Today our passages are Deuteronomy 4:1-49; Luke 6:39–7:10; Psalm 68:1-18; and Proverbs 11:28. 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.
Deuteronomy 5-6:25 (Contemporary English Version)
The Ten Commandments
(Exodus 20.1-17)1Moses called together the people of Israel and said:
Today I am telling you the laws and teachings that you must follow, so listen carefully. 2The LORD our God made an agreement with our nation at Mount Sinai. ] 3That agreement wasn't only with ] our ancestors but with us, who are here today. 4The LORD himself spoke to you out of the fire, 5but you were afraid of the fire and refused to go up the mountain. So I spoke with the LORD for you, then I told you that he had said: 6I am the LORD your God, the one who brought you out of Egypt where you were slaves.
7Do not worship any god except me.
8Do not make idols that look like anything in the sky or on earth or in the ocean under the earth. 9Don't bow down and worship idols. I am the LORD your God, and I demand all your love. If you reject me and worship idols, I will punish your families for three or four generations. 10But if you love me and obey my laws, I will be kind to your families for thousands of generations.
11Do not misuse my name. ] I am the LORD your God, and I will punish anyone who misuses my name. 12Show respect for the Sabbath Day--it belongs to me. 13You have six days when you can do your work, 14but the seventh day of the week belongs to me, your God. No one is to work on that day--not you, your children, your oxen or donkeys or any other animal, not even those foreigners who live in your towns. And don't make your slaves do any work. 15This special day of rest will remind you that I reached out my mighty arm and rescued you from slavery in Egypt.
16Respect your father and mother, and you will live a long and successful life in the land I am giving you.
17Do not murder.
18Be faithful in marriage.
19Do not steal.
20Do not tell lies about others.
21Do not want anything that belongs to someone else. Don't want anyone's wife or husband, house, land, slaves, oxen, donkeys, or anything else.
22When we were gathered on the mountain, the LORD spoke to us in a loud voice from the dark fiery cloud. The LORD gave us these commands, and only these. Then he wrote them on two flat stones and gave them to me.
Moses said to Israel:
The People Were Afraid
(Exodus 20.18-21)23When fire blazed from the mountain, and you heard the voice coming from the darkness, your tribal leaders came to me 24and said:
Today the LORD our God has shown us how powerful and glorious he is. He spoke to us from the fire, and we learned that people can live, even though God speaks to them. 25But we don't want to take a chance on being killed by that terrible fire, and if we keep on hearing the LORD's voice, we will die.26Has anyone else ever heard the only true God speaking from fire, as we have? And even if they have, would they live to tell about it? 27Moses, go up close and listen to the LORD. Then come back and tell us, and we will do everything he says.
28The LORD heard you and said:
Moses, I heard what the people said to you, and I approve. 29I wish they would always worship me with fear and trembling and be this willing to obey me! Then they and their children would always enjoy a successful life.
30Now, tell them to return to their tents, 31but you come back here to me. After I tell you my laws and teachings, you will repeat them to the people, so they can obey these laws in the land I am giving them.
Moses said:32Israel, you must carefully obey the LORD's commands. 33Follow them, because they make a path that will lead to a long successful life in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
The Most Important Commandment
Moses said to Israel:1The LORD told me to give you these laws and teachings, ] so you can obey them in the land he is giving you. Soon you will cross the Jordan River and take that land. 2And if you and your descendants want to live a long time, you must always worship the LORD and obey his laws. 3Pay attention, Israel! Our ancestors worshiped the LORD, and he promised to give us this land that is rich with milk and honey. Be careful to obey him, and you will become a successful and powerful nation. 4Listen, Israel! The LORD our God is the only true God! ] 5So love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, and strength. 6Memorize his laws 7and tell them to your children over and over again. Talk about them all the time, whether you're at home or walking along the road or going to bed at night, or getting up in the morning. 8Write down copies and tie them to your wrists and foreheads to help you obey them. 9Write these laws on the door frames of your homes and on your town gates.
Worship Only the LORD
Moses said to Israel:10The LORD promised your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that he would give you this land. Now he will take you there and give you large towns, with good buildings that you didn't build, 11and houses full of good things that you didn't put there. The LORD will give you wells ] that you didn't have to dig, and vineyards and olive orchards that you didn't have to plant. But when you have eaten so much that you can't eat any more, 12don't forget it was the LORD who set you free from slavery and brought you out of Egypt. 13Worship and obey the LORD your God with fear and trembling, and promise that you will be loyal to him. 14Don't have anything to do with gods that are worshiped by the nations around you. 15If you worship other gods, the LORD will be furious and wipe you off the face of the earth. The LORD your God is with you, 16so don't try to make him prove that he can help you, as you did at Massah. ] 17Always obey the laws that the LORD has given you 18-19and live in a way that pleases him. Then you will be able to go in and take this good land from your enemies, just as he promised your ancestors. 20Someday your children will ask, " Why did the LORD give us these laws and teachings?"
21Then you will answer:
We were slaves of the king of Egypt, but the LORD used his great power and set us free. 22We saw him perform miracles and make horrible things happen to the king, his officials, and everyone else. 23The LORD rescued us from Egypt, so he could bring us into this land, as he had promised our ancestors. 24-25That's why the LORD our God demands that we obey his laws and worship him with fear and trembling. And if we do, he will protect us and help us be successful.
- Deuteronomy 5:2 Mount Sinai: See the note at 1.1-5.
- Deuteronomy 5:3 wasn't only with: Hebrew " wasn't with."
- Deuteronomy 5:11 misuse my name: Probably includes breaking promises, telling lies after swearing to tell the truth, using the LORD's name as a curse word or a magic formula, and trying to control the LORD by using his name.
- Deuteronomy 6:1 these laws and teachings: Or " the following commandment with its laws and teachings" (see 6.4,5).
- Deuteronomy 6:4 The LORD. . . true God: Or " Only the LORD is our God."
- Deuteronomy 6:11 wells: Cisterns cut into the rock to collect rainwater.
- Deuteronomy 6:16 Massah: See Exodus 17.1-7; Numbers 20.2-13.
Luke 7:1-35 (Contemporary English Version)
Jesus Heals an Army Officer's Servant
(Matthew 8.5-13; John 4.43-54)1After Jesus had finished teaching the people, he went to Capernaum. 2In that town an army officer's servant was sick and about to die. The officer liked this servant very much. 3And when he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish leaders to ask him to come and heal the servant.
4The leaders went to Jesus and begged him to do something. They said, "This man deserves your help! 5He loves our nation and even built us a meeting place." 6So Jesus went with them.
When Jesus wasn't far from the house, the officer sent some friends to tell him, "Lord, don't go to any trouble for me! I am not good enough for you to come into my house. 7And I am certainly not worthy to come to you. Just say the word, and my servant will get well. 8I have officers who give orders to me, and I have soldiers who take orders from me. I can say to one of them, `Go!' and he goes. I can say to another, `Come!' and he comes. I can say to my servant, `Do this!' and he will do it."
9When Jesus heard this, he was so surprised that he turned and said to the crowd following him, "In all of Israel I've never found anyone with this much faith!"
10The officer's friends returned and found the servant well.
A Widow's Son11Soon Jesus and his disciples were on their way to the town of Nain, and a big crowd was going along with them. 12As they came near the gate of the town, they saw people carrying out the body of a widow's only son. Many people from the town were walking along with her.
13When the Lord saw the woman, he felt sorry for her and said, "Don't cry!"
14Jesus went over and touched the stretcher on which the people were carrying the dead boy. They stopped, and Jesus said, "Young man, get up!" 15The boy sat up and began to speak. Jesus then gave him back to his mother.
16Everyone was frightened and praised God. They said, "A great prophet is here with us! God has come to his people."
17News about Jesus spread all over Judea and everywhere else in that part of the country.
John the Baptist
(Matthew 11.1-19)18-19John's followers told John everything that was being said about Jesus. So he sent two of them to ask the Lord, "Are you the one we should be looking for? Or must we wait for someone else?"
20When these messengers came to Jesus, they said, "John the Baptist sent us to ask, `Are you the one we should be looking for? Or are we supposed to wait for someone else?' "
21At that time Jesus was healing many people who were sick or in pain or were troubled by evil spirits, and he was giving sight to a lot of blind people. 22Jesus said to the messengers sent by John, "Go and tell John what you have seen and heard. Blind people are now able to see, and the lame can walk. People who have leprosy ] are being healed, and the deaf can now hear. The dead are raised to life, and the poor are hearing the good news. 23God will bless everyone who doesn't reject me because of what I do." 24After John's messengers had gone, Jesus began speaking to the crowds about John:
What kind of person did you go out to the desert to see? Was he like tall grass blown about by the wind? 25What kind of man did you really go out to see? Was he someone dressed in fine clothes? People who wear expensive clothes and live in luxury are in the king's palace. 26What then did you go out to see? Was he a prophet? He certainly was! I tell you that he was more than a prophet. 27In the Scriptures, God calls John his messenger and says, "I am sending my messenger ahead of you to get things ready for you." 28No one ever born on this earth is greater than John. But whoever is least important in God's kingdom is greater than John.
29Everyone had been listening to John. Even the tax collectors ] had obeyed God and had done what was right by letting John baptize them. 30But the Pharisees and the experts in the Law of Moses refused to obey God and be baptized by John. 31Jesus went on to say:
What are you people like? What kind of people are you? 32You are like children sitting in the market and shouting to each other,
"We played the flute,
but you would not dance!
We sang a funeral song,
but you would not cry!"
33John the Baptist did not go around eating and drinking, and you said, "John has a demon in him!" 34But because the Son of Man goes around eating and drinking, you say, "Jesus eats and drinks too much! He is even a friend of tax collectors and sinners." 35Yet Wisdom is shown to be right by what its followers do.
Psalm 68:19-35 (Contemporary English Version)
19We praise you, Lord God!
You treat us with kindness
day after day,
and you rescue us.
20You always protect us
and save us from death.
21Our Lord and our God,
your terrible enemies
are ready for war, ] but you will crush
22You promised to bring them
and from the deepest sea.
23Then we could stomp
on their blood,
and our dogs could chew
on their bones.
24We have seen crowds marching
to your place of worship,
our God and King.
25The singers come first,
and then the musicians,
surrounded by young women
26They come shouting,
"People of Israel,
praise the LORD God!"
27The small tribe of Benjamin
leads the way,
followed by the leaders
Then come the leaders
from Zebulun and Naphtali.
28Our God, show your strength!
Show us once again.
29Then kings will bring gifts
to your temple
in Jerusalem. ] 30Punish that animal
that lives in the swamp! ] Punish that nation
whose leaders and people
are like wild bulls.
Make them come crawling
with gifts of silver.
Scatter those nations
that enjoy making war. ] 31Force the Egyptians to bring
gifts of bronze;
make the Ethiopians ] hurry to offer presents. ] 32Now sing praises to God!
Every kingdom on earth,
sing to the Lord!
33Praise the one who rides
across the ancient skies;
listen as he speaks
with a mighty voice.
34Tell about God's power!
He is honored in Israel,
and he rules the skies.
35The God of Israel is fearsome
in his temple,
and he makes us strong.
Let's praise our God!
- Psalm 68:21 are ready for war: The Hebrew text has " have long hair," which probably refers to the ancient custom of wearing long hair on special occasions, such as a " holy war."
- Psalm 68:29 Our God. . . Jerusalem: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verses 28,29.
- Psalm 68:30 animal. . . swamp: Probably Egypt.
- Psalm 68:30 war: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 30.
- Psalm 68:31 the Ethiopians: The Hebrew text has " the people of Cush," which was a region south of Egypt that included parts of the present countries of Ethiopia and Sudan.
- Psalm 68:31 presents: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 31.
Proverbs 11:29-31 (Contemporary English Version)
29Fools who cause trouble
in the family
won't inherit a thing.
They will end up as slaves
of someone with good sense.
30Live right, and you will eat
from the life-giving tree.
And if you act wisely,
others will follow. ] 31If good people are rewarded ] here on this earth,
all who are cruel and mean
will surely be punished.
Verse of the Day
Thought for the Day
Jewish-Hungarian mathematician, Paul Erdos wrote, “It is not enough to be in the right place at the right time. You should also have an open mind at the right time.”