Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 5

Genesis 12–16, John 8–9

Bible text(s)

God's Call to Abram

1The LORD said to Abram, “Leave your country, your relatives, and your father's home, and go to a land that I am going to show you. 2I will give you many descendants, and they will become a great nation. I will bless you and make your name famous, so that you will be a blessing.

3I will bless those who bless you,

But I will curse those who curse you.

And through you I will bless all the nations.”

4When Abram was 75 years old, he started out from Haran, as the LORD had told him to do; and Lot went with him. 5Abram took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all the wealth and all the slaves they had acquired in Haran, and they started out for the land of Canaan.

When they arrived in Canaan, 6Abram travelled through the land until he came to the sacred tree of Moreh, the holy place at Shechem. (At that time the Canaanites were still living in the land.) 7The LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “This is the country that I am going to give to your descendants.” Then Abram built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him. 8After that, he moved on south to the hill country east of the city of Bethel and set up his camp between Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There also he built an altar and worshipped the LORD. 9Then he moved on from place to place, going towards the southern part of Canaan.

Abram in Egypt

10But there was a famine in Canaan, and it was so bad that Abram went farther south to Egypt, to live there for a while. 11When he was about to cross the border into Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “You are a beautiful woman. 12When the Egyptians see you, they will assume that you are my wife, and so they will kill me and let you live. 13Tell them that you are my sister; then because of you they will let me live and treat me well.” 14When he crossed the border into Egypt, the Egyptians did see that his wife was beautiful. 15Some of the court officials saw her and told the king how beautiful she was; so she was taken to his palace. 16Because of her the king treated Abram well and gave him flocks of sheep and goats, cattle, donkeys, slaves, and camels.

17But because the king had taken Sarai, the LORD sent terrible diseases on him and on the people of his palace. 18Then the king sent for Abram and asked him, “What have you done to me? Why didn't you tell me that she was your wife? 19Why did you say that she was your sister, and let me take her as my wife? Here is your wife; take her and get out!” 20The king gave orders to his men, so they took Abram and put him out of the country, together with his wife and everything he owned.

Genesis 12GNBOpen in Bible reader

Abram and Lot Separate

1Abram went north out of Egypt to the southern part of Canaan with his wife and everything he owned, and Lot went with him. 2Abram was a very rich man, with sheep, goats, and cattle, as well as silver and gold. 3Then he left there and moved from place to place, going towards Bethel. He reached the place between Bethel and Ai where he had camped before 4and had built an altar. There he worshipped the LORD.

5Lot also had sheep, goats, and cattle, as well as his own family and servants. 6And so there was not enough pasture land for the two of them to stay together, because they had too many animals. 7So quarrels broke out between the men who took care of Abram's animals and those who took care of Lot's animals. (At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were still living in the land.)

8Then Abram said to Lot, “We are relatives, and your men and my men shouldn't be quarrelling. 9So let's separate. Choose any part of the land you want. You go one way, and I'll go the other.”

10Lot looked round and saw that the whole Jordan Valley, all the way to Zoar, had plenty of water, like the Garden of the LORD or like the land of Egypt. (This was before the LORD had destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11So Lot chose the whole Jordan Valley for himself and moved away towards the east. That is how the two men parted. 12Abram stayed in the land of Canaan, and Lot settled among the cities in the valley and camped near Sodom, 13whose people were wicked and sinned against the LORD.

Abram Moves to Hebron

14After Lot had left, the LORD said to Abram, “From where you are, look carefully in all directions. 15I am going to give you and your descendants all the land that you see, and it will be yours for ever. 16I am going to give you so many descendants that no one will be able to count them all; it would be as easy to count all the specks of dust on earth! 17Now, go and look over the whole land, because I am going to give it all to you.” 18So Abram moved his camp and settled near the sacred trees of Mamre at Hebron, and there he built an altar to the LORD.

Genesis 13GNBOpen in Bible reader

Abram Rescues Lot

1Four kings, Amraphel of Babylonia, Arioch of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer of Elam, and Tidal of Goiim, 2went to war against five other kings: Bera of Sodom, Birsha of Gomorrah, Shinab of Admah, Shemeber of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (or Zoar). 3These five kings had formed an alliance and joined forces in the Valley of Siddim, which is now the Dead Sea. 4They had been under the control of Chedorlaomer for twelve years, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled against him. 5In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and his allies came with their armies and defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in the plain of Kiriathaim, 6and the Horites in the mountains of Edom, pursuing them as far as Elparan on the edge of the desert. 7Then they turned round and came back to Kadesh (then known as Enmishpat). They conquered all the land of the Amalekites and defeated the Amorites who lived in Hazazon Tamar.

8Then the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela drew up their armies for battle in the Valley of Siddim and fought 9against the kings of Elam, Goiim, Babylonia, and Ellasar, five kings against four. 10The valley was full of tar pits, and when the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah tried to run away from the battle, they fell into the pits; but the other three kings escaped to the mountains. 11The four kings took everything in Sodom and Gomorrah, including the food, and went away. 12Lot, Abram's nephew, was living in Sodom, so they took him and all his possessions.

13But a man escaped and reported all this to Abram, the Hebrew, who was living near the sacred trees belonging to Mamre the Amorite. Mamre and his brothers Eshcol and Aner were Abram's allies. 14When Abram heard that his nephew had been captured, he called together all the fighting men in his camp, 318 in all, and pursued the four kings all the way to Dan. 15There he divided his men into groups, attacked the enemy by night, and defeated them. He chased them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus, 16and recovered the loot that had been taken. He also brought back his nephew Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other prisoners.

Melchizedek Blesses Abram

17When Abram came back from his victory over Chedorlaomer and the other kings, the king of Sodom went out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (also called the King's Valley). 18And Melchizedek, who was king of Salem and also a priest of the Most High God, brought bread and wine to Abram, 19blessed him, and said, “May the Most High God, who made heaven and earth, bless Abram! 20May the Most High God, who gave you victory over your enemies, be praised!” And Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the loot he had recovered.

21The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Keep the loot, but give me back all my people.”

22Abram answered, “I solemnly swear before the LORD, the Most High God, Maker of heaven and earth, 23that I will not keep anything of yours, not even a thread or a sandal strap. Then you can never say, ‘I am the one who made Abram rich.’ 24I will take nothing for myself. I will accept only what my men have used. But let my allies, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre, take their share.”

Genesis 14GNBOpen in Bible reader

God's Covenant with Abram

1After this, Abram had a vision and heard the LORD say to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I will shield you from danger and give you a great reward.”

2But Abram answered, “Sovereign LORD, what good will your reward do me, since I have no children? My only heir is Eliezer of Damascus. 3You have given me no children, and one of my slaves will inherit my property.”

4Then he heard the LORD speaking to him again: “This slave Eliezer will not inherit your property; your own son will be your heir.” 5The LORD took him outside and said, “Look at the sky and try to count the stars; you will have as many descendants as that.”

6Abram put his trust in the LORD, and because of this the LORD was pleased with him and accepted him.

7Then the LORD said to him, “I am the LORD, who led you out of Ur in Babylonia, to give you this land as your own.”

8But Abram asked, “Sovereign LORD, how can I know that it will be mine?”

9He answered, “Bring me a cow, a goat, and a ram, each of them three years old, and a dove and a pigeon.” 10Abram brought the animals to God, cut them in half, and placed the halves opposite each other in two rows; but he did not cut up the birds. 11Vultures came down on the bodies, but Abram drove them off.

12When the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and fear and terror came over him. 13The LORD said to him, “Your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land; they will be slaves there and will be treated cruelly for 400 years. 14But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and when they leave that foreign land, they will take great wealth with them. 15You yourself will live to a ripe old age, die in peace, and be buried. 16It will be four generations before your descendants come back here, because I will not drive out the Amorites until they become so wicked that they must be punished.”

17When the sun had set and it was dark, a smoking fire-pot and a flaming torch suddenly appeared and passed between the pieces of the animals. 18Then and there the LORD made a covenant with Abram. He said, “I promise to give your descendants all this land from the border of Egypt to the River Euphrates, 19including the lands of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”

Genesis 15GNBOpen in Bible reader

Hagar and Ishmael

1Abram's wife Sarai had not borne him any children. But she had an Egyptian slave woman named Hagar, 2and so she said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Why don't you sleep with my slave? Perhaps she can have a child for me.” Abram agreed with what Sarai said. 3So she gave Hagar to him to be his concubine. (This happened after Abram had lived in Canaan for ten years.) 4Abram had intercourse with Hagar, and she became pregnant. When she found out that she was pregnant, she became proud and despised Sarai.

5Then Sarai said to Abram, “It's your fault that Hagar despises me. I myself gave her to you, and ever since she found out that she was pregnant, she has despised me. May the LORD judge which of us is right, you or me!”

6Abram answered, “Very well, she is your slave and under your control; do whatever you want with her.” Then Sarai treated Hagar so cruelly that she ran away.

7The angel of the LORD met Hagar at a spring in the desert on the road to Shur 8and said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?”

She answered, “I am running away from my mistress.”

9He said, “Go back to her and be her slave.” 10Then he said, “I will give you so many descendants that no one will be able to count them. 11You are going to have a son, and you will name him Ishmael, because the LORD has heard your cry of distress. 12But your son will live like a wild donkey; he will be against everyone, and everyone will be against him. He will live apart from all his relatives.”

13Hagar asked herself, “Have I really seen God and lived to tell about it?” So she called the LORD who had spoken to her “A God who Sees”. 14That is why people call the well between Kadesh and Bered “The Well of the Living One who Sees Me”.

15Hagar bore Abram a son, and he named him Ishmael. 16Abram was 86 years old at the time.

Genesis 16GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Woman Caught in Adultery

[ 1Then everyone went home, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2Early the next morning he went back to the Temple. All the people gathered round him, and he sat down and began to teach them. 3The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees brought in a woman who had been caught committing adultery, and they made her stand before them all. 4“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5In our Law Moses commanded that such a woman must be stoned to death. Now, what do you say?” 6They said this to trap Jesus, so that they could accuse him. But he bent over and wrote on the ground with his finger.

7As they stood there asking him questions, he straightened himself up and said to them, “Whichever one of you has committed no sin may throw the first stone at her.” 8Then he bent over again and wrote on the ground. 9When they heard this, they all left, one by one, the older ones first. Jesus was left alone, with the woman still standing there. 10He straightened himself up and said to her, “Where are they? Is there no one left to condemn you?”

11“No one, sir,” she answered.

“Well, then,” Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go, but do not sin again.”]

Jesus the Light of the World

12Jesus spoke to the Pharisees again. “I am the light of the world,” he said. “Whoever follows me will have the light of life and will never walk in darkness.”

13The Pharisees said to him, “Now you are testifying on your own behalf; what you say proves nothing.”

14“No,” Jesus answered, “even though I do testify on my own behalf, what I say is true, because I know where I came from and where I am going. You do not know where I came from or where I am going. 15You make judgements in a purely human way; I pass judgement on no one. 16But if I were to do so, my judgement would be true, because I am not alone in this; the Father who sent me is with me. 17It is written in your Law that when two witnesses agree, what they say is true. 18I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me also testifies on my behalf.”

19“Where is your father?” they asked him.

“You know neither me nor my Father,” Jesus answered. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”

20Jesus said all this as he taught in the Temple, in the room where the offering boxes were placed. And no one arrested him, because his hour had not come.

You cannot Go Where I am Going

21Again Jesus said to them, “I will go away; you will look for me, but you will die in your sins. You cannot go where I am going.”

22So the Jewish authorities said, “He says that we cannot go where he is going. Does this mean that he will kill himself?”

23Jesus answered, “You belong to this world here below, but I come from above. You are from this world, but I am not from this world. 24That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. And you will die in your sins if you do not believe that ‘I Am Who I Am’.”

25“Who are you?” they asked him.

Jesus answered, “What I have told you from the very beginning. 26I have much to say about you, much to condemn you for. The one who sent me, however, is truthful, and I tell the world only what I have heard from him.”

27They did not understand that Jesus was talking to them about the Father. 28So he said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, you will know that ‘I Am Who I Am’; then you will know that I do nothing on my own authority, but I say only what the Father has instructed me to say. 29And he who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, because I always do what pleases him.”

30Many who heard Jesus say these things believed in him.

The Truth will Set you Free

31So Jesus said to those who believed in him, “If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples; 32you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

33“We are the descendants of Abraham,” they answered, “and we have never been anybody's slaves. What do you mean, then, by saying, ‘You will be free’?”

34Jesus said to them, “I am telling you the truth: everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35A slave does not belong to a family permanently, but a son belongs there for ever. 36If the Son sets you free, then you will be really free. 37I know you are Abraham's descendants. Yet you are trying to kill me, because you will not accept my teaching. 38I talk about what my Father has shown me, but you do what your father has told you.”

39They answered him, “Our father is Abraham.”

“If you really were Abraham's children,” Jesus replied, “you would do the same things that he did. 40All I have ever done is to tell you the truth I heard from God, yet you are trying to kill me. Abraham did nothing like this! 41You are doing what your father did.”

“God himself is the only Father we have,” they answered, “and we are his true children.”

42Jesus said to them, “If God really were your Father, you would love me, because I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own authority, but he sent me. 43Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to listen to my message. 44You are the children of your father, the Devil, and you want to follow your father's desires. From the very beginning he was a murderer and has never been on the side of truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he is only doing what is natural to him, because he is a liar and the father of all lies. 45But I tell the truth, and that is why you do not believe me. 46Which one of you can prove that I am guilty of sin? If I tell the truth, then why do you not believe me? 47He who comes from God listens to God's words. You, however, are not from God, and that is why you will not listen.”

Jesus and Abraham

48They asked Jesus, “Were we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon in you?”

49“I have no demon,” Jesus answered. “I honour my Father, but you dishonour me. 50I am not seeking honour for myself. But there is one who is seeking it and who judges in my favour. 51I am telling you the truth: whoever obeys my teaching will never die.”

52They said to him, “Now we are certain that you have a demon! Abraham died, and the prophets died, yet you say that whoever obeys your teaching will never die. 53Our father Abraham died; you do not claim to be greater than Abraham, do you? And the prophets also died. Who do you think you are?”

54Jesus answered, “If I were to honour myself, that honour would be worth nothing. The one who honours me is my Father — the very one you say is your God. 55You have never known him, but I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him, and I obey his word. 56Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see the time of my coming; he saw it and was glad.”

57They said to him, “You are not even fifty years old — and you have seen Abraham?”

58“I am telling you the truth,” Jesus replied. “Before Abraham was born, ‘I Am’.”

59Then they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and left the Temple.

Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind

1As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been born blind. 2His disciples asked him, “Teacher, whose sin caused him to be born blind? Was it his own or his parents' sin?”

3Jesus answered, “His blindness has nothing to do with his sins or his parents' sins. He is blind so that God's power might be seen at work in him. 4As long as it is day, we must keep on doing the work of him who sent me; night is coming when no one can work. 5While I am in the world, I am the light for the world.”

6After he said this, Jesus spat on the ground and made some mud with the spittle; he rubbed the mud on the man's eyes 7and said, “Go and wash your face in the Pool of Siloam.” (This name means “Sent”.) So the man went, washed his face, and came back seeing.

8His neighbours, then, and the people who had seen him begging before this, asked, “Isn't this the man who used to sit and beg?”

9Some said, “He is the one,” but others said, “No he isn't; he just looks like him.”

So the man himself said, “I am the man.”

10“How is it that you can now see?” they asked him.

11He answered, “The man called Jesus made some mud, rubbed it on my eyes, and told me to go to Siloam and wash my face. So I went, and as soon as I washed, I could see.”

12“Where is he?” they asked.

“I don't know,” he answered.

The Pharisees Investigate the Healing

13Then they took to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14The day that Jesus made the mud and cured him of his blindness was a Sabbath. 15The Pharisees, then, asked the man again how he had received his sight. He told them, “He put some mud on my eyes; I washed my face, and now I can see.”

16Some of the Pharisees said, “The man who did this cannot be from God, for he does not obey the Sabbath law.”

Others, however, said, “How could a man who is a sinner perform such miracles as these?” And there was a division among them.

17So the Pharisees asked the man once more, “You say he cured you of your blindness — well, what do you say about him?”

“He is a prophet,” the man answered.

18The Jewish authorities, however, were not willing to believe that he had been blind and could now see, until they called his parents 19and asked them, “Is this your son? You say that he was born blind; how is it, then, that he can now see?”

20His parents answered, “We know that he is our son, and we know that he was born blind. 21But we do not know how it is that he is now able to see, nor do we know who cured him of his blindness. Ask him; he is old enough, and he can answer for himself!” 22His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities, who had already agreed that anyone who said he believed that Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue. 23That is why his parents said, “He is old enough; ask him!”

24A second time they called back the man who had been born blind, and said to him, “Promise before God that you will tell the truth! We know that this man who cured you is a sinner.”

25“I do not know if he is a sinner or not,” the man replied. “One thing I do know: I was blind, and now I see.”

26“What did he do to you?” they asked. “How did he cure you of your blindness?”

27“I have already told you,” he answered, “and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Maybe you, too, would like to be his disciples?”

28They cursed him and said, “You are that fellow's disciple; but we are Moses' disciples. 29We know that God spoke to Moses; as for that fellow, however, we do not even know where he comes from!”

30The man answered, “What a strange thing that is! You do not know where he comes from, but he cured me of my blindness! 31We know that God does not listen to sinners; he does listen to people who respect him and do what he wants them to do. 32Since the beginning of the world nobody has ever heard of anyone giving sight to a person born blind. 33Unless this man came from God, he would not be able to do a thing.”

34They answered, “You were born and brought up in sin — and you are trying to teach us?” And they expelled him from the synagogue.

Spiritual Blindness

35When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

36The man answered, “Tell me who he is, sir, so that I can believe in him!”

37Jesus said to him, “You have already seen him, and he is the one who is talking with you now.”

38“I believe, Lord!” the man said, and knelt down before Jesus.

39Jesus said, “I came to this world to judge, so that the blind should see and those who see should become blind.”

40Some Pharisees who were there with him heard him say this and asked him, “Surely you don't mean that we are blind, too?”

41Jesus answered, “If you were blind, then you would not be guilty; but since you claim that you can see, this means that you are still guilty.”

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