Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 55

Joshua 1–3, Acts 1–3, Psalms 1 & 119:9–16

Bible text(s)

God Commands Joshua to Conquer Canaan

1After the death of the LORD's servant Moses, the LORD spoke to Moses' helper, Joshua son of Nun. 2He said, “My servant Moses is dead. Get ready now, you and all the people of Israel, and cross the River Jordan into the land that I am giving them. 3As I told Moses, I have given you and all my people the entire land that you will be marching over. 4Your borders will reach from the desert in the south to the Lebanon Mountains in the north; from the great River Euphrates in the east, through the Hittite country, to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5Joshua, no one will be able to defeat you as long as you live. I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will always be with you; I will never abandon you. 6Be determined and confident, for you will be the leader of these people as they occupy this land which I promised their ancestors. 7Just be determined, be confident; and make sure that you obey the whole Law that my servant Moses gave you. Do not neglect any part of it and you will succeed wherever you go. 8Be sure that the book of the Law is always read in your worship. Study it day and night, and make sure that you obey everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9Remember that I have commanded you to be determined and confident! Don't be afraid or discouraged, for I, the LORD your God, am with you wherever you go.”

Joshua Gives Orders to the People

10Then Joshua ordered the leaders to 11go through the camp and say to the people, “Get some food ready, because in three days you are going to cross the River Jordan to occupy the land that the LORD your God is giving you.”

12Joshua said to the tribes of Reuben and Gad and to half the tribe of Manasseh, 13“Remember how Moses, the LORD's servant, told you that the LORD your God would give you this land on the east side of the Jordan as your home. 14Your wives, your children, and your livestock will stay here, but your soldiers, armed for battle, will cross over ahead of their fellow-Israelites in order to help them 15until they have occupied the land west of the Jordan that the LORD your God has given them. When he has given safety to all the tribes of Israel, then you may come back and settle here in your own land east of the Jordan, which Moses, the LORD's servant, gave to you.”

16They answered Joshua, “We will do everything you have told us and will go wherever you send us. 17We will obey you, just as we always obeyed Moses, and may the LORD your God be with you as he was with Moses! 18Whoever questions your authority or disobeys any of your orders will be put to death. Be determined and confident!”

Joshua Sends Spies into Jericho

1Then Joshua sent two spies from the camp at Acacia with orders to go and secretly explore the land of Canaan, especially the city of Jericho. When they came to the city, they went to spend the night in the house of a prostitute named Rahab. 2The king of Jericho heard that some Israelites had come that night to spy out the country, 3so he sent word to Rahab: “The men in your house have come to spy out the whole country! Bring them out!”

4-6“Some men did come to my house,” she answered, “but I don't know where they were from. They left at sunset before the city gate was closed. I didn't find out where they were going, but if you start after them quickly, you can catch them.” (Now Rahab had taken the two spies up on the roof and hidden them under some stalks of flax that she had put there.) 7The king's men left the city, and then the gate was shut. They went looking for the Israelite spies as far as the place where the road crosses the Jordan.

8Before the spies settled down for the night, Rahab went up on the roof 9and said to them, “I know that the LORD has given you this land. Everyone in the country is terrified of you. 10We have heard how the LORD dried up the Red Sea in front of you when you were leaving Egypt. We have also heard how you killed Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan. 11We were afraid as soon as we heard about it; we have all lost our courage because of you. The LORD your God is God in heaven above and here on earth. 12Now swear by him that you will treat my family as kindly as I have treated you, and give me some sign that I can trust you. 13Promise me that you will save my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all their families! Don't let us be killed!”

14The men said to her, “May God take our lives if we don't do as we say! If you do not tell anyone what we have been doing, we promise you that when the LORD gives us this land, we will treat you well.”

15Rahab lived in a house built into the city wall, so she let the men down from the window by a rope. 16“Go into the hill country,” she said, “or the king's men will find you. Hide there for three days until they come back. After that you can go on your way.”

17The men said to her, “We will keep the promise that you have made us give. 18This is what you must do. When we invade your land, tie this red cord to the window you let us down from. Get your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father's family together in your house. 19If anyone goes out of the house, his death will be his own fault, and we will not be responsible; but if anyone in the house with you is harmed, then we will be responsible. 20However, if you tell anyone what we have been doing, then we will not have to keep our promise which you have made us give you.” 21She agreed and sent them away. When they had gone, she tied the red cord to the window.

22The spies went into the hills and hid. The king's men looked for them all over the countryside for three days, but they did not find them, so they returned to Jericho. 23Then the two spies came down from the hills, crossed the river, and went back to Joshua. They told him everything that had happened, 24and then said, “We are sure that the LORD has given us the whole country. All the people there are terrified of us.”

The People of Israel Cross the Jordan

1The next morning Joshua and all the people of Israel got up early, left the camp at Acacia, and went to the Jordan, where they camped while waiting to cross it. 2Three days later the leaders went through the camp 3and said to the people, “When you see the priests carrying the Covenant Box of the LORD your God, break camp and follow them. 4You have never been here before, so they will show you the way to go. But do not get near the Covenant Box; stay about a kilometre behind it.”

5Joshua said to the people, “Purify yourselves, because tomorrow the LORD will perform miracles among you.” 6Then he told the priests to take the Covenant Box and go with it ahead of the people. They did as he said.

7The LORD said to Joshua, “What I do today will make all the people of Israel begin to honour you as a great man, and they will realize that I am with you as I was with Moses. 8Tell the priests carrying the Covenant Box that when they reach the river, they must wade in and stand near the bank.”

9Then Joshua said to the people, “Come here and listen to what the LORD your God has to say. 10As you advance, he will surely drive out the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites. You will know that the living God is among you 11when the Covenant Box of the Lord of all the earth crosses the Jordan ahead of you. 12Now choose twelve men, one from each of the tribes of Israel. 13When the priests who carry the Covenant Box of the LORD of all the earth put their feet in the water, the Jordan will stop flowing, and the water coming downstream will pile up in one place.”

14-15It was harvest time, and the river was in flood.

When the people left the camp to cross the Jordan, the priests went ahead of them, carrying the Covenant Box. As soon as the priests stepped into the river, 16the water stopped flowing and piled up, far upstream at Adam, the city beside Zarethan. The flow downstream to the Dead Sea was completely cut off, and the people were able to cross over near Jericho. 17While the people walked across on dry ground, the priests carrying the LORD's Covenant Box stood on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan until all the people had crossed over.

1Dear Theophilus:

In my first book I wrote about all the things that Jesus did and taught from the time he began his work 2until the day he was taken up to heaven. Before he was taken up, he gave instructions by the power of the Holy Spirit to the men he had chosen as his apostles. 3For forty days after his death he appeared to them many times in ways that proved beyond doubt that he was alive. They saw him, and he talked with them about the Kingdom of God. 4And when they came together, he gave them this order: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift I told you about, the gift my Father promised. 5John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus is Taken Up to Heaven

(Mk 16.19–20; Lk 24.50–53)

6When the apostles met together with Jesus, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time give the Kingdom back to Israel?”

7Jesus said to them, “The times and occasions are set by my Father's own authority, and it is not for you to know when they will be. 8But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9After saying this, he was taken up to heaven as they watched him, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

10They still had their eyes fixed on the sky as he went away, when two men dressed in white suddenly stood beside them 11and said, “Galileans, why are you standing there looking up at the sky? This Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way that you saw him go to heaven.”

Judas' Successor

(Mt 27.3–10)

12Then the apostles went back to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, which is about a kilometre away from the city. 13They entered the city and went up to the room where they were staying: Peter, John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Patriot, and Judas son of James. 14They gathered frequently to pray as a group, together with the women and with Mary the mother of Jesus and with his brothers.

15A few days later there was a meeting of the believers, about 120 in all, and Peter stood up to speak. 16“My fellow-believers,” he said, “the scripture had to come true in which the Holy Spirit, speaking through David, made a prediction about Judas, who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus. 17Judas was a member of our group, for he had been chosen to have a part in our work.”

18(With the money that Judas got for his evil act he bought a field, where he fell to his death; he burst open and all his bowels spilt out. 19All the people living in Jerusalem heard about it, and so in their own language they call that field Akeldama, which means “Field of Blood”.)

20“For it is written in the book of Psalms:

‘May his house become empty;

may no one live in it.’

It is also written:

‘May someone else take his place of service.’

21-22“So then, someone must join us as a witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. He must be one of the men who were in our group during the whole time that the Lord Jesus travelled about with us, beginning from the time John preached his message of baptism until the day Jesus was taken up from us to heaven.”

23So they proposed two men: Joseph, who was called Barsabbas (also known as Justus), and Matthias. 24Then they prayed, “Lord, you know the thoughts of everyone, so show us which of these two you have chosen 25to serve as an apostle in the place of Judas, who left to go to the place where he belongs.” 26Then they drew lots to choose between the two men, and the one chosen was Matthias, who was added to the group of eleven apostles.

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

1When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place. 2Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there. 4They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.

5There were Jews living in Jerusalem, religious people who had come from every country in the world. 6When they heard this noise, a large crowd gathered. They were all excited, because each one of them heard the believers speaking in his or her own language. 7In amazement and wonder they exclaimed, “These people who are talking like this are Galileans! 8How is it, then, that all of us hear them speaking in our own native languages? 9We are from Parthia, Media, and Elam; from Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia; from Pontus and Asia, 10from Phrygia and Pamphylia, from Egypt and the regions of Libya near Cyrene. Some of us are from Rome, 11both Jews and Gentiles converted to Judaism, and some of us are from Crete and Arabia — yet all of us hear them speaking in our own languages about the great things that God has done!” 12Amazed and confused, they kept asking each other, “What does this mean?”

13But others made fun of the believers, saying, “These people are drunk!”

Peter's Message

14Then Peter stood up with the other eleven apostles and in a loud voice began to speak to the crowd: “Fellow-Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, listen to me and let me tell you what this means. 15These people are not drunk, as you suppose; it is only nine o'clock in the morning. 16Instead, this is what the prophet Joel spoke about:

17‘This is what I will do in the last days, God says:

I will pour out my Spirit on everyone.

Your sons and daughters will proclaim my message;

your young men will see visions,

and your old men will have dreams.

18Yes, even on my servants, both men and women,

I will pour out my Spirit in those days,

and they will proclaim my message.

19I will perform miracles in the sky above

and wonders on the earth below.

There will be blood, fire, and thick smoke;

20the sun will be darkened,

and the moon will turn red as blood,

before the great and glorious Day of the Lord comes.

21And then, whoever calls out to the Lord for help will be saved.’

22“Listen to these words, fellow-Israelites! Jesus of Nazareth was a man whose divine authority was clearly proven to you by all the miracles and wonders which God performed through him. You yourselves know this, for it happened here among you. 23In accordance with his own plan God had already decided that Jesus would be handed over to you; and you killed him by letting sinful men crucify him. 24But God raised him from death, setting him free from its power, because it was impossible that death should hold him prisoner. 25For David said about him:

‘I saw the Lord before me at all times;

he is near me, and I will not be troubled.

26And so I am filled with gladness,

and my words are full of joy.

And I, mortal though I am,

will rest assured in hope,

27because you will not abandon me in the world of the dead;

you will not allow your faithful servant to rot in the grave.

28You have shown me the paths that lead to life,

and your presence will fill me with joy.’

29“My fellow-Israelites, I must speak to you plainly about our famous ancestor King David. He died and was buried, and his grave is here with us to this very day. 30He was a prophet, and he knew what God had promised him: God had made a vow that he would make one of David's descendants a king, just as David was. 31David saw what God was going to do in the future, and so he spoke about the resurrection of the Messiah when he said:

‘He was not abandoned in the world of the dead;

his body did not rot in the grave.’

32God has raised this very Jesus from death, and we are all witnesses to this fact. 33He has been raised to the right-hand side of God, his Father, and has received from him the Holy Spirit, as he had promised. What you now see and hear is his gift that he has poured out on us. 34For it was not David who went up into heaven; rather he said:

‘The Lord said to my Lord:

Sit here at my right

35until I put your enemies as a footstool under your feet.’

36“All the people of Israel, then, are to know for sure that this Jesus, whom you crucified, is the one that God has made Lord and Messiah!”

37When the people heard this, they were deeply troubled and said to Peter and the other apostles, “What shall we do, brothers?”

38Peter said to them, “Each one of you must turn away from your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins will be forgiven; and you will receive God's gift, the Holy Spirit. 39For God's promise was made to you and your children, and to all who are far away — all whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

40Peter made his appeal to them and with many other words he urged them, saying, “Save yourselves from the punishment coming on this wicked people!” 41Many of them believed his message and were baptized, and about 3,000 people were added to the group that day. 42They spent their time in learning from the apostles, taking part in the fellowship, and sharing in the fellowship meals and the prayers.

Life among the Believers

43Many miracles and wonders were being done through the apostles, and everyone was filled with awe. 44All the believers continued together in close fellowship and shared their belongings with one another. 45They would sell their property and possessions, and distribute the money among all, according to what each one needed. 46Day after day they met as a group in the Temple, and they had their meals together in their homes, eating with glad and humble hearts, 47praising God, and enjoying the good will of all the people. And every day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.

A Lame Man is Healed

1One day Peter and John went to the Temple at three o'clock in the afternoon, the hour for prayer. 2There at the Beautiful Gate, as it was called, was a man who had been lame all his life. Every day he was carried to the gate to beg for money from the people who were going into the Temple. 3When he saw Peter and John going in, he begged them to give him something. 4They looked straight at him, and Peter said, “Look at us!” 5So he looked at them, expecting to get something from them. 6But Peter said to him, “I have no money at all, but I give you what I have: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth I order you to get up and walk!” 7Then he took him by his right hand and helped him up. At once the man's feet and ankles became strong; 8he jumped up, stood on his feet, and started walking around. Then he went into the Temple with them, walking and jumping and praising God. 9The people there saw him walking and praising God, 10and when they recognized him as the beggar who had sat at the Beautiful Gate, they were all surprised and amazed at what had happened to him.

Peter's Message in the Temple

11As the man held on to Peter and John in Solomon's Porch, as it was called, the people were amazed and ran to them. 12When Peter saw the people, he said to them, “Fellow-Israelites, why are you surprised at this, and why do you stare at us? Do you think that it was by means of our own power or godliness that we made this man walk? 13The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, has given divine glory to his Servant Jesus. But you handed him over to the authorities, and you rejected him in Pilate's presence, even after Pilate had decided to set him free. 14He was holy and good, but you rejected him, and instead you asked Pilate to do you the favour of turning loose a murderer. 15You killed the one who leads to life, but God raised him from death — and we are witnesses to this. 16It was the power of his name that gave strength to this lame man. What you see and know was done by faith in his name; it was faith in Jesus that has made him well, as you can all see.

17“And now, my fellow-Israelites, I know that what you and your leaders did to Jesus was due to your ignorance. 18God announced long ago through all the prophets that his Messiah had to suffer; and he made it come true in this way. 19Repent, then, and turn to God, so that he will forgive your sins. If you do, 20times of spiritual strength will come from the Lord, and he will send Jesus, who is the Messiah he has already chosen for you. 21He must remain in heaven until the time comes for all things to be made new, as God announced through his holy prophets who lived long ago. 22For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will send you a prophet, just as he sent me, and he will be one of your own people. You are to obey everything that he tells you to do. 23Anyone who does not obey that prophet shall be separated from God's people and destroyed.’ 24And all the prophets who had a message, including Samuel and those who came after him, also announced what has been happening these days. 25The promises of God through his prophets are for you, and you share in the covenant which God made with your ancestors. As he said to Abraham, ‘Through your descendants I will bless all the people on earth.’ 26And so God chose his Servant and sent him first to you, to bless you by making every one of you turn away from your wicked ways.”

Book One

Psalms 1—41

True Happiness

1Happy are those

who reject the advice of evil people,

who do not follow the example of sinners

or join those who have no use for God.

2Instead, they find joy in obeying the Law of the LORD,

and they study it day and night.

3They are like trees that grow beside a stream,

that bear fruit at the right time,

and whose leaves do not dry up.

They succeed in everything they do.

4But evil people are not like this at all;

they are like straw that the wind blows away.

5Sinners will be condemned by God

and kept apart from God's own people.

6The righteous are guided and protected by the LORD,

but the evil are on the way to their doom.

Obedience to the Law of the LORD

9How can young people keep their lives pure?

By obeying your commands.

10With all my heart I try to serve you;

keep me from disobeying your commandments.

11I keep your law in my heart,

so that I will not sin against you.

12I praise you, O LORD;

teach me your ways.

13I will repeat aloud

all the laws you have given.

14I delight in following your commands

more than in having great wealth.

15I study your instructions;

I examine your teachings.

16I take pleasure in your laws;

your commands I will not forget.

Psalms 119:9-16GNBOpen in Bible reader
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