April 15 - Acts 5.1-16, Deuteronomy 23-24 and Job 15

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Peter Condemns Ananias and Sapphira

Acts 5 Ananias and his wife Sapphira also sold a piece of property. 2But they agreed to cheat and keep some of the money for themselves.
So when Ananias took the rest of the money to the apostles, 3Peter said, "Why has Satan made you keep back some of the money from the sale of the property? Why have you lied to the Holy Spirit? 4The property was yours before you sold it, and even after you sold it, the money was still yours. What made you do such a thing? You didn't lie to people. You lied to God!"
5As soon as Ananias heard this, he dropped dead, and everyone who heard about it was frightened. 6Some young men came in and wrapped up his body. Then they took it out and buried it.
7Three hours later Sapphira came in, but she did not know what had happened to her husband. 8Peter asked her, "Tell me, did you sell the property for this amount?"
"Yes," she answered, "that's the amount."
9Then Peter said, "Why did the two of you agree to test the Lord's Spirit? The men who buried Ananias are by the door, and they will carry you out!" 10At once she fell at Peter's feet and died.
When the young men came back in, they found Sapphira lying there dead. So they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11The church members were afraid, and so was everyone else who heard what had happened.

Peter's Unusual Power

12The apostles worked many miracles and wonders among the people. All of the Lord's followers often met in the part of the temple known as Solomon's Porch. 13No one outside their group dared join them, even though everyone liked them very much.
14Many men and women started having faith in the Lord. 15Then sick people were brought out to the road and placed on cots and mats. It was hoped that Peter would walk by, and his shadow would fall on them and heal them. 16A lot of people living in the towns near Jerusalem brought those who were sick or troubled by evil spirits, and they were all healed.

Who Cannot Become One of the LORD's People

Moses said to Israel:
Deuteronomy 23 If a man's private parts have been crushed or cut off, he cannot fully belong to the LORD's people.
2No one born outside of a legal marriage, or any of their descendants for ten generations, can fully belong to the LORD's people.
3No Ammonites or Moabites, or any of their descendants for ten generations, can become part of Israel, the LORD's people. 4This is because when you came out of Egypt, they refused to provide you with food and water. And besides, they hired Balaam to put a curse on you. 5But the LORD your God loves you, so he refused to listen to Balaam and turned Balaam's curse into a blessing. 6Don't even think of signing a peace treaty with Moab or Ammon.
7But Edomites are your relatives, and you lived as foreigners in the country of Egypt. Now you must be kind to Edomites and Egyptians 8and let their great-grandchildren become part of Israel, the LORD's people.

Keep the Army Camp Acceptable

Moses said to Israel:
9When you men go off to fight your enemies, make sure your camp is acceptable to the LORD.
10For example, if something happens at night that makes a man unclean and unfit for worship, he must go outside the camp and stay there 11until late afternoon. Then he must take a bath, and at sunset he can go back into camp.
12Set up a place outside the camp to be used as a toilet area. 13And make sure that you have a small shovel in your equipment. When you go out to the toilet area, use the shovel to dig a hole. Then, after you relieve yourself, bury the waste in the hole. 14You must keep your camp clean of filthy and disgusting things. The LORD is always present in your camp, ready to rescue you and give you victory over your enemies. But if he sees something disgusting in your camp, he may turn around and leave.

Runaway Slaves from Other Countries

Moses said:
15When runaway slaves from other countries come to Israel and ask for protection, you must not hand them back to their owners. 16Instead, you must let them choose which one of your towns they want to live in. Don't be cruel to runaway slaves.

Temple Prostitutes

Moses said:
17People of Israel, don't any of you ever be temple prostitutes. 18The LORD your God is disgusted with men and women who are prostitutes of any kind, and he will not accept a gift from them, even if it had been promised to him.

Interest on Loans

Moses said:
19When you lend money, food, or anything else to another Israelite, you are not allowed to charge interest. 20You can charge a foreigner interest. But if you charge other Israelites interest, the LORD your God will not let you be successful in the land you are about to take.

Sacred Promises to the LORD

Moses said:
21People of Israel, if you make a sacred promise to give a gift to the LORD, then do it as soon as you can. If the LORD has to come looking for the gift you promised, you will be guilty of breaking that promise. 22On the other hand, if you never make a sacred promise, you can't be guilty of breaking it. 23You must keep whatever promises you make to the LORD. After all, you are the one who chose to make the promises.

Eating Someone Else's Produce

24If you go into a vineyard that belongs to someone else, you are allowed to eat as many grapes as you want while you are there. But don't take any with you when you leave. 25In the same way, if you are in a grain field that belongs to someone else, you can pick heads of grain and eat the kernels. But don't cut down the stalks of grain and take them with you.

A Law about Divorce

Moses said to Israel:
Deuteronomy 24 Suppose a woman was divorced by her first husband because he found something disgraceful about her. He wrote out divorce papers, gave them to her, and sent her away. 2Later she married another man, 3who then either divorced her in the same way or died. 4Since she has slept with her second husband, she cannot marry her first husband again. Their marriage would pollute the land that the LORD your God is giving you, and he would be disgusted.


Moses said to Israel:
5If a man and a woman have been married less than one year, he must not be sent off to war or sent away to do forced labor. He must be allowed to stay home for a year and be happy with his wife.


Moses said to Israel:
6When you lend money to people, you are allowed to keep something of theirs as a guarantee that they will pay back the loan. But don't take one or both of their millstones, or else they may starve. They need these stones for grinding grain into flour to make bread.


Moses said to Israel:
7If you are guilty of kidnapping Israelites and forcing them into slavery, you will be put to death to remove this evil from the community.

Skin Diseases

Moses said to Israel:
8I have told the priests what to do if any of you have leprosy, so do exactly what they say. 9And remember what the LORD your God did to Miriam after you left Egypt.


Moses said to Israel:
10When you lend money to people, you are allowed to keep something of theirs as a guarantee that the money will be paid back. But you must not go into their house to get it. 11Wait outside, and they will bring out the item you have agreed on.
12Suppose someone is so poor that a coat is the only thing that can be offered as a guarantee on a loan. Don't keep the coat overnight. 13Instead, give it back before sunset, so the owner can keep warm and sleep and ask the LORD to bless you. Then the LORD your God will notice that you have done the right thing.

Poor People's Wages

Moses said:
14If you hire poor people to work for you, don't hold back their pay, whether they are Israelites or foreigners who live in your town. 15Pay them their wages at the end of each day, because they live in poverty and need the money to survive. If you don't pay them on time, they will complain about you to the LORD, and he will punish you.

The Death Penalty

Moses said to Israel:
16Parents must not be put to death for crimes committed by their children, and children must not be put to death for crimes committed by their parents. Don't put anyone to death for someone else's crime.

Don't Mistreat the Powerless

Moses said to Israel:
17Make sure that orphans and foreigners are treated fairly. And if you lend money to a widow and want to keep something of hers to guarantee that she will pay you back, don't take any of her clothes. 18You were slaves in Egypt until the LORD your God rescued you. That's why I am giving you these laws.

Leave Some of Your Harvest for the Poor

Moses said to Israel:
19If you forget to bring in a stack of harvested grain, don't go back in the field to get it. Leave it for the poor, including foreigners, orphans, and widows, and the LORD will make you successful in everything you do.
20When you harvest your olives, don't try to get them all for yourself, but leave some for the poor. 21And when you pick your grapes, go over the vines only once, then let the poor have what is left. 22You lived in poverty as slaves in Egypt until the LORD your God rescued you. That's why I am giving you these laws.

Eliphaz's Second Speech

If You Had Any Sense

Job 15 Eliphaz from Teman said:
*2Job, if you had any sense,
3you would stop spreading all of this hot air.
4Your words are enough to make others turn from God
and lead them to doubt.
5And your sinful, scheming mind
is the source of all you say.
6I am not here as your judge;
your own words are witnesses against you.

7Were you the first human?
Are you older than the hills?
8Have you ever been present when God's council meets?
Do you alone have wisdom?
9Do you know and understand something we don't?
10We have the benefit of wisdom older than your father.
11And you have been offered comforting words from God.
Isn't this enough?

12Your emotions are out of control, making you look fierce;
13that's why you attack God with everything you say.
14No human is pure and innocent, 15and neither are angels--
not in the sight of God.
If God doesn't trust his angels,
16what chance do humans have?
We are so terribly evil that we thirst for sin.

Just Listen to What I Know

17Just listen to what I know, and you will learn
18wisdom known by others since ancient times.
19Those who gained such insights also gained the land,
and they were not influenced by foreign teachings.
20But suffering is in store each day for those who sin.
21Even in times of success,
they constantly hear the threat of doom.
22Darkness, despair, and death are their destiny.
23They scrounge around for food,
all the while dreading the approaching darkness.
24They are overcome with despair,
like a terrified king about to go into battle.
25This is because they rebelled against God All-Powerful
26and have attacked him with their weapons.

27They may be rich and fat,
28but they will live in the ruins of deserted towns.
29Their property and wealth will shrink and disappear.
30They won't escape the darkness,
and the blazing breath of God
will set their future aflame.
*31They have put their trust in something worthless;
now they will become worthless
32like a date palm tree without a leaf.
33Or like vineyards or orchards
whose blossoms and unripe fruit drop to the ground.
34Yes, the godless and the greedy
will have nothing but flames feasting on their homes,
35because they are the parents of trouble and vicious lies.

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

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