Friday

July 7, 2023

Section 1 of 4

Joshua 9

About 3.4 Minutes

Now when all the kings who were beyond the Jordan, in the hill country and in the lowland [at the western edge of the hills of Judea], and all along the coast of the Great [Mediterranean] Sea toward Lebanon, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, heard of this [army and its victories over Jericho and Ai], they gathered together with one purpose to fight with Joshua and with Israel.

But when the people of Gibeon [the Hivites] heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they too acted craftily and cunningly, and set out and took along provisions, but took worn-out sacks on their donkeys, and wineskins (leather bottles) that were worn out and split open and patched together, and worn-out and patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes; and all their supply of food was dry and had turned to crumbs. They went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the men of Israel, “We have come from a far country; so now, make a covenant (treaty) with us.” But the men of Israel said to the Hivites, “Perhaps you are living within our land; how then can we make a covenant (treaty) with you?” They said to Joshua, “We are your servants.” Then Joshua said to them, “Who are you, and where do you come from?” They said to him, “Your servants have come from a country that is very far away because of the fame of the Lord your God; for we have heard the news about Him and all [the remarkable things] that He did in Egypt, 10 and everything that He did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon the king of Heshbon and to Og the king of Bashan who lived in Ashtaroth. 11 So our elders and all the residents of our country said to us, ‘Take provisions for the journey and go to meet the sons of Israel and say to them, “We are your servants; now make a covenant (treaty) with us.”’ 12 This bread of ours was hot (fresh) when we took it along as our provision from our houses on the day we left to come to you; now look, it is dry and has turned to crumbs. 13 These wineskins which we filled were new, and look, they are split; our clothes and our sandals are worn out because of the very long journey [that we had to make].” 14 So the men [of Israel] took some of their own provisions [and offered them in friendship], and [foolishly] did not ask for the counsel of the Lord. 15 Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant (treaty) with them, to let them live; and the leaders of the congregation [of Israel] swore an oath to them.

16 It happened that three days after they had made a covenant (treaty) with them, the Israelites heard that they were [actually] their neighbors and that they were living among them. 17 Then the sons of Israel set out and came to their cities on the third day. Now the cities [of the Hivites] were Gibeon and Chephirah and Beeroth and Kiriath-jearim. 18 But the sons of Israel did not strike them because the leaders of the congregation had sworn to them by the Lord the God of Israel [to spare them]. And all the congregation murmured [expressing great dissatisfaction] against the leaders. 19 But all the leaders said to the whole congregation, “We have sworn to them by the Lord, the God of Israel, so now we cannot touch them. 20 This [is what] we will do to them: we will let them live, so that the wrath [of God] does not come upon us for [violating] the oath which we have sworn to them.” 21 The leaders said to them, “Let them live [as our slaves].” So they became the cutters and gatherers of firewood and water carriers for the entire congregation, just as the leaders had said of them.

22 Joshua called the [Hivite] men and said, “Why did you deceive us, saying, ‘We live very far away from you,’ when [in fact] you live among us? 23 Now therefore, you are cursed, and you shall always be slaves, both cutters and gatherers of firewood and water carriers for the house of my God.” 24 They replied to Joshua and said, “Because your servants were told in no uncertain terms that the Lord your God commanded His servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the land’s inhabitants before you, we feared greatly for our lives because of you, and so we did this [deceptive] thing. 25 Now look, we are in your hands; do to us as it seems good and right in your sight.” 26 So that is what he did to them; he rescued them from the hands of the Israelites and they did not kill them. 27 Now on that day Joshua made them cutters and gatherers of firewood and water carriers for the congregation and for the altar of the Lord, to this day, in the place which He would choose.

Section 2 of 4

Psalms 140-141

About 3.5 Minutes

140 Rescue me, O Lord, from evil men;
Protect me from violent men.

They devise evil things in their hearts;
They continually [gather together and] stir up wars.

They sharpen their tongues like a serpent’s;
Poison of a viper is under their lips. Selah.


Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
Protect me from violent men
Who intend to trip up my steps.

The proud have hidden a trap for me, and cords;
They have spread a net by the wayside;
They have set traps for me. Selah.


I said to the Lord, “You are my God;
Listen to the voice of my supplications, O Lord.

“O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation,
You have covered my head in the day of battle.

“Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked;
Do not further their evil device, that they not be exalted. Selah.


“Those who surround me raise their heads;
May the mischief of their own lips come upon them.
10 
“Let burning coals fall upon them;
Let them be thrown into the fire,
Into deep [water] pits from which they cannot rise.
11 
“Do not let a slanderer be established in the earth;
Let evil quickly hunt the violent man [to overthrow him and stop his evil acts].”

12 
I know [with confidence] that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted,
And [will secure] justice for the poor.
13 
Surely the righteous will give thanks to Your name;
The upright will dwell in Your presence.

141 Lord, I call upon You; hurry to me.
Listen to my voice when I call to You.

Let my prayer be counted as incense before You;
The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering.

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;
Keep watch over the door of my lips [to keep me from speaking thoughtlessly].

Do not incline my heart to [consent to or tolerate] any evil thing,
Or to practice deeds of wickedness
With men who plan and do evil;
And let me not eat of their delicacies (be tempted by their gain).


Let the righteous [thoughtfully] strike (correct) me—it is a kindness [done to encourage my spiritual maturity].
It is [the choicest anointing] oil on the head;
Let my head not refuse [to accept and acknowledge and learn from] it;
For still my prayer is against their wicked deeds.

Their [wicked, godless] judges are thrown down the sides of the rocky cliff,
And they [who followed them] will hear my words, for they are pleasant (just).

As when the one plows and breaks open the ground [and the soil scatters behind him],
Our bones have been scattered at the mouth of Sheol [by the injustices of the wicked].


For my eyes are toward You, O God, the Lord;
In You I take refuge; do not pour out my life nor leave me defenseless.

Keep me from the jaws of the trap which they have set for me,
And from the snares of those who do evil.
10 
Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
While I pass by and safely escape [from danger].

Section 3 of 4

Jeremiah 3

About 4.9 Minutes

That is to say, “If a man divorces his wife
And she goes [away] from him
And becomes another man’s [wife],
Will he return to her again? [Of course not!]
Will not that land [where such a thing happened] be completely desecrated?
But you [rebelled against Me and you] are a prostitute with many lovers;
Yet you turn to Me.” says the Lord.

“Lift up your eyes to the barren heights and see;
Where have you not been violated?
You sat by the road waiting [eagerly] for them [those man-made gods]
Like an Arab [tribesman who waits to attack] in the desert,
And you have desecrated the land
With your [vile] prostitution and your wickedness (disobedience to God).

“Therefore the showers have been withheld,
And there has been no spring rain.
Yet you have the forehead (appearance) of a prostitute;
You refuse to be ashamed.

“Will you not just now call out to Me,
‘My Father, you were the guide and companion of my youth?

‘Will He be angry forever?
Will He be indignant to the end?’
Behold, you have spoken,
And you have done all the evil things [you could],
And you have had your way and have carried out your wickedness.”

Moreover, the Lord said to me in the days of Josiah the king [of Judah], “Have you seen what that faithless Israel has done—how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there she was a prostitute? I thought, ‘After she has done all these things she will return to Me’; but she did not return, and her treacherous (faithless) sister Judah saw it. And I saw [that even though Judah knew] that for all the acts of adultery (idolatry) of faithless Israel, I [the Lord] had sent her away and given her a certificate of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah was not afraid; but she went and was a prostitute also [following after idols]. Because of the thoughtlessness of Israel’s prostitution [her immorality mattered little to her], she desecrated the land and committed adultery with [idols of] stones and trees. 10 Yet in spite of all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to Me with her whole heart, but rather in [blatant] deception [she merely pretended obedience to King Josiah’s reforms],” declares the Lord.

11 And the Lord said to me, “Faithless Israel has proved herself less guilty than treacherous Judah [a land of renegades]. 12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north [where the ten tribes have been taken as captives] and say,

‘Return, faithless Israel,’ says the Lord;
‘I will not look on you in anger.
For I am gracious and merciful,’ says the Lord;
‘I will not be angry forever.
13 
‘Only understand fully and acknowledge your wickedness and guilt,
That you have rebelled (transgressed) against the Lord your God
And have scattered your favors among strangers under every green tree,
And you have not obeyed My voice,’ says the Lord.
14 
‘Return, O faithless children [of the twelve tribes],’ says the Lord,
‘For I am a master and husband to you,
And I will take you [not as a nation, but individually]—one from a city and two from a [tribal] family—
And I will bring you to Zion.’

15 “Then [in the final time] I will give you [spiritual] shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and [true] understanding. 16 It will be in those days when you have [repented and] multiplied and increased in the land,” says the Lord, “they will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the Lord.’ It will not come to mind, nor will they [seriously] remember it, nor will they miss it, nor will it be made again [for instead of the ark, which symbolized My presence, I will be present]. 17 At that time they will call Jerusalem ‘The Throne of the Lord,’ and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Jerusalem, for the name (renown) of the Lord; and they will not walk anymore after the stubbornness of their [own] evil heart. 18 In those days the house of Judah will walk with the house of Israel, and they will come together from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers as an inheritance.

19 “Then I said,

‘How [gloriously and honorably] I would set you among My children
And give you a pleasant land—a wonderful heritage,
The most beautiful inheritance of the nations!’
And I said, ‘You shall call Me, My Father
And not turn away from following Me.’
20 
“Surely, as a wife treacherously (unfaithfully) leaves her husband,
So you have dealt treacherously with Me,
O house of Israel,” says the Lord.

21 
A voice is heard on the barren heights,
The weeping and pleading of the children of Israel,
Because they have lost their way,
They have [deliberately] forgotten the Lord their God.
22 
“Return, O faithless sons,” [says the Lord],
“I will heal your unfaithfulness.”
[They answer] “Behold, we come to You,
For You are the Lord our God.
23 
“Truly, [the hope of salvation from] the hill [where idols are worshiped] is a deception,
A tumult and noisy multitude on the mountains;
Truly in the Lord our God
Is the salvation of Israel.

24 “But the shameful act [of idolatry] has consumed the labor of our fathers since our youth—their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. 25 Let us lie down in our shame, and let our dishonor and humiliation cover us; for we have sinned against the Lord our God, we and our fathers; from our youth even to this day we have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God.”

Section 4 of 4

Matthew 17

About 2.9 Minutes

17 Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John the brother of James, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And His appearance changed dramatically in their presence; and His face shone [with heavenly glory, clear and bright] like the sun, and His clothing became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Jesus. Then Peter began to speak and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good and delightful and auspicious that we are here; if You wish, I will put up three [sacred] tents here—one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased and delighted! Listen to Him!” When the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Get up, and do not be afraid.” And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone.

And as they were going down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Do not tell anyone what you have seen until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” 10 The disciples asked Him, “Then why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 11 He answered and said, “Elijah is coming and will restore all things; 12 but I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not recognize him, but did to him as they wished. The Son of Man is also going to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist.

14 When they approached the crowd, a man came up to Jesus, kneeling before Him and saying, 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic (moonstruck) and suffers terribly; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 And I brought him to Your disciples, and they were not able to heal him.” 17 And Jesus answered, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed at once.

19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and asked, “Why could we not drive it out?” 20 He answered, “Because of your little faith [your lack of trust and confidence in the power of God]; for I assure you and most solemnly say to you, if you have [living] faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and [if it is God’s will] it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21 [But this kind of demon does not go out except by prayer and fasting.]”

22 When they were gathering together in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed and handed over to men [who are His enemies]; 23 and they will kill Him, and He will be raised [from death to life] on the third day.” And they were deeply grieved and distressed.

24 When they arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the half-shekel [temple tax] went up to Peter and said, “Does not your teacher pay the half-shekel?” 25 Peter answered, “Yes.” And when he came home, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do earthly rulers collect duties or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?” 26 When Peter said, “From strangers,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are exempt [from taxation]. 27 However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take it and give it to them [to pay the temple tax] for you and Me.”


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