6 April 2017 Bible Reading
Given all the times God has saved the Israelites over the previous 40 years, it would seem impossible for them to continue to ignore Him in their lives. But our capacity for self-destructive behavior seems limitless.
29 These are the words of the covenant which Yahweh commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, in addition to the covenant which he made with them in Horeb. 2 Moses called to all Israel, and said to them:
Your eyes have seen all that Yahweh did in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land; 3 the great trials which your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders. 4 But Yahweh has not given you a heart to know, eyes to see, and ears to hear, to this day. 5 I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not grown old on you, and your shoes have not grown old on your feet. 6 You have not eaten bread, neither have you drunk wine or strong drink; that you may know that I am Yahweh your God. 7 When you came to this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, came out against us to battle, and we struck them. 8 We took their land, and gave it for an inheritance to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to the half-tribe of the Manassites. 9 Therefore keep the words of this covenant and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do. 10 All of you stand today in the presence of Yahweh your God; your heads, your tribes, your elders, and your officers, even all the men of Israel, 11 your little ones, your wives, and the foreigners who are in the middle of your camps, from the one who cuts your wood to the one who draws your water; 12 that you may enter into the covenant of Yahweh your God, and into his oath, which Yahweh your God makes with you today; 13 that he may establish you today as his people, and that he may be your God, as he spoke to you, and as he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 14 Neither do I make this covenant and this oath with you only, 15 but with those who stand here with us today before Yahweh our God, and also with those who are not here with us today 16 (for you know how we lived in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the middle of the nations through which you passed; 17 and you have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were among them); 18 lest there should be among you man, woman, family, or tribe whose heart turns away today from Yahweh our God, to go to serve the gods of those nations; lest there should be among you a root that produces bitter poison; 19 and it happen, when he hears the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, “I shall have peace, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart, to destroy the moist with the dry.” 20 Yahweh will not pardon him, but then Yahweh’s anger and his jealousy will smoke against that man, and all the curse that is written in this book will fall on him, and Yahweh will blot out his name from under the sky. 21 Yahweh will set him apart for evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that is written in this book of the law.
22 The generation to come, your children who will rise up after you, and the foreigner who will come from a far land, will say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses with which Yahweh has made it sick; 23 and that all of its land is sulfur, salt, and burning, that it is not sown, doesn’t produce, nor does any grass grow in it, like the overthrow of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, which Yahweh overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath; 24 even all the nations will say, “Why has Yahweh done thus to this land? What does the heat of this great anger mean?”
25 Then men will say, “Because they abandoned the covenant of Yahweh, the God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt, 26 and went and served other gods, and worshiped them, gods that they didn’t know, and that he had not given to them. 27 Therefore Yahweh’s anger burned against this land, to bring on it all the curses that are written in this book. 28 Yahweh rooted them out of their land in anger, in wrath, and in great indignation, and thrust them into another land, as it is today.”
29 The secret things belong to Yahweh our God; but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
30 It shall happen, when all these things have come on you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you shall call them to mind among all the nations, where Yahweh your God has driven you, 2 and return to Yahweh your God, and obey his voice according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart, and with all your soul; 3 that then Yahweh your God will release you from captivity, have compassion on you, and will return and gather you from all the peoples where Yahweh your God has scattered you. 4 If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of the heavens, from there Yahweh your God will gather you, and from there he will bring you back. 5 Yahweh your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you will possess it. He will do you good, and increase your numbers more than your fathers. 6 Yahweh your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your offspring, to love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live. 7 Yahweh your God will put all these curses on your enemies, and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. 8 You shall return and obey Yahweh’s voice, and do all his commandments which I command you today. 9 Yahweh your God will make you plenteous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the fruit of your livestock, and in the fruit of your ground, for good; for Yahweh will again rejoice over you for good, as he rejoiced over your fathers; 10 if you will obey Yahweh your God’s voice, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law; if you turn to Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul.
11 For this commandment which I command you today is not too hard for you or too distant. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, and proclaim it to us, that we may do it?” 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, and proclaim it to us, that we may do it?” 14 But the word is very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. 15 Behold, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and evil. 16 For I command you today to love Yahweh your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his ordinances, that you may live and multiply, and that Yahweh your God may bless you in the land where you go in to possess it. 17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; 18 I denounce to you today, that you will surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you pass over the Jordan to go in to possess it. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore choose life, that you may live, you and your descendants; 20 to love Yahweh your God, to obey his voice, and to cling to him; for he is your life, and the length of your days; that you may dwell in the land which Yahweh swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
37 Now as he spoke, a certain Pharisee asked him to dine with him. He went in, and sat at the table. 38 When the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that he had not first washed himself before dinner. 39 The Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter, but your inward part is full of extortion and wickedness. 40 You foolish ones, didn’t he who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But give for gifts to the needy those things which are within, and behold, all things will be clean to you. 42 But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, but you bypass justice and the love of God. You ought to have done these, and not to have left the other undone. 43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues, and the greetings in the marketplaces. 44 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like hidden graves, and the men who walk over them don’t know it.”
45 One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, in saying this you insult us also.”
46 He said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load men with burdens that are difficult to carry, and you yourselves won’t even lift one finger to help carry those burdens. 47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. 48 So you testify and consent to the works of your fathers. For they killed them, and you build their tombs. 49 Therefore also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles; and some of them they will kill and persecute, 50 that the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zachariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary.’ Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation. 52 Woe to you lawyers! For you took away the key of knowledge. You didn’t enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in, you hindered.”
53 As he said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to be terribly angry, and to draw many things out of him; 54 lying in wait for him, and seeking to catch him in something he might say, that they might accuse him.
12 Meanwhile, when a multitude of many thousands had gathered together, so much so that they trampled on each other, he began to tell his disciples first of all, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 But there is nothing covered up, that will not be revealed, nor hidden, that will not be known. 3 Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light. What you have spoken in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.
4 “I tell you, my friends, don’t be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom you should fear. Fear him, who after he has killed, has power to cast into Gehenna. Yes, I tell you, fear him.
6 “Aren’t five sparrows sold for two assaria coins? Not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore don’t be afraid. You are of more value than many sparrows.
A contemplation by Asaph.
78 Hear my teaching, my people.
Turn your ears to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth in a parable.
I will utter dark sayings of old,
3 Which we have heard and known,
and our fathers have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their children,
telling to the generation to come the praises of Yahweh,
his strength, and his wondrous deeds that he has done.
5 For he established a testimony in Jacob,
and appointed a teaching in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers,
that they should make them known to their children;
6 that the generation to come might know, even the children who should be born;
who should arise and tell their children,
7 that they might set their hope in God,
and not forget God’s deeds,
but keep his commandments,
8 and might not be as their fathers,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation that didn’t make their hearts loyal,
whose spirit was not steadfast with God.
9 The children of Ephraim, being armed and carrying bows,
turned back in the day of battle.
10 They didn’t keep God’s covenant,
and refused to walk in his law.
11 They forgot his doings,
his wondrous deeds that he had shown them.
12 He did marvelous things in the sight of their fathers,
in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
13 He split the sea, and caused them to pass through.
He made the waters stand as a heap.
14 In the daytime he also led them with a cloud,
and all night with a light of fire.
15 He split rocks in the wilderness,
and gave them drink abundantly as out of the depths.
16 He brought streams also out of the rock,
and caused waters to run down like rivers.
17 Yet they still went on to sin against him,
to rebel against the Most High in the desert.
18 They tempted God in their heart
by asking food according to their desire.
19 Yes, they spoke against God.
They said, “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?
20 Behold, he struck the rock, so that waters gushed out,
and streams overflowed.
Can he give bread also?
Will he provide flesh for his people?”
21 Therefore Yahweh heard, and was angry.
A fire was kindled against Jacob,
anger also went up against Israel,
22 because they didn’t believe in God,
and didn’t trust in his salvation.
23 Yet he commanded the skies above,
and opened the doors of heaven.
24 He rained down manna on them to eat,
and gave them food from the sky.
25 Man ate the bread of angels.
He sent them food to the full.
26 He caused the east wind to blow in the sky.
By his power he guided the south wind.
27 He rained also flesh on them as the dust;
winged birds as the sand of the seas.
28 He let them fall in the middle of their camp,
around their habitations.
29 So they ate, and were well filled.
He gave them their own desire.
30 They didn’t turn from their cravings.
Their food was yet in their mouths,
31 when the anger of God went up against them,
killed some of their fattest,
and struck down the young men of Israel.
19 Truth’s lips will be established forever,
but a lying tongue is only momentary.
20 Deceit is in the heart of those who plot evil,
but joy comes to the promoters of peace.