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Monday 18 February: Leviticus 8 & 9, Romans 11:25 - 12:8, Psalms 21

Leviticus 8 New Living Translation (NLT)

Ordination of the Priests

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Bring Aaron and his sons, along with their sacred garments, the anointing oil, the bull for the sin offering, the two rams, and the basket of bread made without yeast, and call the entire community of Israel together at the entrance of the Tabernacle.a]">[a]

So Moses followed the Lord’s instructions, and the whole community assembled at the Tabernacle entrance. Moses announced to them, “This is what the Lordhas commanded us to do!” Then he presented Aaron and his sons and washed them with water. He put the official tunic on Aaron and tied the sash around his waist. He dressed him in the robe, placed the ephod on him, and attached the ephod securely with its decorative sash. Then Moses placed the chestpiece on Aaron and put the Urim and the Thummim inside it. He placed the turban on Aaron’s head and attached the gold medallion—the badge of holiness—to the front of the turban, just as the Lord had commanded him.

10 Then Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the Tabernacle and everything in it, making them holy. 11 He sprinkled the oil on the altar seven times, anointing it and all its utensils, as well as the washbasin and its stand, making them holy.12 Then he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head, anointing him and making him holy for his work. 13 Next Moses presented Aaron’s sons. He clothed them in their tunics, tied their sashes around them, and put their special head coverings on them, just as the Lord had commanded him.

14 Then Moses presented the bull for the sin offering. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the bull’s head, 15 and Moses slaughtered it. Moses took some of the blood, and with his finger he put it on the four horns of the altar to purify it. He poured out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar. Through this process, he made the altar holy by purifying it.b]">[b] 16 Then Moses took all the fat around the internal organs, the long lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys and the fat around them, and he burned it all on the altar. 17 He took the rest of the bull, including its hide, meat, and dung, and burned it on a fire outside the camp, just as the Lordhad commanded him.

18 Then Moses presented the ram for the burnt offering. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the ram’s head, 19 and Moses slaughtered it. Then Moses took the ram’s blood and splattered it against all sides of the altar. 20 Then he cut the ram into pieces, and he burned the head, some of its pieces, and the fat on the altar.21 After washing the internal organs and the legs with water, Moses burned the entire ram on the altar as a burnt offering. It was a pleasing aroma, a special gift presented to the Lord, just as the Lord had commanded him.

22 Then Moses presented the other ram, which was the ram of ordination. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the ram’s head, 23 and Moses slaughtered it. Then Moses took some of its blood and applied it to the lobe of Aaron’s right ear, the thumb of his right hand, and the big toe of his right foot. 24 Next Moses presented Aaron’s sons and applied some of the blood to the lobes of their right ears, the thumbs of their right hands, and the big toes of their right feet. He then splattered the rest of the blood against all sides of the altar.

25 Next Moses took the fat, including the fat of the broad tail, the fat around the internal organs, the long lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys and the fat around them, along with the right thigh. 26 On top of these he placed a thin cake of bread made without yeast, a cake of bread mixed with olive oil, and a wafer spread with olive oil. All these were taken from the basket of bread made without yeast that was placed in the Lord’s presence. 27 He put all these in the hands of Aaron and his sons, and he lifted these gifts as a special offering to the Lord. 28 Moses then took all the offerings back from them and burned them on the altar on top of the burnt offering. This was the ordination offering. It was a pleasing aroma, a special gift presented to the Lord. 29 Then Moses took the breast and lifted it up as a special offering to the Lord. This was Moses’ portion of the ram of ordination, just as the Lord had commanded him.

30 Next Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood that was on the altar, and he sprinkled them on Aaron and his garments and on his sons and their garments. In this way, he made Aaron and his sons and their garments holy.

31 Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons, “Boil the remaining meat of the offerings at the Tabernacle entrance, and eat it there, along with the bread that is in the basket of offerings for the ordination, just as I commanded when I said, ‘Aaron and his sons will eat it.’ 32 Any meat or bread that is left over must then be burned up. 33 You must not leave the Tabernacle entrance for seven days, for that is when the ordination ceremony will be completed. 34 Everything we have done today was commanded by the Lord in order to purify you, making you right with him.c]">[c] 35 Now stay at the entrance of the Tabernacle day and night for seven days, and do everything the Lord requires. If you fail to do this, you will die, for this is what the Lord has commanded.” 36 So Aaron and his sons did everything the Lordhad commanded through Moses.

 

Leviticus 9 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Priests Begin Their Work

After the ordination ceremony, on the eighth day, Moses called together Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel. He said to Aaron, “Take a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering, both without defects, and present them to the Lord. Then tell the Israelites, ‘Take a male goat for a sin offering, and take a calf and a lamb, both a year old and without defects, for a burnt offering. Also take a bulla]">[a] and a ram for a peace offering and flour moistened with olive oil for a grain offering. Present all these offerings to the Lord because the Lord will appear to you today.’”

So the people presented all these things at the entrance of the Tabernacle,b]">[b] just as Moses had commanded. Then the whole community came forward and stood before the Lord. And Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded you to do so that the glory of the Lord may appear to you.”

Then Moses said to Aaron, “Come to the altar and sacrifice your sin offering and your burnt offering to purify yourself and the people. Then present the offerings of the people to purify them, making them right with the Lord,c]">[c] just as he has commanded.”

So Aaron went to the altar and slaughtered the calf as a sin offering for himself.His sons brought him the blood, and he dipped his finger in it and put it on the horns of the altar. He poured out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar.10 Then he burned on the altar the fat, the kidneys, and the long lobe of the liver from the sin offering, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. 11 The meat and the hide, however, he burned outside the camp.

12 Next Aaron slaughtered the animal for the burnt offering. His sons brought him the blood, and he splattered it against all sides of the altar. 13 Then they handed him each piece of the burnt offering, including the head, and he burned them on the altar. 14 Then he washed the internal organs and the legs and burned them on the altar along with the rest of the burnt offering.

15 Next Aaron presented the offerings of the people. He slaughtered the people’s goat and presented it as an offering for their sin, just as he had first done with the offering for his own sin. 16 Then he presented the burnt offering and sacrificed it in the prescribed way. 17 He also presented the grain offering, burning a handful of the flour mixture on the altar, in addition to the regular burnt offering for the morning.

18 Then Aaron slaughtered the bull and the ram for the people’s peace offering. His sons brought him the blood, and he splattered it against all sides of the altar.19 Then he took the fat of the bull and the ram—the fat of the broad tail and from around the internal organs—along with the kidneys and the long lobes of the livers. 20 He placed these fat portions on top of the breasts of these animals and burned them on the altar. 21 Aaron then lifted up the breasts and right thighs as a special offering to the Lord, just as Moses had commanded.

22 After that, Aaron raised his hands toward the people and blessed them. Then, after presenting the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offering, he stepped down from the altar. 23 Then Moses and Aaron went into the Tabernacle, and when they came back out, they blessed the people again, and the glory of the Lord appeared to the whole community. 24 Fire blazed forth from the Lord’s presence and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When the people saw this, they shouted with joy and fell face down on the ground.

 

Romans 11:25-12:8 New Living Translation (NLT)

God’s Mercy Is for Everyone

25 I want you to understand this mystery, dear brothers and sisters,a]">[a] so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ.26 And so all Israel will be saved. As the Scriptures say,

“The one who rescues will come from Jerusalem,b]">[b]
    and he will turn Israelc]">[c] away from ungodliness.
27 And this is my covenant with them,
    that I will take away their sins.”d]">[d]



28 Many of the people of Israel are now enemies of the Good News, and this benefits you Gentiles. Yet they are still the people he loves because he chose their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 29 For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn. 30 Once, you Gentiles were rebels against God, but when the people of Israel rebelled against him, God was merciful to you instead. 31 Now they are the rebels, and God’s mercy has come to you so that they, too, will sharee]">[e] in God’s mercy. 32 For God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone.

33 Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!

34 For who can know the Lord’s thoughts?
    Who knows enough to give him advice?f]">[f]
35 And who has given him so much
    that he needs to pay it back?g]">[g]



36 For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.

A Living Sacrifice to God

12 And so, dear brothers and sisters,h]">[h] I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.i]">[i] Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Because of the privilege and authorityj]">[j] God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.k]">[k]Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

 

Psalm 21 New Living Translation (NLT)

Psalm 21

For the choir director: A psalm of David.

How the king rejoices in your strength, O Lord!
    He shouts with joy because you give him victory.
For you have given him his heart’s desire;
    you have withheld nothing he requested. Interlude



You welcomed him back with success and prosperity.
    You placed a crown of finest gold on his head.
He asked you to preserve his life,
    and you granted his request.
    The days of his life stretch on forever.
Your victory brings him great honor,
    and you have clothed him with splendor and majesty.
You have endowed him with eternal blessings
    and given him the joy of your presence.
For the king trusts in the Lord.
    The unfailing love of the Most High will keep him from stumbling.



You will capture all your enemies.
    Your strong right hand will seize all who hate you.
You will throw them in a flaming furnace
    when you appear.
The Lord will consume them in his anger;
    fire will devour them.
10 You will wipe their children from the face of the earth;
    they will never have descendants.
11 Although they plot against you,
    their evil schemes will never succeed.
12 For they will turn and run
    when they see your arrows aimed at them.
13 Rise up, O Lord, in all your power.
    With music and singing we celebrate your mighty acts.

Tuesday 19 February: Leviticus 10 & 11, Romans 12:9 - 13:7

Leviticus 10 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Sin of Nadab and Abihu

10 Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu put coals of fire in their incense burners and sprinkled incense over them. In this way, they disobeyed the Lord by burning before him the wrong kind of fire, different than he had commanded. So fire blazed forth from the Lord’s presence and burned them up, and they died there before the Lord.

Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord meant when he said,

‘I will display my holiness
    through those who come near me.
I will display my glory
    before all the people.’”



And Aaron was silent.

Then Moses called for Mishael and Elzaphan, Aaron’s cousins, the sons of Aaron’s uncle Uzziel. He said to them, “Come forward and carry away the bodies of your relatives from in front of the sanctuary to a place outside the camp.” So they came forward and picked them up by their garments and carried them out of the camp, just as Moses had commanded.

Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not show grief by leaving your hair uncombeda]">[a] or by tearing your clothes. If you do, you will die, and the Lord’s anger will strike the whole community of Israel. However, the rest of the Israelites, your relatives, may mourn because of the Lord’s fiery destruction of Nadab and Abihu. But you must not leave the entrance of the Tabernacleb]">[b] or you will die, for you have been anointed with the Lord’s anointing oil.” So they did as Moses commanded.

Instructions for Priestly Conduct

Then the Lord said to Aaron, “You and your descendants must never drink wine or any other alcoholic drink before going into the Tabernacle. If you do, you will die. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation. 10 You must distinguish between what is sacred and what is common, between what is ceremonially unclean and what is clean. 11 And you must teach the Israelites all the decrees that the Lord has given them through Moses.”

12 Then Moses said to Aaron and his remaining sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, “Take what is left of the grain offering after a portion has been presented as a special gift to the Lord, and eat it beside the altar. Make sure it contains no yeast, for it is most holy. 13 You must eat it in a sacred place, for it has been given to you and your descendants as your portion of the special gifts presented to the Lord. These are the commands I have been given. 14 But the breast and thigh that were lifted up as a special offering may be eaten in any place that is ceremonially clean. These parts have been given to you and your descendants as your portion of the peace offerings presented by the people of Israel. 15 You must lift up the thigh and breast as a special offering to the Lord, along with the fat of the special gifts. These parts will belong to you and your descendants as your permanent right, just as the Lord has commanded.”

16 Moses then asked them what had happened to the goat of the sin offering. When he discovered it had been burned up, he became very angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s remaining sons. 17 “Why didn’t you eat the sin offering in the sacred area?” he demanded. “It is a holy offering! The Lord has given it to you to remove the guilt of the community and to purify the people, making them right with the Lord.c]">[c] 18 Since the animal’s blood was not brought into the Holy Place, you should have eaten the meat in the sacred area as I ordered you.”

19 Then Aaron answered Moses, “Today my sons presented both their sin offering and their burnt offering to the Lord. And yet this tragedy has happened to me. If I had eaten the people’s sin offering on such a tragic day as this, would the Lordhave been pleased?” 20 And when Moses heard this, he was satisfied.

 

Leviticus 11 New Living Translation (NLT)

Ceremonially Clean and Unclean Animals

11 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel.

“Of all the land animals, these are the ones you may use for food. You may eat any animal that has completely split hooves and chews the cud. You may not, however, eat the following animalsa]">[a] that have split hooves or that chew the cud, but not both. The camel chews the cud but does not have split hooves, so it is ceremonially unclean for you. The hyraxb]">[b] chews the cud but does not have split hooves, so it is unclean. The hare chews the cud but does not have split hooves, so it is unclean. The pig has evenly split hooves but does not chew the cud, so it is unclean. You may not eat the meat of these animals or even touch their carcasses. They are ceremonially unclean for you.

“Of all the marine animals, these are ones you may use for food. You may eat anything from the water if it has both fins and scales, whether taken from salt water or from streams. 10 But you must never eat animals from the sea or from rivers that do not have both fins and scales. They are detestable to you. This applies both to little creatures that live in shallow water and to all creatures that live in deep water. 11 They will always be detestable to you. You must never eat their meat or even touch their dead bodies. 12 Any marine animal that does not have both fins and scales is detestable to you.

13 “These are the birds that are detestable to you. You must never eat them: the griffon vulture, the bearded vulture, the black vulture, 14 the kite, falcons of all kinds, 15 ravens of all kinds, 16 the eagle owl, the short-eared owl, the seagull, hawks of all kinds, 17 the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, 18 the barn owl, the desert owl, the Egyptian vulture, 19 the stork, herons of all kinds, the hoopoe, and the bat.

20 “You must not eat winged insects that walk along the ground; they are detestable to you. 21 You may, however, eat winged insects that walk along the ground and have jointed legs so they can jump. 22 The insects you are permitted to eat include all kinds of locusts, bald locusts, crickets, and grasshoppers. 23 All other winged insects that walk along the ground are detestable to you.

24 “The following creatures will make you ceremonially unclean. If any of you touch their carcasses, you will be defiled until evening. 25 If you pick up their carcasses, you must wash your clothes, and you will remain defiled until evening.

26 “Any animal that has split hooves that are not evenly divided or that does not chew the cud is unclean for you. If you touch the carcass of such an animal, you will be defiled. 27 Of the animals that walk on all fours, those that have paws are unclean. If you touch the carcass of such an animal, you will be defiled until evening. 28 If you pick up its carcass, you must wash your clothes, and you will remain defiled until evening. These animals are unclean for you.

29 “Of the small animals that scurry along the ground, these are unclean for you: the mole rat, the rat, large lizards of all kinds, 30 the gecko, the monitor lizard, the common lizard, the sand lizard, and the chameleon. 31 All these small animals are unclean for you. If any of you touch the dead body of such an animal, you will be defiled until evening. 32 If such an animal dies and falls on something, that object will be unclean. This is true whether the object is made of wood, cloth, leather, or burlap. Whatever its use, you must dip it in water, and it will remain defiled until evening. After that, it will be ceremonially clean and may be used again.

33 “If such an animal falls into a clay pot, everything in the pot will be defiled, and the pot must be smashed. 34 If the water from such a container spills on any food, the food will be defiled. And any beverage in such a container will be defiled.35 Any object on which the carcass of such an animal falls will be defiled. If it is an oven or hearth, it must be destroyed, for it is defiled, and you must treat it accordingly.

36 “However, if the carcass of such an animal falls into a spring or a cistern, the water will still be clean. But anyone who touches the carcass will be defiled. 37 If the carcass falls on seed grain to be planted in the field, the seed will still be considered clean. 38 But if the seed is wet when the carcass falls on it, the seed will be defiled.

39 “If an animal you are permitted to eat dies and you touch its carcass, you will be defiled until evening. 40 If you eat any of its meat or carry away its carcass, you must wash your clothes, and you will remain defiled until evening.

41 “All small animals that scurry along the ground are detestable, and you must never eat them. 42 This includes all animals that slither along on their bellies, as well as those with four legs and those with many feet. All such animals that scurry along the ground are detestable, and you must never eat them. 43 Do not defile yourselves by touching them. You must not make yourselves ceremonially unclean because of them. 44 For I am the Lord your God. You must consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. So do not defile yourselves with any of these small animals that scurry along the ground. 45 For I, the Lord, am the one who brought you up from the land of Egypt, that I might be your God. Therefore, you must be holy because I am holy.

46 “These are the instructions regarding land animals, birds, marine creatures, and animals that scurry along the ground. 47 By these instructions you will know what is unclean and clean, and which animals may be eaten and which may not be eaten.”

 

Romans 12:9-13:7 New Living Translation (NLT)

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection,a]">[a] and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.b]">[b] 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,

“I will take revenge;
    I will pay them back,”c]">[c]
    says the Lord.



20 Instead, 

“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
    If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
    burning coals of shame on their heads.”d]">[d]



21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

Respect for Authority

13 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.

Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.

 

 

Wednesday 20 February: Leviticus 12 & 13, Romans 13:8 - 14:12, Psalms 22

Leviticus 12 New Living Translation (NLT)

Purification after Childbirth

12 The Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. If a woman becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son, she will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her menstrual period. On the eighth day the boy’s foreskin must be circumcised. After waiting thirty-three days, she will be purified from the bleeding of childbirth. During this time of purification, she must not touch anything that is set apart as holy. And she must not enter the sanctuary until her time of purification is over. If a woman gives birth to a daughter, she will be ceremonially unclean for two weeks, just as she is unclean during her menstrual period. After waiting sixty-six days, she will be purified from the bleeding of childbirth.

“When the time of purification is completed for either a son or a daughter, the woman must bring a one-year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or turtledove for a purification offering. She must bring her offerings to the priest at the entrance of the Tabernacle.a]">[a] The priest will then present them to the Lord to purify her.b]">[b] Then she will be ceremonially clean again after her bleeding at childbirth. These are the instructions for a woman after the birth of a son or a daughter.

“If a woman cannot afford to bring a lamb, she must bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons. One will be for the burnt offering and the other for the purification offering. The priest will sacrifice them to purify her, and she will be ceremonially clean.”

 

Leviticus 13 New Living Translation (NLT)

Serious Skin Diseases

13 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “If anyone has a swelling or a rash or discolored skin that might develop into a serious skin disease,a]">[a] that person must be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons.b]">[b] The priest will examine the affected area of the skin. If the hair in the affected area has turned white and the problem appears to be more than skin-deep, it is a serious skin disease, and the priest who examines it must pronounce the person ceremonially unclean.

“But if the affected area of the skin is only a white discoloration and does not appear to be more than skin-deep, and if the hair on the spot has not turned white, the priest will quarantine the person for seven days. On the seventh day the priest will make another examination. If he finds the affected area has not changed and the problem has not spread on the skin, the priest will quarantine the person for seven more days. On the seventh day the priest will make another examination. If he finds the affected area has faded and has not spread, the priest will pronounce the person ceremonially clean. It was only a rash. The person’s clothing must be washed, and the person will be ceremonially clean. But if the rash continues to spread after the person has been examined by the priest and has been pronounced clean, the infected person must return to be examined again. If the priest finds that the rash has spread, he must pronounce the person ceremonially unclean, for it is indeed a skin disease.

“Anyone who develops a serious skin disease must go to the priest for an examination. 10 If the priest finds a white swelling on the skin, and some hair on the spot has turned white, and there is an open sore in the affected area, 11 it is a chronic skin disease, and the priest must pronounce the person ceremonially unclean. In such cases the person need not be quarantined, for it is obvious that the skin is defiled by the disease.

12 “Now suppose the disease has spread all over the person’s skin, covering the body from head to foot. 13 When the priest examines the infected person and finds that the disease covers the entire body, he will pronounce the person ceremonially clean. Since the skin has turned completely white, the person is clean. 14 But if any open sores appear, the infected person will be pronounced ceremonially unclean.15 The priest must make this pronouncement as soon as he sees an open sore, since open sores indicate the presence of a skin disease. 16 However, if the open sores heal and turn white like the rest of the skin, the person must return to the priest 17 for another examination. If the affected areas have indeed turned white, the priest will then pronounce the person ceremonially clean by declaring, ‘You are clean!’

18 “If anyone has a boil on the skin that has started to heal, 19 but a white swelling or a reddish white spot develops in its place, that person must go to the priest to be examined. 20 If the priest examines it and finds it to be more than skin-deep, and if the hair in the affected area has turned white, the priest must pronounce the person ceremonially unclean. The boil has become a serious skin disease. 21 But if the priest finds no white hair on the affected area and the problem appears to be no more than skin-deep and has faded, the priest must quarantine the person for seven days. 22 If during that time the affected area spreads on the skin, the priest must pronounce the person ceremonially unclean, because it is a serious disease.23 But if the area grows no larger and does not spread, it is merely the scar from the boil, and the priest will pronounce the person ceremonially clean.

24 “If anyone has suffered a burn on the skin and the burned area changes color, becoming either reddish white or shiny white, 25 the priest must examine it. If he finds that the hair in the affected area has turned white and the problem appears to be more than skin-deep, a skin disease has broken out in the burn. The priest must then pronounce the person ceremonially unclean, for it is clearly a serious skin disease. 26 But if the priest finds no white hair on the affected area and the problem appears to be no more than skin-deep and has faded, the priest must quarantine the infected person for seven days. 27 On the seventh day the priest must examine the person again. If the affected area has spread on the skin, the priest must pronounce that person ceremonially unclean, for it is clearly a serious skin disease. 28 But if the affected area has not changed or spread on the skin and has faded, it is simply a swelling from the burn. The priest will then pronounce the person ceremonially clean, for it is only the scar from the burn.

29 “If anyone, either a man or woman, has a sore on the head or chin, 30 the priest must examine it. If he finds it is more than skin-deep and has fine yellow hair on it, the priest must pronounce the person ceremonially unclean. It is a scabby sore of the head or chin. 31 If the priest examines the scabby sore and finds that it is only skin-deep but there is no black hair on it, he must quarantine the person for seven days. 32 On the seventh day the priest must examine the sore again. If he finds that the scabby sore has not spread, and there is no yellow hair on it, and it appears to be only skin-deep, 33 the person must shave off all hair except the hair on the affected area. Then the priest must quarantine the person for another seven days. 34 On the seventh day he will examine the sore again. If it has not spread and appears to be no more than skin-deep, the priest will pronounce the person ceremonially clean. The person’s clothing must be washed, and the person will be ceremonially clean. 35 But if the scabby sore begins to spread after the person is pronounced clean, 36 the priest must do another examination. If he finds that the sore has spread, the priest does not need to look for yellow hair. The infected person is ceremonially unclean. 37 But if the color of the scabby sore does not change and black hair has grown on it, it has healed. The priest will then pronounce the person ceremonially clean.

38 “If anyone, either a man or woman, has shiny white patches on the skin, 39 the priest must examine the affected area. If he finds that the shiny patches are only pale white, this is a harmless skin rash, and the person is ceremonially clean.

40 “If a man loses his hair and his head becomes bald, he is still ceremonially clean. 41 And if he loses hair on his forehead, he simply has a bald forehead; he is still clean. 42 However, if a reddish white sore appears on the bald area on top of his head or on his forehead, this is a skin disease. 43 The priest must examine him, and if he finds swelling around the reddish white sore anywhere on the man’s head and it looks like a skin disease, 44 the man is indeed infected with a skin disease and is unclean. The priest must pronounce him ceremonially unclean because of the sore on his head.

45 “Those who suffer from a serious skin disease must tear their clothing and leave their hair uncombed.c]">[c] They must cover their mouth and call out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ 46 As long as the serious disease lasts, they will be ceremonially unclean. They must live in isolation in their place outside the camp.

Treatment of Contaminated Clothing

47 “Now suppose mildewd]">[d] contaminates some woolen or linen clothing, 48 woolen or linen fabric, the hide of an animal, or anything made of leather. 49 If the contaminated area in the clothing, the animal hide, the fabric, or the leather article has turned greenish or reddish, it is contaminated with mildew and must be shown to the priest. 50 After examining the affected spot, the priest will put the article in quarantine for seven days. 51 On the seventh day the priest must inspect it again. If the contaminated area has spread, the clothing or fabric or leather is clearly contaminated by a serious mildew and is ceremonially unclean. 52 The priest must burn the item—the clothing, the woolen or linen fabric, or piece of leather—for it has been contaminated by a serious mildew. It must be completely destroyed by fire.

53 “But if the priest examines it and finds that the contaminated area has not spread in the clothing, the fabric, or the leather, 54 the priest will order the object to be washed and then quarantined for seven more days. 55 Then the priest must examine the object again. If he finds that the contaminated area has not changed color after being washed, even if it did not spread, the object is defiled. It must be completely burned up, whether the contaminated spote]">[e] is on the inside or outside. 56 But if the priest examines it and finds that the contaminated area has faded after being washed, he must cut the spot from the clothing, the fabric, or the leather. 57 If the spot later reappears on the clothing, the fabric, or the leather article, the mildew is clearly spreading, and the contaminated object must be burned up. 58 But if the spot disappears from the clothing, the fabric, or the leather article after it has been washed, it must be washed again; then it will be ceremonially clean.

59 “These are the instructions for dealing with mildew that contaminates woolen or linen clothing or fabric or anything made of leather. This is how the priest will determine whether these items are ceremonially clean or unclean.”

 

Romans 13:8-14:12 New Living Translation (NLT)

Love Fulfills God’s Requirements

Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.”a]">[a] These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”b]">[b]10 Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.

11 This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. 13 Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. 14 Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.

The Danger of Criticism

14 Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval.

In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him. Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God. For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead.

10 So why do you condemn another believerc]">[c]? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For the Scriptures say, 

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bend to me,
    and every tongue will declare allegiance to God.d]">[d]’”



12 Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God.

 

Psalm 22 New Living Translation (NLT)

Psalm 22

For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be sung to the tune “Doe of the Dawn.”

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
    Why are you so far away when I groan for help?
Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer.
    Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief.



Yet you are holy,
    enthroned on the praises of Israel.
Our ancestors trusted in you,
    and you rescued them.
They cried out to you and were saved.
    They trusted in you and were never disgraced.



But I am a worm and not a man.
    I am scorned and despised by all!
Everyone who sees me mocks me.
    They sneer and shake their heads, saying,
“Is this the one who relies on the Lord?
    Then let the Lord save him!
If the Lord loves him so much,
    let the Lord rescue him!”



Yet you brought me safely from my mother’s womb
    and led me to trust you at my mother’s breast.
10 I was thrust into your arms at my birth.
    You have been my God from the moment I was born.



11 Do not stay so far from me,
    for trouble is near,
    and no one else can help me.
12 My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls;
    fierce bulls of Bashan have hemmed me in!
13 Like lions they open their jaws against me,
    roaring and tearing into their prey.
14 My life is poured out like water,
    and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart is like wax,
    melting within me.
15 My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay.
    My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.
    You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead.
16 My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs;
    an evil gang closes in on me.
    They have pierceda]">[a] my hands and feet.
17 I can count all my bones.
    My enemies stare at me and gloat.
18 They divide my garments among themselves
    and throw diceb]">[b] for my clothing.



19 Lord, do not stay far away!
    You are my strength; come quickly to my aid!
20 Save me from the sword;
    spare my precious life from these dogs.
21 Snatch me from the lion’s jaws
    and from the horns of these wild oxen.



22 I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters.c]">[c]
    I will praise you among your assembled people.
23 Praise the Lord, all you who fear him!
    Honor him, all you descendants of Jacob!
    Show him reverence, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy.
    He has not turned his back on them,
    but has listened to their cries for help.



25 I will praise you in the great assembly.
    I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who worship you.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied.
    All who seek the Lord will praise him.
    Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy.
27 The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to him.
    All the families of the nations will bow down before him.
28 For royal power belongs to the Lord.
    He rules all the nations.



29 Let the rich of the earth feast and worship.
    Bow before him, all who are mortal,
    all whose lives will end as dust.
30 Our children will also serve him.
    Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord.
31 His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born.
    They will hear about everything he has done.

Thursday 21 February: Leviticus 14 & 15, Romans 14:13 - 15:13

Leviticus 14 New Living Translation (NLT)

Cleansing from Skin Diseases

14 And the Lord said to Moses, “The following instructions are for those seeking ceremonial purification from a skin disease.a]">[a] Those who have been healed must be brought to the priest, who will examine them at a place outside the camp. If the priest finds that someone has been healed of a serious skin disease, he will perform a purification ceremony, using two live birds that are ceremonially clean, a stick of cedar,b]">[b] some scarlet yarn, and a hyssop branch.The priest will order that one bird be slaughtered over a clay pot filled with fresh water. He will take the live bird, the cedar stick, the scarlet yarn, and the hyssop branch, and dip them into the blood of the bird that was slaughtered over the fresh water. The priest will then sprinkle the blood of the dead bird seven times on the person being purified of the skin disease. When the priest has purified the person, he will release the live bird in the open field to fly away.

“The persons being purified must then wash their clothes, shave off all their hair, and bathe themselves in water. Then they will be ceremonially clean and may return to the camp. However, they must remain outside their tents for seven days.On the seventh day they must again shave all the hair from their heads, including the hair of the beard and eyebrows. They must also wash their clothes and bathe themselves in water. Then they will be ceremonially clean.

10 “On the eighth day each person being purified must bring two male lambs and a one-year-old female lamb, all with no defects, along with a grain offering of six quartsc]">[c] of choice flour moistened with olive oil, and a cupd]">[d] of olive oil. 11 Then the officiating priest will present that person for purification, along with the offerings, before the Lord at the entrance of the Tabernacle.e]">[e] 12 The priest will take one of the male lambs and the olive oil and present them as a guilt offering, lifting them up as a special offering before the Lord. 13 He will then slaughter the male lamb in the sacred area where sin offerings and burnt offerings are slaughtered. As with the sin offering, the guilt offering belongs to the priest. It is a most holy offering.14 The priest will then take some of the blood of the guilt offering and apply it to the lobe of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the big toe of the right foot of the person being purified.

15 “Then the priest will pour some of the olive oil into the palm of his own left hand.16 He will dip his right finger into the oil in his palm and sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the Lord. 17 The priest will then apply some of the oil in his palm over the blood from the guilt offering that is on the lobe of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the big toe of the right foot of the person being purified. 18 The priest will apply the oil remaining in his hand to the head of the person being purified. Through this process, the priest will purifyf]">[f] the person before the Lord.

19 “Then the priest must present the sin offering to purify the person who was cured of the skin disease. After that, the priest will slaughter the burnt offering20 and offer it on the altar along with the grain offering. Through this process, the priest will purify the person who was healed, and the person will be ceremonially clean.

21 “But anyone who is too poor and cannot afford these offerings may bring one male lamb for a guilt offering, to be lifted up as a special offering for purification. The person must also bring two quartsg]">[g] of choice flour moistened with olive oil for the grain offering and a cup of olive oil. 22 The offering must also include two turtledoves or two young pigeons, whichever the person can afford. One of the pair must be used for the sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. 23 On the eighth day of the purification ceremony, the person being purified must bring the offerings to the priest in the Lord’s presence at the entrance of the Tabernacle.24 The priest will take the lamb for the guilt offering, along with the olive oil, and lift them up as a special offering to the Lord. 25 Then the priest will slaughter the lamb for the guilt offering. He will take some of its blood and apply it to the lobe of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the big toe of the right foot of the person being purified.

26 “The priest will also pour some of the olive oil into the palm of his own left hand.27 He will dip his right finger into the oil in his palm and sprinkle some of it seven times before the Lord. 28 The priest will then apply some of the oil in his palm over the blood from the guilt offering that is on the lobe of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the big toe of the right foot of the person being purified. 29 The priest will apply the oil remaining in his hand to the head of the person being purified. Through this process, the priest will purify the person before the Lord.

30 “Then the priest will offer the two turtledoves or the two young pigeons, whichever the person can afford. 31 One of them is for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering, to be presented along with the grain offering. Through this process, the priest will purify the person before the Lord. 32 These are the instructions for purification for those who have recovered from a serious skin disease but who cannot afford to bring the offerings normally required for the ceremony of purification.”

Treatment of Contaminated Houses

33 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 34 “When you arrive in Canaan, the land I am giving you as your own possession, I may contaminate some of the houses in your land with mildew.h]">[h] 35 The owner of such a house must then go to the priest and say, ‘It appears that my house has some kind of mildew.’ 36 Before the priest goes in to inspect the house, he must have the house emptied so nothing inside will be pronounced ceremonially unclean. 37 Then the priest will go in and examine the mildew on the walls. If he finds greenish or reddish streaks and the contamination appears to go deeper than the wall’s surface, 38 the priest will step outside the door and put the house in quarantine for seven days. 39 On the seventh day the priest must return for another inspection. If he finds that the mildew on the walls of the house has spread, 40 the priest must order that the stones from those areas be removed. The contaminated material will then be taken outside the town to an area designated as ceremonially unclean. 41 Next the inside walls of the entire house must be scraped thoroughly and the scrapings dumped in the unclean place outside the town. 42 Other stones will be brought in to replace the ones that were removed, and the walls will be replastered.

43 “But if the mildew reappears after all the stones have been replaced and the house has been scraped and replastered, 44 the priest must return and inspect the house again. If he finds that the mildew has spread, the walls are clearly contaminated with a serious mildew, and the house is defiled. 45 It must be torn down, and all its stones, timbers, and plaster must be carried out of town to the place designated as ceremonially unclean. 46 Those who enter the house during the period of quarantine will be ceremonially unclean until evening, 47 and all who sleep or eat in the house must wash their clothing.

48 “But if the priest returns for his inspection and finds that the mildew has not reappeared in the house after the fresh plastering, he will pronounce it clean because the mildew is clearly gone. 49 To purify the house the priest must take two birds, a stick of cedar, some scarlet yarn, and a hyssop branch. 50 He will slaughter one of the birds over a clay pot filled with fresh water. 51 He will take the cedar stick, the hyssop branch, the scarlet yarn, and the live bird, and dip them into the blood of the slaughtered bird and into the fresh water. Then he will sprinkle the house seven times. 52 When the priest has purified the house in exactly this way, 53 he will release the live bird in the open fields outside the town. Through this process, the priest will purify the house, and it will be ceremonially clean.

54 “These are the instructions for dealing with serious skin diseases,i]">[i] including scabby sores; 55 and mildew,j]">[j] whether on clothing or in a house; 56 and a swelling on the skin, a rash, or discolored skin. 57 This procedure will determine whether a person or object is ceremonially clean or unclean.

“These are the instructions regarding skin diseases and mildew.”

 

Leviticus 15 New Living Translation (NLT)

Bodily Discharges

15 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel.

“Any man who has a bodily discharge is ceremonially unclean. This defilement is caused by his discharge, whether the discharge continues or stops. In either case the man is unclean. Any bed on which the man with the discharge lies and anything on which he sits will be ceremonially unclean. So if you touch the man’s bed, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening. If you sit where the man with the discharge has sat, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening. If you touch the man with the discharge, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening. If the man spits on you, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening. Any saddle blanket on which the man rides will be ceremonially unclean. 10 If you touch anything that was under the man, you will be unclean until evening. You must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening. 11 If the man touches you without first rinsing his hands, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening. 12 Any clay pot the man touches must be broken, and any wooden utensil he touches must be rinsed with water.

13 “When the man with the discharge is healed, he must count off seven days for the period of purification. Then he must wash his clothes and bathe himself in fresh water, and he will be ceremonially clean. 14 On the eighth day he must get two turtledoves or two young pigeons and come before the Lord at the entrance of the Tabernaclea]">[a] and give his offerings to the priest. 15 The priest will offer one bird for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. Through this process, the priest will purifyb]">[b] the man before the Lord for his discharge.

16 “Whenever a man has an emission of semen, he must bathe his entire body in water, and he will remain ceremonially unclean until the next evening.c]">[c] 17 Any clothing or leather with semen on it must be washed in water, and it will remain unclean until evening. 18 After a man and a woman have sexual intercourse, they must each bathe in water, and they will remain unclean until the next evening.

19 “Whenever a woman has her menstrual period, she will be ceremonially unclean for seven days. Anyone who touches her during that time will be unclean until evening. 20 Anything on which the woman lies or sits during the time of her period will be unclean. 21 If any of you touch her bed, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening. 22 If you touch any object she has sat on, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening. 23 This includes her bed or any other object she has sat on; you will be unclean until evening if you touch it. 24 If a man has sexual intercourse with her and her blood touches him, her menstrual impurity will be transmitted to him. He will remain unclean for seven days, and any bed on which he lies will be unclean.

25 “If a woman has a flow of blood for many days that is unrelated to her menstrual period, or if the blood continues beyond the normal period, she is ceremonially unclean. As during her menstrual period, the woman will be unclean as long as the discharge continues. 26 Any bed she lies on and any object she sits on during that time will be unclean, just as during her normal menstrual period. 27 If any of you touch these things, you will be ceremonially unclean. You must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening.

28 “When the woman’s bleeding stops, she must count off seven days. Then she will be ceremonially clean. 29 On the eighth day she must bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons and present them to the priest at the entrance of the Tabernacle. 30 The priest will offer one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. Through this process, the priest will purify her before the Lord for the ceremonial impurity caused by her bleeding.

31 “This is how you will guard the people of Israel from ceremonial uncleanness. Otherwise they would die, for their impurity would defile my Tabernacle that stands among them. 32 These are the instructions for dealing with anyone who has a bodily discharge—a man who is unclean because of an emission of semen 33 or a woman during her menstrual period. It applies to any man or woman who has a bodily discharge, and to a man who has sexual intercourse with a woman who is ceremonially unclean.”

 

Romans 14:13-15 New Living Translation (NLT)

13 So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.

14 I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. 15 And if another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died. 16 Then you will not be criticized for doing something you believe is good.17 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. 19 So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.

20 Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat. Remember, all foods are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble.21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble.a]">[a] 22 You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. 23 But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.b]">[b]

Living to Please Others

15 We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.”c]">[c] Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jewsd]">[d] to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors. He also came so that the Gentiles might give glory to God for his mercies to them. That is what the psalmist meant when he wrote: 

“For this, I will praise you among the Gentiles;
    I will sing praises to your name.”e]">[e]



10 And in another place it is written,

“Rejoice with his people,
    you Gentiles.”f]">[f]



11 And yet again,

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles.
    Praise him, all you people of the earth.”g]">[g]



12 And in another place Isaiah said, 

“The heir to David’s throneh]">[h] will come,
    and he will rule over the Gentiles.
They will place their hope on him.”i]">[i]



13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Friday 22 February: Leviticus 16 & 17, Romans 15:14-33, Psalms 23

Leviticus 16 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Day of Atonement

16 The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of Aaron’s two sons, who died after they entered the Lord’s presence and burned the wrong kind of fire before him.The Lord said to Moses, “Warn your brother, Aaron, not to enter the Most Holy Place behind the inner curtain whenever he chooses; if he does, he will die. For the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—is there, and I myself am present in the cloud above the atonement cover.

“When Aaron enters the sanctuary area, he must follow these instructions fully. He must bring a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. He must put on his linen tunic and the linen undergarments worn next to his body. He must tie the linen sash around his waist and put the linen turban on his head. These are sacred garments, so he must bathe himself in water before he puts them on. Aaron must take from the community of Israel two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.

“Aaron will present his own bull as a sin offering to purify himself and his family, making them right with the Lord.a]">[a] Then he must take the two male goats and present them to the Lord at the entrance of the Tabernacle.b]">[b] He is to cast sacred lots to determine which goat will be reserved as an offering to the Lord and which will carry the sins of the people to the wilderness of Azazel. Aaron will then present as a sin offering the goat chosen by lot for the Lord. 10 The other goat, the scapegoat chosen by lot to be sent away, will be kept alive, standing before the Lord. When it is sent away to Azazel in the wilderness, the people will be purified and made right with the Lord.c]">[c]

11 “Aaron will present his own bull as a sin offering to purify himself and his family, making them right with the Lord. After he has slaughtered the bull as a sin offering,12 he will fill an incense burner with burning coals from the altar that stands before the Lord. Then he will take two handfuls of fragrant powdered incense and will carry the burner and the incense behind the inner curtain. 13 There in the Lord’s presence he will put the incense on the burning coals so that a cloud of incense will rise over the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—that rests on the Ark of the Covenant.d]">[d] If he follows these instructions, he will not die. 14 Then he must take some of the blood of the bull, dip his finger in it, and sprinkle it on the east side of the atonement cover. He must sprinkle blood seven times with his finger in front of the atonement cover.

15 “Then Aaron must slaughter the first goat as a sin offering for the people and carry its blood behind the inner curtain. There he will sprinkle the goat’s blood over the atonement cover and in front of it, just as he did with the bull’s blood.16 Through this process, he will purifye]">[e] the Most Holy Place, and he will do the same for the entire Tabernacle, because of the defiling sin and rebellion of the Israelites. 17 No one else is allowed inside the Tabernacle when Aaron enters it for the purification ceremony in the Most Holy Place. No one may enter until he comes out again after purifying himself, his family, and all the congregation of Israel, making them right with the Lord.

18 “Then Aaron will come out to purify the altar that stands before the Lord. He will do this by taking some of the blood from the bull and the goat and putting it on each of the horns of the altar. 19 Then he must sprinkle the blood with his finger seven times over the altar. In this way, he will cleanse it from Israel’s defilement and make it holy.

20 “When Aaron has finished purifying the Most Holy Place and the Tabernacle and the altar, he must present the live goat. 21 He will lay both of his hands on the goat’s head and confess over it all the wickedness, rebellion, and sins of the people of Israel. In this way, he will transfer the people’s sins to the head of the goat. Then a man specially chosen for the task will drive the goat into the wilderness. 22 As the goat goes into the wilderness, it will carry all the people’s sins upon itself into a desolate land.

23 “When Aaron goes back into the Tabernacle, he must take off the linen garments he was wearing when he entered the Most Holy Place, and he must leave the garments there. 24 Then he must bathe himself with water in a sacred place, put on his regular garments, and go out to sacrifice a burnt offering for himself and a burnt offering for the people. Through this process, he will purify himself and the people, making them right with the Lord. 25 He must then burn all the fat of the sin offering on the altar.

26 “The man chosen to drive the scapegoat into the wilderness of Azazel must wash his clothes and bathe himself in water. Then he may return to the camp.

27 “The bull and the goat presented as sin offerings, whose blood Aaron takes into the Most Holy Place for the purification ceremony, will be carried outside the camp. The animals’ hides, internal organs, and dung are all to be burned. 28 The man who burns them must wash his clothes and bathe himself in water before returning to the camp.

29 “On the tenth day of the appointed month in early autumn,f]">[f] you must deny yourselves.g]">[g] Neither native-born Israelites nor foreigners living among you may do any kind of work. This is a permanent law for you. 30 On that day offerings of purification will be made for you,h]">[h] and you will be purified in the Lord’s presence from all your sins. 31 It will be a Sabbath day of complete rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. This is a permanent law for you. 32 In future generations, the purificationi]">[i] ceremony will be performed by the priest who has been anointed and ordained to serve as high priest in place of his ancestor Aaron. He will put on the holy linen garments 33 and purify the Most Holy Place, the Tabernacle, the altar, the priests, and the entire congregation. 34 This is a permanent law for you, to purify the people of Israel from their sins, making them right with the Lord once each year.”

Moses followed all these instructions exactly as the Lord had commanded him.

 

Leviticus 17 New Living Translation (NLT)

Prohibitions against Eating Blood

17 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to Aaron and his sons and all the people of Israel. This is what the Lord has commanded.

“If any native Israelite sacrifices a bulla]">[a] or a lamb or a goat anywhere inside or outside the camp instead of bringing it to the entrance of the Tabernacleb]">[b] to present it as an offering to the Lord, that person will be as guilty as a murderer.c]">[c]Such a person has shed blood and will be cut off from the community. The purpose of this rule is to stop the Israelites from sacrificing animals in the open fields. It will ensure that they bring their sacrifices to the priest at the entrance of the Tabernacle, so he can present them to the Lord as peace offerings. Then the priest will be able to splatter the blood against the Lord’s altar at the entrance of the Tabernacle, and he will burn the fat as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. The people must no longer be unfaithful to the Lord by offering sacrifices to the goat idols.d]">[d] This is a permanent law for them, to be observed from generation to generation.

“Give them this command as well. If any native Israelite or foreigner living among you offers a burnt offering or a sacrifice but does not bring it to the entrance of the Tabernacle to offer it to the Lord, that person will be cut off from the community.

10 “And if any native Israelite or foreigner living among you eats or drinks blood in any form, I will turn against that person and cut him off from the community of your people, 11 for the life of the body is in its blood. I have given you the blood on the altar to purify you, making you right with the Lord.e]">[e] It is the blood, given in exchange for a life, that makes purification possible. 12 That is why I have said to the people of Israel, ‘You must never eat or drink blood—neither you nor the foreigners living among you.’

13 “And if any native Israelite or foreigner living among you goes hunting and kills an animal or bird that is approved for eating, he must drain its blood and cover it with earth. 14 The life of every creature is in its blood. That is why I have said to the people of Israel, ‘You must never eat or drink blood, for the life of any creature is in its blood.’ So whoever consumes blood will be cut off from the community.

15 “And if any native-born Israelites or foreigners eat the meat of an animal that died naturally or was torn up by wild animals, they must wash their clothes and bathe themselves in water. They will remain ceremonially unclean until evening, but then they will be clean. 16 But if they do not wash their clothes and bathe themselves, they will be punished for their sin.”

 

Romans 15:14-33 New Living Translation (NLT)

Paul’s Reason for Writing

14 I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters,a]">[a] that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well you can teach each other all about them. 15 Even so, I have been bold enough to write about some of these points, knowing that all you need is this reminder. For by God’s grace, 16 I am a special messenger from Christ Jesus to you Gentiles. I bring you the Good News so that I might present you as an acceptable offering to God, made holy by the Holy Spirit.17 So I have reason to be enthusiastic about all Christ Jesus has done through me in my service to God. 18 Yet I dare not boast about anything except what Christ has done through me, bringing the Gentiles to God by my message and by the way I worked among them. 19 They were convinced by the power of miraculous signs and wonders and by the power of God’s Spirit.b]">[b] In this way, I have fully presented the Good News of Christ from Jerusalem all the way to Illyricum.c]">[c]

20 My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else. 21 I have been following the plan spoken of in the Scriptures, where it says, 

“Those who have never been told about him will see,
    and those who have never heard of him will understand.”d]">[d]



22 In fact, my visit to you has been delayed so long because I have been preaching in these places.

Paul’s Travel Plans

23 But now I have finished my work in these regions, and after all these long years of waiting, I am eager to visit you. 24 I am planning to go to Spain, and when I do, I will stop off in Rome. And after I have enjoyed your fellowship for a little while, you can provide for my journey.

25 But before I come, I must go to Jerusalem to take a gift to the believerse]">[e] there.26 For you see, the believers in Macedonia and Achaiaf]">[f] have eagerly taken up an offering for the poor among the believers in Jerusalem. 27 They were glad to do this because they feel they owe a real debt to them. Since the Gentiles received the spiritual blessings of the Good News from the believers in Jerusalem, they feel the least they can do in return is to help them financially. 28 As soon as I have delivered this money and completed this good deed of theirs, I will come to see you on my way to Spain. 29 And I am sure that when I come, Christ will richly bless our time together.

30 Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit. 31 Pray that I will be rescued from those in Judea who refuse to obey God. Pray also that the believers there will be willing to accept the donationg]">[g] I am taking to Jerusalem. 32 Then, by the will of God, I will be able to come to you with a joyful heart, and we will be an encouragement to each other.

33 And now may God, who gives us his peace, be with you all. Amen.h]">[h]

 

Psalm 23 New Living Translation (NLT)

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
    he leads me beside peaceful streams.
    He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
    bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
    through the darkest valley,a]">[a]
I will not be afraid,
    for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
    protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
    My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
    all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
    forever.

Saturday 23 February: Leviticus 18 & 19, Romans 16

Leviticus 18 New Living Translation (NLT)

Forbidden Sexual Practices

18 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. I am the Lord your God. So do not act like the people in Egypt, where you used to live, or like the people of Canaan, where I am taking you. You must not imitate their way of life. You must obey all my regulations and be careful to obey my decrees, for I am the Lord your God. If you obey my decrees and my regulations, you will find life through them. I am the Lord.

“You must never have sexual relations with a close relative, for I am the Lord.

“Do not violate your father by having sexual relations with your mother. She is your mother; you must not have sexual relations with her.

“Do not have sexual relations with any of your father’s wives, for this would violate your father.

“Do not have sexual relations with your sister or half sister, whether she is your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether she was born into your household or someone else’s.

10 “Do not have sexual relations with your granddaughter, whether she is your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter, for this would violate yourself.

11 “Do not have sexual relations with your stepsister, the daughter of any of your father’s wives, for she is your sister.

12 “Do not have sexual relations with your father’s sister, for she is your father’s close relative.

13 “Do not have sexual relations with your mother’s sister, for she is your mother’s close relative.

14 “Do not violate your uncle, your father’s brother, by having sexual relations with his wife, for she is your aunt.

15 “Do not have sexual relations with your daughter-in-law; she is your son’s wife, so you must not have sexual relations with her.

16 “Do not have sexual relations with your brother’s wife, for this would violate your brother.

17 “Do not have sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter. And do not takea]">[a] her granddaughter, whether her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter, and have sexual relations with her. They are close relatives, and this would be a wicked act.

18 “While your wife is living, do not marry her sister and have sexual relations with her, for they would be rivals.

19 “Do not have sexual relations with a woman during her period of menstrual impurity.

20 “Do not defile yourself by having sexual intercourse with your neighbor’s wife.

21 “Do not permit any of your children to be offered as a sacrifice to Molech, for you must not bring shame on the name of your God. I am the Lord.

22 “Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.

23 “A man must not defile himself by having sex with an animal. And a woman must not offer herself to a male animal to have intercourse with it. This is a perverse act.

24 “Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, for the people I am driving out before you have defiled themselves in all these ways. 25 Because the entire land has become defiled, I am punishing the people who live there. I will cause the land to vomit them out. 26 You must obey all my decrees and regulations. You must not commit any of these detestable sins. This applies both to native-born Israelites and to the foreigners living among you.

27 “All these detestable activities are practiced by the people of the land where I am taking you, and this is how the land has become defiled. 28 So do not defile the land and give it a reason to vomit you out, as it will vomit out the people who live there now. 29 Whoever commits any of these detestable sins will be cut off from the community of Israel. 30 So obey my instructions, and do not defile yourselves by committing any of these detestable practices that were committed by the people who lived in the land before you. I am the Lord your God.”

 

Leviticus 19 New Living Translation (NLT)

Holiness in Personal Conduct

19 The Lord also said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the entire community of Israel. You must be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.

“Each of you must show great respect for your mother and father, and you must always observe my Sabbath days of rest. I am the Lord your God.

“Do not put your trust in idols or make metal images of gods for yourselves. I am the Lord your God.

“When you sacrifice a peace offering to the Lord, offer it properly so youa]">[a] will be accepted by God. The sacrifice must be eaten on the same day you offer it or on the next day. Whatever is left over until the third day must be completely burned up. If any of the sacrifice is eaten on the third day, it will be contaminated, and I will not accept it. Anyone who eats it on the third day will be punished for defiling what is holy to the Lord and will be cut off from the community.

“When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. 10 It is the same with your grape crop—do not strip every last bunch of grapes from the vines, and do not pick up the grapes that fall to the ground. Leave them for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God.

11 “Do not steal.

“Do not deceive or cheat one another.

12 “Do not bring shame on the name of your God by using it to swear falsely. I am the Lord.

13 “Do not defraud or rob your neighbor.

“Do not make your hired workers wait until the next day to receive their pay.

14 “Do not insult the deaf or cause the blind to stumble. You must fear your God; I am the Lord.

15 “Do not twist justice in legal matters by favoring the poor or being partial to the rich and powerful. Always judge people fairly.

16 “Do not spread slanderous gossip among your people.b]">[b]

“Do not stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is threatened. I am the Lord.

17 “Do not nurse hatred in your heart for any of your relatives.c]">[c] Confront people directly so you will not be held guilty for their sin.

18 “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

19 “You must obey all my decrees.

“Do not mate two different kinds of animals. Do not plant your field with two different kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven from two different kinds of thread.

20 “If a man has sex with a slave girl whose freedom has never been purchased but who is committed to become another man’s wife, he must pay full compensation to her master. But since she is not a free woman, neither the man nor the woman will be put to death. 21 The man, however, must bring a ram as a guilt offering and present it to the Lord at the entrance of the Tabernacle.d]">[d] 22 The priest will then purify hime]">[e] before the Lord with the ram of the guilt offering, and the man’s sin will be forgiven.

23 “When you enter the land and plant fruit trees, leave the fruit unharvested for the first three years and consider it forbidden.f]">[f] Do not eat it. 24 In the fourth year the entire crop must be consecrated to the Lord as a celebration of praise. 25 Finally, in the fifth year you may eat the fruit. If you follow this pattern, your harvest will increase. I am the Lord your God.

26 “Do not eat meat that has not been drained of its blood.

“Do not practice fortune-telling or witchcraft.

27 “Do not trim off the hair on your temples or trim your beards.

28 “Do not cut your bodies for the dead, and do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the Lord.

29 “Do not defile your daughter by making her a prostitute, or the land will be filled with prostitution and wickedness.

30 “Keep my Sabbath days of rest, and show reverence toward my sanctuary. I am the Lord.

31 “Do not defile yourselves by turning to mediums or to those who consult the spirits of the dead. I am the Lord your God.

32 “Stand up in the presence of the elderly, and show respect for the aged. Fear your God. I am the Lord.

33 “Do not take advantage of foreigners who live among you in your land. 34 Treat them like native-born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself. Remember that you were once foreigners living in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

35 “Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight, or volume.36 Your scales and weights must be accurate. Your containers for measuring dry materials or liquids must be accurate.g]">[g] I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt.

37 “You must be careful to keep all of my decrees and regulations by putting them into practice. I am the Lord.”

 

Romans 16 New Living Translation (NLT)

Paul Greets His Friends

16 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a deacon in the church in Cenchrea. Welcome her in the Lord as one who is worthy of honor among God’s people. Help her in whatever she needs, for she has been helpful to many, and especially to me.

Give my greetings to Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in the ministry of Christ Jesus. In fact, they once risked their lives for me. I am thankful to them, and so are all the Gentile churches. Also give my greetings to the church that meets in their home.

Greet my dear friend Epenetus. He was the first person from the province of Asia to become a follower of Christ. Give my greetings to Mary, who has worked so hard for your benefit. Greet Andronicus and Junia,a]">[a] my fellow Jews,b]">[b] who were in prison with me. They are highly respected among the apostles and became followers of Christ before I did. Greet Ampliatus, my dear friend in the Lord.Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys.

10 Greet Apelles, a good man whom Christ approves. And give my greetings to the believers from the household of Aristobulus. 11 Greet Herodion, my fellow Jew.c]">[c]Greet the Lord’s people from the household of Narcissus. 12 Give my greetings to Tryphena and Tryphosa, the Lord’s workers, and to dear Persis, who has worked so hard for the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, whom the Lord picked out to be his very own; and also his dear mother, who has been a mother to me.

14 Give my greetings to Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers and sistersd]">[d] who meet with them. 15 Give my greetings to Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and to Olympas and all the believerse]">[e] who meet with them. 16 Greet each other with a sacred kiss. All the churches of Christ send you their greetings.

Paul’s Final Instructions

17 And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. 18 Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people. 19 But everyone knows that you are obedient to the Lord. This makes me very happy. I want you to be wise in doing right and to stay innocent of any wrong. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesusf]">[f] be with you.

21 Timothy, my fellow worker, sends you his greetings, as do Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my fellow Jews.

22 I, Tertius, the one writing this letter for Paul, send my greetings, too, as one of the Lord’s followers.

23 Gaius says hello to you. He is my host and also serves as host to the whole church. Erastus, the city treasurer, sends you his greetings, and so does our brother Quartus.g]">[g]

25 Now all glory to God, who is able to make you strong, just as my Good News says. This message about Jesus Christ has revealed his plan for you Gentiles, a plan kept secret from the beginning of time. 26 But now as the prophetsh]">[h] foretold and as the eternal God has commanded, this message is made known to all Gentiles everywhere, so that they too might believe and obey him. 27 All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen.i]">[i]

 

Sunday 24 February: Leviticus 20 & 21, John 1:1-18, Psalms 24

Leviticus 20 New Living Translation (NLT)

Punishments for Disobedience

20 The Lord said to Moses, “Give the people of Israel these instructions, which apply both to native Israelites and to the foreigners living in Israel.

“If any of them offer their children as a sacrifice to Molech, they must be put to death. The people of the community must stone them to death. I myself will turn against them and cut them off from the community, because they have defiled my sanctuary and brought shame on my holy name by offering their children to Molech. And if the people of the community ignore those who offer their children to Molech and refuse to execute them, I myself will turn against them and their families and will cut them off from the community. This will happen to all who commit spiritual prostitution by worshiping Molech.

“I will also turn against those who commit spiritual prostitution by putting their trust in mediums or in those who consult the spirits of the dead. I will cut them off from the community. So set yourselves apart to be holy, for I am the Lord your God. Keep all my decrees by putting them into practice, for I am the Lord who makes you holy.

“Anyone who dishonorsa]">[a] father or mother must be put to death. Such a person is guilty of a capital offense.

10 “If a man commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, both the man and the woman who have committed adultery must be put to death.

11 “If a man violates his father by having sex with one of his father’s wives, both the man and the woman must be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense.

12 “If a man has sex with his daughter-in-law, both must be put to death. They have committed a perverse act and are guilty of a capital offense.

13 “If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman, both men have committed a detestable act. They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense.

14 “If a man marries both a woman and her mother, he has committed a wicked act. The man and both women must be burned to death to wipe out such wickedness from among you.

15 “If a man has sex with an animal, he must be put to death, and the animal must be killed.

16 “If a woman presents herself to a male animal to have intercourse with it, she and the animal must both be put to death. You must kill both, for they are guilty of a capital offense.

17 “If a man marries his sister, the daughter of either his father or his mother, and they have sexual relations, it is a shameful disgrace. They must be publicly cut off from the community. Since the man has violated his sister, he will be punished for his sin.

18 “If a man has sexual relations with a woman during her menstrual period, both of them must be cut off from the community, for together they have exposed the source of her blood flow.

19 “Do not have sexual relations with your aunt, whether your mother’s sister or your father’s sister. This would dishonor a close relative. Both parties are guilty and will be punished for their sin.

20 “If a man has sex with his uncle’s wife, he has violated his uncle. Both the man and woman will be punished for their sin, and they will die childless.

21 “If a man marries his brother’s wife, it is an act of impurity. He has violated his brother, and the guilty couple will remain childless.

22 “You must keep all my decrees and regulations by putting them into practice; otherwise the land to which I am bringing you as your new home will vomit you out. 23 Do not live according to the customs of the people I am driving out before you. It is because they do these shameful things that I detest them. 24 But I have promised you, ‘You will possess their land because I will give it to you as your possession—a land flowing with milk and honey.’ I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from all other people.

25 “You must therefore make a distinction between ceremonially clean and unclean animals, and between clean and unclean birds. You must not defile yourselves by eating any unclean animal or bird or creature that scurries along the ground. I have identified them as being unclean for you. 26 You must be holy because I, the Lord, am holy. I have set you apart from all other people to be my very own.

27 “Men and women among you who act as mediums or who consult the spirits of the dead must be put to death by stoning. They are guilty of a capital offense.”

 

Leviticus 21 New Living Translation (NLT)

Instructions for the Priests

21 The Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the priests, the descendants of Aaron.

“A priest must not make himself ceremonially unclean by touching the dead body of a relative. The only exceptions are his closest relatives—his mother or father, son or daughter, brother, or his virgin sister who depends on him because she has no husband. But a priest must not defile himself and make himself unclean for someone who is related to him only by marriage.

“The priests must not shave their heads or trim their beards or cut their bodies.They must be set apart as holy to their God and must never bring shame on the name of God. They must be holy, for they are the ones who present the special gifts to the Lord, gifts of food for their God.

“Priests may not marry a woman defiled by prostitution, and they may not marry a woman who is divorced from her husband, for the priests are set apart as holy to their God. You must treat them as holy because they offer up food to your God. You must consider them holy because I, the Lord, am holy, and I make you holy.

“If a priest’s daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute, she also defiles her father’s holiness, and she must be burned to death.

10 “The high priest has the highest rank of all the priests. The anointing oil has been poured on his head, and he has been ordained to wear the priestly garments. He must never leave his hair uncombeda]">[a] or tear his clothing. 11 He must not defile himself by going near a dead body. He may not make himself ceremonially unclean even for his father or mother. 12 He must not defile the sanctuary of his God by leaving it to attend to a dead person, for he has been made holy by the anointing oil of his God. I am the Lord.

13 “The high priest may marry only a virgin. 14 He may not marry a widow, a woman who is divorced, or a woman who has defiled herself by prostitution. She must be a virgin from his own clan, 15 so that he will not dishonor his descendants among his clan, for I am the Lord who makes him holy.”

16 Then the Lord said to Moses, 17 “Give the following instructions to Aaron: In all future generations, none of your descendants who has any defect will qualify to offer food to his God. 18 No one who has a defect qualifies, whether he is blind, lame, disfigured, deformed, 19 or has a broken foot or arm, 20 or is hunchbacked or dwarfed, or has a defective eye, or skin sores or scabs, or damaged testicles.21 No descendant of Aaron who has a defect may approach the altar to present special gifts to the Lord. Since he has a defect, he may not approach the altar to offer food to his God. 22 However, he may eat from the food offered to God, including the holy offerings and the most holy offerings. 23 Yet because of his physical defect, he may not enter the room behind the inner curtain or approach the altar, for this would defile my holy places. I am the Lord who makes them holy.”

24 So Moses gave these instructions to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites.

 

John 1:1-18 New Living Translation (NLT)

Prologue: Christ, the Eternal Word

In the beginning the Word already existed.
    The Word was with God,
    and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
    and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,a]">[a]
    and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
    and the darkness can never extinguish it.b]">[b]



God sent a man, John the Baptist,c]">[c] to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him.11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

14 So the Word became humand]">[d] and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.e]">[e] And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

15 John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’”

16 From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.f]">[f]17 For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God,g]">[g] is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.

 

Psalm 24 New Living Translation (NLT)

Psalm 24

A psalm of David.

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.
    The world and all its people belong to him.
For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas
    and built it on the ocean depths.



Who may climb the mountain of the Lord?
    Who may stand in his holy place?
Only those whose hands and hearts are pure,
    who do not worship idols
    and never tell lies.
They will receive the Lord’s blessing
    and have a right relationship with God their savior.
Such people may seek you
    and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob.a]">[a] Interlude



Open up, ancient gates!
    Open up, ancient doors,
    and let the King of glory enter.
Who is the King of glory?
    The Lord, strong and mighty;
    the Lord, invincible in battle.
Open up, ancient gates!
    Open up, ancient doors,
    and let the King of glory enter.
10 Who is the King of glory?
    The Lord of Heaven’s Armies—
    he is the King of glory. Interlude

Monday 25 February: Leviticus 22 & 23, John 1:19-34

Leviticus 22 New Living Translation (NLT)

22 The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons to be very careful with the sacred gifts that the Israelites set apart for me, so they do not bring shame on my holy name. I am the Lord. Give them the following instructions.

“In all future generations, if any of your descendants is ceremonially unclean when he approaches the sacred offerings that the people of Israel consecrate to the Lord, he must be cut off from my presence. I am the Lord.

“If any of Aaron’s descendants has a skin diseasea]">[a] or any kind of discharge that makes him ceremonially unclean, he may not eat from the sacred offerings until he has been pronounced clean. He also becomes unclean by touching a corpse, or by having an emission of semen, or by touching a small animal that is unclean, or by touching someone who is ceremonially unclean for any reason. The man who is defiled in any of these ways will remain unclean until evening. He may not eat from the sacred offerings until he has bathed himself in water. When the sun goes down, he will be ceremonially clean again and may eat from the sacred offerings, for this is his food. He may not eat an animal that has died a natural death or has been torn apart by wild animals, for this would defile him. I am the Lord.

“The priests must follow my instructions carefully. Otherwise they will be punished for their sin and will die for violating my instructions. I am the Lord who makes them holy.

10 “No one outside a priest’s family may eat the sacred offerings. Even guests and hired workers in a priest’s home are not allowed to eat them. 11 However, if the priest buys a slave for himself, the slave may eat from the sacred offerings. And if his slaves have children, they also may share his food. 12 If a priest’s daughter marries someone outside the priestly family, she may no longer eat the sacred offerings. 13 But if she becomes a widow or is divorced and has no children to support her, and she returns to live in her father’s home as in her youth, she may eat her father’s food again. Otherwise, no one outside a priest’s family may eat the sacred offerings.

14 “Any such person who eats the sacred offerings without realizing it must pay the priest for the amount eaten, plus an additional 20 percent. 15 The priests must not let the Israelites defile the sacred offerings brought to the Lord 16 by allowing unauthorized people to eat them. This would bring guilt upon them and require them to pay compensation. I am the Lord who makes them holy.”

Worthy and Unworthy Offerings

17 And the Lord said to Moses, 18 “Give Aaron and his sons and all the Israelites these instructions, which apply both to native Israelites and to the foreigners living among you.

“If you present a gift as a burnt offering to the Lord, whether it is to fulfill a vow or is a voluntary offering, 19 youb]">[b] will be accepted only if your offering is a male animal with no defects. It may be a bull, a ram, or a male goat. 20 Do not present an animal with defects, because the Lord will not accept it on your behalf.

21 “If you present a peace offering to the Lord from the herd or the flock, whether it is to fulfill a vow or is a voluntary offering, you must offer a perfect animal. It may have no defect of any kind. 22 You must not offer an animal that is blind, crippled, or injured, or that has a wart, a skin sore, or scabs. Such animals must never be offered on the altar as special gifts to the Lord. 23 If a bullc]">[c] or lamb has a leg that is too long or too short, it may be offered as a voluntary offering, but it may not be offered to fulfill a vow. 24 If an animal has damaged testicles or is castrated, you may not offer it to the Lord. You must never do this in your own land, 25 and you must not accept such an animal from foreigners and then offer it as a sacrifice to your God. Such animals will not be accepted on your behalf, for they are mutilated or defective.”

26 And the Lord said to Moses, 27 “When a calf or lamb or goat is born, it must be left with its mother for seven days. From the eighth day on, it will be acceptable as a special gift to the Lord. 28 But you must not slaughter a mother animal and her offspring on the same day, whether from the herd or the flock. 29 When you bring a thanksgiving offering to the Lord, sacrifice it properly so you will be accepted.30 Eat the entire sacrificial animal on the day it is presented. Do not leave any of it until the next morning. I am the Lord.

31 “You must faithfully keep all my commands by putting them into practice, for I am the Lord. 32 Do not bring shame on my holy name, for I will display my holiness among the people of Israel. I am the Lord who makes you holy. 33 It was I who rescued you from the land of Egypt, that I might be your God. I am the Lord.”

 

Leviticus 23 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Appointed Festivals

23 The Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, which you are to proclaim as official days for holy assembly.

“You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of complete rest, an official day for holy assembly. It is the Lord’s Sabbath day, and it must be observed wherever you live.

“In addition to the Sabbath, these are the Lord’s appointed festivals, the official days for holy assembly that are to be celebrated at their proper times each year.

Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread

“The Lord’s Passover begins at sundown on the fourteenth day of the first month.a]">[a] On the next day, the fifteenth day of the month, you must begin celebrating the Festival of Unleavened Bread. This festival to the Lord continues for seven days, and during that time the bread you eat must be made without yeast. On the first day of the festival, all the people must stop their ordinary work and observe an official day for holy assembly. For seven days you must present special gifts to the Lord. On the seventh day the people must again stop all their ordinary work to observe an official day for holy assembly.”

Celebration of First Harvest

Then the Lord said to Moses, 10 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. When you enter the land I am giving you and you harvest its first crops, bring the priest a bundle of grain from the first cutting of your grain harvest. 11 On the day after the Sabbath, the priest will lift it up before the Lord so it may be accepted on your behalf. 12 On that same day you must sacrifice a one-year-old male lamb with no defects as a burnt offering to the Lord. 13 With it you must present a grain offering consisting of four quartsb]">[b] of choice flour moistened with olive oil. It will be a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord. You must also offer one quartc]">[c] of wine as a liquid offering. 14 Do not eat any bread or roasted grain or fresh kernels on that day until you bring this offering to your God. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation wherever you live.

The Festival of Harvest

15 “From the day after the Sabbath—the day you bring the bundle of grain to be lifted up as a special offering—count off seven full weeks. 16 Keep counting until the day after the seventh Sabbath, fifty days later. Then present an offering of new grain to the Lord. 17 From wherever you live, bring two loaves of bread to be lifted up before the Lord as a special offering. Make these loaves from four quarts of choice flour, and bake them with yeast. They will be an offering to the Lord from the first of your crops. 18 Along with the bread, present seven one-year-old male lambs with no defects, one young bull, and two rams as burnt offerings to the Lord. These burnt offerings, together with the grain offerings and liquid offerings, will be a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 19 Then you must offer one male goat as a sin offering and two one-year-old male lambs as a peace offering.

20 “The priest will lift up the two lambs as a special offering to the Lord, together with the loaves representing the first of your crops. These offerings, which are holy to the Lord, belong to the priests. 21 That same day will be proclaimed an official day for holy assembly, a day on which you do no ordinary work. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation wherever you live.d]">[d]

22 “When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. Leave it for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God.”

The Festival of Trumpets

23 The Lord said to Moses, 24 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. On the first day of the appointed month in early autumn,e]">[e] you are to observe a day of complete rest. It will be an official day for holy assembly, a day commemorated with loud blasts of a trumpet. 25 You must do no ordinary work on that day. Instead, you are to present special gifts to the Lord.”

The Day of Atonement

26 Then the Lord said to Moses, 27 “Be careful to celebrate the Day of Atonement on the tenth day of that same month—nine days after the Festival of Trumpets.f]">[f]You must observe it as an official day for holy assembly, a day to deny yourselvesg]">[g] and present special gifts to the Lord. 28 Do no work during that entire day because it is the Day of Atonement, when offerings of purification are made for you, making you right withh]">[h] the Lord your God. 29 All who do not deny themselves that day will be cut off from God’s people. 30 And I will destroy anyone among you who does any work on that day. 31 You must not do any work at all! This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation wherever you live. 32 This will be a Sabbath day of complete rest for you, and on that day you must deny yourselves. This day of rest will begin at sundown on the ninth day of the month and extend until sundown on the tenth day.”

The Festival of Shelters

33 And the Lord said to Moses, 34 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. Begin celebrating the Festival of Sheltersi]">[i] on the fifteenth day of the appointed month—five days after the Day of Atonement.j]">[j] This festival to the Lordwill last for seven days. 35 On the first day of the festival you must proclaim an official day for holy assembly, when you do no ordinary work. 36 For seven days you must present special gifts to the Lord. The eighth day is another holy day on which you present your special gifts to the Lord. This will be a solemn occasion, and no ordinary work may be done that day.

37 (“These are the Lord’s appointed festivals. Celebrate them each year as official days for holy assembly by presenting special gifts to the Lord—burnt offerings, grain offerings, sacrifices, and liquid offerings—each on its proper day. 38 These festivals must be observed in addition to the Lord’s regular Sabbath days, and the offerings are in addition to your personal gifts, the offerings you give to fulfill your vows, and the voluntary offerings you present to the Lord.)

39 “Remember that this seven-day festival to the Lord—the Festival of Shelters—begins on the fifteenth day of the appointed month,k]">[k] after you have harvested all the produce of the land. The first day and the eighth day of the festival will be days of complete rest. 40 On the first day gather branches from magnificent treesl]">[l]—palm fronds, boughs from leafy trees, and willows that grow by the streams. Then celebrate with joy before the Lord your God for seven days. 41 You must observe this festival to the Lord for seven days every year. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed in the appointed monthm]">[m] from generation to generation.42 For seven days you must live outside in little shelters. All native-born Israelites must live in shelters. 43 This will remind each new generation of Israelites that I made their ancestors live in shelters when I rescued them from the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”

44 So Moses gave the Israelites these instructions regarding the annual festivals of the Lord.

 

John 1:19-34 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Testimony of John the Baptist

19 This was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Temple assistantsa]">[a] from Jerusalem to ask John, “Who are you?” 20 He came right out and said, “I am not the Messiah.”

21 “Well then, who are you?” they asked. “Are you Elijah?”

“No,” he replied.

“Are you the Prophet we are expecting?”b]">[b]

“No.”

22 “Then who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?”

23 John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah: 

“I am a voice shouting in the wilderness,
    ‘Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!’”c]">[c]



24 Then the Pharisees who had been sent 25 asked him, “If you aren’t the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?”

26 John told them, “I baptize withd]">[d] water, but right here in the crowd is someone you do not recognize. 27 Though his ministry follows mine, I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandal.”

28 This encounter took place in Bethany, an area east of the Jordan River, where John was baptizing.

Jesus, the Lamb of God

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 He is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’ 31 I did not recognize him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel.”

32 Then John testified, “I saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon him. 33 I didn’t know he was the one, but when God sent me to baptize with water, he told me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is the Chosen One of God.e]">[e]

Tuesday 26 February: Leviticus 24 & 25, John 1:35-51, Psalms 25

Leviticus 24 New Living Translation (NLT)

Pure Oil and Holy Bread

24 The Lord said to Moses, “Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to keep the lamps burning continually. This is the lampstand that stands in the Tabernacle, in front of the inner curtain that shields the Ark of the Covenant.a]">[a] Aaron must keep the lamps burning in the Lord’s presence all night. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation. Aaron and the priests must tend the lamps on the pure gold lampstand continually in the Lord’s presence.

“You must bake twelve flat loaves of bread from choice flour, using four quartsb]">[b]of flour for each loaf. Place the bread before the Lord on the pure gold table, and arrange the loaves in two stacks, with six loaves in each stack. Put some pure frankincense near each stack to serve as a representative offering, a special gift presented to the Lord. Every Sabbath day this bread must be laid out before the Lord as a gift from the Israelites; it is an ongoing expression of the eternal covenant. The loaves of bread will belong to Aaron and his descendants, who must eat them in a sacred place, for they are most holy. It is the permanent right of the priests to claim this portion of the special gifts presented to the Lord.”

An Example of Just Punishment

10 One day a man who had an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father came out of his tent and got into a fight with one of the Israelite men. 11 During the fight, this son of an Israelite woman blasphemed the Name of the Lordc]">[c] with a curse. So the man was brought to Moses for judgment. His mother was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri of the tribe of Dan. 12 They kept the man in custody until the Lord’s will in the matter should become clear to them.

13 Then the Lord said to Moses, 14 “Take the blasphemer outside the camp, and tell all those who heard the curse to lay their hands on his head. Then let the entire community stone him to death. 15 Say to the people of Israel: Those who curse their God will be punished for their sin. 16 Anyone who blasphemes the Name of the Lord must be stoned to death by the whole community of Israel. Any native-born Israelite or foreigner among you who blasphemes the Name of the Lord must be put to death.

17 “Anyone who takes another person’s life must be put to death.

18 “Anyone who kills another person’s animal must pay for it in full—a live animal for the animal that was killed.

19 “Anyone who injures another person must be dealt with according to the injury inflicted— 20 a fracture for a fracture, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Whatever anyone does to injure another person must be paid back in kind.

21 “Whoever kills an animal must pay for it in full, but whoever kills another person must be put to death.

22 “This same standard applies both to native-born Israelites and to the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God.”

23 After Moses gave all these instructions to the Israelites, they took the blasphemer outside the camp and stoned him to death. The Israelites did just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

 

Leviticus 25 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Sabbath Year

25 While Moses was on Mount Sinai, the Lord said to him, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. When you have entered the land I am giving you, the land itself must observe a Sabbath rest before the Lord every seventh year. For six years you may plant your fields and prune your vineyards and harvest your crops, but during the seventh year the land must have a Sabbath year of complete rest. It is the Lord’s Sabbath. Do not plant your fields or prune your vineyards during that year. And don’t store away the crops that grow on their own or gather the grapes from your unpruned vines. The land must have a year of complete rest. But you may eat whatever the land produces on its own during its Sabbath. This applies to you, your male and female servants, your hired workers, and the temporary residents who live with you. Your livestock and the wild animals in your land will also be allowed to eat what the land produces.

The Year of Jubilee

“In addition, you must count off seven Sabbath years, seven sets of seven years, adding up to forty-nine years in all. Then on the Day of Atonement in the fiftieth year,a]">[a] blow the ram’s horn loud and long throughout the land. 10 Set this year apart as holy, a time to proclaim freedom throughout the land for all who live there. It will be a jubilee year for you, when each of you may return to the land that belonged to your ancestors and return to your own clan. 11 This fiftieth year will be a jubilee for you. During that year you must not plant your fields or store away any of the crops that grow on their own, and don’t gather the grapes from your unpruned vines. 12 It will be a jubilee year for you, and you must keep it holy. But you may eat whatever the land produces on its own. 13 In the Year of Jubilee each of you may return to the land that belonged to your ancestors.

14 “When you make an agreement with your neighbor to buy or sell property, you must not take advantage of each other. 15 When you buy land from your neighbor, the price you pay must be based on the number of years since the last jubilee. The seller must set the price by taking into account the number of years remaining until the next Year of Jubilee. 16 The more years until the next jubilee, the higher the price; the fewer years, the lower the price. After all, the person selling the land is actually selling you a certain number of harvests. 17 Show your fear of God by not taking advantage of each other. I am the Lord your God.

18 “If you want to live securely in the land, follow my decrees and obey my regulations. 19 Then the land will yield large crops, and you will eat your fill and live securely in it. 20 But you might ask, ‘What will we eat during the seventh year, since we are not allowed to plant or harvest crops that year?’ 21 Be assured that I will send my blessing for you in the sixth year, so the land will produce a crop large enough for three years. 22 When you plant your fields in the eighth year, you will still be eating from the large crop of the sixth year. In fact, you will still be eating from that large crop when the new crop is harvested in the ninth year.

Redemption of Property

23 “The land must never be sold on a permanent basis, for the land belongs to me. You are only foreigners and tenant farmers working for me.

24 “With every purchase of land you must grant the seller the right to buy it back.25 If one of your fellow Israelites falls into poverty and is forced to sell some family land, then a close relative should buy it back for him. 26 If there is no close relative to buy the land, but the person who sold it gets enough money to buy it back,27 he then has the right to redeem it from the one who bought it. The price of the land will be discounted according to the number of years until the next Year of Jubilee. In this way the original owner can then return to the land. 28 But if the original owner cannot afford to buy back the land, it will remain with the new owner until the next Year of Jubilee. In the jubilee year, the land must be returned to the original owners so they can return to their family land.

29 “Anyone who sells a house inside a walled town has the right to buy it back for a full year after its sale. During that year, the seller retains the right to buy it back.30 But if it is not bought back within a year, the sale of the house within the walled town cannot be reversed. It will become the permanent property of the buyer. It will not be returned to the original owner in the Year of Jubilee. 31 But a house in a village—a settlement without fortified walls—will be treated like property in the countryside. Such a house may be bought back at any time, and it must be returned to the original owner in the Year of Jubilee.

32 “The Levites always have the right to buy back a house they have sold within the towns allotted to them. 33 And any property that is sold by the Levites—all houses within the Levitical towns—must be returned in the Year of Jubilee. After all, the houses in the towns reserved for the Levites are the only property they own in all Israel. 34 The open pastureland around the Levitical towns may never be sold. It is their permanent possession.

Redemption of the Poor and Enslaved

35 “If one of your fellow Israelites falls into poverty and cannot support himself, support him as you would a foreigner or a temporary resident and allow him to live with you. 36 Do not charge interest or make a profit at his expense. Instead, show your fear of God by letting him live with you as your relative. 37 Remember, do not charge interest on money you lend him or make a profit on food you sell him. 38 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.

39 “If one of your fellow Israelites falls into poverty and is forced to sell himself to you, do not treat him as a slave. 40 Treat him instead as a hired worker or as a temporary resident who lives with you, and he will serve you only until the Year of Jubilee. 41 At that time he and his children will no longer be obligated to you, and they will return to their clans and go back to the land originally allotted to their ancestors. 42 The people of Israel are my servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt, so they must never be sold as slaves. 43 Show your fear of God by not treating them harshly.

44 “However, you may purchase male and female slaves from among the nations around you. 45 You may also purchase the children of temporary residents who live among you, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, 46 passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat them as slaves, but you must never treat your fellow Israelites this way.

47 “Suppose a foreigner or temporary resident becomes rich while living among you. If any of your fellow Israelites fall into poverty and are forced to sell themselves to such a foreigner or to a member of his family, 48 they still retain the right to be bought back, even after they have been purchased. They may be bought back by a brother, 49 an uncle, or a cousin. In fact, anyone from the extended family may buy them back. They may also redeem themselves if they have prospered. 50 They will negotiate the price of their freedom with the person who bought them. The price will be based on the number of years from the time they were sold until the next Year of Jubilee—whatever it would cost to hire a worker for that period of time. 51 If many years still remain until the jubilee, they will repay the proper proportion of what they received when they sold themselves. 52 If only a few years remain until the Year of Jubilee, they will repay a small amount for their redemption. 53 The foreigner must treat them as workers hired on a yearly basis. You must not allow a foreigner to treat any of your fellow Israelites harshly.54 If any Israelites have not been bought back by the time the Year of Jubilee arrives, they and their children must be set free at that time. 55 For the people of Israel belong to me. They are my servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

 

John 1:35-51 New Living Translation (NLT)

The First Disciples

35 The following day John was again standing with two of his disciples. 36 As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!”37 When John’s two disciples heard this, they followed Jesus.

38 Jesus looked around and saw them following. “What do you want?” he asked them.

They replied, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

39 “Come and see,” he said. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon when they went with him to the place where he was staying, and they remained with him the rest of the day.

40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of these men who heard what John said and then followed Jesus. 41 Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ”a]">[a]).

42 Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “Your name is Simon, son of John—but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter”b]">[b]).

43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Come, follow me.” 44 Philip was from Bethsaida, Andrew and Peter’s hometown.

45 Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Mosesc]">[c] and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.”

46 “Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”

“Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied.

47 As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.”

48 “How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked.

Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.”

49 Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!”

50 Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” 51 Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.d]">[d]

 

Psalm 25 New Living Translation (NLT)

Psalm 25a]">[a]

A psalm of David.

Lord, I give my life to you.
    I trust in you, my God!
Do not let me be disgraced,
    or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat.
No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced,
    but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.



Show me the right path, O Lord;
    point out the road for me to follow.
Lead me by your truth and teach me,
    for you are the God who saves me.
    All day long I put my hope in you.
Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love,
    which you have shown from long ages past.
Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth.
    Remember me in the light of your unfailing love,
    for you are merciful, O Lord.



The Lord is good and does what is right;
    he shows the proper path to those who go astray.
He leads the humble in doing right,
    teaching them his way.
10 The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness
    all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.



11 For the honor of your name, O Lord,
    forgive my many, many sins.
12 Who are those who fear the Lord?
    He will show them the path they should choose.
13 They will live in prosperity,
    and their children will inherit the land.
14 The Lord is a friend to those who fear him.
    He teaches them his covenant.
15 My eyes are always on the Lord,
    for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies.



16 Turn to me and have mercy,
    for I am alone and in deep distress.
17 My problems go from bad to worse.
    Oh, save me from them all!
18 Feel my pain and see my trouble.
    Forgive all my sins.
19 See how many enemies I have
    and how viciously they hate me!
20 Protect me! Rescue my life from them!
    Do not let me be disgraced, for in you I take refuge.
21 May integrity and honesty protect me,
    for I put my hope in you.



22 O God, ransom Israel
    from all its troubles.

Wednesday 27 February: Leviticus 26 & 27, John 2

Leviticus 26 New Living Translation (NLT)

Blessings for Obedience

26 “Do not make idols or set up carved images, or sacred pillars, or sculptured stones in your land so you may worship them. I am the Lord your God. You must keep my Sabbath days of rest and show reverence for my sanctuary. I am the Lord.

“If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you the seasonal rains. The land will then yield its crops, and the trees of the field will produce their fruit. Your threshing season will overlap with the grape harvest, and your grape harvest will overlap with the season of planting grain. You will eat your fill and live securely in your own land.

“I will give you peace in the land, and you will be able to sleep with no cause for fear. I will rid the land of wild animals and keep your enemies out of your land. In fact, you will chase down your enemies and slaughter them with your swords.Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand! All your enemies will fall beneath your sword.

“I will look favorably upon you, making you fertile and multiplying your people. And I will fulfill my covenant with you. 10 You will have such a surplus of crops that you will need to clear out the old grain to make room for the new harvest! 11 I will live among you, and I will not despise you. 12 I will walk among you; I will be your God, and you will be my people. 13 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so you would no longer be their slaves. I broke the yoke of slavery from your neck so you can walk with your heads held high.

Punishments for Disobedience

14 “However, if you do not listen to me or obey all these commands, 15 and if you break my covenant by rejecting my decrees, treating my regulations with contempt, and refusing to obey my commands, 16 I will punish you. I will bring sudden terrors upon you—wasting diseases and burning fevers that will cause your eyes to fail and your life to ebb away. You will plant your crops in vain because your enemies will eat them. 17 I will turn against you, and you will be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you will rule over you, and you will run even when no one is chasing you!

18 “And if, in spite of all this, you still disobey me, I will punish you seven times over for your sins. 19 I will break your proud spirit by making the skies as unyielding as iron and the earth as hard as bronze. 20 All your work will be for nothing, for your land will yield no crops, and your trees will bear no fruit.

21 “If even then you remain hostile toward me and refuse to obey me, I will inflict disaster on you seven times over for your sins. 22 I will send wild animals that will rob you of your children and destroy your livestock. Your numbers will dwindle, and your roads will be deserted.

23 “And if you fail to learn the lesson and continue your hostility toward me, 24 then I myself will be hostile toward you. I will personally strike you with calamity seven times over for your sins. 25 I will send armies against you to carry out the curse of the covenant you have broken. When you run to your towns for safety, I will send a plague to destroy you there, and you will be handed over to your enemies. 26 I will destroy your food supply, so that ten women will need only one oven to bake bread for their families. They will ration your food by weight, and though you have food to eat, you will not be satisfied.

27 “If in spite of all this you still refuse to listen and still remain hostile toward me,28 then I will give full vent to my hostility. I myself will punish you seven times over for your sins. 29 Then you will eat the flesh of your own sons and daughters. 30 I will destroy your pagan shrines and knock down your places of worship. I will leave your lifeless corpses piled on top of your lifeless idols,a]">[a] and I will despise you. 31 I will make your cities desolate and destroy your places of pagan worship. I will take no pleasure in your offerings that should be a pleasing aroma to me.32 Yes, I myself will devastate your land, and your enemies who come to occupy it will be appalled at what they see. 33 I will scatter you among the nations and bring out my sword against you. Your land will become desolate, and your cities will lie in ruins. 34 Then at last the land will enjoy its neglected Sabbath years as it lies desolate while you are in exile in the land of your enemies. Then the land will finally rest and enjoy the Sabbaths it missed. 35 As long as the land lies in ruins, it will enjoy the rest you never allowed it to take every seventh year while you lived in it.

36 “And for those of you who survive, I will demoralize you in the land of your enemies. You will live in such fear that the sound of a leaf driven by the wind will send you fleeing. You will run as though fleeing from a sword, and you will fall even when no one pursues you. 37 Though no one is chasing you, you will stumble over each other as though fleeing from a sword. You will have no power to stand up against your enemies. 38 You will die among the foreign nations and be devoured in the land of your enemies. 39 Those of you who survive will waste away in your enemies’ lands because of their sins and the sins of their ancestors.

40 “But at last my people will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors for betraying me and being hostile toward me. 41 When I have turned their hostility back on them and brought them to the land of their enemies, then at last their stubborn hearts will be humbled, and they will pay for their sins. 42 Then I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. 43 For the land must be abandoned to enjoy its years of Sabbath rest as it lies deserted. At last the people will pay for their sins, for they have continually rejected my regulations and despised my decrees.

44 “But despite all this, I will not utterly reject or despise them while they are in exile in the land of their enemies. I will not cancel my covenant with them by wiping them out, for I am the Lord their God. 45 For their sakes I will remember my ancient covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of all the nations, that I might be their God. I am the Lord.”

46 These are the decrees, regulations, and instructions that the Lord gave through Moses on Mount Sinai as evidence of the relationship between himself and the Israelites.

 

Leviticus 27 New Living Translation (NLT)

Redemption of Gifts Offered to the Lord

27 The Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. If anyone makes a special vow to dedicate someone to the Lord by paying the value of that person, here is the scale of values to be used. A man between the ages of twenty and sixty is valued at fifty shekelsa]">[a] of silver, as measured by the sanctuary shekel. A woman of that age is valued at thirty shekelsb]">[b] of silver.A boy between the ages of five and twenty is valued at twenty shekels of silver; a girl of that age is valued at ten shekelsc]">[c] of silver. A boy between the ages of one month and five years is valued at five shekels of silver; a girl of that age is valued at three shekelsd]">[d] of silver. A man older than sixty is valued at fifteen shekels of silver; a woman of that age is valued at ten shekelse]">[e] of silver. If you desire to make such a vow but cannot afford to pay the required amount, take the person to the priest. He will determine the amount for you to pay based on what you can afford.

“If your vow involves giving an animal that is acceptable as an offering to the Lord, any gift to the Lord will be considered holy. 10 You may not exchange or substitute it for another animal—neither a good animal for a bad one nor a bad animal for a good one. But if you do exchange one animal for another, then both the original animal and its substitute will be considered holy. 11 If your vow involves an unclean animal—one that is not acceptable as an offering to the Lord—then you must bring the animal to the priest. 12 He will assess its value, and his assessment will be final, whether high or low. 13 If you want to buy back the animal, you must pay the value set by the priest, plus 20 percent.

14 “If someone dedicates a house to the Lord, the priest will come to assess its value. The priest’s assessment will be final, whether high or low. 15 If the person who dedicated the house wants to buy it back, he must pay the value set by the priest, plus 20 percent. Then the house will again be his.

16 “If someone dedicates to the Lord a piece of his family property, its value will be assessed according to the amount of seed required to plant it—fifty shekels of silver for a field planted with five bushels of barley seed.f]">[f] 17 If the field is dedicated to the Lord in the Year of Jubilee, then the entire assessment will apply. 18 But if the field is dedicated after the Year of Jubilee, the priest will assess the land’s value in proportion to the number of years left until the next Year of Jubilee. Its assessed value is reduced each year. 19 If the person who dedicated the field wants to buy it back, he must pay the value set by the priest, plus 20 percent. Then the field will again be legally his. 20 But if he does not want to buy it back, and it is sold to someone else, the field can no longer be bought back. 21 When the field is released in the Year of Jubilee, it will be holy, a field specially set apartg]">[g]for the Lord. It will become the property of the priests.

22 “If someone dedicates to the Lord a field he has purchased but which is not part of his family property, 23 the priest will assess its value based on the number of years left until the next Year of Jubilee. On that day he must give the assessed value of the land as a sacred donation to the Lord. 24 In the Year of Jubilee the field must be returned to the person from whom he purchased it, the one who inherited it as family property. 25 (All the payments must be measured by the weight of the sanctuary shekel,h]">[h] which equals twenty gerahs.)

26 “You may not dedicate a firstborn animal to the Lord, for the firstborn of your cattle, sheep, and goats already belong to him. 27 However, you may buy back the firstborn of a ceremonially unclean animal by paying the priest’s assessment of its worth, plus 20 percent. If you do not buy it back, the priest will sell it at its assessed value.

28 “However, anything specially set apart for the Lord—whether a person, an animal, or family property—must never be sold or bought back. Anything devoted in this way has been set apart as holy, and it belongs to the Lord. 29 No person specially set apart for destruction may be bought back. Such a person must be put to death.

30 “One-tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain from the fields or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord and must be set apart to him as holy. 31 If you want to buy back the Lord’s tenth of the grain or fruit, you must pay its value, plus 20 percent. 32 Count off every tenth animal from your herds and flocks and set them apart for the Lord as holy. 33 You may not pick and choose between good and bad animals, and you may not substitute one for another. But if you do exchange one animal for another, then both the original animal and its substitute will be considered holy and cannot be bought back.”

34 These are the commands that the Lord gave through Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites.

 

John 2 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Wedding at Cana

The next daya]">[a] there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.”

“Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons.b]">[b] Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” When the jars had been filled, he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions.

When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. 10 “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!”

11 This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

12 After the wedding he went to Capernaum for a few days with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples.

Jesus Clears the Temple

13 It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. 14 In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money.15 Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. 16 Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!”

17 Then his disciples remembered this prophecy from the Scriptures: “Passion for God’s house will consume me.”c]">[c]

18 But the Jewish leaders demanded, “What are you doing? If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it.”

19 “All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

20 “What!” they exclaimed. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?” 21 But when Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this, and they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus had said.

Jesus and Nicodemus

23 Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in him. 24 But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew all about people. 25 No one needed to tell him about human nature, for he knew what was in each person’s heart.

 

Thursday 28 February: Numbers 1 & 2, John 3:1-21, Proverbs 5

Numbers 1 New Living Translation (NLT)

Registration of Israel’s Troops

A year after Israel’s departure from Egypt, the Lord spoke to Moses in the Tabernaclea]">[a] in the wilderness of Sinai. On the first day of the second monthb]">[b] of that year he said, “From the whole community of Israel, record the names of all the warriors by their clans and families. List all the men twenty years old or older who are able to go to war. You and Aaron must register the troops, and you will be assisted by one family leader from each tribe.

“These are the tribes and the names of the leaders who will assist you:

TribeLeader
Reuben Elizur son of Shedeur
Simeon Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai
Judah Nahshon son of Amminadab
Issachar Nethanel son of Zuar
Zebulun Eliab son of Helon
10 Ephraim son of Joseph Elishama son of Ammihud
Manasseh son of Joseph Gamaliel son of Pedahzur
11 Benjamin Abidan son of Gideoni
12 Dan Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai
13 Asher Pagiel son of Ocran
14 Gad Eliasaph son of Deuel
15 Naphtali Ahira son of Enan
16 These are the chosen leaders of the community, the leaders of their ancestral tribes, the heads of the clans of Israel.”

17 So Moses and Aaron called together these chosen leaders, 18 and they assembled the whole community of Israel on that very day.c]">[c] All the people were registered according to their ancestry by their clans and families. The men of Israel who were twenty years old or older were listed one by one, 19 just as the Lord had commanded Moses. So Moses recorded their names in the wilderness of Sinai.

20-21 This is the number of men twenty years old or older who were able to go to war, as their names were listed in the records of their clans and familiesd]">[d]:

TribeNumber
Reuben (Jacob’se]">[e] oldest son) 46,500
22-23 Simeon 59,300
24-25 Gad 45,650
26-27 Judah 74,600
28-29 Issachar 54,400
30-31 Zebulun 57,400
32-33 Ephraim son of Joseph 40,500
34-35 Manasseh son of Joseph 32,200
36-37 Benjamin 35,400
38-39 Dan 62,700
40-41 Asher 41,500
42-43 Naphtali 53,400

44 These were the men registered by Moses and Aaron and the twelve leaders of Israel, all listed according to their ancestral descent. 45 They were registered by families—all the men of Israel who were twenty years old or older and able to go to war. 46 The total number was 603,550.

47 But this total did not include the Levites. 48 For the Lord had said to Moses,49 “Do not include the tribe of Levi in the registration; do not count them with the rest of the Israelites. 50 Put the Levites in charge of the Tabernacle of the Covenant,f]">[f] along with all its furnishings and equipment. They must carry the Tabernacle and all its furnishings as you travel, and they must take care of it and camp around it. 51 Whenever it is time for the Tabernacle to move, the Levites will take it down. And when it is time to stop, they will set it up again. But any unauthorized person who goes too near the Tabernacle must be put to death.52 Each tribe of Israel will camp in a designated area with its own family banner.53 But the Levites will camp around the Tabernacle of the Covenant to protect the community of Israel from the Lord’s anger. The Levites are responsible to stand guard around the Tabernacle.”

54 So the Israelites did everything just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

 

Numbers 2 New Living Translation (NLT)

Organization for Israel’s Camp

Then the Lord gave these instructions to Moses and Aaron: “When the Israelites set up camp, each tribe will be assigned its own area. The tribal divisions will camp beneath their family banners on all four sides of the Tabernacle,a]">[a] but at some distance from it.

3-4 “The divisions of Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun are to camp toward the sunrise on the east side of the Tabernacle, beneath their family banners. These are the names of the tribes, their leaders, and the numbers of their registered troops:

TribeLeaderNumber
Judah Nahshon son of Amminadab 74,600
5-6 Issachar Nethanel son of Zuar 54,400
7-8 Zebulun Eliab son of Helon 57,400

So the total of all the troops on Judah’s side of the camp is 186,400. These three tribes are to lead the way whenever the Israelites travel to a new campsite.

10-11 “The divisions of Reuben, Simeon, and Gad are to camp on the south side of the Tabernacle, beneath their family banners. These are the names of the tribes, their leaders, and the numbers of their registered troops:

TribeLeaderNumber
Reuben Elizur son of Shedeur 46,500
12-13 Simeon Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai 59,300
14-15 Gad Eliasaph son of Deuelb]">[b] 45,650

16 So the total of all the troops on Reuben’s side of the camp is 151,450. These three tribes will be second in line whenever the Israelites travel.

17 “Then the Tabernacle, carried by the Levites, will set out from the middle of the camp. All the tribes are to travel in the same order that they camp, each in position under the appropriate family banner.

18-19 “The divisions of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin are to camp on the west side of the Tabernacle, beneath their family banners. These are the names of the tribes, their leaders, and the numbers of their registered troops:

TribeLeaderNumber
Ephraim Elishama son of Ammihud 40,500
20-21 Manasseh Gamaliel son of Pedahzur 32,200
22-23 Benjamin Abidan son of Gideoni 35,400

24 So the total of all the troops on Ephraim’s side of the camp is 108,100. These three tribes will be third in line whenever the Israelites travel.

25-26 “The divisions of Dan, Asher, and Naphtali are to camp on the north side of the Tabernacle, beneath their family banners. These are the names of the tribes, their leaders, and the numbers of their registered troops:

TribeLeaderNumber
Dan Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai 62,700
27-28 Asher Pagiel son of Ocran 41,500
29-30 Naphtali Ahira son of Enan 53,400

31 So the total of all the troops on Dan’s side of the camp is 157,600. These three tribes will be last, marching under their banners whenever the Israelites travel.”

32 In summary, the troops of Israel listed by their families totaled 603,550. 33 But as the Lord had commanded, the Levites were not included in this registration. 34 So the people of Israel did everything as the Lord had commanded Moses. Each clan and family set up camp and marched under their banners exactly as the Lord had instructed them.

 

John 3:1-21 New Living Translation (NLT)

There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again,a]">[a] you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

“What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”

Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.b]">[b] Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.c]">[c] So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘Youd]">[d]must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

“How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked.

10 Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? 11 I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. 12 But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Mane]">[e] has come down from heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.f]">[f]

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gaveg]">[g] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. 20 All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.h]">[h]

 

Proverbs 5 New Living Translation (NLT)

Avoid Immoral Women

My son, pay attention to my wisdom;
    listen carefully to my wise counsel.
Then you will show discernment,
    and your lips will express what you’ve learned.
For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey,
    and her mouth is smoother than oil.
But in the end she is as bitter as poison,
    as dangerous as a double-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death;
    her steps lead straight to the grave.a]">[a]
For she cares nothing about the path to life.
    She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it.



So now, my sons, listen to me.
    Never stray from what I am about to say:
Stay away from her!
    Don’t go near the door of her house!
If you do, you will lose your honor
    and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved.
10 Strangers will consume your wealth,
    and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor.
11 In the end you will groan in anguish
    when disease consumes your body.
12 You will say, “How I hated discipline!
    If only I had not ignored all the warnings!
13 Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers?
    Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors?
14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin,
    and now I must face public disgrace.”



15 Drink water from your own well—
    share your love only with your wife.b]">[b]
16 Why spill the water of your springs in the streets,
    having sex with just anyone?c]">[c]
17 You should reserve it for yourselves.
    Never share it with strangers.



18 Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.
    Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 She is a loving deer, a graceful doe.
    Let her breasts satisfy you always.
    May you always be captivated by her love.
20 Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman,
    or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman?



21 For the Lord sees clearly what a man does,
    examining every path he takes.
22 An evil man is held captive by his own sins;
    they are ropes that catch and hold him.
23 He will die for lack of self-control;
    he will be lost because of his great foolishness.

Friday 01 March: Numbers 3 & 4, John 3:22-36

Numbers 3 New Living Translation (NLT)

Levites Appointed for Service

This is the family line of Aaron and Moses as it was recorded when the Lordspoke to Moses on Mount Sinai: The names of Aaron’s sons were Nadab (the oldest), Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. These sons of Aaron were anointed and ordained to minister as priests. But Nadab and Abihu died in the Lord’s presence in the wilderness of Sinai when they burned before the Lord the wrong kind of fire, different than he had commanded. Since they had no sons, this left only Eleazar and Ithamar to serve as priests with their father, Aaron.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Call forward the tribe of Levi, and present them to Aaron the priest to serve as his assistants. They will serve Aaron and the whole community, performing their sacred duties in and around the Tabernacle.a]">[a]They will also maintain all the furnishings of the sacred tent,b]">[b] serving in the Tabernacle on behalf of all the Israelites. Assign the Levites to Aaron and his sons. They have been given from among all the people of Israel to serve as their assistants. 10 Appoint Aaron and his sons to carry out the duties of the priesthood. But any unauthorized person who goes too near the sanctuary must be put to death.”

11 And the Lord said to Moses, 12 “Look, I have chosen the Levites from among the Israelites to serve as substitutes for all the firstborn sons of the people of Israel. The Levites belong to me, 13 for all the firstborn males are mine. On the day I struck down all the firstborn sons of the Egyptians, I set apart for myself all the firstborn in Israel, both of people and of animals. They are mine; I am the Lord.”

Registration of the Levites

14 The Lord spoke again to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai. He said, 15 “Record the names of the members of the tribe of Levi by their families and clans. List every male who is one month old or older.” 16 So Moses listed them, just as the Lord had commanded.

17 Levi had three sons, whose names were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.

18 The clans descended from Gershon were named after two of his descendants, Libni and Shimei.

19 The clans descended from Kohath were named after four of his descendants, Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel.

20 The clans descended from Merari were named after two of his descendants, Mahli and Mushi.

These were the Levite clans, listed according to their family groups.

21 The descendants of Gershon were composed of the clans descended from Libni and Shimei. 22 There were 7,500 males one month old or older among these Gershonite clans. 23 They were assigned the area to the west of the Tabernacle for their camp. 24 The leader of the Gershonite clans was Eliasaph son of Lael.25 These two clans were responsible to care for the Tabernacle, including the sacred tent with its layers of coverings, the curtain at its entrance, 26 the curtains of the courtyard that surrounded the Tabernacle and altar, the curtain at the courtyard entrance, the ropes, and all the equipment related to their use.

27 The descendants of Kohath were composed of the clans descended from Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. 28 There were 8,600c]">[c] males one month old or older among these Kohathite clans. They were responsible for the care of the sanctuary, 29 and they were assigned the area south of the Tabernacle for their camp. 30 The leader of the Kohathite clans was Elizaphan son of Uzziel. 31 These four clans were responsible for the care of the Ark, the table, the lampstand, the altars, the various articles used in the sanctuary, the inner curtain, and all the equipment related to their use. 32 Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, was the chief administrator over all the Levites, with special responsibility for the oversight of the sanctuary.

33 The descendants of Merari were composed of the clans descended from Mahli and Mushi. 34 There were 6,200 males one month old or older among these Merarite clans. 35 They were assigned the area north of the Tabernacle for their camp. The leader of the Merarite clans was Zuriel son of Abihail. 36 These two clans were responsible for the care of the frames supporting the Tabernacle, the crossbars, the pillars, the bases, and all the equipment related to their use. 37 They were also responsible for the posts of the courtyard and all their bases, pegs, and ropes.

38 The area in front of the Tabernacle, in the east toward the sunrise,d]">[d] was reserved for the tents of Moses and of Aaron and his sons, who had the final responsibility for the sanctuary on behalf of the people of Israel. Anyone other than a priest or Levite who went too near the sanctuary was to be put to death.

39 When Moses and Aaron counted the Levite clans at the Lord’s command, the total number was 22,000 males one month old or older.

Redeeming the Firstborn Sons

40 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now count all the firstborn sons in Israel who are one month old or older, and make a list of their names. 41 The Levites must be reserved for me as substitutes for the firstborn sons of Israel; I am the Lord. And the Levites’ livestock must be reserved for me as substitutes for the firstborn livestock of the whole nation of Israel.”

42 So Moses counted the firstborn sons of the people of Israel, just as the Lordhad commanded. 43 The number of firstborn sons who were one month old or older was 22,273.

44 Then the Lord said to Moses, 45 “Take the Levites as substitutes for the firstborn sons of the people of Israel. And take the livestock of the Levites as substitutes for the firstborn livestock of the people of Israel. The Levites belong to me; I am the Lord. 46 There are 273 more firstborn sons of Israel than there are Levites. To redeem these extra firstborn sons, 47 collect five pieces of silvere]">[e] for each of them (each piece weighing the same as the sanctuary shekel, which equals twenty gerahs). 48 Give the silver to Aaron and his sons as the redemption price for the extra firstborn sons.”

49 So Moses collected the silver for redeeming the firstborn sons of Israel who exceeded the number of Levites. 50 He collected 1,365 pieces of silverf]">[f] on behalf of these firstborn sons of Israel (each piece weighing the same as the sanctuary shekel). 51 And Moses gave the silver for the redemption to Aaron and his sons, just as the Lord had commanded.

 

Numbers 4 New Living Translation (NLT)

Duties of the Kohathite Clan

Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Record the names of the members of the clans and families of the Kohathite division of the tribe of Levi. List all the men between the ages of thirty and fifty who are eligible to serve in the Tabernacle.a]">[a]

“The duties of the Kohathites at the Tabernacle will relate to the most sacred objects. When the camp moves, Aaron and his sons must enter the Tabernacle first to take down the inner curtain and cover the Ark of the Covenantb]">[b] with it.Then they must cover the inner curtain with fine goatskin leather and spread over that a single piece of blue cloth. Finally, they must put the carrying poles of the Ark in place.

“Next they must spread a blue cloth over the table where the Bread of the Presence is displayed, and on the cloth they will place the bowls, ladles, jars, pitchers, and the special bread. They must spread a scarlet cloth over all of this, and finally a covering of fine goatskin leather on top of the scarlet cloth. Then they must insert the carrying poles into the table.

“Next they must cover the lampstand with a blue cloth, along with its lamps, lamp snuffers, trays, and special jars of olive oil. 10 Then they must cover the lampstand and its accessories with fine goatskin leather and place the bundle on a carrying frame.

11 “Next they must spread a blue cloth over the gold incense altar and cover this cloth with fine goatskin leather. Then they must attach the carrying poles to the altar. 12 They must take all the remaining furnishings of the sanctuary and wrap them in a blue cloth, cover them with fine goatskin leather, and place them on the carrying frame.

13 “They must remove the ashes from the altar for sacrifices and cover the altar with a purple cloth. 14 All the altar utensils—the firepans, meat forks, shovels, basins, and all the containers—must be placed on the cloth, and a covering of fine goatskin leather must be spread over them. Finally, they must put the carrying poles in place. 15 The camp will be ready to move when Aaron and his sons have finished covering the sanctuary and all the sacred articles. The Kohathites will come and carry these things to the next destination. But they must not touch the sacred objects, or they will die. So these are the things from the Tabernacle that the Kohathites must carry.

16 “Eleazar son of Aaron the priest will be responsible for the oil of the lampstand, the fragrant incense, the daily grain offering, and the anointing oil. In fact, Eleazar will be responsible for the entire Tabernacle and everything in it, including the sanctuary and its furnishings.”

17 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 18 “Do not let the Kohathite clans be destroyed from among the Levites! 19 This is what you must do so they will live and not die when they approach the most sacred objects. Aaron and his sons must always go in with them and assign a specific duty or load to each person.20 The Kohathites must never enter the sanctuary to look at the sacred objects for even a moment, or they will die.”

Duties of the Gershonite Clan

21 And the Lord said to Moses, 22 “Record the names of the members of the clans and families of the Gershonite division of the tribe of Levi. 23 List all the men between the ages of thirty and fifty who are eligible to serve in the Tabernacle.

24 “These Gershonite clans will be responsible for general service and carrying loads. 25 They must carry the curtains of the Tabernacle, the Tabernacle itself with its coverings, the outer covering of fine goatskin leather, and the curtain for the Tabernacle entrance. 26 They are also to carry the curtains for the courtyard walls that surround the Tabernacle and altar, the curtain across the courtyard entrance, the ropes, and all the equipment related to their use. The Gershonites are responsible for all these items. 27 Aaron and his sons will direct the Gershonites regarding all their duties, whether it involves moving the equipment or doing other work. They must assign the Gershonites responsibility for the loads they are to carry. 28 So these are the duties assigned to the Gershonite clans at the Tabernacle. They will be directly responsible to Ithamar son of Aaron the priest.

Duties of the Merarite Clan

29 “Now record the names of the members of the clans and families of the Merarite division of the tribe of Levi. 30 List all the men between the ages of thirty and fifty who are eligible to serve in the Tabernacle.

31 “Their only duty at the Tabernacle will be to carry loads. They will carry the frames of the Tabernacle, the crossbars, the posts, and the bases; 32 also the posts for the courtyard walls with their bases, pegs, and ropes; and all the accessories and everything else related to their use. Assign the various loads to each man by name. 33 So these are the duties of the Merarite clans at the Tabernacle. They are directly responsible to Ithamar son of Aaron the priest.”

Summary of the Registration

34 So Moses, Aaron, and the other leaders of the community listed the members of the Kohathite division by their clans and families. 35 The list included all the men between thirty and fifty years of age who were eligible for service in the Tabernacle, 36 and the total number came to 2,750. 37 So this was the total of all those from the Kohathite clans who were eligible to serve at the Tabernacle. Moses and Aaron listed them, just as the Lord had commanded through Moses.

38 The Gershonite division was also listed by its clans and families. 39 The list included all the men between thirty and fifty years of age who were eligible for service in the Tabernacle, 40 and the total number came to 2,630. 41 So this was the total of all those from the Gershonite clans who were eligible to serve at the Tabernacle. Moses and Aaron listed them, just as the Lord had commanded.

42 The Merarite division was also listed by its clans and families. 43 The list included all the men between thirty and fifty years of age who were eligible for service in the Tabernacle, 44 and the total number came to 3,200. 45 So this was the total of all those from the Merarite clans who were eligible for service. Moses and Aaron listed them, just as the Lord had commanded through Moses.

46 So Moses, Aaron, and the leaders of Israel listed all the Levites by their clans and families. 47 All the men between thirty and fifty years of age who were eligible for service in the Tabernacle and for its transportation 48 numbered 8,580. 49 When their names were recorded, as the Lord had commanded through Moses, each man was assigned his task and told what to carry.

And so the registration was completed, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

 

John 3:22-36 New Living Translation (NLT)

John the Baptist Exalts Jesus

22 Then Jesus and his disciples left Jerusalem and went into the Judean countryside. Jesus spent some time with them there, baptizing people.

23 At this time John the Baptist was baptizing at Aenon, near Salim, because there was plenty of water there; and people kept coming to him for baptism. 24 (This was before John was thrown into prison.) 25 A debate broke out between John’s disciples and a certain Jewa]">[a] over ceremonial cleansing. 26 So John’s disciples came to him and said, “Rabbi, the man you met on the other side of the Jordan River, the one you identified as the Messiah, is also baptizing people. And everybody is going to him instead of coming to us.”

27 John replied, “No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven.28 You yourselves know how plainly I told you, ‘I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for him.’ 29 It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the bridegroom’s friend is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. 30 He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.

31 “He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. We are of the earth, and we speak of earthly things, but he has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else.b]">[b] 32 He testifies about what he has seen and heard, but how few believe what he tells them! 33 Anyone who accepts his testimony can affirm that God is true. 34 For he is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves his Son and has put everything into his hands. 36 And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.”

Saturday 02 March: Numbers 5 & 6, John 4:1-30, Psalms 26

Numbers 5 New Living Translation (NLT)

Purity in Israel’s Camp

The Lord gave these instructions to Moses: “Command the people of Israel to remove from the camp anyone who has a skin diseasea]">[a] or a discharge, or who has become ceremonially unclean by touching a dead person. This command applies to men and women alike. Remove them so they will not defile the camp in which I live among them.” So the Israelites did as the Lord had commanded Moses and removed such people from the camp.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: If any of the people—men or women—betray the Lord by doing wrong to another person, they are guilty. They must confess their sin and make full restitution for what they have done, adding an additional 20 percent and returning it to the person who was wronged. But if the person who was wronged is dead, and there are no near relatives to whom restitution can be made, the payment belongs to the Lord and must be given to the priest. Those who are guilty must also bring a ram as a sacrifice, and they will be purified and made right with the Lord.b]">[b] All the sacred offerings that the Israelites bring to a priest will belong to him. 10 Each priest may keep all the sacred donations that he receives.”

Protecting Marital Faithfulness

11 And the Lord said to Moses, 12 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel.

“Suppose a man’s wife goes astray, and she is unfaithful to her husband 13 and has sex with another man, but neither her husband nor anyone else knows about it. She has defiled herself, even though there was no witness and she was not caught in the act. 14 If her husband becomes jealous and is suspicious of his wife and needs to know whether or not she has defiled herself, 15 the husband must bring his wife to the priest. He must also bring an offering of two quartsc]">[c] of barley flour to be presented on her behalf. Do not mix it with olive oil or frankincense, for it is a jealousy offering—an offering to prove whether or not she is guilty.

16 “The priest will then present her to stand trial before the Lord. 17 He must take some holy water in a clay jar and pour into it dust he has taken from the Tabernacle floor. 18 When the priest has presented the woman before the Lord, he must unbind her hair and place in her hands the offering of proof—the jealousy offering to determine whether her husband’s suspicions are justified. The priest will stand before her, holding the jar of bitter water that brings a curse to those who are guilty. 19 The priest will then put the woman under oath and say to her, ‘If no other man has had sex with you, and you have not gone astray and defiled yourself while under your husband’s authority, may you be immune from the effects of this bitter water that brings on the curse. 20 But if you have gone astray by being unfaithful to your husband, and have defiled yourself by having sex with another man—’

21 “At this point the priest must put the woman under oath by saying, ‘May the people know that the Lord’s curse is upon you when he makes you infertile, causing your womb to shriveld]">[d] and your abdomen to swell. 22 Now may this water that brings the curse enter your body and cause your abdomen to swell and your womb to shrivel.e]">[e]’ And the woman will be required to say, ‘Yes, let it be so.’ 23 And the priest will write these curses on a piece of leather and wash them off into the bitter water. 24 He will make the woman drink the bitter water that brings on the curse. When the water enters her body, it will cause bitter suffering if she is guilty.

25 “The priest will take the jealousy offering from the woman’s hand, lift it up before the Lord, and carry it to the altar. 26 He will take a handful of the flour as a token portion and burn it on the altar, and he will require the woman to drink the water.27 If she has defiled herself by being unfaithful to her husband, the water that brings on the curse will cause bitter suffering. Her abdomen will swell and her womb will shrink,f]">[f] and her name will become a curse among her people. 28 But if she has not defiled herself and is pure, then she will be unharmed and will still be able to have children.

29 “This is the ritual law for dealing with suspicion. If a woman goes astray and defiles herself while under her husband’s authority, 30 or if a man becomes jealous and is suspicious that his wife has been unfaithful, the husband must present his wife before the Lord, and the priest will apply this entire ritual law to her. 31 The husband will be innocent of any guilt in this matter, but his wife will be held accountable for her sin.”

 

Numbers 6 New Living Translation (NLT)

Nazirite Laws

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel.

“If any of the people, either men or women, take the special vow of a Nazirite, setting themselves apart to the Lord in a special way, they must give up wine and other alcoholic drinks. They must not use vinegar made from wine or from other alcoholic drinks, they must not drink fresh grape juice, and they must not eat grapes or raisins. As long as they are bound by their Nazirite vow, they are not allowed to eat or drink anything that comes from a grapevine—not even the grape seeds or skins.

“They must never cut their hair throughout the time of their vow, for they are holy and set apart to the Lord. Until the time of their vow has been fulfilled, they must let their hair grow long. And they must not go near a dead body during the entire period of their vow to the Lord. Even if the dead person is their own father, mother, brother, or sister, they must not defile themselves, for the hair on their head is the symbol of their separation to God. This requirement applies as long as they are set apart to the Lord.

“If someone falls dead beside them, the hair they have dedicated will be defiled. They must wait for seven days and then shave their heads. Then they will be cleansed from their defilement. 10 On the eighth day they must bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons to the priest at the entrance of the Tabernacle.a]">[a]11 The priest will offer one of the birds for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. In this way, he will purify themb]">[b] from the guilt they incurred through contact with the dead body. Then they must reaffirm their commitment and let their hair begin to grow again. 12 The days of their vow that were completed before their defilement no longer count. They must rededicate themselves to the Lord as a Nazirite for the full term of their vow, and each must bring a one-year-old male lamb for a guilt offering.

13 “This is the ritual law for Nazirites. At the conclusion of their time of separation as Nazirites, they must each go to the entrance of the Tabernacle 14 and offer their sacrifices to the Lord: a one-year-old male lamb without defect for a burnt offering, a one-year-old female lamb without defect for a sin offering, a ram without defect for a peace offering, 15 a basket of bread made without yeast—cakes of choice flour mixed with olive oil and wafers spread with olive oil—along with their prescribed grain offerings and liquid offerings. 16 The priest will present these offerings before the Lord: first the sin offering and the burnt offering; 17 then the ram for a peace offering, along with the basket of bread made without yeast. The priest must also present the prescribed grain offering and liquid offering to the Lord.

18 “Then the Nazirites will shave their heads at the entrance of the Tabernacle. They will take the hair that had been dedicated and place it on the fire beneath the peace-offering sacrifice. 19 After the Nazirite’s head has been shaved, the priest will take for each of them the boiled shoulder of the ram, and he will take from the basket a cake and a wafer made without yeast. He will put them all into the Nazirite’s hands. 20 Then the priest will lift them up as a special offering before the Lord. These are holy portions for the priest, along with the breast of the special offering and the thigh of the sacred offering that are lifted up before the Lord. After this ceremony the Nazirites may again drink wine.

21 “This is the ritual law of the Nazirites, who vow to bring these offerings to the Lord. They may also bring additional offerings if they can afford it. And they must be careful to do whatever they vowed when they set themselves apart as Nazirites.”

The Priestly Blessing

22 Then the Lord said to Moses, 23 “Tell Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel with this special blessing:

24 ‘May the Lord bless you
    and protect you.
25 May the Lord smile on you
    and be gracious to you.
26 May the Lord show you his favor
    and give you his peace.’



27 Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.”

 

John 4:1-30 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus and the Samaritan Woman

Jesusa]">[a] knew the Pharisees had heard that he was baptizing and making more disciples than John (though Jesus himself didn’t baptize them—his disciples did).So he left Judea and returned to Galilee.

He had to go through Samaria on the way. Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.

The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans.b]">[b] She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? 12 And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”

13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again.14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

15 “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”

16 “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her.

17 “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied.

Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— 18 for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. 20 So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim,c]">[c] where our ancestors worshiped?”

21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem.22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

25 The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26 Then Jesus told her, I am the Messiah!”d]">[d]

27 Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” 28 The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” 30 So the people came streaming from the village to see him.

 

Psalm 26 New Living Translation (NLT)

Psalm 26

A psalm of David.

Declare me innocent, O Lord,
    for I have acted with integrity;
    I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me.
    Test my motives and my heart.
For I am always aware of your unfailing love,
    and I have lived according to your truth.
I do not spend time with liars
    or go along with hypocrites.
I hate the gatherings of those who do evil,
    and I refuse to join in with the wicked.
I wash my hands to declare my innocence.
    I come to your altar, O Lord,
singing a song of thanksgiving
    and telling of all your wonders.
I love your sanctuary, Lord,
    the place where your glorious presence dwells.



Don’t let me suffer the fate of sinners.
    Don’t condemn me along with murderers.
10 Their hands are dirty with evil schemes,
    and they constantly take bribes.
11 But I am not like that; I live with integrity.
    So redeem me and show me mercy.
12 Now I stand on solid ground,
    and I will publicly praise the Lord.


 

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