Psalm 37:1-17 The Voice (VOICE)
A song of David.
1 Don’t be worried with evil workers
3 Believe in the Eternal, and do what is good—
5 Commit your path to the Eternal; let Him direct you.
7 Be still. Be patient. Expect the Eternal to arrive and set things right.
8 So turn from anger. Don’t rage,
10 You’ll see . . . the wicked won’t know what hit them;
12 How that wicked man devises evil against God’s righteous ones!
14 The wicked unsheathe their swords, pull taut their bows;
16 The righteous are better off with the little God blessed them with
Ruth 1:1-18 The Voice (VOICE)
1 A long time ago, when judges still ruled over Israel and the land was dried up with famine, a man from Bethlehem, which ironically means “place of bread,” left his home in Judah to live as a foreigner in the land of Moab. He traveled with his wife and their two sons. 2 His name was Elimelech, and his wife was Naomi; their two sons were called Mahlon and Chilion. They were descendants of Ephraim’s tribe from Bethlehem in Judah. They had settled and made lives for themselves in Moab, 3 but soon after, Elimelech died leaving Naomi in the care of her sons. 4 Each son married a woman from Moab—one was named Orpah, the other Ruth—and they lived together for 10 years 5 before Mahlon and Chilion died also. Naomi was left alone, without her husband and two sons.
6-7 Word had reached Moab that the Eternal One had once again brought life back to the land of Israel and blessed His people with food. Naomi prepared to return with her daughters-in-law. With Orpah and Ruth at her side, she began her journey back to Judah, leaving the place where she had lived.
Naomi (to Orpah and Ruth): 8 You have accompanied me far enough; you must both return to Moab. Go home to your mothers’ care and your people. May the Eternal show His loyal love to you just as you demonstrated it to my dead sons and me. 9 I hope He will bring you new husbands and that you will find the rest you deserve in their homes.
She drew close, kissed them, and turned to go on her way, alone. But Orpah and Ruth wailed and sobbed, crying out to her.
Orpah and Ruth: 10 Do not leave us! We insist you take us with you to live with you and your people.
Naomi: 11 Go back to your homes, my daughters. What possible reason would you have for returning with me? Do you think there are more sons inside of me? Will you marry these unborn sons? 12 Listen to me, daughters, and go back. I am too old; I will not marry again because I cannot conceive. But even if I could—if I still believed there was hope for me, or if I had a husband and conceived sons tonight— 13 would you waste a lifetime waiting for them to grow up? Would you let this hope for the future keep you from remarrying now? Of course not, my dear daughters. It is obvious that the Eternal has acted against me. My life is much too bitter for you to share with me.
14 At this Orpah and Ruth wailed and wept again. Then Orpah kissed Naomi, said goodbye, and returned the way she had come. Yet Ruth refused to let go of Naomi.
Naomi: 15 Look at your sister-in-law. She has returned to live with her people and to worship her gods; go and follow her.
16 Ruth: Stop pushing me away,
18 When Naomi heard this and saw Ruth’s resolve, she stopped trying to talk her out of returning to Judah.
Philemon The Voice (VOICE)
1 Paul, a prisoner of Jesus the Anointed One, with our brother Timothy, to you, beloved Philemon, our fellow worker; and 2 to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church that gathers in your house. 3 May grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus the Anointed surround you.
4 I am constantly thanking God for you in my prayers 5 because I keep hearing about your love and faith toward our Lord Jesus and all those set apart for His purposes. Here’s what I’ve been praying on your behalf:
6 Thank You, Father, for Philemon. I pray that as he goes and tells his story of faith, he would tell everyone so that they will know for certain all the good that comes to those who put their trust in the Anointed One.
7 My brother, because you are out there encouraging and reviving the hearts of fellow saints with such love, this brings great joy and comfort to me.
8 Although I am bold enough in the Anointed, our Liberating King, to insist you do the right thing, 9 instead I choose to appeal to you on account of love. I do this for my own sake since I, Paul, am an old man and am held prisoner because of my service to Jesus the Anointed. 10 I make this request on behalf of my child, Onesimus,[a] whom I brought to faith during my time in prison. 11 Before, he was useless to you; but now he is useful to both you and me. 12 Listen, I am sending my heart back to you as I send him to stand before you, although truly 13 I wished to keep him at my side to take your place as my helper while I am bound for the good news. 14 But I didn’t want to make this decision without asking for your permission. This way, any goodwill on your part wouldn’t be seen as forced, but as your true and free desire.
15 Maybe this is the reason why he was supposed to be away from you for this time: so that now you will have him back forever— 16 no longer as a slave, but as more than a slave—as a dear brother. Yes, he is dear to me, but I suspect he will come to mean even more to you, both in the flesh as a servant and in the Lord as a brother.
The gospel is a powerful social force for good, capable of making rich and poor, slave and free into beloved brothers.
17 So if you look upon me as your partner in this mission, then I ask you to open your heart to him as you would welcome me. 18 And if he has wronged you or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19 Look, I’ll put it here in my own handwriting: I, Paul, promise to repay you everything. (Should I remind you that you owe me your life?) 20 Indeed, brother, I want you to do me this favor out of obedience to our Lord. It will refresh my heart in Him. 21 This letter comes, written with the confidence that you will not only do what I ask, but will also go beyond all I have asked.
22 One more thing: you should get a room ready for me as I hope to be released to you soon in answer to your prayers. 23 Epaphras (my fellow prisoner in Jesus, the Anointed One) greets you, 24 as well as my fellow workers Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke.
25 May the grace of the Lord Jesus the Anointed be with your spirit. [Amen.][b]