Today our passages are Deuteronomy 13:1–15:23; Luke 8:40–9:6; Psalm 71:1-24; and Proverbs 12:5-7. 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 16-17:20 (Contemporary English Version)
(Exodus 12.1-20; Leviticus 23.4-8)1People of Israel, you must celebrate Passover in the month of Abib, a<="" value="[a]" > because one night in that month years ago, the LORD your God rescued you from Egypt. 2The Passover sacrifice must be a cow, a sheep, or a goat, and you must offer it at the place where the LORD chooses to be worshiped. 3-4Eat all of the meat of the Passover sacrifice that same night. But don't serve bread made with yeast at the Passover meal. Serve the same kind of thin bread that you ate when you were slaves suffering in Egypt [b<="">] and when you had to leave Egypt quickly. As long as you live, this thin bread will remind you of the day you left Egypt. For seven days following Passover, [c<="">] don't make any bread with yeast. In fact, there should be no yeast anywhere in Israel. 5Don't offer the Passover sacrifice in just any town where you happen to live. 6It must be offered at the place where the LORD chooses to be worshiped. Kill the sacrifice at sunset, the time of day when you left Egypt. [d<="">] 7Then cook it and eat it there at the place of worship, returning to your tents the next morning. 8Eat thin bread for the next six days. Then on the seventh day, don't do any work. Instead, come together and worship the LORD. Moses said to Israel:
The Harvest Festival
(Exodus 34.22; Leviticus 23.15-21)9Seven weeks after you start your grain harvest, 10-11go to the place where the LORD chooses to be worshiped and celebrate the Harvest Festival [e<="">] in honor of the LORD your God. Bring him an offering as large as you can afford, depending on how big a harvest he has given you. Be sure to take along your sons and daughters and all your servants. Also invite the poor, including Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows. 12Remember that you used to be slaves in Egypt, so obey these laws. Moses said to Israel:
The Festival of Shelters
(Leviticus 23.33-43; Numbers 29.12-38)13-15After you have finished the grain harvest and the grape harvest, [f<="">] take your sons and daughters and all your servants to the place where the LORD chooses to be worshiped. Celebrate the Festival of Shelters for seven days. Also invite the poor, including Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows. The LORD will give you big harvests and make you successful in everything you do. You will be completely happy, so celebrate this festival in honor of the LORD your God. Moses said:
Three Festivals at the Place of Worship
(Exodus 23.14-17)16Each year there are three festivals when all Israelite men must go to the place where the LORD chooses to be worshiped. These are the Festival of Thin Bread, the Harvest Festival, [g<="">] and the Festival of Shelters. And don't forget to take along a gift for the LORD. 17The bigger the harvest the LORD gives you, the bigger your gift should be.
Treat Everyone with Justice
Moses said to Israel:18-19After you are settled in the towns that you will receive from the LORD your God, the people in each town must appoint judges and other officers. Those of you that become judges must be completely fair when you make legal decisions, even if someone important is involved. Don't take bribes to give unfair decisions. Bribes keep people who are wise from seeing the truth and turn honest people into liars. [h<="">] 20People of Israel, if you want to enjoy a long and successful life, make sure that everyone is treated with justice in the land the LORD is giving you.
Don't Set Up Sacred Poles or Stones
Moses said to Israel:21When you build the altar for offering sacrifices to the LORD your God, don't set up a sacred pole [i<="">] for the worship of the goddess Asherah. 22And don't set up a sacred stone! The LORD hates these things.
Sacrifices That Have Something Wrong with Them
Moses said to Israel:1If an ox or a sheep has something wrong with it, don't offer it as a sacrifice to the LORD your God--he will be disgusted!
Put To Death People Who Worship Idols
Moses said to Israel:2-3The LORD your God is giving you towns to live in. But later, a man or a woman in your town may start worshiping other gods, or even the sun, moon, or stars. [j<="">] I have warned you not to worship other gods, because whoever worships them is disobeying the LORD and breaking the agreement he made with you. 4So when you hear that someone in your town is committing this disgusting sin, you must carefully find out if that person really is guilty. 5-7But you will need two or three witnesses--one witness isn't enough to prove a person guilty. Get rid of those who are guilty of such evil. Take them outside your town gates and have everyone stone them to death. But the witnesses must be the first to throw stones.
Moses said to Israel:8-12It may be difficult to find out the truth in some legal cases in your town. You may not be able to decide if someone was killed accidentally or murdered. Or you may not be able to tell whether an injury or some property damage was done by accident or on purpose. If the case is too difficult, take it to the court at the place where the LORD your God chooses to be worshiped. This court will be made up of one judge and several priests [k<="">] who serve at the LORD's altar. They will explain the law to you and give you their decision about the case. Do exactly what they tell you, or you will be put to death. 13When other Israelites hear about it, they will be afraid and obey the decisions of the court.
Moses said:14People of Israel, after you capture the land the LORD your God is giving you, and after you settle on it, you will say, " We want a king, just like the nations around us." 15Go ahead and appoint a king, but make sure that he is an Israelite and that he is the one the LORD has chosen.
16The king should not have many horses, especially those from Egypt. The LORD has said never to go back there again. 17And the king must not have a lot of wives--they might tempt him to be unfaithful to the LORD. [l<="">] Finally, the king must not try to get huge amounts of silver and gold. 18The official copy of God's laws [m<="">] will be kept by the priests of the Levi tribe. So, as soon as anyone becomes king, he must go to the priests and write out a copy of these laws while they watch. 19Each day the king must read and obey these laws, so that he will learn to worship the LORD with fear and trembling 20and not think that he's better than everyone else. If the king completely obeys the LORD's commands, he and his descendants will rule Israel for many years.
Moses said to Israel:
- Deuteronomy 16:1 in the month of Abib: Abib (also called Nisan), the first month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-March to mid-April. Passover was celebrated on the evening of the fourteenth of Abib (see Exodus 12.6; Leviticus 23.4,5).
- Deuteronomy 16:3 the same kind. . . in Egypt: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- Deuteronomy 16:3 seven days following Passover: This period was called the Festival of Thin Bread (see also verse 16).
- Deuteronomy 16:6 sunset, the time of day when you left Egypt: Or " sunset on the same date as when you left Egypt."
- Deuteronomy 16:10 Harvest Festival: Traditionally called the " Festival of Weeks," and known in New Testament times as " Pentecost."
- Deuteronomy 16:13 After you. . . harvest: Leviticus 23.34 gives the exact date as the fifteenth day of the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, which would be early in October.
- Deuteronomy 16:16 Harvest Festival: See the note at 16.10,11.
- Deuteronomy 16:18 turn. . . liars: Or " keep innocent people from getting justice."
- Deuteronomy 16:21 sacred pole: See the note at 12.3.
- Deuteronomy 17:2 sun, moon, or stars: Some people thought these were gods and worshiped them.
- Deuteronomy 17:8 several priests: The Hebrew text has " the priests, the Levites" ; priests belonged to the Levi tribe.
- Deuteronomy 17:17 a lot of wives. . . unfaithful to the LORD: A king would often marry the daughter of another king that he was making a treaty with. These foreign women would naturally want to worship their own gods, and would want their husband the king to do so as well.
- Deuteronomy 17:18 God's laws: Or " God's laws for the king."
Luke 9:7-27 (Contemporary English Version)
Herod Is Worried
(Matthew 14.1-12; Mark 6.14-29)7Herod a<="" value="[a]" > the ruler heard about all that was happening, and he was worried. Some people were saying that John the Baptist had come back to life. 8Others were saying that Elijah had come [b<="">] or that one of the prophets from long ago had come back to life. 9But Herod said, "I had John's head cut off! Who is this I hear so much about?" Herod was eager to meet Jesus.
Jesus Feeds Five Thousand
(Matthew 14.13-21; Mark 6.30-44; John 6.1-14)10The apostles came back and told Jesus everything they had done. He then took them with him to the village of Bethsaida, where they could be alone. 11But a lot of people found out about this and followed him. Jesus welcomed them. He spoke to them about God's kingdom and healed everyone who was sick. 12Late in the afternoon the twelve apostles came to Jesus and said, "Send the crowd to the villages and farms around here. They need to find a place to stay and something to eat. There is nothing in this place. It is like a desert!"
13Jesus answered, "You give them something to eat."
But they replied, "We have only five small loaves of bread [c<="">] and two fish. If we are going to feed all these people, we will have to go and buy food." 14There were about five thousand men in the crowd. Jesus said to his disciples, "Have the people sit in groups of fifty." 15They did this, and all the people sat down. 16Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish. He looked up toward heaven and blessed the food. Then he broke the bread and fish and handed them to his disciples to give to the people.
17Everyone ate all they wanted. What was left over filled twelve baskets.
Who Is Jesus?
(Matthew 16.13-19; Mark 8.27-29)18When Jesus was alone praying, his disciples came to him, and he asked them, "What do people say about me?" 19They answered, "Some say that you are John the Baptist or Elijah [d<="">] or a prophet from long ago who has come back to life." 20Jesus then asked them, "But who do you say I am?"
Peter answered, "You are the Messiah sent from God."
21Jesus strictly warned his disciples not to tell anyone about this.
Jesus Speaks about His Suffering and Death
(Matthew 16.20-28; Mark 8.30--9.1)22Jesus told his disciples, "The nation's leaders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law of Moses will make the Son of Man suffer terribly. They will reject him and kill him, but three days later he will rise to life." 23Then Jesus said to all the people:
If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross each day and follow me. 24If you want to save your life, [e<="">] you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me, you will save it. 25What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself or waste your life? 26If you are ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when he comes in his glory and in the glory of his Father and the holy angels. 27You can be sure that some of the people standing here will not die before they see God's kingdom.
- Luke 9:7 Herod: Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great.
- Luke 9:8 Elijah had come: Many of the Jewish people expected the prophet Elijah to come and prepare the way for the Messiah.
- Luke 9:13 small loaves of bread: These would have been flat and round or in the shape of a bun.
- Luke 9:19 Elijah: See the note at 9.8.
- Luke 9:24 life: In verses 24,25 a Greek word which often means " soul" is translated " life" and " yourself."
Psalm 72:1-20 (Contemporary English Version)
A Prayer for God To Guide and Help the King1Please help the king to be honest and fair
just like you, our God.
2Let him be honest and fair
with all your people,
especially the poor.
3Let peace and justice rule
every mountain and hill.
4Let the king defend the poor,
rescue the homeless,
everyone who hurts them.
5Let the king live a<="" value="[a]" > forever like the sun and the moon.
6Let him be as helpful as rain
that refreshes the meadows
and the ground.
7Let the king be fair
and let there be peace
until the moon
falls from the sky.
8Let his kingdom reach
from sea to sea,
from the Euphrates River
across all the earth.
9Force the desert tribes
to accept his rule,
and make his enemies
crawl in the dirt.
10Force the rulers of Tarshish [b<="">] and of the islands
to pay taxes to him.
Make the kings of Sheba
and of Seba [c<="">] bring gifts. 11Make other rulers bow down
and all nations serve him.
12Do this because the king
rescues the homeless
when they cry out,
and he helps everyone
who is poor and in need.
13The king has pity
on the weak and the helpless
and protects those in need.
14He cares when they hurt,
and he saves them from cruel
and violent deaths.
15Long live the king!
Give him gold from Sheba.
Always pray for the king
and praise him each day.
16Let cities overflow with food
and hills be covered with grain,
just like Mount Lebanon.
Let the people in the cities
prosper like wild flowers.
17May the glory of the king
shine brightly forever
like the sun in the sky.
Let him make nations prosper
and learn to praise him.
18LORD God of Israel,
we praise you.
Only you can work miracles.
19We will always praise
your glorious name.
Let your glory be seen
everywhere on earth.
Amen and amen.
20This ends the prayers
of David, the son of Jesse.
Proverbs 12:8-9 (Contemporary English Version)
8Good sense is worthy of praise,
but stupidity is a curse.
9It's better to be ordinary
and have only one servant a<="" value="[a]" > than to think you are somebody
and starve to death.
but stupidity is a curse.
9It's better to be ordinary
and have only one servant a<="" value="[a]" > than to think you are somebody
and starve to death.
- Proverbs 12:9 It's. . . servant: Or " It is better just to have an ordinary job."
Verse of the Day
“He was wounded and crushed because of our sins; by taking our punishment, he made us completely well. All of us were like sheep that had wandered off. We had each gone our own way, but the LORD gave him the punishment we deserved.” - Isaiah 53:5-6
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.
Thought for the Day
English novelist of international stature, critically positioned between modernism and postmodernism, John Fowles wrote, “Everything free and decent in life is being locked away in filthy little cellars by beastly people who don’t care.”