Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 48

Deuteronomy 11–15, Mark 9

Bible text(s)

The LORD's Greatness

1“Love the LORD your God and always obey all his laws. 2Remember today what you have learned about the LORD through your experiences with him. It was you, not your children, who had these experiences. You saw the LORD's greatness, his power, his might, 3and his miracles. You saw what he did to the king of Egypt and to his entire country. 4You saw how the LORD completely wiped out the Egyptian army, along with their horses and chariots, by drowning them in the Red Sea when they were pursuing you. 5You know what the LORD did for you in the desert before you arrived here. 6You recall what he did to Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab of the tribe of Reuben. In the sight of everyone the earth opened up and swallowed them, along with their families, their tents, and all their servants and animals. 7Yes, you are the ones who have seen all these great things that the LORD has done.

The Blessings of the Promised Land

8“Obey all the laws that I have given you today. Then you will be able to cross the river and occupy the land that you are about to enter. 9And you will live a long time in the rich and fertile land that the LORD promised to give your ancestors and their descendants. 10The land that you are about to occupy is not like the land of Egypt, where you lived before. There, when you sowed seed, you had to work hard to irrigate the fields; 11but the land that you are about to enter is a land of mountains and valleys, a land watered by rain. 12The LORD your God takes care of this land and watches over it throughout the year.

13“So then, obey the commands that I have given you today; love the LORD your God and serve him with all your heart. 14If you do, he will send rain on your land when it is needed, in the autumn and in the spring, so that there will be corn, wine, and olive oil for you, 15and grass for your livestock. You will have all the food you want. 16Do not let yourselves be led away from the LORD to worship and serve other gods. 17If you do, the LORD will become angry with you. He will hold back the rain, and your ground will become too dry for crops to grow. Then you will soon die there, even though it is a good land that he is giving you.

18“Remember these commands and cherish them. Tie them on your arms and wear them on your foreheads as a reminder. 19Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you are resting and when you are working. 20Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates. 21Then you and your children will live a long time in the land that the LORD your God promised to give to your ancestors. You will live there as long as there is a sky above the earth.

22“Obey faithfully all the laws that I have given you: Love the LORD your God, do everything he commands, and be faithful to him. 23Then he will drive out all those nations as you advance, and you will occupy the land belonging to nations greater and more powerful than you. 24All the ground that you march over will be yours. Your territory will extend from the desert in the south to the Lebanon Mountains in the north, and from the River Euphrates in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 25Wherever you go in that land, the LORD your God will make the people fear you, as he has promised, and no one will be able to stop you.

26“Today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse — 27a blessing, if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; 28but a curse, if you disobey these commands and turn away to worship other gods that you have never worshipped before. 29When the LORD brings you into the land that you are going to occupy, you are to proclaim the blessing from Mount Gerizim and the curse from Mount Ebal. 30(These two mountains are west of the River Jordan in the territory of the Canaanites who live in the Jordan Valley. They are towards the west, not far from the sacred trees of Moreh near the town of Gilgal.) 31You are about to cross the River Jordan and occupy the land that the LORD your God is giving you. When you take it and settle there, 32be sure to obey all the laws that I am giving you today.

Deuteronomy 11GNBOpen in Bible reader

The One Place for Worship

1“Here are the laws that you are to obey as long as you live in the land that the LORD, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. Listen to them! 2In the land that you are taking, destroy all the places where the people worship their gods on high mountains, on hills, and under green trees. 3Tear down their altars and smash their sacred stone pillars to pieces. Burn their symbols of the goddess Asherah and chop down their idols, so that they will never again be worshipped at those places.

4“Do not worship the LORD your God in the way that these people worship their gods. 5Out of the territory of all your tribes the LORD will choose the one place where the people are to come into his presence and worship him. 6There you are to offer your sacrifices that are to be burnt and your other sacrifices, your tithes and your offerings, the gifts that you promise to the LORD, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your cattle and sheep. 7There, in the presence of the LORD your God, who has blessed you, you and your families will eat and enjoy the good things that you have worked for.

8“When that time comes, you must not do as you have been doing. Until now you have all been worshipping as you please, 9because you have not yet entered the land that the LORD your God is giving you, where you can live in peace. 10When you cross the River Jordan, the LORD will let you occupy the land and live there. He will keep you safe from all your enemies, and you will live in peace. 11The LORD will choose a single place where he is to be worshipped, and there you must bring to him everything that I have commanded: your sacrifices that are to be burnt and your other sacrifices, your tithes and your offerings, and those special gifts that you have promised to the LORD. 12Be joyful there in his presence, together with your children, your servants, and the Levites who live in your towns; remember that the Levites will have no land of their own. 13You are not to offer your sacrifices wherever you choose; 14you must offer them only in the one place that the LORD will choose in the territory of one of your tribes. Only there are you to offer your sacrifices that are to be burnt and do all the other things that I have commanded you.

15“But you are free to kill and eat your animals wherever you live. You may eat as many as the LORD gives you. All of you, whether ritually clean or unclean, may eat them, just as you would eat the meat of deer or antelope. 16But you must not use their blood as food; you must pour it out on the ground like water. 17Nothing that you offer to the LORD is to be eaten in the places where you live: neither the tithes of your corn, your wine, or your olive oil, nor the firstborn of your cattle and sheep, the gifts that you promise to the LORD, your freewill offerings, or any other offerings. 18You and your children, together with your servants and the Levites who live in your towns, are to eat these offerings only in the presence of the LORD your God, in the one place of worship chosen by the LORD your God. And you are to be happy there over everything that you have done. 19Be sure, also, not to neglect the Levites, as long as you live in your land.

20“When the LORD your God enlarges your territory, as he has promised, you may eat meat whenever you wish. 21If the one place of worship is too far away, then, whenever you wish, you may kill any of the cattle or sheep that the LORD has given you, and you may eat the meat at home, as I have told you. 22Anyone, ritually clean or unclean, may eat that meat, just as he would eat the meat of deer or antelope. 23Only do not eat meat with blood still in it, for the life is in the blood, and you must not eat the life with the meat. 24Do not use the blood for food; instead pour it out on the ground like water. 25If you obey this command, the LORD will be pleased, and all will go well for you and your descendants. 26Take to the one place of worship your offerings and the gifts that you have promised the LORD. 27Offer there the sacrifices which are to be completely burnt on the LORD's altar. Also offer those sacrifices in which you eat the meat and pour the blood out on the altar. 28Obey faithfully everything that I have commanded you, and all will go well for you and your descendants for ever, because you will be doing what is right and what pleases the LORD your God.

Warning against Idolatry

29“The LORD your God will destroy the nations as you invade their land, and you will occupy it and settle there. 30After the LORD destroys those nations, make sure that you don't follow their religious practices, because that would be fatal. Don't try to find out how they worship their gods, so that you can worship in the same way. 31Do not worship the LORD your God in the way they worship their gods, for in the worship of their gods they do all the disgusting things that the LORD hates. They even sacrifice their children in the fires on their altars.

32“Do everything that I have commanded you; do not add anything to it or take anything from it.

Deuteronomy 12GNBOpen in Bible reader

1“Prophets or interpreters of dreams may promise a miracle or a wonder, 2in order to lead you to worship and serve gods that you have not worshipped before. Even if what they promise comes true, 3do not pay any attention to them. The LORD your God is using them to test you, to see if you love the LORD with all your heart. 4Follow the LORD and honour him; obey him and keep his commands; worship him and be faithful to him. 5But put to death any interpreters of dreams or prophets who tell you to rebel against the LORD, who rescued you from Egypt, where you were slaves. Such people are evil and are trying to lead you away from the life that the LORD has commanded you to live. They must be put to death, in order to rid yourselves of this evil.

6“Even your brother or your son or your daughter or the wife you love or your closest friend may secretly encourage you to worship other gods, gods that you and your ancestors have never worshipped. 7One of them may encourage you to worship the gods of the people who live near you or the gods of those who live far away. 8But do not let him or her persuade you; do not even listen to them. Show them no mercy or pity, and do not protect them. 9Kill them! Be the first to stone them, and then let everyone else stone them too. 10Stone them to death! They tried to lead you away from the LORD your God, who rescued you from Egypt, where you were slaves. 11Then all the people of Israel will hear what happened; they will be afraid, and no one will ever again do such an evil thing.

12“When you are living in the towns that the LORD your God gives you, you may hear 13that some worthless people of your nation have misled the people of their town to worship gods that you have never worshipped before. 14If you hear such a rumour, investigate it thoroughly; and if it is true that this evil thing did happen, 15then kill all the people in that town and all their livestock too. Destroy that town completely. 16Bring together all the possessions of the people who live there and pile them up in the town square. Then burn the town and everything in it as an offering to the LORD your God. It must be left in ruins for ever and never again be rebuilt. 17Do not keep for yourselves anything that was condemned to destruction, and then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and show you mercy. He will be merciful to you and make you a numerous people, as he promised your ancestors, 18if you obey all his commands that I have given you today, and do what he requires.

Deuteronomy 13GNBOpen in Bible reader

A Forbidden Mourning Practice

1“You are the people of the LORD your God. So when you mourn for the dead, don't gash yourselves or shave the front of your head, as other people do. 2You belong to the LORD your God; he has chosen you to be his own people from among all the peoples who live on earth.

Clean and Unclean Animals

(Lev 11.1–47)

3“Do not eat anything that the LORD has declared unclean. 4You may eat these animals: cattle, sheep, goats, 5deer, wild sheep, wild goats, or antelopes — 6any animals that have divided hoofs and that also chew the cud. 7But no animals may be eaten unless they have divided hoofs and also chew the cud. You may not eat camels, rabbits, or rock-badgers. They must be considered unclean; they chew the cud but do not have divided hoofs. 8Do not eat pigs. They must be considered unclean; they have divided hoofs but do not chew the cud. Do not eat any of these animals or even touch their dead bodies.

9“You may eat any kind of fish that has fins and scales, 10but anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales may not be eaten; it must be considered unclean.

11“You may eat any clean bird. 12-18But these are the kinds of birds you are not to eat: eagles, owls, hawks, falcons; buzzards, vultures, crows; ostriches; seagulls, storks, herons, pelicans, cormorants; hoopoes; and bats.

19“All winged insects are unclean; do not eat them. 20You may eat any clean insect.

21“Do not eat any animal that dies a natural death. You may let the foreigners who live among you eat it, or you may sell it to other foreigners. But you belong to the LORD your God; you are his people.

“Do not cook a young sheep or goat in its mother's milk.

The Law of the Tithe

22“Set aside a tithe — a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. 23Then go to the one place where the LORD your God has chosen to be worshipped; and there in his presence eat the tithes of your corn, wine, and olive oil, and the firstborn of your cattle and sheep. Do this so that you may learn to honour the LORD your God always. 24If the place of worship is too far from your home for you to carry there the tithe of the produce that the LORD has blessed you with, then do this: 25Sell your produce and take the money with you to the one place of worship. 26Spend it on whatever you want — beef, lamb, wine, beer — and there, in the presence of the LORD your God, you and your families are to eat and enjoy yourselves.

27“Do not neglect the Levites who live in your towns; they have no property of their own. 28At the end of every third year bring the tithe of all your crops and store it in your towns. 29This food is for the Levites, since they own no property, and for the foreigners, orphans, and widows who live in your towns. They are to come and get all they need. Do this, and the LORD your God will bless you in everything you do.

Deuteronomy 14GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Seventh Year

(Lev 25.1–7)

1“At the end of every seventh year you are to cancel the debts of those who owe you money. 2This is how it is to be done. All who have lent money to a fellow-Israelite are to cancel the debt; they must not try to collect the money; the LORD himself has declared the debt cancelled. 3You may collect what a foreigner owes you, but you must not collect what any of your own people owe you.

4“The LORD your God will bless you in the land that he is giving you. Not one of your people will be poor 5if you obey him and carefully observe everything that I command you today. 6The LORD will bless you, as he has promised. You will lend money to many nations, but you will not have to borrow from any; you will have control over many nations, but no nation will have control over you.

7“If in any of the towns in the land that the LORD your God is giving you there is a fellow-Israelite in need, then do not be selfish and refuse to help him. 8Instead, be generous and lend him as much as he needs. 9Do not refuse to lend him something, just because the year when debts are cancelled is near. Do not let such an evil thought enter your mind. If you refuse to make the loan, he will cry out to the LORD against you, and you will be held guilty. 10Give to him freely and unselfishly, and the LORD will bless you in everything you do. 11There will always be some Israelites who are poor and in need, and so I command you to be generous to them.

The Treatment of Slaves

(Ex 21.1–11)

12“If a fellow-Israelite sells himself or herself to you as a slave, you are to release them after they have served you for six years. When the seventh year comes, you must let them go free. 13When you set them free, do not send them away empty-handed. 14Give to them generously from what the LORD has blessed you with — sheep, corn, and wine. 15Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God set you free; that is why I am now giving you this command.

16“But your slave may not want to leave; he may love you and your family and be content to stay. 17Then take him to the door of your house and there pierce his ear; he will then be your slave for life. Treat your female slave in the same way. 18Do not be resentful when you set a slave free; after all, the slave has served you for six years at half the cost of a hired servant. Do this, and the LORD your God will bless you in all that you do.

The Firstborn Cattle and Sheep

19“Set aside for the LORD your God all the firstborn males of your cattle and sheep; don't use any of these cattle for work and don't shear any of these sheep. 20Each year you and your family are to eat them in the LORD's presence at the one place of worship. 21But if there is anything wrong with the animals, if they are crippled or blind or have any other serious defect, you must not sacrifice them to the LORD your God. 22You may eat such animals at home. All of you, whether ritually clean or unclean, may eat them, just as you eat deer or antelope. 23But do not use their blood for food; instead, you must pour it out on the ground like water.

Deuteronomy 15GNBOpen in Bible reader

1And he went on to say, “I tell you, there are some here who will not die until they have seen the Kingdom of God come with power.”

The Transfiguration

(Mt 17.1–13; Lk 9.28–36)

2Six days later Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain, where they were alone. As they looked on, a change came over Jesus, 3and his clothes became shining white — whiter than anyone in the world could wash them. 4Then the three disciples saw Elijah and Moses talking with Jesus. 5Peter spoke up and said to Jesus, “Teacher, how good it is that we are here! We will make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6He and the others were so frightened that he did not know what to say.

7Then a cloud appeared and covered them with its shadow, and a voice came from the cloud, “This is my own dear Son — listen to him!” 8They took a quick look round but did not see anyone else; only Jesus was with them.

9As they came down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Don't tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has risen from death.”

10They obeyed his order, but among themselves they started discussing the matter, “What does this ‘rising from death’ mean?” 11And they asked Jesus, “Why do the teachers of the Law say that Elijah has to come first?”

12His answer was, “Elijah is indeed coming first in order to get everything ready. Yet why do the Scriptures say that the Son of Man will suffer much and be rejected? 13I tell you, however, that Elijah has already come and that people treated him just as they pleased, as the Scriptures say about him.”

Jesus Heals a Boy with an Evil Spirit

(Mt 17.14–20; Lk 9.37–43a)

14When they joined the rest of the disciples, they saw a large crowd round them and some teachers of the Law arguing with them. 15When the people saw Jesus, they were greatly surprised, and ran to him and greeted him. 16Jesus asked his disciples, “What are you arguing with them about?”

17A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, because he has an evil spirit in him and cannot talk. 18Whenever the spirit attacks him, it throws him to the ground, and he foams at the mouth, grits his teeth, and becomes stiff all over. I asked your disciples to drive the spirit out, but they could not.”

19Jesus said to them, “How unbelieving you people are! How long must I stay with you? How long do I have to put up with you? Bring the boy to me!” 20They brought him to Jesus.

As soon as the spirit saw Jesus, it threw the boy into a fit, so that he fell on the ground and rolled round, foaming at the mouth. 21“How long has he been like this?” Jesus asked the father.

“Ever since he was a child,” he replied. 22“Many times the evil spirit has tried to kill him by throwing him in the fire and into water. Have pity on us and help us, if you possibly can!”

23“Yes,” said Jesus, “if you yourself can! Everything is possible for the person who has faith.”

24The father at once cried out, “I do have faith, but not enough. Help me to have more!”

25Jesus noticed that the crowd was closing in on them, so he gave a command to the evil spirit. “Deaf and dumb spirit,” he said, “I order you to come out of the boy and never go into him again!”

26The spirit screamed, threw the boy into a bad fit, and came out. The boy looked like a corpse, and everyone said, “He is dead!” 27But Jesus took the boy by the hand and helped him to rise, and he stood up.

28After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn't we drive the spirit out?”

29“Only prayer can drive this kind out,” answered Jesus; “nothing else can.”

Jesus Speaks Again about his Death

(Mt 17.22–23; Lk 9.43b–45)

30Jesus and his disciples left that place and went on through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where he was, 31because he was teaching his disciples: “The Son of Man will be handed over to those who will kill him. Three days later, however, he will rise to life.”

32But they did not understand what this teaching meant, and they were afraid to ask him.

Who is the Greatest?

(Mt 18.1–5; Lk 9.46–48)

33They came to Capernaum, and after going indoors Jesus asked his disciples, “What were you arguing about on the road?”

34But they would not answer him, because on the road they had been arguing among themselves about who was the greatest. 35Jesus sat down, called the twelve disciples, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must place himself last of all and be the servant of all.” 36Then he took a child and made him stand in front of them. He put his arms round him and said to them, 37“Whoever welcomes in my name one of these children, welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me, welcomes not only me but also the one who sent me.”

Whoever is not Against Us is For Us

(Lk 9.49–50)

38John said to him, “Teacher, we saw a man who was driving out demons in your name, and we told him to stop, because he doesn't belong to our group.”

39“Do not try to stop him,” Jesus told them, “because no one who performs a miracle in my name will be able soon afterwards to say evil things about me. 40For whoever is not against us is for us. 41I assure you that anyone who gives you a drink of water because you belong to me will certainly receive his reward.

Temptations to Sin

(Mt 18.6–9; Lk 17.1–2)

42“If anyone should cause one of these little ones to lose his faith in me, it would be better for that person to have a large millstone tied round his neck and be thrown into the sea. 43So if your hand makes you lose your faith, cut it off! It is better for you to enter life without a hand than to keep both hands and go off to hell, to the fire that never goes out. 45And if your foot makes you lose your faith, cut it off! It is better for you to enter life without a foot than to keep both feet and be thrown into hell. 47And if your eye makes you lose your faith, take it out! It is better for you to enter the Kingdom of God with only one eye than to keep both eyes and be thrown into hell. 48There ‘the worms that eat them never die, and the fire that burns them is never put out.’

49“Everyone will be purified by fire as a sacrifice is purified by salt.

50“Salt is good; but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again?

“Have the salt of friendship among yourselves, and live in peace with one another.”

Bible Society of South Africav.4.20.15
Find us on