which they sought refuge,
The gods who feasted on the fat of their sacrifices
and drank the wine of their drink-offerings?
Let them show their stuff and help you,
let them give you a hand!
39-42 "Do you see it now? Do you see that I'm the one?
Do you see that there's no other god beside me?
I bring death and I give life, I wound and I heal—
there is no getting away from or around me!
I raise my hand in solemn oath;
I say, 'I'm always around. By that very life I promise:
When I sharpen my lightning sword
and execute judgment,
I take vengeance on my enemies
and pay back those who hate me.
I'll make my arrows drunk with blood,
my sword will gorge itself on flesh,
Feasting on slain and captive alike,
the proud and vain enemy corpses.'"
43 Celebrate, nations, join the praise of his people.
He avenges the deaths of his servants,
Pays back his enemies with vengeance,
and cleanses his land for his people.
44-47 Moses came and recited all the words of this song in the hearing of the people, he and Joshua son of Nun. When Moses had finished saying all these words to all Israel, he said, "Take to heart all these words to which I give witness today and urgently command your children to put them into practice, every single word of this Revelation. Yes. This is no small matter for you; it's your life. In keeping this word you'll have a good and long life in this land that you're crossing the Jordan to possess."
48-50 That same day God spoke to Moses: "Climb the Abarim Mountains to Mount Nebo in the land of Moab, overlooking Jericho, and view the land of Canaan that I'm giving the People of Israel to have and hold. Die on the mountain that you climb and join your people in the ground, just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and joined his people.
51-52 "This is because you broke faith with me in the company of the People of Israel at the Waters of Meribah Kadesh in the Wilderness of Zin—you didn't honor my Holy Presence in the company of the People of Israel. You'll look at the land spread out before you but you won't enter it, this land that I am giving to the People of Israel."
Luke 12:35-59 (The Message)
When the Master Shows Up35-38"Keep your shirts on; keep the lights on! Be like house servants waiting for their master to come back from his honeymoon, awake and ready to open the door when he arrives and knocks. Lucky the servants whom the master finds on watch! He'll put on an apron, sit them at the table, and serve them a meal, sharing his wedding feast with them. It doesn't matter what time of the night he arrives; they're awake—and so blessed! 39-40"You know that if the house owner had known what night the burglar was coming, he wouldn't have stayed out late and left the place unlocked. So don't you be slovenly and careless. Just when you don't expect him, the Son of Man will show up."
41Peter said, "Master, are you telling this story just for us? Or is it for everybody?"
42-46The Master said, "Let me ask you: Who is the dependable manager, full of common sense, that the master puts in charge of his staff to feed them well and on time? He is a blessed man if when the master shows up he's doing his job. But if he says to himself, 'The master is certainly taking his time,' begins maltreating the servants and maids, throws parties for his friends, and gets drunk, the master will walk in when he least expects it, give him the thrashing of his life, and put him back in the kitchen peeling potatoes.
47-48"The servant who knows what his master wants and ignores it, or insolently does whatever he pleases, will be thoroughly thrashed. But if he does a poor job through ignorance, he'll get off with a slap on the hand. Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities!
To Start a Fire49-53"I've come to start a fire on this earth—how I wish it were blazing right now! I've come to change everything, turn everything rightside up—how I long for it to be finished! Do you think I came to smooth things over and make everything nice? Not so. I've come to disrupt and confront! From now on, when you find five in a house, it will be—
Three against two,
and two against three;
Father against son,
and son against father;
Mother against daughter,
and daughter against mother;
Mother-in-law against bride,
and bride against mother-in-law." 54-56Then he turned to the crowd: "When you see clouds coming in from the west, you say, 'Storm's coming'—and you're right. And when the wind comes out of the south, you say, 'This'll be a hot one'—and you're right. Frauds! You know how to tell a change in the weather, so don't tell me you can't tell a change in the season, the God-season we're in right now.
57-59"You don't have to be a genius to understand these things. Just use your common sense, the kind you'd use if, while being taken to court, you decided to settle up with your accuser on the way, knowing that if the case went to the judge you'd probably go to jail and pay every last penny of the fine. That's the kind of decision I'm asking you to make."
Psalm 78:56-64 (The Message)
56-64 But they kept on giving him a hard time,
rebelled against God, the High God,
refused to do anything he told them.
They were worse, if that's possible, than their parents:
traitors—crooked as a corkscrew.
Their pagan orgies provoked God's anger,
their obscene idolatries broke his heart.
When God heard their carryings-on, he was furious;
he posted a huge No over Israel.
He walked off and left Shiloh empty,
abandoned the shrine where he had met with Israel.
He let his pride and joy go to the dogs,
turned his back on the pride of his life.
He turned them loose on fields of battle;
angry, he let them fend for themselves.
Their young men went to war and never came back;
their young women waited in vain.
Their priests were massacred,
and their widows never shed a tear.
Proverbs 12:24 (The Message)
24 The diligent find freedom in their work;
the lazy are oppressed by work.
Verse of the Day
“Even when we were God's enemies, he made peace with us, because his Son died for us. Yet something even greater than friendship is ours. Now that we are at peace with God, we will be saved by his Son's life.” - Romans 5:10
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.
American-born British essayist and critic, Logan Pearsall Smith wrote, “It takes a great man to give sound advice tactfully, but a greater to accept it graciously.”