April 21 - Acts 8.26-40, Joshua 1-2 and Job 21
Philip and the Ethiopian OfficialActs 826An angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Get ready and go south to the road that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza." (This road is not used nowadays.) 27-28So Philip got ready and went. Now an Ethiopian eunuch, who was an important official in charge of the treasury of the queen of Ethiopia, was on his way home. He had been to Jerusalem to worship God and was going back home in his carriage. As he rode along, he was reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah. 29The Holy Spirit said to Philip, "Go over to that carriage and stay close to it." 30Philip ran over and heard him reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah. He asked him, "Do you understand what you are reading?"
31The official replied, "How can I understand unless someone explains it to me?" And he invited Philip to climb up and sit in the carriage with him. 32The passage of scripture which he was reading was this:
"He was like a sheep that is taken to be slaughtered,
like a lamb that makes no sound when its wool is cut off.
He did not say a word.
33He was humiliated, and justice was denied him.
No one will be able to tell about his descendants,
because his life on earth has come to an end."
34The official asked Philip, "Tell me, of whom is the prophet saying this? Of himself or of someone else?" 35Then Philip began to speak; starting from this passage of scripture, he told him the Good News about Jesus. 36As they traveled down the road, they came to a place where there was some water, and the official said, "Here is some water. What is to keep me from being baptized?"
38The official ordered the carriage to stop, and both Philip and the official went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took Philip away. The official did not see him again, but continued on his way, full of joy. 40Philip found himself in Azotus; he went on to Caesarea, and on the way he preached the Good News in every town.
God Commands Joshua to Conquer CanaanJoshua 1 After the death of the LORD's servant Moses, the LORD spoke to Moses' helper, Joshua son of Nun. 2He said, "My servant Moses is dead. Get ready now, you and all the people of Israel, and cross the Jordan River into the land that I am giving them. 3As I told Moses, I have given you and all my people the entire land that you will be marching over. 4Your borders will reach from the desert in the south to the Lebanon Mountains in the north; from the great Euphrates River in the east, through the Hittite country, to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5Joshua, no one will be able to defeat you as long as you live. I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will always be with you; I will never abandon you. 6Be determined and confident, for you will be the leader of these people as they occupy this land which I promised their ancestors. 7Just be determined, be confident; and make sure that you obey the whole Law that my servant Moses gave you. Do not neglect any part of it and you will succeed wherever you go. 8Be sure that the book of the Law is always read in your worship. Study it day and night, and make sure that you obey everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9Remember that I have commanded you to be determined and confident! Do not be afraid or discouraged, for I, the LORD your God, am with you wherever you go."
Joshua Gives Orders to the People10Then Joshua ordered the leaders to 11go through the camp and say to the people, "Get some food ready, because in three days you are going to cross the Jordan River to occupy the land that the LORD your God is giving you."
12Joshua said to the tribes of Reuben and Gad and to half the tribe of Manasseh, 13"Remember how the LORD's servant Moses told you that the LORD your God would give you this land on the east side of the Jordan as your home. 14Your wives, your children, and your livestock will stay here, but your soldiers, armed for battle, will cross over ahead of the other Israelites in order to help them 15until they have occupied the land west of the Jordan that the LORD your God has given them. When he has given safety to all the tribes of Israel, then you may come back and settle here in your own land east of the Jordan, which Moses, the LORD's servant, gave to you."
16They answered Joshua, "We will do everything you have told us and will go anywhere you send us. 17We will obey you, just as we always obeyed Moses, and may the LORD your God be with you as he was with Moses! 18Whoever questions your authority or disobeys any of your orders will be put to death. Be determined and confident!"
Joshua Sends Spies into JerichoJoshua 2 Then Joshua sent two spies from the camp at Acacia with orders to go and secretly explore the land of Canaan, especially the city of Jericho. When they came to the city, they went to spend the night in the house of a prostitute named Rahab. 2The king of Jericho heard that some Israelites had come that night to spy out the country, 3so he sent word to Rahab: "The men in your house have come to spy out the whole country! Bring them out!"
4-6"Some men did come to my house," she answered, "but I don't know where they were from. They left at sundown before the city gate was closed. I didn't find out where they were going, but if you start after them quickly, you can catch them." (Now Rahab had taken the two spies up on the roof and hidden them under some stalks of flax that she had put there.) 7The king's men left the city, and then the gate was shut. They went looking for the Israelite spies as far as the place where the road crosses the Jordan.
8Before the spies settled down for the night, Rahab went up on the roof 9and said to them, "I know that the LORD has given you this land. Everyone in the country is terrified of you. 10We have heard how the LORD dried up the Red Sea in front of you when you were leaving Egypt. We have also heard how you killed Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan. 11We were afraid as soon as we heard about it; we have all lost our courage because of you. The LORD your God is God in heaven above and here on earth. 12Now swear by him that you will treat my family as kindly as I have treated you, and give me some sign that I can trust you. 13Promise me that you will save my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all their families! Don't let us be killed!"
14The men said to her, "May God take our lives if we don't do as we say! If you do not tell anyone what we have been doing, we promise you that when the LORD gives us this land, we will treat you well."
15Rahab lived in a house built into the city wall, so she let the men down from the window by a rope. 16"Go into the hill country," she said, "or the king's men will find you. Hide there for three days until they come back. After that, you can go on your way."
17The men said to her, "We will keep the promise that you have made us give. 18This is what you must do. When we invade your land, tie this red cord to the window you let us down from. Get your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father's family together in your house. 19If anyone goes out of the house, his death will be his own fault, and we will not be responsible; but if anyone in the house with you is harmed, then we will be responsible. 20However, if you tell anyone what we have been doing, then we will not have to keep our promise which you have made us give you." 21She agreed and sent them away. When they had gone, she tied the red cord to the window.
22The spies went into the hills and hid. The king's men looked for them all over the countryside for three days, but they did not find them, so they returned to Jericho. 23Then the two spies came down from the hills, crossed the river, and went back to Joshua. They told him everything that had happened, 24and then said, "We are sure that the LORD has given us the whole country. All the people there are terrified of us."
1-2Listen to what I am saying;
that is all the comfort I ask from you.
3Give me a chance to speak and then,
when I am through, sneer if you like.
4My quarrel is not with mortals;
I have good reason to be impatient.
5Look at me. Isn't that enough
to make you stare in shocked silence?
6When I think of what has happened to me,
I am stunned, and I tremble and shake.
7Why does God let evil people live,
let them grow old and prosper?
8They have children and grandchildren,
and live to watch them all grow up.
9God does not bring disaster on their homes;
they never have to live in terror.
10Yes, all their cattle breed
and give birth without trouble.
11Their children run and play like lambs
12 and dance to the music of harps and flutes.
13They live out their lives in peace
and quietly die without suffering.
14The wicked tell God to leave them alone;
they don't want to know his will for their lives.
15They think there is no need to serve God
nor any advantage in praying to him.
16They claim they succeed by their own strength,
but their way of thinking I can't accept.
17Was a wicked person's light ever put out?
Did one of them ever meet with disaster?
Did God ever punish the wicked in anger
18 and blow them away like straw in the wind,
or like dust carried away in a storm?
19You claim God punishes a child for the sins of his father.
No! Let God punish the sinners themselves;
let him show that he does it because of their sins.
20Let sinners bear their own punishment;
let them feel the wrath of Almighty God.
21When our lives are over,
do we really care whether our children are happy?
22Can anyone teach God,
who judges even those in high places?
23-24Some people stay healthy till the day they die;
they die happy and at ease,
their bodies well-nourished.
25Others have no happiness at all;
they live and die with bitter hearts.
26But all alike die and are buried;
they all are covered with worms.
27I know what spiteful thoughts you have.
28You ask, "Where are the homes of great people now,
those who practiced evil?"
29Haven't you talked with people who travel?
Don't you know the reports they bring back?
30On the day God is angry and punishes,
it is the wicked who are always spared.
31There is no one to accuse the wicked
or pay them back for all they have done.
32When they are carried to the graveyard,
to their well-guarded tombs,
33 thousands join the funeral procession,
and even the earth lies gently on their bodies.
34And you! You try to comfort me with nonsense!
Every answer you give is a lie!
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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