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Deuteronomy 7-8

Moses: As the Eternal, your True God, is bringing you into the land where you’re going to live when you cross the Jordan, He’ll drive out many nations ahead of you—Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites—seven nations that are bigger and stronger than you are. The Eternal your God will put them in your power. You must crush them; destroy them completely! Don’t make any treaties with them, and don’t show them any mercy. Above all, don’t intermarry with them! Don’t marry your daughters to any of their sons, and don’t marry your sons to any of their daughters.

Eternal One: This would cause your enemies to turn your children away from Me to worship other gods.

Moses: If you did worship other gods, the Eternal would become furious with you and destroy you in an instant! So this is what you must do to these nations instead: tear down their altars, smash their monoliths, chop down their sacred poles,[a] and throw the idols they’ve carved into the fire!

One of the most important ways faith is communicated is from parent to child. Most people who do find a lifelong faith come into it by the time they are young adults, and the most significant influence on them is what they’ve seen modeled at home. Stories and experiences are a compelling influence on the faith of children.

The first stage in building this sense of covenant loyalty to God was to eliminate every trace of pagan worship from the land. None of the Canaanites’ existing religious fixtures could be used for worship. The altars other nations used to offer their sacrifices were dedicated explicitly to other gods, like Baal and Asherah, through their distinctive designs and decorations. The True God could not be represented in the shape of any created thing since He is the creator of everything!

Moses: Remember: you’re a people set apart for the Eternal your God; He is your God and has chosen you to be His own possession—His special people—out of all the peoples on the earth. The Eternal didn’t become devoted to you and choose you because you were the most numerous of all the peoples—in fact, you were the least! Instead, He brought you out of Egypt with overwhelming power and liberated you from slavery to Pharaoh the king because He loved you and was keeping the oath He swore to your ancestors. I want you to know that the Eternal your God is the only true God. He’s the faithful God who keeps His covenants and shows loyal love for a thousand generations to those who in return love Him and keep His commands. 10 But He holds personally accountable those who hate Him, and He destroys them; He does not delay when anyone hates Him, but He holds them personally accountable. 11 Therefore, be very careful to obey the commands and rules and judgments I’m giving you today.

12 If you pay attention to these judgments and keep them carefully, the Eternal your God will keep the covenant He made with your ancestors and show you His loyal love. 13 He’ll love you and bless you and increase your population. He’ll bless your children, and He’ll bless your agriculture. The land He promised your ancestors He’d give you will produce abundantly; and you’ll have grain and wine and olive oil, many cattle, and new flocks. 14 You will be blessed more than any other people. None of your men or women will be unable to have children; all of your cattle will have offspring. 15 The Eternal will keep every illness away from you. He won’t afflict you with any of those horrible diseases you saw in Egypt—He’ll put them instead on those who hate you! 16 You are to destroy all the nations the Eternal, your True God, puts in your power. Don’t show them any pity! You must not worship their gods—that behavior is a deadly trap!

17 You might say to yourselves, “Those nations are so much more powerful than we are! How can we ever displace them in the land?” 18 But don’t be afraid of them! Remember what the Eternal, your True God, did to Pharaoh and to all of Egypt. 19 You saw with your own eyes how the Eternal your God brought you out of there by testing the Egyptians with great plagues, warning them with signs and omens, and fighting against them with overwhelming power. He is your God and will do the same thing to all the nations you’re so afraid of right now. 20 The Eternal your God will even send swarms of hornets against them. Those hornets will finish off anyone who escapes from you and tries to hide from the death you bring. 21 So don’t be so terrified of these other nations—the Eternal your God is with you. He’s a great and awesome God! 22 But He will drive out these nations ahead of you only little by little. You won’t be able to finish them off all at once because if you did, the wild animals would reproduce rapidly in the empty land and that would be dangerous. 23 But the Eternal your God definitely will defeat these nations in front of you. He will throw them into a great panic until they are all destroyed. 24 He’ll put their kings in your power, so you will be able to wipe out all their names. No one under heaven will ever know they existed! Not a single person will be able to resist you; you’ll destroy them all. 25 Then you must burn up all of their carved idols in the fire. Don’t admire them because the silver and gold in them are so valuable. If you take those metals, you’ll fall into a deadly trap because He abhors these idols! 26 You must not bring these horrible things into your house. If you do, you’ll be doomed to destruction, just as they are. You should be totally horrified and disgusted by these idols—they are doomed to destruction!

Moses: You must obey very carefully all of the law, which I’m commanding you today. If you do, you’ll live and thrive, and you’ll go in and take possession of the land He promised to your ancestors. Remember how the Eternal, your True God, led you through the wilderness these past 40 years. He did this to humble you, to test you, to uncover your motivations, to see if you would obey His commands. He humbled you by making you hungry when there was no food in the desert. Then He fed you with manna, a food you and your ancestors had never heard of. He did this because He wanted you to understand that what makes you truly alive is not the bread you eat but following every word that comes from the mouth of the Eternal One.[b] Your clothes didn’t wear out, and your feet didn’t swell throughout your 40 years of wandering. I want you to know in your hearts that the Eternal your God has been training you just as a parent trains a child. So obey His commands! Live as He has instructed, and fear Him. The Eternal your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with torrents of rushing water, with springs and underground streams flowing out into the valleys and hills. It’s a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of oil-rich olive trees and date honey. In that land, you’ll always have plenty to eat—you won’t lack anything! There’s iron in the rocks, and you can dig copper from the hills. 10 You’ll eat and be satisfied, and then you’ll humbly thank the Eternal your God for the good land He’s given you.

11 But then be very careful! Don’t forget the Eternal your God and disobey the commands and decrees and rules I’m giving you today. 12 When your stomachs are full, when you’ve built comfortable houses to live in, 13 when you have large herds and flocks, when you possess plenty of silver and gold, and when you have more things than you imagined possible; 14 then don’t become proud and puffed up and forget Him. He brought you out of the land of Egypt where you were slaves; 15 and He led you through that awful, vast wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, through that desert where there was no water. He made water come out of a hard rock; 16 and He fed you in the wilderness with manna, a food your ancestors had never heard of. He did all this to humble you and test you, but it was all intended for your good in the end. 17 If He hadn’t, you might have believed, “I’ve gotten all this wealth by my own power and strength!” 18 Remember the Eternal One your God. He’s the One who gives you the power to get wealth, so He can keep the covenant promises He made to your ancestors, as He is doing now. 19 I testify against you today that if you do forget Him and pursue other gods, if you worship them and bow down to them; then you will certainly be destroyed. 20 Just like the nations the Eternal is now destroying ahead of you, you’ll be destroyed yourselves because you wouldn’t listen to His voice.

Footnotes:

  1. 7:5 Hebrew, Asherah
  2. 8:3 Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4
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Luke 7:36-8:3

36-40 Once a Pharisee named Simon invited Jesus to be a guest for a meal.

Picture this:

Just as Jesus enters the man’s home and takes His place at the table, a woman from the city—notorious as a woman of ill repute—follows Him in. She has heard that Jesus will be at the Pharisee’s home, so she comes in and approaches Him, carrying an alabaster flask of perfumed oil. Then she begins to cry, she kneels down so her tears fall on Jesus’ feet, and she starts wiping His feet with her own hair. Then she actually kisses His feet, and she pours the perfumed oil on them.

Simon (thinking): Now I know this guy is a fraud. If He were a real prophet, He would have known this woman is a sinner and He would never let her get near Him, much less touch Him . . . or kiss Him!

Jesus (knowing what the Pharisee is thinking): Simon, I want to tell you a story.

Simon: Tell me, Teacher.

Jesus: 41 Two men owed a certain lender a lot of money. One owed 100 weeks’ wages, and the other owed 10 weeks’ wages. 42 Both men defaulted on their loans, but the lender forgave them both. Here’s a question for you: which man will love the lender more?

Simon: 43 Well, I guess it would be the one who was forgiven more.

Jesus: Good answer.

44-46 Now Jesus turns around so He’s facing the woman, although He’s still speaking to Simon.

Jesus: Do you see this woman here? It’s kind of funny. I entered your home, and you didn’t provide a basin of water so I could wash the road dust from My feet. You didn’t give Me a customary kiss of greeting and welcome. You didn’t offer Me the common courtesy of providing oil to brighten My face. But this woman has wet My feet with her own tears and washed them with her own hair. She hasn’t stopped kissing My feet since I came in. And she has applied perfumed oil to My feet. 47 This woman has been forgiven much, and she is showing much love. But the person who has shown little love shows how little forgiveness he has received.

48 (to the woman) Your sins are forgiven.

Simon and Friends (muttering among themselves): 49 Who does this guy think He is? He has the audacity to claim the authority to forgive sins?

Jesus (to the woman): 50 Your faith has liberated you. Go in peace.

Soon after this incident, Jesus preached from city to city, village to village, carry ing the good news of the kingdom of God. He was accompanied by a group called “the twelve,” and also by a larger group including some women who had been rescued from evil spirits and healed of diseases. There was Mary, called Magdalene, who had been released from seven demons. There were others like Susanna and Joanna, who was married to Chuza, a steward of King Herod. And there were many others too. These women played an important role in Jesus’ ministry, using their wealth to provide for Him and His other companions.

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Psalm 69:1-18

Psalm 69

For the worship leader. A song of David to the tune “Lilies.”[a]

This Davidic lament complains to God of enemies, false witnesses, insults, abandonment by friends and family, and even poisoning. Early Christians interpreted this psalm prophetically in order to understand Jesus’ experience in His suffering and death on the cross.

Reach down for me, True God; deliver me.
    The waters have risen to my neck; I am going down!
My feet are swallowed in this murky bog;
    I am sinking—there is no sturdy ground.
I am in the deep;
    the floods are crashing in!
I am weary of howling;
    my throat is scratched dry.
I still look for my God
    even though my eyes fail.

My enemies despise me without any cause;
    they outnumber the hairs on my head.
They torment me with their power;
    they have absolutely no reason to hate me.
Now I am set to pay for crimes
    I have never committed!
O True God, my foolish ways are plain before You;
    my mistakes—no, nothing can be hidden from You.

Don’t let Your hopeful followers face disgrace because of me,
    O Lord, Eternal One, Commander of heaven’s armies;
Don’t let Your seekers be shamed on account of me,
    O True God of Israel.
I have been mocked when I stood up for You;
    I cower, shamefaced.
You know my brothers and sisters?
    They now reject me—they act as if I never existed.
    I’m like a stranger to my own family.

And here’s why: I am consumed with You, completely devoted to protecting Your house;
    when they insult You, they insult me.
10 When I mourn and discipline my soul by fasting,
    they deride me.
11 And when I put on sackcloth,
    they mock me.
12 Those who sit at the gate gossip about me;
    I am shamed by the slurred songs of drunkards.

13 But, Eternal One, I just pray the time is right
    that You would hear me. And, True God,
    because You are enduring love, that You would answer.
In Your faithfulness, please, save me.
14 Pluck me from this murky bog;
    don’t let it pull me down!
Pull me from this rising water;
    take me away from my enemies to dry land.
15 Don’t let the flood take me under
    or let me, Your servant, be swallowed into the deep
    or let the yawning pit seal me in!

16 O Eternal One, hear me. Answer me. For Your enduring love is good comfort;
    in Your great mercy, turn toward me.
17 Yes, shine Your face upon me, Your servant;
    put an end to my anguish—don’t wait another minute.
18 Come near; rescue me!
    Set me free from my enemies.

Footnotes:

  1. 69:title Hebrew, shoshannim, white lily-like flowers, perhaps the melody to which the song is sung
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Proverbs 12:1

12 Those who love discipline love knowledge,
    but fools hate any kind of correction.

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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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