Through The Bible Tuesday 06-05-18 Devotions

Click here to read 2 Kings 15-17
Click here to read Psalm 102
Click here to read Acts 23
Click here to read Psalm 26

2 Kings 15-17
New Living Translation (NLT)
Through The Bible Tuesday 06-05-18 Devotions

Uzziah Rules in Judah
15 Uzziah[a] son of Amaziah began to rule over Judah in the twenty-seventh year of the reign of King Jeroboam II of Israel. 2 He was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother was Jecoliah from Jerusalem.

3 He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done. 4 But he did not destroy the pagan shrines, and the people still offered sacrifices and burned incense there. 5 The Lord struck the king with leprosy,[b] which lasted until the day he died. He lived in isolation in a separate house. The king’s son Jotham was put in charge of the royal palace, and he governed the people of the land.

6 The rest of the events in Uzziah’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. 7 When Uzziah died, he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. And his son Jotham became the next king.

Zechariah Rules in Israel
8 Zechariah son of Jeroboam II began to rule over Israel in the thirty-eighth year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria six months. 9 Zechariah did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, as his ancestors had done. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit. 10 Then Shallum son of Jabesh conspired against Zechariah, assassinated him in public,[c] and became the next king.

11 The rest of the events in Zechariah’s reign are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. 12 So the Lord’s message to Jehu came true: “Your descendants will be kings of Israel down to the fourth generation.”

Shallum Rules in Israel
13 Shallum son of Jabesh began to rule over Israel in the thirty-ninth year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. Shallum reigned in Samaria only one month. 14 Then Menahem son of Gadi went to Samaria from Tirzah and assassinated him, and he became the next king.

15 The rest of the events in Shallum’s reign, including his conspiracy, are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel.

Menahem Rules in Israel
16 At that time Menahem destroyed the town of Tappuah[d] and all the surrounding countryside as far as Tirzah, because its citizens refused to surrender the town. He killed the entire population and ripped open the pregnant women.

17 Menahem son of Gadi began to rule over Israel in the thirty-ninth year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria ten years. 18 But Menahem did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. During his entire reign, he refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit.

19 Then King Tiglath-pileser[e] of Assyria invaded the land. But Menahem paid him thirty-seven tons[f] of silver to gain his support in tightening his grip on royal power. 20 Menahem extorted the money from the rich of Israel, demanding that each of them pay fifty pieces[g] of silver to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned from attacking Israel and did not stay in the land.

21 The rest of the events in Menahem’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. 22 When Menahem died, his son Pekahiah became the next king.

Pekahiah Rules in Israel
23 Pekahiah son of Menahem began to rule over Israel in the fiftieth year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria two years. 24 But Pekahiah did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit.

25 Then Pekah son of Remaliah, the commander of Pekahiah’s army, conspired against him. With fifty men from Gilead, Pekah assassinated the king, along with Argob and Arieh, in the citadel of the palace at Samaria. And Pekah reigned in his place.

26 The rest of the events in Pekahiah’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel.

Pekah Rules in Israel
27 Pekah son of Remaliah began to rule over Israel in the fifty-second year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria twenty years. 28 But Pekah did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit.

29 During Pekah’s reign, King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria attacked Israel again, and he captured the towns of Ijon, Abel-beth-maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, and Hazor. He also conquered the regions of Gilead, Galilee, and all of Naphtali, and he took the people to Assyria as captives. 30 Then Hoshea son of Elah conspired against Pekah and assassinated him. He began to rule over Israel in the twentieth year of Jotham son of Uzziah.

31 The rest of the events in Pekah’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel.

Jotham Rules in Judah
32 Jotham son of Uzziah began to rule over Judah in the second year of King Pekah’s reign in Israel. 33 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. His mother was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok.

34 Jotham did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight. He did everything his father, Uzziah, had done. 35 But he did not destroy the pagan shrines, and the people still offered sacrifices and burned incense there. He rebuilt the upper gate of the Temple of the Lord.

36 The rest of the events in Jotham’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. 37 In those days the Lord began to send King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah of Israel to attack Judah. 38 When Jotham died, he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. And his son Ahaz became the next king.

Ahaz Rules in Judah
16 Ahaz son of Jotham began to rule over Judah in the seventeenth year of King Pekah’s reign in Israel. 2 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. He did not do what was pleasing in the sight of the Lord his God, as his ancestor David had done. 3 Instead, he followed the example of the kings of Israel, even sacrificing his own son in the fire.[h] In this way, he followed the detestable practices of the pagan nations the Lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites. 4 He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the pagan shrines and on the hills and under every green tree.

5 Then King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah of Israel came up to attack Jerusalem. They besieged Ahaz but could not conquer him. 6 At that time the king of Edom[i] recovered the town of Elath for Edom.[j] He drove out the people of Judah and sent Edomites[k] to live there, as they do to this day.

7 King Ahaz sent messengers to King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria with this message: “I am your servant and your vassal.[l] Come up and rescue me from the attacking armies of Aram and Israel.” 8 Then Ahaz took the silver and gold from the Temple of the Lord and the palace treasury and sent it as a payment to the Assyrian king. 9 So the king of Assyria attacked the Aramean capital of Damascus and led its population away as captives, resettling them in Kir. He also killed King Rezin.

10 King Ahaz then went to Damascus to meet with King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria. While he was there, he took special note of the altar. Then he sent a model of the altar to Uriah the priest, along with its design in full detail. 11 Uriah followed the king’s instructions and built an altar just like it, and it was ready before the king returned from Damascus. 12 When the king returned, he inspected the altar and made offerings on it. 13 He presented a burnt offering and a grain offering, he poured out a liquid offering, and he sprinkled the blood of peace offerings on the altar.

14 Then King Ahaz removed the old bronze altar from its place in front of the Lord’s Temple, between the entrance and the new altar, and placed it on the north side of the new altar. 15 He told Uriah the priest, “Use the new altar[m] for the morning sacrifices of burnt offering, the evening grain offering, the king’s burnt offering and grain offering, and the burnt offerings of all the people, as well as their grain offerings and liquid offerings. Sprinkle the blood from all the burnt offerings and sacrifices on the new altar. The bronze altar will be for my personal use only.” 16 Uriah the priest did just as King Ahaz commanded him.

17 Then the king removed the side panels and basins from the portable water carts. He also removed the great bronze basin called the Sea from the backs of the bronze oxen and placed it on the stone pavement. 18 In deference to the king of Assyria, he also removed the canopy that had been constructed inside the palace for use on the Sabbath day,[n] as well as the king’s outer entrance to the Temple of the Lord.

19 The rest of the events in Ahaz’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. 20 When Ahaz died, he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. Then his son Hezekiah became the next king.

Hoshea Rules in Israel
17 Hoshea son of Elah began to rule over Israel in the twelfth year of King Ahaz’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria nine years. 2 He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, but not to the same extent as the kings of Israel who ruled before him.

3 King Shalmaneser of Assyria attacked King Hoshea, so Hoshea was forced to pay heavy tribute to Assyria. 4 But Hoshea stopped paying the annual tribute and conspired against the king of Assyria by asking King So of Egypt[o] to help him shake free of Assyria’s power. When the king of Assyria discovered this treachery, he seized Hoshea and put him in prison.

Samaria Falls to Assyria
5 Then the king of Assyria invaded the entire land, and for three years he besieged the city of Samaria. 6 Finally, in the ninth year of King Hoshea’s reign, Samaria fell, and the people of Israel were exiled to Assyria. They were settled in colonies in Halah, along the banks of the Habor River in Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

7 This disaster came upon the people of Israel because they worshiped other gods. They sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them safely out of Egypt and had rescued them from the power of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. 8 They had followed the practices of the pagan nations the Lord had driven from the land ahead of them, as well as the practices the kings of Israel had introduced. 9 The people of Israel had also secretly done many things that were not pleasing to the Lord their God. They built pagan shrines for themselves in all their towns, from the smallest outpost to the largest walled city. 10 They set up sacred pillars and Asherah poles at the top of every hill and under every green tree. 11 They offered sacrifices on all the hilltops, just like the nations the Lord had driven from the land ahead of them. So the people of Israel had done many evil things, arousing the Lord’s anger. 12 Yes, they worshiped idols,

despite the Lord’s specific and repeated warnings.

13 Again and again the Lord had sent his prophets and seers to warn both Israel and Judah: “Turn from all your evil ways. Obey my commands and decrees—the entire law that I commanded your ancestors to obey, and that I gave you through my servants the prophets.”

14 But the Israelites would not listen. They were as stubborn as their ancestors who had refused to believe in the Lord their God. 15 They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and they despised all his warnings. They worshiped worthless idols, so they became worthless themselves. They followed the example of the nations around them, disobeying the Lord’s command not to imitate them.

16 They rejected all the commands of the Lord their God and made two calves from metal. They set up an Asherah pole and worshiped Baal and all the forces of heaven. 17 They even sacrificed their own sons and daughters in the fire.[q] They consulted fortune-tellers and practiced sorcery and sold themselves to evil, arousing the Lord’s anger.

18 Because the Lord was very angry with Israel, he swept them away from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah remained in the land. 19 But even the people of Judah refused to obey the commands of the Lord their God, for they followed the evil practices that Israel had introduced. 20 The Lord rejected all the descendants of Israel. He punished them by handing them over to their attackers until he had banished Israel from his presence.

21 For when the Lord[r] tore Israel away from the kingdom of David, they chose Jeroboam son of Nebat as their king. But Jeroboam drew Israel away from following the Lord and made them commit a great sin. 22 And the people of Israel persisted in all the evil ways of Jeroboam. They did not turn from these sins 23 until the Lord finally swept them away from his presence, just as all his prophets had warned. So Israel was exiled from their land to Assyria, where they remain to this day.

Foreigners Settle in Israel
24 The king of Assyria transported groups of people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim and resettled them in the towns of Samaria, replacing the people of Israel. They took possession of Samaria and lived in its towns. 25 But since these foreign settlers did not worship the Lord when they first arrived, the Lord sent lions among them, which killed some of them.

26 So a message was sent to the king of Assyria: “The people you have sent to live in the towns of Samaria do not know the religious customs of the God of the land. He has sent lions among them to destroy them because they have not worshiped him correctly.”

27 The king of Assyria then commanded, “Send one of the exiled priests back to Samaria. Let him live there and teach the new residents the religious customs of the God of the land.” 28 So one of the priests who had been exiled from Samaria returned to Bethel and taught the new residents how to worship the Lord.

29 But these various groups of foreigners also continued to worship their own gods. In town after town where they lived, they placed their idols at the pagan shrines that the people of Samaria had built. 30 Those from Babylon worshiped idols of their god Succoth-benoth. Those from Cuthah worshiped their god Nergal. And those from Hamath worshiped Ashima. 31 The Avvites worshiped their gods Nibhaz and Tartak. And the people from Sepharvaim even burned their own children as sacrifices to their gods Adrammelech and Anammelech.

32 These new residents worshiped the Lord, but they also appointed from among themselves all sorts of people as priests to offer sacrifices at their places of worship. 33 And though they worshiped the Lord, they continued to follow their own gods according to the religious customs of the nations from which they came. 34 And this is still going on today. They continue to follow their former practices instead of truly worshiping the Lord and obeying the decrees, regulations, instructions, and commands he gave the descendants of Jacob, whose name he changed to Israel.

35 For the Lord had made a covenant with the descendants of Jacob and commanded them: “Do not worship any other gods or bow before them or serve them or offer sacrifices to them. 36 But worship only the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt with great strength and a powerful arm. Bow down to him alone, and offer sacrifices only to him. 37 Be careful at all times to obey the decrees, regulations, instructions, and commands that he wrote for you. You must not worship other gods. 38 Do not forget the covenant I made with you, and do not worship other gods. 39 You must worship only the Lord your God. He is the one who will rescue you from all your enemies.”

40 But the people would not listen and continued to follow their former practices. 41 So while these new residents worshiped the Lord, they also worshiped their idols. And to this day their descendants do the same.

Footnotes:

15:1 Hebrew Azariah, a variant spelling of Uzziah; also in 15:6, 7, 8, 17, 23, 27.
15:5 Or with a contagious skin disease. The Hebrew word used here and throughout this passage can describe various skin diseases.
15:10 Or at Ibleam.
15:16 As in some Greek manuscripts; Hebrew reads Tiphsah.
15:19a Hebrew Pul, another name for Tiglath-pileser.
15:19b Hebrew 1,000 talents [34 metric tons].
15:20 Hebrew 50 shekels [20 ounces or 570 grams].
16:3 Or even making his son pass through the fire.
16:6a As in Latin Vulgate; Hebrew reads Rezin king of Aram.
16:6b As in Latin Vulgate; Hebrew reads Aram.
16:6c As in Greek version, Latin Vulgate, and an alternate reading of the Masoretic Text; the other alternate reads Arameans.
16:7 Hebrew your son.
16:15 Hebrew the great altar.
16:18 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
17:4 Or by asking the king of Egypt at Sais.
17:12 The Hebrew term (literally round things) probably alludes to dung.
17:17 Or They even made their sons and daughters pass through the fire.
17:21 Hebrew he; compare 1 Kgs 11:31-32.


Psalm 102
New Living Translation (NLT)
Through The Bible Tuesday 06-05-18 Devotions

A prayer of one overwhelmed with trouble, pouring out problems before the Lord.

1 Lord, hear my prayer!
Listen to my plea!
2 Don’t turn away from me
in my time of distress.
Bend down to listen,
and answer me quickly when I call to you.
3 For my days disappear like smoke,
and my bones burn like red-hot coals.
4 My heart is sick, withered like grass,
and I have lost my appetite.
5 Because of my groaning,
I am reduced to skin and bones.
6 I am like an owl in the desert,
like a little owl in a far-off wilderness.
7 I lie awake,
lonely as a solitary bird on the roof.
8 My enemies taunt me day after day.
They mock and curse me.
9 I eat ashes for food.
My tears run down into my drink
10 because of your anger and wrath.
For you have picked me up and thrown me out.
11 My life passes as swiftly as the evening shadows.
I am withering away like grass.
12 But you, O Lord, will sit on your throne forever.
Your fame will endure to every generation.
13 You will arise and have mercy on Jerusalem[a]—
and now is the time to pity her,
now is the time you promised to help.
14 For your people love every stone in her walls
and cherish even the dust in her streets.
15 Then the nations will tremble before the Lord.
The kings of the earth will tremble before his glory.
16 For the Lord will rebuild Jerusalem.
He will appear in his glory.
17 He will listen to the prayers of the destitute.
He will not reject their pleas.
18 Let this be recorded for future generations,
so that a people not yet born will praise the Lord.
19 Tell them the Lord looked down
from his heavenly sanctuary.
He looked down to earth from heaven
20 to hear the groans of the prisoners,
to release those condemned to die.
21 And so the Lord’s fame will be celebrated in Zion,
his praises in Jerusalem,
22 when multitudes gather together
and kingdoms come to worship the Lord.
23 He broke my strength in midlife,
cutting short my days.
24 But I cried to him, “O my God, who lives forever,
don’t take my life while I am so young!
25 Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth
and made the heavens with your hands.
26 They will perish, but you remain forever;
they will wear out like old clothing.
You will change them like a garment
and discard them.
27 But you are always the same;
you will live forever.
28 The children of your people
will live in security.
Their children’s children
will thrive in your presence.”
Footnotes:

102:13 Hebrew Zion; also in 102:16.


Acts 23
New Living Translation (NLT)
Through The Bible Tuesday 06-05-18 Devotions

23 Gazing intently at the high council,[a] Paul began: “Brothers, I have always lived before God with a clear conscience!”

2 Instantly Ananias the high priest commanded those close to Paul to slap him on the mouth. 3 But Paul said to him, “God will slap you, you corrupt hypocrite![b] What kind of judge are you to break the law yourself by ordering me struck like that?”

4 Those standing near Paul said to him, “Do you dare to insult God’s high priest?”

5 “I’m sorry, brothers. I didn’t realize he was the high priest,” Paul replied, “for the Scriptures say, ‘You must not speak evil of any of your rulers.’[c]”

6 Paul realized that some members of the high council were Sadducees and some were Pharisees, so he shouted, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, as were my ancestors! And I am on trial because my hope is in the resurrection of the dead!”

7 This divided the council—the Pharisees against the Sadducees— 8 for the Sadducees say there is no resurrection or angels or spirits, but the Pharisees believe in all of these. 9 So there was a great uproar. Some of the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees jumped up and began to argue forcefully. “We see nothing wrong with him,” they shouted. “Perhaps a spirit or an angel spoke to him.” 10 As the conflict grew more violent, the commander was afraid they would tear Paul apart. So he ordered his soldiers to go and rescue him by force and take him back to the fortress.

11 That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, “Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well.”

The Plan to Kill Paul
12 The next morning a group of Jews[d] got together and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty of them in the conspiracy. 14 They went to the leading priests and elders and told them, “We have bound ourselves with an oath to eat nothing until we have killed Paul. 15 So you and the high council should ask the commander to bring Paul back to the council again. Pretend you want to examine his case more fully. We will kill him on the way.”

16 But Paul’s nephew—his sister’s son—heard of their plan and went to the fortress and told Paul. 17 Paul called for one of the Roman officers[e] and said, “Take this young man to the commander. He has something important to tell him.”

18 So the officer did, explaining, “Paul, the prisoner, called me over and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.”

19 The commander took his hand, led him aside, and asked, “What is it you want to tell me?”

20 Paul’s nephew told him, “Some Jews are going to ask you to bring Paul before the high council tomorrow, pretending they want to get some more information. 21 But don’t do it! There are more than forty men hiding along the way ready to ambush him. They have vowed not to eat or drink anything until they have killed him. They are ready now, just waiting for your consent.”

22 “Don’t let anyone know you told me this,” the commander warned the young man.

Paul Is Sent to Caesarea
23 Then the commander called two of his officers and ordered, “Get 200 soldiers ready to leave for Caesarea at nine o’clock tonight. Also take 200 spearmen and 70 mounted troops. 24 Provide horses for Paul to ride, and get him safely to Governor Felix.” 25 Then he wrote this letter to the governor:

26 “From Claudius Lysias, to his Excellency, Governor Felix: Greetings!

27 “This man was seized by some Jews, and they were about to kill him when I arrived with the troops. When I learned that he was a Roman citizen, I removed him to safety. 28 Then I took him to their high council to try to learn the basis of the accusations against him. 29 I soon discovered the charge was something regarding their religious law—certainly nothing worthy of imprisonment or death. 30 But when I was informed of a plot to kill him, I immediately sent him on to you. I have told his accusers to bring their charges before you.”

31 So that night, as ordered, the soldiers took Paul as far as Antipatris. 32 They returned to the fortress the next morning, while the mounted troops took him on to Caesarea. 33 When they arrived in Caesarea, they presented Paul and the letter to Governor Felix. 34 He read it and then asked Paul what province he was from. “Cilicia,” Paul answered.

35 “I will hear your case myself when your accusers arrive,” the governor told him. Then the governor ordered him kept in the prison at Herod’s headquarters.[f]

Footnotes:

23:1 Greek Sanhedrin; also in 23:6, 15, 20, 28.
23:3 Greek you whitewashed wall.
23:5 Exod 22:28.
23:12 Greek the Jews.
23:17 Greek centurions; also in 23:23.
23:35 Greek Herod’s Praetorium.


Psalm 26
New Living Translation (NLT)
Through The Bible Tuesday 06-05-18 Devotions

A psalm of David.

1 Declare me innocent, O Lord,
for I have acted with integrity;
I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
2 Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me.
Test my motives and my heart.
3 For I am always aware of your unfailing love,
and I have lived according to your truth.
4 I do not spend time with liars
or go along with hypocrites.
5 I hate the gatherings of those who do evil,
and I refuse to join in with the wicked.
6 I wash my hands to declare my innocence.
I come to your altar, O Lord,
7 singing a song of thanksgiving
and telling of all your wonders.
8 I love your sanctuary, Lord,
the place where your glorious presence dwells.
9 Don’t let me suffer the fate of sinners.
Don’t condemn me along with murderers.
10 Their hands are dirty with evil schemes,
and they constantly take bribes.
11 But I am not like that; I live with integrity.
So redeem me and show me mercy.
12 Now I stand on solid ground,
and I will publicly praise the Lord.


Wednesday, June 06, 2018