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Exodus 13:17-15:18

The Leading of God

17 When Pharaoh released the people, God did not lead them by the way to the land of the Philistines, although that was nearby, for God said, “Lest the people change their minds and return to Egypt when they experience war.” 18 So God brought the people around by the way of the desert to the Red Sea, and the Israelites went up from the land of Egypt prepared for battle.

19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the Israelites solemnly swear, “God will surely attend to you, and you will carry my bones up from this place with you.”

20 They journeyed from Sukkoth and camped in Etham, on the edge of the desert. 21 Now the Lord was going before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them in the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel day or night. 22 He did not remove the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night from before the people.

The Victory at the Red Sea

14 The Lord spoke to Moses: “Tell the Israelites that they must turn and camp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you are to camp by the sea before Baal Zephon opposite it. Pharaoh will think regarding the Israelites, ‘They are wandering around confused in the land—the desert has closed in on them.’ I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after them. I will gain honor because of Pharaoh and because of all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” So this is what they did.

When it was reported to the king of Egypt that the people had fled, the heart of Pharaoh and his servants was turned against the people, and the king and his servants said, “What in the world have we done? For we have released the people of Israel from serving us!” Then he prepared his chariots and took his army with him. He took six hundred select chariots, and all the rest of the chariots of Egypt, and officers on all of them.

But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he chased after the Israelites. Now the Israelites were going out defiantly. The Egyptians chased after them, and all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh and his horsemen and his army overtook them camping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, before Baal-Zephon. 10 When Pharaoh got closer, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians marching after them, and they were terrified. The Israelites cried out to the Lord, 11 and they said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the desert? What in the world have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Isn’t this what we told you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone so that we can serve the Egyptians, because it is better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!’”

13 Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord that he will provide for you today; for the Egyptians that you see today you will never, ever see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you can be still.”

15 The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 And as for you, lift up your staff and extend your hand toward the sea and divide it, so that the Israelites may go through the middle of the sea on dry ground. 17 And as for me, I am going to harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will come after them, that I may be honored because of Pharaoh and his army and his chariots and his horsemen. 18 And the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I have gained my honor because of Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”

19 The angel of God, who was going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them. 20 It came between the Egyptian camp and the Israelite camp; it was a dark cloud and it lit up the night so that one camp did not come near the other the whole night. 21 Moses stretched out his hand toward the sea, and the Lord drove the sea apart by a strong east wind all that night, and he made the sea into dry land, and the water was divided. 22 So the Israelites went through the middle of the sea on dry ground, the water forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.

23 The Egyptians chased them and followed them into the middle of the sea—all the horses of Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen. 24 In the morning watch the Lord looked down on the Egyptian army through the pillar of fire and cloud, and he threw the Egyptian army into a panic. 25 He jammed the wheels of their chariots so that they had difficulty driving, and the Egyptians said, “Let’s flee from Israel, for the Lord fights for them against Egypt!”

26 The Lord said to Moses, “Extend your hand toward the sea, so that the waters may flow back on the Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen!” 27 So Moses extended his hand toward the sea, and the sea returned to its normal state when the sun began to rise. Now the Egyptians were fleeing before it, but the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the middle of the sea. 28 The water returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen and all the army of Pharaoh that was coming after the Israelites into the sea—not so much as one of them survived! 29 But the Israelites walked on dry ground in the middle of the sea, the water forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. 30 So the Lord saved Israel on that day from the power of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the shore of the sea. 31 When Israel saw the great power that the Lord had exercised over the Egyptians, they feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.

The Song of Triumph

15 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord. They said,

“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously,
the horse and its rider he has thrown into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.
This is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
The Lord is a warrior,
the Lord is his name.
The chariots of Pharaoh and his army he has thrown into the sea,
and his chosen officers were drowned in the Red Sea.
The depths have covered them,
they went down to the bottom like a stone.
Your right hand, O Lord, was majestic in power,
your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy.
In the abundance of your majesty you have overthrown
those who rise up against you.
You sent forth your wrath;
it consumed them like stubble.
By the blast of your nostrils the waters were piled up,
the flowing water stood upright like a heap,
and the deep waters were solidified in the heart of the sea.
The enemy said, ‘I will chase, I will overtake,
I will divide the spoil;
my desire will be satisfied on them.
I will draw my sword, my hand will destroy them.’
10 But you blew with your breath, and the sea covered them.
They sank like lead in the mighty waters.
11 Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
Who is like you?—majestic in holiness, fearful in praises, working wonders?
12 You stretched out your right hand,
the earth swallowed them.
13 By your loyal love you will lead the people whom you have redeemed;
you will guide them by your strength to your holy dwelling place.
14 The nations will hear and tremble;
anguish will seize the inhabitants of Philistia.
15 Then the chiefs of Edom will be terrified,
trembling will seize the leaders of Moab,
and the inhabitants of Canaan will shake.
16 Fear and dread will fall on them;
by the greatness of your arm they will be as still as stone
until your people pass by, O Lord,
until the people whom you have bought pass by.
17 You will bring them in and plant them in the mountain of your inheritance,
in the place you made for your residence, O Lord,
the sanctuary, O Lord, that your hands have established.
18 The Lord will reign forever and ever!

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Matthew 21:23-46

The Authority of Jesus

23 Now after Jesus entered the temple courts, the chief priests and elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24 Jesus answered them, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 Where did John’s baptism come from? From heaven or from people?” They discussed this among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘From people,’ we fear the crowd, for they all consider John to be a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” Then he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

The Parable of the Two Sons

28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 The boy answered, ‘I will not.’ But later he had a change of heart and went. 30 The father went to the other son and said the same thing. This boy answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but did not go. 31 Which of the two did his father’s will?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, tax collectors and prostitutes will go ahead of you into the kingdom of God! 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him. But the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe. Although you saw this, you did not later change your minds and believe him.

The Parable of the Tenants

33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a fence around it, dug a pit for its winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and went on a journey. 34 When the harvest time was near, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his portion of the crop. 35 But the tenants seized his slaves, beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other slaves, more than the first, and they treated them the same way. 37 Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and get his inheritance!’ 39 So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40 Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 They said to him, “He will utterly destroy those evil men! Then he will lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him his portion at the harvest.”

42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures:

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
This is from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

43 For this reason I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44 The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, and the one on whom it falls will be crushed.” 45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. 46 They wanted to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowds, because the crowds regarded him as a prophet.

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Psalm 26

Psalm 26

By David.

Vindicate me, O Lord,
for I have integrity,
and I trust in the Lord without wavering.
Examine me, O Lord, and test me!
Evaluate my inner thoughts and motives!
For I am ever aware of your faithfulness,
and your loyalty continually motivates me.
I do not associate with deceitful men,
or consort with those who are dishonest.
I hate the mob of evil men,
and do not associate with the wicked.
I maintain a pure lifestyle,
so I can appear before your altar, O Lord,
to give you thanks,
and to tell about all your amazing deeds.
O Lord, I love the temple where you live,
the place where your splendor is revealed.
Do not sweep me away with sinners,
or execute me along with violent people,
10 who are always ready to do wrong
or offer a bribe.
11 But I have integrity!
Rescue me and have mercy on me!
12 I am safe,
and among the worshipers I will praise the Lord.

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Proverbs 6:16-19

16 There are six things that the Lord hates,
even seven things that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that are swift to run to evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies,
and a person who spreads discord among family members.

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New English Translation (NET)

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