Today our passages are Genesis 16:1–18:19; Matthew 6:1-24; Psalm 7:1-17; and Proverbs 2:1-5. 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 16-18:19 (Contemporary English Version)
Hagar and Ishmael1Abram's wife Sarai had not been able to have any children. But she owned a young Egyptian slave woman named Hagar, 2and Sarai said to Abram, "The LORD has not given me any children. Sleep with my slave, and if she has a child, it will be mine." a<="" value="[a]" > Abram agreed, 3and Sarai gave him Hagar to be his wife. This happened after Abram had lived in the land of Canaan for ten years. 4Later, when Hagar knew she was going to have a baby, she became proud and was hateful to Sarai. 5Then Sarai said to Abram, "It's all your fault! [b<="">] I gave you my slave woman, but she has been hateful to me ever since she found out she was pregnant. You have done me wrong, and you will have to answer to the LORD for this." 6Abram said, "All right! She's your slave, and you can do whatever you want with her." But Sarai began treating Hagar so harshly that she finally ran away. 7Hagar stopped to rest at a spring in the desert on the road to Shur. While she was there, the angel of the LORD came to her 8and asked, "Hagar, where have you come from, and where are you going?"
She answered, "I'm running away from Sarai, my owner."
9The angel said, "Go back to Sarai and be her slave. 10-11I will give you a son, who will be called Ishmael, [c<="">] because I have heard your cry for help. And later I will give you so many descendants that no one will be able to count them all. 12But your son will live far from his relatives; he will be like a wild donkey, fighting everyone, and everyone fighting him." 13Hagar thought, "Have I really seen God and lived to tell about it?" [d<="">] So from then on she called him, "The God Who Sees Me." [e<="">] 14That's why people call the well between Kadesh and Bered, "The Well of the Living One Who Sees Me." [f<="">] 15-16Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar gave birth to their son, and he named him Ishmael.
God's Promise to Abraham1Abram was ninety-nine years old when the LORD appeared to him again and said, "I am God All-Powerful. If you obey me and always do right, 2I will keep my solemn promise to you and give you more descendants than can be counted." 3Abram bowed with his face to the ground, and God said: 4-5I promise that you will be the father of many nations. That's why I now change your name from Abram to Abraham. [g<="">] 6I will give you a lot of descendants, and in the future they will become great nations. Some of them will even be kings. 7I will always keep the promise I have made to you and your descendants, because I am your God and their God. 8I will give you and them the land in which you are now a foreigner. I will give the whole land of Canaan to your family forever, and I will be their God.
9Abraham, you and all future members of your family must promise to obey me. 10-11As the sign that you are keeping this promise, you must circumcise every man and boy in your family. 12-13From now on, your family must circumcise every baby boy when he is eight days old. You must even circumcise any man or boy you have as a slave, both those born in your homes and those you buy from foreigners. This will be a sign that my promise to you will last forever. 14Any man who isn't circumcised hasn't kept his promise to me and cannot be one of my people.
15Abraham, your wife's name will now be Sarah instead of Sarai. 16I will bless her, and you will have a son by her. She will become the mother of nations, and some of her descendants will even be kings.
17Abraham bowed with his face to the ground and thought, "I am almost a hundred years old. How can I become a father? And Sarah is ninety. How can she have a child?" So he started laughing. 18Then he asked God, "Why not let Ishmael [h<="">] inherit what you have promised me?" 19But God answered:
No! You and Sarah will have a son. His name will be Isaac, [i<="">] and I will make an everlasting promise to him and his descendants. 20I have heard what you asked me to do for Ishmael, and so I will also bless him with many descendants. He will be the father of twelve princes, and I will make his family a great nation. 21But your son Isaac will be born about this time next year, and the promise I am making to you and your family will be for him and his descendants forever.
22God finished speaking to Abraham and then left.
23-27On that same day Abraham obeyed God by circumcising Ishmael. Abraham was also circumcised, and so were all other men and boys in his household, including his servants and slaves. He was ninety-nine years old at the time, and his son Ishmael was thirteen.
The LORD Promises Abraham a Son1One hot summer afternoon Abraham was sitting by the entrance to his tent near the sacred trees of Mamre, when the LORD appeared to him. 2Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. He quickly ran to meet them, bowed with his face to the ground, 3and said, "Please come to my home where I can serve you. 4I'll have some water brought, so you can wash your feet, then you can rest under the tree. 5Let me get you some food to give you strength before you leave. I would be honored to serve you." "Thank you very much," they answered. "We accept your offer."
6Abraham quickly went to his tent and said to Sarah, "Hurry! Get a large sack of flour and make some bread." 7After saying this, he rushed off to his herd of cattle and picked out one of the best calves, which his servant quickly prepared. 8He then served his guests some yogurt and milk together with the meat.
While they were eating, he stood near them under the trees, 9and they asked, "Where is your wife Sarah?"
"She is right there in the tent," Abraham answered.
10One of the guests was the LORD, and he said, "I'll come back about this time next year, and when I do, Sarah will already have a son."
Sarah was behind Abraham, listening at the entrance to the tent. 11Abraham and Sarah were very old, and Sarah was well past the age for having children. 12So she laughed and said to herself, "Now that I am worn out and my husband is old, will I really know such happiness?" [j<="">] 13The LORD asked Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh? Does she doubt that she can have a child in her old age? 14I am the LORD! There is nothing too difficult for me. I'll come back next year at the time I promised, and Sarah will already have a son."
15Sarah was so frightened that she lied and said, "I didn't laugh."
"Yes, you did!" he answered.
Abraham Prays for Sodom16When the three men got ready to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked part of the way with them. 17The LORD said to himself, "I should tell Abraham what I am going to do, 18since his family will become a great and powerful nation that will be a blessing to all other nations on earth. [k<="">] 19I have chosen him to teach his family to obey me forever and to do what is right and fair. Then I will give Abraham many descendants, just as I promised."
- Genesis 16:2 Sleep. . . mine: It was the custom for a wife who could not have children to let her husband sleep with one of her slave women. The children of the slave would belong to the wife.
- Genesis 16:5 It's. . . fault: Or "I hope you'll be punished for what you did to me!"
- Genesis 16:10 Ishmael: In Hebrew "Ishmael" sounds like "God hears."
- Genesis 16:13 Have. . . it: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- Genesis 16:13 The God Who Sees Me: Or "The God I Have Seen."
- Genesis 16:14 The Well. . . Me: Or "Beer-Lahai-Roi" (see 25.11).
- Genesis 17:4 Abraham: In Hebrew "Abraham" sounds like "father of many nations."
- Genesis 17:18 Ishmael: Ishmael was the son of Sarah's slave Hagar (see 16.1-16).
- Genesis 17:19 Isaac: In Hebrew "Isaac" sounds like "laugh."
- Genesis 18:12 know such happiness: Either the joy of making love or the joy of having children.
- Genesis 18:18 that will be. . . on earth: Or "and all other nations on earth will ask me to bless them as I have blessed his family."
Matthew 6:1-24 (Contemporary English Version)
Giving1When you do good deeds, don't try to show off. If you do, you won't get a reward from your Father in heaven. 2When you give to the poor, don't blow a loud horn. That's what show-offs do in the meeting places and on the street corners, because they are always looking for praise. I can assure you that they already have their reward.
3When you give to the poor, don't let anyone know about it. a<="" value="[a]" > 4Then your gift will be given in secret. Your Father knows what is done in secret, and he will reward you.
(Luke 11.2-4)5When you pray, don't be like those show-offs who love to stand up and pray in the meeting places and on the street corners. They do this just to look good. I can assure you that they already have their reward. 6When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private, and he will reward you.
7When you pray, don't talk on and on as people do who don't know God. They think God likes to hear long prayers. 8Don't be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask.
9You should pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
help us to honor
10Come and set up
so that everyone on earth
will obey you,
as you are obeyed
11Give us our food for today. [b<="">] 12Forgive us for doing wrong,
as we forgive others.
13Keep us from being tempted
and protect us from evil. [c<="">] 14If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you. 15But if you don't forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Worshiping God by Going without Eating16When you go without eating, [d<="">] don't try to look gloomy as those show-offs do when they go without eating. I can assure you that they already have their reward. 17Instead, comb your hair and wash your face. 18Then others won't know that you are going without eating. But your Father sees what is done in private, and he will reward you.
Treasures in Heaven
(Luke 12.33,34)19Don't store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them. 20Instead, store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them. 21Your heart will always be where your treasure is.
(Luke 11.34-36)22Your eyes are like a window for your body. When they are good, you have all the light you need. 23But when your eyes are bad, everything is dark. If the light inside you is dark, you surely are in the dark.
(Luke 16.13)24You cannot be the slave of two masters! You will like one more than the other or be more loyal to one than the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
- Matthew 6:3 don't let anyone know about it: The Greek text has, "Don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing."
- Matthew 6:11 our food for today: Or "the food that we need" or "our food for the coming day."
- Matthew 6:13 evil: Or "the evil one," that is, the devil. Some manuscripts add, "The kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours forever. Amen."
- Matthew 6:16 without eating: See the note at 4.2.
Psalm 7:1-17 (Contemporary English Version)
(Written by David. (Psalm 7 Written by David: The Hebrew text has " a shiggaion by David," which may refer to a psalm of mourning.) He sang this to the LORD because of Cush from the tribe of Benjamin.)
The LORD Always Does Right1You, LORD God, are my protector.
Rescue me and keep me safe
from all who chase me.
2Or else they will rip me apart
attacking a victim,
and no one will save me.
3I am innocent, LORD God!
4I have not betrayed a friend
or had pity on an enemy a<="" value="[a]" > who attacks for no reason.
5If I have done any of this,
then let my enemies
chase and capture me.
Let them stomp me to death
and leave me in the dirt.
6Get angry, LORD God!
Attack my furious enemies.
See that justice is done.
7Make the nations come to you,
as you sit on your throne [b<="">] above them all.
8Our LORD, judge the nations!
and show that I
am honest and innocent.
9You know every heart and mind,
and you always do right.
Now make violent people stop,
but protect all of us
who obey you.
10You, God, are my shield,
the protector of everyone
whose heart is right.
11You see that justice is done,
and each day
you take revenge.
12Whenever your enemies refuse
to change their ways,
you sharpen your sword
and string your bow.
13Your deadly arrows are ready
with flaming tips.
14An evil person is like a woman
about to give birth
to a hateful, deceitful,
and rebellious child.
15Such people dig a deep hole,
then fall in it themselves.
16The trouble they cause
comes back on them,
and their heads are crushed
by their own evil deeds.
17I will praise you, LORD!
You always do right.
I will sing about you,
the LORD Most High.
Proverbs 2:1-5 (Contemporary English Version)
Wisdom and Bad Friends1My child, you must follow and treasure
and my instructions.
2Keep in tune with wisdom
and think what it means
to have common sense.
3Beg as loud as you can
for good common sense.
4Search for wisdom
as you would search for silver
or hidden treasure.
5Then you will understand
what it means to respect
and to know the LORD God.
Verse of the Day
“Do as God does. After all, you are his dear children. Let love be your guide. Christ loved us and offered his life for us as a sacrifice that pleases God.” - Ephesians 5:1-2
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.
Thought for the Day