Click hereÂ toÂ listenÂ to an audio version of the Daily Bible Reading for today.
Manna and Quail from Heaven
16Â Then the whole community of Israel set out from Elim and journeyed into the wilderness of Sin,Â between Elim and Mount Sinai. They arrived there on the fifteenth day of the second month, one month after leaving the land of Egypt.Â 2Â There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron.
3Â â€œIf only theÂ LordÂ had killed us back in Egypt,â€ they moaned. â€œThere we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.â€
4Â Then theÂ LordÂ said to Moses, â€œLook, Iâ€™m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions.5Â On the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual.â€
6Â So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, â€œBy evening you will realize it was theÂ LordÂ who brought you out of the land of Egypt.Â 7Â In the morning you will see the glory of theÂ Lord, because he has heard your complaints, which are against him, not against us. What have we done that you should complain about us?â€Â 8Â Then Moses added, â€œTheÂ LordÂ will give you meat to eat in the evening and bread to satisfy you in the morning, for he has heard all your complaints against him. What have we done? Yes, your complaints are against theÂ Lord, not against us.â€
9Â Then Moses said to Aaron, â€œAnnounce this to the entire community of Israel: â€˜Present yourselves before theÂ Lord, for he has heard your complaining.â€™â€Â 10Â And as Aaron spoke to the whole community of Israel, they looked out toward the wilderness. There they could see the awesome glory of theÂ LordÂ in the cloud.
11Â Then theÂ LordÂ said to Moses,Â 12Â â€œI have heard the Israelitesâ€™ complaints. Now tell them, â€˜In the evening you will have meat to eat, and in the morning you will have all the bread you want. Then you will know that I am theÂ LordÂ your God.â€™â€
13Â That evening vast numbers of quail flew in and covered the camp. And the next morning the area around the camp was wet with dew.Â 14Â When the dew evaporated, a flaky substance as fine as frost blanketed the ground.Â 15Â The Israelites were puzzled when they saw it. â€œWhat is it?â€ they asked each other. They had no idea what it was.
And Moses told them, â€œIt is the food theÂ LordÂ has given you to eat.Â 16Â These are theÂ Lordâ€™s instructions: Each household should gather as much as it needs. Pick up two quartsÂ for each person in your tent.â€
17Â So the people of Israel did as they were told. Some gathered a lot, some only a little.Â 18Â But when they measured it out,everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough. Each family had just what it needed.
19Â Then Moses told them, â€œDo not keep any of it until morning.â€Â 20Â But some of them didnâ€™t listen and kept some of it until morning. But by then it was full of maggots and had a terrible smell. Moses was very angry with them.
21Â After this the people gathered the food morning by morning, each family according to its need. And as the sun became hot, the flakes they had not picked up melted and disappeared.Â 22Â On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much as usualâ€”four quartsÂ for each person instead of two. Then all the leaders of the community came and asked Moses for an explanation.23Â He told them, â€œThis is what theÂ LordÂ commanded: Tomorrow will be a day of complete rest, a holy Sabbath day set apart for theÂ Lord. So bake or boil as much as you want today, and set aside what is left for tomorrow.â€
24Â So they put some aside until morning, just as Moses had commanded. And in the morning the leftover food was wholesome and good, without maggots or odor.Â 25Â Moses said, â€œEat this food today, for today is a Sabbath day dedicated to theÂ Lord. There will be no food on the ground today.Â 26Â You may gather the food for six days, but the seventh day is the Sabbath. There will be no food on the ground that day.â€
27Â Some of the people went out anyway on the seventh day, but they found no food.Â 28Â TheÂ LordÂ asked Moses, â€œHow long will these people refuse to obey my commands and instructions?Â 29Â They must realize that the Sabbath is theÂ Lordâ€™s gift to you. That is why he gives you a two-day supply on the sixth day, so there will be enough for two days. On the Sabbath day you must each stay in your place. Do not go out to pick up food on the seventh day.â€Â 30Â So the people did not gather any food on the seventh day.
31Â The Israelites called the food manna.Â It was white like coriander seed, and it tasted like honey wafers.
32Â Then Moses said, â€œThis is what theÂ LordÂ has commanded: Fill a two-quart container with manna to preserve it for your descendants. Then later generations will be able to see the food I gave you in the wilderness when I set you free from Egypt.â€
33Â Moses said to Aaron, â€œGet a jar and fill it with two quarts of manna. Then put it in a sacred place before theÂ LordÂ to preserve it for all future generations.â€Â 34Â Aaron did just as theÂ LordÂ had commanded Moses. He eventually placed it in the Ark of the Covenantâ€”in front of the stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant.Â 35Â So the people of Israel ate manna for forty years until they arrived at the land where they would settle. They ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.
36Â The container used to measure the manna was an omer, which was one-tenth of an ephah; it held about two quarts.
Water from the Rock
17Â At theÂ Lordâ€™s command, the whole community of Israel left the wilderness of SinÂ and moved from place to place. Eventually they camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there for the people to drink.Â 2Â So once more the people complained against Moses. â€œGive us water to drink!â€ they demanded.
â€œQuiet!â€ Moses replied. â€œWhy are you complaining against me? And why are you testing theÂ Lord?â€
3Â But tormented by thirst, they continued to argue with Moses. â€œWhy did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?â€
4Â Then Moses cried out to theÂ Lord, â€œWhat should I do with these people? They are ready to stone me!â€
5Â TheÂ LordÂ said to Moses, â€œWalk out in front of the people. Take your staff, the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile, and call some of the elders of Israel to join you.Â 6Â I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai.Â Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.â€ So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on.
7Â Moses named the place Massah (which means â€œtestâ€) and Meribah (which means â€œarguingâ€) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested theÂ LordÂ by saying, â€œIs theÂ LordÂ here with us or not?â€
Israel Defeats the Amalekites
8Â While the people of Israel were still at Rephidim, the warriors of Amalek attacked them.Â 9Â Moses commanded Joshua, â€œChoose some men to go out and fight the army of Amalek for us. Tomorrow, I will stand at the top of the hill, holding the staff of God in my hand.â€
10Â So Joshua did what Moses had commanded and fought the army of Amalek. Meanwhile, Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of a nearby hill.Â 11Â As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage.Â 12Â Mosesâ€™ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset.Â 13Â As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle.
14Â After the victory, theÂ LordÂ instructed Moses, â€œWrite this down on a scroll as a permanent reminder, and read it aloud to Joshua: I will erase the memory of Amalek from under heaven.â€Â 15Â Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-Nissi (which means â€œtheÂ LordÂ is my bannerâ€).Â 16Â He said, â€œThey have raised their fist against theÂ Lordâ€™s throne, so nowÂ theÂ LordÂ will be at war with Amalek generation after generation.â€
Jethroâ€™s Visit to Moses
18Â Mosesâ€™ father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, heard about everything God had done for Moses and his people, the Israelites. He heard especially about how theÂ LordÂ had rescued them from Egypt.
2Â Earlier, Moses had sent his wife, Zipporah, and his two sons back to Jethro, who had taken them in.Â 3Â (Mosesâ€™ first son was named Gershom,Â for Moses had said when the boy was born, â€œI have been a foreigner in a foreign land.â€Â 4Â His second son was named Eliezer,Â for Moses had said, â€œThe God of my ancestors was my helper; he rescued me from the sword of Pharaoh.â€)5Â Jethro, Mosesâ€™ father-in-law, now came to visit Moses in the wilderness. He brought Mosesâ€™ wife and two sons with him, and they arrived while Moses and the people were camped near the mountain of God.Â 6Â Jethro had sent a message to Moses, saying, â€œI, Jethro, your father-in-law, am coming to see you with your wife and your two sons.â€
7Â So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law. He bowed low and kissed him. They asked about each otherâ€™s welfare and then went into Mosesâ€™ tent.Â 8Â Moses told his father-in-law everything theÂ LordÂ had done to Pharaoh and Egypt on behalf of Israel. He also told about all the hardships they had experienced along the way and how theÂ LordÂ had rescued his people from all their troubles.Â 9Â Jethro was delighted when he heard about all the good things theÂ LordÂ had done for Israel as he rescued them from the hand of the Egyptians.
10Â â€œPraise theÂ Lord,â€ Jethro said, â€œfor he has rescued you from the Egyptians and from Pharaoh. Yes, he has rescued Israel from the powerful hand of Egypt!Â 11Â I know now that theÂ LordÂ is greater than all other gods, because he rescued his people from the oppression of the proud Egyptians.â€
12Â Then Jethro, Mosesâ€™ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God. Aaron and all the elders of Israel came out and joined him in a sacrificial meal in Godâ€™s presence.
Jethroâ€™s Wise Advice
13Â The next day, Moses took his seat to hear the peopleâ€™s disputes against each other. They waited before him from morning till evening.
14Â When Mosesâ€™ father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he asked, â€œWhat are you really accomplishing here? Why are you trying to do all this alone while everyone stands around you from morning till evening?â€
15Â Moses replied, â€œBecause the people come to me to get a ruling from God.Â 16Â When a dispute arises, they come to me, and I am the one who settles the case between the quarreling parties. I inform the people of Godâ€™s decrees and give them his instructions.â€
17Â â€œThis is not good!â€ Mosesâ€™ father-in-law exclaimed.Â 18Â â€œYouâ€™re going to wear yourself outâ€”and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself.Â 19Â Now listen to me, and let me give you a word of advice, and may God be with you. You should continue to be the peopleâ€™s representative before God, bringing their disputes to him.Â 20Â Teach them Godâ€™s decrees, and give them his instructions. Show them how to conduct their lives.Â 21Â But select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten.Â 22Â They should always be available to solve the peopleâ€™s common disputes, but have them bring the major cases to you. Let the leaders decide the smaller matters themselves. They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you.Â 23Â If you follow this advice, and if God commands you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home in peace.â€
24Â Moses listened to his father-in-lawâ€™s advice and followed his suggestions.Â 25Â He chose capable men from all over Israel and appointed them as leaders over the people. He put them in charge of groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten.26Â These men were always available to solve the peopleâ€™s common disputes. They brought the major cases to Moses, but they took care of the smaller matters themselves.
27Â Soon after this, Moses said good-bye to his father-in-law, who returned to his own land.
The Greatest in the Kingdom
18Â About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, â€œWho is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?â€
2Â Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them.Â 3Â Then he said,Â â€œI tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.Â 4Â So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
5Â â€œAnd anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalfÂ is welcoming me.Â 6Â But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.
7Â â€œWhat sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting.Â 8Â So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. Itâ€™s better to enter eternal life with only one hand or one foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with both of your hands and feet.Â 9Â And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. Itâ€™s better to enter eternal life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
10Â â€œBeware that you donâ€™t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father.
Parable of the Lost Sheep
12Â â€œIf a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Wonâ€™t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost?Â 13Â And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didnâ€™t wander away!Â 14Â In the same way, it is not my heavenly Fatherâ€™s will that even one of these little ones should perish.
Correcting Another Believer
15Â â€œIf another believerÂ sins against you,Â go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.Â 16Â But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses.Â 17Â If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she wonâ€™t accept the churchâ€™s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.
18Â â€œI tell you the truth, whatever you forbidÂ on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permitÂ on earth will be permitted in heaven.
19Â â€œI also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.20Â For where two or three gather together as my followers,Â I am there among them.â€
Parable of the Unforgiving Debtor
21Â Then Peter came to him and asked, â€œLord, how often should I forgive someoneÂ who sins against me? Seven times?â€
22Â â€œNo, not seven times,â€Â Jesus replied,Â â€œbut seventy times seven!
23Â â€œTherefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him.Â 24Â In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars.25Â He couldnâ€™t pay, so his master ordered that he be soldâ€”along with his wife, his children, and everything he ownedâ€”to pay the debt.
26Â â€œBut the man fell down before his master and begged him, â€˜Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.â€™Â 27Â Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.
28Â â€œBut when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars.Â He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.
29Â â€œHis fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. â€˜Be patient with me, and I will pay it,â€™ he pleaded.30Â But his creditor wouldnâ€™t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.
31Â â€œWhen some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened.Â 32Â Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, â€˜You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me.Â 33Â Shouldnâ€™t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?â€™Â 34Â Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.
35Â â€œThatâ€™s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sistersÂ from your heart.â€