Home > Devotions > Daily Reading – August 4, 2018

Numbers 31:1–24 (ESV)

Vengeance on Midian

31 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Avenge the people of Israel on the Midianites. Afterward you shall be gathered to your people.” So Moses spoke to the people, saying, “Arm men from among you for the war, that they may go against Midian to execute the Lord’s vengeance on Midian. You shall send a thousand from each of the tribes of Israel to the war.” So there were provided, out of the thousands of Israel, a thousand from each tribe, twelve thousand armed for war. And Moses sent them to the war, a thousand from each tribe, together with Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, with the vessels of the sanctuary and the trumpets for the alarm in his hand. They warred against Midian, as the Lord commanded Moses, and killed every male. They killed the kings of Midian with the rest of their slain, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian. And they also killed Balaam the son of Beor with the sword. And the people of Israel took captive the women of Midian and their little ones, and they took as plunder all their cattle, their flocks, and all their goods. 10 All their cities in the places where they lived, and all their encampments, they burned with fire, 11 and took all the spoil and all the plunder, both of man and of beast. 12 Then they brought the captives and the plunder and the spoil to Moses, and to Eleazar the priest, and to the congregation of the people of Israel, at the camp on the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho.

13 Moses and Eleazar the priest and all the chiefs of the congregation went to meet them outside the camp. 14 And Moses was angry with the officers of the army, the commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds, who had come from service in the war. 15 Moses said to them, “Have you let all the women live? 16 Behold, these, on Balaam’s advice, caused the people of Israel to act treacherously against the Lord in the incident of Peor, and so the plague came among the congregation of the Lord. 17 Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him. 18 But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him keep alive for yourselves. 19 Encamp outside the camp seven days. Whoever of you has killed any person and whoever has touched any slain, purify yourselves and your captives on the third day and on the seventh day. 20 You shall purify every garment, every article of skin, all work of goats’ hair, and every article of wood.”

21 Then Eleazar the priest said to the men in the army who had gone to battle: “This is the statute of the law that the Lord has commanded Moses: 22 only the gold, the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin, and the lead, 23 everything that can stand the fire, you shall pass through the fire, and it shall be clean. Nevertheless, it shall also be purified with the water for impurity. And whatever cannot stand the fire, you shall pass through the water. 24 You must wash your clothes on the seventh day, and you shall be clean. And afterward you may come into the camp.”

Psalm 34 (ESV)

Taste and See That the Lord Is Good

34  Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.

I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.

Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.

Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.

This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.

The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!

10  The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

11  Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

12  What man is there who desires life
and loves many days, that he may see good?

13  Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.

14  Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

15  The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
and his ears toward their cry.

16  The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.

17  When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.

18  The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.

19  Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord delivers him out of them all.

20  He keeps all his bones;
not one of them is broken.

21  Affliction will slay the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.

22  The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

John 12:1–11 (ESV)

Mary Anoints Jesus at Bethany

12 Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”

The Plot to Kill Lazarus

When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.

In 1535 Luther’s Lectures on Galatians, delivered in 1531, were published. In these he said: “This vice lies in us that we admire persons and respect them more than the Word while God desires that we adhere to and have our mind fixed alone upon the very Word. … He does not want us to admire
or adore the apostolate in Peter and Paul but Christ who speaks in them and the very Word of God which comes from their mouth.” In speaking of the occurrence at Antioch (Gal. 2:11-14) Luther concedes that even prophets err and fail but only when they speak in their own spirit, not inspired by the Holy Ghost, as Nathan did when out of his own spirit (ex suo spiritu) he told David that he should build a house for the Lord. “This prophecy was immediately corrected by divine revelation.” Here Luther declares that even Gal. 3:16, a passage so o en ridiculed, was written out of genuine apostolic spirit and understanding, and repeats that it is impossible that Scripture should contradict itself, and that a single tittle of Scripture is of greater importance than heaven and earth. Scripture he calls the queen that alone should reign. (34–35)

–Johann Michael Reu, Luther on the Scriptures

This daily Bible reading guide, Reading the Word of God, was conceived and prepared as a result of the ongoing discussions between representatives of three church bodies: Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). The following individuals have represented their church bodies and approved this introduction and the reading guide: LCC: President Robert Bugbee; NALC: Bishop John Bradosky, Revs. Mark Chavez, James Nestingen, and David Wendel; LCMS: Revs. Albert Collver, Joel Lehenbauer, John Pless, and Larry Vogel.

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