Daily Bible Reading – MSG

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Today’s Bible Reading

May 9

Acts 19:1-20; Judges 10:1-11:33; Job 39 MSG

Acts 19:1-20

1 Now, it happened that while Apollos was away in Corinth, Paul made his way down through the mountains, came to Ephesus, and happened on some disciples there. 2 The first thing he said was, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? Did you take God into your mind only, or did you also embrace him with your heart? Did he get inside you?" "We've never even heard of that – a Holy Spirit? God within us?" 3 "How were you baptized, then?" asked Paul. "In John's baptism." 4 "That explains it," said Paul. "John preached a baptism of radical life-change so that people would be ready to receive the One coming after him, who turned out to be Jesus. If you've been baptized in John's baptism, you're ready now for the real thing, for Jesus." 5 And they were. As soon as they heard of it, they were baptized in the name of the Master Jesus. 6 Paul put his hands on their heads and the Holy Spirit entered them. From that moment on, they were praising God in tongues and talking about God's actions. 7 Altogether there were about twelve people there that day. 8 Paul then went straight to the meeting place. He had the run of the place for three months, doing his best to make the things of the kingdom of God real and convincing to them. 9 But then resistance began to form as some of them began spreading evil rumors through the congregation about the Christian way of life. So Paul left, taking the disciples with him, and set up shop in the school of Tyrannus, holding class there daily. 10 He did this for two years, giving everyone in the province of Asia, Jews as well as Greeks, ample opportunity to hear the Message of the Master. 11 God did powerful things through Paul, things quite out of the ordinary. 12 The word got around and people started taking pieces of clothing – handkerchiefs and scarves and the like – that had touched Paul's skin and then touching the sick with them. The touch did it – they were healed and whole. 13 Some itinerant Jewish exorcists who happened to be in town at the time tried their hand at what they assumed to be Paul's "game." They pronounced the name of the Master Jesus over victims of evil spirits, saying, "I command you by the Jesus preached by Paul!" 14 The seven sons of a certain Sceva, a Jewish high priest, were trying to do this on a man 15 when the evil spirit talked back: "I know Jesus and I've heard of Paul, but who are you?" 16 Then the possessed man went berserk – jumped the exorcists, beat them up, and tore off their clothes. Naked and bloody, they got away as best they could. 17 It was soon news all over Ephesus among both Jews and Greeks. The realization spread that God was in and behind this. Curiosity about Paul developed into reverence for the Master Jesus. 18 Many of those who thus believed came out of the closet and made a clean break with their secret sorceries. 19 All kinds of witches and warlocks came out of the woodwork with their books of spells and incantations and made a huge bonfire of them. Someone estimated their worth at fifty thousand silver coins. 20 In such ways it became evident that the Word of the Master was now sovereign and prevailed in Ephesus.

Judges 10

1 Tola son of Puah, the son of Dodo, was next after Abimelech. He rose to the occasion to save Israel. He was a man of Issachar. He lived in Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim. 2 He judged Israel for twenty-three years and then died and was buried at Shamir. 3 After him, Jair the Gileadite stepped into leadership. He judged Israel for twenty-two years. 4 He had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys and had thirty towns in Gilead. The towns are still called Jair's Villages. 5 Jair died and was buried in Kamon. 6 And then the People of Israel went back to doing evil in God's sight. They worshiped the Baal gods and Ashtoreth goddesses: gods of Aram, Sidon, and Moab; gods of the Ammonites and the Philistines. They just walked off and left God, quit worshiping him. 7 And God exploded in hot anger at Israel and sold them off to the Philistines and Ammonites, who, 8 beginning that year, bullied and battered the People of Israel mercilessly. For eighteen years they had them under their thumb, all the People of Israel who lived east of the Jordan in the Amorite country of Gilead. 9 Then the Ammonites crossed the Jordan to go to war also against Judah, Benjamin, and Ephraim. Israel was in a bad way! 10 The People of Israel cried out to God for help: "We've sinned against you! We left our God and worshiped the Baal gods!" 11 God answered the People of Israel: "When the Egyptians, Amorites, Ammonites, Philistines, Sidonians 12 – even Amalek and Midian! – oppressed you and you cried out to me for help, I saved you from them. 13 And now you've gone off and betrayed me, worshiping other gods. I'm not saving you anymore. 14 Go ahead! Cry out for help to the gods you've chosen – let them get you out of the mess you're in!" 15 The People of Israel said to God: "We've sinned. Do to us whatever you think best, but please, get us out of this!" 16 Then they cleaned house of the foreign gods and worshiped only God. And God took Israel's troubles to heart. 17 The Ammonites prepared for war, setting camp in Gilead. The People of Israel set their rival camp in Mizpah. 18 The leaders in Gilead said, "Who will stand up for us against the Ammonites? We'll make him head over everyone in Gilead!"

Judges 11:1-33

1 Jephthah the Gileadite was one tough warrior. He was the son of a whore, but Gilead was his father. 2 Meanwhile Gilead's legal wife had given him other sons, and when they grew up, his wife's sons threw Jephthah out. They told him: "You're not getting any of our family inheritance – you're the son of another woman." 3 So Jephthah fled from his brothers and went to live in the land of Tob. Some riff-raff joined him and went around with him. 4 Some time passed. And then the Ammonites started fighting Israel. 5 With the Ammonites at war with them, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob. 6 They said to Jephthah: "Come. Be our general and we'll fight the Ammonites." 7 But Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead: "But you hate me. You kicked me out of my family home. So why are you coming to me now? Because you are in trouble. Right?" 8 The elders of Gilead replied, "That's it exactly. We've come to you to get you to go with us and fight the Ammonites. You'll be the head of all of us, all the Gileadites." 9 Jephthah addressed the elders of Gilead, "So if you bring me back home to fight the Ammonites and God gives them to me, I'll be your head – is that right?" 10 They said, "God is witness between us; whatever you say, we'll do." 11 Jephthah went along with the elders of Gilead. The people made him their top man and general. And Jephthah repeated what he had said before God at Mizpah. 12 Then Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites with a message: "What's going on here that you have come into my country picking a fight?" 13 The king of the Ammonites told Jephthah's messengers: "Because Israel took my land when they came up out of Egypt – from the Arnon all the way to the Jabbok and to the Jordan. Give it back peaceably and I'll go." 14 Jephthah again sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites with the message: 15 "Jephthah's word: Israel took no Moabite land and no Ammonite land. 16 When they came up from Egypt, Israel went through the desert as far as the Red Sea, arriving at Kadesh. 17 There Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom saying, 'Let us pass through your land, please.' But the king of Edom wouldn't let them. Israel also requested permission from the king of Moab, but he wouldn't let them cross either. They were stopped in their tracks at Kadesh. 18 So they traveled across the desert and circled around the lands of Edom and Moab. They came out east of the land of Moab and set camp on the other side of the Arnon – they didn't set foot in Moabite territory, for Arnon was the Moabite border. 19 Israel then sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites at Heshbon the capital. Israel asked, 'Let us pass, please, through your land on the way to our country.' 20 But Sihon didn't trust Israel to cut across his land; he got his entire army together, set up camp at Jahaz, and fought Israel. 21 But God, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his troops to Israel. Israel defeated them. Israel took all the Amorite land, 22 all Amorite land from Arnon to the Jabbok and from the desert to the Jordan. 23 It was God, the God of Israel, who pushed out the Amorites in favor of Israel; so who do you think you are to try to take it over? 24 Why don't you just be satisfied with what your god Chemosh gives you and we'll settle for what God, our God, gives us? 25 Do you think you're going to come off better than Balak son of Zippor, the king of Moab? Did he get anywhere in opposing Israel? Did he risk war? 26 All this time – it's been three hundred years now! – that Israel has lived in Heshbon and its villages, in Aroer and its villages, and in all the towns along the Arnon, why didn't you try to snatch them away then? 27 No, I haven't wronged you. But this is an evil thing that you are doing to me by starting a fight. Today God the Judge will decide between the People of Israel and the people of Ammon." 28 But the king of the Ammonites refused to listen to a word that Jephthah had sent him. 29 God's Spirit came upon Jephthah. He went across Gilead and Manasseh, went through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there approached the Ammonites. 30 Jephthah made a vow before God: "If you give me a clear victory over the Ammonites, 31 then I'll give to God whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in one piece from among the Ammonites – I'll offer it up in a sacrificial burnt offering." 32 Then Jephthah was off to fight the Ammonites. And God gave them to him. 33 He beat them soundly, all the way from Aroer to the area around Minnith as far as Abel Keramim – twenty cities! A massacre! Ammonites brought to their knees by the People of Israel.

Job 39:1-38

1 "Do you know the month when mountain goats give birth? Have you ever watched a doe bear her fawn? 2 Do you know how many months she is pregnant? Do you know the season of her delivery, 3 when she crouches down and drops her offspring? 4 Her young ones flourish and are soon on their own; they leave and don't come back. 5 "Who do you think set the wild donkey free, opened the corral gates and let him go? 6 I gave him the whole wilderness to roam in, the rolling plains and wide-open places. 7 He laughs at his city cousins, who are harnessed and harried. He's oblivious to the cries of teamsters. 8 He grazes freely through the hills, nibbling anything that's green. 9 "Will the wild buffalo condescend to serve you, volunteer to spend the night in your barn? 10 Can you imagine hitching your plow to a buffalo and getting him to till your fields? 11 He's hugely strong, yes, but could you trust him, would you dare turn the job over to him? 12 You wouldn't for a minute depend on him, would you, to do what you said when you said it? 13 "The ostrich flaps her wings futilely – all those beautiful feathers, but useless! 14 She lays her eggs on the hard ground, leaves them there in the dirt, exposed to the weather, 15 Not caring that they might get stepped on and cracked or trampled by some wild animal. 16 She's negligent with her young, as if they weren't even hers. She cares nothing about anything. 17 She wasn't created very smart, that's for sure, wasn't given her share of good sense. 18 But when she runs, oh, how she runs, laughing, leaving horse and rider in the dust. 19 "Are you the one who gave the horse his prowess and adorned him with a shimmering mane? 20 Did you create him to prance proudly and strike terror with his royal snorts? 21 He paws the ground fiercely, eager and spirited, then charges into the fray. 22 He laughs at danger, fearless, doesn't shy away from the sword. 23 The banging and clanging of quiver and lance don't faze him. 24 He quivers with excitement, and at the trumpet blast races off at a gallop. 25 At the sound of the trumpet he neighs mightily, smelling the excitement of battle from a long way off, catching the rolling thunder of the war cries. 26 "Was it through your know how that the hawk learned to fly, soaring effortlessly on thermal updrafts? 27 Did you command the eagle's flight, and teach her to build her nest in the heights, 28 Perfectly at home on the high cliff-face, invulnerable on pinnacle and crag? 29 From her perch she searches for prey, spies it at a great distance. 30 Her young gorge themselves on carrion; wherever there's a roadkill, you'll see her circling."

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