Day 166 – June 15
Exodus 31 (a bit of a skip)
The LORD spoke to Moses: 2 Look, I have chosen Bezalel, Uri’s son and Hur’s grandson from the tribe of Judah. 3 I have filled him with the divine spirit, with skill, ability, and knowledge for every kind of work. 4 He will be able to create designs; do metalwork in gold, silver, and copper; 5 cut stones for setting; carve wood; and do every kind of work. 6 I have also appointed with him Oholiab, Ahisamach’s son from the tribe of Dan. To all who are skillful, I have given the skill to make everything that I have commanded you: 7 the meeting tent, the chest containing the covenant, the cover that is on top of it, all the tent’s furnishings, 8 the table and its equipment, the pure lampstand with all its equipment, the incense altar, 9 the altar for entirely burned offerings with all its equipment, the washbasin with its stand, 10 the woven clothing, the holy clothes for Aaron the priest and for his sons for their service as priests, 11 the anointing oil, and the sweet-smelling incense for the sanctuary. They will do just as I have commanded you.
12 The LORD said to Moses: 13 Tell the Israelites: “Be sure to keep my sabbaths, because the Sabbath is a sign between me and you in every generation so you will know that I am the LORD who makes you holy. 14 Keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who violates the Sabbath will be put to death. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath, that person will be cut off from the people. 15 Do your work for six days. But the seventh day is a Sabbath of complete rest that is holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day will be put to death. 16 The Israelites should keep the Sabbath. They should observe the Sabbath in every generation as a covenant for all time. 17 It is a sign forever between me and the Israelites that in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day the LORD rested and was refreshed.”
18 When God finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, God gave him the two covenant tablets, the stone tablets written by God’s finger.
Comment: I love this emphasis on Sabbath shalom. The Hebrews were unique among all the nations in having a day off. In an agricultural society where working the ground and hunting was the only way to survive, a mandatory day of rest was a huge blessing. Plus, it bears repeating, a God who offers a day of rest rather than further productivity was a complete anomaly to the gods of the other nations.
Now they traveled through the cities of Amphipolis and Apollonia and came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2 As was Paul’s custom, he went there to preach, and for three Sabbaths in a row he opened the Scriptures to the people, 3 explaining the prophecies about the sufferings of the Messiah and his coming back to life, and proving that Jesus is the Messiah. 4 Some who listened were persuaded and became converts—including a large number of godly Greek men and also many important women of the city.[a]
5 But the Jewish leaders were jealous and incited some worthless fellows from the streets to form a mob and start a riot. They attacked the home of Jason, planning to take Paul and Silas to the City Council for punishment.
6 Not finding them there, they dragged out Jason and some of the other believers, and took them before the Council instead. “Paul and Silas have turned the rest of the world upside down, and now they are here disturbing our city,” they shouted, 7 “and Jason has let them into his home. They are all guilty of treason, for they claim another king, Jesus, instead of Caesar.”
8-9 The people of the city, as well as the judges, were concerned at these reports and let them go only after they had posted bail.
10 That night the Christians hurried Paul and Silas to Berea, and, as usual,[b] they went to the synagogue to preach. 11 But the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and gladly listened to the message. They searched the Scriptures day by day to check up on Paul and Silas’ statements to see if they were really so. 12 As a result, many of them believed, including several prominent Greek women and many men also.
13 But when the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching in Berea, they went over and stirred up trouble. 14 The believers acted at once, sending Paul on to the coast, while Silas and Timothy remained behind. 15 Those accompanying Paul went on with him to Athens and then returned to Berea with a message for Silas and Timothy to hurry and join him.
16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere throughout the city. 17 He went to the synagogue for discussions with the Jews and the devout Gentiles, and spoke daily in the public square to all who happened to be there.
Comment: the people of Berea searched the Scriptures (what we call the Old Testament) and were hungry for God’s work and presence in their midst. What a wonderful way to be!
But let all that be the reward my accusers get from the LORD,
the reward for those who speak evil against me!
21 But you, LORD, my Lord!—
act on my behalf for the sake of your name;
deliver me because your faithful love is so good;
22 because I am poor and needy,
and my heart is broken.
23 Like a lengthening shadow, I’m passing away;
I’m shaken off, like some locust.
24 My legs are weak from fasting;
my body is skin and bones.
25 I’ve become a joke to my accusers;
when they see me, they just shake their heads.
26 Help me, LORD my God!
Save me according to your faithful love!
27 And let them know that this is by your hand—
that you have done it, LORD!
28 Let them curse—but you, bless me!
If they rise up, let them be disgraced,
but let your servant celebrate!
29 Let my accusers be dressed in shame;
let them wear their disgrace like a coat.
30 But I will give great thanks to the LORD with my mouth;
among a great crowd I will praise God!
31 Because God stands right next to the needy,
to save them from any who would condemn them.
Prayer: draw us to your light of radiant glory, dear Lord, and may we be satisfied. Amen.