You Must Not Put the Lord Your God to the Test (January 7, 2021)

The devil took him off to the holy city, and stood him on a pinnacle of the Temple. ‘If you really are God’s son,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down. The Bible does say, after all, that “God will give his angels a command about you”; and “they will carry you in their hands, so that you won’t hurt your foot against a stone.”’ ‘But the Bible also says’, replied Jesus, ‘that you mustn’t put the Lord your God to the test!’

You Must Not Put the Lord Your God to the Test (January 7, 2021)

Genesis 8–10, CEB

God remembered Noah, all those alive, and all the animals with him in the ark. God sent a wind over the earth so that the waters receded. The springs of the deep sea and the skies closed up. The skies held back the rain. The waters receded gradually from the earth. After one hundred fifty days, the waters decreased; and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day, the ark came to rest on the Ararat mountains. The waters decreased gradually until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the mountain peaks appeared.

After forty days, Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made. He sent out a raven, and it flew back and forth until the waters over the entire earth had dried up. Then he sent out a dove to see if the waters on all of the fertile land had subsided, but the dove found no place to set its foot. It returned to him in the ark since waters still covered the entire earth. Noah stretched out his hand, took it, and brought it back into the ark. He waited seven more days and sent the dove out from the ark again. The dove came back to him in the evening, grasping a torn olive leaf in its beak. Then Noah knew that the waters were subsiding from the earth. He waited seven more days and sent out the dove, but it didn’t come back to him again. In Noah’s six hundred first year, on the first day of the first month, the waters dried up from the earth. Noah removed the ark’s hatch and saw that the surface of the fertile land had dried up. In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day, the earth was dry.

God spoke to Noah, “Go out of the ark, you and your wife, your sons, and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you all the animals of every kind—birds, livestock, everything crawling on the ground—so that they may populate the earth, be fertile, and multiply on the earth.” So Noah went out of the ark with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives. All the animals, all the livestock, all the birds, and everything crawling on the ground, came out of the ark by their families.

Noah built an altar to the Lord. He took some of the clean large animals and some of the clean birds, and placed entirely burned offerings on the altar. The Lord smelled the pleasing scent, and the Lord thought to himself, I will not curse the fertile land anymore because of human beings since the ideas of the human mind are evil from their youth. I will never again destroy every living thing as I have done.

As long as the earth exists,

seedtime and harvest,

cold and hot,

summer and autumn,

day and night

will not cease.

God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fertile, multiply, and fill the earth. All of the animals on the earth will fear you and dread you—all the birds in the skies, everything crawling on the ground, and all of the sea’s fish. They are in your power. Everything that lives and moves will be your food. Just as I gave you the green grasses, I now give you everything. However, you must not eat meat with its life, its blood, in it.

I will surely demand your blood

for a human life,

from every living thing I will demand it.

From humans, from a man for his brother,

I will demand something

for a human life.

Whoever sheds human blood,

by a human his blood will be shed;

for in the divine image

God made human beings.

As for you, be fertile and multiply. Populate the earth and multiply in it.” God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “I am now setting up my covenant with you, with your descendants, and with every living being with you—with the birds, with the large animals, and with all the animals of the earth, leaving the ark with you.I will set up my covenant with you so that never again will all life be cut off by floodwaters. There will never again be a flood to destroy the earth.”

God said, “This is the symbol of the covenant that I am drawing up between me and you and every living thing with you, on behalf of every future generation. I have placed my bow in the clouds; it will be the symbol of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow appears in the clouds, I will remember the covenant between me and you and every living being among all the creatures. Floodwaters will never again destroy all creatures. The bow will be in the clouds, and upon seeing it I will remember the enduring covenant between God and every living being of all the earth’s creatures.” God said to Noah, “This is the symbol of the covenant that I have set up between me and all creatures on earth.”

Noah’s sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth came out of the ark. Now Ham was Canaan’s father. These were Noah’s three sons, and from them the whole earth was populated. Noah, a farmer, made a new start and planted a vineyard. He drank some of the wine, became drunk, and took off his clothes in his tent. Ham, Canaan’s father, saw his father naked and told his two brothers who were outside. Shem and Japheth took a robe, threw it over their shoulders, walked backward, and covered their naked father without looking at him because they turned away. When Noah woke up from his wine, he discovered what his youngest son had done to him. He said,

“Cursed be Canaan:

the lowest servant

he will be for his brothers.”

He also said,

“Bless the Lord,

the God of Shem;

Canaan will be his servant.

May God give space to Japheth;

he will live in Shem’s tents,

and Canaan will be his servant.”

After the flood, Noah lived 350 years.

In all, Noah lived 950 years; then he died.

These are the descendants of Noah’s sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, to whom children were born after the flood. Japheth’s sons: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. Gomer’s sons: Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah. Javan’s sons: Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Rodanim.From these the island-nations were divided into their own countries, each according to their languages and their clans within their nations.

Ham’s sons: Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan. Cush’s sons: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca. Raamah’s sons: Sheba and Dedan. Cush fathered Nimrod, the first great warrior on earth. The Lord saw him as a great hunter, and so it is said, “Like Nimrod, whom the Lord saw as a great hunter.” The most important cities in his kingdom were Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh in the land of Shinar. Asshur left that land and built Nineveh, Rehoboth City, Calah, and Resen, the great city between Nineveh and Calah. Egypt fathered Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, Casluhim, and Caphtorim, from which the Philistines came.

Canaan fathered Sidon his oldest son, and Heth, the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, the Arvadites, the Zemarites, and the Hamathites. After this the Canaanite clans were dispersed. The Canaanite boundary extends from Sidon by way of Gerar to Gaza and by way of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim to Lasha. These are Ham’s sons according to their clans, their languages, their lands, and their nations.

Children were also born to Shem the father of all Eber’s children and Japheth’s older brother.

Shem’s sons: Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram. Aram’s sons: Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash. Arpachshad fathered Shelah, and Shelah fathered Eber. To Eber were born two sons: The first was named Peleg, because during his lifetime the earth was divided. His brother’s name was Joktan. Joktan fathered Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab. All of these were Joktan’s sons. Their settlements extended from Mesha by way of Sephar, the eastern mountains. These are Shem’s sons according to their clans, their languages, their lands, and their nations.

These are the clans of Noah’s sons according to their generations and their nations. From them the earth’s nations branched out after the flood.

Job 1:13–22, MEV

So a day came when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house, and a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing, and the donkeys were feeding beside them, and the Sabeans attacked them, and took them away, and they killed the servants with the edge of the sword, and only I alone have escaped to tell you.”

While he was still speaking, another came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”

While he was still speaking, another came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three companies and made a raid on the camels and have taken them away. They killed the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”

While he was still speaking, another came and said, “Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house, and suddenly a great wind came from the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you.”

Then Job stood up, tore his robe, and shaved his head. He fell to the ground and worshipped. He said,

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,

and naked will I return there.

The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;

blessed be the name of the Lord.”

In all this Job did not sin, and he did not accuse God of wrongdoing.

Isaiah 2:1–3:15, NLT

This is a vision that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:

In the last days, the mountain of the Lord’s house

will be the highest of all—

the most important place on earth.

It will be raised above the other hills,

and people from all over the world will stream there to worship.

People from many nations will come and say,

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,

to the house of Jacob’s God.

There he will teach us his ways,

and we will walk in his paths.”

For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion;

his word will go out from Jerusalem.

The Lord will mediate between nations

and will settle international disputes.

They will hammer their swords into plowshares

and their spears into pruning hooks.

Nation will no longer fight against nation,

nor train for war anymore.

Come, descendants of Jacob,

let us walk in the light of the Lord!

For the Lord has rejected his people,

the descendants of Jacob,

because they have filled their land with practices from the East

and with sorcerers, as the Philistines do.

They have made alliances with pagans.

Israel is full of silver and gold;

there is no end to its treasures.

Their land is full of warhorses;

there is no end to its chariots.

Their land is full of idols;

the people worship things they have made

with their own hands.

So now they will be humbled,

and all will be brought low—

do not forgive them.

Crawl into caves in the rocks.

Hide in the dust

from the terror of the Lord

and the glory of his majesty.

Human pride will be brought down,

and human arrogance will be humbled.

Only the Lord will be exalted

on that day of judgment.

For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies

has a day of reckoning.

He will punish the proud and mighty

and bring down everything that is exalted.

He will cut down the tall cedars of Lebanon

and all the mighty oaks of Bashan.

He will level all the high mountains

and all the lofty hills.

He will break down every high tower

and every fortified wall.

He will destroy all the great trading ships

and every magnificent vessel.

Human pride will be humbled,

and human arrogance will be brought down.

Only the Lord will be exalted

on that day of judgment.

Idols will completely disappear.

When the Lord rises to shake the earth,

his enemies will crawl into holes in the ground.

They will hide in caves in the rocks

from the terror of the Lord

and the glory of his majesty.

On that day of judgment they will abandon the gold and silver idols

they made for themselves to worship.

They will leave their gods to the rodents and bats,

while they crawl away into caverns

and hide among the jagged rocks in the cliffs.

They will try to escape the terror of the Lord

and the glory of his majesty

as he rises to shake the earth.

Don’t put your trust in mere humans.

They are as frail as breath.

What good are they?

The Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,

will take away from Jerusalem and Judah

everything they depend on:

every bit of bread

and every drop of water,

all their heroes and soldiers,

judges and prophets,

fortune-tellers and elders,

army officers and high officials,

advisers, skilled sorcerers, and astrologers.

I will make boys their leaders,

and toddlers their rulers.

People will oppress each other—

man against man,

neighbor against neighbor.

Young people will insult their elders,

and vulgar people will sneer at the honorable.

In those days a man will say to his brother,

“Since you have a coat, you be our leader!

Take charge of this heap of ruins!”

But he will reply,

“No! I can’t help.

I don’t have any extra food or clothes.

Don’t put me in charge!”

For Jerusalem will stumble,

and Judah will fall,

because they speak out against the Lord and refuse to obey him.

They provoke him to his face.

The very look on their faces gives them away.

They display their sin like the people of Sodom

and don’t even try to hide it.

They are doomed!

They have brought destruction upon themselves.

Tell the godly that all will be well for them.

They will enjoy the rich reward they have earned!

But the wicked are doomed,

for they will get exactly what they deserve.

Childish leaders oppress my people,

and women rule over them.

O my people, your leaders mislead you;

they send you down the wrong road.

The Lord takes his place in court

and presents his case against his people!

The Lord comes forward to pronounce judgment

on the elders and rulers of his people:

“You have ruined Israel, my vineyard.

Your houses are filled with things stolen from the poor.

How dare you crush my people,

grinding the faces of the poor into the dust?”

demands the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

Matthew 3:13–4:22, The Bible for Everyone: A New Translation

Then Jesus arrived at the Jordan from Galilee, and came to John to be baptized by him.

John tried to stop him.

‘I ought to be baptized by you,’ he said, ‘and are you going to come to me?’

‘This is how it’s got to be right now,’ said Jesus. ‘This is the right way for us to complete God’s whole saving plan.’

So John consented, and Jesus was baptized. All at once, as he came up out of the water, suddenly the heavens were opened, and he saw God’s spirit coming down like a dove and landing on him.

Then there came a voice out of the heavens.

‘This is my son, my beloved one,’ said the voice. ‘I am delighted with him.’

Then Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the spirit to be tested by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and at the end of it was famished. Then the tempter approached him.

‘If you really are God’s son,’ he said, ‘tell these stones to become bread!’

‘The Bible says’, replied Jesus, ‘that it takes more than bread to keep you alive. You actually live on every word that comes out of God’s mouth.’

Then the devil took him off to the holy city, and stood him on a pinnacle of the Temple.

‘If you really are God’s son,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down. The Bible does say, after all, that “God will give his angels a command about you”; and “they will carry you in their hands, so that you won’t hurt your foot against a stone.” ’

‘But the Bible also says’, replied Jesus, ‘that you mustn’t put the Lord your God to the test!’

Then the devil took him off again, this time to a very high mountain. There he showed him all the magnificent kingdoms of the world.

‘I’ll give the whole lot to you,’ he said, ‘if you will fall down and worship me.’

‘Get out of it, satan!’ replied Jesus. ‘The Bible says, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him alone!” ’

Then the devil left him, and angels came and looked after him.

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he went off to Galilee. He left Nazareth, and went to live at Capernaum, a small town by the sea in the region of Zebulon and Naphtali. This happened so that the word spoken through Isaiah the prophet might come true:

The land of Zebulon and the land of Naphtali,

the road by the sea, beyond the Jordan,

Galilee, land of the nations:

the people who sat in the dark saw a great light;

light dawned on those who sat in the shadowy land of death.

From that time on Jesus began to make his proclamation.

‘Repent!’ he would say. ‘The kingdom of heaven is arriving!’

As Jesus was walking beside the sea of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon (also called Peter) and Andrew his brother. They were fishermen, and were casting nets into the sea.

‘Follow me!’ said Jesus. ‘I’ll make you fish for people!’

Straight away they abandoned their nets and followed him.

He went on further, and saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother. They were in the boat, mending their nets, with Zebedee their father. He called them. At once they left the boat, and their father, and followed him.

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