Today our passages are Deuteronomy 33:1-29; Luke 13:1-21; Psalm 78:65-72; and Proverbs 12:25. 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 33:1-29 (The Message)
The Blessing1-5 Moses, man of God, blessed the People of Israel with this blessing before his death. He said,
God came down from Sinai,
he dawned from Seir upon them;
He radiated light from Mount Paran,
coming with ten thousand holy angels
And tongues of fire
streaming from his right hand.
Oh, how you love the people,
all his holy ones are palmed in your left hand.
They sit at your feet,
honoring your teaching,
The Revelation commanded by Moses,
as the assembly of Jacob's inheritance.
Thus God became king in Jeshurun
as the leaders and tribes of Israel gathered. 6 Reuben:
"Let Reuben live and not die,
but just barely, in diminishing numbers."
"Listen, God, to the Voice of Judah,
bring him to his people;
Strengthen his grip,
be his helper against his foes."
"Let your Thummim and Urim
belong to your loyal saint;
The one you tested at Massah,
whom you fought with at the Waters of Meribah,
Who said of his father and mother,
'I no longer recognize them.'
He turned his back on his brothers
and neglected his children,
Because he was guarding your sayings
and watching over your Covenant.
Let him teach your rules to Jacob
and your Revelation to Israel,
Let him keep the incense rising to your nostrils
and the Whole-Burnt-Offerings on your Altar.
God bless his commitment,
stamp your seal of approval on what he does;
Disable the loins of those who defy him,
make sure we've heard the last from those who hate him."
God's permanent residence.
Encircled by God all day long,
within whom God is at home."
"Blessed by God be his land:
The best fresh dew from high heaven,
and fountains springing from the depths;
The best radiance streaming from the sun
and the best the moon has to offer;
Beauty pouring off the tops of the mountains
and the best from the everlasting hills;
The best of Earth's exuberant gifts,
the smile of the Burning-Bush Dweller.
All this on the head of Joseph,
on the brow of the consecrated one among his brothers.
In splendor he's like a firstborn bull,
his horns the horns of a wild ox;
He'll gore the nations with those horns,
push them all to the ends of the Earth.
Ephraim by the ten thousands will do this,
Manasseh by the thousands will do this."
18-19 Zebulun and Issachar:
"Celebrate, Zebulun, as you go out,
and Issachar, as you stay home.
They'll invite people to the Mountain
and offer sacrifices of right worship,
For they will have hauled riches in from the sea
and gleaned treasures from the beaches."
"Blessed is he who makes Gad large.
Gad roams like a lion,
tears off an arm, rips open a skull.
He took one look and grabbed the best place for himself,
the portion just made for someone in charge.
He took his place at the head,
carried out God's right ways
and his rules for life in Israel."
"Dan is a lion's cub
leaping out of Bashan."
"Naphtali brims with blessings,
spills over with God's blessings
As he takes possession
of the sea and southland."
"Asher, best blessed of the sons!
May he be the favorite of his brothers,
his feet massaged in oil.
Safe behind iron-clad doors and gates,
your strength like iron as long as you live."
26-28 There is none like God, Jeshurun,
riding to your rescue through the skies,
his dignity haloed by clouds.
The ancient God is home
on a foundation of everlasting arms.
He drove out the enemy before you
and commanded, "Destroy!"
Israel lived securely,
the fountain of Jacob undisturbed
In grain and wine country
and, oh yes, his heavens drip dew.
29 Lucky Israel! Who has it as good as you?
A people saved by God!
The Shield who defends you,
the Sword who brings triumph.
Your enemies will come crawling on their bellies
and you'll march on their backs.
Luke 13:1-21 (The Message)
Unless You Turn to God
1-5About that time some people came up and told him about the Galileans Pilate had killed while they were at worship, mixing their blood with the blood of the sacrifices on the altar. Jesus responded, "Do you think those murdered Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans? Not at all. Unless you turn to God, you, too, will die. And those eighteen in Jerusalem the other day, the ones crushed and killed when the Tower of Siloam collapsed and fell on them, do you think they were worse citizens than all other Jerusalemites? Not at all. Unless you turn to God, you, too, will die."
6-7Then he told them a story: "A man had an apple tree planted in his front yard. He came to it expecting to find apples, but there weren't any. He said to his gardener, 'What's going on here? For three years now I've come to this tree expecting apples and not one apple have I found. Chop it down! Why waste good ground with it any longer?'
8-9"The gardener said, 'Let's give it another year. I'll dig around it and fertilize, and maybe it will produce next year; if it doesn't, then chop it down.'"
Healing on the Sabbath
10-13He was teaching in one of the meeting places on the Sabbath. There was a woman present, so twisted and bent over with arthritis that she couldn't even look up. She had been afflicted with this for eighteen years. When Jesus saw her, he called her over. "Woman, you're free!" He laid hands on her and suddenly she was standing straight and tall, giving glory to God.
14The meeting-place president, furious because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the congregation, "Six days have been defined as work days. Come on one of the six if you want to be healed, but not on the seventh, the Sabbath."
15-16But Jesus shot back, "You frauds! Each Sabbath every one of you regularly unties your cow or donkey from its stall, leads it out for water, and thinks nothing of it. So why isn't it all right for me to untie this daughter of Abraham and lead her from the stall where Satan has had her tied these eighteen years?"
17When he put it that way, his critics were left looking quite silly and redfaced. The congregation was delighted and cheered him on.
The Way to God
18-19Then he said, "How can I picture God's kingdom for you? What kind of story can I use? It's like a pine nut that a man plants in his front yard. It grows into a huge pine tree with thick branches, and eagles build nests in it."
20-21He tried again. "How can I picture God's kingdom? It's like yeast that a woman works into enough dough for three loaves of bread—and waits while the dough rises."
Psalm 78:65-72 (The Message)
65-72 Suddenly the Lord was up on his feet
like someone roused from deep sleep,
shouting like a drunken warrior.
He hit his enemies hard, sent them running,
yelping, not daring to look back.
He disqualified Joseph as leader,
told Ephraim he didn't have what it takes,
And chose the Tribe of Judah instead,
Mount Zion, which he loves so much.
He built his sanctuary there, resplendent,
solid and lasting as the earth itself.
Then he chose David, his servant,
handpicked him from his work in the sheep pens.
One day he was caring for the ewes and their lambs,
the next day God had him shepherding Jacob,
his people Israel, his prize possession.
His good heart made him a good shepherd;
he guided the people wisely and well.
Proverbs 12:25 (The Message)
25 Worry weighs us down;
a cheerful word picks us up.
Verse of the Day
“God's Son has all the brightness of God's own glory and is like him in every way. By his own mighty word, he holds the universe together. After the Son had washed away our sins, he sat down at the right side of the glorious God in heaven.” - Hebrews 1:3
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.
American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou wrote, “If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.”