“God will send you to unexpected places not to punish you, but to remind you of your purpose and who made you.”~TB
I made an unexpected trip to Tennessee about 2 weeks ago. I had plans to go to Virginia, but things happened to deter that plan. The woman that was hosting me was a kind and gregarious lady, very interested in spirits, practicing all faiths, witchcraft, and ‘healing’. Now, I’m not one to be shy about telling people when they’re wrong, but for the sake of getting along, I politely nodded and moved on the subject. Interestingly enough, she kept prompting me to share what I believed.
Pulling a Jonah
During our chat, I was annoyed because I didn’t really feel like having this conversation. Days prior, I was in Charlotte NC on a hike and someone had smashed my driver side window and stole my wallet, laptop, guitar, and a few meaningful items that I cannot replicate. It was a very deflating experience, especially being so far from home. Needless to say, I wasn’t in the mood for sharing the Good News. But something in this woman’s eyes made me realize that she wasn’t looking for a debate, but rather the Truth. I felt the gentle nudge to do my part. So I shared it with her.
I found out that my host wasn’t always into witchcraft and multiple faiths. She was a believer that fell through hard times and walked away. During this conversation, I was reminded that we all get weary, and the opposition will always push us to the brink to get us to walk away from the Truth. I also realized that me running into this woman was not only for her benefit, but for my own. As Christ followers know, it can be tough during times and some battles can seem unfair and punitive. I say all this to say, that whenever you’re going through an intense struggle or bouts of depressing lows, in those moments, look for the reminders of who you are and who you belong to. He’s with you in all things and is there to guide you if you choose to seek Him.
Are you checking your reminders?
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1As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God.
2Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few.
3Too much activity gives you restless dreams; too many words make you a fool.
4When you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him.
5It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it.
6Don’t let your mouth make you sin. And don’t defend yourself by telling the Temple messenger that the promise you made was a mistake. That would make God angry, and he might wipe out everything you have achieved.
7Talk is cheap, like daydreams and other useless activities. Fear God instead.
8Don’t be surprised if you see a poor person being oppressed by the powerful and if justice is being miscarried throughout the land. For every official is under orders from higher up, and matters of justice get lost in red tape and bureaucracy.
9Even the king milks the land for his own profit!
10Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!
11The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it. So what good is wealth—except perhaps to watch it slip through your fingers!
12People who work hard sleep well, whether they eat little or much. But the rich seldom get a good night’s sleep.
13There is another serious problem I have seen under the sun. Hoarding riches harms the saver.
14Money is put into risky investments that turn sour, and everything is lost. In the end, there is nothing left to pass on to one’s children.
15We all come to the end of our lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day we were born. We can’t take our riches with us.
16And this, too, is a very serious problem. People leave this world no better off than when they came. All their hard work is for nothing—like working for the wind.
17Throughout their lives, they live under a cloud—frustrated, discouraged, and angry.
18Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life.
19And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God.
20God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.
“Do your best to be even-keeled as life if full of hills, valleys, and plateaus. The only thing we can be sure of is that God is in the midst of it all.”~TB
Notice the patterns in life, things are always in motion, whether you like it or not. Good things happen, followed by bad things, followed by ok things, and so on and so on. When you rely on the understanding the world tries to give, you will be as helpless and unstable as a leaf in a severe wind. If you seek peace, get to know God. It is that relationship, and that relationship alone that can help you understand the tide of your life.
Instead of fighting the tide, learn to flow with it. God will teach you how to wade in the waters of life if you let Him. This starts by relinquishing what control you believe to have in this worlds. Friends, we control nothing and even the best laid plans can crumble. This shouldn’t scare you, no, instead rejoice in the Truth that the Hand of God is in all things. All things work for Him, so don’t push or pull in your life, but rather, go with the flow.
Are you going with the flow with God?
1For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
2A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.
5A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
6A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
8A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.
9What do people really get for all their hard work?
10I have seen the burden God has placed on us all.
11Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
12So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.
13And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.
14And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him.
15What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.
16I also noticed that under the sun there is evil in the courtroom. Yes, even the courts of law are corrupt!
17I said to myself, “In due season God will judge everyone, both good and bad, for all their deeds.”
18I also thought about the human condition—how God proves to people that they are like animals.
19For people and animals share the same fate—both breathe and both must die. So people have no real advantage over the animals. How meaningless!
20Both go to the same place—they came from dust and they return to dust.
21For who can prove that the human spirit goes up and the spirit of animals goes down into the earth?
22So I saw that there is nothing better for people than to be happy in their work. That is our lot in life. And no one can bring us back to see what happens after we die.
“God will release you from your bondage, but you must leave your mindset of captivity.”~TB
Vital lies occur when you tell yourself not to expect better ot that your chains aren’t so bad. When you’ve felt trapped for prolonged periods of time, a survivalist mentality sets in. In times of trouble, many rely on their own understanding and not God’s, often doing more harm than good! Don’t lean on your broken thinking unless you wish to remain enslaved. Friends, God did not call you to live in fear or captivity. In order to move past the wilderness, you have to throw off old behavior and cling to the Truth.
The Israelites took 40 years instead of 11 days because they did not trust in the Lord nor did they abandon their old ways. The wilderness is no longer a physical desert, but a negative cyclical spiral within the mind. In Christ you can overcome this, but you must face your reality. Ask yourself, how long with you allow a broken mindset hinder your reliance on Christ? What could you accomplish if you stepped out in faith and left your chains? God has set you free, but you must act on it. If you do not know where to start, ask Him and He will show you.
Are you letting broken chains hold you in the wilderness?
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1The sayings of King Lemuel contain this message, which his mother taught him.
2O my son, O son of my womb, O son of my vows,
3do not waste your strength on women, on those who ruin kings.
4It is not for kings, O Lemuel, to guzzle wine. Rulers should not crave alcohol.
5For if they drink, they may forget the law and not give justice to the oppressed.
6Alcohol is for the dying, and wine for those in bitter distress.
7Let them drink to forget their poverty and remember their troubles no more.
8Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.
9Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.
10Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies.
11Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.
12She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
13She finds wool and flax and busily spins it.
14She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar.
15She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.
16She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.
18She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night.
19Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber.
20She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.
21She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes.
22She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
23Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders.
24She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants.
25She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.
26When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.
27She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.
28Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her:
29“There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”
30Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.
31Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
“The opposition can take things from you, but he cannot take your salvation.”~TB
Like a thief lying in wait for the opportune moment, he will try and steal your peace and joy by any means necessary. His main goal is to get you to feel as though God isn’t with you. Friends, don’t turn your back away from God when you are going through tough times. Remain calm and learn all you can in your trials so that you grow from the experience.
When you experience setbacks that come from the evil one, rest assured that these attacks are temporary and they will pass. In times of great trial, lean on the word for comfort. The Bible is filled with stories of men and women who have endured trying times and great opposition. What comfort it is to know that our experiences are no different from those before us!
Whatever the opposition attempts to steal, God will redeem and then some. Christ is the ultimate defender and protector, so when evil comes against you, there’s no need to fight. Be still and know that your Creator is in control. Our own defense or vindication does not hold a candle to what Christ can do for us. So when evil tries to take, remember who redeems and what He was decided cannot be changed.
Are you remaining still and allowing God to work in your life?
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1Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring.
2Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth— a stranger, not your own lips.
3A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, but the resentment caused by a fool is even heavier.
4Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood, but jealousy is even more dangerous.
5An open rebuke is better than hidden love!
6Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.
7A person who is full refuses honey, but even bitter food tastes sweet to the hungry.
8A person who strays from home is like a bird that strays from its nest.
9The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.
10Never abandon a friend— either yours or your father’s. When disaster strikes, you won’t have to ask your brother for assistance. It’s better to go to a neighbor than to a brother who lives far away.
11Be wise, my child, and make my heart glad. Then I will be able to answer my critics.
12A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.
13Get security from someone who guarantees a stranger’s debt. Get a deposit if he does it for foreigners.
14A loud and cheerful greeting early in the morning will be taken as a curse!
15A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day.
16Stopping her complaints is like trying to stop the wind or trying to hold something with greased hands.
17As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
18As workers who tend a fig tree are allowed to eat the fruit, so workers who protect their employer’s interests will be rewarded.
19As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.
20Just as Death and Destruction are never satisfied, so human desire is never satisfied.
21Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but a person is tested by being praised.
22You cannot separate fools from their foolishness, even though you grind them like grain with mortar and pestle.
23Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds,
24for riches don’t last forever, and the crown might not be passed to the next generation.
25After the hay is harvested and the new crop appears and the mountain grasses are gathered in,
26your sheep will provide wool for clothing, and your goats will provide the price of a field.
27And you will have enough goats’ milk for yourself, your family, and your servant girls.
“Sometimes tough situations are a sign that it’s time for you to get moving in the direction that God wants you to.”~TB
When you don’t have a relationship with God, it is difficult to understand His plan for your life. When you face trials and tribulations, there is always a lesson or direction attached. Sometimes difficult situations teach you patience or faith. Other times it’s God’s way of telling you to move in a different direction or to move faster towards the task He’s led you to accomplish. Friends, grow close with God so that you may have the discernment to understand His will for you.
If God has given you a vision, a purpose, or a dream, hop to it! Just because you may not understand the end goal does not lessen the need for you to be obedient. We all have a choice to either spend our lives in the wilderness or, answer the call from our Father in Heaven, fulfilling our purpose as He intended. Let’s not be like the Israelites, who took 40 years for an 11-day journey. Contrary to what this sin-fallen world tells you, God did not create you for you to live in misery or enslaved by companies, brands, or whatever holds your heart. Move in the direction that God is leading, so that you may come into the Promiseland.
Are you on the move or are you stuck in fear and disbelief?
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1Praise the LORD ! How good to sing praises to our God! How delightful and how fitting!
2The LORD is rebuilding Jerusalem and bringing the exiles back to Israel.
3He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.
4He counts the stars and calls them all by name.
5How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension!
6The LORD supports the humble, but he brings the wicked down into the dust.
7Sing out your thanks to the LORD ; sing praises to our God with a harp.
8He covers the heavens with clouds, provides rain for the earth, and makes the grass grow in mountain pastures.
9He gives food to the wild animals and feeds the young ravens when they cry.
10He takes no pleasure in the strength of a horse or in human might.
11No, the LORD ’s delight is in those who fear him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love.
12Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!
13For he has strengthened the bars of your gates and blessed your children within your walls.
14He sends peace across your nation and satisfies your hunger with the finest wheat.
15He sends his orders to the world— how swiftly his word flies!
16He sends the snow like white wool; he scatters frost upon the ground like ashes.
17He hurls the hail like stones. Who can stand against his freezing cold?
18Then, at his command, it all melts. He sends his winds, and the ice thaws.
19He has revealed his words to Jacob, his decrees and regulations to Israel.
20He has not done this for any other nation; they do not know his regulations. Praise the LORD !
“Accept the solutions that God provides, rather than relying solely on your own.”~TB
What Should Be
As the body of Christ, we are all interconnected. This means that God desires for us to do our part, helping one another. When you read the Bible regularly, you understand its principles and how each of us has a role in assisting our brothers and sisters. In a perfect world, we would all step up and assist willingly. But, since the world is not perfect, we tend to thwart and disrupt God’s plan, leaving our brothers and sisters hanging. Fortunately for us, God has an infinite supply of backup plans and will send resources to those in need. Friends, accept those solutions, no matter if they don’t fit with your own ideas.
When manmade solutions fail, as they often do, rely on the solutions of our Father in Heaven. Like Jonah and the Gourd, God most likely sends provisions and resources that to the human eye seem unlikely and absurd. Further, sometimes those solutions require you to be humble, swallow your pride, and accept the help offered by others. Friends, don’t be prideful and refuse help because you don’t want to appear weak. Truth is, we are all weak, so stop pretending! Instead, be glad that God loves you enough to send help in your time of need. Don’t forget, there are lessons to be learned in moments such as these. More to the point, this is an opportunity for the giver to receive a blessing as they are blessing you. So take joy in receiving heavenly solutions rather than staring at the manmade problem.
Are you holding onto your problems instead of accepting God’s solutions?
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1Praise the LORD ! Let all that I am praise the LORD .
2I will praise the LORD as long as I live. I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath.
3Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there.
4When they breathe their last, they return to the earth, and all their plans die with them.
5But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the LORD their God.
6He made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He keeps every promise forever.
7He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry. The LORD frees the prisoners.
8The LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are weighed down. The LORD loves the godly.
9The LORD protects the foreigners among us. He cares for the orphans and widows, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.
10The LORD will reign forever. He will be your God, O Jerusalem, throughout the generations. Praise the LORD !
“Wherever God sends you, whatever job He gives you, be sure to follow through.”~TB
In the eyes of man, God’s ways and plans for your future may appear to be foolish to your peers. If He’s given you a purpose or a plan, follow through. Because we are unable to understand the infinite perspective of God, we can talk ourselves out of amazing opportunities. Of course, with these opportunities comes the potential for great setbacks.
The devil will always try and find a way to disrupt the joy and peace in your life. This is especially true when you are operating in an assignment from the Lord. My point in saying this is that obstacles will always happen. It’s why we must arm ourselves with the Word so that when opposition comes, we know to avert our gaze and focus on the task at hand. Friends, life is easy for no one, persevere anyway.
So, no matter how obscure or miraculous your work for God is, follow through and finish well. Avoid the pitfalls and traps laid out by the evil one. The truth is, his distractions cannot harm you, there merely exist to get you to fumble your task. Learn to ignore the noise. When you walk and talk with God regularly, you build up the discernment to finish the job. Develop your relationship with Christ to follow through with the call He’s placed on your life.
Are you following through or full of excuses?
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1O LORD, rescue me from evil people. Protect me from those who are violent,
2those who plot evil in their hearts and stir up trouble all day long.
3Their tongues sting like a snake; the venom of a viper drips from their lips. Interlude
4O LORD, keep me out of the hands of the wicked. Protect me from those who are violent, for they are plotting against me.
5The proud have set a trap to catch me; they have stretched out a net; they have placed traps all along the way. Interlude
6I said to the LORD, “You are my God!” Listen, O LORD, to my cries for mercy!
7O Sovereign LORD, the strong one who rescued me, you protected me on the day of battle.
8LORD, do not let evil people have their way. Do not let their evil schemes succeed, or they will become proud. Interlude
9Let my enemies be destroyed by the very evil they have planned for me.
10Let burning coals fall down on their heads. Let them be thrown into the fire or into watery pits from which they can’t escape.
11Don’t let liars prosper here in our land. Cause great disasters to fall on the violent.
12But I know the LORD will help those they persecute; he will give justice to the poor.
13Surely righteous people are praising your name; the godly will live in your presence.
“Cut your losses on sin, but don’t count people out just yet.”~TB
As a prideful nation, people will always be your downfall. Humans have the capacity to hurt, to steal, to kill– whatever the sin– you name it, we’re capable of it. Even still, whatever the offense, it’s best to forgive it and move on. Just to be clear, this is not to say that you must tolerate poor behavior, no, we must hold each other accountable. That said, forgiving one another as God forgives us allows us to grow and develop into people of Christ. Besides, what do you have to lose by letting go of offenses? More to the point, when you are so consumed with what has happened to you, you lose sight of your potential and what you could be doing to better yourself.
As sin-fallen people, we will never be free of sin. That doesn’t mean that we should not make every effort to improve each and every day. The first step in walking closer with God is to till your own soil. When you cut out the monitoring of the shortcomings of your brothers and sisters, you are then able to reflect on yourself and your personal relationship with Christ. In the midst of that silence, He will impart His wisdom on how you can improve and move forward in your destiny. Friends, where He is taking you requires very little baggage, so why not cut your losses and move on?
Are you cutting the chord to old bondages or the chord to Christ
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1From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me. Let all Israel repeat this:
2From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me, but they have never defeated me.
3My back is covered with cuts, as if a farmer had plowed long furrows.
4But the LORD is good; he has cut me free from the ropes of the ungodly.
5May all who hate Jerusalem be turned back in shameful defeat.
6May they be as useless as grass on a rooftop, turning yellow when only half grown,
7ignored by the harvester, despised by the binder.
8And may those who pass by refuse to give them this blessing: “The LORD bless you; we bless you in the LORD ’s name.”
“You will live according to whoever has your ear, heart, and mind. Choose wisely.”~TB
You will fail. You will disappoint. You won’t measure up. Every man on this earth is fallible, short-sighted, and operates according to their own fleshly desires and motives. Even the best of us suck! For this reason, you must never place your value or worth against the opinions of your brothers and sisters. They lack the Holy lens to assess you as our Father in Heaven can. According to humans, you will have to change your appearance, your tone, your attitude, before you are accepted. And even still, you can follow the rules right down to the letter and still not be enough! So why bother? If you know the truth– which is written down in the Bible– you will know that according to the One who made you, you are accepted as you already are.
You are redeemed. You are forgiven. You are loved. You are accepted. Jesus paid the ultimate price so that we would be set apart in God’s Holy stable. Friends, take comfort in this Truth. God loves you as you are! No, you are not perfect, and yes, you will make mistakes. However, when you come to Him with your imperfections in honest and humble repentance, He will wipe the slate clean and will lovingly remind you that you are His. God’s opinion is mightier, holier, and infinitely more valuable than any man’s opinion on this earth. Remember this fundamental truth so that when people come against you with their manmade requirements and measurements, you will not bow down to imperfect standards. Don’t let foolish people rob you of your joy. You have been spared, so live in peace.
Who’s will are you living according to?
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1Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the LORD protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good.
2It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.
3Children are a gift from the LORD ; they are a reward from him.
4Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.
5How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.
“Set your mind on God to experience His Truth” ~TB
Your mind is a gift or a curse– depending on how you use it. You can choose to fill it with God’s wisdom, live an obedient life, and be kind to your neighbors. Or, you can fill it with filth, walk around mindlessly, preferring destruction over peace. Sure, those seem drastically different, but the Truth is living in or out of God’s Will Isdrastically different. Do not be fooled by the external lives of others. Only God can truly examine one’s heart. Work on your mind and don’t fall prey to the fake minds around you.
When you set your mind, thoughts, and actions of God you rely on His strength and wisdom and not your own. The impossible becomes possible because you understand that you need Him in everything that you are and everything that you do. Allowing God to steer your mind sets you up for the peace and joy He graciously offers. It is a gift like no other and humans are unable to recreate such things. When you set your mind on the things of the flesh, you welcome confusion, stupor, and chaos. Friends, the human mind is incapable of such a Holy Mindset. Rely on Him.
Is your mind set on God or do you have a fleshly mindset?
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1Praise the LORD ! Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
2Who can list the glorious miracles of the LORD ? Who can ever praise him enough?
3There is joy for those who deal justly with others and always do what is right.
4Remember me, LORD, when you show favor to your people; come near and rescue me.
5Let me share in the prosperity of your chosen ones. Let me rejoice in the joy of your people; let me praise you with those who are your heritage.
6Like our ancestors, we have sinned. We have done wrong! We have acted wickedly!
7Our ancestors in Egypt were not impressed by the LORD ’s miraculous deeds. They soon forgot his many acts of kindness to them. Instead, they rebelled against him at the Red Sea.
8Even so, he saved them— to defend the honor of his name and to demonstrate his mighty power.
9He commanded the Red Sea to dry up. He led Israel across the sea as if it were a desert.
10So he rescued them from their enemies and redeemed them from their foes.
11Then the water returned and covered their enemies; not one of them survived.
12Then his people believed his promises. Then they sang his praise.
13Yet how quickly they forgot what he had done! They wouldn’t wait for his counsel!
14In the wilderness their desires ran wild, testing God’s patience in that dry wasteland.
15So he gave them what they asked for, but he sent a plague along with it.
16The people in the camp were jealous of Moses and envious of Aaron, the LORD ’s holy priest.
17Because of this, the earth opened up; it swallowed Dathan and buried Abiram and the other rebels.
18Fire fell upon their followers; a flame consumed the wicked.
19The people made a calf at Mount Sinai ; they bowed before an image made of gold.
20They traded their glorious God for a statue of a grass-eating bull.
21They forgot God, their savior, who had done such great things in Egypt—
22such wonderful things in the land of Ham, such awesome deeds at the Red Sea.
23So he declared he would destroy them. But Moses, his chosen one, stepped between the LORD and the people. He begged him to turn from his anger and not destroy them.
24The people refused to enter the pleasant land, for they wouldn’t believe his promise to care for them.
25Instead, they grumbled in their tents and refused to obey the LORD .
26Therefore, he solemnly swore that he would kill them in the wilderness,
27that he would scatter their descendants among the nations, exiling them to distant lands.
28Then our ancestors joined in the worship of Baal at Peor; they even ate sacrifices offered to the dead!
29They angered the LORD with all these things, so a plague broke out among them.
30But Phinehas had the courage to intervene, and the plague was stopped.
31So he has been regarded as a righteous man ever since that time.
32At Meribah, too, they angered the LORD, causing Moses serious trouble.
33They made Moses angry, and he spoke foolishly.
34Israel failed to destroy the nations in the land, as the LORD had commanded them.
35Instead, they mingled among the pagans and adopted their evil customs.
36They worshiped their idols, which led to their downfall.
37They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons.
38They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters. By sacrificing them to the idols of Canaan, they polluted the land with murder.
39They defiled themselves by their evil deeds, and their love of idols was adultery in the LORD ’s sight.
40That is why the LORD ’s anger burned against his people, and he abhorred his own special possession.
41He handed them over to pagan nations, and they were ruled by those who hated them.
42Their enemies crushed them and brought them under their cruel power.
43Again and again he rescued them, but they chose to rebel against him, and they were finally destroyed by their sin.
44Even so, he pitied them in their distress and listened to their cries.
45He remembered his covenant with them and relented because of his unfailing love.
46He even caused their captors to treat them with kindness.
47Save us, O LORD our God! Gather us back from among the nations, so we can thank your holy name and rejoice and praise you.
48Praise the LORD, the God of Israel, who lives from everlasting to everlasting! Let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the LORD !