171 – June 20
Don’t make metal gods for yourself.
18 Observe the Festival of Unleavened Bread. You should eat unleavened bread for seven days, as I commanded you, at the set time in the month of Abib, because it was in the month of Abib that you came out of Egypt.
19 Every first offspring is mine. That includes all your male livestock, the oldest offspring of cows and sheep. 20 But a donkey’s oldest offspring you may ransom with a sheep. Or if you don’t ransom it, you must break its neck. You should ransom all of your oldest sons.
No one should appear before me empty-handed.
21 You should do your work for six days, but on the seventh day you should rest. Even during plowing or harvesttime you should rest. 22 You should observe the Festival of Weeks, for the early produce of the wheat harvest, and the Gathering Festival at the end of the year. 23 All your males should appear three times a year before the LORD God, Israel’s God. 24 I will drive out nations before you and extend your borders. No one will desire and try to take your land if you go up and appear before the LORD your God three times a year.
25 Don’t slaughter the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened. The sacrifice of the Passover Festival shouldn’t be left over until the morning. 26 Bring the best of the early produce of your farmland to the LORD your God’s temple. Don’t boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.
27 The LORD said to Moses: “Write down these words because by these words I hereby make a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28 Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights. He didn’t eat any bread or drink any water. He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten words.
29 Moses came down from Mount Sinai. As he came down from the mountain with the two covenant tablets in his hand, Moses didn’t realize that the skin of his face shone brightly because he had been talking with God. 30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw the skin of Moses’ face shining brightly, they were afraid to come near him. 31 But Moses called them closer. So Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and Moses spoke with them. 32 After that, all the Israelites came near as well, and Moses commanded them everything that the LORD had spoken with him on Mount Sinai. 33 When Moses finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. 34 Whenever Moses went into the LORD’s presence to speak with him, Moses would take the veil off until he came out again. When Moses came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, 35 the Israelites would see that the skin of Moses’ face was shining brightly. So Moses would put the veil on his face again until the next time he went in to speak with the LORD.
About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. 24 A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen there. 25 He called them together, along with the workers in related trades, and said: “You know, my friends, that we receive a good income from this business. 26 And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all. 27 There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited; and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.”
28 When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia, and all of them rushed into the theater together. 30 Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him. 31 Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theater.
32 The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there. 33 The Jews in the crowd pushed Alexander to the front, and they shouted instructions to him. He motioned for silence in order to make a defense before the people. 34 But when they realized he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison for about two hours: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
35 The city clerk quieted the crowd and said: “Fellow Ephesians, doesn’t all the world know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven? 36 Therefore, since these facts are undeniable, you ought to calm down and not do anything rash. 37 You have brought these men here, though they have neither robbed temples nor blasphemed our goddess. 38 If, then, Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a grievance against anybody, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. They can press charges. 39 If there is anything further you want to bring up, it must be settled in a legal assembly. 40 As it is, we are in danger of being charged with rioting because of what happened today. In that case we would not be able to account for this commotion, since there is no reason for it.” 41 After he had said this, he dismissed the assembly.
When Israel went out from Egypt,
the house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
2 Judah became God’s sanctuary,
Israel his dominion.
3 The sea looked and fled;
Jordan turned back.
4 The mountains skipped like rams,
the hills like lambs.
5 Why is it, O sea, that you flee?
O Jordan, that you turn back?
6 O mountains, that you skip like rams?
O hills, like lambs?
7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the LORD,
at the presence of the God of Jacob,
8 who turns the rock into a pool of water,
the flint into a spring of water.
Prayer: your power and majesty amazes us, dear Lord. The fact that you share that with us is even more amazing. Amen.