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Acts 10:1-33; Joshua 7; Joshua 8; Job 24

Acts 10:1-33

Cornelius' Vision

1 There was a man in Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment. 2 He was a devout man and feared God along with his whole household. He did many charitable deeds for the [Jewish] people and always prayed to God. 3 At about three in the afternoon he distinctly saw in a vision an angel of God who came in and said to him, "Cornelius!" 4 Looking intently at him, he became afraid and said, "What is it, Lord?" And he told him, "Your prayers and your acts of charity have come up as a memorial offering before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa and call for Simon, who is also named Peter. 6 He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea." 7 When the angel who spoke to him had gone, he called two of his household slaves and a devout soldier, who was one of those who attended him. 8 After explaining everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.

Peter's Vision

9 The next day, as they were traveling and nearing the city, Peter went up to pray on the housetop at about noon. 10 Then he became hungry and wanted to eat, but while they were preparing something he went into a visionary state. 11 He saw heaven opened and an object coming down that resembled a large sheet being lowered to the earth by its four corners. 12 In it were all the four-footed animals and reptiles of the earth, and the birds of the sky. 13 Then a voice said to him, "Get up, Peter; kill and eat!" 14 "No, Lord!" Peter said. "For I have never eaten anything common and unclean!" 15 Again, a second time, a voice said to him, "What God has made clean, you must not call common." 16 This happened three times, and then the object was taken up into heaven.

Peter Visits Cornelius

17 While Peter was deeply perplexed about what the vision he had seen might mean, the men who had been sent by Cornelius, having asked directions to Simon's house, stood at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon, who was also named Peter, was lodging there. 19 While Peter was thinking about the vision, the Spirit told him, "Three men are here looking for you. 20 Get up, go downstairs, and accompany them with no doubts at all, because I have sent them." 21 Then Peter went down to the men and said, "Here I am, the one you're looking for. What is the reason you're here?" 22 They said, "Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who has a good reputation with the whole Jewish nation, was divinely directed by a holy angel to call you to his house and to hear a message from you." 23 Peter then invited them in and gave them lodging. The next day he got up and set out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went with him. 24 The following day he entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, fell at his feet, and worshiped him. 26 But Peter helped him up and said, "Stand up! I myself am also a man." 27 While talking with him, he went on in and found that many had come together there. 28 Peter said to them, "You know it's forbidden for a Jewish man to associate with or visit a foreigner. But God has shown me that I must not call any person common or unclean. 29 That's why I came without any objection when I was sent for. So I ask, 'Why did you send for me?' " 30 Cornelius replied, "Four days ago at this hour, at three in the afternoon, I was praying in my house. Just then a man in a dazzling robe stood before me 31 and said, 'Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your acts of charity have been remembered in God's sight. 32 Therefore send someone to Joppa and invite Simon here, who is also named Peter. He is lodging in Simon the tanner's house by the sea.' 33 Therefore I immediately sent for you, and you did the right thing in coming. So we are all present before God, to hear everything you have been commanded by the Lord."

Joshua 7

Defeat at Ai

1 The Israelites, however, were unfaithful regarding the things set apart for destruction. Achan son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of what was set apart, and the Lord's anger burned against the Israelites. 2 Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and told them, "Go up and scout the land." So the men went up and scouted Ai. 3 After returning to Joshua they reported to him, "Don't send all the people, but send about 2,000 or 3,000 men to attack Ai. Since the people of Ai are so few, don't wear out all our people there." 4 So about 3,000 men went up there, but they fled from the men of Ai. 5 The men of Ai struck down about 36 of them and chased them from outside the gate to the quarries, striking them down on the descent. As a result, the people's hearts melted and became like water. 6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell before the ark of the Lord with his face to the ground until evening, as did the elders of Israel; they all put dust on their heads. 7 "Oh, Lord God," Joshua said, "why did You ever bring these people across the Jordan to hand us over to the Amorites for our destruction? If only we had been content to remain on the other side of the Jordan! 8 What can I say, Lord, now that Israel has turned its back [and run] from its enemies? 9 When the Canaanites and all who live in the land hear about this, they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. Then what will You do about Your great name?" 10 The Lord then said to Joshua, "Stand up! Why are you on the ground? 11 Israel has sinned. They have violated My covenant that I appointed for them. They have taken some of what was set apart. They have stolen, deceived, and put [the things] with their own belongings. 12 This is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies. They will turn their backs [and run] from their enemies, because they have been set apart for destruction. I will no longer be with you unless you remove from you what is set apart. 13 "Go and consecrate the people. Tell them to consecrate themselves tomorrow, for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says, 'There are among you, Israel, things set apart. You will not be able to stand against your enemies until you remove what is set apart. 14 In the morning you must present yourselves tribe by tribe. The tribe the Lord selects is to come forward clan by clan. The clan the Lord selects is to come forward family by family. The family the Lord selects is to come forward man by man. 15 The one who is caught with the things set apart must be burned, along with everything he has, because he has violated the Lord's covenant and committed an outrage in Israel.' "

Achan Judged

16 Joshua got up early the next morning. He had Israel come forward tribe by tribe, and the tribe of Judah was selected. 17 He had the clans of Judah come forward, and the Zerahite clan was selected. He had the Zerahite clan come forward by heads of families, and Zabdi was selected. 18 He then had Zabdi's family come forward man by man, and Achan son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was selected. 19 So Joshua said to Achan, "My son, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and make a confession to Him. I urge you, tell me what you have done. Don't hide anything from me." 20 Achan replied to Joshua, "It is true. I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I did: 21 When I saw among the spoils a beautiful cloak from Babylon, 200 silver shekels, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, I coveted them and took them. You can see for yourself. They are concealed in the ground inside my tent, with the money under the cloak." 22 So Joshua sent messengers who ran to the tent, and there was the cloak, concealed in his tent, with the money underneath. 23 They took the things from inside the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites, and spread them out in the Lord's presence. 24 Then Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the cloak, and the bar of gold, his sons and daughters, his ox, donkey, and sheep, his tent, and all that he had, and brought them up to the Valley of Achor. 25 Joshua said, "Why have you troubled us? Today the Lord will trouble you!" So all Israel stoned him to death. They burned their bodies, threw stones on them, 26 and raised over him a large pile of rocks that remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from His burning anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor to this day.

Joshua 8

Conquest of Ai

1 The Lord said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid or discouraged. Take the whole military force with you and go attack Ai. Look, I have handed over to you the king of Ai, his people, city, and land. 2 Treat Ai and its king as you did Jericho and its king; you may plunder its spoil and livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city." 3 So Joshua and the whole military force set out to attack Ai. Joshua selected 30,000 fighting men and sent them out at night. 4 He commanded them: "Pay attention. Lie in ambush behind the city, not too far from it, and all of you be ready. 5 Then I and all the people who are with me will approach the city. When they come out against us as they did the first time, we will flee from them. 6 They will come after us until we have drawn them away from the city, for they will say, 'They are fleeing from us as before.' While we are fleeing from them, 7 you are to come out of your ambush and seize the city, for the Lord your God has handed it over to you. 8 After taking the city, set it on fire. Follow the Lord's command-see [that you do] as I have ordered you." 9 So Joshua sent them out, and they went to the ambush site and waited between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai. But he spent that night with the troops. 10 Joshua started early the next morning and mobilized them. Then he and the elders of Israel led the troops up to Ai. 11 All those who were with him went up and approached the city, arriving opposite Ai, and camped to the north of it, with a valley between them and the city. 12 Now Joshua had taken about 5,000 men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, to the west of the city. 13 The military force was stationed in this way: the main camp to the north of the city and its rear guard to the west of the city. And that night Joshua went into the valley. 14 When the king of Ai saw [the Israelites], the men of the city hurried and went out early in the morning, so that he and all his people could engage Israel in battle at a suitable place facing the plain [of the Jordan]. But he did not know there was an ambush [waiting] for him behind the city. 15 Joshua and all Israel pretended to be beaten back by them and fled toward the wilderness. 16 Then all the troops of Ai were summoned to pursue them, and they pursued Joshua and were drawn away from the city. 17 Not a man was left in Ai or Bethel who did not go out after Israel, leaving the city exposed while they pursued Israel. 18 Then the Lord said to Joshua, "Hold out the sword in your hand toward Ai, for I will hand the city over to you." So Joshua held out his sword toward it. 19 When he held out his hand, the men in ambush rose quickly from their position. They ran, entered the city, captured it, and immediately set it on fire. 20 The men of Ai turned and looked back, and smoke from the city was rising to the sky! They could not escape in any direction, and the troops who had fled to the wilderness now became the pursuers. 21 When Joshua and all Israel saw that the [men in] ambush had captured the city and that smoke was rising from it, they turned back and struck down the men of Ai. 22 The men in the ambush came out of the city against them, and the men of Ai were [trapped] between the Israelite forces, some on one side and some on the other. They struck them down until no survivor or fugitive remained, 23 but they captured the king of Ai alive and brought him to Joshua. 24 When Israel had finished killing everyone living in Ai who had pursued them into the open country, and when every last one of them had fallen by the sword, all Israel returned to Ai and struck it down with the sword. 25 The total of those who fell that day, both men and women, was 12,000-all the people of Ai. 26 Joshua did not draw back his hand that was holding the sword until all the inhabitants of Ai were completely destroyed. 27 Israel plundered only the cattle and spoil of that city for themselves, according to the Lord's command that He had given Joshua. 28 Joshua burned Ai and left it a permanent ruin, desolate to this day. 29 He hung [the body of] the king of Ai on a tree until evening, and at sunset Joshua commanded that they take his body down from the tree. They threw it down at the entrance of the city gate and put a large pile of rocks over it, which remains to this day.

Renewed Commitment to the Law

30 At that time Joshua built an altar on Mount Ebal to the Lord, the God of Israel, 31 just as Moses the Lord's servant had commanded the Israelites. He built it according to what is written in the book of the law of Moses: an altar of uncut stones on which no iron tool has been used. Then they offered burnt offerings to the Lord and sacrificed fellowship offerings on it. 32 There on the stones, Joshua copied the law of Moses, which he had written in the presence of the Israelites. 33 All Israel, foreigner and citizen alike, with their elders, officers, and judges, stood on either side of the ark of the Lord's covenant facing the Levitical priests who carried it. As Moses the Lord's servant had commanded earlier, half of them were in front of Mount Gerizim and half in front of Mount Ebal, to bless the people of Israel. 34 Afterwards, Joshua read aloud all the words of the law-the blessings as well as the curses-according to all that is written in the book of the law. 35 There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read before the entire assembly of Israel, including the women, little children, and foreigners who were with them.

Job 24

1 Why does the Almighty not reserve times for judgment? Why do those who know Him never see His days? 2 The wicked displace boundary markers. They steal a flock and provide pasture for [it]. 3 They drive away the donkeys [owned] by the fatherless and take the widow's ox as collateral. 4 They push the needy off the road; the poor of the land are forced into hiding. 5 Like wild donkeys in the desert, the poor go out to their task of foraging for food; the wilderness provides nourishment for their children. 6 They gather their fodder in the field and glean the vineyards of the wicked. 7 Without clothing, they spend the night naked, having no covering against the cold. 8 Drenched by mountain rains, they huddle against the rocks, shelterless. 9 The fatherless infant is snatched from the breast; the nursing child of the poor is seized as collateral. 10 Without clothing, they wander about naked. They carry sheaves but go hungry. 11 They crush olives in their presses; they tread the winepresses, but go thirsty. 12 From the city, men groan; the mortally wounded cry for help, yet God pays no attention to this crime. 13 The wicked are those who rebel against the light. They do not recognize its ways or stay on its paths. 14 The murderer rises at dawn to kill the poor and needy, and by night he becomes a thief. 15 The adulterer's eye watches for twilight, thinking: No eye will see me, he covers [his] face. 16 In the dark they break into houses; by day they lock themselves in, never experiencing the light. 17 For the morning is like death's shadow to them. Surely they are familiar with the terrors of death's shadow! 18 They float on the surface of the water. Their section of the land is cursed, so that they never go to [their] vineyards. 19 As dry ground and heat snatch away the melted snow, so Sheol [steals] those who have sinned. 20 The womb forgets them; worms feed on them; they are remembered no more. So injustice is broken like a tree. 21 They prey on the barren, childless woman and do not deal kindly with the widow. 22 Yet God drags away the mighty by His power; when He rises up, they have no assurance of life. 23 He gives them a sense of security, so they can rely [on it], but His eyes [watch] over their ways. 24 They are exalted for a moment, then they are gone; they are brought low and shrivel up like everything else. They wither like heads of grain. 25 If this is not true, then who can prove me a liar and show that my speech is worthless?
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