“Anyone who sacrifices to a god other than God alone must be put to death.
“Don’t abuse or take advantage of strangers; you, remember, were once strangers in Egypt.
“Don’t mistreat widows or orphans. If you do and they cry out to me, you can be sure I’ll take them most seriously; I’ll show my anger and come raging among you with the sword, and your wives will end up widows and your children orphans.
“If you lend money to my people, to any of the down-and-out among you, don’t come down hard on them and gouge them with interest.
“If you take your neighbor’s coat as security, give it back before nightfall; it may be your neighbor’s only covering—what else does the person have to sleep in?"
God is bedrock under my feet,
the castle in which I live,
my rescuing knight.
My God—the high crag
where I run for dear life,
hiding behind the boulders,
safe in the granite hideout.
I sing to God, the Praise-Lofty,
and find myself safe and saved.
The hangman’s noose was tight at my throat;
devil waters rushed over me.
This God set things right for me
and shut up the people who talked back.
God’s king takes the trophy;
God’s chosen is beloved.
I mean David and all his children—
1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
You paid careful attention to the way we lived among you, and determined to live that way yourselves. In imitating us, you imitated the Master. Although great trouble accompanied the Word, you were able to take great joy from the Holy Spirit!—taking the trouble with the joy, the joy with the trouble.
Do you know that all over the provinces of both Macedonia and Achaia believers look up to you? The word has gotten around. Your lives are echoing the Master’s Word, not only in the provinces but all over the place. The news of your faith in God is out. We don’t even have to say anything anymore—you’re the message! People come up and tell us how you received us with open arms, how you deserted the dead idols of your old life so you could embrace and serve God, the true God. They marvel at how expectantly you await the arrival of his Son, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescued us from certain doom.
When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: “Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?”
Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”