Signs of power
4 Then Moses replied, “But what if they don’t believe me or pay attention to me? They might say to me, ‘The Lord didn’t appear to you!’”
2 The Lord said to him, “What’s that in your hand?”
Moses replied, “A shepherd’s rod.”
3 The Lord said, “Throw it down on the ground.” So Moses threw it on the ground, and it turned into a snake. Moses jumped back from it. 4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach out and grab the snake by the tail.” So Moses reached out and grabbed it, and it turned back into a rod in his hand. 5 “Do this so that they will believe that the Lord, the God of their ancestors, Abraham’s God, Isaac’s God, and Jacob’s God has in fact appeared to you.”
6 Again, the Lord said to Moses, “Put your hand inside your coat.” So Moses put his hand inside his coat. When he took his hand out, his hand had a skin disease flaky like snow. 7 Then God said, “Put your hand back inside your coat.” So Moses put his hand back inside his coat. When he took it back out again, the skin of his hand had returned to normal. 8 “If they won’t believe you or pay attention to the first sign, they may believe the second sign. 9 If they won’t believe even these two signs or pay attention to you, then take some water from the Nile River and pour it out on dry ground. The water that you take from the Nile will turn into blood on the dry ground.”
10 But Moses said to the Lord, “My Lord, I’ve never been able to speak well, not yesterday, not the day before, and certainly not now since you’ve been talking to your servant. I have a slow mouth and a thick tongue.”
11 Then the Lord said to him, “Who gives people the ability to speak? Who’s responsible for making them unable to speak or hard of hearing, sighted or blind? Isn’t it I, the Lord? 12 Now go! I’ll help you speak, and I’ll teach you what you should say.”
13 But Moses said, “Please, my Lord, just send someone else.”
14 Then the Lord got angry at Moses and said, “What about your brother Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak very well. He’s on his way out to meet you now, and he’s looking forward to seeing you. 15 Speak to him and tell him what he’s supposed to say. I’ll help both of you speak, and I’ll teach both of you what to do. 16 Aaron will speak for you to the people. He’ll be a spokesperson for you, and you will be like God for him. 17 Take this shepherd’s rod with you too so that you can do the signs.”
Moses goes back to Egypt
18 Moses went back to his father-in-law Jethro and said to him, “Please let me go back to my family in Egypt and see whether or not they are still living.”
Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.”
19 The Lord said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt because everyone there who wanted to kill you has died.” 20 So Moses took his wife and his children, put them on a donkey, and went back to the land of Egypt. Moses also carried the shepherd’s rod from God in his hand.
21 The Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, make sure that you appear before Pharaoh and do all the amazing acts that I’ve given you the power to do. But I’ll make him stubborn so that he won’t let the people go. 22 Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the Lord says: Israel is my oldest son. 23 I said to you, “Let my son go so he could worship me.” But you refused to let him go. As a result, now I’m going to kill your oldest son.’”
24 During their journey, as they camped overnight, the Lord met Moses[a] and tried to kill him. 25 But Zipporah took a sharp-edged flint stone and cut off her son’s foreskin. Then she touched Moses’ genitals[b] with it, and she said, “You are my bridegroom because of bloodshed.” 26 So the Lord let him alone. At that time, she announced, “A bridegroom because of bloodshed by circumcision.”
27 The Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the desert to meet Moses.” So he went, and Aaron met him at God’s mountain and greeted him with a kiss. 28 Moses told Aaron what the Lord had said about his mission and all the signs that the Lord had told him to do. 29 Then Moses and Aaron called together all the Israelite elders. 30 Aaron told them everything that the Lord had told to Moses, and he performed the signs in front of the people. 31 The people believed. When they heard that the Lord had paid attention to the Israelites and had seen their oppression, they bowed down and worshipped.
First meeting with Pharaoh
5 Afterward, Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, Israel’s God, says: ‘Let my people go so that they can hold a festival for me in the desert.’”
2 But Pharaoh said, “Who is this Lord whom I’m supposed to obey by letting Israel go? I don’t know this Lord, and I certainly won’t let Israel go.”
3 Then they said, “The Hebrews’ God has appeared to us. Let us go on a three-day journey into the desert so we can offer sacrifices to the Lord our God. Otherwise, the Lord will give us a deadly disease or violence.”
4 The king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why are you making the people slack off from their work? Do the hard work yourselves!” 5 Pharaoh continued, “The land’s people are now numerous. Yet you want them to stop their hard work?”
6 On the very same day Pharaoh commanded the people’s slave masters and supervisors, 7 “Don’t supply the people with the straw they need to make bricks like you did before. Let them go out and gather the straw for themselves. 8 But still make sure that they produce the same number of bricks as they made before. Don’t reduce the number! They are weak and lazy, and that’s why they cry, ‘Let’s go and offer sacrifices to our God.’ 9 Make the men’s work so hard that it’s all they can do, and they can’t focus on these empty lies.”
10 So the people’s slave masters and supervisors came out and spoke to the people, “This is what Pharaoh says, ‘I’m not giving you straw anymore. 11 Go and get the straw on your own, wherever you can find it. But your work won’t be reduced at all.’” 12 So the people spread out all through the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. 13 The slave masters drove them hard and said, “Make sure you make the same daily quota as when you had the straw.” 14 The Israelite supervisors, whom Pharaoh’s slave masters had set over them, were also beaten and asked, “Why didn’t you produce the same number of bricks yesterday and today as you did before?”
15 Then the Israelite supervisors came and pleaded to Pharaoh, “Why do you treat your servants like this? 16 No straw is supplied to your servants, yet they say to us, ‘Make bricks!’ Look at how your servants are being beaten! Your own people are to blame!”
17 Pharaoh replied, “You are lazy bums, nothing but lazy bums. That’s why you say, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifices to the Lord.’ 18 Go and get back to work! No straw will be given to you, but you still need to make the same number of bricks.”
19 The Israelite supervisors saw how impossible their situation was when they were commanded, “Don’t reduce your daily quota of bricks.” 20 When they left Pharaoh, they met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting for them. 21 The supervisors said to them, “Let the Lord see and judge what you’ve done! You’ve made us stink in the opinion of Pharaoh and his servants. You’ve given them a reason to kill us.”
Greatest in the kingdom
18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 Then he called a little child over to sit among the disciples, 3 and said, “I assure you that if you don’t turn your lives around and become like this little child, you will definitely not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Those who humble themselves like this little child will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
Falling into sin
6 “As for whoever causes these little ones who believe in me to trip and fall into sin, it would be better for them to have a huge stone hung around their necks and be drowned in the bottom of the lake. 7 How terrible it is for the world because of the things that cause people to trip and fall into sin! Such things have to happen, but how terrible it is for the person who causes those things to happen! 8 If your hand or your foot causes you to fall into sin, chop it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter into life crippled or lame than to be thrown into the eternal fire with two hands or two feet. 9 If your eye causes you to fall into sin, tear it out and throw it away. It’s better to enter into life with one eye than to be cast into a burning hell with two eyes.
Parable of the lost sheep
10 “Be careful that you don’t look down on one of these little ones. I say to you that their angels in heaven are always looking into the face of my Father who is in heaven.[a] 12 What do you think? If someone had one hundred sheep and one of them wandered off, wouldn’t he leave the ninety-nine on the hillsides and go in search for the one that wandered off? 13 If he finds it, I assure you that he is happier about having that one sheep than about the ninety-nine who didn’t wander off. 14 In the same way, my Father who is in heaven doesn’t want to lose one of these little ones.
Sinning brother or sister
15 “If your brother or sister sins against you, go and correct them when you are alone together. If they listen to you, then you’ve won over your brother or sister. 16 But if they won’t listen, take with you one or two others so that every word may be established by the mouth of two or three witnesses.[b] 17 But if they still won’t pay attention, report it to the church. If they won’t pay attention even to the church, treat them as you would a Gentile and tax collector. 18 I assure you that whatever you fasten on earth will be fastened in heaven. And whatever you loosen on earth will be loosened in heaven. 19 Again I assure you that if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, then my Father who is in heaven will do it for you. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them.”
19 But you, Lord! Don’t be far away!
You are my strength!
Come quick and help me!
20 Deliver me[a] from the sword.
Deliver my life from the power of the dog.
21 Save me from the mouth of the lion.
From the horns of the wild oxen
you have answered me!
22 I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
I will praise you in the very center of the congregation!
23 All of you who revere the Lord—praise him!
All of you who are Jacob’s descendants—honor him!
All of you who are all Israel’s offspring—
stand in awe of him!
24 Because he didn’t despise or detest
the suffering of the one who suffered—
he didn’t hide his face from me.
No, he listened when I cried out to him for help.
25 I offer praise in the great congregation
because of you;
I will fulfill my promises
in the presence of those who honor God.
26 Let all those who are suffering eat and be full!
Let all who seek the Lord praise him!
I pray your hearts live forever!
27 Every part of the earth
will remember and come back to the Lord;
every family among all the nations will worship you.
28 Because the right to rule belongs to the Lord,
he rules all nations.
29 Indeed, all the earth’s powerful
will worship him;[b]
all who are descending to the dust
will kneel before him;
my being also lives for him.[c]
30 Future descendants will serve him;
generations to come will be told about my Lord.
31 They will proclaim God’s righteousness
to those not yet born,
telling them what God has done.
15 Drink water from your own cistern,
gushing water from your own well.
16 Should your fountains flood outside,
streams of water in the public squares?
17 They are yours alone,
not for you as well as strangers.
18 May your spring be blessed.
Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 She is a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts intoxicate you all the time;
always be drunk on her love.
20 Why, my son, should you lose your senses with a mysterious woman
and embrace the breasts of a foreign female?
21 The Lord’s eyes watch over every person’s path,
observing all their ways.