Through The Bible Thursday 07-05-18 Devotions
War with Surrounding Nations
20 After this, the armies of the Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites[a] declared war on Jehoshaphat. 2 Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army from Edom[b] is marching against you from beyond the Dead Sea.[c] They are already at Hazazon-tamar.” (This was another name for En-gedi.)
3 Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the Lord for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting. 4 So people from all the towns of Judah came to Jerusalem to seek the Lord’s help.
5 Jehoshaphat stood before the community of Judah and Jerusalem in front of the new courtyard at the Temple of the Lord. 6 He prayed, “O Lord, God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against you! 7 O our God, did you not drive out those who lived in this land when your people Israel arrived? And did you not give this land forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham? 8 Your people settled here and built this Temple to honor your name. 9 They said, ‘Whenever we are faced with any calamity such as war,[d] plague, or famine, we can come to stand in your presence before this Temple where your name is honored. We can cry out to you to save us, and you will hear us and rescue us.’
10 “And now see what the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir are doing. You would not let our ancestors invade those nations when Israel left Egypt, so they went around them and did not destroy them. 11 Now see how they reward us! For they have come to throw us out of your land, which you gave us as an inheritance. 12 O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.”
13 As all the men of Judah stood before the Lord with their little ones, wives, and children, 14 the Spirit of the Lord came upon one of the men standing there. His name was Jahaziel son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite who was a descendant of Asaph.
15 He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!”
18 Then King Jehoshaphat bowed low with his face to the ground. And all the people of Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshiping the Lord. 19 Then the Levites from the clans of Kohath and Korah stood to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud shout.
20 Early the next morning the army of Judah went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. On the way Jehoshaphat stopped and said, “Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.”
21 After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang:
“Give thanks to the Lord;
his faithful love endures forever!”
22 At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves. 23 The armies of Moab and Ammon turned against their allies from Mount Seir and killed every one of them. After they had destroyed the army of Seir, they began attacking each other. 24 So when the army of Judah arrived at the lookout point in the wilderness, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see. Not a single one of the enemy had escaped.
25 King Jehoshaphat and his men went out to gather the plunder. They found vast amounts of equipment, clothing,[e] and other valuables—more than they could carry. There was so much plunder that it took them three days just to collect it all! 26 On the fourth day they gathered in the Valley of Blessing,[f] which got its name that day because the people praised and thanked the Lord there. It is still called the Valley of Blessing today.
27 Then all the men returned to Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat leading them, overjoyed that the Lord had given them victory over their enemies. 28 They marched into Jerusalem to the music of harps, lyres, and trumpets, and they proceeded to the Temple of the Lord.
29 When all the surrounding kingdoms heard that the Lord himself had fought against the enemies of Israel, the fear of God came over them. 30 So Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.
Summary of Jehoshaphat’s Reign
31 So Jehoshaphat ruled over the land of Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-five years. His mother was Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi.
32 Jehoshaphat was a good king, following the ways of his father, Asa. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight. 33 During his reign, however, he failed to remove all the pagan shrines, and the people never fully committed themselves to follow the God of their ancestors.
34 The rest of the events of Jehoshaphat’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded in The Record of Jehu Son of Hanani, which is included in The Book of the Kings of Israel.
35 Some time later King Jehoshaphat of Judah made an alliance with King Ahaziah of Israel, who was very wicked.[g] 36 Together they built a fleet of trading ships[h] at the port of Ezion-geber. 37 Then Eliezer son of Dodavahu from Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat. He said, “Because you have allied yourself with King Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy your work.” So the ships met with disaster and never put out to sea.[i]
Jehoram Rules in Judah
21 When Jehoshaphat died, he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. Then his son Jehoram became the next king.
2 Jehoram’s brothers—the other sons of Jehoshaphat—were Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azariahu, Michael, and Shephatiah; all these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Judah.[j] 3 Their father had given each of them valuable gifts of silver, gold, and costly items, and also some of Judah’s fortified towns. However, he designated Jehoram as the next king because he was the oldest. 4 But when Jehoram had become solidly established as king, he killed all his brothers and some of the other leaders of Judah.
5 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. 6 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. 7 But the Lord did not want to destroy David’s dynasty, for he had made a covenant with David and promised that his descendants would continue to rule, shining like a lamp forever.
8 During Jehoram’s reign, the Edomites revolted against Judah and crowned their own king. 9 So Jehoram went out with his full army and all his chariots. The Edomites surrounded him and his chariot commanders, but he went out at night and attacked them[k] under cover of darkness. 10 Even so, Edom has been independent from Judah to this day. The town of Libnah also revolted about that same time. All this happened because Jehoram had abandoned the Lord, the God of his ancestors. 11 He had built pagan shrines in the hill country of Judah and had led the people of Jerusalem and Judah to give themselves to pagan gods and to go astray.
12 Then Elijah the prophet wrote Jehoram this letter:
“This is what the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, says: You have not followed the good example of your father, Jehoshaphat, or your grandfather King Asa of Judah. 13 Instead, you have been as evil as the kings of Israel. You have led the people of Jerusalem and Judah to worship idols, just as King Ahab did in Israel. And you have even killed your own brothers, men who were better than you. 14 So now the Lord is about to strike you, your people, your children, your wives, and all that is yours with a heavy blow. 15 You yourself will suffer with a severe intestinal disease that will get worse each day until your bowels come out.”
16 Then the Lord stirred up the Philistines and the Arabs, who lived near the Ethiopians,[l] to attack Jehoram. 17 They marched against Judah, broke down its defenses, and carried away everything of value in the royal palace, including the king’s sons and his wives. Only his youngest son, Ahaziah,[m] was spared.
18 After all this, the Lord struck Jehoram with an incurable intestinal disease. 19 The disease grew worse and worse, and at the end of two years it caused his bowels to come out, and he died in agony. His people did not build a great funeral fire to honor him as they had done for his ancestors.
20 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. No one was sorry when he died. They buried him in the City of David, but not in the royal cemetery.
Ahaziah Rules in Judah
22 Then the people of Jerusalem made Ahaziah, Jehoram’s youngest son, their next king, since the marauding bands who came with the Arabs[n] had killed all the older sons. So Ahaziah son of Jehoram reigned as king of Judah.
2 Ahaziah was twenty-two[o] years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem one year. His mother was Athaliah, a granddaughter of King Omri. 3 Ahaziah also followed the evil example of King Ahab’s family, for his mother encouraged him in doing wrong. 4 He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as Ahab’s family had done. They even became his advisers after the death of his father, and they led him to ruin.
5 Following their evil advice, Ahaziah joined Joram,the son of King Ahab of Israel, in his war against King Hazael of Aram at Ramoth-gilead. When the Arameans[q] wounded Joram in the battle, 6 he returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds he had received at Ramoth.[r] Because Joram was wounded, King Ahaziah[s] of Judah went to Jezreel to visit him.
7 But God had decided that this visit would be Ahaziah’s downfall. While he was there, Ahaziah went out with Joram to meet Jehu grandson of Nimshi,[t] whom the Lord had appointed to destroy the dynasty of Ahab.
8 While Jehu was executing judgment against the family of Ahab, he happened to meet some of Judah’s officials and Ahaziah’s relatives[u] who were traveling with Ahaziah. So Jehu killed them all. 9 Then Jehu’s men searched for Ahaziah, and they found him hiding in the city of Samaria. They brought him to Jehu, who killed him. Ahaziah was given a decent burial because the people said, “He was the grandson of Jehoshaphat—a man who sought the Lord with all his heart.” But none of the surviving members of Ahaziah’s family was capable of ruling the kingdom.
Queen Athaliah Rules in Judah
10 When Athaliah, the mother of King Ahaziah of Judah, learned that her son was dead, she began to destroy the rest of Judah’s royal family. 11 But Ahaziah’s sister Jehosheba,[v] the daughter of King Jehoram, took Ahaziah’s infant son, Joash, and stole him away from among the rest of the king’s children, who were about to be killed. She put Joash and his nurse in a bedroom. In this way, Jehosheba, wife of Jehoiada the priest and sister of Ahaziah, hid the child so that Athaliah could not murder him. 12 Joash remained hidden in the Temple of God for six years while Athaliah ruled over the land.
20:1 As in some Greek manuscripts (see also 26:7); Hebrew repeats Ammonites.
20:2a As in one Hebrew manuscript; most Hebrew manuscripts and ancient versions read Aram.
20:2b Hebrew the sea.
20:9 Or sword of judgment; or sword, judgment.
20:25 As in some Hebrew manuscripts and Latin Vulgate; most Hebrew manuscripts read corpses.
20:26 Hebrew valley of Beracah.
20:35 Or who made him do what was wicked.
20:36 Hebrew fleet of ships that could go to Tarshish.
20:37 Hebrew never set sail for Tarshish.
21:2 Masoretic Text reads of Israel; also in 21:4. The author of Chronicles sees Judah as representative of the true Israel. (Some Hebrew manuscripts, Greek and Syriac versions, and Latin Vulgate read of Judah.)
21:9 Or he went out and escaped. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
21:16 Hebrew the Cushites.
21:17 Hebrew Jehoahaz, a variant spelling of Ahaziah; compare 22:1.
22:1 Or marauding bands of Arabs.
22:2 As in some Greek manuscripts and Syriac version (see also 2 Kgs 8:26); Hebrew reads forty-two.
22:5a Hebrew Jehoram, a variant spelling of Joram; also in 22:6, 7.
22:5b As in two Hebrew manuscripts and Latin Vulgate (see also 2 Kgs 8:28); Masoretic Text reads the archers.
22:6a Hebrew Ramah, a variant spelling of Ramoth.
22:6b As in some Hebrew manuscripts, Greek and Syriac versions, and Latin Vulgate (see also 2 Kgs 8:29); most Hebrew manuscripts read Azariah.
22:7 Hebrew descendant of Nimshi; compare 2 Kgs 9:2, 14.
22:8 As in Greek version (see also 2 Kgs 10:13); Hebrew reads and sons of the brothers of Ahaziah.
22:11 As in parallel text at 2 Kgs 11:2; Hebrew lacks Ahaziah’s sister and reads Jehoshabeath [a variant spelling of Jehosheba].
1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
2 Let all Israel repeat:
“His faithful love endures forever.”
3 Let Aaron’s descendants, the priests, repeat:
“His faithful love endures forever.”
4 Let all who fear the Lord repeat:
“His faithful love endures forever.”
5 In my distress I prayed to the Lord,
and the Lord answered me and set me free.
6 The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear.
What can mere people do to me?
7 Yes, the Lord is for me; he will help me.
I will look in triumph at those who hate me.
8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in people.
9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in princes.
10 Though hostile nations surrounded me,
I destroyed them all with the authority of the Lord.
11 Yes, they surrounded and attacked me,
but I destroyed them all with the authority of the Lord.
12 They swarmed around me like bees;
they blazed against me like a crackling fire.
But I destroyed them all with the authority of the Lord.
13 My enemies did their best to kill me,
but the Lord rescued me.
14 The Lord is my strength and my song;
he has given me victory.
15 Songs of joy and victory are sung in the camp of the godly.
The strong right arm of the Lord has done glorious things!
16 The strong right arm of the Lord is raised in triumph.
The strong right arm of the Lord has done glorious things!
17 I will not die; instead, I will live
to tell what the Lord has done.
18 The Lord has punished me severely,
but he did not let me die.
19 Open for me the gates where the righteous enter,
and I will go in and thank the Lord.
20 These gates lead to the presence of the Lord,
and the godly enter there.
21 I thank you for answering my prayer
and giving me victory!
22 The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord’s doing,
and it is wonderful to see.
24 This is the day the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Please, Lord, please save us.
Please, Lord, please give us success.
26 Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
27 The Lord is God, shining upon us.
Take the sacrifice and bind it with cords on the altar.
28 You are my God, and I will praise you!
You are my God, and I will exalt you!
29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
Greetings from Paul
1 This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Sosthenes.
2 I am writing to God’s church in Corinth,[a] to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus,[b] just as he did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.
3 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
Paul Gives Thanks to God
4 I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. 5 Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge. 6 This confirms that what I told you about Christ is true. 7 Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8 He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 9 God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Divisions in the Church
10 I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters,[c] by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. 11 For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brothers and sisters. 12 Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,[d]” or “I follow only Christ.”
13 Has Christ been divided into factions? Was I, Paul, crucified for you? Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul? Of course not! 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 for now no one can say they were baptized in my name. 16 (Oh yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas, but I don’t remember baptizing anyone else.) 17 For Christ didn’t send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News—and not with clever speech, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power.
The Wisdom of God
18 The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. 19 As the Scriptures say,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise
and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”[e] 20 So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. 21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. 22 It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. 23 So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.
24 But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles,[f] Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.
26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy[g] when God called you. 27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. 28 God chose things despised by the world,[h] things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. 29 As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.
30 God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. 31 Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”[i]
1:2a Corinth was the capital city of Achaia, the southern region of the Greek peninsula.
1:2b Or because you belong to Christ Jesus.
1:10 Greek brothers; also in 1:11, 26.
1:12 Greek Cephas.
1:19 Isa 29:14.
1:24 Greek and Greeks.
1:26 Or high born.
1:28 Or God chose those who are low born.
1:31 Jer 9:24.
For the choir director: A psalm of the descendants of Korah.
1 Come, everyone! Clap your hands!
Shout to God with joyful praise!
2 For the Lord Most High is awesome.
He is the great King of all the earth.
3 He subdues the nations before us,
putting our enemies beneath our feet.
4 He chose the Promised Land as our inheritance,
the proud possession of Jacob’s descendants, whom he loves. Interlude
5 God has ascended with a mighty shout.
The Lord has ascended with trumpets blaring.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises!
7 For God is the King over all the earth.
Praise him with a psalm.[a] 8 God reigns above the nations,
sitting on his holy throne.
9 The rulers of the world have gathered together
with the people of the God of Abraham.
For all the kings of the earth belong to God.
He is highly honored everywhere.
47:7 Hebrew maskil. This may be a literary or musical term.
Friday, July 06, 2018