Matthew 13:1-23; Leviticus 17; Leviticus 18; Proverbs 28

Matthew 13:1-23

The Parable of the Sower

1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.” 10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” 11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “ ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ 16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it. 18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

Leviticus 17

Eating Blood Forbidden

1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites and say to them: ‘This is what the LORD has commanded: 3 Any Israelite who sacrifices an ox, a lamb or a goat in the camp or outside of it 4 instead of bringing it to the entrance to the tent of meeting to present it as an offering to the LORD in front of the tabernacle of the LORD—that person shall be considered guilty of bloodshed; they have shed blood and must be cut off from their people. 5 This is so the Israelites will bring to the LORD the sacrifices they are now making in the open fields. They must bring them to the priest, that is, to the LORD, at the entrance to the tent of meeting and sacrifice them as fellowship offerings. 6 The priest is to splash the blood against the altar of the LORD at the entrance to the tent of meeting and burn the fat as an aroma pleasing to the LORD. 7 They must no longer offer any of their sacrifices to the goat idols to whom they prostitute themselves. This is to be a lasting ordinance for them and for the generations to come.’ 8 “Say to them: ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing among them who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice 9 and does not bring it to the entrance to the tent of meeting to sacrifice it to the LORD must be cut off from the people of Israel. 10 “ ‘I will set my face against any Israelite or any foreigner residing among them who eats blood, and I will cut them off from the people. 11 For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. 12 Therefore I say to the Israelites, “None of you may eat blood, nor may any foreigner residing among you eat blood.” 13 “ ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing among you who hunts any animal or bird that may be eaten must drain out the blood and cover it with earth, 14 because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, “You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off.” 15 “ ‘Anyone, whether native-born or foreigner, who eats anything found dead or torn by wild animals must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be ceremonially unclean till evening; then they will be clean. 16 But if they do not wash their clothes and bathe themselves, they will be held responsible.’ ”

Leviticus 18

Unlawful Sexual Relations

1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the LORD your God. 3 You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices. 4 You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the LORD your God. 5 Keep my decrees and laws, for the person who obeys them will live by them. I am the LORD. 6 “ ‘No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the LORD. 7 “ ‘Do not dishonor your father by having sexual relations with your mother. She is your mother; do not have relations with her. 8 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would dishonor your father. 9 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere. 10 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter; that would dishonor you. 11 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with the daughter of your father’s wife, born to your father; she is your sister. 12 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s sister; she is your father’s close relative. 13 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your mother’s sister, because she is your mother’s close relative. 14 “ ‘Do not dishonor your father’s brother by approaching his wife to have sexual relations; she is your aunt. 15 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your daughter-in-law. She is your son’s wife; do not have relations with her. 16 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your brother’s wife; that would dishonor your brother. 17 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter. Do not have sexual relations with either her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter; they are her close relatives. That is wickedness. 18 “ ‘Do not take your wife’s sister as a rival wife and have sexual relations with her while your wife is living. 19 “ ‘Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period. 20 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your neighbor’s wife and defile yourself with her. 21 “ ‘Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molek, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD. 22 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable. 23 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion. 24 “ ‘Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. 25 Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. 26 But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the foreigners residing among you must not do any of these detestable things, 27 for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. 28 And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you. 29 “ ‘Everyone who does any of these detestable things—such persons must be cut off from their people. 30 Keep my requirements and do not follow any of the detestable customs that were practiced before you came and do not defile yourselves with them. I am the LORD your God.’ ”

Proverbs 28

1 The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion. 2 When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order. 3 A ruler who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no crops. 4 Those who forsake instruction praise the wicked, but those who heed it resist them. 5 Evildoers do not understand what is right, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully. 6 Better the poor whose walk is blameless than the rich whose ways are perverse. 7 A discerning son heeds instruction, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father. 8 Whoever increases wealth by taking interest or profit from the poor amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor. 9 If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable. 10 Whoever leads the upright along an evil path will fall into their own trap, but the blameless will receive a good inheritance. 11 The rich are wise in their own eyes; one who is poor and discerning sees how deluded they are. 12 When the righteous triumph, there is great elation; but when the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding. 13 Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. 14 Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble. 15 Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a helpless people. 16 A tyrannical ruler practices extortion, but one who hates ill-gotten gain will enjoy a long reign. 17 Anyone tormented by the guilt of murder will seek refuge in the grave; let no one hold them back. 18 The one whose walk is blameless is kept safe, but the one whose ways are perverse will fall into the pit. 19 Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty. 20 A faithful person will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished. 21 To show partiality is not good— yet a person will do wrong for a piece of bread. 22 The stingy are eager to get rich and are unaware that poverty awaits them. 23 Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue. 24 Whoever robs their father or mother and says, “It’s not wrong,” is partner to one who destroys. 25 The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the LORD will prosper. 26 Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe. 27 Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses. 28 When the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding; but when the wicked perish, the righteous thrive.