Day 309 November 5
22 You gave them kingdoms and peoples,
and assigned to them every side.
They took possession of the land of King Sihon of Heshbon
and the land of King Og of Bashan.
23 You multiplied their descendants as the stars of heaven.
You brought them into the land that you had told their ancestors to enter and possess.
24 So the descendants went in and possessed the land.
Before them, you subdued the Canaanites who inhabited the land.
You also handed over to them their kings and the neighboring peoples,
to do with as they wished.
25 They captured fortified cities and productive land,
and took possession of houses filled with all kinds of good things:
Excavated cisterns, vineyards, olive orchards, and a great many fruit trees.
They ate until they were satisfied and grew fat,
and delighted themselves in your great goodness.
26 But they were disobedient, rebelled against you,
and turned their back on your Instruction.
They killed your prophets who had warned them so that they might return to you.
They held you in great contempt.
27 Therefore, you handed them over to the power of their enemies who made them suffer.
But when they cried out to you in their suffering,
you heard them from heaven.
Because you are merciful,
you gave them saviors who saved them from the power of their enemies.
28 But after they had rest from this, they again started doing evil against you.
So you gave them over to the power of their enemies who ruled over them.
Yet when they turned and cried to you,
you heard from heaven and rescued them many times because of your great mercy.
29 You also warned them to return to your Instruction,
but they acted arrogantly and didn’t obey your commands.
They sinned against your judgments,
even though life comes by keeping them.
They turned a stubborn shoulder, became headstrong, and wouldn’t obey.
30 You were patient with them for many years
and warned them by your spirit through the prophets.
But they wouldn’t listen,
so you handed them over to the neighboring peoples.
31 In your great mercy, however, you didn’t make an end of them.
Neither did you forsake them, because you are a merciful and compassionate God.
44-46 By now it was noon. The whole earth became dark, the darkness lasting three hours—a total blackout. The Temple curtain split right down the middle. Jesus called loudly, “Father, I place my life in your hands!” Then he breathed his last.
47 When the captain there saw what happened, he honored God: “This man was innocent! A good man, and innocent!”
48-49 All who had come around as spectators to watch the show, when they saw what actually happened, were overcome with grief and headed home. Those who knew Jesus well, along with the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a respectful distance and kept vigil.
50-54 There was a man by the name of Joseph, a member of the Jewish High Council, a man of good heart and good character. He had not gone along with the plans and actions of the council. His hometown was the Jewish village of Arimathea. He lived in alert expectation of the kingdom of God. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Taking him down, he wrapped him in a linen shroud and placed him in a tomb chiseled into the rock, a tomb never yet used. It was the day before Sabbath, the Sabbath just about to begin.
55-56 The women who had been companions of Jesus from Galilee followed along. They saw the tomb where Jesus’ body was placed. Then they went back to prepare burial spices and perfumes. They rested quietly on the Sabbath, as commanded.
So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, 2 and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne.
3 Think about the one who endured such opposition from sinners so that you won’t be discouraged and you won’t give up. 4 In your struggle against sin, you haven’t resisted yet to the point of shedding blood, 5 and you have forgotten the encouragement that addresses you as sons and daughters:
My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline
or give up when you are corrected by him,
6 because the Lord disciplines whomever he loves,
and he punishes every son or daughter whom he accepts.[a]
7 Bear hardship for the sake of discipline. God is treating you like sons and daughters! What child isn’t disciplined by his or her father? 8 But if you don’t experience discipline, which happens to all children, then you are illegitimate and not real sons and daughters. 9 What’s more, we had human parents who disciplined us, and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live? 10 Our human parents disciplined us for a little while, as it seemed best to them, but God does it for our benefit so that we can share his holiness. 11 No discipline is fun while it lasts, but it seems painful at the time. Later, however, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness for those who have been trained by it.
Prayer: may your presence go with us into ministry this day, dear Lord, for without you how could we exist? Amen.