April 27 - Acts 11.19-30, Joshua 13-14 and Job 27

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The Church in Antioch

Acts 11 19Some of the Lord's followers had been scattered because of the terrible trouble that started when Stephen was killed. They went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, but they told the message only to the Jews.
20Some of the followers from Cyprus and Cyrene went to Antioch and started telling Gentiles the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21The Lord's power was with them, and many people turned to the Lord and put their faith in him. 22News of what was happening reached the church in Jerusalem. Then they sent Barnabas to Antioch.
23When Barnabas got there and saw what God had been kind enough to do for them, he was very glad. So he begged them to remain faithful to the Lord with all their hearts. 24Barnabas was a good man of great faith, and he was filled with the Holy Spirit. Many more people turned to the Lord.
25Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul. 26He found Saul and brought him to Antioch, where they met with the church for a whole year and taught many of its people. There in Antioch the Lord's followers were first called Christians.
27During this time some prophets from Jerusalem came to Antioch. 28One of them was Agabus. Then with the help of the Spirit, he told that there would be a terrible famine everywhere in the world. And it happened when Claudius was Emperor. 29The followers in Antioch decided to send whatever help they could to the followers in Judea. 30So they had Barnabas and Saul take their gifts to the church leaders in Jerusalem.

The Land Israel Had Not Yet Taken

Joshua 13 Many years later, the LORD told Joshua:
Now you are very old, but there is still a lot of land that Israel has not yet taken. 2-7First, there is the Canaanite territory that starts at the Shihor River just east of Egypt and goes north to Ekron. The southern part of this region belongs to the Avvites and the Geshurites, and the land around Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron belongs to the five Philistine rulers.
The other Canaanite territory is in the north. Its northern border starts at the town of Arah, which belongs to the Sidonians. From there, it goes to Aphek, then along the Amorite border to Hamath Pass. The eastern border starts at Hamath Pass and goes south to Baal-Gad at the foot of Mount Hermon, and its southern boundary runs west from there to Misrephoth-Maim. This northern region includes the Lebanon Mountains and the land that belongs to the Gebalites and the Sidonians who live in the hill country from the Lebanon Mountains to Misrephoth-Maim.
With my help, Israel will capture these Canaanite territories and force out the people who live there. But you must divide up the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea among the nine tribes and the half of Manasseh that don't have any land yet. Then each tribe will have its own land.

The Land East of the Jordan River

8Moses had already given land east of the Jordan River to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh. 9This region stretched north from the town in the middle of the Arnon River valley, and included the town of Aroer on the northern edge of the valley. It covered the flatlands of Medeba north of Dibon, 10and took in the towns that had belonged to Sihon, the Amorite king of Heshbon. Some of these towns were as far east as the Ammonite border.
11-12Geshur and Maacah were part of this region, and so was the whole territory that King Og had ruled, that is, Gilead, Mount Hermon, and all of Bashan as far east as Salecah. Og had lived in Ashtaroth part of each year, and he had lived in Edrei the rest of the year. Og had been one of the last of the Rephaim, but Moses had defeated Sihon and Og and their people and had forced them to leave their land. 13However, the Israelites did not force the people of Geshur and Maacah to leave, and they still live there among the Israelites.

Moses Did Not Give Land to the Levi Tribe

14Moses did not give any land to the Levi tribe, because the LORD God of Israel had told them, "Instead of land, you will receive the sacrifices offered at my altar."

Moses Gives Land to the Reuben Tribe

15Moses gave land to each of the clans in the Reuben tribe. 16Their land started in the south at the town in the middle of the Arnon River valley, took in the town of Aroer on the northern edge of the valley, and went as far north as the flatlands around Medeba. 17-21The Amorite King Sihon had lived in Heshbon and had ruled the towns in the flatlands. Now Heshbon belonged to Reuben, and so did the following towns in the flatlands: Dibon, Bamoth-Baal, Beth-Baal-Meon, Jahaz, Kedemoth, Mephaath, Kiriathaim, Sibmah, Zereth-Shahar on the hill in the valley, Beth-Peor, Slopes of Mount Pisgah, and Beth-Jeshimoth.
Moses defeated Sihon and killed him and the Midianite chiefs who ruled parts of his kingdom for him. Their names were Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba. 22The Israelites also killed Balaam the son of Beor, who had been a fortuneteller.
23This region with its towns and villages was the land for the Reuben tribe, and the Jordan River was its western border.

Moses Gives Land to the Gad Tribe

24Moses also gave land to each of the clans in the Gad tribe. 25It included the town of Jazer, and in the Gilead region their territory took in the land and towns as far east as the town of Aroer just west of Rabbah. This was about half of the land that had once belonged to the Ammonites. 26The land given to Gad stretched from Heshbon in the south to Ramath-Mizpeh and Betonim in the north, and even further north to Mahanaim and Lidebor. 27Gad also received the eastern half of the Jordan River valley, which had been ruled by King Sihon of Heshbon. This territory stretched as far north as Lake Galilee, and included the towns of Beth-Haram, Beth-Nimrah, Succoth, and Zaphon. 28These regions with their towns and villages were given to the Gad tribe.

Moses Gives Land to Half of the Manasseh Tribe

29Moses gave land east of the Jordan River to half of the clans from the Manasseh tribe. 30-31Their land started at Mahanaim and took in the region that King Og of Bashan had ruled, including Ashtaroth and Edrei, the two towns where he had lived. The villages where the Jair clan settled were part of Manasseh's land, and so was the northern half of the region of Gilead. The clans of this half of Manasseh had sixty towns in all.
The Manasseh tribe is sometimes called the Machir tribe, after Manasseh's son Machir.
32That was how Moses divided up the Moab Plains to the east of Jericho on the other side of the Jordan River, so these two and a half tribes would have land of their own. 33But Moses did not give any land to the Levi tribe, because the LORD had promised that he would always provide for them.

The Land West of the Jordan River

Joshua 14 1-5Nine and a half tribes still did not have any land, although two and a half tribes had already received land east of the Jordan River. Moses had divided that land among them, and he had also said that the Levi tribe would not receive a large region like the other tribes. Instead, the people of Levi would receive towns and the nearby pastures for their sheep, goats, and cattle. And since the descendants of Joseph had become the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, there were still nine and a half tribes that needed land. The LORD had told Moses that he would show those tribes how to divide up the land of Canaan.
When the priest Eleazar, Joshua, and the leaders of the families and tribes of Israel met to divide up the land of Canaan, the LORD showed them how to do it.

Joshua Gives Hebron to Caleb

6One day while the Israelites were still camped at Gilgal, Caleb the son of Jephunneh went to talk with Joshua. Caleb belonged to the Kenaz clan, and many other people from the Judah tribe went with Caleb. He told Joshua:
You know that back in Kadesh-Barnea the LORD talked to his prophet Moses about you and me. 7I was forty years old at the time Moses sent me from Kadesh-Barnea into Canaan as a spy. When I came back and told him about the land, everything I said was true. 8The other spies said things that made our people afraid, but I completely trusted the LORD God. 9The same day I came back, Moses told me, "Since you were faithful to the LORD God, I promise that the places where you went as a spy will belong to you and your descendants forever."
10Joshua, it was forty-five years ago that the LORD told Moses to make that promise, and now I am eighty-five. Even though Israel has moved from place to place in the desert, the LORD has kept me alive all this time as he said he would. 11I'm just as strong today as I was then, and I can still fight as well in battle.
12So I'm asking you for the hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You were there. You heard the other spies talk about that part of the hill country and the large, walled towns where the Anakim live. But maybe the LORD will help me take their land, just as he promised.

13Joshua prayed that God would help Caleb, then he gave Hebron to Caleb and his descendants. 14And Hebron still belongs to Caleb's descendants, because he was faithful to the LORD God of Israel.
15Hebron used to be called Arba's Town, because Arba had been one of the greatest of the Anakim.
There was peace in the land.

Job Continues

I Am Desperate

Job 27 Job said:
2I am desperate because God All-Powerful
refuses to do what is right.
As surely as God lives, 3and while he gives me breath,
4I will tell only the truth.
5Until the day I die, I will refuse to do wrong
by saying you are right,
6because each day my conscience
agrees that I am innocent.

7I pray that my enemies will suffer no less
than the wicked.
8Such people are hopeless, and God All-Powerful
will cut them down, 9without listening
when they beg for mercy.
10And that is what God should do,
because they don't like him or ever pray.
11Now I will explain in detail what God All-Powerful does.
12All of you have seen these things for yourselves.
So you have no excuse.

How God Treats the Wicked

13Here is how God All-Powerful
treats those who are wicked and brutal.
14They may have many children, but most of them
will go hungry or suffer a violent death.
15Others will die of disease,
and their widows won't be able to weep.
16The wicked may collect riches and clothes in abundance
as easily as clay.
17But God's people will wear clothes taken from them
and divide up their riches.
18No homes built by the wicked will outlast a cocoon
or a shack.
19Those sinners may go to bed rich,
but they will wake up poor.
20Terror will strike at night like a flood or a storm.
21Then a scorching wind will sweep them away
22without showing mercy, as they try to escape.
23At last, the wind will celebrate
because they are gone.

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

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