Today our passages are Genesis 30:1–31:16; Matthew 10:1-25; Psalm 12:1-8; and Proverbs 3:13-15. The readings are the Contemporary English Version. 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 by using the link below.
Genesis 30-31:16 (Contemporary English Version)
Problems between Rachel and Leah1Rachel was very jealous of Leah for having children, and she said to Jacob, "I'll die if you don't give me some children!" 2But Jacob became upset with Rachel and answered, "Don't blame me! I'm not God."
3"Here, take my servant Bilhah," Rachel told him. "Have children by her, and I'll let them be born on my knees to show that they are mine."
4Then Rachel let Jacob marry Bilhah, 5and they had a son. 6Rachel named him Dan, [a] because she said, "God has answered my prayers. He has judged me and given me a son." 7When Bilhah and Jacob had a second son, 8Rachel said, "I've struggled hard with my sister, and I've won!" So she named the boy Naphtali. [b] 9When Leah realized she could not have any more children, she let Jacob marry her servant Zilpah, 10and they had a son. 11"I'm really lucky," Leah said, and she named the boy Gad. [c] 12When they had another son, 13Leah exclaimed, "I'm happy now, and all the women will say how happy I am." So she named him Asher. [d]
Love Flowers14During the time of the wheat harvest, Reuben found some love flowers [e] and took them to his mother Leah. Rachel asked Leah for some of them, 15but Leah said, "It's bad enough that you stole my husband! Now you want my son's love flowers too." "All right," Rachel answered. "Let me have the flowers, and you can sleep with Jacob tonight." 16That evening when Jacob came in from the fields, Leah told him, "You're sleeping with me tonight. I hired you with my son's love flowers."
They slept together that night, 17and God answered Leah's prayers by giving her a fifth son. 18Leah shouted, "God has rewarded me for letting Jacob marry my servant," and she named the boy Issachar. [f] 19When Leah had another son, 20she exclaimed, "God has given me a wonderful gift, and my husband will praise me for giving him six sons." So she named the boy Zebulun. [g] 21Later, Leah had a daughter and named her Dinah. 22-23Finally, God remembered Rachel--he answered her prayer by giving her a son. "God has taken away my disgrace," she said. 24"I'll name the boy Joseph, [h] and I'll pray that the LORD will give me another son."
Jacob and Laban25After Joseph was born, Jacob said to Laban, "Release me from our agreement [i] and let me return to my own country. 26You know how hard I've worked for you, so let me take my wives and children and leave." 27-28But Laban told him, "If you really are my friend, stay on, and I'll pay whatever you ask. I'm sure [j] the LORD has blessed me because of you." 29Jacob answered: You've seen how hard I've worked for you, and you know how your flocks and herds have grown under my care. 30You didn't have much before I came, but the LORD has blessed everything I have ever done for you. Now it's time for me to start looking out for my own family.
31"How much do you want me to pay you?" Laban asked.
Then Jacob told him:
I don't want you to pay me anything. Just do one thing, and I'll take care of your sheep and goats. 32Let me go through your flocks and herds and take the sheep and goats that are either spotted or speckled [k] and the black lambs. That's all you need to give me. 33In the future you can easily find out if I've been honest. Just look and see if my animals are either spotted or speckled, or if the lambs are black. If they aren't, they've been stolen from you. 34"I agree to that," was Laban's response. 35Before the end of the day, Laban had separated his spotted and speckled animals and the black lambs from the others and had put his sons in charge of them. 36Then Laban made Jacob keep the rest of the sheep and goats at a distance of three days' journey.
37Jacob cut branches from some poplar trees and from some almond and evergreen trees. He peeled off part of the bark and made the branches look spotted and speckled. 38Then he put the branches where the sheep and goats would see them [l] while they were drinking from the water trough. The goats mated there 39in front of the branches, and their young were spotted and speckled. 40Some of the sheep that Jacob was keeping for Laban were already spotted. And when the others were ready to mate, he made sure that they faced in the direction of the spotted and black ones. In this way, Jacob built up a flock of sheep for himself and did not put them with the other sheep.
41When the stronger sheep were mating near the drinking place, Jacob made sure that the spotted branches were there. 42But he would not put out the branches when the weaker animals were mating. So Jacob got all of the healthy animals, and Laban got what was left. 43Jacob soon became rich and successful. He owned many sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys, as well as a lot of slaves.
Jacob Runs from Laban1Jacob heard that Laban's sons were complaining, "Jacob is now a rich man, and he got everything he owns from our father." 2Jacob also noticed that Laban was not as friendly as he had been before. 3One day the LORD said, "Jacob, go back to your relatives in the land of your ancestors, and I will bless you." 4Jacob sent for Rachel and Leah to meet him in the field where he kept his sheep, 5and he told them:
Your father isn't as friendly with me as he used to be, but the God my ancestors worshiped has been on my side. 6You know that I have worked hard for your father 7and that he keeps cheating me by changing my wages time after time. But God has protected me. 8When your father said the speckled sheep would be my wages, all of them were speckled. And when he said the spotted ones would be mine, all of them were spotted. 9That's how God has taken sheep and goats from your father and given them to me.
10Once, when the flocks were mating, I dreamed that all the rams were either spotted or speckled. 11Then God's angel called me by name. I answered, 12and he said, "Notice that all the rams are either spotted or speckled. I know everything Laban is doing to you, 13and I am the God you worshiped at Bethel, [m] when you poured olive oil on a rock and made a promise to me. Leave here right away and return to the land where you were born." 14Rachel and Leah said to Jacob:
There's nothing left for us to inherit from our father. 15He treats us like foreigners and has even cheated us out of the bride price [n] that should have been ours. 16Now do whatever God tells you to do. Even the property God took from our father and gave to you really belongs to us and our children.
- Genesis 30:6 Dan: In Hebrew "Dan" means "judge."
- Genesis 30:8 Naphtali: In Hebrew "Naphtali" means "struggle" or "contest."
- Genesis 30:11 Gad: In Hebrew "Gad" means "lucky."
- Genesis 30:13 Asher: In Hebrew "Asher" means "happy."
- Genesis 30:14 love flowers: Also called "mandrakes," a flowering plant that was thought to give sexual powers.
- Genesis 30:18 Issachar: In Hebrew "Issachar" sounds like "reward."
- Genesis 30:20 Zebulun: In Hebrew "Zebulun" sounds like "give" and "praise."
- Genesis 30:24 Joseph: In Hebrew "Joseph" sounds like "take away" and "add."
- Genesis 30:25 Release. . . agreement: Jacob had agreed to work seven years for each of Laban's two daughters (see 29.18).
- Genesis 30:27 I'm sure: The Hebrew text means to find out by some kind of magic, such as fortunetelling.
- Genesis 30:32 spotted or speckled: In ancient times sheep were usually white, and goats were usually black or dark brown; only a few sheep would have black spots, and only a few goats would have white spots.
- Genesis 30:38 would see them: It was believed by some that what sheep and goats saw at the time of breeding would determine the color of their young.
- Genesis 31:13 you. . . Bethel: Or "who appeared to you at Bethel."
- Genesis 31:15 bride price: Usually the husband-to-be paid a bride price to the father of the bride. But Jacob didn't pay Laban a bride price for either Rachel or Leah. Instead he was tricked into working fourteen years to get the bride he loved. So there was no money for either of Laban's daughters.
Matthew 10:1-25 (Contemporary English Version)
Jesus Chooses His Twelve Apostles
(Mark 3.13-19; Luke 6.12-16)1Jesus called together his twelve disciples. He gave them the power to force out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and sickness. 2The first of the twelve apostles was Simon, better known as Peter. His brother Andrew was an apostle, and so were James and John, the two sons of Zebedee. 3Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew the tax collector, [a] James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus were also apostles. 4The others were Simon, known as the Eager One, [b] and Judas Iscariot, [c] who later betrayed Jesus.
Instructions for the Twelve Apostles
(Mark 6.7-13; Luke 9.1-6)5Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: Stay away from the Gentiles and don't go to any Samaritan town. 6Go only to the people of Israel, because they are like a flock of lost sheep. 7As you go, announce that the kingdom of heaven will soon be here. [d] 8Heal the sick, raise the dead to life, heal people who have leprosy, [e] and force out demons. You received without paying, now give without being paid. 9Don't take along any gold, silver, or copper coins. 10And don't carry [f] a traveling bag or an extra shirt or sandals or a walking stick. Workers deserve their food. 11So when you go to a town or a village, find someone worthy enough to have you as their guest and stay with them until you leave. 12When you go to a home, give it your blessing of peace. 13If the home is deserving, let your blessing remain with them. But if the home isn't deserving, take back your blessing of peace. 14If someone won't welcome you or listen to your message, leave their home or town. And shake the dust from your feet at them. [g] 15I promise you that the day of judgment will be easier for the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah [h] than for that town.
Warning about Trouble
(Mark 13.9-13; Luke 21.12-17)16I am sending you like lambs into a pack of wolves. So be as wise as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17Watch out for people who will take you to court and have you beaten in their meeting places. 18Because of me, you will be dragged before rulers and kings to tell them and the Gentiles about your faith. 19But when someone arrests you, don't worry about what you will say or how you will say it. At that time you will be given the words to say. 20But you will not really be the one speaking. The Spirit from your Father will tell you what to say. 21Brothers and sisters will betray one another and have each other put to death. Parents will betray their own children, and children will turn against their parents and have them killed. 22Everyone will hate you because of me. But if you remain faithful until the end, you will be saved. 23When people mistreat you in one town, hurry to another one. I promise you that before you have gone to all the towns of Israel, the Son of Man will come.
24Disciples are not better than their teacher, and slaves are not better than their master. 25It is enough for disciples to be like their teacher and for slaves to be like their master. If people call the head of the family Satan, what will they say about the rest of the family?
- Matthew 10:3 tax collector: See the note at 5.46.
- Matthew 10:4 known as the Eager One: The Greek text has "Cananaean," which probably comes from a Hebrew word meaning "zealous" (see Luke 6.15). "Zealot" was the name later given to the members of a Jewish group that resisted and fought against the Romans.
- Matthew 10:4 Iscariot: This may mean "a man from Kerioth" (a place in Judea). But more probably it means "a man who was a liar" or "a man who was a betrayer."
- Matthew 10:7 will soon be here: Or "is already here."
- Matthew 10:8 leprosy: See the note at 8.2.
- Matthew 10:10 Don't take along. . . don't carry: Or "Don't accept. . . don't accept."
- Matthew 10:14 shake the dust from your feet at them: This was a way of showing rejection (see Acts 13.51).
- Matthew 10:15 Sodom and Gomorrah: During the time of Abraham the Lord destroyed these towns because the people there were so evil.
Psalm 12:1-8 (Contemporary English Version)
(A psalm by David for the music leader. (Psalm 12 leader: The Hebrew text adds " according to the sheminith," which may be a musical instrument with eight strings.) )
A Prayer for Help1Please help me, LORD! All who were faithful
and all who were loyal
2Everyone tells lies,
and no one is sincere.
3Won't you chop off
all flattering tongues
that brag so loudly?
4They say to themselves,
"We are great speakers.
No one else has a chance."
5But you, LORD, tell them,
"I will do something!
The poor are mistreated
and helpless people moan.
I'll rescue all who suffer."
6Our LORD, you are true
to your promises,
and your word is like silver
heated seven times
in a fiery furnace. [a] 7You will protect us
and always keep us safe
from those people.
8But all who are wicked
will keep on strutting,
while everyone praises
their shameless deeds. [b]
Proverbs 3:13-15 (Contemporary English Version)
The Value of Wisdom13God blesses everyone who has wisdom
and common sense.
14Wisdom is worth more
it makes you much richer
15Wisdom is more valuable
than precious jewels;
nothing you want
compares with her.
Verse of the Day
“But if we say we love God and don't love each other, we are liars. We cannot see God. So how can we love God, if we don't love the people we can see? The commandment that God has given us is: "Love God and love each other!” - 1 John 4:20-21
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.
Thought for the Day
African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman, Frederick Douglass wrote, “Without a struggle, there can be no progress.”