April 24 - Acts 10.1-33, Joshua 7-8 and Job 24
Peter and CorneliusActs 10 There was a man in Caesarea named Cornelius, who was a captain in the Roman army regiment called "The Italian Regiment." 2He was a religious man; he and his whole family worshiped God. He also did much to help the Jewish poor people and was constantly praying to God. 3It was about three o'clock one afternoon when he had a vision, in which he clearly saw an angel of God come in and say to him, "Cornelius!"
4He stared at the angel in fear and said, "What is it, sir?"
The angel answered, "God is pleased with your prayers and works of charity, and is ready to answer you. 5And now send some men to Joppa for a certain man whose full name is Simon Peter. 6He is a guest in the home of a tanner of leather named Simon, who lives by the sea." 7Then the angel went away, and Cornelius called two of his house servants and a soldier, a religious man who was one of his personal attendants. 8He told them what had happened and sent them off to Joppa.
9The next day, as they were on their way and coming near Joppa, Peter went up on the roof of the house about noon in order to pray. 10He became hungry and wanted something to eat; while the food was being prepared, he had a vision. 11He saw heaven opened and something coming down that looked like a large sheet being lowered by its four corners to the earth. 12In it were all kinds of animals, reptiles, and wild birds. 13A voice said to him, "Get up, Peter; kill and eat!"
14But Peter said, "Certainly not, Lord! I have never eaten anything ritually unclean or defiled."
15The voice spoke to him again, "Do not consider anything unclean that God has declared clean." 16This happened three times, and then the thing was taken back up into heaven.
17While Peter was wondering about the meaning of this vision, the men sent by Cornelius had learned where Simon's house was, and they were now standing in front of the gate. 18They called out and asked, "Is there a guest here by the name of Simon Peter?"
19Peter was still trying to understand what the vision meant, when the Spirit said, "Listen! Three men are here looking for you. 20So get ready and go down, and do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them." 21So Peter went down and said to the men, "I am the man you are looking for. Why have you come?"
22"Captain Cornelius sent us," they answered. "He is a good man who worships God and is highly respected by all the Jewish people. An angel of God told him to invite you to his house, so that he could hear what you have to say." 23Peter invited the men in and had them spend the night there.
The next day he got ready and went with them; and some of the believers from Joppa went along with him. 24The following day he arrived in Caesarea, where Cornelius was waiting for him, together with relatives and close friends that he had invited. 25As Peter was about to go in, Cornelius met him, fell at his feet, and bowed down before him. 26But Peter made him rise. "Stand up," he said, "I myself am only a man." 27Peter kept on talking to Cornelius as he went into the house, where he found many people gathered. 28He said to them, "You yourselves know very well that a Jew is not allowed by his religion to visit or associate with Gentiles. But God has shown me that I must not consider any person ritually unclean or defiled. 29And so when you sent for me, I came without any objection. I ask you, then, why did you send for me?"
30Cornelius said, "It was about this time three days ago that I was praying in my house at three o'clock in the afternoon. Suddenly a man dressed in shining clothes stood in front of me 31and said: 'Cornelius! God has heard your prayer and has taken notice of your works of charity. 32Send someone to Joppa for a man whose full name is Simon Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner of leather, who lives by the sea.' 33And so I sent for you at once, and you have been good enough to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God, waiting to hear anything that the Lord has instructed you to say."
Achan's SinJoshua 7 The LORD's command to Israel not to take from Jericho anything that was to be destroyed was not obeyed. A man named Achan disobeyed that order, and so the LORD was furious with the Israelites. (Achan was the son of Carmi and grandson of Zabdi, and belonged to the clan of Zerah, a part of the tribe of Judah.)
2Joshua sent some men from Jericho to Ai, a city east of Bethel, near Bethaven, with orders to go and explore the land. When they had done so, 3they reported back to Joshua: "There is no need for everyone to attack Ai. Send only about two or three thousand men. Don't send the whole army up there to fight; it is not a large city." 4So about three thousand Israelites made the attack, but they were forced to retreat. 5The men of Ai chased them from the city gate as far as some quarries and killed about thirty-six of them on the way down the hill. Then the Israelites lost their courage and were afraid.
6Joshua and the leaders of Israel tore their clothes in grief, threw themselves to the ground before the LORD's Covenant Box, and lay there till evening, with dust on their heads to show their sorrow. 7And Joshua said, "Sovereign LORD! Why did you bring us across the Jordan at all? To turn us over to the Amorites? To destroy us? Why didn't we just stay on the other side of the Jordan? 8What can I say, O Lord, now that Israel has retreated from the enemy? 9The Canaanites and everyone else in the country will hear about it. They will surround us and kill every one of us! And then what will you do to protect your honor?"
10The LORD said to Joshua, "Get up! Why are you lying on the ground like this? 11Israel has sinned! They have broken the agreement with me that I ordered them to keep. They have taken some of the things condemned to destruction. They stole them, lied about it, and put them with their own things. 12This is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies. They retreat from them because they themselves have now been condemned to destruction! I will not stay with you any longer unless you destroy the things you were ordered not to take! 13Get up! Purify the people and get them ready to come before me. Tell them to be ready tomorrow, because I, the LORD God of Israel, have this to say: 'Israel, you have in your possession some things that I ordered you to destroy! You cannot stand against your enemies until you get rid of these things!' 14So tell them that in the morning they will be brought forward, tribe by tribe. The tribe that I pick out will then come forward, clan by clan. The clan that I pick out will come forward, family by family. The family that I pick out will come forward, one by one. 15The one who is then picked out and found with the condemned goods will be burned, along with his family and everything he owns, for he has brought terrible shame on Israel and has broken my covenant."
16Early the next morning Joshua brought Israel forward, tribe by tribe, and the tribe of Judah was picked out. 17He brought the tribe of Judah forward, clan by clan, and the clan of Zerah was picked out. Then he brought the clan of Zerah forward, family by family, and the family of Zabdi was picked out. 18He then brought Zabdi's family forward, one by one, and Achan, the son of Carmi and grandson of Zabdi, was picked out. 19Joshua said to him, "My son, tell the truth here before the LORD, the God of Israel, and confess. Tell me now what you have done. Don't try to hide it from me."
20"It's true," Achan answered. "I have sinned against the LORD, Israel's God, and this is what I did. 21Among the things we seized I saw a beautiful Babylonian cloak, about five pounds of silver, and a bar of gold weighing over one pound. I wanted them so much that I took them. You will find them buried inside my tent, with the silver at the bottom."
22So Joshua sent some men, who ran to the tent and found that the condemned things really were buried there, with the silver at the bottom. 23They brought them out of the tent, took them to Joshua and all the Israelites, and laid them down in the presence of the LORD. 24Joshua, along with all the people of Israel, seized Achan, the silver, the cloak, the bar of gold, together with Achan's sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys, and sheep, his tent, and everything else he owned; and they took them to Trouble Valley. 25And Joshua said, "Why have you brought such trouble on us? The LORD will now bring trouble on you!" All the people then stoned Achan to death; they also stoned and burned his family and possessions. 26They put a huge pile of stones over him, which is there to this day. That is why that place is still called Trouble Valley.
Then the LORD was no longer furious.
The Capture and Destruction of AiJoshua 8 The LORD said to Joshua, "Take all the soldiers with you and go on up to Ai. Don't be afraid or discouraged. I will give you victory over the king of Ai; his people, city, and land will be yours. 2You are to do to Ai and its king what you did to Jericho and its king, but this time you may keep its goods and livestock for yourselves. Prepare to attack the city by surprise from the rear."
3So Joshua got ready to go to Ai with all his soldiers. He picked out thirty thousand of his best troops and sent them out at night 4with these orders: "Hide on the other side of the city, but not too far away from it; be ready to attack. 5My men and I will approach the city. When the men of Ai come out against us, we will turn and run, just as we did the first time. 6They will pursue us until we have led them away from the city. They will think that we are running from them, as we did before. 7Then you will come out of hiding and capture the city. The LORD your God will give it to you. 8After you have taken the city, set it on fire, just as the LORD has commanded. These are your orders." 9So Joshua sent them out, and they went to their hiding place and waited there, west of Ai, between Ai and Bethel. Joshua spent the night in camp.
10Early in the morning Joshua got up and called the soldiers together. Then he and the leaders of Israel led them to Ai. 11The soldiers with him went toward the main entrance to the city and set up camp on the north side, with a valley between themselves and Ai. 12He took about five thousand men and put them in hiding west of the city, between Ai and Bethel. 13The soldiers were arranged for battle with the main camp north of the city and the rest of the men to the west. Joshua spent the night in the valley. 14When the king of Ai saw Joshua's men, he acted quickly. He and all his men went out toward the Jordan Valley to fight the Israelites at the same place as before, not knowing that he was about to be attacked from the rear. 15Joshua and his men pretended that they were retreating, and ran away toward the barren country. 16All the men in the city had been called together to go after them, and as they pursued Joshua, they kept getting farther away from the city. 17Every man in Ai went after the Israelites, and the city was left wide open, with no one to defend it.
18Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Point your spear at Ai; I am giving it to you." Joshua did as he was told, 19and as soon as he lifted his hand, the men who had been hiding got up quickly, ran into the city and captured it. They immediately set the city on fire. 20When the men of Ai looked back, they saw the smoke rising to the sky. There was no way for them to escape, because the Israelites who had run toward the barren country now turned around to attack them. 21When Joshua and his men saw that the others had taken the city and that it was on fire, they turned around and began killing the men of Ai. 22The Israelites in the city now came down to join the battle. So the men of Ai found themselves completely surrounded by Israelites, and they were all killed. No one got away, and no one lived through it 23except the king of Ai. He was captured and taken to Joshua.
24The Israelites killed every one of the enemy in the barren country where they had chased them. Then they went back to Ai and killed everyone there. 25-26Joshua kept his spear pointed at Ai and did not put it down until every person there had been killed. The whole population of Ai was killed that day--twelve thousand men and women. 27The Israelites kept for themselves the livestock and goods captured in the city, as the LORD had told Joshua. 28Joshua burned Ai and left it in ruins. It is still like that today. 29He hanged the king of Ai from a tree and left his body there until evening. At sundown Joshua gave orders for the body to be removed, and it was thrown down at the entrance to the city gate. They covered it with a huge pile of stones, which is still there today.
The Law Is Read at Mount Ebal30Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel. 31He made it according to the instructions that Moses, the LORD's servant, had given the Israelites, as it says in the Law of Moses: "an altar made of stones which have not been cut with iron tools." On it they offered burnt sacrifices to the LORD, and they also presented their fellowship offerings. 32There, with the Israelites looking on, Joshua made on the stones a copy of the Law which Moses had written. 33The Israelites, with their leaders, officers, and judges, as well as the foreigners among them, stood on two sides of the LORD's Covenant Box, facing the levitical priests who carried it. Half of the people stood with their backs to Mount Gerizim and the other half with their backs to Mount Ebal. The LORD's servant Moses had commanded them to do this when the time came for them to receive the blessing. 34Joshua then read aloud the whole Law, including the blessings and the curses, just as they are written in the book of the Law. 35Every one of the commandments of Moses was read by Joshua to the whole gathering, which included women and children, as well as the foreigners living among them.
Job 24 Why doesn't God set a time for judging,
a day of justice for those who serve him?
2People move property lines to get more land;
they steal sheep and put them with their own flocks.
3They take donkeys that belong to orphans,
and keep a widow's ox till she pays her debts.
4They prevent the poor from getting their rights
and force the needy to run and hide.
5So the poor, like wild donkeys,
search for food in the dry wilderness;
nowhere else can they find food for their children.
6They have to harvest fields they don't own,
and gather grapes in vineyards of the wicked.
7At night they sleep with nothing to cover them,
nothing to keep them from the cold.
8They are drenched by the rain that falls on the mountains,
and they huddle beside the rocks for shelter.
9Evil people make slaves of fatherless infants
and take the children of the poor in payment for debts.
10But the poor must go out with no clothes to protect them;
they must go hungry while harvesting wheat.
11They press olives for oil, and grapes for wine,
but they themselves are thirsty.
12In the cities the wounded and dying cry out,
but God ignores their prayers.
13There are those who reject the light;
they don't understand it or go where it leads.
14At dawn the murderer gets up
and goes out to kill the poor,
and at night he steals.
15The adulterer waits for twilight to come;
he covers his face so that no one can see him.
16At night thieves break into houses,
but by day they hide and avoid the light.
17They fear the light of day,
but darkness holds no terror for them.
18The wicked are swept away by floods,
and the land they own is under God's curse;
they no longer go to work in their vineyards.
19As snow vanishes in heat and drought,
so sinners vanish from the land of the living.
20Not even their mothers remember them now;
they are eaten by worms and destroyed like fallen trees.
21That happens because they mistreated widows
and showed no kindness to childless women.
22God, in his strength, destroys the mighty;
God acts--and the wicked die.
23God may let them live secure,
but keeps an eye on them all the time.
24For a while the wicked prosper,
but then they wither like weeds,
like stalks of grain that have been cut down.
25Can anyone deny that this is so?
Can anyone prove that my words are not true?
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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