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13 March 2017 Bible Reading

Today we begin reading Luke. Luke is easily divided in two sections: the arrival among men of Jesus the Messiah, from his birth to the beginning of his earthly mission in the meeting with John the Baptist followed by his earthly ministry, death and resurrection.

Numbers 19-20:29
19 Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 2 “This is the statute of the law which Yahweh has commanded. Tell the children of Israel to bring you a red heifer without spot, in which is no defect, and which was never yoked. 3 You shall give her to Eleazar the priest, and he shall bring her outside of the camp, and one shall kill her before his face. 4 Eleazar the priest shall take some of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle her blood toward the front of the Tent of Meeting seven times. 5 One shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn. 6 The priest shall take cedar wood, hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the middle of the burning of the heifer. 7 Then the priest shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp, and the priest shall be unclean until the evening. 8 He who burns her shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the evening.
9 “A man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up outside of the camp in a clean place; and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water for impurity. It is a sin offering. 10 He who gathers the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the evening. It shall be to the children of Israel, and to the stranger who lives as a foreigner among them, for a statute forever.
11 “He who touches the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days. 12 He shall purify himself with water on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean; but if he doesn’t purify himself the third day, then the seventh day he shall not be clean. 13 Whoever touches a dead person, the body of a man who has died, and doesn’t purify himself, defiles Yahweh’s tabernacle; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel; because the water for impurity was not sprinkled on him, he shall be unclean. His uncleanness is yet on him.
14 “This is the law when a man dies in a tent: everyone who comes into the tent, and everyone who is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days. 15 Every open vessel, which has no covering bound on it, is unclean.
16 “Whoever in the open field touches one who is slain with a sword, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.
17 “For the unclean, they shall take of the ashes of the burning of the sin offering; and running water shall be poured into a vessel. 18 A clean person shall take hyssop, dip it in the water, and sprinkle it on the tent, on all the vessels, on the persons who were there, and on him who touched the bone, or the slain, or the dead, or the grave. 19 The clean person shall sprinkle on the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day. On the seventh day, he shall purify him. He shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at evening. 20 But the man who shall be unclean, and shall not purify himself, that soul shall be cut off from the middle of the assembly, because he has defiled the sanctuary of Yahweh. The water for impurity has not been sprinkled on him. He is unclean. 21 It shall be a perpetual statute to them. He who sprinkles the water for impurity shall wash his clothes, and he who touches the water for impurity shall be unclean until evening.
22 “Whatever the unclean person touches shall be unclean; and the soul that touches it shall be unclean until evening.”
20 The children of Israel, even the whole congregation, came into the wilderness of Zin in the first month. The people stayed in Kadesh. Miriam died there, and was buried there. 2 There was no water for the congregation; and they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. 3 The people quarreled with Moses, and spoke, saying, “We wish that we had died when our brothers died before Yahweh! 4 Why have you brought Yahweh’s assembly into this wilderness, that we should die there, we and our animals? 5 Why have you made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in to this evil place? It is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink.”
6 Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the door of the Tent of Meeting, and fell on their faces. Yahweh’s glory appeared to them. 7 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 8 “Take the rod, and assemble the congregation, you, and Aaron your brother, and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it pour out its water. You shall bring water to them out of the rock; so you shall give the congregation and their livestock drink.”
9 Moses took the rod from before Yahweh, as he commanded him. 10 Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Shall we bring water out of this rock for you?” 11 Moses lifted up his hand, and struck the rock with his rod twice, and water came out abundantly. The congregation and their livestock drank.
12 Yahweh said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you didn’t believe in me, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”
13 These are the waters of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with Yahweh, and he was sanctified in them.
14 Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom, saying:
“Thus says your brother Israel: You know all the travail that has happened to us; 15 how our fathers went down into Egypt, and we lived in Egypt a long time. The Egyptians mistreated us and our fathers. 16 When we cried to Yahweh, he heard our voice, sent an angel, and brought us out of Egypt. Behold, we are in Kadesh, a city in the edge of your border.
17 “Please let us pass through your land. We will not pass through field or through vineyard, neither will we drink from the water of the wells. We will go along the king’s highway. We will not turn aside to the right hand nor to the left, until we have passed your border.”
18 Edom said to him, “You shall not pass through me, lest I come out with the sword against you.”
19 The children of Israel said to him, “We will go up by the highway; and if we drink your water, I and my livestock, then I will give its price. Only let me, without doing anything else, pass through on my feet.”
20 He said, “You shall not pass through.” Edom came out against him with many people, and with a strong hand. 21 Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border, so Israel turned away from him.
22 They traveled from Kadesh: and the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, came to Mount Hor. 23 Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron in Mount Hor, by the border of the land of Edom, saying, 24 “Aaron shall be gathered to his people; for he shall not enter into the land which I have given to the children of Israel, because you rebelled against my word at the waters of Meribah. 25 Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up to Mount Hor; 26 and strip Aaron of his garments, and put them on Eleazar his son. Aaron shall be taken, and shall die there.”
27 Moses did as Yahweh commanded. They went up into Mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation. 28 Moses stripped Aaron of his garments, and put them on Eleazar his son. Aaron died there on the top of the mountain, and Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. 29 When all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, they wept for Aaron thirty days, even all the house of Israel.

Luke 1:1-25
1 Since many have undertaken to set in order a narrative concerning those matters which have been fulfilled among us, 2 even as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having traced the course of all things accurately from the first, to write to you in order, most excellent Theophilus; 4 that you might know the certainty concerning the things in which you were instructed.
5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the priestly division of Abijah. He had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 They were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they both were well advanced in years. 8 Now while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his division, 9 according to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to enter into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 The whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense.
11 An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 Zacharias was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Don’t be afraid, Zacharias, because your request has been heard, and your wife, Elizabeth, will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 You will have joy and gladness; and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord, their God. 17 He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to prepare a people prepared for the Lord.”
18 Zacharias said to the angel, “How can I be sure of this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”
19 The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God. I was sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news. 20 Behold, you will be silent and not able to speak, until the day that these things will happen, because you didn’t believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.”
21 The people were waiting for Zacharias, and they marveled that he delayed in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them, and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple. He continued making signs to them, and remained mute. 23 When the days of his service were fulfilled, he departed to his house. 24 After these days Elizabeth, his wife, conceived, and she hid herself five months, saying, 25 “Thus has the Lord done to me in the days in which he looked at me, to take away my reproach among men.”

Psalm 56:1-13
For the Chief Musician. To the tune of “Silent Dove in Distant Lands.” A poem by David, when the Philistines seized him in Gath.
56 Be merciful to me, God, for man wants to swallow me up.
All day long, he attacks and oppresses me.
2 My enemies want to swallow me up all day long,
for they are many who fight proudly against me.
3 When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in you.
4 In God, I praise his word.
In God, I put my trust.
I will not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me?
5 All day long they twist my words.
All their thoughts are against me for evil.
6 They conspire and lurk,
watching my steps, they are eager to take my life.
7 Shall they escape by iniquity?
In anger cast down the peoples, God.
8 You number my wanderings.
You put my tears into your bottle.
Aren’t they in your book?
9 Then my enemies shall turn back in the day that I call.
I know this, that God is for me.
10 In God, I will praise his word.
In Yahweh, I will praise his word.
11 I have put my trust in God.
I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
12 Your vows are on me, God.
I will give thank offerings to you.
13 For you have delivered my soul from death,
and prevented my feet from falling,
that I may walk before God in the light of the living.

Proverbs 11:8
8 A righteous person is delivered out of trouble,
and the wicked takes his place.

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