July 7, 2024

Section 1 of 4

Joshua 10

About 4.8 Minutes

Adoni-Zedek, king of Jerusalem, heard how Joshua captured Ai and annihilated it and its king as he did Jericho and its king. He also heard how the people of Gibeon made peace with Israel and lived among them. All Jerusalem was terrified because Gibeon was a large city, like one of the royal cities. It was larger than Ai and all its men were warriors. So King Adoni-Zedek of Jerusalem sent this message to King Hoham of Hebron, King Piram of Jarmuth, King Japhia of Lachish, and King Debir of Eglon: “Come to my aid so we can attack Gibeon, for it has made peace with Joshua and the Israelites.” So the five Amorite kings (the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon) and all their troops gathered together and advanced. They deployed their troops and fought against Gibeon.

The men of Gibeon sent this message to Joshua at the camp in Gilgal, “Do not abandon your subjects! Come up here quickly and rescue us! Help us! For all the Amorite kings living in the hill country are attacking us.” So Joshua and his whole army, including the bravest warriors, marched up from Gilgal. The Lord told Joshua, “Don’t be afraid of them, for I am handing them over to you. Not one of them can resist you.” Joshua attacked them by surprise after marching all night from Gilgal. 10 The Lord routed them before Israel. Israel thoroughly defeated them at Gibeon. They chased them up the road to the pass of Beth Horon and struck them down all the way to Azekah and Makkedah. 11 As they fled from Israel on the slope leading down from Beth Horon, the Lord threw down on them large hailstones from the sky, all the way to Azekah. They died—in fact, more died from the hailstones than the Israelites killed with the sword.

12 The day the Lord delivered the Amorites over to the Israelites, Joshua prayed to the Lord before Israel:

“O sun, stand still over Gibeon;
O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon!”

13 The sun stood still and the moon stood motionless while the nation took vengeance on its enemies. The event is recorded in the Scroll of the Upright One. The sun stood motionless in the middle of the sky and did not set for about a full day. 14 There has not been a day like it before or since. The Lord listened to a human being, for the Lord fought for Israel! 15 Then Joshua and all Israel returned to the camp at Gilgal.

16 The five Amorite kings ran away and hid in the cave at Makkedah. 17 Joshua was told, “The five kings have been found hiding in the cave at Makkedah.” 18 Joshua said, “Roll large stones over the mouth of the cave and post guards in front of it. 19 But don’t you delay! Chase your enemies and catch them. Don’t allow them to retreat to their cities, for the Lord your God is handing them over to you.” 20 Joshua and the Israelites almost totally wiped them out, but some survivors did escape to the fortified cities. 21 Then the whole army safely returned to Joshua at the camp in Makkedah. No one dared threaten the Israelites. 22 Joshua said, “Open the cave’s mouth and bring the five kings out of the cave to me.” 23 They did as ordered; they brought the five kings out of the cave to him—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon. 24 When they brought the kings out to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the commanders of the troops who accompanied him, “Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So they came up and put their feet on their necks. 25 Then Joshua said to them, “Don’t be afraid and don’t panic! Be strong and brave, for the Lord will do the same thing to all your enemies you fight.” 26 Then Joshua executed them and hung them on five trees. They were left hanging on the trees until evening. 27 At sunset Joshua ordered his men to take them down from the trees. They threw them into the cave where they had hidden and piled large stones over the mouth of the cave. (They remain to this very day.)

28 That day Joshua captured Makkedah and put the sword to it and its king. He annihilated everyone who lived in it; he left no survivors. He did to its king what he had done to the king of Jericho.

29 Joshua and all Israel marched from Makkedah to Libnah and fought against it. 30 The Lord handed it and its king over to Israel, and Israel put the sword to all who lived there; they left no survivors. They did to its king what they had done to the king of Jericho.

31 Joshua and all Israel marched from Libnah to Lachish. He deployed his troops and fought against it. 32 The Lord handed Lachish over to Israel, and they captured it on the second day. They put the sword to all who lived there, just as they had done to Libnah. 33 Then King Horam of Gezer came up to help Lachish, but Joshua struck him down, as well as his army, until no survivors remained.

34 Joshua and all Israel marched from Lachish to Eglon. They deployed troops and fought against it. 35 That day they captured it and put the sword to all who lived there. That day they annihilated it just as they had done to Lachish.

36 Joshua and all Israel marched up from Eglon to Hebron and fought against it. 37 They captured it and put the sword to its king, all its surrounding cities, and all who lived in it; they left no survivors. As they had done at Eglon, they annihilated it and all who lived there.

38 Joshua and all Israel turned to Debir and fought against it. 39 They captured it, its king, and all its surrounding cities and put the sword to them. They annihilated everyone who lived there; they left no survivors. They did to Debir and its king what they had done to Libnah and its king and to Hebron.

40 Joshua defeated the whole land, including the hill country, the Negev, the foothills, the slopes, and all their kings. He left no survivors. He annihilated everything that breathed, just as the Lord God of Israel had commanded. 41 Joshua conquered the area between Kadesh Barnea and Gaza and the whole region of Goshen, all the way to Gibeon. 42 Joshua captured in one campaign all these kings and their lands, for the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel. 43 Then Joshua and all Israel returned to the camp at Gilgal.

Section 2 of 4

Psalms 142-143

About 2.6 Minutes

To the Lord I cry out;
to the Lord I plead for mercy.
I pour out my lament before him;
I tell him about my troubles.
Even when my strength leaves me,
you watch my footsteps.
In the path where I walk
they have hidden a trap for me.
Look to the right and see.
No one cares about me.
I have nowhere to run;
no one is concerned about my life.
I cry out to you, O Lord;
I say, “You are my shelter,
my security in the land of the living.”
Listen to my cry for help,
for I am in serious trouble.
Rescue me from those who chase me,
for they are stronger than I am.
Free me from prison,
that I may give thanks to your name.
Because of me the godly will assemble,
for you will vindicate me.

O Lord, hear my prayer.
Pay attention to my plea for help.
Because of your faithfulness and justice, answer me.
Do not sit in judgment on your servant,
for no one alive is innocent before you.
Certainly my enemies chase me.
They smash me into the ground.
They force me to live in dark regions,
like those who have been dead for ages.
My strength leaves me;
I am absolutely shocked.
I recall the old days.
I meditate on all you have done;
I reflect on your accomplishments.
I spread my hands out to you in prayer;
my soul thirsts for you in a parched land. (Selah)
Answer me quickly, Lord.
My strength is fading.
Do not reject me,
or I will join those descending into the grave.
May I hear about your loyal love in the morning,
for I trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
because I long for you.
Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord.
I run to you for protection.
10 Teach me to do what pleases you,
for you are my God.
May your kind presence
lead me into a level land.
11 O Lord, for the sake of your reputation, revive me.
Because of your justice, rescue me from trouble.
12 As a demonstration of your loyal love, destroy my enemies.
Annihilate all who threaten my life,
for I am your servant.

Section 3 of 4

Jeremiah 4

About 5.9 Minutes

“If you, Israel, want to come back,” says the Lord,

“if you want to come back to me,
you must get those disgusting idols out of my sight
and must no longer go astray.
You must be truthful, honest, and upright
when you take an oath saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives!’
If you do, the nations will pray to be as blessed by him as you are
and will make him the object of their boasting.”
Yes, this is what the Lord has said
to the people of Judah and Jerusalem:
“Break up your unplowed ground, do not cast seeds among thorns.
Commit yourselves to the Lord;
dedicate your hearts to me
people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Otherwise, my anger will blaze up like a flaming fire against you
that no one will be able to extinguish.
That will happen because of the evil you have done.”

The Lord said,

“Announce this in Judah and proclaim it in Jerusalem:
‘Sound the trumpet throughout the land!’
Shout out loudly,
‘Gather together! Let us flee into the fortified cities!’
Raise a signal flag that tells people to go to Zion.
Run for safety! Do not delay!
For I am about to bring disaster out of the north.
It will bring great destruction.
Like a lion that has come up from its lair
the one who destroys nations has set out from his home base.
He is coming out to lay your land waste.
Your cities will become ruins and lie uninhabited.
So put on sackcloth!
Mourn and wail, saying,
‘The fierce anger of the Lord
has not turned away from us!’
When this happens,” says the Lord,
“the king and his officials will lose their courage.
The priests will be struck with horror,
and the prophets will be speechless in astonishment.”

10 In response to all this I said, “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have surely allowed the people of Judah and Jerusalem to be deceived by those who say, ‘You will be safe!’ But in fact a sword is already at our throats.”

11 At that time the people of Judah and Jerusalem will be told,
“A scorching wind will sweep down
from the hilltops in the wilderness on my dear people.
It will not be a gentle breeze
for winnowing the grain and blowing away the chaff.
12 No, a wind too strong for that will come at my bidding.
Yes, even now I, myself, am calling down judgment on them.
13 Look! The enemy is approaching like gathering clouds.
The roar of his chariots is like that of a whirlwind.
His horses move more swiftly than eagles.”
I cry out, “We are doomed, for we will be destroyed!”
14 O people of Jerusalem, purify your hearts from evil
so that you may yet be delivered.
How long will you continue to harbor up
wicked schemes within you?
15 For messengers are coming, heralding disaster,
from the city of Dan and from the hills of Ephraim.
16 They are saying,
“Announce to the surrounding nations,
‘The enemy is coming!’
Proclaim this message to Jerusalem:
‘Those who besiege cities are coming from a distant land.
They are ready to raise the battle cry against the towns in Judah.’
17 They will surround Jerusalem
like men guarding a field
because they have rebelled against me,”
says the Lord.
18 “The way you have lived and the things you have done
will bring this on you.
This is the punishment you deserve, and it will be painful indeed.
The pain will be so bad it will pierce your heart.”

19 I said,

“Oh, the feeling in the pit of my stomach!
I writhe in anguish.
Oh, the pain in my heart!
My heart pounds within me.
I cannot keep silent.
For I hear the sound of the trumpet;
the sound of the battle cry pierces my soul!
20 I see one destruction after another taking place,
so that the whole land lies in ruins.
I see our tents suddenly destroyed,
their curtains torn down in a mere instant.
21 How long must I see the enemy’s battle flags
and hear the military signals of their bugles?”

22 The Lord answered,

“This will happen because my people are foolish.
They do not know me.
They are like children who have no sense.
They have no understanding.
They are skilled at doing evil.
They do not know how to do good.”
23 I looked at the land and saw that it was an empty wasteland.

I looked up at the sky, and its light had vanished.
24 I looked at the mountains and saw that they were shaking.
All the hills were swaying back and forth!
25 I looked and saw that there were no more people
and that all the birds in the sky had flown away.
26 I looked and saw that the fruitful land had become a desert
and that all the cities had been laid in ruins.
The Lord had brought this all about
because of his blazing anger.
27 All this will happen because the Lord said,
“The whole land will be desolate;
however, I will not completely destroy it.
28 Because of this the land will mourn
and the sky above will grow black.
For I have made my purpose known,
and I will not relent or turn back from carrying it out.”
29 At the sound of the approaching horsemen and archers
the people of every town will flee.
Some of them will hide in the thickets.
Others will climb up among the rocks.
All the cities will be deserted.
No one will remain in them.
30 And you, Zion, city doomed to destruction,
you accomplish nothing by wearing a beautiful dress,
decking yourself out in jewels of gold,
and putting on eye shadow!
You are making yourself beautiful for nothing.
Your lovers spurn you.
They want to kill you.
31 In fact, I hear a cry like that of a woman in labor,
a cry of anguish like that of a woman giving birth to her first baby.
It is the cry of Daughter Zion gasping for breath,
reaching out for help, saying, “I am done in!
My life is ebbing away before these murderers!”

Section 4 of 4

Matthew 18

About 3.3 Minutes

At that time the disciples came to Jesus saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, had him stand among them, and said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn around and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven! Whoever then humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a child like this in my name welcomes me.

“But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a huge millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the open sea. Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! It is necessary that stumbling blocks come, but woe to the person through whom they come. If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into fiery hell.

10 “See that you do not disdain one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. 12 What do you think? If someone owns a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go look for the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14 In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that one of these little ones be lost.

15 “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault when the two of you are alone. If he listens to you, you have regained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others with you, so that at the testimony of two or three witnesses every matter may be established. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. If he refuses to listen to the church, treat him like a Gentile or a tax collector.

18 “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you release on earth will have been released in heaven. 19 Again, I tell you the truth, if two of you on earth agree about whatever you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. 20 For where two or three are assembled in my name, I am there among them.”

21 Then Peter came to him and said, “Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother who sins against me? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, I tell you, but seventy-seven times!

23 “For this reason, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 As he began settling his accounts, a man who owed 10,000 talents was brought to him. 25 Because he was not able to repay it, the lord ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, children, and whatever he possessed, and repayment to be made. 26 Then the slave threw himself to the ground before him, saying, ‘Be patient with me, and I will repay you everything.’ 27 The lord had compassion on that slave and released him, and forgave him the debt. 28 After he went out, that same slave found one of his fellow slaves who owed him 100 silver coins. So he grabbed him by the throat and started to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ 29 Then his fellow slave threw himself down and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will repay you.’ 30 But he refused. Instead, he went out and threw him in prison until he repaid the debt. 31 When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were very upset and went and told their lord everything that had taken place. 32 Then his lord called the first slave and said to him, ‘Evil slave! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me! 33 Should you not have shown mercy to your fellow slave, just as I showed it to you?’ 34 And in anger his lord turned him over to the prison guards to torture him until he repaid all he owed. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to you, if each of you does not forgive your brother from your heart.”

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