Through The Bible Thursday 05-31-18 Devotions
The Floating Ax Head
6 One day the group of prophets came to Elisha and told him, “As you can see, this place where we meet with you is too small. 2 Let’s go down to the Jordan River, where there are plenty of logs. There we can build a new place for us to meet.”
“All right,” he told them, “go ahead.”
3 “Please come with us,” someone suggested.
“I will,” he said. 4 So he went with them.
When they arrived at the Jordan, they began cutting down trees. 5 But as one of them was cutting a tree, his ax head fell into the river. “Oh, sir!” he cried. “It was a borrowed ax!”
6 “Where did it fall?” the man of God asked. When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it into the water at that spot. Then the ax head floated to the surface. 7 “Grab it,” Elisha said. And the man reached out and grabbed it.
Elisha Traps the Arameans
8 When the king of Aram was at war with Israel, he would confer with his officers and say, “We will mobilize our forces at such and such a place.”
9 But immediately Elisha, the man of God, would warn the king of Israel, “Do not go near that place, for the Arameans are planning to mobilize their troops there.” 10 So the king of Israel would send word to the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he would be on the alert there.
11 The king of Aram became very upset over this. He called his officers together and demanded, “Which of you is the traitor? Who has been informing the king of Israel of my plans?”
12 “It’s not us, my lord the king,” one of the officers replied. “Elisha, the prophet in Israel, tells the king of Israel even the words you speak in the privacy of your bedroom!”
13 “Go and find out where he is,” the king commanded, “so I can send troops to seize him.”
And the report came back: “Elisha is at Dothan.” 14 So one night the king of Aram sent a great army with many chariots and horses to surround the city.
15 When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. “Oh, sir, what will we do now?” the young man cried to Elisha.
16 “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” 17 Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.
18 As the Aramean army advanced toward him, Elisha prayed, “O Lord, please make them blind.” So the Lord struck them with blindness as Elisha had asked.
19 Then Elisha went out and told them, “You have come the wrong way! This isn’t the right city! Follow me, and I will take you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to the city of Samaria.
20 As soon as they had entered Samaria, Elisha prayed, “O Lord, now open their eyes and let them see.” So the Lord opened their eyes, and they discovered that they were in the middle of Samaria.
21 When the king of Israel saw them, he shouted to Elisha, “My father, should I kill them? Should I kill them?”
22 “Of course not!” Elisha replied. “Do we kill prisoners of war? Give them food and drink and send them home again to their master.”
23 So the king made a great feast for them and then sent them home to their master. After that, the Aramean raiders stayed away from the land of Israel.
Ben-Hadad Besieges Samaria
24 Some time later, however, King Ben-hadad of Aram mustered his entire army and besieged Samaria. 25 As a result, there was a great famine in the city. The siege lasted so long that a donkey’s head sold for eighty pieces of silver, and a cup of dove’s dung sold for five pieces[a] of silver.
26 One day as the king of Israel was walking along the wall of the city, a woman called to him, “Please help me, my lord the king!”
27 He answered, “If the Lord doesn’t help you, what can I do? I have neither food from the threshing floor nor wine from the press to give you.” 28 But then the king asked, “What is the matter?”
She replied, “This woman said to me: ‘Come on, let’s eat your son today, then we will eat my son tomorrow.’ 29 So we cooked my son and ate him. Then the next day I said to her, ‘Kill your son so we can eat him,’ but she has hidden her son.”
30 When the king heard this, he tore his clothes in despair. And as the king walked along the wall, the people could see that he was wearing burlap under his robe next to his skin. 31 “May God strike me and even kill me if I don’t separate Elisha’s head from his shoulders this very day,” the king vowed.
32 Elisha was sitting in his house with the elders of Israel when the king sent a messenger to summon him. But before the messenger arrived, Elisha said to the elders, “A murderer has sent a man to cut off my head. When he arrives, shut the door and keep him out. We will soon hear his master’s steps following him.”
33 While Elisha was still saying this, the messenger arrived. And the king[b] said, “All this misery is from the Lord! Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”
7 Elisha replied, “Listen to this message from the Lord! This is what the Lord says: By this time tomorrow in the markets of Samaria, six quarts of choice flour will cost only one piece of silver,[c] and twelve quarts of barley grain will cost only one piece of silver.[d]”
2 The officer assisting the king said to the man of God, “That couldn’t happen even if the Lord opened the windows of heaven!”
But Elisha replied, “You will see it happen with your own eyes, but you won’t be able to eat any of it!”
Outcasts Visit the Enemy Camp
3 Now there were four men with leprosy[e] sitting at the entrance of the city gates. “Why should we sit here waiting to die?” they asked each other. 4 “We will starve if we stay here, but with the famine in the city, we will starve if we go back there. So we might as well go out and surrender to the Aramean army. If they let us live, so much the better. But if they kill us, we would have died anyway.”
5 So at twilight they set out for the camp of the Arameans. But when they came to the edge of the camp, no one was there! 6 For the Lord had caused the Aramean army to hear the clatter of speeding chariots and the galloping of horses and the sounds of a great army approaching. “The king of Israel has hired the Hittites and Egyptians[f] to attack us!” they cried to one another. 7 So they panicked and ran into the night, abandoning their tents, horses, donkeys, and everything else, as they fled for their lives.
8 When the men with leprosy arrived at the edge of the camp, they went into one tent after another, eating and drinking wine; and they carried off silver and gold and clothing and hid it. 9 Finally, they said to each other, “This is not right. This is a day of good news, and we aren’t sharing it with anyone! If we wait until morning, some calamity will certainly fall upon us. Come on, let’s go back and tell the people at the palace.”
10 So they went back to the city and told the gatekeepers what had happened. “We went out to the Aramean camp,” they said, “and no one was there! The horses and donkeys were tethered and the tents were all in order, but there wasn’t a single person around!” 11 Then the gatekeepers shouted the news to the people in the palace.
Israel Plunders the Camp
12 The king got out of bed in the middle of the night and told his officers, “I know what has happened. The Arameans know we are starving, so they have left their camp and have hidden in the fields. They are expecting us to leave the city, and then they will take us alive and capture the city.”
13 One of his officers replied, “We had better send out scouts to check into this. Let them take five of the remaining horses. If something happens to them, it will be no worse than if they stay here and die with the rest of us.”
14 So two chariots with horses were prepared, and the king sent scouts to see what had happened to the Aramean army. 15 They went all the way to the Jordan River, following a trail of clothing and equipment that the Arameans had thrown away in their mad rush to escape. The scouts returned and told the king about it. 16 Then the people of Samaria rushed out and plundered the Aramean camp. So it was true that six quarts of choice flour were sold that day for one piece of silver, and twelve quarts of barley grain were sold for one piece of silver, just as the Lord had promised. 17 The king appointed his officer to control the traffic at the gate, but he was knocked down and trampled to death as the people rushed out.
So everything happened exactly as the man of God had predicted when the king came to his house. 18 The man of God had said to the king, “By this time tomorrow in the markets of Samaria, six quarts of choice flour will cost one piece of silver, and twelve quarts of barley grain will cost one piece of silver.”
19 The king’s officer had replied, “That couldn’t happen even if the Lord opened the windows of heaven!” And the man of God had said, “You will see it happen with your own eyes, but you won’t be able to eat any of it!” 20 And so it was, for the people trampled him to death at the gate!
The Woman from Shunem Returns Home
8 Elisha had told the woman whose son he had brought back to life, “Take your family and move to some other place, for the Lord has called for a famine on Israel that will last for seven years.” 2 So the woman did as the man of God instructed. She took her family and settled in the land of the Philistines for seven years.
3 After the famine ended she returned from the land of the Philistines, and she went to see the king about getting back her house and land. 4 As she came in, the king was talking with Gehazi, the servant of the man of God. The king had just said, “Tell me some stories about the great things Elisha has done.” 5 And Gehazi was telling the king about the time Elisha had brought a boy back to life. At that very moment, the mother of the boy walked in to make her appeal to the king about her house and land.
“Look, my lord the king!” Gehazi exclaimed. “Here is the woman now, and this is her son—the very one Elisha brought back to life!”
6 “Is this true?” the king asked her. And she told him the story. So he directed one of his officials to see that everything she had lost was restored to her, including the value of any crops that had been harvested during her absence.
Hazael Murders Ben-Hadad
7 Elisha went to Damascus, the capital of Aram, where King Ben-hadad lay sick. When someone told the king that the man of God had come, 8 the king said to Hazael, “Take a gift to the man of God. Then tell him to ask the Lord, ‘Will I recover from this illness?’”
9 So Hazael loaded down forty camels with the finest products of Damascus as a gift for Elisha. He went to him and said, “Your servant Ben-hadad, the king of Aram, has sent me to ask, ‘Will I recover from this illness?’”
10 And Elisha replied, “Go and tell him, ‘You will surely recover.’ But actually the Lord has shown me that he will surely die!” 11 Elisha stared at Hazael[g] with a fixed gaze until Hazael became uneasy.[h] Then the man of God started weeping.
12 “What’s the matter, my lord?” Hazael asked him.
Elisha replied, “I know the terrible things you will do to the people of Israel. You will burn their fortified cities, kill their young men with the sword, dash their little children to the ground, and rip open their pregnant women!”
13 Hazael responded, “How could a nobody like me[i] ever accomplish such great things?”
Elisha answered, “The Lord has shown me that you are going to be the king of Aram.”
14 When Hazael left Elisha and went back, the king asked him, “What did Elisha tell you?”
And Hazael replied, “He told me that you will surely recover.”
15 But the next day Hazael took a blanket, soaked it in water, and held it over the king’s face until he died. Then Hazael became the next king of Aram.
Jehoram Rules in Judah
16 Jehoram son of King Jehoshaphat of Judah began to rule over Judah in the fifth year of the reign of Joram son of Ahab, king of Israel. 17 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. 18 But Jehoram followed the example of the kings of Israel and was as wicked as King Ahab, for he had married one of Ahab’s daughters. So Jehoram did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. 19 But the Lord did not want to destroy Judah, for he had promised his servant David that his descendants would continue to rule, shining like a lamp forever.
20 During Jehoram’s reign, the Edomites revolted against Judah and crowned their own king. 21 So Jehoram[j] went with all his chariots to attack the town of Zair.[k] The Edomites surrounded him and his chariot commanders, but he went out at night and attacked them[l] under cover of darkness. But Jehoram’s army deserted him and fled to their homes. 22 So Edom has been independent from Judah to this day. The town of Libnah also revolted about that same time.
23 The rest of the events in Jehoram’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. 24 When Jehoram died, he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. Then his son Ahaziah became the next king.
Ahaziah Rules in Judah
25 Ahaziah son of Jehoram began to rule over Judah in the twelfth year of the reign of Joram son of Ahab, king of Israel.
26 Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem one year. His mother was Athaliah, a granddaughter of King Omri of Israel. 27 Ahaziah followed the evil example of King Ahab’s family. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as Ahab’s family had done, for he was related by marriage to the family of Ahab.
28 Ahaziah joined Joram son of Ahab in his war against King Hazael of Aram at Ramoth-gilead. When the Arameans wounded King Joram in the battle, 29 he returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds he had received at Ramoth.[m] Because Joram was wounded, King Ahaziah of Judah went to Jezreel to visit him.
6:25 Hebrew sold for 80 [shekels] [2 pounds or 0.9 kilograms] of silver, and 1⁄4 of a cab [0.3 liters] of dove’s dung sold for 5 [shekels] [2 ounces or 57 grams]. Dove’s dung may be a variety of wild vegetable.
6:33 Hebrew he.
7:1a Hebrew 1 seah [7.3 liters] of choice flour will cost 1 shekel [0.4 ounces or 11 grams]; also in 7:16, 18.
7:1b Hebrew 2 seahs [14.6 liters] of barley grain will cost 1 shekel [0.4 ounces or 11 grams]; also in 7:16, 18.
7:3 Or with a contagious skin disease. The Hebrew word used here and throughout this passage can describe various skin diseases.
7:6 Possibly and the people of Muzur, a district near Cilicia.
8:11a Hebrew He stared at him.
8:11b The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
8:13 Hebrew a dog.
8:21a Hebrew Joram, a variant spelling of Jehoram; also in 8:23, 24.
8:21b Greek version reads Seir.
8:21c Or he went out and escaped. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
8:29 Hebrew Ramah, a variant spelling of Ramoth.
1 The Lord is king!
Let the nations tremble!
He sits on his throne between the cherubim.
Let the whole earth quake!
2 The Lord sits in majesty in Jerusalem,[a] exalted above all the nations.
3 Let them praise your great and awesome name.
Your name is holy!
4 Mighty King, lover of justice,
you have established fairness.
You have acted with justice
and righteousness throughout Israel.[b] 5 Exalt the Lord our God!
Bow low before his feet, for he is holy!
6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests;
Samuel also called on his name.
They cried to the Lord for help,
and he answered them.
7 He spoke to Israel from the pillar of cloud,
and they followed the laws and decrees he gave them.
8 O Lord our God, you answered them.
You were a forgiving God to them,
but you punished them when they went wrong.
9 Exalt the Lord our God,
and worship at his holy mountain in Jerusalem,
for the Lord our God is holy!
99:2 Hebrew Zion.
99:4 Hebrew Jacob. See note on 44:4.
Paul Goes to Macedonia and Greece
20 When the uproar was over, Paul sent for the believers[a] and encouraged them. Then he said good-bye and left for Macedonia. 2 While there, he encouraged the believers in all the towns he passed through. Then he traveled down to Greece, 3 where he stayed for three months. He was preparing to sail back to Syria when he discovered a plot by some Jews against his life, so he decided to return through Macedonia.
4 Several men were traveling with him. They were Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea; Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica; Gaius from Derbe; Timothy; and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. 5 They went on ahead and waited for us at Troas. 6 After the Passover[b] ended, we boarded a ship at Philippi in Macedonia and five days later joined them in Troas, where we stayed a week.
Paul’s Final Visit to Troas
7 On the first day of the week, we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord’s Supper.[c] Paul was preaching to them, and since he was leaving the next day, he kept talking until midnight. 8 The upstairs room where we met was lighted with many flickering lamps. 9 As Paul spoke on and on, a young man named Eutychus, sitting on the windowsill, became very drowsy. Finally, he fell sound asleep and dropped three stories to his death below. 10 Paul went down, bent over him, and took him into his arms. “Don’t worry,” he said, “he’s alive!” 11 Then they all went back upstairs, shared in the Lord’s Supper,[d] and ate together. Paul continued talking to them until dawn, and then he left. 12 Meanwhile, the young man was taken home alive and well, and everyone was greatly relieved.
Paul Meets the Ephesian Elders
13 Paul went by land to Assos, where he had arranged for us to join him, while we traveled by ship. 14 He joined us there, and we sailed together to Mitylene. 15 The next day we sailed past the island of Kios. The following day we crossed to the island of Samos, and[e] a day later we arrived at Miletus.
16 Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, for he didn’t want to spend any more time in the province of Asia. He was hurrying to get to Jerusalem, if possible, in time for the Festival of Pentecost. 17 But when we landed at Miletus, he sent a message to the elders of the church at Ephesus, asking them to come and meet him.
18 When they arrived he declared, “You know that from the day I set foot in the province of Asia until now 19 I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews. 20 I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. 21 I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus.
22 “And now I am bound by the Spirit[f] to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, 23 except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. 24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.
25 “And now I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again. 26 I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault,[g] 27 for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know.
28 “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood[h]—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as leaders.[i] 29 I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. 30 Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. 31 Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you.
32 “And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself.
33 “I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes. 34 You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me. 35 And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
36 When he had finished speaking, he knelt and prayed with them. 37 They all cried as they embraced and kissed him good-bye. 38 They were sad most of all because he had said that they would never see him again. Then they escorted him down to the ship.
20:1 Greek disciples.
20:6 Greek the days of unleavened bread.
20:7 Greek to break bread.
20:11 Greek broke the bread.
20:15 Some manuscripts read and having stayed at Trogyllium.
20:22 Or by my spirit, or by an inner compulsion; Greek reads by the spirit.
20:26 Greek I am innocent of the blood of all.
20:28a Or with the blood of his own [Son].
20:28b Or overseers, or bishops.
A psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3 He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,[a] I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
23:4 Or the dark valley of death.
Friday, June 01, 2018