April 4 - Matthew 26.26-46, Deuteronomy 1-2 and Job 4

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The Lord's Supper
(Mark 14.22-26; Luke 22.14-23; 1 Corinthians 11.23-25)

Matthew 26 26During the meal Jesus took some bread in his hands. He blessed the bread and broke it. Then he gave it to his disciples and said, "Take this and eat it. This is my body."
27Jesus picked up a cup of wine and gave thanks to God. He then gave it to his disciples and said, "Take this and drink it. 28This is my blood, and with it God makes his agreement with you. It will be poured out, so that many people will have their sins forgiven. 29From now on I am not going to drink any wine, until I drink new wine with you in my Father's kingdom." 30Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.

Peter's Promise
(Mark 14.27-31; Luke 22.31-34; John 13.36-38)

31Jesus said to his disciples, "During this very night, all of you will reject me, as the Scriptures say,
'I will strike down the shepherd,
and the sheep will be scattered.'
32But after I am raised to life, I will go to Galilee ahead of you."
33Peter spoke up, "Even if all the others reject you, I never will!"
34Jesus replied, "I promise you that before a rooster crows tonight, you will say three times that you don't know me." 35But Peter said, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never say I don't know you."
All the others said the same thing.

Jesus Prays
(Mark 14.32-42; Luke 22.39-46)

36Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane. When they got there, he told them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray."
37Jesus took along Peter and the two brothers, James and John. He was very sad and troubled, 38and he said to them, "I am so sad that I feel as if I am dying. Stay here and keep awake with me."
39Jesus walked on a little way. Then he knelt with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, don't make me suffer by having me drink from this cup. But do what you want, and not what I want."
40He came back and found his disciples sleeping. So he said to Peter, "Can't any of you stay awake with me for just one hour? 41Stay awake and pray that you won't be tested. You want to do what is right, but you are weak."
42Again Jesus went to pray and said, "My Father, if there is no other way, and I must suffer, I will still do what you want."
43Jesus came back and found them sleeping again. They simply could not keep their eyes open. 44He left them and prayed the same prayer once more.
45Finally, Jesus returned to his disciples and said, "Are you still sleeping and resting? The time has come for the Son of Man to be handed over to sinners. 46Get up! Let's go. The one who will betray me is already here."

The Final Speeches of Moses

Deuteronomy 1 1-5This book contains the speeches that Moses made while Israel was in the land of Moab, camped near the town of Suph in the desert east of the Jordan River. The town of Paran was in one direction from their camp, and the towns of Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab were in the opposite direction.
Earlier, Moses had defeated the Amorite King Sihon of Heshbon. Moses had also defeated King Og of Bashan, who used to live in Ashtaroth for part of the year and in Edrei for the rest of the year.
Although it takes only eleven days to walk from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-Barnea by way of the Mount Seir Road, these speeches were not made until forty years after Israel left Egypt.


The LORD's Command at Mount Sinai

The LORD had given Moses his laws for the people of Israel. And on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses began explaining those laws by saying:
6People of Israel, when we were in our camp at Mount Sinai, the LORD our God told us:
You have stayed here long enough. 7Leave this place and go into the land that belongs to the Amorites and their neighbors the Canaanites. This land includes the Jordan River valley, the hill country, the western foothills, the Southern Desert, the Mediterranean seacoast, the Lebanon Mountains, and all the territory as far as the Euphrates River. 8I give you this land, just as I promised your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Now you must go and take the land.

Leaders Were Appointed
(Exodus 18.13-27)

Moses said:
9Right after the LORD commanded us to leave Mount Sinai, I told you:
Israel, being your leader is too big a job for one person. 10The LORD our God has blessed us, and so now there are as many of us as there are stars in the sky. 11God has even promised to bless us a thousand times more, and I pray that he will. 12But I cannot take care of all your problems and settle all your arguments alone. 13Each tribe must choose some experienced men who are known for their wisdom and understanding, and I will make those men the official leaders of their tribes.

14You answered, "That's a good idea!" 15Then I took these men, who were already wise and respected leaders, and I appointed them as your official leaders. Some of them became military officers in charge of groups of a thousand, or a hundred, or fifty, or ten, 16and others became judges. I gave these judges the following instructions:
When you settle legal cases, your decisions must be fair. It doesn't matter if the case is between two Israelites, or between an Israelite and a foreigner living in your community. 17And it doesn't matter if one is helpless and the other is powerful. Don't be afraid of anyone! No matter who shows up in your court, God will help you make a fair decision.
If any case is too hard for you, bring the people to me, and I will make the decision.

18After I gave these instructions to the judges, I taught you the LORD's commands.

Men Were Sent To Explore the Hill Country
(Numbers 13.1-33)

Moses said to Israel:
19The LORD had commanded us to leave Mount Sinai and go to the hill country that belonged to the Amorites, so we started out into the huge desert. You remember how frightening it was, but soon we were at Kadesh-Barnea, 20-21and I told you, "We have reached the hill country. It belongs to the Amorites now, but the LORD our God is giving it to us. He is the same God our ancestors worshiped, and he has told us to go in and take this land, so don't hesitate and be afraid."
22Then all of you came to me and said, "Before we go into the land, let's send some men to explore it. When they come back, they can tell us about the towns we will find and what roads we should take to get there."
23It seemed like a good idea, so I chose twelve men, one from each tribe. 24They explored the hill country as far as Bunch Valley 25and even brought back some of the fruit. They said, "The LORD our God is giving us good land."

Israel Refused To Obey the LORD
(Numbers 14.1-45)

Moses said to Israel:
26You did not want to go into the land, and you refused to obey the LORD your God. 27You stayed in your tents and grumbled, "The LORD must hate us--he brought us out of Egypt, just so he could hand us over to the Amorites and get rid of us. 28We are afraid, because the men who explored the land told us that the cities are large, with walls that reach to the sky. The people who live there are taller and stronger than we are, and some of them are Anakim. We have nowhere to go."
29Then I said, "Don't worry! 30The LORD our God will lead the way. He will fight on our side, just as he did when we saw him do all those things to the Egyptians. 31And you know that the LORD has taken care of us the whole time we've been in the desert, just as you might carry one of your children."
32But you still would not trust the LORD, 33even though he had always been with us in the desert. During the daytime, the LORD was in the cloud, leading us in the right direction and showing us where to camp. And at night, he was there in the fire.
34You had made the LORD angry, and he said:
35You people of this generation are evil, and I refuse to let you go into the good land that I promised your ancestors. 36Caleb son of Jephunneh is the only one of your generation that I will allow to go in. He obeyed me completely, so I will give him and his descendants the land he explored.

37The LORD was even angry with me because of you people, and he said, "Moses, I won't let you go into the land either. 38Instead, I will let Joshua your assistant lead Israel to conquer the land. So encourage him."
39Then the LORD spoke to you again:
People of Israel, you said that your innocent young children would be taken prisoner in the battle for the land. But someday I will let them go into the land, and with my help they will conquer it and live there.
40Now, turn around and go back into the desert by way of Red Sea Road.

41Then you told me, "We disobeyed the LORD our God, but now we want to obey him. We will go into the hill country and fight, just as he told us to do." So you picked up your weapons, thinking it would be easy to take over the hill country.
42But the LORD said, "Moses, warn them not to go into the hill country. I won't help them fight, and their enemies will defeat them."
43I told you what the LORD had said, but you paid no attention. You disobeyed him and went into the hill country anyway. You thought you were so great! 44But when the Amorites in the hill country attacked from their towns, you ran from them as you would run from a swarm of bees. The Amorites chased your troops into Seir as far as Hormah, killing them as they went. 45Then you came back to the place of worship at Kadesh-Barnea and wept, but the LORD would not listen to your prayers.

Israel Spent Years in the Desert

Moses said to Israel:
46After we had been in Kadesh for a few months, we obeyed the LORD and headed back into the desert by way of Red Sea Road.
Deuteronomy 2 1We spent many years wandering around outside the hill country of Seir, 2until the LORD said:
Moses, 3Israel has wandered in these hills long enough. Turn and go north. 4And give the people these orders: "Be very careful, because you will soon go through the land that belongs to your relatives, the descendants of Esau. They are afraid of you, 5but don't start a war with them. I have given them the hill country of Seir, so I won't give any of it to you, not even enough to set a foot on. 6And as you go through their land, you will have to buy food and water from them."

7The LORD has helped us and taken care of us during the past forty years that we have been in this huge desert. We've had everything we needed, and the LORD has blessed us and made us successful in whatever we have done.
8We went past the territory that belonged to our relatives, the descendants of Esau. We followed Arabah Road that starts in the south at Elath and Ezion-Geber, then we turned onto the desert road that leads to Moab.
9The LORD told me, "Don't try to start a war with Moab. Leave them alone, because I gave the land of Ar to them, and I will not let you have any of it."

Tribes That Lived near Canaan

10Before the LORD gave the Moabites their land, a large and powerful tribe lived there. They were the Emim, and they were as tall as the Anakim. 11The Moabites called them Emim, though others sometimes used the name Rephaim for both the Anakim and the Emim.
12The Horites used to live in Seir, but the Edomites took over that region. They killed many of the Horites and forced the rest of them to leave, just as Israel did to the people in the land that the LORD gave them.

Israel Crossed the Zered Gorge

Moses said to Israel:
13When we came to the Zered Gorge along the southern border of Moab, the LORD told us to cross the gorge into Moab, and we did. 14This was thirty-eight years after we left Kadesh-Barnea, and by that time all the men who had been in the army at Kadesh-Barnea had died, just as the LORD had said they would. 15-16The LORD kept getting rid of them until finally none of them were left.
17Then the LORD told me, 18"Moses, now go past the town of Ar and cross Moab's northern border 19into Ammon. But don't start a war with the Ammonites. I gave them their land, and I won't give any of it to Israel."

More Nations That Lived near Canaan

20Before the Ammonites conquered the land that the LORD had given them, some of the Rephaim used to live there, although the Ammonites called them Zamzummim. 21The Zamzummim were a large and powerful tribe and were as tall as the Anakim. But the LORD helped the Ammonites, and they killed many of the Zamzummim and forced the rest to leave. Then the Ammonites settled there. 22The LORD helped them as he had helped the Edomites, who killed many of the Horites in Seir and forced the rest to leave before settling there themselves.
23A group called the Avvim used to live in villages as far south as Gaza, but the Philistines killed them and settled on their land.

Israel Crossed the Arnon Gorge

Moses said:
24After we went through Ammon, the LORD told us:
Israel, pack up your possessions, take down your tents, and cross the Arnon River gorge. The territory of the Amorite King Sihon of Heshbon lies on the other side of the river, but I now give you his land. So attack and take it! 25Today I will start making all other nations afraid of you. They will tremble with fear when anyone mentions you, and they will be terrified when you show up.

The Defeat of King Sihon of Heshbon
(Numbers 21.21-30)

Moses said to Israel:
26After we had crossed the Arnon and had set up camp in the Kedemoth Desert, I sent messengers to King Sihon of Heshbon, telling him that his nation and ours could be at peace. I said:
27Please let Israel go across your country. We will walk straight through, without turning off the road. 28-29You can even sell us food and water, and we will pay with silver. We need to reach the Jordan River and cross it, because the LORD our God is giving us the land on the west side. The Edomites and Moabites have already let us cross their land. Please let us cross your land as well.

30-31But Sihon refused to let us go across his country, because the LORD made him stubborn and eager to fight us. The LORD told me, "I am going to help you defeat Sihon and take his land, so attack him!"
32We met Sihon and his army in battle at Jahaz, 33and the LORD our God helped us defeat them. We killed Sihon, his sons, and everyone else in his army. 34Then we captured and destroyed every town in Sihon's kingdom, killing everyone, 35but keeping the livestock and everything else of value. 36The LORD helped us capture every town from the Arnon River gorge north to the boundary of Gilead, including the town of Aroer on the edge of the gorge and the town in the middle of the gorge.
37However, we stayed away from all the Ammonite towns, both in the hill country and near the Jabbok River, just as the LORD had commanded.

Eliphaz's First Speech

Please Be Patient and Listen

Job 4 Eliphaz from Teman said:
2Please be patient and listen to what I have to say.
*3Remember how your words 4have guided and encouraged
many in need.
5But now you feel discouraged when struck by trouble.
6You respect God and live right,
so don't lose hope!
7No truly innocent person has ever died young.
8In my experience, only those who plant seeds of evil
harvest trouble,
9and then they are swept away
by the angry breath of God.
10They may roar and growl like powerful lions.
But when God breaks their teeth, 11they starve,
and their children are scattered.

A Secret Was Told to Me

12A secret was told to me in a faint whisper--
13I was overcome by sleep, but disturbed by dreams;
14I trembled with fear, 15and my hair stood on end,
as a wind blew past my face.
16It stopped and stood still. Then a form appeared--
a shapeless form.
And from the silence, I heard a voice say,
17"No humans are innocent in the eyes of God their Creator.
18He finds fault with his servants and even with his angels.
19Humans are formed from clay and are fragile as moths,
so what chance do you have?
20Born after daybreak, you die before nightfall
and disappear forever.
21Your tent pegs are pulled up, and you leave this life,
having gained no wisdom."

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This reading is from The Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version, copyright © American Bible Society, 1995.

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