Read the Bible in a Year

Each day, we'll post passages so that you can read the Bible in one year. This is part of The Colossians 13:16 Project, sponsored by Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia. You're invited to worship with us Sundays, at 11:00 a.m. or Saturdays, at 6:30 p.m. You may also want to consider joining one our adult Bible Studies: Thursdays at 12:00 noon and Sundays at 9:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. We also have a full range of programs for children. If you want more information about the church, check out the other blogs. And please feel free to leave any comments.

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Bible Readings for May 20, 2017

Today our passages are 1 Samuel 26:1–28:25; John 11:1-53; Psalm 117:1-2; and Proverbs 15:22-23. 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.

1 Samuel 26-28:25 (Contemporary English Version)

1 Samuel 26

David Again Lets Saul Live
 1Once again, a<="" value="[a]" >[] some people from Ziph went to Gibeah to talk with Saul. "David has a hideout on Mount Hachilah near Jeshimon out in the desert," they told him. 2Saul took three thousand of Israel's best soldiers and went to look for David there in Ziph Desert. 3Saul set up camp on Mount Hachilah, which is across the road from Jeshimon. But David was hiding out in the desert.    When David heard that Saul was following him, 4he sent some spies to find out if it was true. 5Then he sneaked up to Saul's camp. He noticed that Saul and his army commander Abner the son of Ner were sleeping in the middle of the camp, with soldiers sleeping all around them. 6David asked Ahimelech the Hittite and Joab's brother Abishai, [b<="">] "Which one of you will go with me into Saul's camp?" "I will!" Abishai answered.
    7That same night, David and Abishai crept into the camp. Saul was sleeping, and his spear was stuck in the ground not far from his head. Abner and the soldiers were sound asleep all around him.
    8Abishai whispered, "This time God has let you get your hands on your enemy! I'll pin him to the ground with one thrust of his own spear."
    9"Don't kill him!" David whispered back. "The LORD will punish anyone who kills his chosen king. 10As surely as the LORD lives, the LORD will kill Saul, or Saul will die a natural death or be killed in battle. 11But I pray that the LORD will keep me from harming his chosen king. Let's grab his spear and his water jar and get out of here!"
    12David took the spear and the water jar, then left the camp. None of Saul's soldiers knew what had happened or even woke up--the LORD had made all of them fall sound asleep. 13David and Abishai crossed the valley and went to the top of the next hill, where they were at a safe distance. 14"Abner!" David shouted toward Saul's army. "Can you hear me?"
   Abner shouted back. "Who dares disturb the king?"
    15"Abner, what kind of a man are you?" David replied. "Aren't you supposed to be the best soldier in Israel? Then why didn't you protect your king? Anyone who went into your camp could have killed him tonight. [c<="">] 16You're a complete failure! I swear by the living LORD that you and your men deserve to die for not protecting the LORD's chosen king. Look and see if you can find the king's spear and the water jar that were near his head." 17Saul could tell it was David's voice, and he called out, "David, my son! Is that you?"
   "Yes it is, Your Majesty. 18Why are you after me? Have I done something wrong, or have I committed a crime? 19Please listen to what I have to say. If the LORD has turned you against me, maybe a sacrifice will make him change his mind. But if some people have turned you against me, I hope the LORD will punish them! They have forced me to leave the land that belongs to the LORD and have told me to worship foreign gods. [d<="">] 20Don't let me die in a land far away from the LORD. I'm no more important than a flea! Why should the king of Israel hunt me down as if I were a bird in the mountains?" 21"David, you had the chance to kill me today. But you didn't. I was very wrong about you. It was a terrible mistake for me to try to kill you. I've acted like a fool, but I'll never try to harm you again. You're like a son to me, so please come back."
    22"Your Majesty, here's your spear! Have one of your soldiers come and get it. 23The LORD put you in my power today, but you are his chosen king and I wouldn't harm you. The LORD rewards people who are faithful and live right. 24I saved your life today, and I pray that the LORD will protect me and keep me safe."
    25"David, my son, I pray that the Lord will bless you and make you successful!"
   Saul went back home. David also left,

1 Samuel 27

David in Philistia
 1but he thought to himself, "One of these days, Saul is going to kill me. The only way to escape from him is to go to Philistia. Then I'll be outside of Israel, and Saul will give up trying to catch me."     2-3David and his six hundred men went across the border to stay in Gath with King Achish the son of Maoch. His men brought their families with them. David brought his wife Ahinoam whose hometown was Jezreel, and he also brought his wife Abigail who had been married to Nabal from Carmel. 4When Saul found out that David had run off to Gath, he stopped trying to catch him.
    5One day, David was talking with Achish and said, "If you are happy with me, then let me live in one of the towns in the countryside. I'm not important enough to live here with you in the royal city."
    6Achish gave David the town of Ziklag that same day, and Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah ever since.
    7David was in Philistia for a year and four months. 8The Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites lived in the area from Telam to Shur [e<="">] and on as far as Egypt, and David often attacked their towns. 9Whenever David and his men attacked a town, they took the sheep, cattle, donkeys, camels, and the clothing, and killed everyone who lived there. After he returned from a raid, David always went to see Achish, 10who would ask, "Where did you attack today?" [f<="">] David would answer, "Oh, we attacked some desert town that belonged to the Judah tribe." Sometimes David would say, "Oh, we attacked a town in the desert where the Jerahmeel clan lives" or "We attacked a town in the desert where the Kenites [g<="">] live." 11That's why David killed everyone in the towns he attacked. He thought, "If I let any of them live, they might come to Gath and tell what I've really been doing." David made these raids all the time he was in Philistia. 12But Achish trusted David and thought, "David's people must be furious with him. From now on he will have to take orders from me."

1 Samuel 28

Saul Talks with Samuel's Ghost
 1-3Samuel had died some time earlier, [h<="">] and people from all over Israel had attended his funeral in his hometown of Ramah. Meanwhile, Saul had been trying to get rid of everyone who spoke with the spirits of the dead. [i<="">] But one day the Philistines brought their soldiers together to attack Israel. Achish told David, "Of course, you know that you and your men must fight as part of our Philistine army."    David answered, "That will give you a chance to see for yourself just how well we can fight!"
   "In that case," Achish said, "you and your men will always be my bodyguards."
    4The Philistines went to Shunem and set up camp. Saul called the army of Israel together, and they set up their camp in Gilboa. 5Saul took one look at the Philistine army and started shaking with fear. 6So he asked the LORD what to do. But the LORD would not answer, either in a dream or by a priest or a prophet. 7Then Saul told his officers, "Find me a woman who can talk to the spirits of the dead. I'll go to her and find out what's going to happen."
   His servants told him, "There's a woman at Endor who can talk to spirits of the dead."
    8That night, Saul put on different clothing so nobody would recognize him. Then he and two of his men went to the woman, and asked, "Will you bring up the ghost of someone for us?"
    9The woman said, "Why are you trying to trick me and get me killed? You know King Saul has gotten rid of everyone who talks to the spirits of the dead!"
    10Saul replied, "I swear by the living LORD that nothing will happen to you because of this."
    11"Who do you want me to bring up?" she asked.
   "Bring up the ghost of Samuel," he answered.
    12When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed. Then she turned to Saul and said, "You've tricked me! You're the king!"
    13"Don't be afraid," Saul replied. "Just tell me what you see."
   She answered, "I see a spirit rising up out of the ground."
    14"What does it look like?"
   "It looks like an old man wearing a robe."
   Saul knew it was Samuel, so he bowed down low.
    15"Why are you bothering me by bringing me up like this?" Samuel asked.
   "I'm terribly worried," Saul answered. "The Philistines are about to attack me. God has turned his back on me and won't answer any more by prophets or by dreams. What should I do?"
    16Samuel said:
   If the LORD has turned away from you and is now your enemy, don't ask me what to do. 17I've already told you: The LORD has sworn to take the kingdom from you and give it to David. And that's just what he's doing! 18When the LORD was angry with the Amalekites, he told you to destroy them, but you didn't do it. That's why the LORD is doing this to you. 19Tomorrow the LORD will let the Philistines defeat Israel's army, then you and your sons will join me down here in the world of the dead.
    20At once, Saul collapsed and lay stretched out on the floor, terrified at what Samuel had said. He was weak because he had not eaten anything since the day before.
    21The woman came over to Saul, and when she saw that he was completely terrified, she said, "Your Majesty, I listened to you and risked my life to do what you asked. 22Now please listen to me. Let me get you a little something to eat. It will give you strength for your walk back to camp."
    23"No, I won't eat!"
   But his officers and the woman kept on urging Saul, until he finally agreed. He got up off the floor and sat on the bed. 24Right away the woman killed a calf that she had been fattening up. She cooked part of the meat and baked some thin bread. [j<="">] 25Then she served the food to Saul and his officers, who ate and left before daylight.
  1. 1 Samuel 26:1 again: See 23.19.
  2. 1 Samuel 26:6 Abishai: Hebrew "Abishai the son of Zeruiah." Zeruiah was David's older sister, so Abishai and Joab were David's nephews (see 1 Chronicles 2.12-17; 2 Samuel 17.25 and the note there).
  3. 1 Samuel 26:15 Anyone. . . tonight: Or "Someone went into your camp to kill him tonight."
  4. 1 Samuel 26:19 gods: In ancient times it was often believed that gods (even the God of Israel) could only be properly worshiped in their own countries, and only a country's gods should be worshiped in that country.
  5. 1 Samuel 27:8 lived. . . Shur: One ancient translation; Hebrew "had lived for a long time in Shur."
  6. 1 Samuel 27:10 Where. . . today: A few Hebrew manuscripts, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and three ancient translations; most Hebrew manuscripts "Didn't you make a raid today?"
  7. 1 Samuel 27:10 Jerahmeel. . . Kenites: These were clans of the Judah tribe.
  8. 1 Samuel 28:1 earlier: See 25.1.
  9. 1 Samuel 28:1 dead: Many people believed that it was possible to talk to spirits of the dead, and that these spirits could tell the future.
  10. 1 Samuel 28:24 thin bread: Bread made without yeast, since there was no time for the bread to rise.

John 11:1-53 (Contemporary English Version)

John 11

The Death of Lazarus
 1-2A man by the name of Lazarus was sick in the village of Bethany. He had two sisters, Mary and Martha. This was the same Mary who later poured perfume on the Lord's head and wiped his feet with her hair. 3The sisters sent a message to the Lord and told him that his good friend Lazarus was sick.     4When Jesus heard this, he said, "His sickness won't end in death. It will bring glory to God and his Son."
    5Jesus loved Martha and her sister and brother. 6But he stayed where he was for two more days. 7Then he said to his disciples, "Now we will go back to Judea."
    8"Teacher," they said, "the people there want to stone you to death! Why do you want to go back?"
    9Jesus answered, "Aren't there twelve hours in each day? If you walk during the day, you will have light from the sun, and you won't stumble. 10But if you walk during the night, you will stumble, because you don't have any light." 11Then he told them, "Our friend Lazarus is asleep, and I am going there to wake him up."
    12They replied, "Lord, if he is asleep, he will get better." 13Jesus really meant that Lazarus was dead, but they thought he was talking only about sleep.
    14Then Jesus told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead! 15I am glad that I wasn't there, because now you will have a chance to put your faith in me. Let's go to him."
    16Thomas, whose nickname was "Twin," said to the other disciples, "Come on. Let's go, so we can die with him."
Jesus Brings Lazarus to Life
 17When Jesus got to Bethany, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18Bethany was only about two miles from Jerusalem, 19and many people had come from the city to comfort Martha and Mary because their brother had died.     20When Martha heard that Jesus had arrived, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed in the house. 21Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22Yet even now I know that God will do anything you ask."
    23Jesus told her, "Your brother will live again!"
    24Martha answered, "I know that he will be raised to life on the last day, a<="" value="[a]" >[] when all the dead are raised." 25Jesus then said, "I am the one who raises the dead to life! Everyone who has faith in me will live, even if they die. 26And everyone who lives because of faith in me will never really die. Do you believe this?"
    27"Yes, Lord!" she replied. "I believe that you are Christ, the Son of God. You are the one we hoped would come into the world."
    28After Martha said this, she went and privately said to her sister Mary, "The Teacher is here, and he wants to see you." 29As soon as Mary heard this, she got up and went out to Jesus. 30He was still outside the village where Martha had gone to meet him. 31Many people had come to comfort Mary, and when they saw her quickly leave the house, they thought she was going out to the tomb to cry. So they followed her.
    32Mary went to where Jesus was. Then as soon as she saw him, she knelt at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."
    33When Jesus saw that Mary and the people with her were crying, he was terribly upset 34and asked, "Where have you put his body?"
   They replied, "Lord, come and you will see."
    35Jesus started crying, 36and the people said, "See how much he loved Lazarus."
    37Some of them said, "He gives sight to the blind. Why couldn't he have kept Lazarus from dying?"
    38Jesus was still terribly upset. So he went to the tomb, which was a cave with a stone rolled against the entrance. 39Then he told the people to roll the stone away. But Martha said, "Lord, you know that Lazarus has been dead four days, and there will be a bad smell."
    40Jesus replied, "Didn't I tell you that if you had faith, you would see the glory of God?"
    41After the stone had been rolled aside, Jesus looked up toward heaven and prayed, "Father, I thank you for answering my prayer. 42I know that you always answer my prayers. But I said this, so that the people here would believe that you sent me."
    43When Jesus had finished praying, he shouted, "Lazarus, come out!" 44The man who had been dead came out. His hands and feet were wrapped with strips of burial cloth, and a cloth covered his face.
   Jesus then told the people, "Untie him and let him go."
The Plot To Kill Jesus
(Matthew 26.1-5; Mark 14.1,2; Luke 22.1,2)
 45Many of the people who had come to visit Mary saw the things that Jesus did, and they put their faith in him. 46Others went to the Pharisees and told what Jesus had done. 47Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called the council together and said, "What should we do? This man is working a lot of miracles. [b<="">] 48If we don't stop him now, everyone will put their faith in him. Then the Romans will come and destroy our temple and our nation." [c<="">] 49One of the council members was Caiaphas, who was also high priest that year. He spoke up and said, "You people don't have any sense at all! 50Don't you know it is better for one person to die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed?" 51Caiaphas did not say this on his own. As high priest that year, he was prophesying that Jesus would die for the nation. 52Yet Jesus would not die just for the Jewish nation. He would die to bring together all of God's scattered people. 53From that day on, the council started making plans to put Jesus to death.    
  1. John 11:24 the last day: When God will judge all people.
  2. John 11:47 miracles: See the note at 2.11.
  3. John 11:48 destroy our temple and our nation: The Jewish leaders were afraid that Jesus would lead his followers to rebel against Rome and that the Roman army would then destroy their nation.

Psalm 117:1-2 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 117

Come Praise the LORD
 1All of you nations,    come praise the LORD!
   Let everyone praise him.
    2His love for us is wonderful;
   his faithfulness never ends.
   Shout praises to the LORD!

Proverbs 15:22-23 (Contemporary English Version)

22Without good advice
   everything goes wrong--
   it takes careful planning
   for things to go right.
    23Giving the right answer
   at the right time
   makes everyone happy.

Verse of the Day

“God is the one who makes us patient and cheerful. I pray that he will help you live at peace with each other, as you follow Christ. Then all of you together will praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” - Romans 15:5-6
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Photo of Elizabeth Kenny 1950, with short white hair, smiling and wavingThought for the Day

Australian nurse who promoted a controversial new approach to the treatment of poliomyelitis, Elizabeth Kenny wrote, “He who angers you conquers you.”

A Joke for Today
They both had the same qualifications. In order to determine which individual to hire, the applicants were asked to take a test by the Department manager.
Upon completion of the test, both men missed only one of the questions.
The manager went to the first applicant and said, "Thank you for your interest, but we've decided to give the job to the other applicant."
"And why would you be doing that? We both got 9 questions correct," asked the rejected applicant.
"We have based our decision not on the correct answers, but on the question you missed," said the Department manager.
"And just how would one incorrect answer be better than the other?" the rejected applicant inquired.

"Simple," said the Department manager, "Your fellow applicant put down on question #5, 'I don't know.' You put down, 'Neither do I.'"

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