April 1 - Matthew 25.1-30, Numbers 30-31 and Job 1
A Story about Ten GirlsMatthew 25 The kingdom of heaven is like what happened one night when ten girls took their oil lamps and went to a wedding to meet the groom. 2Five of the girls were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps, but no extra oil. 4The ones who were wise took along extra oil for their lamps.
5The groom was late arriving, and the girls became drowsy and fell asleep. 6Then in the middle of the night someone shouted, "Here's the groom! Come to meet him!"
7When the girls got up and started getting their lamps ready, 8the foolish ones said to the others, "Let us have some of your oil! Our lamps are going out."
9The girls who were wise answered, "There's not enough oil for all of us! Go and buy some for yourselves."
10While the foolish girls were on their way to get some oil, the groom arrived. The girls who were ready went into the wedding, and the doors were closed. 11Later the other girls returned and shouted, "Sir, sir! Open the door for us!"
12But the groom replied, "I don't even know you!"
13So, my disciples, always be ready! You don't know the day or the time when all this will happen.
A Story about Three Servants
14The kingdom is also like what happened when a man went away and put his three servants in charge of all he owned. 15The man knew what each servant could do. So he handed five thousand coins to the first servant, two thousand to the second, and one thousand to the third. Then he left the country.
16As soon as the man had gone, the servant with the five thousand coins used them to earn five thousand more. 17The servant who had two thousand coins did the same with his money and earned two thousand more. 18But the servant with one thousand coins dug a hole and hid his master's money in the ground.
19Some time later the master of those servants returned. He called them in and asked what they had done with his money. 20The servant who had been given five thousand coins brought them in with the five thousand that he had earned. He said, "Sir, you gave me five thousand coins, and I have earned five thousand more."
21"Wonderful!" his master replied. "You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in my happiness!"
22Next, the servant who had been given two thousand coins came in and said, "Sir, you gave me two thousand coins, and I have earned two thousand more."
23"Wonderful!" his master replied. "You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in my happiness!"
24The servant who had been given one thousand coins then came in and said, "Sir, I know that you are hard to get along with. You harvest what you don't plant and gather crops where you haven't scattered seed. 25I was frightened and went out and hid your money in the ground. Here is every single coin!"
26The master of the servant told him, "You are lazy and good-for-nothing! You know that I harvest what I don't plant and gather crops where I haven't scattered seed. 27You could have at least put my money in the bank, so that I could have earned interest on it."
28Then the master said, "Now your money will be taken away and given to the servant with ten thousand coins! 29Everyone who has something will be given more, and they will have more than enough. But everything will be taken from those who don't have anything. 30You are a worthless servant, and you will be thrown out into the dark where people will cry and grit their teeth in pain."
Making Promises to the LORDNumbers 30 The LORD told Moses to say to Israel's tribal leaders:
2When one of you men makes a promise to the LORD, you must keep your word.
3Suppose a young woman who is still living with her parents makes a promise to the LORD. 4If her father hears about it and says nothing, she must keep her promise. 5But if he hears about it and objects, then she no longer has to keep her promise. The LORD will forgive her, because her father did not agree with the promise.
6-7Suppose a woman makes a promise to the LORD and then gets married. If her husband later hears about the promise but says nothing, she must do what she said, whether she meant it or not. 8But if her husband hears about the promise and objects, she no longer has to keep it, and the LORD will forgive her.
9Widows and divorced women must keep every promise they make to the LORD.
10Suppose a married woman makes a promise to the LORD. 11If her husband hears about the promise and says nothing, she must do what she said. 12But if he hears about the promise and does object, she no longer has to keep it. The LORD will forgive her, because her husband would not allow her to keep the promise. 13Her husband has the final say about any promises she makes to the LORD. 14If her husband hears about a promise and says nothing about it for a whole day, she must do what she said--since he did not object, the promise must be kept. 15But if he waits until the next day to stop her from keeping her promise, he is the one who must be punished.
16These are the laws that the LORD gave Moses about husbands and wives, and about young daughters who still live at home.
Israel's War against MidianNumbers 31 The LORD said to Moses, 2"Before you die, make sure that the Midianites are punished for what they did to Israel."
3Then Moses told the people, "The LORD wants to punish the Midianites. So have our men prepare for battle. 4Each tribe will send a thousand men to fight."
5Twelve thousand men were picked from the tribes of Israel, and after they were prepared for battle, 6Moses sent them off to war. Phinehas the son of Eleazar went with them and took along some things from the sacred tent and the trumpets for sounding the battle signal.
7The Israelites fought against the Midianites, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. They killed all the men, 8including Balaam son of Beor and the five Midianite kings, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba. 9The Israelites captured every woman and child, then led away the Midianites' cattle and sheep, and took everything else that belonged to them. 10They also burned down the Midianite towns and villages.
11Israel's soldiers gathered together everything they had taken from the Midianites, including the captives and the animals. 12-13Then they returned to their own camp in the hills of Moab across the Jordan River from Jericho, where Moses, Eleazar, and the other Israelite leaders met the troops outside camp.
14Moses became angry with the army commanders 15and said, "I can't believe you let the women live! 16They are the ones who followed Balaam's advice and invited our people to worship the god Baal-Peor. That's why the LORD punished us by killing so many of our people. 17You must put to death every boy and all the women who have ever had sex. 18But do not kill the young women who have never had sex. You may keep them for yourselves."
19Then Moses said to the soldiers, "If you killed anyone or touched a dead body, you are unclean and have to stay outside the camp for seven days. On the third and seventh days, you must go through a ceremony to make yourselves and your captives clean. 20Then wash your clothes and anything made from animal skin, goat's hair, or wood."
21-23Eleazar then explained, "If you need to purify something that won't burn, such as gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, or lead, you must first place it in a hot fire. After you take it out, sprinkle it with the water that purifies. Everything else should only be sprinkled with the water. Do all of this, just as the LORD commanded Moses. 24Wash your clothes on the seventh day, and after that, you will be clean and may return to the camp."
Everything Taken from the Midianites Is Divided25The LORD told Moses:
26-27Make a list of everything taken from the Midianites, including the captives and the animals. Then divide them between the soldiers and the rest of the people. Eleazar the priest and the family leaders will help you.
28-29From the half that belongs to the soldiers, set aside for the LORD one out of every five hundred people or animals and give these to Eleazar.
30From the half that belongs to the people, set aside one out of every fifty and give these to the Levites in charge of the sacred tent.
31Moses and Eleazar followed the LORD's instructions 32-35and listed everything that had been taken from the Midianites. The list included 675,000 sheep and goats, 72,000 cattle, 61,000 donkeys, and 32,000 young women who had never had sex.
36-47Each half included 337,500 sheep and goats, 36,000 cattle, 30,500 donkeys, and 16,000 young women. From the half that belonged to the soldiers, Moses counted out 675 sheep and goats, 72 cattle, 61 donkeys, and 32 women and gave them to Eleazar to be dedicated to the LORD. Then from the half that belonged to the people, Moses set aside one out of every fifty animals and women, as the LORD had said, and gave them to the Levites.
48The army commanders went to Moses 49and said, "Sir, we have counted our troops, and not one soldier is missing. 50So we want to give the LORD all the gold jewelry we took from the Midianites. It's our gift to him for watching over us and our troops."
51Moses and Eleazar accepted the jewelry from the commanders, 52and its total weight was over four hundred pounds. 53This did not include the things that the soldiers had kept for themselves. 54So Moses and Eleazar placed the gold in the LORD's sacred tent to remind Israel of what had happened.
Job and His FamilyJob 1 Many years ago, a man named Job lived in the land of Uz. He was a truly good person, who respected God and refused to do evil.
2Job had seven sons and three daughters. 3He owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred pair of oxen, five hundred donkeys, and a large number of servants. He was the richest person in the East.
4Job's sons took turns having feasts in their homes, and they always invited their three sisters to join in the eating and drinking. 5After each feast, Job would send for his children and perform a ceremony, as a way of asking God to forgive them of any wrongs they may have done. He would get up early the next morning and offer a sacrifice for each of them, just in case they had sinned or silently cursed God.
Angels, the LORD, and Satan6One day, when the angels had gathered around the LORD, and Satan was there with them, 7the LORD asked, "Satan, where have you been?"
Satan replied, "I have been going all over the earth."
8Then the LORD asked, "What do you think of my servant Job? No one on earth is like him--he is a truly good person, who respects me and refuses to do evil."
9"Why shouldn't he respect you?" Satan remarked. 10"You are like a wall protecting not only him, but his entire family and all his property. You make him successful in whatever he does, and his flocks and herds are everywhere. 11Try taking away everything he owns, and he will curse you to your face."
12The LORD replied, "All right, Satan, do what you want with anything that belongs to him, but don't harm Job."
Then Satan left.
Job Loses Everything13Job's sons and daughters were having a feast in the home of his oldest son, 14when someone rushed up to Job and said, "While your servants were plowing with your oxen, and your donkeys were nearby eating grass, 15a gang of Sabeans attacked and stole the oxen and donkeys! Your other servants were killed, and I was the only one who escaped to tell you."
16That servant was still speaking, when a second one came running up and saying, "God sent down a fire that killed your sheep and your servants. I am the only one who escaped to tell you."
17Before that servant finished speaking, a third one raced up and said, "Three gangs of Chaldeans attacked and stole your camels! All of your other servants were killed, and I am the only one who escaped to tell you."
18That servant was still speaking, when a fourth one dashed up and said, "Your children were having a feast and drinking wine at the home of your oldest son, 19when suddenly a windstorm from the desert blew the house down, crushing all of your children. I am the only one who escaped to tell you."
20When Job heard this, he tore his clothes and shaved his head because of his great sorrow. He knelt on the ground, then worshiped God 21and said:
"We bring nothing at birth;
we take nothing with us at death.
The LORD alone gives and takes.
Praise the name of the LORD!"
22In spite of everything, Job did not sin or accuse God of doing wrong.
This reading is from The
Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version, copyright © American
Bible Society, 1995.
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