May 12 - Acts 20.17-38, Judges 14-15 and Job 42
Paul's Farewell Speech to the Elders of EphesusActs 2017From Miletus Paul sent a message to Ephesus, asking the elders of the church to meet him. 18When they arrived, he said to them, "You know how I spent the whole time I was with you, from the first day I arrived in the province of Asia. 19With all humility and many tears I did my work as the Lord's servant during the hard times that came to me because of the plots of some Jews. 20You know that I did not hold back anything that would be of help to you as I preached and taught in public and in your homes. 21To Jews and Gentiles alike I gave solemn warning that they should turn from their sins to God and believe in our Lord Jesus. 22And now, in obedience to the Holy Spirit I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit has warned me that prison and troubles wait for me. 24But I reckon my own life to be worth nothing to me; I only want to complete my mission and finish the work that the Lord Jesus gave me to do, which is to declare the Good News about the grace of God.
25"I have gone about among all of you, preaching the Kingdom of God. And now I know that none of you will ever see me again. 26So I solemnly declare to you this very day: if any of you should be lost, I am not responsible. 27For I have not held back from announcing to you the whole purpose of God. 28So keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock which the Holy Spirit has placed in your care. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he made his own through the blood of his Son. 29I know that after I leave, fierce wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock. 30The time will come when some men from your own group will tell lies to lead the believers away after them. 31Watch, then, and remember that with many tears, day and night, I taught every one of you for three years.
32"And now I commend you to the care of God and to the message of his grace, which is able to build you up and give you the blessings God has for all his people. 33I have not wanted anyone's silver or gold or clothing. 34You yourselves know that I have worked with these hands of mine to provide everything that my companions and I have needed. 35I have shown you in all things that by working hard in this way we must help the weak, remembering the words that the Lord Jesus himself said, 'There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.'"
36When Paul finished, he knelt down with them and prayed. 37They were all crying as they hugged him and kissed him good-bye. 38They were especially sad because he had said that they would never see him again. And so they went with him to the ship.
Samson and the Woman from TimnahJudges 14 One day Samson went down to Timnah, where he noticed a certain young Philistine woman. 2He went back home and told his father and mother, "There is a Philistine woman down at Timnah who caught my attention. Get her for me; I want to marry her."
3But his father and mother asked him, "Why do you have to go to those heathen Philistines to get a wife? Can't you find someone in our own clan, among all our people?"
But Samson told his father, "She is the one I want you to get for me. I like her."
4His parents did not know that it was the LORD who was leading Samson to do this, for the LORD was looking for a chance to fight the Philistines. At this time the Philistines were ruling Israel.
5So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother. As they were going through the vineyards there, he heard a young lion roaring. 6Suddenly the power of the LORD made Samson strong, and he tore the lion apart with his bare hands, as if it were a young goat. But he did not tell his parents what he had done.
7Then he went and talked to the young woman, and he liked her. 8A few days later Samson went back to marry her. On the way he left the road to look at the lion he had killed, and he was surprised to find a swarm of bees and some honey inside the dead body. 9He scraped the honey out into his hands and ate it as he walked along. Then he went to his father and mother and gave them some. They ate it, but Samson did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the dead body of a lion.
10His father went to the woman's house, and Samson gave a banquet there. This was a custom among the young men. 11When the Philistines saw him, they sent thirty young men to stay with him. 12-13Samson said to them, "Let me tell you a riddle. I'll bet each one of you a piece of fine linen and a change of fine clothes that you can't tell me its meaning before the seven days of the wedding feast are over."
"Tell us your riddle," they said. "Let's hear it."
"Out of the eater came something to eat;
Out of the strong came something sweet."
Three days later they had still not figured out what the riddle meant.
15On the fourth day they said to Samson's wife, "Trick your husband into telling us what the riddle means. If you don't, we'll set fire to your father's house and burn you with it. You two invited us so that you could rob us, didn't you?"
16So Samson's wife went to him in tears and said, "You don't love me! You just hate me! You told my friends a riddle and didn't tell me what it means!"
He said, "Look, I haven't even told my father and mother. Why should I tell you?" 17She cried about it for the whole seven days of the feast. But on the seventh day he told her what the riddle meant, for she nagged him so about it. Then she told the Philistines. 18So on the seventh day, before Samson went into the bedroom, the men of the city said to him,
"What could be sweeter than honey?
What could be stronger than a lion?"
"If you hadn't been plowing with my cow,
You wouldn't know the answer now."
19Suddenly the power of the LORD made him strong, and he went down to Ashkelon, where he killed thirty men, stripped them, and gave their fine clothes to the men who had solved the riddle. After that, he went back home, furious about what had happened, 20and his wife was given to the man that had been his best man at the wedding.
Judges 15 Some time later Samson went to visit his wife during the wheat harvest and took her a young goat. He told her father, "I want to go to my wife's room."
But he wouldn't let him go in. 2He told Samson, "I really thought that you hated her, so I gave her to your friend. But her younger sister is prettier, anyway. You can have her, instead."
3Samson said, "This time I'm not going to be responsible for what I do to the Philistines!" 4So he went and caught three hundred foxes. Two at a time, he tied their tails together and put torches in the knots. 5Then he set fire to the torches and turned the foxes loose in the Philistine wheat fields. In this way he burned up not only the wheat that had been harvested but also the wheat that was still in the fields. The olive orchards were also burned. 6When the Philistines asked who had done this, they learned that Samson had done it because his father-in-law, a man from Timnah, had given Samson's wife to a friend of Samson's. So the Philistines went and burned the woman to death and burned down her father's house.
7Samson told them, "So this is how you act! I swear that I won't stop until I pay you back!" 8He attacked them fiercely and killed many of them. Then he went and stayed in the cave in the cliff at Etam.
Samson Defeats the Philistines9The Philistines came and camped in Judah, and attacked the town of Lehi. 10The men of Judah asked them, "Why are you attacking us?"
They answered, "We came to take Samson prisoner and to treat him as he treated us." 11So these three thousand men of Judah went to the cave in the cliff at Etam and said to Samson, "Don't you know that the Philistines are our rulers? What have you done to us?"
He answered, "I did to them just what they did to me."
12They told him, "We have come here to tie you up, so we can hand you over to them."
Samson said, "Give me your word that you won't kill me yourselves."
13"All right," they said, "we are only going to tie you up and hand you over to them. We won't kill you." So they tied him up with two new ropes and brought him back from the cliff.
14When he got to Lehi, the Philistines came running toward him, shouting at him. Suddenly the power of the LORD made him strong, and he broke the ropes around his arms and hands as if they were burnt thread. 15Then he found a jawbone of a donkey that had recently died. He reached down and picked it up, and killed a thousand men with it. 16So Samson sang,
"With the jawbone of a donkey I killed a thousand men;
With the jawbone of a donkey I piled them up in piles."
17After that, he threw the jawbone away. The place where this happened was named Ramath Lehi.
18Then Samson became very thirsty, so he called to the LORD and said, "You gave me this great victory; am I now going to die of thirst and be captured by these heathen Philistines?" 19Then God opened a hollow place in the ground there at Lehi, and water came out of it. Samson drank it and began to feel much better. So the spring was named Hakkore; it is still there at Lehi.
20Samson led Israel for twenty years while the Philistines ruled the land.
Job 42 Then Job answered the LORD.
2I know, LORD, that you are all-powerful;
that you can do everything you want.
3You ask how I dare question your wisdom
when I am so very ignorant.
I talked about things I did not understand,
about marvels too great for me to know.
4You told me to listen while you spoke
and to try to answer your questions.
5In the past I knew only what others had told me,
but now I have seen you with my own eyes.
6So I am ashamed of all I have said
and repent in dust and ashes.
Conclusion7After the LORD had finished speaking to Job, he said to Eliphaz, "I am angry with you and your two friends, because you did not speak the truth about me, the way my servant Job did. 8Now take seven bulls and seven rams to Job and offer them as a sacrifice for yourselves. Job will pray for you, and I will answer his prayer and not disgrace you the way you deserve. You did not speak the truth about me as he did."
9Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar did what the LORD had told them to do, and the LORD answered Job's prayer.
10Then, after Job had prayed for his three friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had had before. 11All Job's brothers and sisters and former friends came to visit him and feasted with him in his house. They expressed their sympathy and comforted him for all the troubles the LORD had brought on him. Each of them gave him some money and a gold ring.
12The LORD blessed the last part of Job's life even more than he had blessed the first. Job owned fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, two thousand head of cattle, and one thousand donkeys. 13He was the father of seven sons and three daughters. 14He called the oldest daughter Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the youngest Keren Happuch. 15There were no other women in the whole world as beautiful as Job's daughters. Their father gave them a share of the inheritance along with their brothers.
16Job lived a hundred and forty years after this, long enough to see his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 17And then he died at a very great age.
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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