Today our passages are Leviticus 19:1–20:21; Mark 8:11-38; Psalm 42:1-11; and Proverbs 10:17. 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.
Leviticus 19-20:21 (Contemporary English Version)
Moral and Religious Laws1The LORD told Moses 2to say to the community of Israel:
I am the LORD your God. I am holy, and you must be holy too! 3-4Respect your father and your mother, honor the Sabbath, and don't make idols or images. I am the LORD your God.
5When you offer a sacrifice to ask my blessing, a] be sure to follow my instructions. 6You may eat the meat either on the day of the sacrifice or on the next day, but you must burn anything left until the third day. 7If you eat any of it on the third day, the sacrifice will be disgusting to me, and I will reject it. 8In fact, you will be punished for not respecting what I say is holy, and you will no longer belong to the community of Israel. 9When you harvest your grain, always leave some of it standing along the edges of your fields and don't pick up what falls on the ground. 10Don't strip your grapevines clean or gather the grapes that fall off the vines. Leave them for the poor and for those foreigners who live among you. I am the LORD your God.
11Do not steal or tell lies or cheat others.
12Do not misuse my name by making promises you don't intend to keep. I am the LORD your God.
13Do not steal anything or cheat anyone, and don't fail to pay your workers at the end of each day. b] 14I am the LORD your God, and I command you not to make fun of the deaf or to cause a blind person to stumble.
15Be fair, no matter who is on trial--don't favor either the poor or the rich.
16Don't be a gossip, but never hesitate to speak up in court, especially if your testimony can save someone's life. c] 17Don't hold grudges. On the other hand, it's wrong not to correct someone who needs correcting. 18Stop being angry and don't try to take revenge. I am the LORD, and I command you to love others as much as you love yourself.
19Breed your livestock animals only with animals of the same kind, and don't plant two kinds of seed in the same field or wear clothes made of different kinds of material.
20If a man has sex with a slave woman who is promised in marriage to someone else, he must pay a fine, but they are not to be put to death. After all, she was still a slave at the time. d] 21-22The man must bring a ram to the entrance of the sacred tent and give it to a priest, who will then offer it as a sacrifice to me, so the man's sins will be forgiven. 23After you enter the land, you will plant fruit trees, but you are not to eat any of their fruit for the first three years. 24In the fourth year the fruit must be set apart, as an expression of thanks 25to me, the LORD God. Do this, and in the fifth year, those trees will produce an abundant harvest of fruit for you to eat.
26Don't eat the blood of any animal.
Don't practice any kind of witchcraft.
27-28I forbid you to shave any part of your head or beard or to cut and tattoo yourself as a way of worshiping the dead.
29Don't let your daughters serve as temple prostitutes--this would bring disgrace both to them and the land.
30I command you to respect the Sabbath and the place where I am worshiped.
31Don't make yourselves disgusting to me by going to people who claim they can talk to the dead.
32I command you to show respect for older people and to obey me with fear and trembling.
33Don't mistreat any foreigners who live in your land. 34Instead, treat them as well as you treat citizens and love them as much as you love yourself. Remember, you were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.
35-36Use honest scales and don't cheat when you weigh or measure anything.
I am the LORD your God. I rescued you from Egypt, 37and I command you to obey my laws.
Penalties for Disobeying God's Laws1The LORD told Moses 2to say to the community of Israel:
Death by stoning is the penalty for any citizens or foreigners in the country who sacrifice their children to the god Molech. 3They have disgraced both the place where I am worshiped and my holy name, and so I will turn against them and no longer let them belong to my people. 4Some of you may let them get away with human sacrifice, 5but not me. If any of you worship Molech, I will turn against you and your entire family, and I will no longer let you belong to my people.
6I will be your enemy if you go to someone who claims to speak with the dead, and I will destroy you from among my people. 7Dedicate yourselves to me and be holy because I am the LORD your God. 8I have chosen you as my people, and I expect you to obey my laws.
9If you curse your father or mother, you will be put to death, and it will be your own fault.
10If any of you men have sex with another man's wife, both you and the woman will be put to death.
11Having sex with one of your father's wives disgraces him. So both you and the woman will be put to death, just as you deserve. 12It isn't natural to have sex with your daughter-in-law, and both of you will be put to death, just as you deserve. 13It's disgusting for men to have sex with one another, and those who do will be put to death, just as they deserve. 14It isn't natural for a man to marry both a mother and her daughter, and so all three of them will be burned to death. 15-16If any of you have sex with an animal, both you and the animal will be put to death, just as you deserve.
17If you marry one of your sisters, you will be punished, and the two of you will be disgraced by being openly forced out of the community. 18If you have sex with a woman during her monthly period, both you and the woman will be cut off from the people of Israel. 19The sisters of your father and mother are your own relatives, and you will be punished for having sex with any of them. 20If you have sex with your uncle's wife, neither you nor she will ever have any children. 21And if you marry your sister-in-law, neither of you will ever have any children. e]
- Leviticus 19:5 sacrifice. . . to ask my blessing: See the note at 3.1.
- Leviticus 19:13 to pay. . . end of each day: Day laborers needed their wages to buy food for their evening meal, which was the main meal of the day.
- Leviticus 19:16 but never. . . someone's life: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- Leviticus 19:20 time: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 20.
- Leviticus 20:21 And. . . children: According to Deuteronomy 25.5,6 a man was supposed to marry his brother's widow if his brother had died without having children. Otherwise, such marriages were forbidden (see also Matthew 22.23-33; Mark 12.18-27; Luke 20.27-40).
Mark 8:11-38 (Contemporary English Version)
A Sign from Heaven
(Matthew 16.1-4)11The Pharisees came out and started an argument with Jesus. They wanted to test him by asking for a sign from heaven. 12Jesus groaned and said, "Why are you always looking for a sign? I can promise you that you will not be given one!" 13Then he left them. He again got into a boat and crossed over to the other side of the lake.
The Yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod
(Matthew 16.5-12)14The disciples had forgotten to bring any bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15Jesus warned them, "Watch out! Guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod." a]
16The disciples talked this over and said to each other, "He must be saying this because we don't have any bread."
17Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, "Why are you talking about not having any bread? Don't you understand? Are your minds still closed? 18Are your eyes blind and your ears deaf? Don't you remember 19how many baskets of leftovers you picked up when I fed those five thousand people with only five small loaves of bread?"
"Yes," the disciples answered. "There were twelve baskets."
20Jesus then asked, "And how many baskets of leftovers did you pick up when I broke seven small loaves of bread for those four thousand people?"
"Seven," they answered.
21"Don't you know what I am talking about by now?" Jesus asked.
Jesus Heals a Blind Man at Bethsaida22As Jesus and his disciples were going into Bethsaida, some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch the man. 23Jesus took him by the hand and led him out of the village, where he spit into the man's eyes. He placed his hands on the blind man and asked him if he could see anything. 24The man looked up and said, "I see people, but they look like trees walking around."
25Once again Jesus placed his hands on the man's eyes, and this time the man stared. His eyes were healed, and he saw everything clearly. 26Jesus said to him, "You may return home now, but don't go into the village."
Who Is Jesus?
(Matthew 16.13-20; Luke 9.18-21)27Jesus and his disciples went to the villages near the town of Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, "What do people say about me?"
28The disciples answered, "Some say you are John the Baptist or maybe Elijah. b] Others say you are one of the prophets."
29Then Jesus asked them, "But who do you say I am?"
"You are the Messiah!" Peter replied.
30Jesus warned the disciples not to tell anyone about him.
Jesus Speaks about His Suffering and Death
(Matthew 16.21-28; Luke 9.22-27)31Jesus began telling his disciples what would happen to him. He said, "The nation's leaders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law of Moses will make the Son of Man suffer terribly. He will be rejected and killed, but three days later he will rise to life." 32Then Jesus explained clearly what he meant.
Peter took Jesus aside and told him to stop talking like that. 33But when Jesus turned and saw the disciples, he corrected Peter. He said to him, "Satan, get away from me! You are thinking like everyone else and not like God."
34Jesus then told the crowd and the disciples to come closer, and he said:
If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross and follow me. 35If you want to save your life, c] you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me and for the good news, you will save it. 36What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself? 37What could you give to get back your soul?
38Don't be ashamed of me and my message among these unfaithful and sinful people! If you are, the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
Psalm 42:1-11 (Contemporary English Version)
(A special psalm for the people of Korah and for the music leader.)
Longing for God1As a deer gets thirsty
for streams of water,
I truly am thirsty
for you, my God.
2In my heart, I am thirsty
for you, the living God.
When will I see your face?
3Day and night my tears
are my only food,
as everyone keeps asking,
"Where is your God?"
4Sorrow floods my heart,
when I remember
leading the worshipers
to your house. a] I can still hear them shout
their joyful praises.
5Why am I discouraged?
Why am I restless?
I trust you!
And I will praise you again
because you help me,
6and you are my God.
I am deeply discouraged
as I think about you
from where the Jordan begins
at Mount Hermon
and from Mount Mizar. b] 7Your vicious waves
have swept over me
like an angry ocean
or a roaring waterfall.
8Every day, you are kind,
and at night
you give me a song
as my prayer to you,
the living LORD God.
9You are my mighty rock. c] Why have you forgotten me?
Why must enemies mistreat me
and make me sad?
10Even my bones are in pain,
while all day long
my enemies sneer and ask,
"Where is your God?"
11Why am I discouraged?
Why am I restless?
I trust you!
And I will praise you again
because you help me,
and you are my God.