Daily reading for Thursday, February 6, 2014
Exodus 23:14-25:40; Matthew 24:29-51; Psalms 30:1-12; Proverbs 7:24-27 (Common English Bible)
14 You should observe a festival for me three times a year. 15 Observe the Festival of Unleavened Bread, as I commanded you. Eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib,[a] because it was in that month that you came out of Egypt.
No one should appear before me empty-handed. 16 Observe the Harvest Festival for the early produce of your crops that you planted in the field, and the Gathering Festival at the end of the year, when you gather your crop of fruit from the field. 17 All your males should appear three times a year before the Lord God.
18 Don’t offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened. Don’t let the fat of my festival offering be left over until the morning.
19 Bring the best of your land’s early produce to the Lord your God’s temple.
Don’t boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.
God’s promise: messenger and land
20 I’m about to send a messenger in front of you to guard you on your way and to bring you to the place that I’ve made ready. 21 Pay attention to him and do as he says. Don’t rebel against him. He won’t forgive the things you do wrong because I[b] am with him. 22 But if you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, then I’ll be an enemy to your enemies and fight those fighting you.
23 When my messenger goes in front of you and brings you to the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I wipe them out, 24 don’t bow down to their gods, worship them, or do what they do. Instead, you should completely destroy them and smash their sacred stone pillars to bits. 25 If you worship the Lord your God, the Lord will bless your bread and your water. I’ll take sickness away from you, 26 and no woman will miscarry or be infertile in your land. I’ll let you live a full, long life. 27 My terrifying reputation will precede you, and I’ll throw all the people that you meet into a panic. I’ll make all your enemies turn their backs to you. 28 I’ll send insect swarms in front of you and drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites before you. 29 I won’t drive them out before you in a single year so the land won’t be abandoned and the wild animals won’t multiply around you. 30 I’ll drive them out before you little by little, until your numbers grow and you eventually possess the land. 31 I’ll set your borders from the Reed Sea[c] to the Philistine Sea and from the desert to the River. I’ll hand the inhabitants of the land over to you, and you will drive them out before you. 32 Don’t make any covenants with them or their gods. 33 Don’t allow them to live in your land, or else they will lead you to sin against me. If you worship their gods, it will become a dangerous trap for you.
Covenant at Sinai
24 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of Israel’s elders, and worship from a distance. 2 Only Moses may come near to the Lord. The others shouldn’t come near, while the people shouldn’t come up with him at all.”
3 Moses came and told the people all the Lord’s words and all the case laws. All the people answered in unison, “Everything that the Lord has said we will do.” 4 Moses then wrote down all the Lord’s words. He got up early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain. He set up twelve sacred stone pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 He appointed certain young Israelite men to offer entirely burned offerings and slaughter oxen as well-being sacrifices to the Lord. 6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in large bowls. The other half of the blood he threw against the altar. 7 Then he took the covenant scroll and read it out loud for the people to hear. They responded, “Everything that the Lord has said we will do, and we will obey.”
8 Moses then took the blood and threw it over the people. Moses said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord now makes with you on the basis of all these words.”
Covenant meal with God
9 Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy elders of Israel went up, 10 and they saw Israel’s God. Under God’s feet there was what looked like a floor of lapis-lazuli tiles, dazzlingly pure like the sky. 11 God didn’t harm the Israelite leaders, though they looked at God, and they ate and drank.
12 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there. I’ll give you the stone tablets with the instructions and the commandments that I’ve written in order to teach them.”
13 So Moses and his assistant Joshua got up, and Moses went up God’s mountain. 14 Moses had said to the elders, “Wait for us here until we come back to you. Aaron and Hur will be here with you. Whoever has a legal dispute may go to them.”
15 Then Moses went up the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. 16 The Lord’s glorious presence settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from the cloud. 17 To the Israelites, the Lord’s glorious presence looked like a blazing fire on top of the mountain. 18 Moses entered the cloud and went up the mountain. Moses stayed on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.
Gifts offered for the dwelling
25 The Lord said to Moses: 2 Tell the Israelites to collect gift offerings for me. Receive my gift offerings from everyone who freely wants to give. 3 These are the gift offerings that you should receive from them: gold, silver, and copper; 4 blue, purple, and deep red yarns; fine linen; goats’ hair; 5 rams’ skins dyed red; beaded leather;[d] acacia wood; 6 oil for the lamps; spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet-smelling incense; 7 gemstones; and gems for setting in the priest’s vest[e] and chest piece. 8 They should make me a sanctuary so I can be present among them. 9 You should follow the blueprints that I will show you for the dwelling and for all its equipment.
Instructions for building the chest containing the covenant
10 Have them make an acacia-wood chest. It should be forty-five inches long, twenty-seven inches wide, and twenty-seven inches high. 11 Cover it with pure gold, inside and out, and make a gold molding all around it. 12 Cast four gold rings for it and put them on its four feet, two rings on one side and two rings on the other. 13 Make acacia-wood poles and cover them with gold. 14 Then put the poles into the rings on the chest’s sides and use them to carry the chest. 15 The poles should stay in the chest’s rings. They shouldn’t be taken out of them. 16 Put the covenant document that I will give you into the chest.
17 Then make a cover of pure gold, forty-five inches long and twenty-seven inches wide. 18 Make two winged heavenly creatures of hammered gold, one for each end of the cover. 19 Put one winged heavenly creature at one end and one winged heavenly creature at the other. Place the winged heavenly creatures at the cover’s two ends. 20 The heavenly creatures should have their wings spread out above, shielding the cover with their wings. The winged heavenly creatures should face each other toward the cover’s center. 21 Put the gold cover on top of the chest and put the covenant document that I will give you inside the chest. 22 There I will meet with you. From there above the cover, from between the two winged heavenly creatures that are on top of the chest containing the covenant, I will deliver to you all that I command you concerning the Israelites.
Instructions for the table
23 Make an acacia-wood table, three feet long, eighteen inches wide, and twenty-seven inches high. 24 Cover it with pure gold and make a gold molding all around it. 25 Make a frame around it that is four inches wide and a gold molding around the frame. 26 Make four gold rings for the table. Fasten the rings to the four corners at its four legs. 27 The rings that house the poles used for carrying the table should be close to the frame. 28 Make the poles from acacia wood and cover them with gold. The table should be carried with these poles. 29 Make its plates, dishes, jars, and bowls for pouring drink offerings. Make them of pure gold. 30 Set the bread of the presence on the table so it is always in front of me.
Instructions for the lampstand
31 Make a lampstand of pure hammered gold. The lampstand’s base, branches, cups, flowers, and petals should all be attached to it. 32 It should have six branches growing out from its sides, three branches on one side of the lampstand and three branches on the other side of the lampstand. 33 One branch will have three cups shaped like almond blossoms, each with a flower and petals, and the next branch will also have three cups shaped like almond blossoms, each with a flower and petals. So it will be for the six branches that grow out of the lampstand. 34 In addition, on the lampstand itself there will be four cups shaped like almond blossoms, each with its flower and petals. 35 There will be a flower attached under the first pair of branches, a flower attached under the next pair of branches, and a flower attached under the last pair of branches. So it will be for the six branches that grow out of the lampstand. 36 Their flowers and their branches will be permanently attached to it. The whole lampstand should be one piece of pure hammered gold. 37 Make its seven lamps and set up its lamps so that they direct their light in front of the lampstand. 38 You should also make its tongs and fire pans out of pure gold. 39 All these items should be made from pure gold weighing one kikkar. 40 See to it that you make them according to the blueprint for them that you were shown on the mountain.
Coming of the Human One
29 “Now immediately after the suffering of that time the sun will become dark, and the moon won’t give its light. The stars will fall from the sky and the planets and other heavenly bodies will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Human One[a] will appear in the sky. At that time all the tribes of the earth will be full of sadness, and they will see the Human One[b] coming in the heavenly clouds[c] with power and great splendor. 31 He will send his angels with the sound of a great trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from the four corners of the earth, from one end of the sky to the other.
A lesson from the fig tree
32 “Learn this parable from the fig tree. After its branch becomes tender and it sprouts new leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 In the same way, when you see all these things, you know that the Human One[d] is near, at the door. 34 I assure you that this generation won’t pass away until all these things happen. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will certainly not pass away.
Day and hour
36 “But nobody knows when that day or hour will come, not the heavenly angels and not the Son. Only the Father knows. 37 As it was in the time of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Human One.[e] 38 In those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. 39 They didn’t know what was happening until the flood came and swept them all away. The coming of the Human One[f] will be like that. 40 At that time there will be two men in the field. One will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill. One will be taken and the other left. 42 Therefore, stay alert! You don’t know what day the Lord is coming. 43 But you understand that if the head of the house knew at what time the thief would come, he would keep alert and wouldn’t allow the thief to break into his house. 44 Therefore, you also should be prepared, because the Human One[g] will come at a time you don’t know.
Faithful and unfaithful servants
45 “Who then are the faithful and wise servants whom their master puts in charge of giving food at the right time to those who live in his house? 46 Happy are those servants whom the master finds fulfilling their responsibilities when he comes. 47 I assure you that he will put them in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose those bad servants should say to themselves, My master won’t come until later. 49 And suppose they began to beat their fellow servants and to eat and drink with the drunks? 50 The master of those servants will come on a day when they are not expecting him, at a time they couldn’t predict. 51 He will cut them in pieces and put them in a place with the hypocrites. People there will be weeping and grinding their teeth.
A psalm. A song for the temple dedication. Of David.
30 I exalt you, Lord, because you pulled me up;
you didn’t let my enemies celebrate over me.
2 Lord, my God, I cried out to you for help,
and you healed me.
3 Lord, you brought me[a] up from the grave,[b]
brought me back to life from among those going down to the pit.
4 You who are faithful to the Lord,
sing praises to him;
give thanks to his holy name!
5 His anger lasts for only a second,
but his favor lasts a lifetime.
Weeping may stay all night,
but by morning, joy!
6 When I was comfortable, I said,
“I will never stumble.”
7 Because it pleased you, Lord,
you made me a strong mountain.
But then you hid your presence.
I was terrified.
8 I cried out to you, Lord.
I begged my Lord for mercy:
9 “What is to be gained by my spilled blood,
by my going down into the pit?
Does dust thank you?
Does it proclaim your faithfulness?
10 Lord, listen and have mercy on me!
Lord, be my helper!”
11 You changed my mourning into dancing.
You took off my funeral clothes
and dressed me up in joy
12 so that my whole being
might sing praises to you and never stop.
Lord, my God, I will give thanks to you forever.
24 Now children, listen to me,
and pay attention to my speech.
25 Don’t turn your heart to her ways;
don’t wander down her paths.
26 She has caused many corpses to fall;
she has killed many people.
27 Her house is a path to the grave,[a]
going down to the chambers of death.
- Proverbs 7:27 Heb Sheol