Day 183 July 2
1 Samuel 5
After the Philistines took God’s chest, they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 2 Then the Philistines took God’s chest and brought it into Dagon’s temple and set it next to Dagon. 3 But when the citizens of Ashdod got up early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen facedown on the ground before the Lord’s chest! So they took Dagon and set him back up where he belonged. 4 But when they got up early the next morning, there was Dagon again, fallen facedown on the ground before the Lord’s chest—and this time Dagon’s head along with both his hands were cut off and lying on the doorstep! Only Dagon’s body was left intact. 5 That’s why to this day Dagon’s priests or anyone else who enters his temple in Ashdod doesn’t step on the threshold.
6 The Lord’s hand was heavy on the people of Ashdod: God terrified them and struck them in Ashdod and its surroundings with tumors.[b] 7 When Ashdod’s inhabitants saw what was happening, they said, “The chest of Israel’s God must not stay here with us because his hand is hard against us and against our god Dagon.”
8 So they summoned all the Philistine rulers to a meeting and asked, “What should we do with the chest of Israel’s God?” The people of Gath said, “Let the chest of Israel’s God be moved to us.” So they moved the chest of Israel’s God to Gath.[c] 9 But once they moved it, the Lord’s hand came against the city, causing a huge panic. God struck the city’s inhabitants, both young and old, and tumors broke out on them.
10 Then they sent God’s chest to Ekron, but as soon as God’s chest entered Ekron, the inhabitants cried out, “Why have you moved the chest of Israel’s God to us? In order to kill us and our people?”
11 So they summoned all the Philistine rulers to a meeting and said, “Send the chest of Israel’s God away! Let it go back to its own home so it doesn’t kill us and our people,” because there was a deadly panic throughout the whole city. The hand of God was very heavy there. 12 The people who didn’t die were struck with tumors, and the screams of the city went all the way up to heaven.
19 “After that, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout the countryside of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God and do deeds consistent with repentance. 21 For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22 To this day I have had help from God, and so I stand here, testifying to both small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would take place: 23 that the Messiah must suffer, and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”
24 While he was making this defense, Festus exclaimed, “You are out of your mind, Paul! Too much learning is driving you insane!” 25 But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking the sober truth. 26 Indeed the king knows about these things, and to him I speak freely; for I am certain that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” 28 Agrippa said to Paul, “Are you so quickly persuading me to become a Christian?” 29 Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that not only you but also all who are listening to me today might become such as I am—except for these chains.”
30 Then the king got up, and with him the governor and Bernice and those who had been seated with them; 31 and as they were leaving, they said to one another, “This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.” 32 Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to the emperor.”
Psalm 119:105-112 and 161-168
105 Your word is a lamp before my feet and a light for my journey.
106 I have sworn, and I fully mean it: I will keep your righteous rules.
107 I have been suffering so much— Lord, make me live again according to your promise.
108 Please, Lord, accept my spontaneous gifts of praise. Teach me your rules!
109 Though my life is constantly in danger, I won’t forget your Instruction.
110 Though the wicked have set a trap for me, I won’t stray from your precepts.
111 Your laws are my possession forever because they are my heart’s joy.
112 I have decided to keep your statutes forever, every last one.
שׂ sin and שׁ shin
161 Rulers oppress me without cause, but my heart honors what you’ve said.
162 I’m overjoyed at your word, like someone who finds great treasure.
163 I hate, I absolutely despise, what is false, but I’m in love with your Instruction.
164 I praise you seven times a day for your righteous rules.
165 The people who love your Instruction enjoy peace—and lots of it.There’s no stumbling for them!
166 Lord, I wait for your saving help. I do what you’ve commanded.
167 I keep your laws; I love them so much!
168 I keep your precepts and your laws because all my ways are seen by you.
Prayer: Your word is our beginning and end, our starting point each new day. Use us to glorify you this day. Amen.