Week 6

5 - 11 February: Psalms 30 - 33, Numbers 26 - Deuteronomy 17, Acts 15 - 22, Proverbs 7

Wednesday5 Feb30.1-5Numbers 26 - 28Acts 15.1-35
Thursday6 Feb30.6-12Numbers 29 - 32Acts 15.36 - 16.18
Friday7 Feb31.1-8Numbers 33 - 36Acts 16.19 - 17.9
Saturday8 Feb31.9-18Deuteronomy 1 - 3Acts 17.10 - 18.117.1-20
Sunday9 Feb31.19-24Deuteronomy 4 - 8Acts 18.12 - 20.167.21-27
Monday10 Feb32Deuteronomy 9 - 12.28Acts 20.17 - 21.26
Tuesday11 Feb33Deuteronomy 12.29 - end 17Acts 21.27 - 22.30


Psalm 30 is a prayer of thanksgiving.  The psalmist cried to God for help, and now gives thanks because God has answered that prayer.
In Psalm 31, verse 5, we find words which Jesus spoke on the cross.  This psalm is used in the lectionary for Passion Sunday and for Holy Week.  It gives us words of prayer for occasions of great suffering.  The last verse expresses the sure hope - that God will not fail us.
Psalm 32 is a penitential psalm, giving us words for confession, and the assurance that God will hear us.
Psalm 33 is a hymn of praise, proclaiming the Lord as the one in whom we put our trust.

Numbers 26 - end

A new generation is now on the scene, necessitating a second census list.
During the first part of the wilderness journey, repeated rebellion against God meant that the entire first generation was not permitted to reach the Promised Land. The question now is therefore - will this new generation be faithful, and so be allowed to enter it? The challenges they face are no different from those their parents faced, and there are many parallels with the early chapters of Numbers.  Has the new generation learned from how God dealt with their parents' generation?
Caleb and Joshua give the people new hope that faithfulness is possible, evidenced by the fact that no Israelites die at this time.
The door stands to the Promised Land stands open at the end of the book, inviting each new generation to walk through it into God's good land of promise and hope.


There is little action in Deuteronomy.  Indeed, it is summed up by its opening words in Hebrew: 'These are the words'.  It contains words spoken by Moses, in dialogue with God - command and instruction, preaching and exhortation.  The 'ten words' (Decalogue) or Ten Commandments are central.
In Latin, Deuteronomy means 'second law', taken from Dt 17.18.  Law and teaching develop through dialogue between God and his people.
The narrative from Exodus through to Numbers stalls outside the Promised Land.  Deuteronomy focuses on Moses' departure, with his final addresses to the people, before they enter the Promised Land.
When we read II Kings, we will read of a law book found in the Temple in the 8th century BC, which King Josiah used as the basis of a thorough reform.  There are strong connections between this law book and Deuteronomy, suggesting that this is the period when it took shape as we now have it.
Deuteronomy is set in the time preceding the Israelites' settlement in the Promised Land, at the point where they are forming themselves into a new nation.  However, it is likely that it was put together in its present form to address the needs of the kingdom of Judah, the southern part of the land of Canaan, in the 8th century when the people were settled and have prospered - but are in danger of forgetting who is responsible for their good fortune.  There has also been later editing, reflecting the way it was used by a later generation who were sent into exile, helping them to see that the promises of God are still relevant, if they will only be faithful to him.
Deuteronomy is a record of the covenant between God and his people, emphasising that they have been chosen by him not because of any greatness or righteousness on their part, but out of God's grace.
Look out for Dt 6.4-5, a prayer known in the Jewish liturgy as the Shema - and part of our own eucharistic liturgy.  We are called to faith - in the one God - and love him.  The rest can be seen as commentary on this basic foundation.

Acts 15 - 22

This section of Acts opens with dissension between the apostles and their followers - do gentiles need to obey the Jewish law, do they need to be circumcised?  Paul, Barnabas, and the church in Antioch said no.  Those who opposed him did not object to his preaching to the gentiles, the question was about how they were to be brought into the new movement.  A meeting in Jerusalem is addressed by Peter, who, prompted by God in a vision and by the evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit, makes it clear that God's grace includes all, and that it is not necessary for them to observe the requirements of the Jewish faith.  James then confirms the decision with an appeal to scripture, Amos 9.11-12.
Following the Jerusalem conference, Paul and Barnabas continue their work among the gentiles, making various missionary journeys around the Mediterranean countries.  As Jesus set his face to journey to Jerusalem, so Paul must go to Rome, following his Lord in his determination to walk the path God has given him.  But before he does so, he makes a final trip to Jerusalem, where he explains himself to the apostles there.

Proverbs 7

Chapter 7 contains further warnings against adultery.

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