Today’s Bible Reading

July 4

Old Testament I
Joshua 20, 21
Joshua 20 and 21 describe the allocation of the cities of refuge and the Levitical cities to the tribes of Israel.

In Joshua 20, the Lord commanded Joshua to set apart six cities of refuge, three on the west side of the Jordan River and three on the east side. These cities were to be places of refuge for anyone who unintentionally killed someone, providing a safe haven until the accused could receive a fair trial. The six cities of refuge were Kedesh in Galilee, Shechem in Ephraim, Kiriath Arba (Hebron) in Judah, Bezer in Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead, and Golan in Bashan.

In Joshua 21, the Levites were given forty-eight cities scattered throughout the tribes of Israel as their inheritance, along with the surrounding pasturelands. The Levites did not receive a traditional portion of the land as an inheritance, but rather served the Lord and the people by performing various priestly duties in the tabernacle and later the temple. The Levitical cities were spread out so that the Levites could easily minister to the people throughout the land.

Overall, these chapters demonstrate the importance of justice and mercy in the eyes of God, as well as the fulfillment of God's promise to provide for the Levites who dedicated their lives to serving Him.

Old Testament II
Isaiah 14
Isaiah 14 is a prophetic chapter in the Bible that contains a message of judgment against Babylon, a powerful and oppressive empire of the time. Here's a summary of the chapter:

Verse 1-2: The Lord will show mercy to Israel and restore them to their land.

Verse 3-4: The Israelites will rejoice and taunt their oppressors, including Babylon.

Verse 5-11: A taunt against the king of Babylon, who is described as proud and arrogant, but who will be brought down to the grave.

Verse 12-15: A description of the fall of Babylon's king, who is likened to the morning star, or Lucifer, who fell from heaven because of his pride.

Verse 16-21: The nations who were oppressed by Babylon will rejoice at its downfall.

Verse 22-23: The Lord will destroy Babylon and make it a place of desolation.

Verse 24-27: The Lord will carry out his plans for Babylon and no one can thwart his purposes.

Verse 28-32: A prophecy about the fall of Philistia, another nation that oppressed Israel.

New Testament
1 Thessalonians 5
 1 Thessalonians 5 is the last chapter of the first letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica. In this chapter, Paul continues to encourage and instruct the believers in Thessalonica about how to live as followers of Christ.

Verse 1-3: Paul starts by reminding the Thessalonians about the suddenness of Christ's return, which will come like a thief in the night. He urges them to be watchful and sober, so that they are not caught off guard when that day comes.

Verse 4-8: Paul then goes on to talk about the difference between those who are of the day (i.e., believers) and those who are of the night (i.e., unbelievers). He encourages the Thessalonians to be sober-minded and to put on the breastplate of faith and love and the helmet of hope in salvation.

Verse 9-11: Paul then reminds the Thessalonians that God has not appointed them to wrath but to obtain salvation through Jesus Christ. He encourages them to encourage and build up one another, and to live in peace with one another.

Verse 12-13: Paul exhorts the Thessalonians to respect and esteem their leaders and to live in peace with them. He urges them to be diligent in their work and to not grow weary in doing good.

Verse 14-15: Paul then addresses how to deal with those who are unruly or discouraged. He instructs the Thessalonians to admonish the unruly, encourage the faint-hearted, and help the weak.

Verse 16-22: Paul ends the letter with a series of exhortations, including to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, and not quench the Spirit or despise prophecies. He also urges them to test everything and hold fast to what is good, abstain from every form of evil.

Verse 23-24: Paul concludes with a prayer for the Thessalonians, asking God to sanctify them completely and preserve them blameless until the coming of Christ. He affirms that God, who called them, is faithful and will do it.