Today our passages are Deuteronomy 33:1–Joshua 2:24; Luke 13:22–14:6; Psalm 79:1-13; and Proverbs 12:26. The readings are from 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 33 - Joshua 2:24 (Contemporary English Version)
Moses Blesses the Tribes of Israel1Moses was a prophet, and before he died, he blessed the tribes of Israel by saying: 2The LORD came from Mount Sinai.
From Edom, he gave light
to his people,
and his glory was shining
from Mount Paran.
Thousands of his warriors
were with him,
was at his right hand. [a] 3The LORD loves the tribes
of Israel, [b] and he protects his people.
They listen to his words
and worship at his feet.
4I called a meeting
of the tribes of Israel [c] and gave you God's Law.
5Then you and your leaders
made the LORD your king.
6Tribe of Reuben, you will live,
even though your tribe
will always be small. [d] 7The LORD will listen to you,
tribe of Judah,
as you beg
to come safely home.
You fought your enemies alone; [e] now the LORD will help you.
8At Massah and Meribah Spring, [f] the LORD tested you,
tribe of Levi.
You were faithful, [g] and so the priesthood [h] belongs to the Levi tribe.
9Protecting Israel's agreement
with the LORD
was more important to you
than the life of your father
or brothers or sisters,
or your own children. [i] 10You teach God's laws to Israel, [j] and at the place of worship
you offer sacrifices
and burn incense.
11I pray that the LORD will bless
everything you do,
and make you strong enough
to crush your enemies.
12The LORD Most High [k] loves you, tribe of Benjamin.
He will live among your hills
and protect you.
13Descendants of Joseph,
the LORD will bless you
with precious water
from deep wells
and with dew from the sky.
14Month by month, your fruit
will ripen in the sunshine.
15You will have a rich harvest
from the slopes
of the ancient hills.
16The LORD who appeared
in the burning bush
wants to give you the best
the land can produce,
and it will be a princely crown
on Joseph's head.
17The armies of Ephraim
are majestic and fierce
like a bull or a wild ox.
They will run their spears
through faraway nations.
18Be happy, Zebulun,
as your boats set sail;
be happy, Issachar,
in your tents.
19The sea will make you wealthy,
and from the sandy beach
you will get treasure. [l] So invite the other tribes [m] to celebrate with you
and offer sacrifices to God.
20Tribe of Gad,
the LORD will bless you
with more land.
So shout his praises!
Your tribe is like a lion
ripping up its victim.
21Your leaders met together
and chose the best land
for your tribe,
but you obeyed the LORD
and helped the other tribes. [n] 22Tribe of Dan,
you are like a lion cub,
startled by a snake. [o] 23The LORD is pleased with you,
people of Naphtali.
He will bless you
and give you the land
to the west and the south. [p] 24The LORD's greatest blessing
is for you, tribe of Asher.
You will be the favorite
of all the other tribes.
You will be rich with olive oil
25and have strong town gates
with bronze and iron bolts.
Your people will be powerful
for as long as they live.
26Israel, [q] no other god is like ours--
the clouds are his chariot
as he rides across the skies
to come and help us.
27The eternal God
is our hiding place;
he carries us in his arms.
When God tells you
to destroy your enemies,
he will make them run.
28Israel, you will live in safety;
your enemies will be gone. [r] The dew will fall from the sky,
and you will have plenty
of grain and wine.
29The LORD has rescued you
and given you more blessings
than any other nation.
He protects you like a shield
and is your majestic sword.
Your enemies will bow in fear,
and you will trample
on their backs.
The Death of Moses1Sometime later, Moses left the lowlands of Moab. He went up Mount Pisgah to the peak of Mount Nebo, [s] which is across the Jordan River from Jericho. The LORD showed him all the land as far north as Gilead and the town of Dan. 2He let Moses see the territories that would soon belong to the tribes of Naphtali, Ephraim, Manasseh, and Judah, as far west as the Mediterranean Sea. 3The LORD also showed him the land in the south, from the valley near the town of Jericho, known as The City of Palm Trees, down to the town of Zoar. 4The LORD said, " Moses, this is the land I was talking about when I solemnly promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that I would give land to their descendants. I have let you see it, but you will not cross the Jordan and go in." 5And so, Moses the LORD's servant died there in Moab, just as the LORD had said. 6The LORD buried him in a valley near the town of Beth-Peor, but even today no one knows exactly where. 7Moses was a hundred twenty years old when he died, yet his eyesight was still good, and his body was strong.
8The people of Israel stayed in the lowlands of Moab, where they mourned and grieved thirty days for Moses, as was their custom.
Joshua Becomes the Leader of Israel9Before Moses died, he had placed his hands on Joshua, and the LORD had given Joshua wisdom. The Israelites paid attention to what Joshua said and obeyed the commands that the LORD had given Moses.
Moses Was a Great Prophet10There has never again been a prophet in Israel like Moses. The LORD spoke face to face with him 11and sent him to perform powerful miracles in the presence of the king of Egypt and his entire nation. 12No one else has ever had the power to do such great things as Moses did for everyone to see.
Joshua Becomes the Leader of Israel1Moses, the LORD's servant, was dead. So the LORD spoke to Joshua son of Nun, who had been the assistant of Moses. The LORD said: 2My servant Moses is dead. Now you must lead Israel across the Jordan River into the land I'm giving to all of you. 3Wherever you go, I'll give you that land, as I promised Moses. 4It will reach from the Southern Desert to the Lebanon Mountains in the north, and to the northeast as far as the great Euphrates River. It will include the land of the Hittites, [t] and the land from here at the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea on the west. 5Joshua, I will always be with you and help you as I helped Moses, and no one will ever be able to defeat you. 6-8Long ago I promised the ancestors of Israel that I would give this land to their descendants. So be strong and brave! Be careful to do everything my servant Moses taught you. Never stop reading The Book of the Law [u] he gave you. Day and night you must think about what it says. If you obey it completely, you and Israel will be able to take this land. 9I've commanded you to be strong and brave. Don't ever be afraid or discouraged! I am the LORD your God, and I will be there to help you wherever you go.
The Eastern Tribes Promise To Help10Joshua ordered the tribal leaders 11to go through the camp and tell everyone: In a few days we will cross the Jordan River to take the land that the LORD our God is giving us. So fix as much food as you'll need for the march into the land.
12Joshua told the men of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh: [v] 13-14The LORD's servant Moses said that the LORD our God has given you land here on the east side of the Jordan River, where you could live in peace. Your wives and children and your animals can stay here in the land Moses gave you. But all of you that can serve in our army must pick up your weapons and lead the men of the other tribes across the Jordan River. They are your relatives, so you must help them 15conquer the land that the LORD is giving them. The LORD will give peace to them as he has given peace to you, and then you can come back and settle here in the land that Moses promised you.
16The men answered:
We'll cross the Jordan River and help our relatives. We'll fight anywhere you send us. 17-18If the LORD our God will help you as he helped Moses, and if you are strong and brave, we will obey you as we obeyed Moses. We'll even put to death anyone who rebels against you or refuses to obey you.
Rahab Helps the Israelite Spies1Joshua chose two men as spies and sent them from their camp at Acacia with these instructions: " Go across the river and find out as much as you can about the whole region, especially about the town of Jericho." The two spies left the Israelite camp at Acacia and went to Jericho, where they decided to spend the night at the house of a prostitute [w] named Rahab. 2But someone found out about them and told the king of Jericho, " Some Israelite men came here tonight, and they are spies." 3-7So the king sent soldiers to Rahab's house to arrest the spies.
Meanwhile, Rahab had taken the men up to the flat roof of her house and had hidden them under some piles of flax plants [x] that she had put there to dry. The soldiers came to her door and demanded, " Let us have the men who are staying at your house. They are spies."
She answered, " Some men did come to my house, but I didn't know where they had come from. They left about sunset, just before it was time to close the town gate. [y] I don't know where they were going, but if you hurry, maybe you can catch them." The guards at the town gate let the soldiers leave Jericho, but they closed the gate again as soon as the soldiers went through. Then the soldiers headed toward the Jordan River to look for the spies at the place where people cross the river.
8Rahab went back up to her roof. The spies were still awake, so she told them:
9I know that the LORD has given Israel this land. Everyone shakes with fear because of you. 10We heard how the LORD dried up the Red Sea [z] so you could leave Egypt. And we heard how you destroyed Sihon and Og, those two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River. 11We know that the LORD your God rules heaven and earth, and we've lost our courage and our will to fight. 12Please promise me in the LORD's name that you will be as kind to my family as I have been to you. Do something to show 13that you won't let your people kill my father and mother and my brothers and sisters and their families.
14" Rahab," the spies answered, " if you keep quiet about what we're doing, we promise to be kind to you when the LORD gives us this land. We pray that the LORD will kill us if we don't keep our promise!" [aa] 15Rahab's house was built into the town wall, [ab] and one of the windows in her house faced outside the wall. She gave the spies a rope, showed them the window, and said, " Use this rope to let yourselves down to the ground outside the wall. 16Then hide in the hills. The men who are looking for you won't be able to find you there. They'll give up and come back after a few days, and you can be on your way." 17-20The spies said:
You made us promise to let you and your family live. We will keep our promise, but you can't tell anyone why we were here. You must tie this red rope on your window when we attack, and your father and mother, your brothers, and everyone else in your family must be here with you. We'll take the blame if anyone who stays in this house gets hurt. But anyone who leaves your house will be killed, and it won't be our fault.
21" I'll do exactly what you said," Rahab promised. Then she sent them on their way and tied the red rope to the window.
22The spies hid in the hills for three days while the king's soldiers looked for them along the roads. As soon as the soldiers gave up and returned to Jericho, 23the two spies went down into the Jordan valley and crossed the river. They reported to Joshua and told him everything that had happened. 24" We're sure the LORD has given us the whole country," they said. " The people there shake with fear every time they think of us."
- Deuteronomy 33:2 Thousands. . . right hand: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- Deuteronomy 33:3 the tribes of Israel: Or " the nations."
- Deuteronomy 33:4 Israel: The Hebrew text also uses the name " Jeshurun," a rare name for " Israel."
- Deuteronomy 33:6 even though. . . small: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- Deuteronomy 33:7 beg. . . alone: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- Deuteronomy 33:8 Massah and Meribah Spring: See Exodus 17.1-7; Numbers 20.1-13.
- Deuteronomy 33:8 the LORD tested you, tribe of Levi. You were faithful: Or " the LORD tested me. I was faithful" or " the LORD tested Aaron and me. We were faithful."
- Deuteronomy 33:8 priesthood: The Hebrew text has " your thummim and your urim," objects that were used by priests to get answers from God.
- Deuteronomy 33:9 Protecting Israel's agreement. . . your own children: See Exodus 32.25-29.
- Deuteronomy 33:10 Israel: See the note at 32.9.
- Deuteronomy 33:12 Most High: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- Deuteronomy 33:19 sandy beach. . . treasure: Possibly a reference to glass made from sand; glass was rare and very valuable.
- Deuteronomy 33:19 other tribes: Or " nations."
- Deuteronomy 33:21 tribes: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 21. The Gad tribe asked for some of the land east of the Jordan River, but promised that their warriors would cross the Jordan and help the other tribes take over the land west of the Jordan (see Numbers 32.1-33; Joshua 4.10-13).
- Deuteronomy 33:22 startled by a snake: Or " jumping out from the forest of Bashan."
- Deuteronomy 33:23 land to the west and the south: Or " land south as far as Lake Galilee."
- Deuteronomy 33:26 Israel: See the note at 33.4.
- Deuteronomy 33:28 your enemies will be gone: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- Deuteronomy 34:1 Mount Pisgah. . . Mount Nebo: Mount Nebo was probably one peak of the ridge known as Mount Pisgah.
- Joshua 1:4 the land. . . Hittites: This refers to the northern part of Syria, which had been the southernmost part of the Hittite Empire.
- Joshua 1:6 the Law: Or " Teachings."
- Joshua 1:12 East Manasseh: The half of Manasseh that settled east of the Jordan River.
- Joshua 2:1 prostitute: Rahab was possibly an innkeeper.
- Joshua 2:3 flax plants: The stalks of flax plants were harvested, soaked in water, and dried, then their fibers were separated and spun into thread, which was woven into linen cloth.
- Joshua 2:3 gate: Many towns and cities had walls with heavy gates that were closed at night for protection.
- Joshua 2:10 Red Sea: Hebrew yam suph " Sea of Reeds," one of the marshes or fresh water lakes near the eastern part of the Nile Delta. This identification is based on Exodus 13.17--14.9, which lists the towns on the route of the Israelites before crossing the sea. In the Greek translation of the Scriptures made about 200 B.C., the " Sea of Reeds" was named " Red Sea."
- Joshua 2:14 We pray. . . promise: Or " If you save our lives, we will save yours!"
- Joshua 2:15 wall: In ancient times, cities and larger towns had high walls around them to protect them against attack. Sometimes houses were built against the wall so that the city wall formed one wall of the house. This added strength to the city wall.
Luke 13:22-14:6 (Contemporary English Version)
The Narrow Door
(Matthew 7.13,14,21-23)22As Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, he taught the people in the towns and villages. 23Someone asked him, "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?" Jesus answered:
24Do all you can to go in by the narrow door! A lot of people will try to get in, but will not be able to. 25Once the owner of the house gets up and locks the door, you will be left standing outside. You will knock on the door and say, "Sir, open the door for us!"
But the owner will answer, "I don't know a thing about you!"
26Then you will start saying, "We dined with you, and you taught in our streets."
27But he will say, "I really don't know who you are! Get away from me, you evil people!"
28Then when you have been thrown outside, you will weep and grit your teeth because you will see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in God's kingdom. 29People will come from all directions and sit down to feast in God's kingdom. 30There the ones who are now least important will be the most important, and those who are now most important will be least important.
Jesus and Herod31At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said, "You had better get away from here! Herod [a] wants to kill you." 32Jesus said to them: Go tell that fox, "I am going to force out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and three days later I'll be through." 33But I am going on my way today and tomorrow and the next day. After all, Jerusalem is the place where prophets are killed.
Jesus Loves Jerusalem
(Matthew 23.37-39)34Jerusalem, Jerusalem! Your people have killed the prophets and have stoned the messengers who were sent to you. I have often wanted to gather your people, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you wouldn't let me. 35Now your temple will be deserted. You won't see me again until the time when you say, "Blessed is the one who comes
in the name of the Lord."
Jesus Heals a Sick Man1One Sabbath, Jesus was having dinner in the home of an important Pharisee, and everyone was carefully watching Jesus. 2All of a sudden a man with swollen legs stood up in front of him. 3Jesus turned and asked the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law of Moses, "Is it right to heal on the Sabbath?" 4But they did not say a word. Jesus took hold of the man. Then he healed him and sent him away. 5Afterwards, Jesus asked the people, "If your son or ox falls into a well, wouldn't you pull him out right away, even on the Sabbath?" 6There was nothing they could say.
- Luke 13:31 Herod: Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great.
Psalm 79:1-13 (Contemporary English Version)
(A psalm by Asaph.)
Have Pity on Jerusalem1Our God, foreign nations have taken your land,
disgraced your temple,
and left Jerusalem in ruins.
2They have fed the bodies
of your servants
to flesh-eating birds;
your loyal people are food
for savage animals.
3All Jerusalem is covered
with their blood,
and there is no one left
to bury them.
4Every nation around us
sneers and makes fun.
5Our LORD, will you keep on
Will your angry feelings
keep flaming up like fire?
6Get angry with those nations
that don't know you
and won't worship you!
7They have gobbled down
and left the land in ruins.
8Don't make us pay for the sins
of our ancestors.
Have pity and come quickly!
We are completely helpless.
9Our God, you keep us safe.
Now help us! Rescue us.
Forgive our sins
and bring honor to yourself.
10Why should nations ask us,
"Where is your God?"
Let us and the other nations
see you take revenge
for your servants who died
a violent death.
11Listen to the prisoners groan!
Let your mighty power save all
who are sentenced to die.
12Each of those nations sneered
at you, our Lord.
Now let others sneer at them,
seven times as much.
13Then we, your people,
will always thank you.
We are like sheep
with you as our shepherd,
and all generations
will hear us praise you.
Proverbs 12:26 (Contemporary English Version)
26You are better off to do right,
than to lose your way
by doing wrong. [a]
than to lose your way
by doing wrong. [a]
- Proverbs 12:26 wrong: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 26.
Verse of the Day
“God's Son has all the brightness of God's own glory and is like him in every way. By his own mighty word, he holds the universe together. After the Son had washed away our sins, he sat down at the right side of the glorious God in heaven.” - Hebrews 1:3
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.
Thought for the Day
French poet who also produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Baudelaire wrote, “We are weighed down, every moment, by the conception and the sensation of Time. And there are but two means of escaping and forgetting this nightmare: pleasure and work. Pleasure consumes us. Work strengthens us. Let us choose.”