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

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Ananias and Sapphira

Acts 5 But there was a man named Ananias, who with his wife Sapphira sold some property that belonged to them. 2But with his wife's agreement he kept part of the money for himself and turned the rest over to the apostles. 3Peter said to him, "Ananias, why did you let Satan take control of you and make you lie to the Holy Spirit by keeping part of the money you received for the property? 4Before you sold the property, it belonged to you; and after you sold it, the money was yours. Why, then, did you decide to do such a thing? You have not lied to people--you have lied to God!" 5As soon as Ananias heard this, he fell down dead; and all who heard about it were terrified. 6The young men came in, wrapped up his body, carried him out, and buried him.
7About three hours later his wife, not knowing what had happened, came in. 8Peter asked her, "Tell me, was this the full amount you and your husband received for your property?"
"Yes," she answered, "the full amount."
9So Peter said to her, "Why did you and your husband decide to put the Lord's Spirit to the test? The men who buried your husband are at the door right now, and they will carry you out too!" 10At once she fell down at his feet and died. The young men came in and saw that she was dead, so they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11The whole church and all the others who heard of this were terrified.

Miracles and Wonders

12Many miracles and wonders were being performed among the people by the apostles. All the believers met together in Solomon's Porch. 13Nobody outside the group dared join them, even though the people spoke highly of them. 14But more and more people were added to the group--a crowd of men and women who believed in the Lord. 15As a result of what the apostles were doing, sick people were carried out into the streets and placed on beds and mats so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16And crowds of people came in from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing those who were sick or who had evil spirits in them; and they were all healed.

Exclusion from the LORD's People

Deuteronomy 23 "No man who has been castrated or whose penis has been cut off may be included among the LORD's people.
2"No one born out of wedlock or any descendant of such a person, even in the tenth generation, may be included among the LORD's people.
3"No Ammonite or Moabite--or any of their descendants, even in the tenth generation--may be included among the LORD's people. 4They refused to provide you with food and water when you were on your way out of Egypt, and they hired Balaam son of Beor, from the city of Pethor in Mesopotamia, to curse you. 5But the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam; instead he turned the curse into a blessing, because he loved you. 6As long as you are a nation, never do anything to help these nations or to make them prosperous.
7"Do not despise the Edomites; they are your relatives. And do not despise the Egyptians; you once lived in their land. 8From the third generation onward their descendants may be included among the LORD's people.

Keeping the Military Camp Clean

9"When you are in camp in time of war, you are to avoid anything that would make you ritually unclean. 10If a man becomes unclean because he has had a wet dream during the night, he is to go outside the camp and stay there. 11Toward evening he is to wash himself, and at sunset he may come back into camp.
12"You are to have a place outside the camp where you can go when you need to relieve yourselves. 13Carry a stick as part of your equipment, so that when you have a bowel movement you can dig a hole and cover it up. 14Keep your camp ritually clean, because the LORD your God is with you in your camp to protect you and to give you victory over your enemies. Do not do anything indecent that would cause the LORD to turn his back on you.

Various Laws

15"If slaves run away from their owners and come to you for protection, do not send them back. 16They may live in any of your towns that they choose, and you are not to treat them harshly.
17"No Israelite, man or woman, is to become a temple prostitute. 18Also, no money earned in this way may be brought into the house of the LORD your God in fulfillment of a vow. The LORD hates temple prostitutes.
19"When you lend money or food or anything else to Israelites, do not charge them interest. 20You may charge interest on what you lend to foreigners, but not on what you lend to Israelites. Obey this rule, and the LORD your God will bless everything you do in the land that you are going to occupy.
21"When you make a vow to the LORD your God, do not put off doing what you promised; the LORD will hold you to your vow, and it is a sin not to keep it. 22It is no sin not to make a vow to the LORD, 23but if you make one voluntarily, be sure that you keep it.
24"When you walk along a path in someone else's vineyard, you may eat all the grapes you want, but you must not carry any away in a container. 25When you walk along a path in someone else's grainfield, you may eat all the grain you can pull off with your hands, but you must not cut any grain with a sickle.

Divorce and Remarriage

Deuteronomy 24 "Suppose a man marries a woman and later decides that he doesn't want her, because he finds something about her that he doesn't like. So he writes out divorce papers, gives them to her, and sends her away from his home. 2Then suppose she marries another man, 3and he also decides that he doesn't want her, so he also writes out divorce papers, gives them to her, and sends her away from his home. Or suppose her second husband dies. 4In either case, her first husband is not to marry her again; he is to consider her defiled. If he married her again, it would be offensive to the LORD. You are not to commit such a terrible sin in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

Various Laws

5"When a man is newly married, he is not to be drafted into military service or any other public duty; he is to be excused from duty for one year, so that he can stay at home and make his wife happy.
6"When you lend someone something, you are not to take as security his millstones used for grinding his grain. This would take away the family's means of preparing food to stay alive.
7"If any of you kidnap Israelites and make them your slaves or sell them into slavery, you are to be put to death. In this way your nation will get rid of this evil.
8"When you are suffering from a dreaded skin disease, be sure to do exactly what the levitical priests tell you; follow the instructions that I have given them. 9Remember what the LORD your God did to Miriam as you were coming from Egypt.
10"When you lend someone something, do not go into his house to get the garment he is going to give you as security; 11wait outside and let him bring it to you himself. 12If he is poor, do not keep it overnight; 13return it to him each evening, so that he can have it to sleep in. Then he will be grateful, and the LORD your God will be pleased with you.
14"Do not cheat poor and needy hired servants, whether they are Israelites or foreigners living in one of your towns. 15Each day before sunset pay them for that day's work; they need the money and have counted on getting it. If you do not pay them, they will cry out against you to the LORD, and you will be guilty of sin.
16"Parents are not to be put to death for crimes committed by their children, and children are not to be put to death for crimes committed by their parents; people are to be put to death only for a crime they themselves have committed.
17"Do not deprive foreigners and orphans of their rights; and do not take a widow's garment as security for a loan. 18Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God set you free; that is why I have given you this command.
19"When you gather your crops and fail to bring in some of the grain that you have cut, do not go back for it; it is to be left for the foreigners, orphans, and widows, so that the LORD your God will bless you in everything you do. 20When you have picked your olives once, do not go back and get those that are left; they are for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. 21When you have gathered your grapes once, do not go back over the vines a second time; the grapes that are left are for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. 22Never forget that you were slaves in Egypt; that is why I have given you this command.

The Second Dialogue

Job 15

1-2Empty words, Job! Empty words!
3No one who is wise would talk the way you do
or defend himself with such meaningless words.
4If you had your way, no one would fear God;
no one would pray to him.
5Your wickedness is evident by what you say;
you are trying to hide behind clever words.
6There is no need for me to condemn you;
you are condemned by every word you speak.

7Do you think you were the first person born?
Were you there when God made the mountains?
8Did you overhear the plans God made?
Does human wisdom belong to you alone?
9There is nothing you know that we don't know.
10We learned our wisdom from gray-haired people--
those born before your father.

11God offers you comfort; why still reject it?
We have spoken for him with calm, even words.
12But you are excited and glare at us in anger.
13You are angry with God and denounce him.

14Can any human being be really pure?
Can anyone be right with God?
15Why, God does not trust even his angels;
even they are not pure in his sight.
16And we drink evil as if it were water;
yes, we are corrupt; we are worthless.

17Now listen, Job, to what I know.
18Those who are wise have taught me truths
which they learned from their ancestors,
and they kept no secrets hidden.
19Their land was free from foreigners;
there was no one to lead them away from God.

20The wicked who oppress others
will be in torment as long as they live.
21Voices of terror will scream in their ears,
and robbers attack when they think they are safe.
22They have no hope of escaping from darkness,
for somewhere a sword is waiting to kill them,
23 and vultures are waiting to eat their corpses.
They know their future is dark;
24 disaster, like a powerful king,
is waiting to attack them.

25That is the fate of those
who shake their fists at God
and defy the Almighty.
26-27They are proud and rebellious;
they stubbornly hold up their shields
and rush to fight against God.

28They are the ones who captured cities
and seized houses whose owners had fled,
but war will destroy those cities and houses.
29They will not remain rich for long;
nothing they own will last.
Even their shadows will vanish,
30 and they will not escape from darkness.
They will be like trees
whose branches are burned by fire,
whose blossoms are blown away by the wind.
31If they are foolish enough to trust in evil,
then evil will be their reward.
32Before their time is up they will wither,
wither like a branch and never be green again.
33They will be like vines that lose their unripe grapes;
like olive trees that drop their blossoms.
34There will be no descendants for godless people,
and fire will destroy the homes built by bribery.
35These are the ones who plan trouble and do evil;
their hearts are always full of deceit.

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This reading is from The Holy Bible, Today's English Version, Second Edition copyright © American Bible Society, 1992;
Old Testament copyright © American Bible Society, 1976, 1992; New Testament © American Bible Society, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1992.

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