Daily Devotional

by Larry Stockstill

How easily the flesh can concoct a religious scheme that appears to please God but in reality is a foolish spectacle! The Levite left the proper place of worship at the tabernacle and went out as a hired "priest" for an idol worshiper.

Religion drifts away from God and toward idolatry because of the love of power and money. The further religion deviates from God's Word, the more accepted it is by society. Flesh gives birth to flesh, and soon a system of religion is developed that has nothing to do with the Word of God. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:6 KJV).

Jesus taught Nicodemus that knowing God was as simple as the Holy Spirit's giving him a new birth (v. 8). Yet Nicodemus, in his human mind, wanted to make it more complicated. Our minds long to do something religious to earn salvation. If earning salvation is hard, you can be sure it's the plan of man. If it is simple, it's the truth of God.

Everyone can easily receive God's salvation, for it is available to all. Don't try to find God with your natural mind. Instead, follow the way of the Spirit!

Judges 17:1-18:31

Micah’s Idols

17 Now a man named MicahJdg 18:2, 13 from the hill country of Ephraimsaid to his mother, “The eleven hundred shekelsThat is, about 28 pounds or about 13 kilograms of silver that were taken from you and about which I heard you utter a curse—I have that silver with me; I took it.”

Then his mother said, “The Lord bless you,Ru 2:20; 3:10; 1Sa 15:13; 23:21; 2Sa 2:5 my son!”

When he returned the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, she said, “I solemnly consecrate my silver to the Lord for my son to make an image overlaid with silver.S Ex 20:4 I will give it back to you.”

So after he returned the silver to his mother, she took two hundred shekelsThat is, about 5 pounds or about 2.3 kilograms of silver and gave them to a silversmith, who used them to make the idol.S Ex 32:4; S Isa 17:8 And it was put in Micah’s house.

Now this man Micah had a shrine,Isa 44:13; Eze 8:10 and he made an ephodS Jdg 8:27 and some household godsS Ge 31:19 and installedS Nu 16:10 one of his sons as his priest.S Ex 29:9In those days Israel had no king;Jdg 18:1; 19:1; 21:25 everyone did as they saw fit.S Dt 12:8

A young LeviteJdg 18:3 from Bethlehem in Judah,S Ge 35:19; Mt 2:1 who had been living within the clan of Judah,left that town in search of some other place to stay. On his wayOr To carry on his profession he came to Micah’s house in the hill country of Ephraim.

Micah asked him, “Where are you from?”

“I’m a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah,Ru 1:1” he said, “and I’m looking for a place to stay.”

10 Then Micah said to him, “Live with me and be my fatherS Ge 45:8 and priest,Jdg 18:19 and I’ll give you ten shekelsThat is, about 4 ounces or about 115 grams of silver a year, your clothes and your food.”11 So the Levite agreed to live with him, and the young man became like one of his sons to him.12 Then Micah installedS Nu 16:10 the Levite, and the young man became his priestJdg 18:4 and lived in his house.13 And Micah said, “Now I know that the Lord will be good to me, since this Levite has become my priest.”Nu 18:7

The Danites Settle in Laish

18 In those days Israel had no king.S Jdg 17:6

And in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking a place of their own where they might settle, because they had not yet come into an inheritance among the tribes of Israel.Jos 19:47; Jdg 1:34So the DanitesS Ge 30:6 sent five of their leading menver 17 from Zorah and Eshtaol to spy outS Nu 21:32 the land and explore it. These men represented all the Danites. They told them, “Go, explore the land.”S Jos 2:1

So they entered the hill country of Ephraim and came to the house of Micah,S Jdg 17:1 where they spent the night.When they were near Micah’s house, they recognized the voice of the young Levite;Jdg 17:7 so they turned in there and asked him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? Why are you here?”

He told them what Micah had done for him, and said, “He has hired me and I am his priest.Jdg 17:12

Then they said to him, “Please inquire of GodS Ge 25:22; Jdg 20:18, 23, 27; 1Sa 14:18; 2Sa 5:19; 2Ki 1:2; 8:8 to learn whether our journey will be successful.”

The priest answered them, “Go in peace1Ki 22:6. Your journey has the Lord’s approval.”

So the five menver 17 left and came to Laish,S Jos 19:47 where they saw that the people were living in safety, like the Sidonians, at peace and secure.S Ge 34:25 And since their land lacked nothing, they were prosperous.The meaning of the Hebrew for this clause is uncertain. Also, they lived a long way from the Sidoniansver 28; Jos 11:8 and had no relationship with anyone else.Hebrew; some Septuagint manuscripts with the Arameans

When they returned to Zorah and Eshtaol, their fellow Danites asked them, “How did you find things?”

They answered, “Come on, let’s attack them! We have seen the land, and it is very good. Aren’t you going to do something? Don’t hesitate to go there and take it over.Nu 13:30; 1Ki 22:310 When you get there, you will find an unsuspecting people and a spacious land that God has put into your hands, a land that lacks nothingDt 8:9 whatever.1Ch 4:40

11 Then six hundred menver 16, 17 of the Danites,Jdg 13:2 armed for battle, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol.12 On their way they set up camp near Kiriath JearimS Jos 9:17 in Judah. This is why the place west of Kiriath Jearim is called Mahaneh DanMahaneh Dan means Dan’s camp.Jdg 13:25 to this day.13 From there they went on to the hill country of Ephraim and came to Micah’s house.S Jdg 17:1

14 Then the five men who had spied out the land of LaishS Jos 19:47 said to their fellow Danites, “Do you know that one of these houses has an ephod,S Jdg 8:27 some household gods and an image overlaid with silver?S Ge 31:19 Now you know what to do.”15 So they turned in there and went to the house of the young Levite at Micah’s place and greeted him.16 The six hundred Danites,S ver 11 armed for battle, stood at the entrance of the gate.17 The five men who had spied out the land went inside and took the idol, the ephod and the household godsS Ge 31:19; Mic 5:13 while the priest and the six hundred armed menver 11 stood at the entrance of the gate.

18 When the five men went into Micah’s house and tookver 24; Isa 46:2; Jer 43:11; 48:7; 49:3; Hos 10:5 the idol, the ephod and the household gods,S Ge 31:19 the priest said to them, “What are you doing?”

19 They answered him, “Be quiet!Job 13:5; 21:5; 29:9; 40:4; Isa 52:15; Mic 7:16 Don’t say a word. Come with us, and be our father and priest.Jdg 17:10 Isn’t it better that you serve a tribe and clanNu 26:42 in Israel as priest rather than just one man’s household?”20 The priest was very pleased. He took the ephod, the household gods and the idol and went along with the people.21 Putting their little children, their livestock and their possessions in front of them, they turned away and left.

22 When they had gone some distance from Micah’s house, the men who lived near Micah were called together and overtook the Danites.23 As they shouted after them, the Danites turned and said to Micah, “What’s the matter with you that you called out your men to fight?”

24 He replied, “You tookS ver 17-18 the gods I made, and my priest, and went away. What else do I have? How can you ask, ‘What’s the matter with you?’”

25 The Danites answered, “Don’t argue with us, or some of the men may get angry and attack you, and you and your family will lose your lives.”26 So the Danites went their way, and Micah, seeing that they were too strong for him,2Sa 3:39; Ps 18:17; 35:10 turned around and went back home.

27 Then they took what Micah had made, and his priest, and went on to Laish, against a people at peace and secure.S Ge 34:25 They attacked them with the sword and burnedS Nu 31:10 down their city.Ge 49:17; S Jos 19:4728 There was no one to rescue them because they lived a long way from SidonS ver 7; S Ge 10:19 and had no relationship with anyone else. The city was in a valley near Beth Rehob.S Nu 13:21

The Danites rebuilt the city and settled there.29 They named it DanS Ge 14:14 after their ancestor Dan, who was born to Israel—though the city used to be called Laish.S Jos 19:47; 1Ki 15:2030 There the Danites set up for themselves the idol, and Jonathan son of Gershom,Ex 2:22 the son of Moses,Many Hebrew manuscripts, some Septuagint manuscripts and Vulgate; many other Hebrew manuscripts and some other Septuagint manuscripts Manasseh and his sons were priests for the tribe of Dan until the time of the captivity of the land.31 They continued to use the idol Micah had made,ver 17 all the time the house of GodJdg 19:18; 20:18 was in Shiloh.S Jos 18:1; Jer 7:14

Micah’s Idols

17 There was a man named Micah, who lived in the hill country of Ephraim.One day he said to his mother, “I heard you place a curse on the person who stole 1,100 piecesHebrew 1,100 [shekels], about 28 pounds or 12.5 kilograms in weight. of silver from you. Well, I have the money. I was the one who took it.”

“The Lord bless you for admitting it,” his mother replied.He returned the money to her, and she said, “I now dedicate these silver coins to the Lord. In honor of my son, I will have an image carved and an idol cast.”

So when he returned the money to his mother, she took 200 silver coins and gave them to a silversmith, who made them into an image and an idol. And these were placed in Micah’s house.Micah set up a shrine for the idol, and he made a sacred ephod and some household idols. Then he installed one of his sons as his personal priest.

In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.

One day a young Levite, who had been living in Bethlehem in Judah, arrived in that area.He had left Bethlehem in search of another place to live, and as he traveled, he came to the hill country of Ephraim. He happened to stop at Micah’s house as he was traveling through.“Where are you from?” Micah asked him.

He replied, “I am a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, and I am looking for a place to live.”

10 “Stay here with me,” Micah said, “and you can be a father and priest to me. I will give you ten pieces of silverHebrew 10 [shekels] of silver, about 4 ounces or 114 grams in weight. a year, plus a change of clothes and your food.”11 The Levite agreed to this, and the young man became like one of Micah’s sons.

12 So Micah installed the Levite as his personal priest, and he lived in Micah’s house.13 “I know the Lord will bless me now,” Micah said, “because I have a Levite serving as my priest.”

Idolatry in the Tribe of Dan

18 Now in those days Israel had no king. And the tribe of Dan was trying to find a place where they could settle, for they had not yet moved into the land assigned to them when the land was divided among the tribes of Israel.So the men of Dan chose from their clans five capable warriors from the towns of Zorah and Eshtaol to scout out a land for them to settle in.

When these warriors arrived in the hill country of Ephraim, they came to Micah’s house and spent the night there.While at Micah’s house, they recognized the young Levite’s accent, so they went over and asked him, “Who brought you here, and what are you doing in this place? Why are you here?”He told them about his agreement with Micah and that he had been hired as Micah’s personal priest.

Then they said, “Ask God whether or not our journey will be successful.”

“Go in peace,” the priest replied. “For the Lord is watching over your journey.”

So the five men went on to the town of Laish, where they noticed the people living carefree lives, like the Sidonians; they were peaceful and secure.The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain. The people were also wealthy because their land was very fertile. And they lived a great distance from Sidon and had no allies nearby.

When the men returned to Zorah and Eshtaol, their relatives asked them, “What did you find?”

The men replied, “Come on, let’s attack them! We have seen the land, and it is very good. What are you waiting for? Don’t hesitate to go and take possession of it.10 When you get there, you will find the people living carefree lives. God has given us a spacious and fertile land, lacking in nothing!”

11 So 600 men from the tribe of Dan, armed with weapons of war, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol.12 They camped at a place west of Kiriath-jearim in Judah, which is called Mahaneh-danMahaneh-dan means “the camp of Dan.” to this day.13 Then they went on from there into the hill country of Ephraim and came to the house of Micah.

14 The five men who had scouted out the land around Laish explained to the others, “These buildings contain a sacred ephod, as well as some household idols, a carved image, and a cast idol. What do you think you should do?”15 Then the five men turned off the road and went over to Micah’s house, where the young Levite lived, and greeted him kindly.16 As the 600 armed warriors from the tribe of Dan stood at the entrance of the gate,17 the five scouts entered the shrine and removed the carved image, the sacred ephod, the household idols, and the cast idol. Meanwhile, the priest was standing at the gate with the 600 armed warriors.

18 When the priest saw the men carrying all the sacred objects out of Micah’s shrine, he said, “What are you doing?”

19 “Be quiet and come with us,” they said. “Be a father and priest to all of us. Isn’t it better to be a priest for an entire tribe and clan of Israel than for the household of just one man?”

20 The young priest was quite happy to go with them, so he took along the sacred ephod, the household idols, and the carved image.21 They turned and started on their way again, placing their children, livestock, and possessions in front of them.

22 When the people from the tribe of Dan were quite a distance from Micah’s house, the people who lived near Micah came chasing after them.23 They were shouting as they caught up with them. The men of Dan turned around and said to Micah, “What’s the matter? Why have you called these men together and chased after us like this?”

24 “What do you mean, ‘What’s the matter?’” Micah replied. “You’ve taken away all the gods I have made, and my priest, and I have nothing left!”

25 The men of Dan said, “Watch what you say! There are some short-tempered men around here who might get angry and kill you and your family.”26 So the men of Dan continued on their way. When Micah saw that there were too many of them for him to attack, he turned around and went home.

27 Then, with Micah’s idols and his priest, the men of Dan came to the town of Laish, whose people were peaceful and secure. They attacked with swords and burned the town to the ground.28 There was no one to rescue the people, for they lived a great distance from Sidon and had no allies nearby. This happened in the valley near Beth-rehob.

Then the people of the tribe of Dan rebuilt the town and lived there.29 They renamed the town Dan after their ancestor, Israel’s son, but it had originally been called Laish.

30 Then they set up the carved image, and they appointed Jonathan son of Gershom, son of Moses,As in an ancient Hebrew tradition, some Greek manuscripts, and Latin Vulgate; Masoretic Text reads son of Manasseh. as their priest. This family continued as priests for the tribe of Dan until the Exile.31 So Micah’s carved image was worshiped by the tribe of Dan as long as the Tabernacle of God remained at Shiloh.

17 And there was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name was Micah.

And he said unto his mother, The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from thee, about which thou cursedst, and spakest of also in mine ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it. And his mother said, Blessed be thou of the Lord, my son.

And when he had restored the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, I had wholly dedicated the silver unto the Lord from my hand for my son, to make a graven image and a molten image: now therefore I will restore it unto thee.

Yet he restored the money unto his mother; and his mother took two hundred shekels of silver, and gave them to the founder, who made thereof a graven image and a molten image: and they were in the house of Micah.

And the man Micah had an house of gods, and made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest.

In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

And there was a young man out of Bethlehemjudah of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there.

And the man departed out of the city from Bethlehemjudah to sojourn where he could find a place: and he came to mount Ephraim to the house of Micah, as he journeyed.

And Micah said unto him, Whence comest thou? And he said unto him, I am a Levite of Bethlehemjudah, and I go to sojourn where I may find a place.

10 And Micah said unto him, Dwell with me, and be unto me a father and a priest, and I will give thee ten shekels of silver by the year, and a suit of apparel, and thy victuals. So the Levite went in.

11 And the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was unto him as one of his sons.

12 And Micah consecrated the Levite; and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah.

13 Then said Micah, Now know I that the Lord will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest.

18 In those days there was no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for unto that day all their inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel.

And the children of Dan sent of their family five men from their coasts, men of valour, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to search it; and they said unto them, Go, search the land: who when they came to mount Ephraim, to the house of Micah, they lodged there.

When they were by the house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young man the Levite: and they turned in thither, and said unto him, Who brought thee hither? and what makest thou in this place? and what hast thou here?

And he said unto them, Thus and thus dealeth Micah with me, and hath hired me, and I am his priest.

And they said unto him, Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous.

And the priest said unto them, Go in peace: before the Lord is your way wherein ye go.

Then the five men departed, and came to Laish, and saw the people that were therein, how they dwelt careless, after the manner of the Zidonians, quiet and secure; and there was no magistrate in the land, that might put them to shame in any thing; and they were far from the Zidonians, and had no business with any man.

And they came unto their brethren to Zorah and Eshtaol: and their brethren said unto them, What say ye?

And they said, Arise, that we may go up against them: for we have seen the land, and, behold, it is very good: and are ye still? be not slothful to go, and to enter to possess the land.

10 When ye go, ye shall come unto a people secure, and to a large land: for God hath given it into your hands; a place where there is no want of any thing that is in the earth.

11 And there went from thence of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men appointed with weapons of war.

12 And they went up, and pitched in Kirjathjearim, in Judah: wherefore they called that place Mahanehdan unto this day: behold, it is behind Kirjathjearim.

13 And they passed thence unto mount Ephraim, and came unto the house of Micah.

14 Then answered the five men that went to spy out the country of Laish, and said unto their brethren, Do ye know that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and a graven image, and a molten image? now therefore consider what ye have to do.

15 And they turned thitherward, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, even unto the house of Micah, and saluted him.

16 And the six hundred men appointed with their weapons of war, which were of the children of Dan, stood by the entering of the gate.

17 And the five men that went to spy out the land went up, and came in thither, and took the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image: and the priest stood in the entering of the gate with the six hundred men that were appointed with weapons of war.

18 And these went into Micah's house, and fetched the carved image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image. Then said the priest unto them, What do ye?

19 And they said unto him, Hold thy peace, lay thine hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest: is it better for thee to be a priest unto the house of one man, or that thou be a priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel?

20 And the priest's heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people.

21 So they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the cattle and the carriage before them.

22 And when they were a good way from the house of Micah, the men that were in the houses near to Micah's house were gathered together, and overtook the children of Dan.

23 And they cried unto the children of Dan. And they turned their faces, and said unto Micah, What aileth thee, that thou comest with such a company?

24 And he said, Ye have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and ye are gone away: and what have I more? and what is this that ye say unto me, What aileth thee?

25 And the children of Dan said unto him, Let not thy voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows run upon thee, and thou lose thy life, with the lives of thy household.

26 And the children of Dan went their way: and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back unto his house.

27 And they took the things which Micah had made, and the priest which he had, and came unto Laish, unto a people that were at quiet and secure: and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and burnt the city with fire.

28 And there was no deliverer, because it was far from Zidon, and they had no business with any man; and it was in the valley that lieth by Bethrehob. And they built a city, and dwelt therein.

29 And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born unto Israel: howbeit the name of the city was Laish at the first.

30 And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land.

31 And they set them up Micah's graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.

John 3:1-21

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named NicodemusJn 7:50; 19:39 who was a member of the Jewish ruling council.Lk 23:13He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi,S Mt 23:7 we knowver 11 that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signsS Jn 2:11 you are doing if God were not with him.”Jn 10:38; 14:10, 11; Ac 2:22; 10:38

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.The Greek for again also means from above; also in verse 7.S Mt 3:2; S Jn 1:13

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.S Ac 22:16; Tit 3:5Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the SpiritOr but spirit gives birth to spirit.S Jn 1:13; 1Co 15:50You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘YouThe Greek is plural. must be born again.’The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”The Greek for Spirit is the same as that for wind.1Co 2:14-16

“How can this be?”Jn 6:52, 60 Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,”Lk 2:46 said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things?11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know,Jn 1:18; 7:16, 17 and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.ver 3212 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?13 No one has ever gone into heavenPr 30:4; Ac 2:34; Eph 4:8-10 except the one who came from heavenver 31; Jn 6:38, 42; Heb 4:14; 9:24—the Son of Man.Some manuscripts Man, who is in heavenS Mt 8:2014 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness,Nu 21:8, 9 so the Son of Man must be lifted up,The Greek for lifted up also means exalted.S Jn 12:3215 that everyone who believesver 16, 36; Ge 15:6; Nu 14:11; Mt 27:42; Mk 1:15; Jn 1:7, 12; 2:23; 5:24; 7:38; 20:29; Ac 13:39; 16:31; Ro 3:22; 10:9, 10; 1Jn 5:1, 5, 10 may have eternal life in him.”Some interpreters end the quotation with verse 21.ver 16, 36; S Mt 25:46; Jn 20:31

16 For God so lovedRo 5:8; Eph 2:4; 1Jn 4:9, 10 the world that he gaveIsa 9:6; Ro 8:32 his one and only Son,Ge 22:12; Jn 1:18 that whoever believesS ver 15 in him shall not perish but have eternal life.ver 36; Jn 6:29, 40; 11:25, 2617 For God did not send his Son into the worldJn 6:29, 57; 10:36; 11:42; 17:8, 21; 20:21 to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.Isa 53:11; S Mt 1:21; S Lk 2:11; 19:10; Jn 1:29; 12:47; S Ro 11:14; 1Ti 1:15; 2:5, 6; 1Jn 2:2; 3:518 Whoever believes in him is not condemned,Jn 5:24 but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.Jn 1:18; 1Jn 4:919 This is the verdict: LightS Jn 1:4 has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.Ps 52:3; Jn 7:720 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.Eph 5:11, 1321 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee.After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again,Or born from above; also in 3:7. you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

“What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”

Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.Or and spirit. The Greek word for Spirit can also be translated wind; see 3:8.Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.Greek what is born of the Spirit is spirit.So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘YouThe Greek word for you is plural; also in 3:12. must be born again.’The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

“How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked.

10 Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things?11 I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony.12 But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things?13 No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of ManSome manuscripts add who lives in heaven. “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself. has come down from heaven.14 And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.Or everyone who believes will have eternal life in him.

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gaveOr For God loved the world so much that he gave. his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.20 All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.Or can see God at work in what he is doing.

There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?

10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Psalm 104:1-23

Psalm 104

Praise the Lord, my soul.S Ps 103:22

Lord my God, you are very great;

you are clothed with splendor and majesty.S Job 40:10

The Lord wrapsIsa 49:18; Jer 43:12 himself in lightPs 18:12; 1Ti 6:16 as with a garment;

he stretchesJob 9:8; Jer 51:15 out the heavensJob 37:18; Isa 40:22; 42:5; 44:24; Zec 12:1 like a tentS Ps 19:4

and lays the beamsAm 9:6 of his upper chambers on their waters.S Ps 24:2

He makes the cloudsS Dt 33:26; Isa 19:1; Na 1:3 his chariotS 2Ki 2:11

and rides on the wings of the wind.Ps 18:10

He makes winds his messengers,Or angelsPs 148:8; Heb 1:7*

flames of fireGe 3:24; 2Ki 2:11 his servants.

He set the earthEx 31:17; Job 26:7; Ps 24:1-2; 102:25; 121:2 on its foundations;S 1Sa 2:8

it can never be moved.

You covered itGe 7:19 with the watery depthsS Ge 1:2 as with a garment;

the waters stood2Pe 3:6 above the mountains.

But at your rebukeS Ps 18:15 the waters fled,

at the sound of your thunderS Ex 9:23; Ps 29:3 they took to flight;

they flowed over the mountains,

they went down into the valleys,

to the place you assignedPs 33:7 for them.

You set a boundaryS Ge 1:9; S Ps 16:6 they cannot cross;

never again will they cover the earth.

10 He makes springsPs 107:33; Isa 41:18 pour water into the ravines;

it flows between the mountains.

11 They give waterver 13 to all the beasts of the field;

the wild donkeysS Ge 16:12; Isa 32:14; Jer 14:6 quench their thirst.

12 The birds of the skyver 17; Mt 8:20 nest by the waters;

they sing among the branches.Mt 13:32

13 He waters the mountainsPs 135:7; 147:8; Jer 10:13; Zec 10:1 from his upper chambers;S Lev 26:4

the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work.Am 9:6

14 He makes grass growS Job 38:27; Ps 147:8 for the cattle,

and plants for people to cultivate—

bringing forth foodS Ge 1:30; S Job 28:5 from the earth:

15 wineS Ge 14:18; S Jdg 9:13 that gladdens human hearts,

oilPs 23:5; 92:10; Lk 7:46 to make their faces shine,

and bread that sustainsS Dt 8:3; Mt 6:11 their hearts.

16 The trees of the LordGe 1:11 are well watered,

the cedars of LebanonS Ps 72:16 that he planted.

17 There the birdsver 12 make their nests;

the stork has its home in the junipers.

18 The high mountains belong to the wild goats;S Dt 14:5

the crags are a refuge for the hyrax.Pr 30:26

19 He made the moon to mark the seasons,S Ge 1:14

and the sunPs 19:6 knows when to go down.

20 You bring darkness,Isa 45:7; Am 5:8 it becomes night,Ps 74:16

and all the beasts of the forestS Ps 50:10 prowl.

21 The lions roar for their preyAm 3:4

and seek their food from God.Ps 145:15; Joel 1:20; S Mt 6:26

22 The sun rises, and they steal away;

they return and lie down in their dens.S Job 37:8

23 Then people go out to their work,S Ge 3:19

to their labor until evening.Jdg 19:16

Psalm 104

Let all that I am praise the Lord.

O Lord my God, how great you are!

You are robed with honor and majesty.

You are dressed in a robe of light.

You stretch out the starry curtain of the heavens;

you lay out the rafters of your home in the rain clouds.

You make the clouds your chariot;

you ride upon the wings of the wind.

The winds are your messengers;

flames of fire are your servants.Greek version reads He sends his angels like the winds, / his servants like flames of fire. Compare Heb 1:7.

You placed the world on its foundation

so it would never be moved.

You clothed the earth with floods of water,

water that covered even the mountains.

At your command, the water fled;

at the sound of your thunder, it hurried away.

Mountains rose and valleys sank

to the levels you decreed.

Then you set a firm boundary for the seas,

so they would never again cover the earth.

10 You make springs pour water into the ravines,

so streams gush down from the mountains.

11 They provide water for all the animals,

and the wild donkeys quench their thirst.

12 The birds nest beside the streams

and sing among the branches of the trees.

13 You send rain on the mountains from your heavenly home,

and you fill the earth with the fruit of your labor.

14 You cause grass to grow for the livestock

and plants for people to use.

You allow them to produce food from the earth—

15 wine to make them glad,

olive oil to soothe their skin,

and bread to give them strength.

16 The trees of the Lord are well cared for—

the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.

17 There the birds make their nests,

and the storks make their homes in the cypresses.

18 High in the mountains live the wild goats,

and the rocks form a refuge for the hyraxes.Or coneys, or rock badgers.

19 You made the moon to mark the seasons,

and the sun knows when to set.

20 You send the darkness, and it becomes night,

when all the forest animals prowl about.

21 Then the young lions roar for their prey,

stalking the food provided by God.

22 At dawn they slink back

into their dens to rest.

23 Then people go off to their work,

where they labor until evening.

104 Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty.

Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:

Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:

Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:

Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.

Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains.

At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.

They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.

Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.

10 He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills.

11 They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst.

12 By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches.

13 He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.

14 He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;

15 And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart.

16 The trees of the Lord are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted;

17 Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house.

18 The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies.

19 He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down.

20 Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth.

21 The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God.

22 The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens.

23 Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening.

Proverbs 14:20-21

20 The poor are shunned even by their neighbors,

but the rich have many friends.Pr 19:4, 7

21 It is a sin to despise one’s neighbor,Pr 11:12

but blessed is the one who is kind to the needy.Pr 19:17

20 The poor are despised even by their neighbors,

while the rich have many “friends.”

21 It is a sin to belittle one’s neighbor;

blessed are those who help the poor.

20 The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends.

21 He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.

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