Romans 13 (Listen)

Submission to the Authorities

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Fulfilling the Law Through Love

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

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Joshua 22 (Listen)

The Eastern Tribes Return Home

At that time Joshua summoned the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and said to them, “You have kept all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you and have obeyed my voice in all that I have commanded you. You have not forsaken your brothers these many days, down to this day, but have been careful to keep the charge of the LORD your God. And now the LORD your God has given rest to your brothers, as he promised them. Therefore turn and go to your tents in the land where your possession lies, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side of the Jordan. Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” So Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went to their tents.

Now to the one half of the tribe of Manasseh Moses had given a possession in Bashan, but to the other half Joshua had given a possession beside their brothers in the land west of the Jordan. And when Joshua sent them away to their homes and blessed them, he said to them, “Go back to your tents with much wealth and with very much livestock, with silver, gold, bronze, and iron, and with much clothing. Divide the spoil of your enemies with your brothers.” So the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh returned home, parting from the people of Israel at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan, to go to the land of Gilead, their own land of which they had possessed themselves by command of the LORD through Moses.

The Eastern Tribes' Altar of Witness

10 And when they came to the region of the Jordan that is in the land of Canaan, the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by the Jordan, an altar of imposing size. 11 And the people of Israel heard it said, “Behold, the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh have built the altar at the frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region about the Jordan, on the side that belongs to the people of Israel.” 12 And when the people of Israel heard of it, the whole assembly of the people of Israel gathered at Shiloh to make war against them.

13 Then the people of Israel sent to the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, 14 and with him ten chiefs, one from each of the tribal families of Israel, every one of them the head of a family among the clans of Israel. 15 And they came to the people of Reuben, the people of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, and they said to them, 16 “Thus says the whole congregation of the LORD, ‘What is this breach of faith that you have committed against the God of Israel in turning away this day from following the LORD by building yourselves an altar this day in rebellion against the LORD? 17 Have we not had enough of the sin at Peor from which even yet we have not cleansed ourselves, and for which there came a plague upon the congregation of the LORD, 18 that you too must turn away this day from following the LORD? And if you too rebel against the LORD today then tomorrow he will be angry with the whole congregation of Israel. 19 But now, if the land of your possession is unclean, pass over into the LORD's land where the LORD's tabernacle stands, and take for yourselves a possession among us. Only do not rebel against the LORD or make us as rebels by building for yourselves an altar other than the altar of the LORD our God. 20 Did not Achan the son of Zerah break faith in the matter of the devoted things, and wrath fell upon all the congregation of Israel? And he did not perish alone for his iniquity.’”

21 Then the people of Reuben, the people of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh said in answer to the heads of the families of Israel, 22 “The Mighty One, God, the LORD! The Mighty One, God, the LORD! He knows; and let Israel itself know! If it was in rebellion or in breach of faith against the LORD, do not spare us today 23 for building an altar to turn away from following the LORD. Or if we did so to offer burnt offerings or grain offerings or peace offerings on it, may the LORD himself take vengeance. 24 No, but we did it from fear that in time to come your children might say to our children, ‘What have you to do with the LORD, the God of Israel? 25 For the LORD has made the Jordan a boundary between us and you, you people of Reuben and people of Gad. You have no portion in the LORD.’ So your children might make our children cease to worship the LORD. 26 Therefore we said, ‘Let us now build an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice, 27 but to be a witness between us and you, and between our generations after us, that we do perform the service of the LORD in his presence with our burnt offerings and sacrifices and peace offerings, so your children will not say to our children in time to come, “You have no portion in the LORD.”’ 28 And we thought, ‘If this should be said to us or to our descendants in time to come, we should say, “Behold, the copy of the altar of the LORD, which our fathers made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifice, but to be a witness between us and you.”’ 29 Far be it from us that we should rebel against the LORD and turn away this day from following the LORD by building an altar for burnt offering, grain offering, or sacrifice, other than the altar of the LORD our God that stands before his tabernacle!”

30 When Phinehas the priest and the chiefs of the congregation, the heads of the families of Israel who were with him, heard the words that the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the people of Manasseh spoke, it was good in their eyes. 31 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said to the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the people of Manasseh, “Today we know that the LORD is in our midst, because you have not committed this breach of faith against the LORD. Now you have delivered the people of Israel from the hand of the LORD.”

32 Then Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, and the chiefs, returned from the people of Reuben and the people of Gad in the land of Gilead to the land of Canaan, to the people of Israel, and brought back word to them. 33 And the report was good in the eyes of the people of Israel. And the people of Israel blessed God and spoke no more of making war against them to destroy the land where the people of Reuben and the people of Gad were settled. 34 The people of Reuben and the people of Gad called the altar Witness, “For,” they said, “it is a witness between us that the LORD is God.”

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Proverbs 26 (Listen)

  Like snow in summer or rain in harvest,
    so honor is not fitting for a fool.
  Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying,
    a curse that is causeless does not alight.
  A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,
    and a rod for the back of fools.
  Answer not a fool according to his folly,
    lest you be like him yourself.
  Answer a fool according to his folly,
    lest he be wise in his own eyes.
  Whoever sends a message by the hand of a fool
    cuts off his own feet and drinks violence.
  Like a lame man's legs, which hang useless,
    is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
  Like one who binds the stone in the sling
    is one who gives honor to a fool.
  Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard
    is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
10   Like an archer who wounds everyone
    is one who hires a passing fool or drunkard.
11   Like a dog that returns to his vomit
    is a fool who repeats his folly.
12   Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes?
    There is more hope for a fool than for him.
13   The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road!
    There is a lion in the streets!”
14   As a door turns on its hinges,
    so does a sluggard on his bed.
15   The sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
    it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth.
16   The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes
    than seven men who can answer sensibly.
17   Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own
    is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears.
18   Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death
19   is the man who deceives his neighbor
    and says, “I am only joking!”
20   For lack of wood the fire goes out,
    and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.
21   As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire,
    so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.
22   The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
    they go down into the inner parts of the body.
23   Like the glaze covering an earthen vessel
    are fervent lips with an evil heart.
24   Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips
    and harbors deceit in his heart;
25   when he speaks graciously, believe him not,
    for there are seven abominations in his heart;
26   though his hatred be covered with deception,
    his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
27   Whoever digs a pit will fall into it,
    and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling.
28   A lying tongue hates its victims,
    and a flattering mouth works ruin.

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Psalm 86 (Listen)

Great Is Your Steadfast Love

A Prayer of David.

  Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me,
    for I am poor and needy.
  Preserve my life, for I am godly;
    save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
  Be gracious to me, O Lord,
    for to you do I cry all the day.
  Gladden the soul of your servant,
    for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
  For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
    abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
  Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer;
    listen to my plea for grace.
  In the day of my trouble I call upon you,
    for you answer me.
  There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
    nor are there any works like yours.
  All the nations you have made shall come
    and worship before you, O Lord,
    and shall glorify your name.
10   For you are great and do wondrous things;
    you alone are God.
11   Teach me your way, O LORD,
    that I may walk in your truth;
    unite my heart to fear your name.
12   I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
    and I will glorify your name forever.
13   For great is your steadfast love toward me;
    you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
14   O God, insolent men have risen up against me;
    a band of ruthless men seeks my life,
    and they do not set you before them.
15   But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
16   Turn to me and be gracious to me;
    give your strength to your servant,
    and save the son of your maidservant.
17   Show me a sign of your favor,
    that those who hate me may see and be put to shame
    because you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

(ESV)