The Covid Crisis: Is God Really in Control?
1 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.
2 There were born to him seven sons and three daughters.
3 He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east.
6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.
7 The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”
8 And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”
9 Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason?
10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.
11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.”
12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
13 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house,
14 and there came a messenger to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them,
15 and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
16 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
17 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
18 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house,
19 and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.
21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
22 In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.
1 And the high priest said, “Are these things so?”
2 And Stephen said:
“Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran,
3 and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’
4 Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living.
5 Yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot’s length, but promised to give it to him as a possession and to his offspring after him, though he had no child.
6 And God spoke to this effect—that his offspring would be sojourners in a land belonging to others, who would enslave them and afflict them four hundred years.
7 ‘But I will judge the nation that they serve,’ said God, ‘and after that they shall come out and worship me in this place.’
8 And he gave him the covenant of circumcision. And so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day, and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.
9 “And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him
10 and rescued him out of all his afflictions and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him ruler over Egypt and over all his household.
11 Now there came a famine throughout all Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction, and our fathers could find no food.
12 But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers on their first visit.
13 And on the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to Pharaoh.
14 And Joseph sent and summoned Jacob his father and all his kindred, seventy-five persons in all.
15 And Jacob went down into Egypt, and he died, he and our fathers,
16 and they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.
17 “But as the time of the promise drew near, which God had granted to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt
18 until there arose over Egypt another king who did not know Joseph.
19 He dealt shrewdly with our race and forced our fathers to expose their infants, so that they would not be kept alive.
20 At this time Moses was born; and he was beautiful in God’s sight. And he was brought up for three months in his father’s house,
21 and when he was exposed, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son.
22 And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds.
23 “When he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the children of Israel.
24 And seeing one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian.
25 He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they did not understand.
26 And on the following day he appeared to them as they were quarreling and tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why do you wrong each other?’
27 But the man who was wronging his neighbor thrust him aside, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us?
28 Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’
29 At this retort Moses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.
30 “Now when forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush.
31 When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and as he drew near to look, there came the voice of the Lord:
32 ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.’ And Moses trembled and did not dare to look.
33 Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.
34 I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.’
35 “This Moses, whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’—this man God sent as both ruler and redeemer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush.
36 This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in Egypt and at the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years. 37This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers.’
38 This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our fathers. He received living oracles to give to us.
39 Our fathers refused to obey him, but thrust him aside, and in their hearts they turned to Egypt,
40 saying to Aaron, ‘Make for us gods who will go before us. As for this Moses who led us out from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’
41 And they made a calf in those days, and offered a sacrifice to the idol and were rejoicing in the works of their hands.
42 But God turned away and gave them over to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets:
“‘Did you bring to me slain beasts and sacrifices,
during the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?
43 You took up the tent of Moloch
and the star of your god Rephan,
the images that you made to worship;
and I will send you into exile beyond Babylon.’
44 “Our fathers had the tent of witness in the wilderness, just as he who spoke to Moses directed him to make it, according to the pattern that he had seen.
45 Our fathers in turn brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our fathers. So it was until the days of David,
46 who found favor in the sight of God and asked to find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.
47 But it was Solomon who built a house for him. 48Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says,
49 “‘Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord,
or what is the place of my rest?
50 Did not my hand make all these things?’
51 “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you.
52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered,
53 you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”
54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him.
55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him.
58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
1 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest
2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him.
4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”
7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.
8 Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.
9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.”
11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying,
12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.”
13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem.
14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.”
15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.
16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized;
19 and taking food, he was strengthened. For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus.
20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”
21 And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?”
22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.
Saul Escapes from Damascus
23 When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him,
24 but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him,
25 but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.
Saul in Jerusalem
26 And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple.
27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus.
28 So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. 29And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists. But they were seeking to kill him.
30 And when the brothers learned this, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.
32Now as Peter went here and there among them all, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda.
33 There he found a man named Aeneas, bedridden for eight years, who was paralyzed.
34 And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed.” And immediately he rose.
35 And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.
36 Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity.
37 In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room.
38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, “Please come to us without delay.”
39 So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them.
40 But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up.
41 And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then, calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive.
42 And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.
43 And he stayed in Joppa for many days with one Simon, a tanner.