May 11 - Acts 20.1-16, Judges 13 and Job 41

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To Macedonia and Achaia

Acts 20 After the uproar died down, Paul called together the believers and with words of encouragement said good-bye to them. Then he left and went on to Macedonia. 2He went through those regions and encouraged the people with many messages. Then he came to Achaia, 3where he stayed three months. He was getting ready to go to Syria when he discovered that there were Jews plotting against him; so he decided to go back through Macedonia. 4Sopater son of Pyrrhus, from Berea, went with him; so did Aristarchus and Secundus, from Thessalonica; Gaius, from Derbe; Tychicus and Trophimus, from the province of Asia; and Timothy. 5They went ahead and waited for us in Troas. 6We sailed from Philippi after the Festival of Unleavened Bread, and five days later we joined them in Troas, where we spent a week.

Paul's Last Visit to Troas

7On Saturday evening we gathered together for the fellowship meal. Paul spoke to the people and kept on speaking until midnight, since he was going to leave the next day. 8Many lamps were burning in the upstairs room where we were meeting. 9A young man named Eutychus was sitting in the window, and as Paul kept on talking, Eutychus got sleepier and sleepier, until he finally went sound asleep and fell from the third story to the ground. When they picked him up, he was dead. 10But Paul went down and threw himself on him and hugged him. "Don't worry," he said, "he is still alive!" 11Then he went back upstairs, broke bread, and ate. After talking with them for a long time, even until sunrise, Paul left. 12They took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.

From Troas to Miletus

13We went on ahead to the ship and sailed off to Assos, where we were going to take Paul aboard. He had told us to do this, because he was going there by land. 14When he met us in Assos, we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene. 15We sailed from there and arrived off Chios the next day. A day later we came to Samos, and the following day we reached Miletus. 16Paul had decided to sail on by Ephesus, so as not to lose any time in the province of Asia. He was in a hurry to arrive in Jerusalem by the day of Pentecost, if at all possible.

The Birth of Samson

Judges 13 The Israelites sinned against the LORD again, and he let the Philistines rule them for forty years.
2At that time there was a man named Manoah from the town of Zorah. He was a member of the tribe of Dan. His wife had never been able to have children. 3The LORD's angel appeared to her and said, "You have never been able to have children, but you will soon be pregnant and have a son. 4Be sure not to drink any wine or beer, or eat any forbidden food; 5and after your son is born, you must never cut his hair, because from the day of his birth he will be dedicated to God as a nazirite. He will begin the work of rescuing Israel from the Philistines."
6Then the woman went and told her husband, "A man of God has come to me, and he looked as frightening as the angel of God. I didn't ask him where he came from, and he didn't tell me his name. 7But he did tell me that I would become pregnant and have a son. He told me not to drink any wine or beer, or eat any forbidden food, because the boy is to be dedicated to God as a nazirite as long as he lives."
8Then Manoah prayed to the LORD, "Please, LORD, let the man of God that you sent come back to us and tell us what we must do with the boy when he is born."
9God did what Manoah asked, and his angel came back to the woman while she was sitting in the field. Her husband Manoah was not with her, 10so she ran at once and told him, "Look! The man who came to me the other day has appeared to me again."
11Manoah got up and followed his wife. He went to the man and asked, "Are you the man who talked to my wife?"
"Yes," he answered.
12Then Manoah said, "Now then, when your words come true, what must the boy do? What kind of a life must he lead?"
13The LORD's angel answered, "Your wife must be sure to do everything that I have told her. 14She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine; she must not drink any wine or beer, or eat any forbidden food. She must do everything that I have told her."
15-16Not knowing that it was the LORD's angel, Manoah said to him, "Please do not go yet. Let us cook a young goat for you."
But the angel said, "If I do stay, I will not eat your food. But if you want to prepare it, burn it as an offering to the LORD."
17Manoah replied, "Tell us your name, so that we can honor you when your words come true."
18The angel asked, "Why do you want to know my name? It is a name of wonder."
19So Manoah took a young goat and some grain, and offered them on the rock altar to the LORD who works wonders. 20-21While the flames were going up from the altar, Manoah and his wife saw the LORD's angel go up toward heaven in the flames. Manoah realized then that the man had been the LORD's angel, and he and his wife threw themselves face downward on the ground. They never saw the angel again.
22Manoah said to his wife, "We are sure to die, because we have seen God!"
23But his wife answered, "If the LORD had wanted to kill us, he would not have accepted our offerings; he would not have shown us all this or told us such things at this time."
24The woman gave birth to a son and named him Samson. The child grew and the LORD blessed him. 25And the LORD's power began to strengthen him while he was between Zorah and Eshtaol in the Camp of Dan.

Job 41 Can you catch Leviathan with a fishhook
or tie his tongue down with a rope?
2Can you put a rope through his snout
or put a hook through his jaws?
3Will he beg you to let him go?
Will he plead with you for mercy?
4Will he make an agreement with you
and promise to serve you forever?
5Will you tie him like a pet bird,
like something to amuse your servant women?
6Will fishermen bargain over him?
Will merchants cut him up to sell?
7Can you fill his hide with fishing spears
or pierce his head with a harpoon?
8Touch him once and you'll never try it again;
you'll never forget the fight!

9Anyone who sees Leviathan
loses courage and falls to the ground.
10When he is aroused, he is fierce;
no one would dare to stand before him.
11Who can attack him and still be safe?
No one in all the world can do it.

12Let me tell you about Leviathan's legs
and describe how great and strong he is.
13No one can tear off his outer coat
or pierce the armor he wears.
14Who can make him open his jaws,
ringed with those terrifying teeth?
15His back is made of rows of shields,
fastened together and hard as stone.
16Each one is joined so tight to the next,
not even a breath can come between.
17They all are fastened so firmly together
that nothing can ever pull them apart.
18Light flashes when he sneezes,
and his eyes glow like the rising sun.
19Flames blaze from his mouth,
and streams of sparks fly out.
20Smoke comes pouring out of his nose,
like smoke from weeds burning under a pot.
21His breath starts fires burning;
flames leap out of his mouth.
22His neck is so powerful
that all who meet him are terrified.
23There is not a weak spot in his skin;
it is as hard and unyielding as iron.
24His stony heart is without fear,
as unyielding and hard as a millstone.
25When he rises up, even the strongest are frightened;
they are helpless with fear.
26There is no sword that can wound him;
no spear or arrow or lance that can harm him.
27For him iron is as flimsy as straw,
and bronze as soft as rotten wood.
28There is no arrow that can make him run;
rocks thrown at him are like bits of straw.
29To him a club is a piece of straw,
and he laughs when men throw spears.
30The scales on his belly are like jagged pieces of pottery;
they tear up the muddy ground like a threshing sledge.
31He churns up the sea like boiling water
and makes it bubble like a pot of oil.
32He leaves a shining path behind him
and turns the sea to white foam.
33There is nothing on earth to compare with him;
he is a creature that has no fear.
34He looks down on even the proudest animals;
he is king of all wild beasts.

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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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