Again, assuredly I tell you, that if two of you will agree on earth concerning anything that they will ask, it will be done for them by my Father who is in heaven.  Matthew 18:19

Exodus 3-5

Exodus 3

Moses at the Burning Bush

1 Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the back of the wilderness and came to the mountain of God, to Horeb. 2 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. He looked, and the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. 3 Moses said, “I will go now and see this great sight, why the bush is not burned up.”

4 When the Lord saw that he came over to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses! Moses!”

He said, “Here I am.”

5 He said, “Do not come close. Take off your sandals, for the place you are standing on is holy ground.” 6 Moreover he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”

Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.

7 The Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. 8 I have come down to deliver them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite.

9 Now the cry of the Israelites has come to me. Moreover I have seen the hardship with which the Egyptians keep them oppressed. 10 Come now therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”

11 Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

12 He said, “Certainly I will be with you. This will be the sign to you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”

13 Moses said to God, “When I come to the Israelites and tell them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what should I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM,” and he said, “You shall tell the Israelites this: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” 15 God said moreover to Moses, “You shall tell the Israelites this, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations.

16 Go and gather the elders of Israel together and tell them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying: I have surely visited you and seen that which is being done to you in Egypt. 17 I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, to a land flowing with milk and honey.”

18 They will listen to your voice. You shall come, you and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt, and you shall tell him, ‘The Lord God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now please let us go three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord, our God.’

19 I know that the king of Egypt will not give you permission to go, no, not without a mighty hand. 20 I will reach out my hand and strike Egypt with all my wonders which I will do among them, and after that he will let you go.

21 I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, and it will happen that when you go, you shall not go empty-handed. 22 But every woman shall ask of her neighbor and of the woman who visits her house, jewels of silver, jewels of gold, and clothing. You shall put them on your sons, and on your daughters. You shall plunder the Egyptians.”

Exodus 4

Moses’ Staff

1 Moses answered, “But they will not believe me, nor listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’ ”

2 The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
He said, “A staff”.

3 He said, “Throw it on the ground.”
He threw it on the ground, and it became a snake, and Moses ran away from it.

4 The Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand and take it by the tail.”
He stretched out his hand and took hold of it, and it became a staff in his hand.

5 “This is so that they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”

Moses’ Leprous Hand Restored

6 The Lord said furthermore to him, “Now put your hand inside your cloak.”

He put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out his hand was leprous, as white as snow.

7 He said, “Put your hand inside your cloak again.”

He put his hand inside his cloak again, and when he took it out of his cloak it was restored like the rest of his skin.

8 “It will happen, if they will not believe you or take heed to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. 9 It will happen, if they will not believe even these two signs or listen to your voice, that you shall take water from the river and pour it on the dry land. The water which you take from the river will become blood on the dry land.”

The Appointment of Aaron

10 Moses said to the Lord, “O Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before now, nor since you have spoken to your servant, for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”

11 The Lord said to him, “Who made man’s mouth? Or who makes one mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?

12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”

13 Moses said, “Oh, Lord, please send someone else.”

Moses Leaves for Egypt

14 The Lord’s anger burned against Moses, and he said, “What about Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Also he is coming out to meet you. When he sees you, his heart will rejoice.

15 You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth. I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you both what to do. 16 He will be your spokesman to the people. It will happen that he will be for you, a mouth, and you will be to him as God. 17 You shall take this staff in your hand with which you shall perform the signs.”

18 Moses went and returned to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, “Please let me go and return to my brothers who are in Egypt, and see whether they are still alive.”
Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.”

19 The Lord said to Moses in Midian, “Go, return to Egypt, for all the men who sought your life are dead.”

20 Moses took his wife and his sons and set them on a donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt. Moses took God’s staff in his hand. 21 The Lord said to Moses, “When you go back into Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your hand, but I will harden his heart, and he will not let the people go. 22 You shall tell Pharaoh, ‘The Lord says, Israel is my son, my firstborn, 23 and I have said to you, “Let my son go, that he may serve me.” But you have refused to let him go, so watch now, I will kill your firstborn son.’ ”

24 On the way at a lodging place, the Lord met Moses and wanted to kill him. 25 Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at his feet, and she said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me.”

26 So the Lord let him alone. Then she said, “You are a bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision.

The People Believe Moses and Aaron

27 The Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.”
He went and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28 Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord with which he had sent him and all the signs with which he had instructed him.

29 Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the Israelites. 30 Aaron spoke all the words which the Lord had spoken to Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people. 31 The people believed, and when they heard that the Lord had visited the Israelites and that he had seen their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped.

Exodus 5

Pharaoh’s First Refusal

1 Afterward Moses and Aaron came and said to Pharaoh, “This is what the Lord God of Israel says, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’ ”

2 Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should listen to his voice to let Israel go? I don’t know the Lord, and moreover I will not let Israel go.”

3 They said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God, lest he fall on us with pestilence or with the sword.”

4 The king of Egypt said to them, “Why are you, Moses and Aaron, taking the people from their work? Get back to your work!” 5 Pharaoh said, “The people of the land are now many, and you are making them rest from their work.”

Bricks and Straw

6 The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their officers, saying, 7 “You shall no longer give the people straw to make brick, as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8 You shall require from them the same number of the bricks which they made before. You shall not reduce any of it, for they are idle. This is why they are crying, ‘Let’s go and sacrifice to our God.’ 9 Let heavier work be laid on the men, that they may labor in it. Do not let them pay any attention to lying words.”

10 The taskmasters of the people and their officers went out, and they spoke to the people, saying, “This is what Pharaoh says: ‘I will not give you straw. 11 Go yourselves, get straw where you can find it, for nothing of your work shall be reduced.’ ”

12 So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. 13 The taskmasters pressured them saying, “Fulfill your work quota daily, as when there was straw!” 14 The officers of the Israelites, whom Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and were asked, “Why haven’t you fulfilled your quota both yesterday and today, in making brick as before?”

The Israelites Cry Out

15 Then the officers of the Israelites came and cried to Pharaoh, saying, “Why are you dealing this way with your servants? 16 No straw is given to your servants, and they tell us, ‘Make brick!’ and your servants are beaten, but the fault is in your own people.”

17 But Pharaoh said, “You are lazy! You are lazy! Therefore you say, ‘Let’s go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ 18 Go therefore now and work, for no straw shall be given to you, yet you shall deliver the same number of bricks!”

19 The officers of the Israelites saw that they were in trouble when it was said, “You shall not reduce anything from your daily quota of bricks!”

20 They met Moses and Aaron, who stood along the way, as they came out from Pharaoh. 21 They said to them, “May the Lord look at you and judge, because you have made us a stench to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us!”

22 Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you have sent me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people. You have not rescued your people at all!”

Matthew 18:1-20

The Greatest in the Kingdom

1 In that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”

2 Jesus called a little child to himself and set him in the middle of them 3 and said, “Most certainly I tell you, unless you change, and become like little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. 4 Whoever therefore humbles himself, like this little child, is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. 5 Whoever receives one such little child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him if a huge millstone were hung around his neck and that he were sunk in the depths of the sea.”

Temptations and Trespasses

7 “Woe to the world because of offenses! For it must be that the offenses come, but woe to that person through whom the offense comes!

8 If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off, and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life maimed or crippled, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into the eternal fire. 9 If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out, and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the Gehenna of fire.”

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. 11 For the Son of Man came to save that which was lost.

12 What do you think? If a man has 100 sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the 99, go to the mountains, and seek that which has gone astray? 13 If he finds it, most certainly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the 99 which have not gone astray. 14 Just the same, it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

A Brother who Sins

15 “If your brother sins against you, go, show him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained back your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two more with you, that at the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the assembly. If he refuses to hear the assembly also, let him be to you as a pagan or a tax collector. 18 Most certainly I tell you, whatever things you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever things you release on earth will be released in heaven.

19 Again, assuredly I tell you, that if two of you will agree on earth concerning anything that they will ask, it will be done for them by my Father who is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.”

Psalm 22:19-31

19 But do not be far off, Lord.
You are my help. Hurry to help me!
20 Deliver me from the sword,
my precious life from the power of wild dogs.
21 Save me from the lion’s mouth!
Yes, you have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen.

22 I will declare your name to my brothers.
Among the assembly, I will praise you.
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, glorify him!
Stand in awe of him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted.
Nor has he hidden his face from him,
but when the afflicted have cried out to him, he has heard.

25 My praise of you comes in the great assembly.
I will pay my vows before those who fear him.
26 The humble shall eat and be satisfied.
They shall praise the Lord who seek after him.
Let your hearts live forever.

27 All the ends of the earth
shall remember and turn to the Lord.
All the relatives of the nations
shall worship before you.
28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s.
He is the ruler over the nations.
29 All the rich ones of the earth shall eat and worship.
All those who go down to the dust shall bow before him,
even those who could not keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity shall serve him.
Future generations shall be told about the Lord.
31 They shall come and shall declare his righteousness to a people that shall be born,
for he has done it.

Proverbs 5:15-21

15 Drink water out of your own cistern,
running water out of your own well.
16 Should your springs overflow in the streets,
streams of water in the public squares?
17 Let them be for yourself alone,
not for strangers with you.
18 Let your spring be blessed.
Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 A loving doe and a graceful deer—
let her breasts satisfy you at all times.
Be captivated always with her love.
20 For why should you, my son, be captivated with an adulteress?
Why embrace the bosom of another?
21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord.
He examines all his paths.

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