Day 122 of the Holy Bible One Year Challenge. Israelites give land to the priests. A suspicious altar is built. Jesus teaches Nicodemus about baptism.

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Joshua 21:20-45

Joshua 22

John 3:1-21

Psalm 55:1-11

You're listening to the "Holy Bible One Year CHALLENGE" with Master Storyteller, Michael Wood. Featuring the Holy Bible Easy-to-Read version and used by permission from Bible League International

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Joshua 21:20-45

20 The other people from the Kohathite

family groups were given towns that were in the areas that belonged to the tribe of Ephraim. They got these towns: 21 the city of Shechem from the hill country of Ephraim (which was a city of safety), Gezer, 22 Kibzaim and Beth Horon. In all, Ephraim gave them four towns and some fields around each town for their animals.

23 The tribe of Dan gave them Eltekeh, Gibbethon, 24 Aijalon and Gath Rimmon. In all, Dan gave them four towns and some fields around each town for their animals.

25 The half-tribe of Manasseh gave them Taanach and Gath Rimmon. In all, they gave the priests two towns and some fields around each town for their animals.

26 In all, the rest of the people from the Kohath family groups got ten towns and some fields around each town for their animals.

27 The Gershon family groups were also from the tribe of Levi. They got these towns: the half-tribe of Manasseh gave them Golan in Bashan. (Golan was a city of safety.) Manasseh also gave them Be Eshtarah. In all, this half of Manasseh gave them two towns and some fields around each town for their animals. 28 The tribe of Issachar gave them Kishion, Daberath, 29 Jarmuth and En Gannim. In all, Issachar gave them four towns and some land around each town for their animals.

30 The tribe of Asher gave them Mishal, Abdon, 31 Helkath and Rehob. In all, Asher gave them four towns and some fields around each town for their animals.

32 The tribe of Naphtali gave them Kedesh in Galilee. (Kedesh was a city of safety.) Naphtali also gave them Ham- moth Dor and Kartan. In all, Naphtali gave them three towns and some fields around each town for their animals.

33 In all, the Gershon family groups got 13 towns and some fields around each town for their animals.

34–39 The other Levite group was the Merari family group. They were given these four towns from the tribe of Zebulun: Jokneam, Kartah, Dimnah and Nahalal. With the towns, Zebulun gave them land around each town as pasture for their animals. The tribe of Reuben gave them these four towns with land for their animals: Bezer, Jahaz, Kedemoth and Mephaath. The tribe of Gad gave them Ramoth in Gilead. (Ramoth was a city of safety.) Gad also gave them Mahanaim, Heshbon and Jazer. In all, Gad gave them four towns with land for their animals.

40 In all, the last family of Levites, the Merari family, got twelve towns.

41 So the Levites were given a total of 48 towns and some fields around each town for their animals. All these towns were in areas that belonged to the other tribes. 42 Each of these towns had some fields for their animals.

43 So the LORD kept the promise that he had made to the Israelites and gave the people all the land that he had promised. The people took the land and lived there. 44 And the LORD allowed them to have peace on all sides of their land, just as he had promised their ancestors. None of their enemies defeated them. The LORD allowed the Israelites to defeat every enemy. 45 The LORD kept every promise that he made to the Israelites. There were no promises that he failed to keep. Every promise came true.

Joshua 22

Three Tribes Go Home

Then Joshua called a meeting of all the people from the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh. 2 Joshua said to them, “Moses was the LORD’s servant. You obeyed everything that Moses told you to do. And you also obeyed all my commands. 3 For a long time you have supported the other Israelites. You carefully obeyed all the commands that the LORD your God gave you. 4 The LORD your God promised to give the Israelites peace. And he has kept his promise, so now you can go home. The LORD’s servant Moses gave you the land on the east side of the Jordan River. Now you can go home to that land. 5 But remember—continue to obey the Law that the LORD’s servant Moses gave you. You must love the LORD your God and obey his commands. You must continue to follow him and serve him the very best that you can.”

6 Then Joshua said goodbye to them, and they left and went home. 7 Moses had given the land of Bashan to half of the Manasseh tribe. Joshua gave land on the west side of the Jordan River to the other half of the tribe of Manasseh. Joshua blessed them and sent them home. 8 He said, “You have become very rich. You have many animals. You have gold, silver, and expensive jewelry. You have many clothes. You have taken many things from your enemies. Go home and divide these things among yourselves.”

9 So the people from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh left the Israelites at Shiloh in Canaan. They went back home to Gilead. This was their own land, the land that Moses gave them, as the LORD had commanded.

10 They went to the place called Geliloth, near the Jordan River in the land of Canaan. There they built a beautiful altar. 11 The Israelites heard about this altar at Geliloth. They heard that it was on the border of Canaan near the Jordan River on Israel’s side. 12 When the Israelites heard this, they all gathered at Shiloh to go to war against these three tribes.

13 The Israelites sent some men to talk to the people of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh. The leader of these men was Phinehas, son of Eleazar the priest. 14 They also sent ten of the leaders of the tribes there. There was one man from each family group of Israel who was at Shiloh.

15 So these eleven men went to Gilead. They went to talk to the people of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh. The eleven men said to them, 16 “All the LORD’s people sent us to ask why you did this thing against the God of Israel. Why did you stop following the LORD? Why did you build an altar for yourselves? You know that this is against the LORD’s command. 17 Remember what happened at Peor? Was the sin we committed there not bad enough? Because of that sin, the LORD punished his people with a terrible sickness. And we are still suffering from that sin. 18 And now you are doing the same thing. You are turning against the LORD. Will you refuse to follow the LORD? If you don’t stop what you are doing, he will be angry with everyone in Israel.

19 “If your land is not a suitable place for worshipping God, come over to our land, where the LORD’s Tent is. You can have some of our land and live here. But don’t turn against the LORD or against us by building another altar. We already have the altar of the LORD our God at the Meeting Tent.

20 “Remember how Achan son of Zerah refused to obey the command about things that must be destroyed. Because that one man broke God’s law, all the Israelites were punished. Achan died because of his sin, but also many other people died.”

21 The people from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh answered the eleven men. They said, 22 “The LORD is our God!* Again we say that the LORD is our God! And God knows why we did this. We want you to know too. You can judge what we did. If you think we did it because we are against the LORD or refuse to obey him, you can kill us today. 23 Do you think we built our own altar because we want to turn away from the LORD? Do you think we built another altar for burnt offerings, grain offerings, and fellowship offerings? If that is why we built this al- tar, we ask the LORD himself to punish us. 24 But that is not why we built it. We built it because we were afraid that in the future your descendants might not accept us as part of God’s people. So your children might say to our children, ‘You people have no reason to worship the LORD, the God of Israel. 25 The LORD separated you people of Reuben and Gad from us by giving you the land on the other side of the Jordan River. So you are not part of the LORD’s people.’ If your children said that, it might make our children stop worshipping the LORD.

26 “So we decided to build this altar. But we did not plan to use it for burning offerings and sacrifices. 27 We built it to be a reminder for us and for you and for our descendants. We want it to remind them that we, too, have the right to worship the LORD at his holy place. We can take our sacrifices, grain offerings, and fellowship offerings there and offer them to the LORD. Then your descendants will not be able to say to ours, ‘You are not part of the LORD’s people.’ 28 In the future, if it happens that your children say that we don’t belong to Israel, then our children can say, ‘Look, our fathers who lived before us made an altar. That al- tar is exactly like the LORD’s altar at the Holy Tent. We don’t use this altar for sacrifices—this altar is proof that we are part of Israel.’

29 “We certainly don’t want to be against the LORD. We don’t want to stop following him now. We know that the only true altar is the one that is in front of the Holy Tent. That altar belongs to the LORD our God.”

30 Phinehas the priest and the leaders with him heard what the people from Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh said. They were satisfied that they were telling the truth. 31 So Phinehas the priest said, “Now we know that the LORD is with us and that you did not turn against him. We are happy that the Israelites will not be punished by the LORD.”

32 Then Phinehas and the leaders left that place and went home. They left the people of Reuben and Gad in the land of Gilead and went back to Canaan. They went back to the Israelites and told them what had happened. 33 The Israelites were also satisfied. They were happy and thanked God. They decided not to go and fight against the people of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh. They decided not to destroy the land where those people live.

34 The people of Reuben and Gad gave the altar this name: “A Reminder to Us All That the LORD Is Our God.”

John 3:1-21

There was a man named Nicodemus, one of the Pharisees. He was an important Jewish leader. 2 One night he came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a teacher sent from God. No one can do these miraculous signs that you do unless they have God’s help.”

3 Jesus answered, “I assure you, every- one must be born again.* Anyone who is not born again cannot be in God’s kingdom.”

4 Nicodemus said, “How can a man who is already old be born again? Can he go back into his mother’s womb and be born a second time?”

5 Jesus answered, “Believe me when I say that everyone must be born from water and the Spirit. Anyone who is not born from water and the Spirit cannot enter God’s kingdom. 6 The only life people get from their human parents is physical. But the new life that the Spirit gives a person is spiritual. 7 Don’t be surprised that I told you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it wants to. You hear it, but you don’t know where it is coming from or where it is going. It is the same with everyone who is born from the Spirit.”

9 Nicodemus asked, “How is all this possible?”

10 Jesus said, “You are an important teacher of Israel, and you still don’t understand these things? 11 The truth is, we talk about what we know. We tell about what we have seen. But you people don’t accept what we tell you. 12 I have told you about things here on earth, but you do not believe me. So I’m sure you will not believe me if I tell you about heavenly things! 13 The only one who has ever gone up to God in heaven is the one who came down from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Remember the bronze snake that Moses lifted up in the desert?† Well, the Son of Man must be lifted up like that. 15 Then everyone who believes in him can have eternal life.

16 “Yes, this is how God showed his great love for the world: he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world. He did not send him to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through him. 18 People who believe in God’s Son are not judged guilty. But people who do not believe are already judged because they have not believed in God’s only Son. 19 They are judged by this fact: the light¶ has come into the world. But they did not want light. They wanted darkness because they were doing evil things. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light. They will not come to the light, because they do not want the light to show the bad things they have done. 21 But anyone who follows the true way comes to the light. Then the light will show that God is at work in all they do.”

Psalm 55:1-11

For the music director: with instruments. A maskil of David.

God, hear my prayer.

Don’t ignore my cry for help.

2 Please listen and answer me.

Let me speak to you and tell you what upsets me.

3 My enemies shout at me

and threaten me.

In their anger they attack me.

They bring troubles crashing down on me.

4 My heart is pounding inside me.

I am afraid to die.

5 I am trembling with fear. I am terrified!

6 Oh, I wish I had wings like a dove.

I would fly away and find a place to rest.

7 I would run far away

and live in the desert. Selah

8 I would hurry and find a place to hide.

I would escape from this storm of trouble.

9 My Lord, confuse their words and stop

their plans.

I see so much cruelty and fighting in this city.

10 Day and night, in every neighborhood,

the city is filled with evil and trouble.

11 There is so much crime in the streets.

People who hurt and cheat others are everywhere.

12 If it were an enemy insulting me,