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Deuteronomy 5-6

Moses: Listen, Israel, as I proclaim these rules and decrees directly to you today! Learn them, and put them into practice. The Eternal our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. The Eternal didn’t make that covenant just with our parents; He also made it with all of us who are alive here today, because we were included in the covenant when He made it with them. The Eternal tried to talk to you directly at that mountain from inside the fire that rose up into the sky. But you were afraid of the fire and wouldn’t go up the mountain, so I stood between you and the Eternal and told you what He was saying.

Eternal One (speaking to the people of Israel through Moses): I am the Eternal. I am your True God. I led you out of Egypt where you were slaves.

You are to worship no other gods before me—My presence is enough.

You are not to make idols of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or down in the sea. You are not to bow down in worship of any images of other gods, for I am the Eternal your God. I am jealous for worship, bringing punishment on you and your children to come, even down to your great-grandchildren, to whoever hates Me. 10 Instead, those who obey My commands and truly love Me will receive My loyal love endlessly, even for a thousand generations.

11 You are to not use My name lightly or flippantly or as a curse. I will punish anyone who treats My name as anything less than sacred.

12 You and your family are to honor the Sabbath by setting it aside for the Lord your God. Make sure it remains holy, just as I commanded you. 13 You should do all of your work in six days, and 14 on the seventh—the Sabbath—do not do any work. This goes for you, your sons, your daughters, your male and female servants, your oxen and donkeys and cattle, and foreign travelers staying at your house. My Sabbath rest is for all to enjoy. 15 Remember what it was like when you were a slave in Egypt. Then with overwhelming power I brought you out of there. That’s why I have commanded you to observe the Sabbath each week.

16 Honor your father and mother,[a] as I have commanded you. If you do, you will be blessed with long life and all will go well for you as you live on the ground I am giving you.[b]

17 You must never murder anyone.

18 You must never commit adultery.[c]

19 You must never steal.

20 You must never lie when you’re called to give testimony about another person.[d]

21 Never look at someone else’s wife and wish you could have her. Never look at anything that belongs to someone else and wish it was yours—his house, field, male or female slave, ox, donkey, or anything else he owns.

Moses (summarizing): 22 When all of you were gathered at the mountain, the Eternal told you these things in a loud voice, speaking from inside the fire while dark clouds and mist obscured your view, and He added nothing more. He engraved two copies of them on two stone tablets and gave them to me. 23 Then all of your tribal representatives and elders approached me because you were so afraid when you heard His voice coming from the darkness, as the mountain blazed with fire. 24 They told me what you were saying: “Today the Eternal our God has displayed His glory and power, and we’ve heard His voice from inside that fire. We see that God can speak to mortals, and they can survive! 25 But if we keep listening to the voice of the Eternal, our True God, that huge fire is going to burn us up, and we’ll die! Why should we let that happen? 26 Who on earth has ever heard the voice of the living God speaking from inside a flame, as we just did, and survived? 27 You, go up and listen to everything the Eternal our God is saying, and then come tell us everything He tells you. We’ll listen, and we’ll obey.”

28 The Eternal heard everything you said when you told me this. He responded to me, “I’ve heard what the people told you. They have a good idea! 29 I wish they would always think this way—that they would fear Me and keep all My commands. Then everything would go well for them and their children forever. 30 Tell them they can return to their tents, and I will speak solely through you. 31 But you are to stand here by Me; and I’ll tell you all the commands, rules, and judgments I want you to teach them to follow in the land I’m giving them to live in.”

Moses deals with God directly because the people are simply too terrified of the Lord! These well-known Ten Directives or Commandments teach broad principles for godly life and relationships by presenting specific rules meant to be applied more widely, through thoughtful reflection. There are ten because this is the “human” number in the Bible—people ordinarily have ten fingers and ten toes. But our moral reflection is not supposed to be limited only to the ten areas considered here. The same principles of right relationship illustrated in these areas can be carried into all other areas of human life. The genius of the instruction here is that it’s brief enough to be carved on a stone tablet a person can carry or to be remembered when looking at one’s fingers or toes, but it has implications that are limitless.

Moses: 32 So be very careful to do what the Eternal your God commanded you! Don’t turn to the right or to the left; 33 stay on the path the Eternal your God has marked out for you. That way you won’t die, everything will go well for you, and you’ll live a long time in the land that’s going to be your territory.

Moses: The Eternal your God commanded me to teach you these rules and judgments so that you would obey them in the land that is yours when you cross the Jordan. You are to fear Him and obey His rules and commands, just as I’m teaching them to you now. Do this your whole lives—you, your children and your grandchildren—and you’ll live in the land a long time. Yes, Israel, if you pay careful attention and obey, everything will go well for you in that land flowing with milk and honey; and you’ll have many, many descendants just as the Eternal, the God of your ancestors, promised you.

The phrase “a land flowing with milk and honey” is certainly metaphorical. Moses doesn’t mean that the rivers and streams of the promised land literally flow with milk and honey rather than with water. But he does want the people to have such a picture in their minds. He wants them to know they will be leaving behind the nomadic, foraging existence they have known in the wilderness. They will settle in a new land where their cattle will be well fed and will be able to provide them with milk in abundance. They will have the freedom to pursue even more discretionary activities since date honey would seep out of the trees without needing cultivating. God’s promise isn’t just that they will possess the land but that they will find rest, abundance, and health in it.

Moses: Listen, Israel! The Eternal is our True God—He alone. You should love Him, your True God, with all your heart and soul, with every ounce of your strength.[e] Make the things I’m commanding you today part of who you are. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you’re sitting together in your home and when you’re walking together down the road. Make them the last thing you talk about before you go to bed and the first thing you talk about the next morning. Do whatever it takes to remember them: tie a reminder on your hand and bind a reminder on your forehead where you’ll see it all the time, such as on the doorpost where you cross the threshold or on the city gate.

10 The Eternal your God promised your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that He would give you this land. When He brings you into it, you’ll live in beautiful and spacious cities you didn’t build. 11 You’ll have houses filled with good things waiting for you—cisterns to hold water already dug out of the rock for you, and vineyards and olive orchards that you didn’t plant. You’ll have all you want to eat and more. 12 When this happens, be very, very careful! Don’t forget it was the Eternal who brought you out of Egypt, where you were slaves. 13 Worship Him, your True God, and serve Him and swear oaths only in His name.[f] 14 Don’t become devoted to any of the gods the people around you worship. 15 The Eternal your God is living right among you, and He’s a jealous God. He would become furious if you were unfaithful to Him—He’d wipe you off the face of the earth!

16 Don’t put the Eternal, your True God, to the test[g] the way you did back at Massah.

Massah is a bittersweet memory for the Israelites. The people have complained and grumbled against the Eternal and actually prefer Egyptian bondage or even death to following God in the desert, but the Lord shows up and brings water out of rocks!

Moses: 17 Carefully obey the commands, rules, and precedents the Eternal, your True God, has given you. 18 Do the things He considers right and good. Then everything will go well for you, and you’ll go and live in the good land He promised to your ancestors. 19 The Eternal will drive out all of your enemies, just as He said He would.

20 You’ll have conversations about this with your children in the future, and this is how they should go:

Child: What are these precedents and rules and judgments the Eternal our God commanded you to obey?

Parents (to your child): 21 We used to be slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, but then the Eternal delivered us with overwhelming power. 22 He sent amazing and awful signs and omens to torment the Egyptians, Pharaoh, and his royal court—right before our eyes! 23 He brought us out of there so He could bring us here and give us the land He promised to our ancestors. 24 He commanded us to remember all these rules to show that we fear Him, our God, so that things will always go well for us and so that we can keep living here as we are now. 25 If we carefully obey everything the Eternal our God has commanded us, then we’ll be living as we should, in righteousness and in right relationship with Him.

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Luke 7:11-35

11 It wasn’t long after this when Jesus entered a city called Nain. Again all of His disciples accompanied Him, along with a huge crowd. 12 He was coming near the gate of the city as a corpse was being carried out. This man was the only child and support of his widowed mother, and she was accompanied by a large funeral crowd.

13 As soon as the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her.

Jesus: Don’t weep.

14 Then He came to the stretcher, and those carrying it stood still.

Jesus: Young man, listen! Get up!

15 The dead man immediately sat up and began talking. Jesus presented him to his mother, 16 and everyone was both shocked and jubilant. They praised God.

Funeral Crowd: A tremendous prophet has arisen in our midst! God has visited His people!

17 News of Jesus spread across the whole province of Judea and beyond to the surrounding regions. 18 When these reports reached John’s disciples, they brought news to John himself, who was known for his preaching and ritual cleansing.[a] 19 John sent two of his disciples to ask the Lord, “Are You the Promised One, or shall we keep looking for someone else?”

20 They came to Jesus and asked their question exactly as directed by John the Baptist.

21 Before He answered John’s messengers, Jesus cured many from various diseases, health conditions, and evil spirits. He even caused many blind people to regain their sight.

Jesus (to John’s disciples): 22 Go and tell John what you’ve witnessed with your own eyes and ears: the blind are seeing again, the lame are walking again, the lepers are clean again, the deaf hear again, the dead live again, and good news is preached to the poor.[b] 23 Whoever is not offended by Me is blessed indeed.

24 When John’s messengers left, Jesus talked to the crowds about John.

Jesus: When you went out into the wilderness to see John, what were you expecting? A reed shaking in the wind? 25 What were you looking for? A man in expensive clothing? Look, if you were looking for fancy clothes and luxurious living, you went to the wrong place—you should have gone to the kings’ courts, not to the wilderness! 26 What were you seeking? A prophet? Ah yes, that’s what John is, and even more than a prophet. 27 The prophet Malachi was talking about John when he wrote,

    I will send My messenger before You,
        to clear Your path in front of You.[c]

28 Listen, there is no human being greater than this man, John the Baptist. Yet even the least significant person in the coming kingdom of God is greater than John.

29 The common people and tax collectors heard God’s own wisdom in Jesus’ assessment of John because they had been ritually cleansed through baptism by John. 30 But the Pharisees and religious scholars hardened their hearts and turned their backs on God’s purposes for them because they had refused John’s baptism.[d]

Jesus: 31 The people of this generation—what are they like? To what can they be compared? 32 I’ll tell you: they’re like spoiled kids sitting in the marketplace playing games, calling out,

    We played the pipes for you,
        but you didn’t dance to our tune!
    We cried like mourners,
        but you didn’t cry with us!

33 You can’t win with this generation. John the Baptist comes along, fasting and abstaining from wine, and you say, “This guy is demon-possessed!” 34 The Son of Man comes along, feasting and drinking wine, and you say, “This guy is a glutton and a drunk, a friend of scoundrels and tax collectors!” 35 Well, wisdom’s true children know wisdom when they hear it.

Footnotes:

  1. 7:18 Literally, immersing, to show repentance
  2. 7:22 Isaiah 29:18; 35:5–6
  3. 7:27 Malachi 3:1
  4. 7:30 Literally, immersed, to show repentance
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Psalm 68:19-35

19 Blessed be the Lord
    who carries our heavy loads every day,
    the True God who is our salvation.

[pause]

20 We know our God is the God who delivers us,
    and the Eternal, the Lord, is the One who saves us from the grip of death.

21 The True God will certainly shatter the skulls of those who oppose Him;
    He’ll smash the hairy head of the man who continues on his sinful ways.
22 The Lord said,
    “I will bring the enemy back from Bashan.
I will bring them back from the deepest parts of the sea,
23 So that you may plant your feet in their blood
    and your dogs may lick up their portion of the foe.”
24 The solemn march in Your honor, O True God, has come into view;
    the march that celebrates my God, my King, has come into the sanctuary.
25 The singers went first, and the musicians came last
    between rows of girls who played tambourines.
26 Come, let us gather to bless the True God
    and to praise the Eternal, He who is the fountain of Israel, the source of our life!
27 Look! There are the rulers of Benjamin, the youngest in the lead.
    A great crowd follows
The princes of Judah,
    the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali.

28 [Your God is the One who has given you strength];[a]
    show Your power, O True God, as You have done for us.
29 Because of Your magnificent temple in Jerusalem,
    many kings will line up to bring You gifts.
30 Reprimand the beasts in the tall grass,
    the herds of bulls that are with the people’s calves,
Trampling over the pieces of silver.
    He has driven out the people who love to be at war.
31 Ambassadors will come from Egypt;
    the people of Ethiopia[b] will reach out their hands to the one True God.

32 Let all the kingdoms of the earth sing to the True God.
    Sing songs of praise to the Lord.

[pause]

33 To Him who rides high up beyond the heavens, which have been since ancient times,
    watch and listen. His voice speaks, and it is powerful and strong.
34 Attribute power to the one True God;
    His royal splendor is evident over Israel,
    and His power courses through the clouds.
35 O True God, You are awesome from the holy place where You dwell.
    The True God of Israel Himself
    grants strength and power to His people.

Blessed be our God!

Footnotes:

  1. 68:28 Other manuscripts read, “Call on Your strength, O God.”
  2. 68:31 Literally, Cush
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Proverbs 11:29-31

29 A person who stirs up trouble in his family will inherit stormy winds,
    and foolish troublers will end up serving the wise.
30 The tree of life grows where the fruit of right-living falls,
    and whoever wins souls is wise.
31 If the righteous can expect to be repaid on earth,
    how much more can the ungodly and the sinners?

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The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

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