Psalm 119:1-24 Living Bible (TLB)
119 Happy are all who perfectly follow the laws of God. 2 Happy are all who search for God and always do his will, 3 rejecting compromise with evil and walking only in his paths. 4 You have given us your laws to obey— 5 oh, how I want to follow them consistently. 6 Then I will not be disgraced, for I will have a clean record.
9 How can a young man stay pure? By reading your Word and following its rules. 10 I have tried my best to find you—don’t let me wander off from your instructions. 11 I have thought much about your words and stored them in my heart so that they would hold me back from sin.
12 Blessed Lord, teach me your rules. 13 I have recited your laws 14 and rejoiced in them more than in riches. 15 I will meditate upon them and give them my full respect. 16 I will delight in them and not forget them.
17 Bless me with life[c] so that I can continue to obey you. 18 Open my eyes to see wonderful things in your Word. 19 I am but a pilgrim here on earth: how I need a map—and your commands are my chart and guide. 20 I long for your instructions more than I can tell.
21 You rebuke those cursed proud ones who refuse your commands— 22 don’t let them scorn me for obeying you. 23 For even princes sit and talk against me, but I will continue in your plans. 24 Your laws are both my light and my counselors.
Deuteronomy 1:1-18 Living Bible (TLB)
1 1-5 This book records Moses’ address to the people of Israel when they were camped in the valley of the Arabah in the wilderness of Moab, east of the Jordan River. (Cities in the area included Suph, Paran, Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab.) The speech was given on February 15,[a] forty years after the people of Israel left Mount Horeb—though it takes only eleven days to travel by foot from Mount Horeb to Kadesh-barnea,* going by way of Mount Seir! At the time of this address, King Sihon of the Amorites had already been defeated at Heshbon, and King Og of Bashan had been defeated at Ashtaroth, near Edrei. Here, then, is Moses’ address to Israel, stating all the laws God had commanded him to pass on to them:
6 “It was forty years ago, at Mount Horeb, that Jehovah our God told us, ‘You have stayed here long enough. 7 Now go and occupy the hill country of the Amorites, the valley of the Arabah, and the Negeb, and all the land of Canaan and Lebanon—the entire area from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River. 8 I am giving all of it to you! Go in and possess it, for it is the land the Lord promised to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all of their descendants.’
9 “At that time I told the people, ‘I need help! You are a great burden for me to carry all by myself, 10 for the Lord has multiplied you to become as many as the stars! 11 And may he multiply you a thousand times more and bless you as he promised, 12 but what can one man do to settle all your quarrels and problems? 13 So choose some men from each tribe who are wise, experienced, and understanding, and I will appoint them as your leaders.’
14 “They agreed to this; 15 I took the men they selected, some from every tribe, and appointed them as administrative assistants in charge of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens to decide their quarrels and assist them in every way. 16 I instructed them to be perfectly fair at all times, even to foreigners. 17 ‘When giving your decisions,’ I told them, ‘never favor a man because he is rich; be fair to great and small alike. Don’t fear their displeasure, for you are judging in the place of God. Bring me any cases too difficult for you, and I will handle them.’ 18 And I gave them other instructions at that time also.
Romans 9:1-18 Living Bible (TLB)
9 1-3 O Israel, my people! O my Jewish brothers! How I long for you to come to Christ. My heart is heavy within me, and I grieve bitterly day and night because of you. Christ knows and the Holy Spirit knows that it is no mere pretense when I say that I would be willing to be forever damned if that would save you. 4 God has given you so much, but still you will not listen to him. He took you as his own special, chosen people and led you along with a bright cloud of glory and told you how very much he wanted to bless you. He gave you his rules for daily life so you would know what he wanted you to do. He let you worship him and gave you mighty promises. 5 Great men of God were your fathers, and Christ himself was one of you, a Jew so far as his human nature is concerned, he who now rules over all things. Praise God forever!
6 Well then, has God failed to fulfill his promises to the Jews? No! For these promises are only to those who are truly Jews.[a] And not everyone born into a Jewish family is truly a Jew! 7 Just the fact that they come from Abraham doesn’t make them truly Abraham’s children. For the Scriptures say that the promises apply only to Abraham’s son Isaac and Isaac’s descendants, though Abraham had other children too. 8 This means that not all of Abraham’s children are children of God, but only those who believe the promise of salvation which he made to Abraham.
9 For God had promised, “Next year I will give you and Sarah a son.” 10-13 And years later, when this son Isaac was grown up and married and Rebecca his wife was about to bear him twin children, God told her that Esau, the child born first, would be a servant to Jacob, his twin brother. In the words of the Scripture, “I chose to bless Jacob but not Esau.” And God said this before the children were even born, before they had done anything either good or bad. This proves that God was doing what he had decided from the beginning; it was not because of what the children did but because of what God wanted and chose.
14 Was God being unfair? Of course not. 15 For God had said to Moses, “If I want to be kind to someone, I will. And I will take pity on anyone I want to.” 16 And so God’s blessings are not given just because someone decides to have them or works hard to get them. They are given because God takes pity on those he wants to.
17 Pharaoh, king of Egypt, was an example of this fact. For God told him he had given him the kingdom of Egypt for the very purpose of displaying the awesome power of God against him, so that all the world would hear about God’s glorious name.[b] 18 So you see, God is kind to some just because he wants to be, and he makes some refuse to listen.
Matthew 23:27-39 Living Bible (TLB)
27 “Woe to you, Pharisees, and you religious leaders! You are like beautiful mausoleums—full of dead men’s bones, and of foulness and corruption. 28 You try to look like saintly men, but underneath those pious robes of yours are hearts besmirched with every sort of hypocrisy and sin.
29-30 “Yes, woe to you, Pharisees, and you religious leaders—hypocrites! For you build monuments to the prophets killed by your fathers and lay flowers on the graves of the godly men they destroyed, and say, ‘We certainly would never have acted as our fathers did.’
31 “In saying that, you are accusing yourselves of being the sons of wicked men. 32 And you are following in their steps, filling up the full measure of their evil. 33 Snakes! Sons of vipers! How shall you escape the judgment of hell?
34 “I will send you prophets, and wise men, and inspired writers, and you will kill some by crucifixion, and rip open the backs of others with whips in your synagogues, and hound them from city to city, 35 so that you will become guilty of all the blood of murdered godly men from righteous Abel to Zechariah (son of Barachiah), slain by you in the Temple between the altar and the sanctuary. 36 Yes, all the accumulated judgment of the centuries shall break upon the heads of this very generation.
37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones all those God sends to her! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. 38 And now your house is left to you, desolate. 39 For I tell you this, you will never see me again until you are ready to welcome the one sent to you from God.”[a]