Numbers 7-8 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
The Leaders Bring Gifts to the Sacred Tent
7 When Moses had finished setting up the sacred tent, he dedicated it to the Lord, together with its furnishings, the altar, and its equipment. 2 Then the twelve tribal leaders of Israel, the same men who had been in charge of counting the people,[a] came to the tent 3 with gifts for the Lord. They brought six strong carts and twelve oxen—one ox from each leader and a cart from every two.
4 The Lord said to Moses, 5 “Accept these gifts, so the Levites can use them here at the sacred tent for carrying the sacred things.”
6 Then Moses took the carts and oxen and gave them to the Levites, 7-8 who were under the leadership of Ithamar son of Aaron. Moses gave two carts and four oxen to the Gershonites for their work, and four carts and eight oxen to the Merarites for their work. 9 But Moses did not give any to the Kohathites, because they were in charge of the sacred objects that had to be carried on their shoulders.
10 On the day the altar was dedicated, the twelve leaders brought offerings for its dedication. 11 The Lord said to Moses, “Each day one leader is to give his offering for the dedication.”
12-83 So each leader brought the following gifts:
a silver bowl that weighed over three pounds and a silver sprinkling bowl weighing almost two pounds, both of them filled with flour and olive oil as grain sacrifices and weighed according to the official standards;
a small gold dish filled with incense;
a young bull, a full-grown ram, and a year-old ram as sacrifices to please the Lord;[b]
a goat[c] as a sacrifice for sin;
and two bulls, five full-grown rams, five goats, and five rams a year old as sacrifices to ask the Lord’s blessing.[d]
The tribal leaders brought their gifts and offerings in the following order:
On the first day
84-88 And so when the altar was dedicated to the Lord, these twelve leaders brought the following gifts:
twelve silver bowls and twelve silver sprinkling bowls, weighing a total of about sixty pounds, according to the official standards;
twelve gold dishes filled with incense and weighing about three pounds;
twelve bulls, twelve full-grown rams, and twelve rams a year old as sacrifices to please the Lord, along with the proper grain sacrifices;
twelve goats as sacrifices for sin;
and twenty-four bulls, sixty full-grown rams, sixty goats, and sixty rams a year old as sacrifices to ask the Lord’s blessing.
89 Whenever Moses needed to talk with the Lord, he went into the sacred tent, where he heard the Lord’s voice coming from between the two winged creatures above the lid of the sacred chest.
Aaron Puts the Gold Lamps in Place
8 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Tell Aaron to put the seven lamps on the lampstand so they shine toward the front.”
3 Aaron obeyed and placed the lamps as he was told. 4 The lampstand was made of hammered gold from its base to the decorative flowers on top, exactly like the pattern the Lord had described to Moses.
Instructions for Ordaining the Levites
5 The Lord said to Moses:
6 The Levites must be acceptable to me before they begin working at the sacred tent. So separate them from the rest of the Israelites 7 and sprinkle them with the water that washes away their sins. Then have them shave their entire bodies and wash their clothes.
8 They are to bring a bull and its proper grain sacrifice of flour mixed with olive oil. And they must bring a second bull as a sacrifice for sin.
9 Then you, Moses, will call together all the people of Israel and have the Levites go to my sacred tent, 10 where the people will place their hands on them. 11 Aaron will present the Levites to me as a gift from the people, so that the Levites will do my work.
12 After this, the Levites are to place their hands on the heads of the bulls. Then one of the bulls will be sacrificed for the forgiveness of sin, and the other to make sure that I am pleased. 13 The Levites will stand at my altar in front of Aaron and his sons, who will then dedicate the Levites to me.
14 This ceremony will show that the Levites are different from the other Israelites and belong to me in a special way. 15 After they have been made acceptable and have been dedicated, they will be allowed to work at my sacred tent. 16 They are mine and will take the place of the first-born Israelite sons. 17 When I killed the oldest sons of the Egyptians, I decided that the first-born sons in each Israelite family would be mine, as well as every first-born male from their flocks and herds. 18 But now I have chosen these Levites as substitutes for the first-born sons, 19 and I have given them as gifts to Aaron and his sons to serve at the sacred tent. I will hold them responsible for what happens to anyone who gets too close to the sacred tent.[e]
The Levites Are Dedicated to the Lord
20 Moses, Aaron, and the other Israelites made sure that the Levites did everything the Lord had commanded. 21 The Levites sprinkled themselves with the water of forgiveness and washed their clothes. Then Aaron brought them to the altar and offered sacrifices to forgive their sins and make them acceptable to the Lord. 22 After this, the Levites worked at the sacred tent as assistants to Aaron and his sons, just as the Lord had commanded.
23 The Lord also told Moses, 24-25 “Levites who are between the ages of twenty-five and fifty can work at my sacred tent. But once they turn fifty, they must retire. 26 They may help the other Levites in their duties, but they must no longer be responsible for any work themselves. Remember this when you assign their duties.”
Mark 4:21-41 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
21 Jesus also said:
You don’t light a lamp and put it under a clay pot or under a bed. Don’t you put a lamp on a lampstand? 22 There is nothing hidden that will not be made public. There is no secret that will not be well known. 23 If you have ears, pay attention!
24 Listen carefully to what you hear! The way you treat others will be the way you will be treated—and even worse. 25 Everyone who has something will be given more. But people who don’t have anything will lose what little they have.
Another Story about Seeds
26 Again Jesus said:
God’s kingdom is like what happens when a farmer scatters seed in a field. 27 The farmer sleeps at night and is up and around during the day. Yet the seeds keep sprouting and growing, and he doesn’t understand how. 28 It is the ground that makes the seeds sprout and grow into plants that produce grain. 29 Then when harvest season comes and the grain is ripe, the farmer cuts it with a sickle.[a]
A Mustard Seed
30 Finally, Jesus said:
What is God’s kingdom like? What story can I use to explain it? 31 It is like what happens when a mustard seed is planted in the ground. It is the smallest seed in all the world. 32 But once it is planted, it grows larger than any garden plant. It even puts out branches that are big enough for birds to nest in its shade.
The Reason for Teaching with Stories
33 Jesus used many other stories when he spoke to the people, and he taught them as much as they could understand. 34 He did not tell them anything without using stories. But when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them.
35 That evening, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the east side.” 36 So they left the crowd, and his disciples started across the lake with him in the boat. Some other boats followed along. 37 Suddenly a windstorm struck the lake. Waves started splashing into the boat, and it was about to sink.
38 Jesus was in the back of the boat with his head on a pillow, and he was asleep. His disciples woke him and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re about to drown?”
39 Jesus got up and ordered the wind and the waves to be quiet. The wind stopped, and everything was calm.
40 Jesus asked his disciples, “Why were you afraid? Don’t you have any faith?”
41 Now they were more afraid than ever and said to each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
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