April 30 - Acts 13.26-52, Joshua 20-21 and Job 30
Acts 13 26Now listen, you descendants of Abraham! Pay attention, all of you Gentiles who are here to worship God! Listen to this message about how to be saved, because it is for everyone. 27The people of Jerusalem and their leaders didn't realize who Jesus was. And they didn't understand the words of the prophets that they read each Sabbath. So they condemned Jesus just as the prophets had said.
28-29They did exactly what the Scriptures said they would. Even though they couldn't find any reason to put Jesus to death, they still asked Pilate to have him killed.
After Jesus had been put to death, he was taken down from the cross and placed in a tomb. 30But God raised him from death! 31Then for many days Jesus appeared to his followers who had gone with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. Now they are telling our people about him.
32God made a promise to our ancestors. And we are here to tell you the good news 33that he has kept this promise to us. It is just as the second Psalm says about Jesus,
"You are my son because today
I have become your Father."
34God raised Jesus from death and will never let his body decay. It is just as God said,
"I will make to you the same holy promise
that I made to David."
35And in another psalm it says, "God will never let the body of his Holy One decay."
36When David was alive, he obeyed God. Then after he died, he was buried in the family grave, and his body decayed. 37But God raised Jesus from death, and his body did not decay.
38My friends, the message is that Jesus can forgive your sins! The Law of Moses could not set you free from all your sins. 39But everyone who has faith in Jesus is set free. 40Make sure that what the prophets have said doesn't happen to you. They said,
41"Look, you people who make fun of God!
Be amazed and disappear.
I will do something today that you won't believe,
even if someone tells you about it!"
42As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the meeting, the people begged them to say more about these same things on the next Sabbath. 43After the service, many Jews and a lot of Gentiles who worshiped God went with them. Paul and Barnabas begged them all to remain faithful to God, who had been so kind to them.
44The next Sabbath almost everyone in town came to hear the message about the Lord. 45When the Jewish people saw the crowds, they were very jealous. They insulted Paul and spoke against everything he said.
46But Paul and Barnabas bravely said:
We had to tell God's message to you before we told it to anyone else. But you rejected the message! This proves that you don't deserve eternal life. Now we are going to the Gentiles. 47The Lord has given us this command,
"I have placed you here as a light for the Gentiles.
You are to take the saving power of God
to people everywhere on earth."
48This message made the Gentiles glad, and they praised what they had heard about the Lord. Everyone who had been chosen for eternal life then put their faith in the Lord.
49The message about the Lord spread all over that region. 50But the Jewish leaders went to some of the important men in the town and to some respected women who were religious. They turned them against Paul and Barnabas and started making trouble for them. They even chased them out of that part of the country.
51Paul and Barnabas shook the dust from that place off their feet and went on to the city of Iconium.
52But the Lord's followers in Antioch were very happy and were filled with the Holy Spirit.
The Safe Towns
2When Moses was still alive, I had him tell the Israelites about the Safe Towns. Now you tell them that it is time to set up these towns. 3-4If a person accidentally kills someone and the victim's relatives say it was murder, they might try to take revenge. Anyone accused of murder can run to one of the Safe Towns and be safe from the victim's relatives. The one needing protection will stand at the entrance to the town gate and explain to the town leaders what happened. Then the leaders will bring that person in and provide a place to live in their town.
5One of the victim's relatives might come to the town, looking for revenge. But the town leaders must not simply hand over the person accused of murder. After all, the accused and the victim had been neighbors, not enemies. 6The citizens of that Safe Town must come together and hold a trial. They may decide that the victim was killed accidentally and that the accused is not guilty of murder.
Everyone found not guilty must still live in the Safe Town until the high priest dies. Then they can go back to their own towns and their homes that they had to leave behind.
7The Israelites decided that the following three towns west of the Jordan River would be Safe Towns:
Kedesh in Galilee in Naphtali's hill country, Shechem in Ephraim's hill country, and Kiriath-Arba in Judah's hill country. Kiriath-Arba is now called Hebron.
8The Israelites had already decided on the following three towns east of the Jordan River:
Bezer in the desert flatlands of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead, which was a town that belonged to Gad, and Golan in Bashan, which belonged to Manasseh.
9These Safe Towns were set up, so that if Israelites or even foreigners who lived in Israel accidentally killed someone, they could run to one of these towns. There they would be safe until a trial could be held, even if one of the victim's relatives came looking for revenge.
Levi's TownsJoshua 21 1-2While the Israelites were still camped at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, the family leaders of the Levi tribe went to speak to the priest Eleazar, Joshua, and the family leaders of the other Israelite tribes. The leaders of Levi said, "The LORD told Moses that you have to give us towns and provide pastures for our animals."
3Since the LORD had said this, the leaders of the other Israelite tribes agreed to give some of the towns and pastures from their tribal lands to Levi. 4The leaders asked the LORD to show them in what order the clans of Levi would be given towns, and which towns each clan would receive.
The Kohath clans were first. The descendants of Aaron, Israel's first priest, were given thirteen towns from the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin. 5The other members of the Kohath clans received ten towns from the tribes of Ephraim, Dan, and West Manasseh. 6The clans that were descendants of Gershon were given thirteen towns from the tribes of Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and East Manasseh. 7The clans that were descendants of Merari received twelve towns from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Zebulun.
8The LORD had told Moses that he would show the Israelites which towns and pastures to give to the clans of Levi, and he did.
Towns from Judah, Simeon, Benjamin
Towns from Ephraim, Dan, West Manasseh
Towns from East Manasseh, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali
Towns from Zebulun, Reuben, Gad
Israel Settles in the Land43The LORD gave the Israelites the land he had promised their ancestors, and they captured it and settled in it. 44There still were enemies around Israel, but the LORD kept his promise to let his people live in peace. And whenever the Israelites did have to go to war, no enemy could defeat them. The LORD always helped Israel win. 45The LORD promised to do many good things for Israel, and he kept his promise every time.
Young People Now Insult MeJob 30 Young people now insult me, although their fathers
would have been a disgrace to my sheep dogs.
2And those who insult me are helpless themselves.
3They must claw the desert sand in the dark
for something to satisfy their hunger.
4They gather tasteless shrubs for food and firewood,
5and they are run out of towns, as though they were thieves.
6Their only homes are ditches or holes between rocks,
7where they bray like donkeys gathering around shrubs.
8And like senseless donkeys they are chased away.
Those Worthless Nobodies
9Those worthless nobodies make up jokes and songs
to disgrace me.
10They are hateful and keep their distance,
even while spitting in my direction.
11God has destroyed me,
and so they don't care what they do.
12Their attacks never stop,
though I am defenseless, and my feet are trapped.
13Without any help, they prevent my escape,
destroying me completely 14and leaving me crushed.
15Terror has me surrounded; my reputation and my riches
have vanished like a cloud.
I Am Sick at Heart
16I am sick at heart! Pain has taken its toll.
17Night chews on my bones, causing endless torment,
18and God has shrunk my skin, choking me to death.
19I have been thrown in the dirt and now am dirt myself.
20I beg God for help, but there is no answer;
and when I stand up, he simply stares.
21God has turned brutal,
22stirring up a windstorm to toss me about.
23Soon he will send me home to the world of the dead,
where we all must go.
24No one refuses help to others, when disaster strikes.
25I mourned for the poor and those who suffered.
26But when I beg for relief and light,
all I receive are disaster and darkness.
27My stomach is tied in knots; pain is my daily companion.
28Suffering has scorched my skin,
and in the city council I stand and cry out,
29making mournful sounds like jackals and owls.
30My skin is so parched, that it peels right off,
and my bones are burning.
31My only songs are sorrow and sadness.
This reading is from The
Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version, copyright © American
Bible Society, 1995.
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