Today our passages are Numbers 6:1–7:89; Mark 12:38–13:13; Psalm 49:1-20; and Proverbs 10:27-28. 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.
Numbers 6-7:89 (Contemporary English Version)
Rules for Nazirites1The LORD told Moses 2to say to the people of Israel:
If any of you want to dedicate yourself to me by vowing to become a Nazirite, 3you must no longer drink any wine or beer or use any kind of vinegar. Don't drink grape juice or eat grapes or raisins-- 4not even the seeds or skins.
5Even the hair of a Nazirite is sacred to me, and as long as you are a Nazirite, you must never cut your hair.
6During the time that you are a Nazirite, you must never go close to a dead body, 7-8not even that of your father, mother, brother, or sister. That would make you unclean. Your hair is the sign that you are dedicated to me, so remain holy.
9If someone suddenly dies near you, your hair is no longer sacred, and you must shave it seven days later during the ceremony to make you clean. 10Then on the next day, bring two doves or two pigeons to the priest at the sacred tent. 11He will offer one of the birds as a sacrifice for sin and the other as a sacrifice to please me. ] You will then be forgiven for being too near a dead body, and your hair will again become sacred. 12But the dead body made you unacceptable, so you must make another vow to become a Nazirite and be dedicated once more. Finally, a year-old ram must be offered as the sacrifice to make things right. 13When you have completed your promised time of being a Nazirite, go to the sacred tent 14and offer three animals that have nothing wrong with them: a year-old ram as a sacrifice to please me, a year-old female lamb as a sacrifice for sin, and a full-grown ram as a sacrifice to ask my blessing. ] 15Wine offerings and grain sacrifices must also be brought with these animals. Finally, you are to bring a basket of bread made with your finest flour and olive oil, but without yeast. Also bring some thin wafers brushed with oil. 16The priest will take these gifts to my altar and offer them, so that I will be pleased and will forgive you. 17Then he will sacrifice the ram and offer the wine, grain, and bread.
18After that, you will stand at the entrance to the sacred tent, shave your head, and put the hair in the fire where the priest has offered the sacrifice to ask my blessing.
19Once the meat from the ram's shoulder has been boiled, the priest will take it, along with one loaf of bread and one wafer brushed with oil, and give them to you. 20You will hand them back to the priest, who will lift them up ] in dedication to me. Then he can eat the meat from the ram's shoulder, its choice ribs, and its hind leg, because this is his share of the sacrifice. After this, you will no longer be a Nazirite and will be free to drink wine. 21These are the requirements for Nazirites. However, if you can afford to offer more, you must do so.
The Blessing for the People22The LORD told Moses, 23" When Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel, they must say:
24I pray that the LORD
will bless and protect you,
25and that he will show you mercy
26May the LORD be good to you
and give you peace."
27Then the LORD said, " If Aaron and his sons ask me to bless the Israelites, I will give them my blessing."
The Leaders Bring Gifts to the Sacred Tent1When Moses had finished setting up the sacred tent, he dedicated it to the LORD, together with its furnishings, the altar, and its equipment. 2Then the twelve tribal leaders of Israel, the same men who had been in charge of counting the people, ] came to the tent 3with gifts for the LORD. They brought six strong carts and twelve oxen--one ox from each leader and a cart from every two. 4The LORD said to Moses, 5" Accept these gifts, so the Levites can use them here at the sacred tent for carrying the sacred things."
6Then Moses took the carts and oxen and gave them to the Levites, 7-8who were under the leadership of Ithamar son of Aaron. Moses gave two carts and four oxen to the Gershonites for their work, and four carts and eight oxen to the Merarites for their work. 9But Moses did not give any to the Kohathites, because they were in charge of the sacred objects that had to be carried on their shoulders.
10On the day the altar was dedicated, the twelve leaders brought offerings for its dedication. 11The LORD said to Moses, " Each day one leader is to give his offering for the dedication."
12-83So each leader brought the following gifts:
a silver bowl that weighed over three pounds and a silver sprinkling bowl weighing almost two pounds, both of them filled with flour and olive oil as grain sacrifices and weighed according to the official standards;
a small gold dish filled with incense;
a young bull, a full-grown ram, and a year-old ram as sacrifices to please the LORD; ] a goat ] as a sacrifice for sin; and two bulls, five full-grown rams, five goats, and five rams a year old as sacrifices to ask the LORD's blessing. ] The tribal leaders brought their gifts and offerings in the following order:
On the first day
Nahshon from Judah,
on the second day
Nethanel from Issachar,
on the third day
Eliab from Zebulun,
on the fourth day
Elizur from Reuben,
on the fifth day
Shelumiel from Simeon,
on the sixth day
Eliasaph from Gad,
on the seventh day
Elishama from Ephraim,
on the eighth day
Gamaliel from Manasseh,
on the ninth day
Abidan from Benjamin,
on the tenth day
Ahiezer from Dan,
on the eleventh day
Pagiel from Asher,
on the twelfth day
Ahira from Naphtali.
84-88And so when the altar was dedicated to the LORD, these twelve leaders brought the following gifts:
twelve silver bowls and twelve silver sprinkling bowls, weighing a total of about sixty pounds, according to the official standards;
twelve gold dishes filled with incense and weighing about three pounds;
twelve bulls, twelve full-grown rams, and twelve rams a year old as sacrifices to please the LORD, along with the proper grain sacrifices;
twelve goats as sacrifices for sin;
and twenty-four bulls, sixty full-grown rams, sixty goats, and sixty rams a year old as sacrifices to ask the LORD's blessing.
89Whenever Moses needed to talk with the LORD, he went into the sacred tent, where he heard the LORD's voice coming from between the two winged creatures above the lid of the sacred chest.
- Numbers 6:11 sacrifice to please me: This sacrifice has traditionally been called a " whole burnt offering," because the whole animal was burned on the altar. A main purpose of such a sacrifice was to please the LORD with the smell of the sacrifice, and so in the CEV it is often called " a sacrifice to please the LORD."
- Numbers 6:14 sacrifice to ask my blessing: This sacrifice has traditionally been called a " peace offering" or an " offering of well-being." A main purpose of such a sacrifice was to ask the LORD's blessing, and so in the CEV it is often called a " sacrifice to ask the LORD's blessing."
- Numbers 6:20 lift them up: See the note at 5.25.
- Numbers 7:2 the same men. . . the people: See 1.1-19.
- Numbers 7:12 sacrifices to please the LORD: See the note at 6.11.
- Numbers 7:12 goat: Hebrew " male goat."
- Numbers 7:12 sacrifices to ask the LORD's blessing: See the note at 6.14.
Mark 12:38-13:13 (Contemporary English Version)
Jesus Condemns the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law of Moses
(Matthew 23.1-36; Luke 20.45-47)38As Jesus was teaching, he said:
Guard against the teachers of the Law of Moses! They love to walk around in long robes and be greeted in the market. 39They like the front seats in the meeting places and the best seats at banquets. 40But they cheat widows out of their homes and pray long prayers just to show off. They will be punished most of all.
A Widow's Offering
(Luke 21.1-4)41Jesus was sitting in the temple near the offering box and watching people put in their gifts. He noticed that many rich people were giving a lot of money. 42Finally, a poor widow came up and put in two coins that were worth only a few pennies. 43Jesus told his disciples to gather around him. Then he said:
I tell you that this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 44Everyone else gave what they didn't need. But she is very poor and gave everything she had. Now she doesn't have a cent to live on.
The Temple Will Be Destroyed
(Matthew 24.1,2; Luke 21.5,6)1As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, "Teacher, look at these beautiful stones and wonderful buildings!"
2Jesus replied, "Do you see these huge buildings? They will certainly be torn down! Not one stone will be left in place."
Warning about Trouble
(Matthew 24.3-14; Luke 21.7-19)3Later, as Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives across from the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to him in private. 4They asked, "When will these things happen? What will be the sign that they are about to take place?"
Watch out and don't let anyone fool you! 6Many will come and claim to be me. They will use my name and fool many people.
7When you hear about wars and threats of wars, don't be afraid. These things will have to happen first, but that isn't the end. 8Nations and kingdoms will go to war against each other. There will be earthquakes in many places, and people will starve to death. But this is just the beginning of troubles.
9Be on your guard! You will be taken to courts and beaten with whips in their meeting places. And because of me, you will have to stand before rulers and kings to tell about your faith. 10But before the end comes, the good news must be preached to all nations.
11When you are arrested, don't worry about what you will say. You will be given the right words when the time comes. But you will not really be the ones speaking. Your words will come from the Holy Spirit.
12Brothers and sisters will betray each other and have each other put to death. Parents will betray their own children, and children will turn against their parents and have them killed. 13Everyone will hate you because of me. But if you keep on being faithful right to the end, you will be saved.
Psalm 49:1-20 (Contemporary English Version)
(A psalm for the people of Korah and for the music leader.)
Don't Depend on Wealth1Everyone on this earth,
now listen to what I say!
2Listen, no matter who you are,
rich or poor.
3I speak words of wisdom,
and my thoughts make sense.
4I have in mind a mystery
that I will explain
while playing my harp.
5Why should I be afraid
in times of trouble,
when I am surrounded
by vicious enemies?
6They trust in their riches
and brag about
all of their wealth.
7You cannot buy back your life
or pay off God!
8It costs far too much
to buy back your life.
You can never pay God enough
9to stay alive forever
and safe from death.
10We see that wise people die,
and so do stupid fools.
Then their money is left
for someone else.
11The grave ] will be their home forever and ever,
although they once had land
of their own.
12Our human glory disappears,
and, like animals, we die.
13Here is what happens to fools
and to those who trust
the words of fools:
14They are like sheep
with death as their shepherd,
leading them to the grave. ] In the morning God's people
will walk all over them,
as their bodies lie rotting
in their home, the grave.
15But God will rescue me
from the power of death.
16Don't let it bother you
when others get rich
and live in luxury.
17Soon they will die
and all of their wealth
will be left behind.
18We humans are praised
when we do well,
and all of us are glad
to be alive.
19But we each will go down
to our ancestors,
never again to see
the light of day.
20Our human glory disappears,
and, like animals, we die.
Proverbs 10:27-28 (Contemporary English Version)
27If you respect the LORD,
you will live longer;
if you keep doing wrong,
your life will be cut short.
28If you obey the Lord,
you will be happy,
but there is no future
for the wicked.
Verse of the Day
“[A Prayer of Thanks to God]You, LORD, are my God! I will praise you for doing the wonderful things you had planned and promised since ancient times.” -Isaiah 25:1
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.
Thought for the Day
19th-century American humorist, Josh Billings wrote, “There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory.”