Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to destruction, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. Matthew 12:25

Genesis 37-38

Genesis 37

Joseph Dreams

1 Jacob lived in the land of his father’s travels, in the land of Canaan. 2 This is the history of the generations of Jacob.

Joseph was seventeen years old and was feeding his flock with his brothers. The boy was tending the flocks with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives, and Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father.

3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age, and he made him a coat of many colors. 4 His brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, and they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.

5 Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers, and they hated him all the more. 6 He said to them, “Please listen to this dream that I dreamt: 7 for we were binding sheaves in the field, and my sheaf rose up and stood upright, and your sheaves came around and bowed down to my sheaf.”

8 His brothers asked him, “Will you indeed reign over us? Will you indeed have dominion over us?” They hated him all the more for his dreams and for his words. 9 He had yet another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “I have had yet another dream: and the sun and the moon and eleven stars bowed down to me.”

10 He told it to his father and to his brothers. His father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have had? Will your mother and your brothers and I indeed come to bow down to the ground to you?”

11 His brothers envied him, but his father kept this matter in mind.

Joseph Sold for 20 Pieces of Silver

12 His brothers went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem. 13 Israel said to Joseph, “Aren’t your brothers feeding the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them.”

He said to him, “Here I am.”

14 He said to him, “Go now, see whether it is well with your brothers and well with the flock and bring word back to me.” So he sent him out of the valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. 15 A certain man found him, and he was wandering in the field. The man asked him, “What are you looking for?”

16 He said, “I am looking for my brothers. Tell me, please, where they are feeding the flock.”

17 The man said, “They have left here, for I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’ ”

Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan.

18 They saw him far off, and before he came near to them, they conspired against him to kill him. 19 They said to one another, “The dreamer is coming. 20 Come now, and let’s kill him, and throw him into one of the pits, and we will say, ‘A wild animal has devoured him.’ We will see what will become of his dreams.”

21 Reuben heard this and saved him from their hands, and said, “Let’s not take his life.” 22 Reuben said to them, “Do not shed blood. Throw him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but lay no hand on him”—that he might save him from their hands, to restore him to his father. 23 When Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped Joseph of his coat, the coat of many colors that was on him, 24 and they took him and threw him into the pit. The pit was empty. There was no water in it.

25 They sat down to eat bread, and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing spices and balm and myrrh, going to take it down to Egypt.

26 Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is there in killing our brother and concealing his blood? 27 Come, and let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not let our hands be on him, for he is our brother, our flesh.” His brothers listened to him. 28 Midianite merchants were passing by, and his brothers lifted Joseph up, drew him from the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. The merchants took Joseph to Egypt.

29 Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not in the pit, and he tore his clothes. 30 He returned to his brothers and said, “The child is not there, and I, where will I go?”

Jacob Inconsolable

31 They took Joseph’s tunic and killed a male goat and dipped the coat in the blood. 32 They took the coat of many colors, and they brought it to their father and said, “We have found this. Examine it now and see whether or not it is your son’s coat.”

33 He recognized it and said, “It is my son’s coat. A wild animal has devoured him. Joseph is without a doubt, torn in pieces.” 34 Jacob tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his waist and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. He said, “For I will go down to the grave, to my son, mourning.” His father wept for him.

36 The Midianites sold him into Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard.

Genesis 38

Judah Neglects Tamar

1 At that time, Judah left his brothers and visited a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. 2 There, Judah saw the daughter of a certain Canaanite man named Shua. He took her as his wife and slept with her. 3 She conceived and bore a son, and he named him Er. 4 She conceived again and bore a son, and she named him Onan. 5 She bore yet again, a son, and named him Shelah. He was at Chezib when she gave birth to him.

6 Judah took a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7 Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord put him to death. 8 Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her and raise up offspring for your brother.” 9 Onan knew that the offspring would not be his, and when he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother. 10 This thing that he did was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord put him to death also.

11 Then Judah said to Tamar, his daughter-in-law, “Remain a widow in your father’s house, until Shelah, my son, is grown up,” for he said, “Lest he also die, like his brothers.” Tamar went and lived in her father’s house.

Tamar Deceives Judah

12 After many days, Shua’s daughter, the wife of Judah, died. Judah was comforted and went up to his sheep shearers to Timnah, he and his friend Hirah, the Adullamite. 13 Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14 She took off her widow’s clothes, covered herself with her veil, wrapped herself, and sat at the gate of Enaim, which is on the way to Timnah, for she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she was not given to him as a wife. 15 When Judah saw her, he thought that she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16 He turned to her by the way and said, “Please come, let me sleep with you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law.

She said, “What will you give me, that you may sleep with me?”

17 He said, “I will send you a young goat from the flock.”

She said, “Will you give me a pledge, until you send it?”

18 He said, “What pledge will I give you?”

She said, “Your signet and your cord, and your staff that you are holding.”

He gave them to her, and slept with her, and she conceived by him. 19 She got up and went away, took off her veil, and put on her widow’s clothes. 20 Judah sent the young goat at the hand of his friend, the Adullamite, to receive the pledge from the woman’s hand, but he did not find her. 21 Then he asked the men of her place, saying, “Where is the prostitute, that was at Enaim by the road?”

They said, “There has been no prostitute here.”

22 He returned to Judah and said, “I haven’t found her, and also the men of the place said, ‘There has been no prostitute here.’ ”

23 Judah said, “Let her keep it, lest we be shamed. I sent this young goat, and you haven’t found her.”

24 About three months later, Judah was told, “Tamar, your daughter-in-law, has committed prostitution. Moreover, she is with child by prostitution.”

Judah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burned to death.” 25 When she was brought out, she sent to her father-in-law, saying, “I am with child by the man who owns these.” She also said, “Please discern whose these are—the signet, and the cords, and the staff.”

26 Judah acknowledged them and said, “She is more righteous than I, because I did not give her to Shelah, my son.”

He did not sleep with her again.

Pharez and Zarah Borne to Tamar

27 During her labor, twins were in her womb. 28 While she labored, one of them put out a hand, and the midwife took a scarlet thread, put it on his hand and tied it, saying, “This one came out first.” 29 As he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, “How you have broken yourself through!” Therefore his name was called Perez. 30 Afterward his brother came out, who had the scarlet thread on his hand, and he was given the name Zerah.

Matthew 12:22-50

A Divided House Cannot Stand

22 Then one possessed by a demon, blind and mute, was brought to Jesus and he healed him, so that the blind and mute man could both speak and see. 23 All the multitudes were amazed, and said, “Can this be the son of David?” 24 But when the Pharisees heard of it, they said, “This man does not cast out demons, except through Beelzebul, the prince of the demons.”

25 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to destruction, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 If I, through Beelzebul, cast out demons, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 28 But if I, by the Spirit of God, cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can one enter into the house of the strong man and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then he will plunder his house.”

30 He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.”

The Unforgivable Sin

31 “Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32 Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven of him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven of him, neither in this age, nor in that which is to come.”

A Tree is Known by its Fruit

33 “Make the tree good, and its fruit will be good. Make the tree corrupt, and its fruit will be corrupt; for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You offspring of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. 35 The good man out of his good treasure brings out good things, and the evil man out of his treasury of evil, brings forth evil things. 36 I tell you that every idle word that men speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.

37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

The Sign of Jonah

38 Then certain of the scribes and Pharisees answered, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”

39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up in the judgment with this generation and will condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and someone greater than Jonah is here.

42 The queen of the south will rise up in the judgment with this generation, and will condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and someone greater than Solomon is here.”

Return of an Unclean Spirit

43 “When an unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places, seeking rest, and does not find it. 44 Then he says, ‘I will return into my house from which I came out,’ and when he has come back, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes, and takes with himself seven other spirits more evil than he is, and they enter in and dwell there. The last state of that man becomes worse than the first. Just the same, it will be also to this evil generation.”

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers

46 While Jesus was still speaking to the multitudes, his mother and his brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 One said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”

48 But he answered the one who spoke to him, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” 49 He stretched out his hand toward his disciples and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

Psalm 16

Practicing the Presence of God

A Poem by David.

1 Protect me, God, for I take refuge in you.

2 I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord.
Apart from you I have no good thing.”
3 As for the saints who are on the earth,
they are the excellent ones in whom is all my delight.

4 Sorrows shall be multiplied for those who give gifts to another god.
Their drink offerings of blood I will not offer,
nor take their names on my lips.

5 The Lord assigned my portion and my cup.
You made my lot secure.

6 The boundary lines of lovely places have fallen to me.
Yes, I have a good inheritance.
7 I will bless the Lord, who has given me counsel.
Yes, my heart instructs me even in the seasons of night.
8 I have set the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my tongue rejoices.
My body shall also dwell in safety.
10 For you will not leave my soul in the grave,
nor will you allow your holy one to see corruption.
11 You will show me the path of life.
In your presence is fullness of joy.
In your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.

Proverbs 3:27-32

27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in the power of your hand to do it.
28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back;
tomorrow I will give it to you,”
when you have it to give.
29 Do not devise evil against your neighbor,
since he dwells securely by you.
30 Do not fight with a man without cause,
if he has done you no harm.
31 Do not envy the man of violence.
Choose none of his ways.
32 For the perverse is an abomination to the Lord,
but his friendship is with the upright.

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