April 22 - Acts 9.1-25, Joshua 3.1-5.1 and Job 22
The Conversion of Saul
3As Saul was coming near the city of Damascus, suddenly a light from the sky flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul! Why do you persecute me?"
5"Who are you, Lord?" he asked.
"I am Jesus, whom you persecute," the voice said. 6"But get up and go into the city, where you will be told what you must do."
7The men who were traveling with Saul had stopped, not saying a word; they heard the voice but could not see anyone. 8Saul got up from the ground and opened his eyes, but could not see a thing. So they took him by the hand and led him into Damascus. 9For three days he was not able to see, and during that time he did not eat or drink anything.
10There was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. He had a vision, in which the Lord said to him, "Ananias!"
"Here I am, Lord," he answered.
11The Lord said to him, "Get ready and go to Straight Street, and at the house of Judas ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying, 12and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and place his hands on him so that he might see again."
13Ananias answered, "Lord, many people have told me about this man and about all the terrible things he has done to your people in Jerusalem. 14And he has come to Damascus with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who worship you."
15The Lord said to him, "Go, because I have chosen him to serve me, to make my name known to Gentiles and kings and to the people of Israel. 16And I myself will show him all that he must suffer for my sake."
17So Ananias went, entered the house where Saul was, and placed his hands on him. "Brother Saul," he said, "the Lord has sent me--Jesus himself, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here. He sent me so that you might see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit." 18At once something like fish scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he was able to see again. He stood up and was baptized; 19and after he had eaten, his strength came back.
Saul Preaches in DamascusSaul stayed for a few days with the believers in Damascus. 20He went straight to the synagogues and began to preach that Jesus was the Son of God.
21All who heard him were amazed and asked, "Isn't he the one who in Jerusalem was killing those who worship that man Jesus? And didn't he come here for the very purpose of arresting those people and taking them back to the chief priests?"
22But Saul's preaching became even more powerful, and his proofs that Jesus was the Messiah were so convincing that the Jews who lived in Damascus could not answer him.
23After many days had gone by, the Jews met together and made plans to kill Saul, 24but he was told of their plan. Day and night they watched the city gates in order to kill him. 25But one night Saul's followers took him and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.
The People of Israel Cross the JordanJoshua 3 The next morning Joshua and all the people of Israel got up early, left the camp at Acacia, and went to the Jordan, where they camped while waiting to cross it. 2Three days later the leaders went through the camp 3and told the people, "When you see the priests carrying the Covenant Box of the LORD your God, break camp and follow them. 4You have never been here before, so they will show you the way to go. But do not get near the Covenant Box; stay about half a mile behind it."
5Joshua told the people, "Purify yourselves, because tomorrow the LORD will perform miracles among you." 6Then he told the priests to take the Covenant Box and go with it ahead of the people. They did as he said.
7The LORD said to Joshua, "What I do today will make all the people of Israel begin to honor you as a great man, and they will realize that I am with you as I was with Moses. 8Tell the priests carrying the Covenant Box that when they reach the river, they must wade in and stand near the bank."
9Then Joshua said to the people, "Come here and listen to what the LORD your God has to say. 10As you advance, he will surely drive out the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites. You will know that the living God is among you 11when the Covenant Box of the Lord of all the earth crosses the Jordan ahead of you. 12Now choose twelve men, one from each of the tribes of Israel. 13When the priests who carry the Covenant Box of the LORD of all the earth put their feet in the water, the Jordan will stop flowing, and the water coming downstream will pile up in one place."
14-15It was harvest time, and the river was in flood.
When the people left the camp to cross the Jordan, the priests went ahead of them, carrying the Covenant Box. As soon as the priests stepped into the river, 16the water stopped flowing and piled up, far upstream at Adam, the city beside Zarethan. The flow downstream to the Dead Sea was completely cut off, and the people were able to cross over near Jericho. 17While the people walked across on dry ground, the priests carrying the LORD's Covenant Box stood on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan until all the people had crossed over.
Memorial Stones Are Set UpJoshua 4 When the whole nation had crossed the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua, 2"Choose twelve men, one from each tribe, 3and command them to take twelve stones out of the middle of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests were standing. Tell them to carry these stones with them and to put them down where you camp tonight."
4Then Joshua called the twelve men he had chosen, 5and he told them, "Go into the Jordan ahead of the Covenant Box of the LORD your God. Each one of you take a stone on your shoulder, one for each of the tribes of Israel. 6These stones will remind the people of what the LORD has done. In the future, when your children ask what these stones mean to you, 7you will tell them that the water of the Jordan stopped flowing when the LORD's Covenant Box crossed the river. These stones will always remind the people of Israel of what happened here."
8The men followed Joshua's orders. As the LORD had commanded Joshua, they took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, one for each of the tribes of Israel, carried them to the camping place, and put them down there. 9Joshua also set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan, where the priests carrying the Covenant Box had stood. (Those stones are still there.) 10The priests stood in the middle of the Jordan until everything had been done that the LORD ordered Joshua to tell the people to do. This is what Moses had commanded.
The people hurried across the river. 11When they were all on the other side, the priests with the LORD's Covenant Box went on ahead of the people. 12The men of the tribes of Reuben and Gad and of half the tribe of Manasseh, ready for battle, crossed ahead of the rest of the people, as Moses had told them to do. 13In the presence of the LORD about forty thousand men ready for war crossed over to the plain near Jericho. 14What the LORD did that day made the people of Israel consider Joshua a great man. They honored him all his life, just as they had honored Moses.
15Then the LORD told Joshua 16to command the priests carrying the Covenant Box to come up out of the Jordan. 17Joshua did so, 18and when the priests reached the riverbank, the river began flowing once more and flooded its banks again.
19The people crossed the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month and camped at Gilgal, east of Jericho. 20There Joshua set up the twelve stones taken from the Jordan. 21And he said to the people of Israel, "In the future, when your children ask you what these stones mean, 22you will tell them about the time when Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground. 23Tell them that the LORD your God dried up the water of the Jordan for you until you had crossed, just as he dried up the Red Sea for us. 24Because of this everyone on earth will know how great the LORD's power is, and you will honor the LORD your God forever."
Joshua 5 All the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the Mediterranean Sea heard that the LORD had dried up the Jordan until the people of Israel had crossed it. They became afraid and lost their courage because of the Israelites.
The Third Dialogue
1-2Is there anyone, even the wisest,
who could ever be of use to God?
3Does your doing right benefit God,
or does your being good help him at all?
4It is not because you stand in awe of God
that he reprimands you and brings you to trial.
5No, it's because you have sinned so much;
it's because of all the evil you do.
6To make a brother repay you the money he owed,
you took away his clothes and left him nothing to wear.
7You refused water to those who were tired,
and refused to feed those who were hungry.
8You used your power and your position
to take over the whole land.
9You not only refused to help widows,
but you also robbed and mistreated orphans.
10So now there are pitfalls all around you,
and suddenly you are full of fear.
11It has grown so dark that you cannot see,
and a flood overwhelms you.
12Doesn't God live in the highest heavens
and look down on the stars, even though they are high?
13And yet you ask, "What does God know?
He is hidden by clouds--how can he judge us?"
14You think the thick clouds keep him from seeing,
as he walks on the dome of the sky.
15Are you determined to walk in the paths
that evil people have always followed?
16Even before their time had come,
they were washed away by a flood.
17These are the ones who rejected God
and believed that he could do nothing to them.
18And yet it was God who made them prosperous--
I can't understand the thoughts of the wicked.
19Good people are glad and the innocent laugh
when they see the wicked punished.
20All that the wicked own is destroyed,
and fire burns up anything that is left.
21Now, Job, make peace with God
and stop treating him like an enemy;
if you do, then he will bless you.
22Accept the teaching he gives;
keep his words in your heart.
23Yes, you must humbly return to God
and put an end to all the evil
that is done in your house.
24Throw away your gold;
dump your finest gold in the dry stream bed.
25Let Almighty God be your gold,
and let him be silver, piled high for you.
26Then you will always trust in God
and find that he is the source of your joy.
27When you pray, he will answer you,
and you will keep the vows you made.
28You will succeed in all you do,
and light will shine on your path.
29God brings down the proud
and saves the humble.
30He will rescue you if you are innocent,
if what you do is right.
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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