Navigating the world is like a being on a voyage on a ship. People do not make the best captains of life because we aren’t built for such distinction. No, if you want a skilled and experienced captain to help you navigate the spirited waters of life, it’s best to call upon God.
With God, even in the choppiest of storms, His steady hands will get you to where you need to go. Without God, those storms will swallow you whole because the inexperienced captain got scared and abandoned ship. Choose wisely who you put at the helm of your ship.
Who is at the helm of your ship?
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1 Early the next morning Joshua and all the Israelites left Acacia Grove and arrived at the banks of the Jordan River, where they camped before crossing. 2 Three days later the Israelite officers went through the camp, 3 giving these instructions to the people: “When you see the Levitical priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD your God, move out from your positions and follow them. 4 Since you have never traveled this way before, they will guide you. Stay about half a mile behind them, keeping a clear distance between you and the Ark. Make sure you don’t come any closer.” 5 Then Joshua told the people, “Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do great wonders among you.” 6 In the morning Joshua said to the priests, “Lift up the Ark of the Covenant and lead the people across the river.” And so they started out and went ahead of the people. 7 The LORD told Joshua, “Today I will begin to make you a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites. They will know that I am with you, just as I was with Moses. 8 Give this command to the priests who carry the Ark of the Covenant: ‘When you reach the banks of the Jordan River, take a few steps into the river and stop there.’” 9 So Joshua told the Israelites, “Come and listen to what the LORD your God says. 10 Today you will know that the living God is among you. He will surely drive out the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites ahead of you. 11 Look, the Ark of the Covenant, which belongs to the Lord of the whole earth, will lead you across the Jordan River! 12 Now choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 The priests will carry the Ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth. As soon as their feet touch the water, the flow of water will be cut off upstream, and the river will stand up like a wall.” 14 So the people left their camp to cross the Jordan, and the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant went ahead of them. 15 It was the harvest season, and the Jordan was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water at the river’s edge, 16 the water above that point began backing up a great distance away at a town called Adam, which is near Zarethan. And the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Sea until the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over near the town of Jericho. 17 Meanwhile, the priests who were carrying the Ark of the LORD ’s Covenant stood on dry ground in the middle of the riverbed as the people passed by. They waited there until the whole nation of Israel had crossed the Jordan on dry ground.
“All God requires of us is to show up and have faith.”
Many live their lives going backward in unbelief, choosing not to recognize God’s existence and sovereignty. Ironically, choosing not to believe does not negate the Truth, so act accordingly.
If you truly desire to move forward with God, it doesn’t take much except accepting what He’s offering. So basically, show up! Tell Him you’re reporting for duty and, by walking with Him, He will show you the rest.
Did you decide to go AWOL on your salvation?
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1 I looked up again and saw a scroll flying through the air. 2 “What do you see?” the angel asked. “I see a flying scroll,” I replied. “It appears to be about 30 feet long and 15 feet wide. ” 3 Then he said to me, “This scroll contains the curse that is going out over the entire land. One side of the scroll says that those who steal will be banished from the land; the other side says that those who swear falsely will be banished from the land. 4 And this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: I am sending this curse into the house of every thief and into the house of everyone who swears falsely using my name. And my curse will remain in that house and completely destroy it—even its timbers and stones.” 5 Then the angel who was talking with me came forward and said, “Look up and see what’s coming.” 6 “What is it?” I asked. He replied, “It is a basket for measuring grain, and it’s filled with the sins of everyone throughout the land.” 7 Then the heavy lead cover was lifted off the basket, and there was a woman sitting inside it. 8 The angel said, “The woman’s name is Wickedness,” and he pushed her back into the basket and closed the heavy lid again. 9 Then I looked up and saw two women flying toward us, gliding on the wind. They had wings like a stork, and they picked up the basket and flew into the sky. 10 “Where are they taking the basket?” I asked the angel. 11 He replied, “To the land of Babylonia, where they will build a temple for the basket. And when the temple is ready, they will set the basket there on its pedestal.”
There is no peace in life when people, places, or things rule over you. If your faith is rooted in man or manmade things, when they falter– as they always do– your faith shatters. Friends, let’s not place our faith in the temporary things that we can see.
In Christ only, the Truth is revealed. By understanding the core components of this world and the Living Word, we can see the Hand of God in our daily lives. God does not falter, nor does He abandon His children. Expand your faith and cling to Him.
How mighty is your faith?
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1 King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet tall and nine feet wide and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2 Then he sent messages to the high officers, officials, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the provincial officials to come to the dedication of the statue he had set up. 3 So all these officials came and stood before the statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4 Then a herald shouted out, “People of all races and nations and languages, listen to the king’s command! 5 When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments, bow to the ground to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue. 6 Anyone who refuses to obey will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.” 7 So at the sound of the musical instruments, all the people, whatever their race or nation or language, bowed to the ground and worshiped the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 8 But some of the astrologers went to the king and informed on the Jews. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “Long live the king! 10 You issued a decree requiring all the people to bow down and worship the gold statue when they hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments. 11 That decree also states that those who refuse to obey must be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—whom you have put in charge of the province of Babylon. They pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They refuse to serve your gods and do not worship the gold statue you have set up.” 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and ordered that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought before him. When they were brought in, 14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up? 15 I will give you one more chance to bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments. But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?” 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” 19 Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. 20 Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments. 22 And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in. 23 So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames. 24 But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?” “Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied. 25 “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god !” 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. 27 Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke! 28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be turned into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this!” 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in the province of Babylon.
“People who jump ship from Christ at the first sign of trouble fail to fully activate their faith”~TB
It’s amazing what we as people tolerate in our lives. We tolerate crappy bosses, toxic relationships, corrupt governments, gossipy friends, etc. We engage in fruitless and backward relationships that literally do not make sense. We imbibe and ingest things that aren’t beneficial while being potentially lethal. But, when it comes to our faith if it’s not perfect, or something “bad” comes down the pipeline, then we’re quick to abandon it. In our flawed thinking, faith and God has to mean a perfect, pain-free life or it just doesn’t work for us. Think about it, it’s ok to practice bad behavior, work at a place that treats you poorly and underpays, but if life isn’t going according to “your plan”, well this God thing is phooey. Rootless faith, faith that’s not rooted in anything, is what the opposition banks on because he knows at the slightest sign of discomfort, people will turn back to their old ways. The ironic part is that the storms or uncomfortable times are where we really get to know God and see His plan in our lives.
During natural disasters, there are plans and protocols in place to help those affected remain safe. In times of spiritual trouble, the Bible is exactly that. I’m not just talking about doctrine. There are a bunch of stories that talk about men and women enduring wild situations who chose to rely on God’s wisdom to see them through. Regular people, just like you and me were used to do miraculous things because they hunkered down and trusted God. Instead of running at the first sign of trouble, dive deep into the Word. Sure, the Israelites got to see the Red Sea part. Though we may not be able to see such signs today, we have the advantage of having the Living Word at our fingertips! Those guys lived those moments, but we get to read about them and use them to navigate our own “Red Seas”. That’s pretty cool when you think about it. Friends, don’t let go of faith when trouble hits. That’s the devil’s whole strategy (because it’s highly effective). Double down, seek the Lord and He will be with you always in all ways.
Are you jumping ship and missing the true destination all because of a few waves?
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1Then the LORD said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me pleading for these people, I wouldn’t help them. Away with them! Get them out of my sight!
2And if they say to you, ‘But where can we go?’ tell them, ‘This is what the LORD says: “‘Those who are destined for death, to death; those who are destined for war, to war; those who are destined for famine, to famine; those who are destined for captivity, to captivity.’
3“I will send four kinds of destroyers against them,” says the LORD . “I will send the sword to kill, the dogs to drag away, the vultures to devour, and the wild animals to finish up what is left.
4Because of the wicked things Manasseh son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, did in Jerusalem, I will make my people an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth.
5“Who will feel sorry for you, Jerusalem? Who will weep for you? Who will even bother to ask how you are?
6You have abandoned me and turned your back on me,” says the LORD . “Therefore, I will raise my fist to destroy you. I am tired of always giving you another chance.
7I will winnow you like grain at the gates of your cities and take away the children you hold dear. I will destroy my own people, because they refuse to change their evil ways.
8There will be more widows than the grains of sand on the seashore. At noontime I will bring a destroyer against the mothers of young men. I will cause anguish and terror to come upon them suddenly.
9The mother of seven grows faint and gasps for breath; her sun has gone down while it is still day. She sits childless now, disgraced and humiliated. And I will hand over those who are left to be killed by the enemy. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
10Then I said, “What sorrow is mine, my mother. Oh, that I had died at birth! I am hated everywhere I go. I am neither a lender who threatens to foreclose nor a borrower who refuses to pay— yet they all curse me.”
11The LORD replied, “I will take care of you, Jeremiah. Your enemies will ask you to plead on their behalf in times of trouble and distress.
12Can a man break a bar of iron from the north, or a bar of bronze?
13At no cost to them, I will hand over your wealth and treasures as plunder to your enemies, for sin runs rampant in your land.
14I will tell your enemies to take you as captives to a foreign land. For my anger blazes like a fire that will burn forever. ”
15Then I said, “ LORD, you know what’s happening to me. Please step in and help me. Punish my persecutors! Please give me time; don’t let me die young. It’s for your sake that I am suffering.
16When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies.
17I never joined the people in their merry feasts. I sat alone because your hand was on me. I was filled with indignation at their sins.
18Why then does my suffering continue? Why is my wound so incurable? Your help seems as uncertain as a seasonal brook, like a spring that has gone dry.”
19This is how the LORD responds: “If you return to me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve me. If you speak good words rather than worthless ones, you will be my spokesman. You must influence them; do not let them influence you!
20They will fight against you like an attacking army, but I will make you as secure as a fortified wall of bronze. They will not conquer you, for I am with you to protect and rescue you. I, the LORD, have spoken!
21Yes, I will certainly keep you safe from these wicked men. I will rescue you from their cruel hands.”
“Open up the good new possibilities and opportunities that you are supposed to do and achieve in life by taking each step of faith and work that goes along with God’s loving plan for your life and family.” ~ Jon Barnes
It amazes me to think and reflect on how much time I have spent with my wife, children, and family. It is an honor and privilege to model, teach and share the fascinating facts of all the things I am learning about God. This once in a lifetime experience is unique, incredible and extremely personal for me. It would take an eternity to begin to unravel and understand more about the mind of God and His infinite love, as a Creator and Father of All.
When you take the time needed to be with your spouse, raise your children, and balance your life, God gives you an understanding, knowledge, and experience in what it’s like to create, provide, and sustain life. The life lessons are not always comfortable, but necessary. By studying His examples and stories from the Bible, we have an open book of commandments to follow, problems to avoid, and lessons to learn, in order to do a fantastic job.
When we cooperate with God, our efforts will produce the proper outcome, response, and results from the fruits of our labor. I don’t understand why there are so many men who will not take care of their own children. This is an epidemic, societal decease, and curse!! Like “DOGS”, they hit and run! Real men need to train, explain, and model for their boys and girls about this unacceptable, nasty behavior. I find it challenging to take care of just one family, based on my experience and time management.
Are you paying attention to the fruits of your labor, choices, and decisions or did you leave your family, responsibilities, spouse, and children behind, like an evil dog, for the lust of your own flesh?
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Jesus and His Brothers
7 After this, Jesus traveled around Galilee. He wanted to stay out of Judea, where the Jewish leaders were plotting his death. 2 But soon it was time for the Jewish Festival of Shelters,3 and Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, where your followers can see your miracles!4 You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!”5 For even his brothers didn’t believe in him.
6 Jesus replied, “Now is not the right time for me to go, but you can go anytime.7 The world can’t hate you, but it does hate me because I accuse it of doing evil.8 You go on. I’m not going to this festival, because my time has not yet come.”9 After saying these things, Jesus remained in Galilee.
Jesus Teaches Openly at the Temple
10 But after his brothers left for the festival, Jesus also went, though secretly, staying out of public view. 11 The Jewish leaders tried to find him at the festival and kept asking if anyone had seen him.12 There was a lot of grumbling about him among the crowds. Some argued, “He’s a good man,” but others said, “He’s nothing but a fraud who deceives the people.”13 But no one had the courage to speak favorably about him in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders.
14 Then, midway through the festival, Jesus went up to the Temple and began to teach.15 The people were surprised when they heard him. “How does he know so much when he hasn’t been trained?” they asked.
16 So Jesus told them, “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me.17 Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own.18 Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies.19 Moses gave you the law, but none of you obeys it! In fact, you are trying to kill me.”
20 The crowd replied, “You’re demon possessed! Who’s trying to kill you?”
21 Jesus replied, “I did one miracle on the Sabbath, and you were amazed.22 But you work on the Sabbath, too, when you obey Moses’ law of circumcision. (Actually, this tradition of circumcision began with the patriarchs, long before the law of Moses.)23 For if the correct time for circumcising your son falls on the Sabbath, you go ahead and do it so as not to break the law of Moses. So why should you be angry with me for healing a man on the Sabbath?24 Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”
Is Jesus the Messiah?
25 Some of the people who lived in Jerusalem started to ask each other, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? 26 But here he is, speaking in public, and they say nothing to him. Could our leaders possibly believe that he is the Messiah?27 But how could he be? For we know where this man comes from. When the Messiah comes, he will simply appear; no one will know where he comes from.”
28 While Jesus was teaching in the Temple, he called out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I come from. But I’m not here on my own. The one who sent me is true, and you don’t know him.29 But I know him because I come from him, and he sent me to you.”30 Then the leaders tried to arrest him; but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come.
31 Many among the crowds at the Temple believed in him. “After all,” they said, “would you expect the Messiah to do more miraculous signs than this man has done?”
32 When the Pharisees heard that the crowds were whispering such things, they and the leading priests sent Temple guards to arrest Jesus.33 But Jesus told them, “I will be with you only a little longer. Then I will return to the one who sent me.34 You will search for me but not find me. And you cannot go where I am going.”
35 The Jewish leaders were puzzled by this statement. “Where is he planning to go?” they asked. “Is he thinking of leaving the country and going to the Jews in other lands? Maybe he will even teach the Greeks!36 What does he mean when he says, ‘You will search for me but not find me,’ and ‘You cannot go where I am going’?”
Jesus Promises Living Water
37 On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”39 (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)
Division and Unbelief
40 When the crowds heard him say this, some of them declared, “Surely this man is the Prophet we’ve been expecting.” 41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others said, “But he can’t be! Will the Messiah come from Galilee?42 For the Scriptures clearly state that the Messiah will be born of the royal line of David, in Bethlehem, the village where King David was born.”43 So the crowd was divided about him.44 Some even wanted him arrested, but no one laid a hand on him.
45 When the Temple guards returned without having arrested Jesus, the leading priests and Pharisees demanded, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”
46 “We have never heard anyone speak like this!” the guards responded.
47 “Have you been led astray, too?” the Pharisees mocked.48 “Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him?49 This foolish crowd follows him, but they are ignorant of the law. God’s curse is on them!”
50 Then Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, spoke up.51 “Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?” he asked.
52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself—no prophet ever comes from Galilee!”
“God isn’t interested in your formalities, your buildings, your ornaments, your performances, or your pandering. He’s interested in the motives of your heart.”~TB
Keep your religious spirit, your virtue-signaling goodness, and moral superiority to yourself. God wants none of it. You cry when religious buildings are destroyed, but you care not for the people He placed in your charge! What good is a building if the people are wicked? Friends, the church is not merely a place, it is within your heart. As He dwells within us, our actions, hearts, and minds must exude His presence. Putting on your Sunday best and turning up your nose at the “heathens” is not Biblical. Well, it is in the Bible, but those people paved the road to Hell.
It’s amazing how quickly the religious mobilize when their image is at stake. Let’s not worry about the exceedingly poor living conditions or the slave wages people are forced to accept. Why do you perform such blasphemous self-promoting acts in the name of God? How impactful is a mission if your actual neighbor is suffering? Truly, you must understand that your deeds are not for Him, they are for yourself. Every formality and hypocritical act performed is a mockery to God. Friends, the state of the world is in disarray! Because the nation has abandoned Him, He will abandon the nation. So cling tightly to your possessions and your neatly adorned items. They are all you have left and soon they too will abandon you.
What are the true motives in your heart?
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1O my people, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying,
2for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past—
3stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us.
4We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders.
5For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children,
6so the next generation might know them— even the children not yet born— and they in turn will teach their own children.
7So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands.
8Then they will not be like their ancestors— stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God.
9The warriors of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned their backs and fled on the day of battle.
10They did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his instructions.
11They forgot what he had done— the great wonders he had shown them,
12the miracles he did for their ancestors on the plain of Zoan in the land of Egypt.
13For he divided the sea and led them through, making the water stand up like walls!
14In the daytime he led them by a cloud, and all night by a pillar of fire.
15He split open the rocks in the wilderness to give them water, as from a gushing spring.
16He made streams pour from the rock, making the waters flow down like a river!
17Yet they kept on sinning against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert.
18They stubbornly tested God in their hearts, demanding the foods they craved.
19They even spoke against God himself, saying, “God can’t give us food in the wilderness.
20Yes, he can strike a rock so water gushes out, but he can’t give his people bread and meat.”
21When the LORD heard them, he was furious. The fire of his wrath burned against Jacob. Yes, his anger rose against Israel,
22for they did not believe God or trust him to care for them.
23But he commanded the skies to open; he opened the doors of heaven.
24He rained down manna for them to eat; he gave them bread from heaven.
25They ate the food of angels! God gave them all they could hold.
26He released the east wind in the heavens and guided the south wind by his mighty power.
27He rained down meat as thick as dust— birds as plentiful as the sand on the seashore!
28He caused the birds to fall within their camp and all around their tents.
29The people ate their fill. He gave them what they craved.
30But before they satisfied their craving, while the meat was yet in their mouths,
31the anger of God rose against them, and he killed their strongest men. He struck down the finest of Israel’s young men.
32But in spite of this, the people kept sinning. Despite his wonders, they refused to trust him.
33So he ended their lives in failure, their years in terror.
34When God began killing them, they finally sought him. They repented and took God seriously.
35Then they remembered that God was their rock, that God Most High was their redeemer.
36But all they gave him was lip service; they lied to him with their tongues.
37Their hearts were not loyal to him. They did not keep his covenant.
38Yet he was merciful and forgave their sins and did not destroy them all. Many times he held back his anger and did not unleash his fury!
39For he remembered that they were merely mortal, gone like a breath of wind that never returns.
40Oh, how often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved his heart in that dry wasteland.
41Again and again they tested God’s patience and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
42They did not remember his power and how he rescued them from their enemies.
43They did not remember his miraculous signs in Egypt, his wonders on the plain of Zoan.
44For he turned their rivers into blood, so no one could drink from the streams.
45He sent vast swarms of flies to consume them and hordes of frogs to ruin them.
46He gave their crops to caterpillars; their harvest was consumed by locusts.
47He destroyed their grapevines with hail and shattered their sycamore-figs with sleet.
48He abandoned their cattle to the hail, their livestock to bolts of lightning.
49He loosed on them his fierce anger— all his fury, rage, and hostility. He dispatched against them a band of destroying angels.
50He turned his anger against them; he did not spare the Egyptians’ lives but ravaged them with the plague.
51He killed the oldest son in each Egyptian family, the flower of youth throughout the land of Egypt.
52But he led his own people like a flock of sheep, guiding them safely through the wilderness.
53He kept them safe so they were not afraid; but the sea covered their enemies.
54He brought them to the border of his holy land, to this land of hills he had won for them.
55He drove out the nations before them; he gave them their inheritance by lot. He settled the tribes of Israel into their homes.
56But they kept testing and rebelling against God Most High. They did not obey his laws.
57They turned back and were as faithless as their parents. They were as undependable as a crooked bow.
58They angered God by building shrines to other gods; they made him jealous with their idols.
59When God heard them, he was very angry, and he completely rejected Israel.
60Then he abandoned his dwelling at Shiloh, the Tabernacle where he had lived among the people.
61He allowed the Ark of his might to be captured; he surrendered his glory into enemy hands.
62He gave his people over to be butchered by the sword, because he was so angry with his own people—his special possession.
63Their young men were killed by fire; their young women died before singing their wedding songs.
64Their priests were slaughtered, and their widows could not mourn their deaths.
65Then the Lord rose up as though waking from sleep, like a warrior aroused from a drunken stupor.
66He routed his enemies and sent them to eternal shame.
67But he rejected Joseph’s descendants; he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim.
68He chose instead the tribe of Judah, and Mount Zion, which he loved.
69There he built his sanctuary as high as the heavens, as solid and enduring as the earth.
70He chose his servant David, calling him from the sheep pens.
71He took David from tending the ewes and lambs and made him the shepherd of Jacob’s descendants— God’s own people, Israel.
72He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands.