April 29 - Acts 13.1-25, Joshua 18-19 and Job 29

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Barnabas and Saul Are Chosen and Sent

Acts 13 The church at Antioch had several prophets and teachers. They were Barnabas, Simeon, also called Niger, Lucius from Cyrene, Manaen, who was Herod's close friend, and Saul. 2While they were worshiping the Lord and going without eating, the Holy Spirit told them, "Appoint Barnabas and Saul to do the work for which I have chosen them." 3Everyone prayed and went without eating for a while longer. Next, they placed their hands on Barnabas and Saul to show that they had been appointed to do this work. Then everyone sent them on their way.

Barnabas and Saul in Cyprus

4After Barnabas and Saul had been sent by the Holy Spirit, they went to Seleucia. From there they sailed to the island of Cyprus. 5They arrived at Salamis and began to preach God's message in the Jewish meeting places. They also had John as a helper.
6Barnabas and Saul went all the way to the city of Paphos on the other end of the island, where they met a Jewish man named Bar-Jesus. He practiced witchcraft and was a false prophet. 7He also worked for Sergius Paulus, who was very smart and was the governor of the island. Sergius Paulus wanted to hear God's message, and he sent for Barnabas and Saul. 8But Bar-Jesus, whose other name was Elymas, was against them. He even tried to keep the governor from having faith in the Lord.
9Then Saul, better known as Paul, was filled with the Holy Spirit. He looked straight at Elymas 10and said, "You son of the devil! You are a liar, a crook, and an enemy of everything that is right. When will you stop speaking against the true ways of the Lord? 11The Lord is going to punish you by making you completely blind for a while."
Suddenly the man's eyes were covered by a dark mist, and he went around trying to get someone to lead him by the hand. 12When the governor saw what had happened, he was amazed at this teaching about the Lord. So he put his faith in the Lord.

Paul and Barnabas in Antioch of Pisidia

13Paul and the others left Paphos and sailed to Perga in Pamphylia. But John left them and went back to Jerusalem. 14The rest of them went on from Perga to Antioch in Pisidia. Then on the Sabbath they went to the Jewish meeting place and sat down.
15After the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the leaders sent someone over to tell Paul and Barnabas, "Friends, if you have anything to say that will help the people, please say it."
16Paul got up. He motioned with his hand and said:
People of Israel, and everyone else who worships God, listen! 17The God of Israel chose our ancestors, and he let our people prosper while they were l
iving in Egypt. Then with his mighty power he led them out, 18and for about forty years he took care of them in the desert. 19He destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan and gave their land to our people. 20All this happened in about 450 years.
Then God gave our people judges until the time of the prophet Samuel, 21but the people demanded a king. So for forty years God gave them King Saul, the son of Kish from the tribe of Benjamin. 22Later, God removed Saul and let David rule in his place. God said about him, "David the son of Jesse is the kind of person who pleases me most! He does everything I want him to do."
23God promised that someone from David's family would come to save the people of Israel, and that one is Jesus. 24But before Jesus came, John was telling everyone in Israel to turn back to God and be baptized. 25Then, when John's work was almost done, he said, "Who do you people think I am? Do you think I am the Promised One? He will come later, and I am not good enough to untie his sandals."

Joshua Gives Out the Rest of the Land

Joshua 18 After Israel had captured the land, they met at Shiloh and set up the sacred tent. 2There were still seven tribes without any land, 3-7so Joshua told the people:
The Judah tribe has already settled in its land in the south, and the Joseph tribes have settled in their land in the north. The tribes of Gad, Reuben, and East Manasseh already have the land that the LORD's servant Moses gave them east of the Jordan River. And the people of Levi won't get a single large region of the land like the other tribes. Instead, they will serve the LORD as priests.
But the rest of you haven't done a thing to take over any land. The LORD God who was worshiped by your ancestors has given you the land, and now it's time to go ahead and settle there.
Seven tribes still don't have any land. Each of these tribes should choose three men, and I'll send them to explore the remaining land. They will divide it into seven regions, write a description of each region, and bring these descriptions back to me. I will find out from the LORD our God what region each tribe should get.

8Just before the men left camp, Joshua repeated their orders: "Explore the land and write a description of it. Then come back to Shiloh, and I will find out from the LORD how to divide the land."
9The men left and went across the land, dividing it into seven regions. They wrote down a description of each region, town by town, and returned to Joshua at the camp at Shiloh. 10Joshua found out from the LORD how to divide the land, and he told the tribes what the LORD had decided.

Benjamin's Land

11Benjamin was the first tribe chosen to receive land. The region for its clans lay between the Judah tribe on the south and the Joseph tribes on the north. 12Benjamin's northern border started at the Jordan River and went up the ridge north of Jericho, then on west into the hill country as far as the Beth-Aven Desert. 13-14From there it went to Luz, which is now called Bethel. The border ran along the ridge south of Luz, then went to Ataroth-Orech and on as far as the mountain south of Lower Beth-Horon. At that point it turned south and became the western border. It went as far south as Kiriath-Baal, a town in Judah now called Kiriath-Jearim.
15Benjamin's southern border started at the edge of Kiriath-Jearim and went east to the ruins and on to Nephtoah Spring. 16From there it went to the bottom of the hill at the northern end of Rephaim Valley. The other side of this hill faces Hinnom Valley, which is on the land that slopes south from Jerusalem. The border went down through Hinnom Valley until it reached Enrogel.
17At Enrogel the border curved north and went to Enshemesh and on east to Geliloth, which is across the valley from Adummim Pass. Then it went down to the Monument of Bohan, who belonged to the Reuben tribe. 18The border ran along the hillside north of Beth-Arabah, then down into the Jordan River valley. 19Inside the valley it went south as far as the northern hillside of Beth-Hoglah. The last section of the border went from there to the northern end of the Dead Sea, at the mouth of the Jordan River. 20The Jordan River itself was Benjamin's eastern border.
These were the borders of Benjamin's tribal land, where the clans of Benjamin lived.
21-24One region of Benjamin's tribal land had twelve towns with their surrounding villages. Those towns were Jericho, Beth-Hoglah, Emek-Keziz, Beth-Arabah, Zemaraim, Bethel, Avvim, Parah, Ophrah, Chephar-Ammoni, Ophni, and Geba.
25-28In the other region there were the following fourteen towns with their surrounding villages: Gibeon, Ramah, Beeroth, Mizpeh, Chephirah, Mozah, Rekem, Irpeel, Taralah, Zelah, Haeleph, Gibeah, Kiriath-Jearim, and Jerusalem, which is also called Jebusite Town.
These regions are the tribal lands of Benjamin.

Simeon's Land

Joshua 19 Simeon was the second tribe chosen to receive land, and the region for its clans was inside Judah's borders. 2-6In one region of Simeon's tribal land there were the following thirteen towns with their surrounding villages:
Beersheba, Shema, Moladah, Hazar-Shual, Balah, Ezem, Eltolad, Bethul, Hormah, Ziklag, Beth-Marcaboth, Hazar-Susah, Beth-Lebaoth, and Sharuhen.

7In another region, Simeon had the following four towns with their surrounding villages:
Enrimmon, Tachan, Ether, and Ashan.

8Simeon's land also included all the other towns and villages as far south as Baalath-Beer, which is also called Ramah of the South.
9Simeon's tribal land was actually inside Judah's territory. Judah had received too much land for the number of people in its tribe, so part of Judah's land was given to Simeon.

Zebulun's Land

10-12Zebulun was the third tribe chosen to receive land. The southern border for its clans started in the west at the edge of the gorge near Jokneam. It went east to the edge of the land that belongs to the town of Dabbesheth, and continued on to Maralah and Sarid. It took in the land that belongs to Chislothtabor, then ended at Daberath.
The eastern border went up to Japhia 13and continued north to Gath-Hepher, Ethkazin, and Rimmonah, where it curved toward Neah 14and became the northern border. Then it curved south around Hannathon and went as far west as Iphtahel Valley.
15Zebulun had twelve towns with their surrounding villages. Some of these were Kattath, Nahalal, Shimron, Jiralah, and Bethlehem.
16This is the tribal land, and these are the towns and villages of the Zebulun clans.

Issachar's Land

17-23Issachar was the fourth tribe chosen to receive land. The northern border for its clans went from Mount Tabor east to the Jordan River. Their land included the following sixteen towns with their surrounding villages:
Jezreel, Chesulloth, Shunem, Hapharaim, Shion, Anaharath, Debirath, Kishion, Ebez, Remeth, En-Gannim, Enhaddah, Beth-Pazzez, Tabor, Shahazumah and Beth-Shemesh.

Asher's Land

24-26Asher was the fifth tribe chosen to receive land, and the region for its clans included the following towns:
Helkath, Hali, Beten, Achshaph, Allammelech, Amad, and Mishal.

Asher's southern border ran from the Mediterranean Sea southeast along the Shihor-Libnath River at the foot of Mount Carmel, 27then east to Beth-Dagon. On the southeast, Asher shared a border with Zebulun along the Iphtahel Valley. On the eastern side their border ran north to Beth-Emek, went east of Cabul, and then on to Neiel, 28Abdon, Rehob, Hammon, Kanah, and as far north as the city of Sidon. 29-31Then it turned west to become the northern border and went to Ramah and the fortress-city of Tyre. Near Tyre it turned toward Hosah and ended at the Mediterranean Sea.
Asher had a total of twenty-two towns with their surrounding villages, including Mahalab, Achzib, Acco, Aphek, and Rehob.

Naphtali's Land

32-34Naphtali was the sixth tribe chosen to receive land. The southern border for its clans started in the west, where the tribal lands of Asher and Zebulun meet near Hukkok. From that point it ran east and southeast along the border with Zebulun as far as Aznoth-Tabor. From there the border went east to Heleph, Adami-Nekeb, Jabneel, then to the town called Oak in Zaanannim, and Lakkum. The southern border ended at the Jordan River, at the edge of the town named Jehudah. Naphtali shared a border with Asher on the west.
35-39The Naphtali clans received this region as their tribal land, and it included nineteen towns with their surrounding villages. The following towns had walls around them:
Ziddim, Zer, Hammath, Rakkath, Chinnereth, Adamah, Ramah, Hazor, Kedesh, Edrei, Enhazor, Iron, Migdalel, Horem, Beth-Anath, and Beth-Shemesh.

Dan's Land

40-46Dan was the seventh tribe chosen to receive land, and the region for its clans included the following towns:
Zorah, Eshtaol, Ir-Shemesh, Shaalabbin, Aijalon, Ithlah, Elon, Timnah, Ekron, Eltekeh, Gibbethon, Baalath, Jehud, Azor, Beneberak, Gath-Rimmon, Mejarkon, and Rakkon.

Dan's tribal land went almost as far as Joppa. 47-48Its clans received this land and these towns with their surrounding villages.
Later, when enemies forced them to leave their tribal land, they went to the town of Leshem. They attacked the town, captured it, and killed the people who lived there. Then they settled there themselves and renamed the town Dan after their ancestor.

Joshua's Land

49-51The Israelites were still gathered in Shiloh in front of the sacred tent, when Eleazar the priest, Joshua, and the family leaders of Israel finished giving out the land to the tribes. The LORD had told the people to give Joshua whatever town he wanted. So Joshua chose Timnath-Serah in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people gave it to him. Joshua went to Timnath-Serah, rebuilt it, and lived there.

Job Continues

I Long for the Past

Job 29 Job said:
2I long for the past, when God took care of me,
3and the light from his lamp
showed me the way through the dark.
4I was in the prime of life,
God All-Powerful was my closest friend,
5and all of my children were nearby.
6My herds gave enough milk to bathe my feet,
and from my olive harvest flowed rivers of oil.
*7When I sat down at the meeting of the city council,
8the young leaders stepped aside,
*9while the older ones stood 10and remained silent.

Everyone Was Pleased

11Everyone was pleased with what I said and did.
12When poor people or orphans cried out for help,
I came to their rescue.
13And I was highly praised for my generosity to widows
and others in poverty.
14Kindness and justice were my coat and hat;
15I was good to the blind and to the lame.
16I was a father to the needy, and I defended them in court,
even if they were strangers.
17When criminals attacked, I broke their teeth
and set their victims free.

18I felt certain that I would live a long and happy life,
then die in my own bed.
19In those days I was strong
like a tree with deep roots and with plenty of water,
20or like an archer's new bow.
21Everyone listened in silence to my welcome advice,
22and when I finished speaking, nothing needed to be said.
23My words were eagerly accepted like the showers of spring,
24and the smile on my face renewed everyone's hopes.
25My advice was followed
as though I were a king leading my troops,
or someone comforting those in sorrow.

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

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