March 19

Pastor’s Note

Today we read familiar words in Luke 1, which I trust will help us relive the humble deference shown by Mary when she was told of God’s plan for her life. We should also praise God when we read the final chapters of Deuteronomy, knowing that the culmination of God’s work through Moses is the arrival of Jesus, the son of David and the son of God.

— Pastor Mike

Deuteronomy 33-34

Moses’ Final Blessing on Israel

33:1 This is the blessing with which Moses the man of God blessed the people of Israel before his death. He said,

“The Lord came from Sinai
 and dawned from Seir upon us; [1]
 he shone forth from Mount Paran;
he came from the ten thousands of holy ones,
 with flaming fire [2] at his right hand.
Yes, he loved his people, [3]
 all his holy ones were in his [4] hand;
so they followed [5] in your steps,
 receiving direction from you,
when Moses commanded us a law,
 as a possession for the assembly of Jacob.
Thus the Lord became king in Jeshurun,
 when the heads of the people were gathered,
 all the tribes of Israel together.

“Let Reuben live, and not die,
 but let his men be few.”

And this he said of Judah:

“Hear, O Lord, the voice of Judah,
 and bring him in to his people.
With your hands contend [6] for him,
 and be a help against his adversaries.”

And of Levi he said,

“Give to Levi [7] your Thummim,
 and your Urim to your godly one,
whom you tested at Massah,
 with whom you quarreled at the waters of Meribah;
who said of his father and mother,
 ‘I regard them not’;
he disowned his brothers
 and ignored his children.
For they observed your word
 and kept your covenant.
10 They shall teach Jacob your rules
 and Israel your law;
they shall put incense before you
 and whole burnt offerings on your altar.
11 Bless, O Lord, his substance,
 and accept the work of his hands;
crush the loins of his adversaries,
 of those who hate him, that they rise not again.”

12 Of Benjamin he said,

“The beloved of the Lord dwells in safety.
The High God [8] surrounds him all day long,
 and dwells between his shoulders.”

13 And of Joseph he said,

“Blessed by the Lord be his land,
 with the choicest gifts of heaven above, [9]
 and of the deep that crouches beneath,
14 with the choicest fruits of the sun
 and the rich yield of the months,
15 with the finest produce of the ancient mountains
 and the abundance of the everlasting hills,
16 with the best gifts of the earth and its fullness
 and the favor of him who dwells in the bush.
May these rest on the head of Joseph,
 on the pate of him who is prince among his brothers.
17 A firstborn bull [10]—he has majesty,
 and his horns are the horns of a wild ox;
with them he shall gore the peoples,
 all of them, to the ends of the earth;
they are the ten thousands of Ephraim,
 and they are the thousands of Manasseh.”

18 And of Zebulun he said,

“Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out,
 and Issachar, in your tents.
19 They shall call peoples to their mountain;
 there they offer right sacrifices;
for they draw from the abundance of the seas
 and the hidden treasures of the sand.”

20 And of Gad he said,

“Blessed be he who enlarges Gad!
 Gad crouches like a lion;
 he tears off arm and scalp.
21 He chose the best of the land for himself,
 for there a commander’s portion was reserved;
and he came with the heads of the people,
 with Israel he executed the justice of the Lord,
 and his judgments for Israel.”

22 And of Dan he said,

“Dan is a lion’s cub
 that leaps from Bashan.”

23 And of Naphtali he said,

“O Naphtali, sated with favor,
 and full of the blessing of the Lord,
 possess the lake [11] and the south.”

24 And of Asher he said,

“Most blessed of sons be Asher;
 let him be the favorite of his brothers,
 and let him dip his foot in oil.
25 Your bars shall be iron and bronze,
 and as your days, so shall your strength be.

26 “There is none like God, O Jeshurun,
 who rides through the heavens to your help,
 through the skies in his majesty.
27 The eternal God is your dwelling place, [12]
 and underneath are the everlasting arms. [13]
And he thrust out the enemy before you
 and said, Destroy.
28 So Israel lived in safety,
 Jacob lived alone, [14]
in a land of grain and wine,
 whose heavens drop down dew.
29 Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you,
 a people saved by the Lord,
the shield of your help,
 and the sword of your triumph!
Your enemies shall come fawning to you,
 and you shall tread upon their backs.”

The Death of Moses

34:1 Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the western sea, the Negeb, and the Plain, that is, the Valley of Jericho the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. And the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lordand he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day. Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated. And the people of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. Then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.

And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him and did as the Lord had commanded Moses. 10 And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, 11 none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, 12 and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.

Luke 1:24-56

24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed [15] to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” [16] 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” [17]

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born [18] will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant [19] of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be [20] a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat

46 And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
 For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
 and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
 from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
 he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
 and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
 and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
 in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
 to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.

Footnotes

[1] 33:2 Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate; Hebrew them
[2] 33:2 The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain
[3] 33:3 Septuagint; Hebrew peoples
[4] 33:3 Hebrew your
[5] 33:3 The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain
[6] 33:7 Probable reading; Hebrew With his hands he contended
[7] 33:8 Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint; Masoretic Text lacks Give to Levi
[8] 33:12 Septuagint; Hebrew dwells in safety by him. He
[9] 33:13 Two Hebrew manuscripts and Targum; Hebrew with the dew
[10] 33:17 Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint, Samaritan; Masoretic Text His firstborn bull
[11] 33:23 Or west
[12] 33:27 Or a dwelling place
[13] 33:27 Revocalization of verse 27 yields He subdues the ancient gods, and shatters the forces of old
[14] 33:28 Hebrew the abode of Jacob was alone
[15] 1:27 That is, legally pledged to be married
[16] 1:28 Some manuscripts add Blessed are you among women!
[17] 1:34 Greek since I do not know a man
[18] 1:35 Some manuscripts add of you
[19] 1:38 Greek bondservant; also verse 48
[20] 1:45 Or believed, for there will be

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