April 12 - Acts 3, Deuteronomy 17-18 and Job 12

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Peter and John Heal a Lame Man

Acts 3 The time of prayer was about three o'clock in the afternoon, and Peter and John were going into the temple. 2A man who had been born lame was being carried to the temple door. Each day he was placed beside this door, known as the Beautiful Gate. He sat there and begged from the people who were going in.
3The man saw Peter and John entering the temple, and he asked them for money. 4But they looked straight at him and said, "Look up at us!"
5The man stared at them and thought he was going to get something. 6But Peter said, "I don't have any silver or gold! But I will give you what I do have. In the name of Jesus Christ from Nazareth, get up and start walking." 7Peter then took him by the right hand and helped him up.
At once the man's feet and ankles became strong, 8and he jumped up and started walking. He went with Peter and John into the temple, walking and jumping and praising God. 9Everyone saw him walking around and praising God. 10They knew that he was the beggar who had been lying beside the Beautiful Gate, and they were completely surprised. They could not imagine what had happened to the man.

Peter Speaks in the Temple

11While the man kept holding on to Peter and John, the whole crowd ran to them in amazement at the place known as Solomon's Porch. 12Peter saw that a crowd had gathered, and he said:
Friends, why are you surprised at what has happened? Why are you staring at us? Do you think we have some power of our own? Do you think we were able to make this man walk because we are so religious? 13The God that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and our other ancestors worshiped has brought honor to his Servant Jesus. He is the one you betrayed. You turned against him when he was being tried by Pilate, even though Pilate wanted to set him free.
14You rejected Jesus, who was holy and good. You asked for a murderer to be set free, 15and you killed the one who leads people to life. But God raised him from death, and all of us can tell you what he has done. 16You see this man, and you know him. He put his faith in the name of Jesus and was made strong. Faith in Jesus made this man completely well while everyone was watching.
17My friends, I am sure that you and your leaders didn't know what you were doing. 18But God had his prophets tell that his Messiah would suffer, and now he has kept that promise. 19So turn to God! Give up your sins, and you will be forgiven. 20Then that time will come when the Lord will give you fresh strength. He will send you Jesus, his chosen Messiah. 21But Jesus must stay in heaven until God makes all things new, just as his holy prophets promised long ago.
22Moses said, "The Lord your God will choose one of your own people to be a prophet, just as he chose me. Listen to everything he tells you. 23No one who disobeys that prophet will be one of God's people any longer."
24Samuel and all the other prophets who came later also spoke about what is now happening. 25You are really the ones God told his prophets to speak to. And you were given the promise that God made to your ancestors. He said to Abraham, "All nations on earth will be blessed because of someone from your family." 26God sent his chosen Son to you first, because God wanted to bless you and make each one of you turn away from your sins.

Sacrifices That Have Something Wrong with Them

Moses said to Israel:
Deuteronomy 17 If an ox or a sheep has something wrong with it, don't offer it as a sacrifice to the LORD your God--he will be disgusted!

Put To Death People Who Worship Idols

Moses said to Israel:
2-3The LORD your God is giving you towns to live in. But later, a man or a woman in your town may start worshiping other gods, or even the sun, moon, or stars. I have warned you not to worship other gods, because whoever worships them is disobeying the LORD and breaking the agreement he made with you. 4So when you hear that someone in your town is committing this disgusting sin, you must carefully find out if that person really is guilty. 5-7But you will need two or three witnesses--one witness isn't enough to prove a person guilty.
Get rid of those who are guilty of such evil. Take them outside your town gates and have everyone stone them to death. But the witnesses must be the first to throw stones.

Difficult Cases

Moses said to Israel:
8-12It may be difficult to find out the truth in some legal cases in your town. You may not be able to decide if someone was killed accidentally or murdered. Or you may not be able to tell whether an injury or some property damage was done by accident or on purpose. If the case is too difficult, take it to the court at the place where the LORD your God chooses to be worshiped.
This court will be made up of one judge and several priests who serve at the LORD's altar. They will explain the law to you and give you their decision about the case. Do exactly what they tell you, or you will be put to death. 13When other Israelites hear about it, they will be afraid and obey the decisions of the court.

The King

Moses said:
14People of Israel, after you capture the land the LORD your God is giving you, and after you settle on it, you will say, "We want a king, just like the nations around us."
15Go ahead and appoint a king, but make sure that he is an Israelite and that he is the one the LORD has chosen.
16The king should not have many horses, especially those from Egypt. The LORD has said never to go back there again. 17And the king must not have a lot of wives--they might tempt him to be unfaithful to the LORD. Finally, the king must not try to get huge amounts of silver and gold.
18The official copy of God's laws will be kept by the priests of the Levi tribe. So, as soon as anyone becomes king, he must go to the priests and write out a copy of these laws while they watch. 19Each day the king must read and obey these laws, so that he will learn to worship the LORD with fear and trembling 20and not think that he's better than everyone else.
If the king completely obeys the LORD's commands, he and his descendants will rule Israel for many years.

Special Privileges for Priests and Levites
(Numbers 18.8-32)

Moses said to Israel:
Deuteronomy 18 The people of the Levi tribe, including the priests, will not receive any land. Instead, they will receive part of the sacrifices that are offered to the LORD, 2because he has promised to provide for them in this way.
3When you sacrifice a bull or sheep, the priests will be given the shoulder, the jaws, and the stomach. 4In addition, they will receive the first part of your grain harvest and part of your first batches of wine and olive oil. You must also give them the first wool that is cut from your sheep each year. 5Give these gifts to the priests, because the LORD has chosen them and their descendants out of all the tribes of Israel to be his special servants at the place of worship.
6Any Levite can leave his hometown, and go to the place where the LORD chooses to be worshiped, 7and then be a special servant of the LORD there, just like all the other Levites. 8Some Levites may have money from selling family possessions, and others may not. But all Levites serving at the place of worship will receive the same amount of food from the sacrifices and gifts brought by the people.

Don't Do Disgusting Things

Moses said to Israel:
9Soon you will go into the land that the LORD your God is giving you. The nations that live there do things that are disgusting to the LORD, and you must not follow their example. 10-11Don't sacrifice your son or daughter. And don't try to use any kind of magic or witchcraft to tell fortunes or to cast spells or to talk with spirits of the dead.
12The LORD is disgusted with anyone who does these things, and that's why he will help you destroy the nations that are in the land. 13Never be guilty of doing any of these disgusting things!

A Prophet like Moses

Moses said to Israel:
14You will go in and take the land from nations that practice magic and witchcraft. But the LORD your God won't allow you to do those things. 15Instead, he will choose one of your own people to be a prophet just like me, and you must do what that prophet says. 16You were asking for a prophet the day you were gathered at Mount Sinai and said to the LORD, "Please don't let us hear your voice or see this terrible fire again--if we do, we will die!"
17Then the LORD told me:
Moses, they have said the right thing. 18So when I want to speak to them, I will choose one of them to be a prophet like you. I will give m
y message to that prophet, who will tell the people exactly what I have said. 19Since the message comes from me, anyone who doesn't obey the message will have to answer to me.
20But if I haven't spoken, and a prophet claims to have a message from me, you must kill that prophet, and you must also kill any prophet who claims to have a message from another god.

Moses said to Israel:
21You may be asking yourselves, "How can we tell if a prophet's message really comes from the LORD?" 22You will know, because if the LORD says something will happen, it will happen. And if it doesn't, you will know that the prophet was falsely claiming to speak for the LORD. Don't be afraid of any prophet whose message doesn't come from the LORD.

Job's Reply to Zophar

You Think You Are So Great

Job 12 *1Job said to his friends:
2You think you are so great, with all the answers.
3But I know as much as you do,
and so does everyone else.
4I have always lived right, and God answered my prayers;
now friends make fun of me.
5It's easy to condemn those who are suffering,
when you have no troubles.
6Robbers and other godless people live safely at home
and say, "God is in our hands!"

If You Want To Learn

7If you want to learn, then go and ask
the wild animals and the birds, 8the flowers and the fish.
9Any of them can tell you what the LORD has done.
10Every living creature is in the hands of God.

11We hear with our ears, taste with our tongues,
12and gain some wisdom from those
who have lived a long time.
13But God is the real source of wisdom and strength.
14No one can rebuild what he destroys,
or release those he has imprisoned.
15God can hold back the rain or send a flood,
16just as he rules over liars and those they lie to.

17God destroys counselors, turns judges into fools,
18and makes slaves of kings.
19God removes priests and others who have great power--
20he confuses wise, experienced advisors,
21puts mighty kings to shame, and takes away their power.
22God turns darkness to light;
23he makes nations strong, then shatters their strength.
24God strikes their rulers senseless,
then leaves them to roam through barren deserts,
25lost in the dark, staggering like someone drunk.

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

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