Today our passages are 2 Chronicles 33:14–34:33; Romans 16:8-27; Psalm 26:1-12; and Proverbs 20:19. The readings are from the Contemporary English Version. If you find these readings helpful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Steet, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.
2 Chronicles 33:14-34:33 (Contemporary English Version)
14Later, Manasseh rebuilt the eastern section of Jerusalem's outer wall and made it taller. This section went from Gihon Valley north to Fish Gate and around the part of the city called Mount Ophel. He also assigned army officers to each of the fortified cities in Judah. [a]
15Manasseh also removed the idols and the stone image of the foreign god from the temple, and he gathered the altars he had built near the temple and in other parts of Jerusalem. He threw all these things outside the city.
16Then he repaired the LORD's altar and offered sacrifices to thank him and sacrifices to ask his blessing. [b] He gave orders that everyone in Judah must worship the LORD God of Israel.
17The people obeyed Manasseh, but they worshiped the LORD at their own shrines.
18Everything else Manasseh did while he was king, including his prayer to the LORD God and the warnings from his prophets, is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.
19Hozai [c] wrote a lot about Manasseh, including his prayer and God's answer. But Hozai also recorded the evil things Manasseh did before turning back to God, as well as a list of places where Manasseh set up idols, and where he built local shrines and places to worship Asherah.
20Manasseh died and was buried near the palace, and his son Amon became king.
King Amon of Judah
(2 Kings 21.19-26)21Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled from Jerusalem for two years.
22Amon disobeyed the LORD, just as his father Manasseh had done, and he worshiped and offered sacrifices to the idols his father had made.
23Manasseh had turned back to the LORD, but Amon refused to do that. Instead, he sinned even more than his father.
24Some of Amon's officials plotted against him and killed him in his palace.
25But the people of Judah killed the murderers of Amon and made his son Josiah king.
2 Chronicles 34
King Josiah of Judah
(2 Kings 22.1,2)1Josiah was eight years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled thirty-one years from Jerusalem.
2He followed the example of his ancestor David and always obeyed the LORD.
Josiah Stops the Worship of Foreign Gods
(2 Kings 23.4-20)3When Josiah was only sixteen years old he began worshiping God, just as his ancestor David had done. Then, four years later, he decided to destroy the local shrines [d] in Judah and Jerusalem, as well as the sacred poles [e] for worshiping the goddess Asherah and the idols of foreign gods.
4He watched as the altars for the worship of the god Baal were torn down, and as the nearby incense altars were smashed. The Asherah poles, the idols, and the stone images were also smashed, and the pieces were scattered over the graves of their worshipers.
5Josiah then had the bones of the pagan priests burned on the altars. [f] And so Josiah got rid of the worship of foreign gods in Judah and Jerusalem.
6He did the same things in the towns and ruined villages [g] in the territories of West Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, as far as the border of Naphtali.
7Everywhere in the northern kingdom of Israel, Josiah tore down pagan altars and Asherah poles; he crushed idols to dust and smashed incense altars. Then Josiah went back to Jerusalem.
Hilkiah Finds The Book of God's Law
(2 Kings 22.3-20)8In the eighteenth year of Josiah's rule in Judah, after he had gotten rid of all the sinful things from the land and from the LORD's temple, he sent three of his officials to repair the temple. They were Shaphan son of Azaliah, Governor Maaseiah of Jerusalem, and Joah son of Joahaz, who kept the government records.
9These three men went to Hilkiah the high priest. They gave him the money that the Levite guards had collected from the people of West Manasseh, Ephraim, and the rest of Israel, as well as those living in Judah, Benjamin, and Jerusalem.
10Then the money was turned over to the men who supervised the repairs to the temple. They used some of it to pay the workers,
11and they gave the rest of it to the carpenters and builders, who used it to buy the stone and wood they needed to repair the other buildings that Judah's kings had not taken care of.
12The workers were honest, and their supervisors were Jahath and Obadiah from the Levite clan of Merari, and Zechariah and Meshullam from the Levite clan of Kohath. Other Levites, who were all skilled musicians,
13were in charge of carrying supplies and supervising the workers. Other Levites were appointed to stand guard around the temple.
14While the money was being given to these supervisors, Hilkiah found the book that contained the laws that the LORD had given to Moses.
15Hilkiah handed the book to Shaphan the official and said, "Look what I found here in the temple--The Book of God's Law."
16Shaphan took the book to Josiah and reported, "Your officials are doing everything you wanted.
17They have collected the money from the temple and have given it to the men supervising the repairs.
18But there's something else, Your Majesty. The priest Hilkiah gave me this book." Then Shaphan read it aloud.
19When Josiah heard what was in The Book of God's Law, he tore his clothes in sorrow.
20At once he called together Hilkiah, Shaphan, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Abdon son of Micah, [h] and his own servant Asaiah. He said,
21"The LORD must be furious with me and everyone else in Israel and Judah, because our ancestors did not obey the laws written in this book. Go find out what the LORD wants us to do."
22Hilkiah and the four other men left right away and went to talk with Huldah the prophet. Her husband was Shallum, [i] who was in charge of the king's clothes. Huldah lived in the northern part of Jerusalem, and when they met in her home,
23she said: You were sent here by King Josiah, and this is what the LORD God of Israel says to him:
24"Josiah, I am the LORD! And I intend to punish this country and everyone in it, just as this book says.
25The people of Judah and Israel have rejected me. They have offered sacrifices to foreign gods and have worshiped their own idols. I can't stand it any longer. I am furious.
26-27"Josiah, listen to what I am going to do. I noticed how sad you were when you heard that this country and its people would be completely wiped out. You even tore your clothes in sorrow, and I heard you cry.
28So before I destroy this place, I will let you die in peace."
The men left and reported to Josiah what Huldah had said.
Josiah Reads The Book of God's Law
(2 Kings 23.1-3)29King Josiah called together the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem.
30Then he went to the LORD's temple, together with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, the priests, and the Levites.
Finally, when everybody was there, he read aloud The Book of God's Law [j] that had been found in the temple.
31After Josiah had finished reading, he stood in the place reserved for the king. He promised in the LORD's name to faithfully obey the LORD and to follow his laws and teachings that were written in the book.
32Then he asked the people of Jerusalem and Benjamin to make that same promise and to obey the God their ancestors had worshiped.
33Josiah destroyed all the idols in the territories of Israel, and he commanded everyone in Israel to worship only the LORD God. The people did not turn away from the LORD God of their ancestors for the rest of Josiah's rule as king.
- 2 Chronicles 33:14 fortified cities in Judah: At this time, Judah was under the control of Assyria. The fortifications mentioned in this verse may have been done under orders from Assyrian officials, hoping to strengthen their southern border against the rising power of Egypt.
- 2 Chronicles 33:16 sacrifices to ask his blessing: See the note at 29.33.
- 2 Chronicles 33:19 Hozai: Or "The prophets."
- 2 Chronicles 34:3 local shrines: See the note at 11.15.
- 2 Chronicles 34:3 sacred poles: See the note at 14.3.
- 2 Chronicles 34:5 the bones of the pagan priests burned on the altars: This made the altars unclean, so that they could not be used in worshiping any god.
- 2 Chronicles 34:6 ruined villages: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 2 Chronicles 34:20 Abdon son of Micah: Also called "Achbor son of Micaiah" (see 2 Kings 22.12).
- 2 Chronicles 34:22 Shallum: Hebrew "Shallum son of Tokhath son of Hasrah."
- 2 Chronicles 34:30 The Book of God's Law: The Hebrew text has "The Book of God's Agreement," which is the same as "The Book of God's Law" in verses 15 and 19. In traditional translations this is called "The Book of the Covenant."
Romans 16:8-27 (Contemporary English Version)
8Greet Ampliatus, my dear friend whose faith is in the Lord.
9Greet Urbanus, who serves Christ along with us.
Greet my dear friend Stachys.
10Greet Apelles, a faithful servant of Christ.
Greet Aristobulus and his family.
11Greet Herodion, who is a relative [a] of mine. Greet Narcissus and the others in his family, who have faith in the Lord.
12Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, who work hard for the Lord.
Greet my dear friend Persis. She also works hard for the Lord.
13Greet Rufus, that special servant of the Lord, and greet his mother, who has been like a mother to me.
14Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, and Hermas, as well as our friends who are with them.
15Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all of God's people who are with them.
16Be sure to give each other a warm greeting.
All of Christ's churches greet you.
17My friends, I beg you to watch out for anyone who causes trouble and divides the church by refusing to do what all of you were taught. Stay away from them! 18They want to serve themselves and not Christ the Lord. Their flattery and fancy talk fool people who don't know any better. 19I am glad that everyone knows how well you obey the Lord. But still, I want you to understand what is good and not have anything to do with evil. 20Then God, who gives peace, will soon crush Satan under your feet. I pray that our Lord Jesus will be kind to you.
21Timothy, who works with me, sends his greetings, and so do my relatives, [b] Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater. 22I, Tertius, also send my greetings. I am a follower of the Lord, and I wrote this letter. [c] 23-24Gaius welcomes me and the whole church into his home, and he sends his greetings.
Erastus, the city treasurer, and our dear friend Quartus send their greetings too. [d]
Paul's Closing Prayer25Praise God! He can make you strong by means of my good news, which is the message about [e] Jesus Christ. For ages and ages this message was kept secret, 26but now at last it has been told. The eternal God commanded his prophets to write about the good news, so that all nations would obey and have faith. 27And now, because of Jesus Christ, we can praise the only wise God forever! Amen. [f]
- Romans 16:11 relative(s): See the note at verse 7.
- Romans 16:21 relative(s): See the note at verse 7.
- Romans 16:22 I wrote this letter: Paul probably dictated this letter to Tertius.
- Romans 16:23 send their greetings too: Some manuscripts add, " I pray that our Lord Jesus Christ will always be kind to you. Amen."
- Romans 16:25 about: Or " from."
- Romans 16:27 Amen: Some manuscripts have verses 25-27 after 14.23. Others have the verses here and after 14.23, and one manuscript has them after 15.33.
Psalm 26:1-12 (Contemporary English Version)
The Prayer of an Innocent Person1Show that I am right, LORD!
I stay true to myself,
and I have trusted you
2Test my thoughts and find out
what I am like.
3I never forget your kindness,
and I am always faithful
to you. [a] 4I don't spend my time
with worthless liars
5or go with evil crowds.
6I wash my hands, LORD,
to show my innocence,
and I worship at your altar,
7while gratefully singing
about your wonders.
8I love the temple
where you live,
your glory shines.
9Don't sweep me away,
as you do sinners.
Don't punish me with death
as you do those people
who are brutal
10or full of meanness
or who bribe others.
11I stay true to myself.
Be kind and rescue me.
12Now I stand on solid ground!
And when your people meet,
I will praise you, LORD.
- Psalm 26:3 I am. . . to you: Or " I trust your faithfulness."
Proverbs 20:19 (Contemporary English Version)
19Stay away from gossips--
they tell everything.
“But the LORD told him, "Samuel, don't think Eliab is the one just because he's tall and handsome. He isn't the one I've chosen. People judge others by what they look like, but I judge people by what is in their hearts.” - 1 Samuel 16:7
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.
Thought for the Day
German scientist, satirist, and Anglophile, Georg C. Lichtenberg wrote, “Everyone is a genius at least once a year. The real geniuses simply have their bright ideas closer together.”
A Joke for Today
The Pope met with his Cardinals to discuss a proposal from Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of Israel. "Your Holiness", said one of his Cardinals, Mr. Netanyahu wants to challenge you to a game of golf to show the friendship and ecumenical spirit shared by the Jewish and Catholic faiths."
The Pope thought this was a good idea, but he had never held a golf club in his hand. "Don't we have a Cardinal to represent me?" he asked.
"None that plays very well," a Cardinal replied. "But," he added, "there is a man named Jack Nicklaus, an American golfer who is a devout Catholic. We can offer to make him a Cardinal, then ask him to play Mr. Netanyahu as your personal representative. In addition, to showing our spirit of cooperation, we'll also win the match."
Everyone agreed it was a good idea. The call was made. Of course, Nicklaus was honored and agreed to play. The day after the match, Nicklaus reported to the Vatican to inform the Pope of the result. "I have some good news and some bad news, your Holiness, " said the golfer.
"Tell me the good news first, Cardinal Nicklaus," said the Pope.
"Well, your Holiness, I don't like to brag, but even though I've played some pretty terrific rounds of golf in my life, this was the best I have ever played, by far. I must have been inspired from above. My drives were long and true, my irons were accurate and purposeful, and my putting was perfect. With all due respect, my play was truly miraculous.
"There's bad news?", the Pope asked.
"Yes," Nicklaus sighed. "I lost to Rabbi Tiger Woods by seven strokes."