February 16 - Hebrews 11.22-40, Exodus 15 and Proverbs 6.1-7.5

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Hebrews 11 22And right before Joseph died, he had faith that God would lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. So he told them to take his bones with them.
23Because Moses' parents had faith, they kept him hidden until he was three months old. They saw that he was a beautiful child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king's orders. 24Then after Moses grew up, his faith made him refuse to be called the king's grandson. 25He chose to be mistreated with God's people instead of having the good time that sin could bring for a little while. 26Moses knew that the treasures of Egypt were not as wonderful as what he would receive from suffering for the Messiah, and he looked forward to his reward.
27Because of his faith, Moses left Egypt. Moses had seen the invisible God and wasn't afraid of the king's anger. 28His faith also made him celebrate Passover. He sprinkled the blood of animals on the doorposts, so that the first-born sons of the people of Israel would not be killed by the destroying angel.
29Because of their faith, the people walked through the Red Sea on dry land. But when the Egyptians tried to do it, they were drowned.
30God's people had faith, and when they had walked around the city of Jericho for seven days, its walls fell down.
31Rahab had been a prostitute, but she had faith and welcomed the spies. So she wasn't killed with the people who disobeyed.
32What else can I say? There isn't enough time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. 33Their faith helped them conquer kingdoms, and because they did right, God made promises to them. They closed the jaws of lions 34and put out raging fires and escaped from the swords of their enemies. Although they were weak, they were given the strength and power to chase foreign armies away.
35Some women received their loved ones back from death. Many of these people were tortured, but they refused to be released. They were sure that they would get a better reward when the dead are raised to life. 36Others were made fun of and beaten with whips, and some were chained in jail. 37Still others were stoned to death or sawed in two or killed with swords. Some had nothing but sheep skins or goat skins to wear. They were poor, mistreated, and tortured. 38The world did not deserve these good people, who had to wander in deserts and on mountains and had to live in caves and holes in the ground.
39All of them pleased God because of their faith! But still they died without being given what had been promised. 40This was because God had something better in store for us. And he did not want them to reach the goal of their faith without us.

The Song of Moses

Exodus 15 Moses and the Israelites sang this song in praise of the LORD:
I sing praises to the LORD for his great victory!
He has thrown the horses and their riders into the sea.
2The LORD is my strength, the reason for my song,
because he has saved me.
I praise and honor the LORD-- he is my God
and the God of my ancestors.
3The LORD is his name, and he is a warrior!
4He threw the chariots and army of Egypt's king
into the Red Sea,
and he drowned the best of the king's officers.
5They sank to the bottom just like stones.

6With the tremendous force of your right arm, our LORD,
you crushed your enemies.
7What a great victory was yours,
as you defeated everyone who opposed you.
Your fiery anger wiped them out,
as though they were straw.
8You were so furious that the sea piled up like a wall,
and the ocean depths curdled like cheese.

9Your enemies boasted that they would
pursue and capture us, divide up our possessions,
treat us as they wished,
then take out their swords and kill us right there.
10But when you got furious, they sank like lead,
swallowed by ocean waves.

11Our LORD, no other gods compare with you--
Majestic and holy! Fearsome and glorious!
Miracle worker!
12When you signaled with your right hand,
your enemies were swallowed deep into the earth.

13The people you rescued were led by your powerful love
to your holy place.
14Nations learned of this and trembled--
Philistines shook with horror.
15The leaders of Edom and of Moab were terrified.
Everyone in Canaan fainted, 16struck down by fear.
Our LORD, your powerful arm kept them still as a rock
until the people you rescued for your very own
had marched by.

17You will let your people settle on your chosen mountain,
where you built your home and your temple.
18Our LORD, you will rule forever!

The Song of Miriam

19The LORD covered the royal Egyptian cavalry and chariots with the sea, after the Israelites had walked safely through on dry ground. 20Miriam the sister of Aaron was a prophet. So she took her tambourine and led the other women out to play their tambourines and to dance. 21Then she sang to them:
"Sing praises to the LORD for his great victory!
He has thrown the horses and their riders into the sea."

Bitter Water at Marah

22After the Israelites left the Red Sea, Moses led them through the Shur Desert for three days, before finding water. 23They did find water at Marah, but it was bitter, which is how that place got its name. 24The people complained and said, "Moses, what are we going to drink?"
25Moses asked the LORD for help, and the LORD told him to throw a piece of wood into the water. Moses did so, and the water became fit to drink.
At Marah the LORD tested his people and also gave them some laws and teachings. 26Then he said, "I am the LORD your God, and I cure your diseases. If you obey me by doing right and by following my laws and teachings, I won't punish you with the diseases I sent on the Egyptians."
27Later the Israelites came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees. So they camped there.

Don't Be Foolish

Proverbs 6 My child, suppose you agree to pay the debt of someone,
who cannot repay a loan.
2Then you are trapped by your own words,
3and you are now in the power of someone else.
Here is what you should do:
Go and beg for permission to call off the agreement.
4Do this before you fall asleep or even get sleepy.
5Save yourself, just as a deer or a bird
tries to escape from a hunter.

6You lazy people can learn by watching an anthill.
7Ants don't have leaders,
8but they store up food during harvest season.
9How long will you lie there doing nothing at all?
When are you going to get up and stop sleeping?
10Sleep a little. Doze a little.
Fold your hands and twiddle your thumbs.
11Suddenly, everything is gone,
as though it had been taken by an armed robber.

12Worthless liars go around 13winking
and giving signals to deceive others.
14They are always thinking up something cruel and evil,
and they stir up trouble.
15But they will be struck by sudden disaster
and left without a hope.

16There are six or seven kinds of people
the LORD doesn't like:
17Those who are too proud or tell lies or murder,
18those who make evil plans or are quick to do wrong,
19those who tell lies in court
or stir up trouble in a family.

20Obey the teaching of your parents--
21always keep it in mind and never forget it.
22Their teaching will guide you when you walk,
protect you when you sleep,
and talk to you when you are awake.

23The Law of the Lord is a lamp,
and its teachings shine brightly.
Correction and self-control will lead you through life.
24They will protect you
from the flattering words of someone else's wife.
25Don't let yourself be attracted by the charm
and lovely eyes of someone like that.
26A woman who sells her love can be bought
for as little as the price of a meal.
But making love to another man's wife
will cost you everything.
27If you carry burning coals, you burn your clothes;
28if you step on hot coals, you burn your feet.
29And if you go to bed with another man's wife,
you pay the price.

30We don't put up with thieves,
not even with one who steals for something to eat.
31And thieves who get caught must pay back
seven times what was stolen and lose everything.
32But if you go to bed with another man's wife,
you will destroy yourself by your own stupidity.
33You will be beaten and forever disgraced,
34because a jealous husband can be furious and merciless
when he takes revenge.
35He won't let you pay him off, no matter what you offer.

The Foolishness of Unfaithfulness

Proverbs 7 My son, pay close attention
and don't forget what I tell you to do.
2Obey me, and you will live!
Let my instructions be your greatest treasure.
3Keep them at your fingertips
and write them in your mind.
4Let wisdom be your sister
and make common sense your closest friend.
5They will protect you
from the flattering words of someone else's wife.

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This reading is from The Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version, copyright © American Bible Society, 1995.

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