April 25 - Acts 10.34-48, Joshua 9-10 and Job 25

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Acts 10 34Peter then said:
Now I am certain that God treats all people alike. 35God is pleased with everyone who worships him and does right, no matter what nation they come from. 36This is the same message that God gave to the people of Israel, when he sent Jesus Christ, the Lord of all, to offer peace to them.
37You surely know what happened everywhere in Judea. It all began in Galilee after John had told everyone to be baptized. 38God gave the Holy Spirit and power to Jesus from Nazareth. He was with Jesus, as he went around doing good and healing everyone who was under the power of the devil. 39We all saw what Jesus did both in Israel and in the city of Jerusalem.
Jesus was put to death on a cross. 40But three days later, God raised him to life and let him be seen. 41Not everyone saw him. He was seen only by us, who ate and drank with him after he was raised from death. We were the ones God chose to tell others about him.
42God told us to announce clearly to the people that Jesus is the one he has chosen to judge the living and the dead. 43Every one of the prophets has said that all who have faith in Jesus will have their sins forgiven in his name.

44While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit took control of everyone who was listening. 45Some Jewish followers of the Lord had come with Peter, and they were surprised that the Holy Spirit had been given to Gentiles. 46Now they were hearing Gentiles speaking unknown languages and praising God.
Peter said, 47"These Gentiles have been given the Holy Spirit, just as we have! I am certain that no one would dare stop us from baptizing them." 48Peter ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and they asked him to stay on for a few days.

The People of Gibeon Trick the Leaders of Israel

Joshua 9 1-2The kings west of the Jordan River heard about Joshua's victories, and so they got together and decided to attack Joshua and Israel. These kings were from the hill country and from the foothills to the west, as well as from the Mediterranean seacoast as far north as the Lebanon Mountains. Some of them were Hittites, others were Amorites or Canaanites, and still others were Perizzites, Hivites, or Jebusites.
3The people of Gibeon had also heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai. 4So they decided that some of their men should pretend to be messengers to Israel from a faraway country. The men put worn-out bags on their donkeys and found some old wineskins that had cracked and had been sewn back together. 5Their sandals were old and patched, and their clothes were worn out. They even took along some dry and crumbly bread. 6Then they went to the Israelite camp at Gilgal, where they said to Joshua and the men of Israel, "We have come from a country that is far from here. Please make a peace treaty with us."
7-8The Israelites replied, "But maybe you really live near us. We can't make a peace treaty with you if you live nearby."
The Gibeonites said, "If you make a peace treaty with us, we will be your servants."
"Who are you?" Joshua asked. "Where do you come from?"
They answered:
9We are your servants, and we live far from here. We came because the LORD your God is so famous. We heard what the LORD did in Egypt 10and what he did to those two Amorite kings on the other side of the Jordan: King Og of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth, and King Sihon of Heshbon.
11Our leaders and everyone who lives in our country told us to meet with you and tell you that all of us are your servants. They said to ask you to make a peace treaty with our people. They told us to be sure and take along enough food for our journey. 12See this dry, crumbly bread of ours? It was hot out of the oven when we packed the food on the day we left our homes. 13These cracked wineskins were new when we filled them, and our clothes and sandals are worn out because we have traveled so far.

14The Israelites tried some of the food, but they did not ask the LORD if he wanted them to make a treaty. 15So Joshua made a peace treaty with the messengers and promised that Israel would not kill their people. Israel's leaders swore that Israel would keep this promise.
16-17A couple of days later, the Israelites found out that these people actually lived in the nearby towns of Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-Jearim. So the Israelites left the place where they had camped and arrived at the four towns two days later. 18But they did not attack the towns, because the Israelite leaders had sworn in the name of the LORD that they would let these people live.
The Israelites complained about their leaders' decision not to attack, 19-21but the leaders reminded them, "We promised these people in the name of the LORD God of Israel that we would let them live, so we must not harm them. If we break our promise, God will punish us. We'll let them live, but we'll make them cut wood and carry water for our people."
22Joshua told some of his soldiers, "I want to meet with the Gibeonite leaders. Bring them here."
When the Gibeonites came, Joshua said, "You live close to us. Why did you lie by claiming you lived far away? 23Now you are under a curse, and your people will have to send workers to cut wood and carry water for the place of worship."
24The Gibeonites answered, "The LORD your God told his servant Moses that you were to kill everyone who lives here and take their land for yourselves. We were afraid you would kill us, and so we tricked you into making a peace treaty. But we agreed to be your servants, 25and you are strong enough to do anything to us that you want. We just ask you to do what seems right."
26Joshua did not let the Israelites kill the Gibeonites, 27but he did tell the Gibeonites that they would have to be servants of the nation of Israel. They would have to cut firewood and bring it for the priests to use for burning sacrifices on the LORD's altar, wherever the LORD decided the altar would be. The Gibeonites would also have to carry water for the priests. And that is still the work of the Gibeonites.

Joshua Commands the Sun To Stand Still

Joshua 10 King Adonizedek of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had captured and destroyed the town of Ai, and then killed its king as he had done at Jericho. He also learned that the Gibeonites had signed a peace treaty with Israel. 2This frightened Adonizedek and his people. They knew that Gibeon was a large town, as big as the towns that had kings, and even bigger than the town of Ai had been. And all of the men of Gibeon were warriors. 3So Adonizedek sent messages to the kings of four other towns: King Hoham of Hebron, King Piram of Jarmuth, King Japhia of Lachish, and King Debir of Eglon. The messages said, 4"The Gibeonites have signed a peace treaty with Joshua and the Israelites. Come and help me attack Gibeon!"
5When these five Amorite kings called their armies together and attacked Gibeon, 6the Gibeonites sent a message to the Israelite camp at Gilgal: "Joshua, please come and rescue us! The Amorite kings from the hill country have joined together and are attacking us. We are your servants, so don't let us down. Please hurry!"
7Joshua and his army, including his best warriors, left Gilgal. 8"Joshua," the LORD said, "don't be afraid of the Amorites. They will run away when you attack, and I will help you defeat them."
9Joshua marched all night from Gilgal to Gibeon and made a surprise attack on the Amorite camp. 10The LORD made the enemy panic, and the Israelites started killing them right and left. They chased the Amorite troops up the road to Beth-Horon and kept on killing them, until they reached the towns of Azekah and Makkedah. 11And while these troops were going down through Beth-Horon Pass, the LORD made huge hailstones fall on them all the way to Azekah. More of the enemy soldiers died from the hail than from the Israelite weapons.
12-13The LORD was helping the Israelites defeat the Amorites that day. So about noon, Joshua prayed to the LORD loud enough for the Israelites to hear:
"Our LORD, make the sun stop in the sky over Gibeon,
and the moon stand still over Aijalon Valley."
So the sun and the moon stopped and stood still
until Israel defeated its enemies.
This poem can be found in The Book of Jashar. The sun stood still and didn't go down for about a whole day. 14Never before and never since has the LORD done anything like that for someone who prayed. The LORD was really fighting for Israel.
15After the battle, Joshua and the Israelites went back to their camp at Gilgal.

Joshua Kills the Five Enemy Kings

16While the enemy soldiers were running from the Israelites, the five enemy kings ran away and hid in a cave near Makkedah. 17Joshua's soldiers told him, "The five kings have been found in a cave near Makkedah."
18Joshua answered, "Roll some big stones over the mouth of the cave and leave a few soldiers to guard it. 19But you and everyone else must keep after the enemy troops, because they will be safe if they reach their walled towns. Don't let them get away! The LORD our God is helping us get rid of them." 20So Joshua and the Israelites almost wiped out the enemy soldiers. Only a few safely reached their walled towns.
21The Israelite army returned to their camp at Makkedah, where Joshua was waiting for them. No one around there dared say anything bad about the Israelites. 22Joshua told his soldiers, "Now, move the rocks from the entrance to the cave and bring those five kings to me."
23The soldiers opened the entrance to the cave and brought out the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon. 24After Joshua had called the army together, he forced the five kings to lie down on the ground. Then he called his officers forward and told them, "You fought these kings along with me, so put your feet on their necks." The officers did, 25and Joshua continued, "Don't ever be afraid or discouraged. Be brave and strong. This is what the LORD will do to all your enemies."
26Joshua killed the five kings and told his men to hang each body on a tree. Then at sunset 27he told some of his troops, "Take the bodies down and throw them into the cave where the kings were found. Cover the entrance to the cave with big rocks."
Joshua's troops obeyed his orders, and those rocks are still there.

Joshua Continues the Fighting

28Later that day, Joshua captured Makkedah and killed its king and everyone else in the town, just as he had done at Jericho.
29Joshua and his army left Makkedah and attacked the town of Libnah. 30The LORD let them capture the town and its king, and they killed the king and everyone else, just as they had done at Jericho.
31Joshua then led his army to Lachish, and they set up camp around the town. They attacked, 32and the next day the LORD let them capture the town. They killed everyone, as they had done at Libnah. 33King Horam of Gezer arrived to help Lachish, but Joshua and his troops attacked and destroyed him and his army.
34From Lachish, Joshua took his troops to Eglon, where they set up camp surrounding the town. They attacked, 35captured it that same day, then killed everyone, as they had done at Lachish.
36Joshua and his army left Eglon and attacked Hebron. 37They captured the town and the nearby villages, then killed everyone, including the king. They destroyed Hebron in the same way they had destroyed Eglon.
38Joshua and the Israelite army turned and attacked Debir. 39They captured the town, and its nearby villages. Then they destroyed Debir and killed its king, together with everyone else, just as they had done with Hebron and Libnah.
40Joshua captured towns everywhere in the land: In the central hill country and the foothills to the west, in the Southern Desert and the region that slopes down toward the Dead Sea. Whenever he captured a town, he would kill the king and everyone else, as the LORD God of Israel had commanded. 41Joshua wiped out towns from Kadesh-Barnea to Gaza, everywhere in the region of Goshen, and as far north as Gibeon. 42-43The LORD fought on Israel's side, so Joshua and the Israelite army were able to capture these kings and take their land. They fought one battle after another, then they went back to their camp at Gilgal after capturing all that land.

Bildad's Third Speech

God Is the One To Fear

Job 25 Bildad from Shuah said:
2God is the one to fear,
because God is in control and rules the heavens.
3Who can count his army of stars?
Isn't God the source of light?
4How can anyone be innocent in the sight of God?
5To him, not even the light of the moon and stars
can ever be pure.
6So how can we humans, when we are merely worms?

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

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