Friday, April 3, 2020

April 3 Reading through the Bible Day 94

DEUTERONOMY 23:1-25:19
LUKE 10:13-37
PSALM 75:1-10
PROVERBS 12:12-14

DEUTERONOMY 23:1-25:19
" If a man's testicles are crushed or his penis is cut off, he may not be included in the assembly of the LORD. 2 " Those of illegitimate birth and their descendants for ten generations may not be included in the assembly of the LORD. 3 " No Ammonites or Moabites, or any of their descendants for ten generations, may be included in the assembly of the LORD. 4 These nations did not welcome you with food and water when you came out of Egypt. Instead, they tried to hire Balaam son of Beor from Pethor in Aram-naharaim to curse you. 5 (But the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam. He turned the intended curse into a blessing because the LORD your God loves you.) 6 You must never, as long as you live, try to help the Ammonites or the Moabites in any way. 7 " Do not detest the Edomites or the Egyptians, because the Edomites are your relatives, and you lived as foreigners among the Egyptians. 8 The third generation of Egyptians who came with you from Egypt may enter the assembly of the LORD. 9 " When you go to war against your enemies, stay away from everything impure. 10 " Any man who becomes ceremonially defiled because of a nocturnal emission must leave the camp and stay away all day. 11 Toward evening he must bathe himself, and at sunset he may return to the camp.12 " Mark off an area outside the camp for a latrine. 13 Each of you must have a spade as part of your equipment. Whenever you relieve yourself, you must dig a hole with the spade and cover the excrement. 14 The camp must be holy, for the LORD your God moves around in your camp to protect you and to defeat your enemies. He must not see any shameful thing among you, or he might turn away from you. 15 " If slaves should escape from their masters and take refuge with you, do not force them to return. 16 Let them live among you in whatever town they choose, and do not oppress them. 17 " No Israelite man or woman may ever become a temple prostitute. 18 Do not bring to the house of the LORD your God any offering from the earnings of a prostitute, whether a man or a woman, for both are detestable to the LORD your God.19 " Do not charge interest on the loans you make to a fellow Israelite, whether it is money, food, or anything else that may be loaned with interest. 20 You may charge interest to foreigners, but not to Israelites, so the LORD your God may bless you in everything you do in the land you are about to enter and occupy. 21 " When you make a vow to the LORD your God, be prompt in doing whatever you promised him. For the LORD your God demands that you promptly fulfill all your vows. If you don't, you will be guilty of sin. 22 However, it is not a sin to refrain from making a vow. 23 But once you have voluntarily made a vow, be careful to do as you have said, for you have made a vow to the LORD your God. 24 " You may eat your fill of grapes from your neighbor's vineyard, but do not take any away in a basket. 25 And you may pluck a few heads of your neighbor's grain by hand, but you may not harvest it with a sickle.24:1 " SUPPOSE a man marries a woman but later discovers something about her that is shameful. So he writes her a letter of divorce, gives it to her, and sends her away. 2 If she then leaves and marries another man 3 and the second husband also divorces her or dies, 4 the former husband may not marry her again, for she has been defiled. That would be detestable to the LORD. You must not bring guilt upon the land the LORD your God is giving you as a special possession. 5 " A newly married man must not be drafted into the army or given any other special responsibilities. He must be free to be at home for one year, bringing happiness to the wife he has married. 6 " It is wrong to take a pair of millstones, or even just the upper millstone, as a pledge, for the owner uses it to make a living. 7 " If anyone kidnaps a fellow Israelite and treats him as a slave or sells him, the kidnapper must die. You must cleanse the evil from among you.8 " Watch all contagious skin diseases carefully and follow the instructions of the Levitical priests; obey the commands I have given them. 9 Remember what the LORD your God did to Miriam as you were coming from Egypt. 10 " If you lend anything to your neighbor, do not enter your neighbor's house to claim the security. 11 Stand outside and the owner will bring it out to you. 12 If your neighbor is poor and has only a cloak to give as security, do not keep the cloak overnight. 13 Return the cloak to its owner by sunset so your neighbor can sleep in it and bless you. And the LORD your God will count it as a righteous act. 14 " Never take advantage of poor laborers, whether fellow Israelites or foreigners living in your towns. 15 Pay them their wages each day before sunset because they are poor and are counting on it. Otherwise they might cry out to the LORD against you, and it would be counted against you as sin. 16 " Parents must not be put to death for the sins of their children, nor the children for the sins of their parents. Those worthy of death must be executed for their own crimes. 17 " True justice must be given to foreigners living among you and to orphans, and you must never accept a widow's garment in pledge of her debt. 18 Always remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God redeemed you. That is why I have given you this command.19 " When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don't go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the LORD your God will bless you in all you do. 20 When you beat the olives from your olive trees, don't go over the boughs twice. Leave some of the olives for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. 21 This also applies to the grapes in your vineyard. Do not glean the vines after they are picked, but leave any remaining grapes for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. 22 Remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt. That is why I am giving you this command. 25:1 " SUPPOSE two people take a dispute to court, and the judges declare that one is right and the other is wrong. 2 If the person in the wrong is sentenced to be flogged, the judge will command him to lie down and be beaten in his presence with the number of lashes appropriate to the crime. 3 No more than forty lashes may ever be given; more than forty lashes would publicly humiliate your neighbor. 4 " Do not keep an ox from eating as it treads out the grain. 5 " If two brothers are living together on the same property and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Instead, her husband's brother must marry her and fulfill the duties of a brother-in-law. 6 The first son she bears to him will be counted as the son of the dead brother, so that his name will not be forgotten in Israel. 7 But if the dead man's brother refuses to marry the widow, she must go to the town gate and say to the leaders there, ` My husband's brother refuses to preserve his brother's name in Israel--he refuses to marry me.' 8 The leaders of the town will then summon him and try to reason with him. If he still insists that he doesn't want to marry her, 9 the widow must walk over to him in the presence of the leaders, pull his sandal from his foot, and spit in his face. She will then say, ` This is what happens to a man who refuses to raise up a son for his brother.' 10 Ever afterward his family will be referred to as ` the family of the man whose sandal was pulled off'! 11 " If two Israelite men are fighting and the wife of one tries to rescue her husband by grabbing the testicles of the other man, 12 her hand must be cut off without pity. 13 " You must use accurate scales when you weigh out merchandise, 14 and you must use full and honest measures. 15 Yes, use honest weights and measures, so that you will enjoy a long life in the land the LORD your God is giving you. 16 Those who cheat with dishonest weights and measures are detestable to the LORD your God. 17 " Never forget what the Amalekites did to you as you came from Egypt. 18 They attacked you when you were exhausted and weary, and they struck down those who were lagging behind. They had no fear of God. 19 Therefore, when the LORD your God has given you rest from all your enemies in the land he is giving you as a special possession, you are to destroy the Amalekites and erase their memory from under heaven. Never forget this!"

LUKE 10:13-37
" What horrors await you, Korazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles I did in you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have sat in deep repentance long ago, clothed in sackcloth and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse. 14 Yes, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on the judgment day than you. 15 And you people of Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to the place of the dead." 16 Then he said to the disciples, " Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God who sent me." 17 When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, " Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!" 18 " Yes," he told them, " I saw Satan falling from heaven as a flash of lightning! 19 And I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. 20 But don't rejoice just because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered as citizens of heaven."21 Then Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit and said, " O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding the truth from those who think themselves so wise and clever, and for revealing it to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way. 22 " My Father has given me authority over everything. No one really knows the Son except the Father, and no one really knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." 23 Then when they were alone, he turned to the disciples and said, " How privileged you are to see what you have seen. 24 I tell you, many prophets and kings have longed to see and hear what you have seen and heard, but they could not." 25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: " Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?" 26 Jesus replied, " What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?" 27 The man answered, " ` You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.' And, ` Love your neighbor as yourself.' " 28 " Right!" Jesus told him. " Do this and you will live!" 29 The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, " And who is my neighbor?"30 Jesus replied with an illustration: " A Jewish man was traveling on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes and money, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. 31 "By chance a Jewish priest came along; but when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. 32 A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. 33 " Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt deep pity. 34 Kneeling beside him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with medicine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two pieces of silver and told him to take care of the man. ` If his bill runs higher than that,' he said, ` I'll pay the difference the next time I am here.' 36 " Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?" Jesus asked. 37 The man replied, " The one who showed him mercy." Then Jesus said, " Yes, now go and do the same."

PSALM 75:1-10
For the choir director: A psalm of Asaph, to be sung to the tune " Do Not Destroy!" A song.
1 We thank you, O God!
We give thanks because you are near.
People everywhere tell of your mighty miracles.
2 God says, " At the time I have planned,
I will bring justice against the wicked.
3 When the earth quakes and its people live in turmoil,
I am the one who keeps its foundations firm.
Interlude4 " I warned the proud, ` Stop your boasting!'
I told the wicked, ` Don't raise your fists!
5 Don't lift your fists in defiance at the heavens
or speak with rebellious arrogance.' "
6 For no one on earth--from east or west,
or even from the wilderness--
can raise another person up.
7 It is God alone who judges;
he decides who will rise and who will fall.
8 For the LORD holds a cup in his hand;
it is full of foaming wine mixed with spices.
He pours the wine out in judgment,
and all the wicked must drink it,
draining it to the dregs.
9 But as for me, I will always proclaim what God has done;
I will sing praises to the God of Israel.
10 For God says, " I will cut off the strength of the wicked,
but I will increase the power of the godly."

PROVERBS 12:12-14
Thieves are jealous of each other's loot, while the godly bear their own fruit. The wicked are trapped by their own words, but the godly escape such trouble. People can get many good things by the words they say; the work of their hands also gives them many benefits.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

April 2 Reading through the Bible Day 93

DEUTERONOMY 21:1-22:30
LUKE 9:51-10:12
PSALM 74:1-23

DEUTERONOMY 21:1-22:30
" Suppose someone is found murdered in a field in the land the LORD your God is giving you, and you don't know who committed the murder. 2 In such cases, your leaders and judges must determine which town is nearest the body. 3 Then the leaders of that town must select a young cow that has never been trained or yoked to a plow. 4 They must lead it to a valley that is neither plowed nor planted with a stream running through it. There they must break the cow's neck. 5 The Levitical priests must go there also, for the LORD your God has chosen them to minister before him and to pronounce blessings in the LORD's name. And they are to decide all lawsuits and punishments. 6 " The leaders of the town nearest the body must wash their hands over the young cow whose neck was broken. 7 Then they must say, ` Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did we see it happen. 8 O LORD, forgive your people Israel whom you have redeemed. Do not charge your people Israel with the guilt of murdering an innocent person.' Then they will be absolved of the guilt of this person's blood. 9 By following these instructions and doing what is right in the LORD's sight, you will cleanse the guilt of murder from your community. 10 " Suppose you go to war against your enemies and the LORD your God hands them over to you and you take captives. 11 And suppose you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you are attracted to her and want to marry her. 12 If this happens, you may take her to your home, where she must shave her head, cut her fingernails, 13 and change all her clothes. Then she must remain in your home for a full month, mourning for her father and mother. After that you may marry her. 14 But if you marry her and then decide you do not like her, you must let her go free. You may not sell her or treat her as a slave, for you have humiliated her. 15 " Suppose a man has two wives, but he loves one and not the other, and both have given him sons. And suppose the firstborn son is the son of the wife he does not love. 16 When the man divides the inheritance, he may not give the larger inheritance to his younger son, the son of the wife he loves. 17 He must give the customary double portion to his oldest son, who represents the strength of his father's manhood and who owns the rights of the firstborn son, even though he is the son of the wife his father does not love. 18 " Suppose a man has a stubborn, rebellious son who will not obey his father or mother, even though they discipline him. 19 In such cases, the father and mother must take the son before the leaders of the town. 20 They must declare: ` This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious and refuses to obey. He is a worthless drunkard.' 21 Then all the men of the town must stone him to death. In this way, you will cleanse this evil from among you, and all Israel will hear about it and be afraid.22 " If someone has committed a crime worthy of death and is executed and then hanged on a tree, 23 the body must never remain on the tree overnight. You must bury the body that same day, for anyone hanging on a tree is cursed of God. Do not defile the land the LORD your God is giving you as a special possession. 22:1 " IF you see your neighbor's ox or sheep wandering away, don't pretend not to see it. Take it back to its owner. 2 If it does not belong to someone nearby or you don't know who the owner is, keep it until the owner comes looking for it; then return it. 3 Do the same if you find your neighbor's donkey, clothing, or anything else your neighbor loses. Don't pretend you did not see it. 4 " If you see your neighbor's ox or donkey lying on the road, do not look the other way. Go and help your neighbor get it to its feet! 5 " A woman must not wear men's clothing, and a man must not wear women's clothing. The LORD your God detests people who do this.6 " If you find a bird's nest on the ground or in a tree and there are young ones or eggs in it with the mother sitting in the nest, do not take the mother with the young. 7 You may take the young, but let the mother go, so you may prosper and enjoy a long life. 8 " Every new house you build must have a barrier around the edge of its flat rooftop. That way you will not bring the guilt of bloodshed on your household if someone falls from the roof. 9 " Do not plant any other crop between the rows of your vineyard. If you do, you are forbidden to use either the grapes from the vineyard or the produce of the other crop. 10 " Do not plow with an ox and a donkey harnessed together. 11 " Do not wear clothing made of wool and linen woven together. 12 " You must put tassels on the four corners of your cloaks. 13 " Suppose a man marries a woman and, after sleeping with her, changes his mind about her 14 and falsely accuses her of having slept with another man. He might say, ` I discovered she was not a virgin when I married her.' 15 If the man does this, the woman's father and mother must bring the proof of her virginity to the leaders of the town. 16 Her father must tell them, ` I gave my daughter to this man to be his wife, and now he has turned against her. 17 He has accused her of shameful things, claiming that she was not a virgin when he married her. But here is the proof of my daughter's virginity.' Then they must spread the cloth before the judges. 18 The judges must then punish the man. 19 They will fine him one hundred pieces of silver, for he falsely accused a virgin of Israel. The payment will be made to the woman's father. The woman will then remain the man's wife, and he may never divorce her. 20 " But suppose the man's accusations are true, and her virginity could not be proved. 21 In such cases, the judges must take the girl to the door of her father's home, and the men of the town will stone her to death. She has committed a disgraceful crime in Israel by being promiscuous while living in her parents' home. Such evil must be cleansed from among you. 22 " If a man is discovered committing adultery, both he and the other man's wife must be killed. In this way, the evil will be cleansed from Israel. 23 " Suppose a man meets a young woman, a virgin who is engaged to be married, and he has sexual intercourse with her. If this happens within a town, 24 you must take both of them to the gates of the town and stone them to death. The woman is guilty because she did not scream for help. The man must die because he violated another man's wife. In this way, you will cleanse the land of evil. 25 " But if the man meets the engaged woman out in the country, and he rapes her, then only the man should die. 26 Do nothing to the young woman; she has committed no crime worthy of death. This case is similar to that of someone who attacks and murders a neighbor. 27 Since the man raped her out in the country, it must be assumed that she screamed, but there was no one to rescue her. 28 " If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, 29 he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her. 30 " A man must not have intercourse with his father's wife, for this would violate his father."

LUKE 9:51-10:12
As the time drew near for his return to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. 53 But they were turned away. The people of the village refused to have anything to do with Jesus because he had resolved to go to Jerusalem. 54 When James and John heard about it, they said to Jesus, " Lord, should we order down fire from heaven to burn them up?" 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 So they went on to another village. 57 As they were walking along someone said to Jesus, " I will follow you no matter where you go." 58 But Jesus replied, " Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but I, the Son of Man, have no home of my own, not even a place to lay my head." 59 He said to another person, " Come, be my disciple." The man agreed, but he said, " Lord, first let me return home and bury my father." 60 Jesus replied, " Let those who are spiritually dead care for their own dead. Your duty is to go and preach the coming of the Kingdom of God." 61 Another said, " Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family." 62 But Jesus told him, " Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God."10:1 THE Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them on ahead in pairs to all the towns and villages he planned to visit. 2 These were his instructions to them: " The harvest is so great, but the workers are so few. Pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest, and ask him to send out more workers for his fields. 3 Go now, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves. 4 Don't take along any money, or a traveler's bag, or even an extra pair of sandals. And don't stop to greet anyone on the road. 5 " Whenever you enter a home, give it your blessing. 6 If those who live there are worthy, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you. 7 When you enter a town, don't move around from home to home. Stay in one place, eating and drinking what they provide you. Don't hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve their pay. 8 " If a town welcomes you, eat whatever is set before you 9 and heal the sick. As you heal them, say, ` The Kingdom of God is near you now.' 10 But if a town refuses to welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ` We wipe the dust of your town from our feet as a public announcement of your doom. And don't forget the Kingdom of God is near!' 12 The truth is, even wicked Sodom will be better off than such a town on the judgment day."

PSALM 74:1-23
A psalm of Asaph.
1 O God, why have you rejected us forever?
Why is your anger so intense against the sheep of your own pasture?
2 Remember that we are the people you chose in ancient times,
the tribe you redeemed as your own special possession!
And remember Jerusalem, your home here on earth.
3 Walk through the awful ruins of the city;
see how the enemy has destroyed your sanctuary.
4 There your enemies shouted their victorious battle cries;
there they set up their battle standards.
5 They chopped down the entrance
like woodcutters in a forest.
6 With axes and picks,
they smashed the carved paneling.
7 They set the sanctuary on fire, burning it to the ground.
They utterly defiled the place that bears your holy name.
8 Then they thought, " Let's destroy everything!"
So they burned down all the places where God was worshiped.
9 We see no miraculous signs
as evidence that you will save us.
All the prophets are gone;
no one can tell us when it will end.
10 How long, O God, will you allow our enemies to mock you?
Will you let them dishonor your name forever?
11 Why do you hold back your strong right hand?
Unleash your powerful fist and deliver a deathblow.
12 You, O God, are my king from ages past,
bringing salvation to the earth.
13 You split the sea by your strength
and smashed the sea monster's heads.
14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan
and let the desert animals eat him.
15 You caused the springs and streams to gush forth,
and you dried up rivers that never run dry.
16 Both day and night belong to you;
you made the starlight and the sun.
17 You set the boundaries of the earth,
and you make both summer and winter.
18 See how these enemies scoff at you, LORD.
A foolish nation has dishonored your name.
19 Don't let these wild beasts destroy your doves.
Don't forget your afflicted people forever.
20 Remember your covenant promises,
for the land is full of darkness and violence!
21 Don't let the downtrodden be constantly disgraced!
Instead, let these poor and needy ones give praise to your name.
22 Arise, O God, and defend your cause.
Remember how these fools insult you all day long.
23 Don't overlook these things your enemies have said.
Their uproar of rebellion grows ever louder.

Hard work means prosperity; only fools idle away their time.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

April 1 Reading through the Bible Day 92

DEUTERONOMY 18:1-20:20
LUKE 9:28-50
PSALM 73:1-28

DEUTERONOMY 18:1-20:20
" Remember that the Levitical priests and the rest of the tribe of Levi will not be given an inheritance of land like the other tribes in Israel. Instead, the priests and Levites will eat from the offerings given to the LORD by fire, for that is their inheritance. 2 They will have no inheritance of their own among the Israelites. The LORD himself is their inheritance, just as he promised them. 3 " These are the parts the priests may claim as their share from the oxen and sheep that the people bring as offerings: the shoulder, the cheeks, and the stomach. 4 You must also give to the priests the first share of the grain, the new wine, the olive oil, and the wool at shearing time. 5 For the LORD your God chose the tribe of Levi out of all your tribes to minister in the LORD's name forever. 6 " Any Levite who so desires may come from any town in Israel, from wherever he is living, to the place the LORD chooses. 7 He may minister there in the name of the LORD his God, just like his fellow Levites who are serving the LORD there. 8 He may eat his share of the sacrifices and offerings, even if he has a private source of income.9 " When you arrive in the land the LORD your God is giving you, be very careful not to imitate the detestable customs of the nations living there. 10 For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling or sorcery, or allow them to interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, 11 or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is an object of horror and disgust to the LORD. It is because the other nations have done these things that the LORD your God will drive them out ahead of you. 13 You must be blameless before the LORD your God. 14 The people you are about to displace consult with sorcerers and fortune-tellers, but the LORD your God forbids you to do such things. 15 " The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your fellow Israelites, and you must listen to that prophet. 16 For this is what you yourselves requested of the LORD your God when you were assembled at Mount Sinai. You begged that you might never again have to listen to the voice of the LORD your God or see this blazing fire for fear you would die. 17 " Then the LORD said to me, ` Fine, I will do as they have requested. 18 I will raise up a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites. I will tell that prophet what to say, and he will tell the people everything I command him. 19 I will personally deal with anyone who will not listen to the messages the prophet proclaims on my behalf. 20 But any prophet who claims to give a message from another god or who falsely claims to speak for me must die.' 21 You may wonder, ` How will we know whether the prophecy is from the LORD or not?' 22 If the prophet predicts something in the LORD's name and it does not happen, the LORD did not give the message. That prophet has spoken on his own and need not be feared.19:1 " THE LORD your God will soon destroy the nations whose land he is giving you, and you will displace them and settle in their towns and homes. 2 Then you must set apart three cities of refuge in the land the LORD your God is giving you to occupy. 3 Divide the land the LORD your God is giving you into three districts, with one of these cities in each district. Keep the roads to these cities in good repair so that anyone who has killed someone can flee there for safety. 4 " If someone accidentally kills a neighbor without harboring any previous hatred, the slayer may flee to any of these cities and be safe. 5 For example, suppose someone goes into the forest with a neighbor to cut wood. And suppose one of them swings an ax and the ax head flies off the handle, killing the other person. In such cases, the slayer could flee to one of the cities of refuge and be safe. 6 If the distance to the nearest city of refuge was too far, an enraged avenger might be able to chase down and kill the person who caused the death. The slayer would die, even though there was no death sentence and the first death had been an accident. 7 That is why I am commanding you to set aside three cities of refuge. 8 " If the LORD your God enlarges your territory, as he solemnly promised your ancestors, and gives you all the land he promised them, 9 you must designate three additional cities of refuge. (He will give you this land if you obey all the commands I have given you--if you always love the LORD your God and walk in his ways.) 10 That way you will prevent the death of innocent people in the land the LORD your God is giving you as a special possession, and you will not be held responsible for murder. 11 " But suppose someone hates a neighbor and deliberately ambushes and murders that neighbor and then escapes to one of the cities of refuge. 12 In that case, the leaders of the murderer's hometown must have the murderer brought back from the city of refuge and handed over to the dead person's avenger to be killed. 13 Do not feel sorry for that murderer! Purge the guilt of murder from Israel so all may go well with you. 14 " When you arrive in the land the LORD your God is giving you as a special possession, never steal someone's land by moving the boundary markers your ancestors set up to mark their property. 15 " Never convict anyone of a crime on the testimony of just one witness. The facts of the case must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. 16 If a malicious witness comes forward and accuses someone of a crime, 17 then both the accuser and accused must appear before the priests and judges who are on duty before the LORD. 18 They must be closely questioned, and if the accuser is found to be lying, 19 the accuser will receive the punishment intended for the accused. In this way, you will cleanse such evil from among you. 20 Those who hear about it will be afraid to do such an evil thing again. 21 You must never show pity! Your rule should be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.20:1 " WHEN you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid. The LORD your God, who brought you safely out of Egypt, is with you! 2 Before you go into battle, the priest will come forward to speak with the troops. 3 He will say, ` Listen to me, all you men of Israel! Do not be afraid as you go out to fight today! Do not lose heart or panic. 4 For the LORD your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!' 5 " Then the officers of the army will address the troops and say, ` Has anyone just built a new house but not yet dedicated it? If so, go home! You might be killed in the battle, and someone else would dedicate your house! 6 Has anyone just planted a vineyard but not yet eaten any of its fruit? If so, go home! You might die in battle, and someone else would eat from it! 7 Has anyone just become engaged? Well, go home and get married! You might die in the battle, and someone else would marry your fiancé ' 8 Then the officers will also say, ` Is anyone terrified? If you are, go home before you frighten anyone else.' 9 When the officers have finished saying this to their troops, they will announce the names of the unit commanders. 10 " As you approach a town to attack it, first offer its people terms for peace. 11 If they accept your terms and open the gates to you, then all the people inside will serve you in forced labor. 12 But if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town. 13 When the LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town. 14 But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you. 15 But these instructions apply only to distant towns, not to the towns of nations nearby. 16 " As for the towns of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as a special possession, destroy every living thing in them. 17 You must completely destroy the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, just as the LORD your God has commanded you. 18 This will keep the people of the land from teaching you their detestable customs in the worship of their gods, which would cause you to sin deeply against the LORD your God. 19 " When you are besieging a town and the war drags on, do not destroy the trees. Eat the fruit, but do not cut down the trees. They are not enemies that need to be attacked! 20 But you may cut down trees that you know are not valuable for food. Use them to make the equipment you need to besiege the town until it falls."

LUKE 9:28-50
About eight days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John to a mountain to pray. 29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothing became dazzling white. 30 Then two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared and began talking with Jesus. 31 They were glorious to see. And they were speaking of how he was about to fulfill God's plan by dying in Jerusalem. 32 Peter and the others were very drowsy and had fallen asleep. Now they woke up and saw Jesus' glory and the two men standing with him. 33 As Moses and Elijah were starting to leave, Peter, not even knowing what he was saying, blurted out, " Master, this is wonderful! We will make three shrines--one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." 34 But even as he was saying this, a cloud came over them; and terror gripped them as it covered them. 35 Then a voice from the cloud said, " This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to him." 36 When the voice died away, Jesus was there alone. They didn't tell anyone what they had seen until long after this happened.37 The next day, after they had come down the mountain, a huge crowd met Jesus. 38 A man in the crowd called out to him, " Teacher, look at my boy, who is my only son. 39 An evil spirit keeps seizing him, making him scream. It throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It is always hitting and injuring him. It hardly ever leaves him alone. 40 I begged your disciples to cast the spirit out, but they couldn't do it." 41 " You stubborn, faithless people," Jesus said, " how long must I be with you and put up with you? Bring him here." 42 As the boy came forward, the demon knocked him to the ground and threw him into a violent convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit and healed the boy. Then he gave him back to his father. 43 Awe gripped the people as they saw this display of God's power. While everyone was marveling over all the wonderful things he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, 44 " Listen to me and remember what I say. The Son of Man is going to be betrayed." 45 But they didn't know what he meant. Its significance was hidden from them, so they could not understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about it. 46 Then there was an argument among them as to which of them would be the greatest. 47 But Jesus knew their thoughts, so he brought a little child to his side. 48 Then he said to them, " Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes my Father who sent me. Whoever is the least among you is the greatest." 49 John said to Jesus, " Master, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons. We tried to stop him because he isn't in our group."50 But Jesus said, " Don't stop him! Anyone who is not against you is for you."

PSALM 73:1-28
A psalm of Asaph.
1 Truly God is good to Israel,
to those whose hearts are pure.
2 But as for me, I came so close to the edge of the cliff!
My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.
3 For I envied the proud
when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.
4 They seem to live such a painless life;
their bodies are so healthy and strong.
5 They aren't troubled like other people
or plagued with problems like everyone else.
6 They wear pride like a jeweled necklace,
and their clothing is woven of cruelty.
7 These fat cats have everything
their hearts could ever wish for!
8 They scoff and speak only evil;
in their pride they seek to crush others.
9 They boast against the very heavens,
and their words strut throughout the earth.
10 And so the people are dismayed and confused,
drinking in all their words.
11 " Does God realize what is going on?" they ask.
" Is the Most High even aware of what is happening?"
12 Look at these arrogant people--
enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.
13 Was it for nothing that I kept my heart pure
and kept myself from doing wrong?
14 All I get is trouble all day long;
every morning brings me pain.
15 If I had really spoken this way,
I would have been a traitor to your people.
16 So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper.
But what a difficult task it is!
17 Then one day I went into your sanctuary, O God,
and I thought about the destiny of the wicked.
18 Truly, you put them on a slippery path
and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction.
19 In an instant they are destroyed,
swept away by terrors.
20 Their present life is only a dream
that is gone when they awake.
When you arise, O Lord,
you will make them vanish from this life.
21 Then I realized how bitter I had become,
how pained I had been by all I had seen.
22 I was so foolish and ignorant--
I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.
23 Yet I still belong to you;
you are holding my right hand.
24 You will keep on guiding me with your counsel,
leading me to a glorious destiny.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth.
26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever.
27 But those who desert him will perish,
for you destroy those who abandon you.
28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God!
I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter,
and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.

The godly are concerned for the welfare of their animals, but even the kindness of the wicked is cruel.