The Tower of Babel (January 8, 2021)

The Lord said, “There is now one people and they all have one language. This is what they have begun to do, and now all that they plan to do will be possible for them. Come, let’s go down and mix up their language there so they won’t understand each other’s language.” Then the Lord dispersed them from there over all of the earth, and they stopped building the city. Therefore, it is named Babel, because there the Lord mixed up the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord dispersed them over all the earth.

The Tower of Babel (January 8, 2021)

Genesis 11:1–12:9, CEB

All people on the earth had one language and the same words. When they traveled east, they found a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them hard.” They used bricks for stones and asphalt for mortar. They said, “Come, let’s build for ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky, and let’s make a name for ourselves so that we won’t be dispersed over all the earth.”

Then the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the humans built. And the Lord said, “There is now one people and they all have one language. This is what they have begun to do, and now all that they plan to do will be possible for them. Come, let’s go down and mix up their language there so they won’t understand each other’s language.” Then the Lord dispersed them from there over all of the earth, and they stopped building the city. Therefore, it is named Babel, because there the Lord mixed up the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord dispersed them over all the earth.

These are Shem’s descendants.

When Shem was 100 years old, he became the father of Arpachshad, two years after the flood. After Arpachshad was born, Shem lived 500 years; he had other sons and daughters.

When Arpachshad was 35 years old, he became the father of Shelah. After Shelah was born, Arpachshad lived 403 years; he had other sons and daughters.

When Shelah was 30 years old, he became the father of Eber. After Eber was born, Shelah lived 403 years; he had other sons and daughters.

When Eber was 34 years old, he became the father of Peleg. After Peleg was born, Eber lived 430 years; he had other sons and daughters.

When Peleg was 30 years old, he became the father of Reu. After Reu was born, Peleg lived 209 years; he had other sons and daughters.

When Reu was 32 years old, he became the father of Serug. After Serug was born, Reu lived 207 years; he had other sons and daughters.

When Serug was 30 years old, he became the father of Nahor. After Nahor was born, Serug lived 200 years; he had other sons and daughters.

When Nahor was 29 years old, he became the father of Terah. After Terah was born, Nahor lived 119 years; he had other sons and daughters.

When Terah was 70 years old, he became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

These are Terah’s descendants. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Haran became the father of Lot. Haran died while with his father Terah in his native land, in Ur of the Chaldeans. Abram and Nahor both married; Abram’s wife was Sarai, and Nahor’s wife was Milcah the daughter of Haran, father of both Milcah and Iscah. Sarai was unable to have children. Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot (son of Haran), and his son Abram’s wife, Sarai his daughter-in-law. They left Ur of the Chaldeans for the land of Canaan, and arriving at Haran, they settled there. Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Haran.

The Lord said to Abram, “Leave your land, your family, and your father’s household for the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation and will bless you. I will make your name respected, and you will be a blessing.

I will bless those who bless you,

those who curse you I will curse;

all the families of the earth

will be blessed because of you.”

Abram left just as the Lord told him, and Lot went with him. Now Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran. Abram took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all of their possessions, and those who became members of their household in Haran; and they set out for the land of Canaan. When they arrived in Canaan, Abram traveled through the land as far as the sacred place at Shechem, at the oak of Moreh. The Canaanites lived in the land at that time. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I give this land to your descendants,” so Abram built an altar there to the Lord who appeared to him. From there he traveled toward the mountains east of Bethel, and pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and worshipped in the Lord’s name. Then Abram set out toward the arid southern plain, making and breaking camp as he went.

Job 2:1–10, MEV

Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and the Adversary came also among them to present himself before the Lord. The Lord said to the Adversary, “From where do you come?”

And the Adversary answered the Lord, saying, “From roaming on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”

The Lord said to the Adversary, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and an upright man, who fears God and avoids evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you moved Me against him, to destroy him without cause.”

The Adversary answered the Lord, saying, “Skin for skin; yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. Put forth Your hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse You to Your face.”

The Lord said to the Adversary, “Very well, he is in your hand, but spare his life.”

Therefore, the Adversary went out from the presence of the Lord, and he afflicted Job with severe sores from the sole of his foot to the top of his head. So he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he was sitting among the ashes.

His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die.”

He said to her, “You talk like one of the foolish women talks. Will we indeed accept the good from God but not accept the adversity?”

In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Isaiah 3:16–4:6, NLT

The Lord says, “Beautiful Zion is haughty:

craning her elegant neck,

flirting with her eyes,

walking with dainty steps,

tinkling her ankle bracelets.

So the Lord will send scabs on her head;

the Lord will make beautiful Zion bald.”

On that day of judgment

the Lord will strip away everything that makes her beautiful:

ornaments, headbands, crescent necklaces,

earrings, bracelets, and veils;

scarves, ankle bracelets, sashes,

perfumes, and charms;

rings, jewels,

party clothes, gowns, capes, and purses;

mirrors, fine linen garments,

head ornaments, and shawls.

Instead of smelling of sweet perfume, she will stink.

She will wear a rope for a sash,

and her elegant hair will fall out.

She will wear rough burlap instead of rich robes.

Shame will replace her beauty.

The men of the city will be killed with the sword,

and her warriors will die in battle.

The gates of Zion will weep and mourn.

The city will be like a ravaged woman,

huddled on the ground.

In that day so few men will be left that seven women will fight for each man, saying, “Let us all marry you! We will provide our own food and clothing. Only let us take your name so we won’t be mocked as old maids.”

But in that day, the branch of the Lord

will be beautiful and glorious;

the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory

of all who survive in Israel.

All who remain in Zion

will be a holy people—

those who survive the destruction of Jerusalem

and are recorded among the living.

The Lord will wash the filth from beautiful Zion

and cleanse Jerusalem of its bloodstains

with the hot breath of fiery judgment.

Then the Lord will provide shade for Mount Zion

and all who assemble there.

He will provide a canopy of cloud during the day

and smoke and flaming fire at night,

covering the glorious land.

It will be a shelter from daytime heat

and a hiding place from storms and rain.

Matthew 4:23–5:16, The Bible for Everyone: A New Translation

He went on through the whole of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, healing every disease and every illness among the people.

Word about him went out around the whole of Syria. They brought to him all the people tormented with various kinds of diseases and ailments, demon-possessed people, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. Large crowds followed him from Galilee, the Ten Towns, Jerusalem, Judaea and beyond the Jordan.

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the hillside, and sat down. His disciples came to him. He took a deep breath, and began his teaching:

‘Blessings on the poor in spirit! The kingdom of heaven is yours.

‘Blessings on the mourners! You’re going to be comforted.

‘Blessings on the meek! You’re going to inherit the earth.

‘Blessings on people who hunger and thirst for God’s justice! You’re going to be satisfied.

‘Blessings on the merciful! You’ll receive mercy yourselves.

‘Blessings on the pure in heart! You will see God.

‘Blessings on the peacemakers! You’ll be called God’s children.

‘Blessings on people who are persecuted because of God’s way! The kingdom of heaven belongs to you.

‘Blessings on you, when people slander you and persecute you, and say all kinds of wicked things about you falsely because of me! Celebrate and rejoice: there’s a great reward for you in heaven. That’s how they persecuted the prophets who went before you.’

‘You’re the salt of the earth! But if the salt becomes tasteless, how is it going to get salty again? It’s no good for anything. You might as well throw it out and walk all over it.

‘You’re the light of the world! A city can’t be hidden if it’s on top of a hill. People don’t light a lamp and put it under a bucket; they put it on a lampstand. Then it gives light to everybody in the house. That’s how you must shine your light in front of people! Then they will see what wonderful things you do, and they’ll give glory to your father in heaven.

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