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Joshua 3-4

Israel Crosses the Jordan

Bright and early the next morning Joshua and the Israelites left Shittim and came to the Jordan. They camped there before crossing the river. After three days the leaders went through the camp and commanded the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, you must leave here and walk behind it. But stay about three thousand feet behind it. Keep your distance so you can see which way you should go, for you have not traveled this way before.”

Joshua told the people, “Ritually consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will perform miraculous deeds among you.” Joshua told the priests, “Pick up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people.” So they picked up the ark of the covenant and went ahead of the people.

The Lord told Joshua, “This very day I will begin to honor you before all Israel so they will know that I am with you just as I was with Moses. Instruct the priests carrying the ark of the covenant, ‘When you reach the bank of the Jordan River, wade into the water.’”

Joshua told the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God!” 10 Joshua continued, “This is how you will know the living God is among you and that he will truly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites. 11 Look! The ark of the covenant of the Ruler of the whole earth is ready to enter the Jordan ahead of you. 12 Now select for yourselves twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one per tribe. 13 When the feet of the priests carrying the ark of the Lord, the Ruler of the whole earth, touch the water of the Jordan, the water coming downstream toward you will stop flowing and pile up.”

14 So when the people left their tents to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 When the ones carrying the ark reached the Jordan and the feet of the priests carrying the ark touched the surface of the water—(the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest time)— 16 the water coming downstream toward them stopped flowing. It piled up far upstream at Adam (the city near Zarethan); there was no water at all flowing to the sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea). The people crossed the river opposite Jericho. 17 The priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan. All Israel crossed over on dry ground until the entire nation was on the other side.

Israel Commemorates the Crossing

When the entire nation was on the other side, the Lord told Joshua, “Select for yourselves twelve men from the people, one per tribe. Instruct them, ‘Pick up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests stand firmly, and carry them over with you and put them in the place where you camp tonight.’”

Joshua summoned the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one per tribe. Joshua told them, “Go in front of the ark of the Lord your God to the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to put a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the Israelite tribes. The stones will be a reminder to you. When your children ask someday, ‘Why are these stones important to you?’ tell them how the water of the Jordan stopped flowing before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the water of the Jordan stopped flowing. These stones will be a lasting memorial for the Israelites.”

The Israelites did just as Joshua commanded. They picked up twelve stones, according to the number of the Israelite tribes, from the middle of the Jordan as the Lord had instructed Joshua. They carried them over with them to the camp and put them there. Joshua also set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan in the very place where the priests carrying the ark of the covenant stood. They remain there to this very day.

10 Now the priests carrying the ark of the covenant were standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything the Lord had commanded Joshua to tell the people was accomplished, in accordance with all that Moses had commanded Joshua. The people went across quickly, 11 and when all the people had finished crossing, the ark of the Lord and the priests crossed as the people looked on. 12 The Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over armed for battle ahead of the Israelites, just as Moses had instructed them. 13 About forty thousand battle-ready troops marched past the Lord to fight on the plains of Jericho. 14 That day the Lord brought honor to Joshua before all Israel. They respected him all his life, just as they had respected Moses.

15 The Lord told Joshua, 16 “Instruct the priests carrying the ark of the covenantal laws to come up from the Jordan.” 17 So Joshua instructed the priests, “Come up from the Jordan!” 18 The priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord came up from the middle of the Jordan, and as soon as they set foot on dry land, the water of the Jordan flowed again and returned to flood stage.

19 The people went up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month and camped in Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. 20 Now Joshua set up in Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken from the Jordan. 21 He told the Israelites, “When your children someday ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones represent?’ 22 explain to your children, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan River on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the water of the Jordan before you while you crossed over. It was just like when the Lord your God dried up the Red Sea before us while we crossed it. 24 He has done this so all the nations of the earth might recognize the Lord’s power and so you might always obey the Lord your God.”

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Luke 14:7-35

On Seeking Seats of Honor

Then when Jesus noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. He said to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, because a person more distinguished than you may have been invited by your host. So the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your place.’ Then, ashamed, you will begin to move to the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, go and take the least important place, so that when your host approaches he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up here to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who share the meal with you. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

12 He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you host a dinner or a banquet, don’t invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors so you can be invited by them in return and get repaid. 13 But when you host an elaborate meal, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14 Then you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

The Parable of the Great Banquet

15 When one of those at the meal with Jesus heard this, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will feast in the kingdom of God!” 16 But Jesus said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time for the banquet he sent his slave to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, because everything is now ready.’ 18 But one after another they all began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please excuse me.’ 19 Another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going out to examine them. Please excuse me.’ 20 Another said, ‘I just got married, and I cannot come.’ 21 So the slave came back and reported this to his master. Then the master of the household was furious and said to his slave, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and alleys of the city, and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ 22 Then the slave said, ‘Sir, what you instructed has been done, and there is still room.’ 23 So the master said to his slave, ‘Go out to the highways and country roads and urge people to come in, so that my house will be filled. 24 For I tell you, not one of those individuals who were invited will taste my banquet!’”

Counting the Cost

25 Now large crowds were accompanying Jesus, and turning to them he said, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t sit down first and compute the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish the tower, all who see it will begin to make fun of him. 30 They will say, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish!’ 31 Or what king, going out to confront another king in battle, will not sit down first and determine whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he cannot succeed, he will send a representative while the other is still a long way off and ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way therefore not one of you can be my disciple if he does not renounce all his own possessions.

34 “Salt is good, but if salt loses its flavor, how can its flavor be restored? 35 It is of no value for the soil or for the manure pile; it is to be thrown out. The one who has ears to hear had better listen!”

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Psalm 80

Psalm 80

For the music director; according to the shushan-eduth style; a psalm of Asaph.

O shepherd of Israel, pay attention,
you who lead Joseph like a flock of sheep!
You who sit enthroned above the winged angels, reveal your splendor!
In the sight of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh reveal your power!
Come and deliver us!
O God, restore us!
Smile on us! Then we will be delivered!
O Lord God, invincible warrior!
How long will you remain angry at your people while they pray to you?
You have given them tears as food;
you have made them drink tears by the measure.
You have made our neighbors dislike us,
and our enemies insult us.
O God, invincible warrior, restore us!
Smile on us! Then we will be delivered!
You uprooted a vine from Egypt;
you drove out nations and transplanted it.
You cleared the ground for it;
it took root,
and filled the land.
10 The mountains were covered by its shadow,
the highest cedars by its branches.
11 Its branches reached the Mediterranean Sea,
and its shoots the Euphrates River.
12 Why did you break down its walls,
so that all who pass by pluck its fruit?
13 The wild boars of the forest ruin it;
the insects of the field feed on it.
14 O God, invincible warrior, come back!
Look down from heaven and take notice!
Take care of this vine,
15 the root your right hand planted,
the shoot you made to grow!
16 It is burned and cut down.
They die because you are displeased with them.
17 May you give support to the one you have chosen,
to the one whom you raised up for yourself!
18 Then we will not turn away from you.
Revive us and we will pray to you!
19 O Lord God, invincible warrior, restore us!
Smile on us! Then we will be delivered!

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Proverbs 12:27-28

27 The lazy person does not roast his prey,
but personal possessions are precious to the diligent.
28 In the path of righteousness there is life,
but another path leads to death.

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New English Translation (NET)

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