In God I have put my trust. I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? Psalm 56:11

Numbers 20-21

Numbers 20

The Death of Miriam

1 The whole congregation of the Israelites came into the wilderness of Zin in the first month. The people stayed in Kadesh, where Miriam died, and was buried.

Water from the Rock

2 There was no water for the congregation, and they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. 3 The people quarreled with Moses, and spoke, saying, “We wish that we had died when our brothers died before the Lord! 4 Why have you brought the Lord’s assembly into this wilderness, that we should die there, we and our animals? 5 Why have you brought us out of Egypt, to bring us in to this wretched place? It has no grain, or figs, or vines, or pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink.”

6 Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the door of the Tent of Meeting, and fell on their faces. The glory of the Lord appeared to them. 7 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 8 “Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you, and Aaron your brother, and speak to the rock before their eyes, and it shall give forth its water. You shall bring water to them out of the rock; so you shall give the congregation and their livestock drink.”

9 Moses took the staff from before the Lord, as he commanded him. 10 Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Shall we bring water out of this rock for you?” 11 Moses lifted up his hand, and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly. The congregation and also their livestock drank.

12 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me or set me apart as holy in the eyes of the Israelites, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”

13 These are the waters of Meribah; because the Israelites complained against the Lord, and he proved himself holy to them.

Edom Refuses Passage

14 Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom, saying:
“Your brother Israel says: You know all the hardship that has happened to us; 15 how our fathers went down into Egypt, and we lived in Egypt a long time. The Egyptians mistreated us and our fathers. 16 When we cried to the Lord, he heard our voice, sent an angel, and brought us out of Egypt. We are in Kadesh, a city in the edge of your border.

17 “Please let us pass through your land. We will not pass through field or through vineyard, nor will we drink from the water of the wells. We will go along the king’s highway. We will not turn away to the right hand nor to the left, until we have passed your border.”

18 Edom said to him, “You shall not pass through us, lest we come out with the sword against you.”

19 The Israelites said to him, “We will go up by the highway; and if we drink your water, I and my livestock, then I will pay for it. Only let us pass through on foot–and nothing more.”

20 He said, “You shall not pass through.” Edom came out against him with many people, and with a strong hand. 21 Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border, so Israel turned away from him.

The Death of Aaron

22 They traveled from Kadesh, and the Israelites, the whole congregation, came to Mount Hor. 23 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in Mount Hor, by the border of the land of Edom, saying, 24 “Aaron shall be gathered to his people; for he shall not enter into the land which I have given to the Israelites, because you rebelled against my word at the waters of Meribah. 25 Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up to Mount Hor; 26 and strip Aaron of his garments, and put them on Eleazar his son. Aaron shall be gathered to his people and shall die there.”

27 Moses did as the Lord commanded. They went up onto Mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation. 28 Moses stripped Aaron of his garments, and put them on Eleazar his son. Aaron died there on the top of the mountain, and Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. 29 When the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, they wept for Aaron 30 days; the entire house of Israel.

Numbers 21

Victory over the Canaanites

1 The Canaanite, the king of Arad, who lived in the South, heard that Israel came by the way of Atharim. He fought against Israel, and took some of them captive. 2 Israel made a vow to the Lord, and said, “If you will indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.” 3 The Lord listened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities. The name of the place was called Hormah.

The Bronze Serpent

4 They traveled from Mount Hor by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. The people became very discouraged because of the journey, 5 and they spoke against the Lord and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no bread, there is no water, and we loathe this disgusting food!”

6 The Lord sent venomous snakes among the people, and they bit the people. Many people of Israel died. 7 The people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he would take the serpents away from us,” and Moses prayed for the people.

8 The Lord said to Moses, “Make a venomous snake, and set it on a pole. It shall come to pass that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” 9 Moses made a serpent of bronze, and set it on the pole. And it came to pass that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked at the serpent of brass, he lived.

The Journey to Moab

10 The Israelites traveled on, and encamped in Oboth. 11 They traveled from Oboth, and encamped at Iyeabarim, in the wilderness which is before Moab, toward the sunrise. 12 From there they traveled, and encamped in the valley of Zered.

13 From there they traveled, and encamped on the other side of the Arnon, which is in the wilderness that comes out of the border of the Amorites; for the Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 14 Therefore it is said in the book of the Wars of the Lord, “What he did in the Red sea, and in the brooks of Arnon, 15 the slope of the valleys that incline toward the dwelling of Ar, leans on the border of Moab.”

16 From there they traveled to Beer; that is the well of which the Lord said to Moses, “Gather the people together, and I will give them water.”

17 Then Israel sang this song:
“Spring up, well! Sing to it, 18 the well, which the princes dug, which the nobles of the people dug, with the scepter, and with their poles.”

From the wilderness they traveled to Mattanah;
19 and from Mattanah to Nahaliel; and from Nahaliel to Bamoth; 20 and from Bamoth to the valley that is in the field of Moab, to the top of Pisgah, which looks down on the desert.

The Defeat of Sihon

21 Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, 22 “Let us pass through your land. We will not turn away into field or vineyard. We will not drink of the water of the wells. We will go by the king’s highway, until we have passed your border.”

23 Sihon would not allow Israel to pass through his border, but Sihon gathered all his people together, and went out against Israel into the wilderness, and came to Jahaz. He fought against Israel. 24 Israel struck him down by sword, and possessed his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, to the children of Ammon; for the border of the children of Ammon was fortified. 25 Israel took all these cities. Israel lived in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all its villages.

26 For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab, and taken all his land out of his hand, all the way to the Arnon river.

27 Therefore those who speak in proverbs say,
“Come to Heshbon.
Let the city of Sihon be built and established;
28 for a fire has gone out of Heshbon,
a flame from the city of Sihon.
It has devoured Ar of Moab,
The lords of the high places of the Arnon.

29 Woe to you, Moab!
You are undone, people of Chemosh!
He has given his sons as fugitives,
and his daughters into captivity,
to Sihon king of the Amorites.

30 We have cast them down.
Heshbon has perished all the way to Dibon.
We have laid them waste as far as Nophah,
Which reaches to Medeba.”

The Defeat of Og

31 Thus Israel lived in the land of the Amorites. 32 Moses sent men to spy out Jazer. They took its villages, and drove out the Amorites who were there. 33 They turned and went up by the way of Bashan. Og the king of Bashan went out against them, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei.

34 The Lord said to Moses, “Do not fear him, for I have delivered him into your hand, with all his people, and his land. You shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.”

35 So they struck him, with his sons and all his people, until there were no survivors; and they possessed his land.

Luke 1:1-25

Dedication to Theophilus

1 Since many have undertaken to set forth a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, 2 who, from the beginning, were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; 3 it seemed good to me also, having been acquainted with all things from the first, to write it out in order to you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you might know the certainty concerning the things which you were instructed.

The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the priestly division of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 They were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they both were well advanced in years.

8 And it came to pass, that while he was executing the priest’s office before God in the order of his division, 9 according to the custom of the priest’s office, it fell to him by  lot to enter into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 The whole multitude of people were praying outside at the hour of incense.

11 An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And when Zacharias saw him he was troubled and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Don’t be afraid, Zacharias, because your request has been heard. Your wife, Elizabeth, will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 He will bring joy and gladness to you, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, from his mother’s womb. 16 He will turn many of the Israelites to the Lord their God. 17 He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

18 Zacharias said to the angel, “How can I be sure of this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”

19 The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of the Lord. I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 You will be silent and not able to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.”

21 The people were waiting for Zacharias, and they marveled that he delayed in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple. He continued making signs to them, and remained mute. 23 When the days of his service were fulfilled, he departed to his house. 24 After these days Elizabeth his wife conceived, and she hid herself five months, saying, 25 “Thus has the Lord done to me in the days in which he looked at me, to take away my reproach among men.”

Psalm 56

For the Chief Musician. To the tune of “Silent Dove in Distant Lands.” A poem by David, when the Philistines seized him in Gath.

1 Be merciful to me, O Lord, for man would swallow me up.
All day long, he attacks and oppresses me.
2 My enemies want to swallow me up all day long,
for they are many who fight proudly against me.

3 When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in you.
4 In God, I praise his word.
In God, I put my trust.
I will not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me?

5 All day long they twist my words.
All their thoughts are against me for evil.
6 They conspire and lurk,
watching my steps.
They are eager to take my life.
7 Shall they escape by iniquity?
In anger cast down the peoples, O God.

8 You count my wanderings.
You put my tears into your container.
Are they not in your book?
9 Then my enemies shall turn back in the day that I call.
This I know, for God is for me.
10 In God, I will praise his word.
In God, I will praise his word.
11 In God I have put my trust.
I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
12 Your vows are upon me, O God.
I will give thank offerings to you.
13 For you have delivered my soul from death,
and prevented my feet from falling,
that I may walk before God in the light of the living.

Proverbs 11:8

8 A righteous person is delivered out of trouble,
and the wicked takes his place.

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