Today our passages are 2 Chronicles 35:1–36:23; 1 Corinthians 1:1-17; Psalm 27:1-6; and Proverbs 20:20-21. 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 35-36:23 (Contemporary English Version)
2 Chronicles 35
Passover Is Celebrated
(2 Kings 23.21-23)1Josiah commanded that Passover be celebrated in Jerusalem to honor the LORD. So, on the fourteenth day of the first month, [a] the lambs were killed for the Passover celebration. 2On that day, Josiah made sure the priests knew what duties they were to do in the temple.
3He called together the Levites who served the LORD and who taught the people his laws, and he said:
No longer will you have to carry the sacred chest from place to place. It will stay in the temple built by King Solomon son of David, where you will serve the LORD and his people Israel.
4Get ready to do the work that David and Solomon assigned to you, according to your clans.
5Divide yourselves into groups, then arrange yourselves throughout the temple so that each family of worshipers will be able to get help from one of you. [b]
6When the people bring you their Passover lamb, you must kill it and prepare it to be sacrificed to the LORD. Make sure the people celebrate according to the instructions that the LORD gave Moses, and don't do anything to make yourselves unclean and unacceptable.
7Josiah donated thirty thousand sheep and goats, and three thousand bulls from his own flocks and herds for the people to offer as sacrifices.
8Josiah's officials also voluntarily gave some of their animals to the people, the priests, and the Levites as sacrifices. Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, who were the officials in charge of the temple, gave the priests twenty-six hundred sheep and lambs and three hundred bulls to sacrifice during the Passover celebration.
9Conaniah, his two brothers Shemaiah and Nethanel, as well as Hashabiah, Jeiel, and Jozabad were leaders of the Levites, and they gave the other Levites five thousand sheep and goats, and five hundred bulls to offer as sacrifices.
10When everything was ready to celebrate Passover, the priests and the Levites stood where Josiah had told them.
11Then the Levites killed and skinned the Passover lambs, and they handed some of the blood to the priests, who splattered it on the altar.
12The Levites set aside the parts of the animal that the worshipers needed for their sacrifices to please the LORD, [c] just as the Law of Moses required. They also did the same thing with the bulls.
13They sacrificed the Passover animals on the altar and boiled the meat for the other offerings in pots, kettles, and pans. Then they quickly handed the meat to the people so they could eat it.
14All day long, the priests were busy offering sacrifices and burning the animals' fat on the altar. And when everyone had finished, the Levites prepared Passover animals for themselves and for the priests.
15During the celebration some of the Levites prepared Passover animals for the musicians and the guards, so that the Levite musicians would not have to leave their places, which had been assigned to them according to the instructions of David, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun the king's prophet. Even the guards at the temple gates did not have to leave their posts.
16So on that day, Passover was celebrated to honor the LORD, and sacrifices were offered on the altar to him, just as Josiah had commanded.
17The worshipers then celebrated the Festival of Thin Bread for the next seven days.
18People from Jerusalem and from towns all over Judah and Israel were there. Passover had not been observed like this since the days of Samuel the prophet. In fact, this was the greatest Passover celebration in Israel's history!
19All these things happened in the eighteenth year of Josiah's rule in Judah.
Josiah Dies in Battle
(2 Kings 23.28-30)20Some time later, King Neco of Egypt led his army to the city of Carchemish on the Euphrates River. And Josiah led his troops north to meet the Egyptians in battle. [d] 21Neco sent the following message to Josiah:
I'm not attacking you, king of Judah! We're not even at war. But God has told me to quickly attack my enemy. God is on my side, so if you try to stop me, he will punish you.
22But Josiah ignored Neco's warning, even though it came from God! Instead, he disguised himself and marched into battle against Neco in the valley near Megiddo.
23During the battle an Egyptian soldier shot Josiah with an arrow. Josiah told his servants, "Get me out of here! I've been hit."
24They carried Josiah out of his chariot, then put him in the other chariot he had there and took him back to Jerusalem, where he soon died. He was buried beside his ancestors, and everyone in Judah and Jerusalem mourned his death.
25Jeremiah the prophet wrote a funeral song in honor of Josiah. And since then, anyone in Judah who mourns the death of Josiah sings that song. It is included in the collection of funeral songs.
26Everything else Josiah did while he was king, including how he faithfully obeyed the LORD,
27is written in The History of the Kings of Israel and Judah.
2 Chronicles 36
King Jehoahaz of Judah
(2 Kings 23.30-35)1After the death of Josiah, the people of Judah crowned his son Jehoahaz their new king. 2He was twenty-three years old at the time, and he ruled only three months from Jerusalem.
3King Neco of Egypt captured Jehoahaz and forced Judah to pay almost four tons of silver and seventy-five pounds of gold as taxes.
4Then Neco appointed Jehoahaz's brother Eliakim king of Judah and changed his name to Jehoiakim. He led Jehoahaz away to Egypt as his prisoner.
King Jehoiakim of Judah
(2 Kings 23.36--24.7)5Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he was appointed king, and he ruled eleven years from Jerusalem. Jehoiakim disobeyed the LORD his God by doing evil. 6During Jehoiakim's rule, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia invaded Judah. He arrested Jehoiakim and put him in chains, and he sent him to the capital city of Babylon.
7Nebuchadnezzar also carried off many of the valuable things in the LORD's temple, and he put them in his palace in Babylon.
8Everything else Jehoiakim did while he was king, including all the disgusting and evil things, is written in The History of the Kings of Israel and Judah. His son Jehoiachin then became king.
King Jehoiachin of Judah
(2 Kings 24.8-17)9Jehoiachin was eighteen [e] years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled only three months and ten days from Jerusalem. Jehoiachin also disobeyed the LORD by doing evil. 10In the spring of the year, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia had Jehoiachin arrested and taken to Babylon, along with more of the valuable items in the temple. Then Nebuchadnezzar appointed Zedekiah king of Judah.
King Zedekiah of Judah
(2 Kings 24.18-20; Jeremiah 52.1-3)11Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he was appointed king of Judah, and he ruled from Jerusalem for eleven years. 12He disobeyed the LORD his God and refused to change his ways, even after a warning from Jeremiah, the LORD's prophet.
13King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia had forced Zedekiah to promise in God's name that he would be loyal. Zedekiah was stubborn and refused to turn back to the LORD God of Israel, so he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar.
14The people of Judah and even the priests who were their leaders became more unfaithful. They followed the disgusting example of the nations around them and made the LORD's holy temple unfit for worship.
15But the LORD God felt sorry for his people, and instead of destroying the temple, he sent prophets who warned the people over and over about their sins.
16But the people only laughed and insulted these prophets. They ignored what the LORD God was trying to tell them, until he finally became so angry that nothing could stop him from punishing Judah and Jerusalem.
Jerusalem Is Destroyed
(2 Kings 25.1-21; Jeremiah 52.3-30)17The LORD sent King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia to attack Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar killed the young men who were in the temple, and he showed no mercy to anyone, whether man or woman, young or old. God let him kill everyone in the city. 18Nebuchadnezzar carried off everything that was left in the temple; he robbed the treasury and the personal storerooms of the king and his officials. He took everything back to Babylon.
19Nebuchadnezzar's troops burned down the temple and destroyed every important building in the city. Then they broke down the city wall.
20The survivors were taken to Babylonia as prisoners, where they were slaves of the king and his sons, until Persia became a powerful nation.
21Judah was an empty desert, and it stayed that way for seventy years, to make up for all the years it was not allowed to rest. [f] These things happened just as Jeremiah the LORD's prophet had said. [g]
Cyrus Lets the Jews Return Home
(Ezra 1.1-4)22In the first year that Cyrus was king of Persia, [h] the LORD had Cyrus send a message to all parts of his kingdom. This happened just as Jeremiah the LORD's prophet had promised. 23The message said: I am King Cyrus of Persia.
The LORD God of heaven has made me the ruler of every nation on earth. He has also chosen me to build a temple for him in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. The LORD God will watch over any of his people who want to go back to Judah.
- 2 Chronicles 35:1 first month: See the note at 29.3.
- 2 Chronicles 35:5 each family of worshipers. . . you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 2 Chronicles 35:12 sacrifices to please the LORD: See the note at 1.6.
- 2 Chronicles 35:20 battle: At this time, King Neco of Egypt (609-595 B.C.) was fighting on the side of the Assyrians. He marched north to fight the Babylonian army and help Assyria keep control of its land. Since Josiah considered Assyria an enemy, he set out to stop Neco and the Egyptian troops.
- 2 Chronicles 36:9 eighteen: Some manuscripts of one ancient translation (see also 2 Kings 24.8); Hebrew "eight."
- 2 Chronicles 36:21 rest: According to Leviticus 25.1-7, the land was supposed to rest every seventh year.
- 2 Chronicles 36:21 Jeremiah. . . said: Jeremiah 25.11,12; 29.10. According to the Law, the people had to allow the land to rest one out of every seven years (see Leviticus 25.1-7).
- 2 Chronicles 36:22 the first year that Cyrus was king of Persia: Probably 538 B.C., when Cyrus captured Babylonia. He had actually ruled Persia since 549 B.C.
1 Corinthians 1:1-17 (Contemporary English Version)
1 Corinthians 11From Paul, chosen by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from Sosthenes, who is also a follower. 2To God's church in Corinth. Christ Jesus chose you to be his very own people, and you worship in his name, as we and all others do who call him Lord.
3My prayer is that God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!
4I never stop thanking my God for being kind enough to give you Christ Jesus, 5who helps you speak and understand so well. 6Now you are certain that everything we told you about our Lord Christ Jesus is true. 7You are not missing out on any blessings, as you wait for him to return. 8And until the day Christ does return, he will keep you completely innocent. 9God can be trusted, and he chose you to be partners with his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Taking Sides10My dear friends, as a follower of our Lord Jesus Christ, I beg you to get along with each other. Don't take sides. Always try to agree in what you think. 11Several people from Chloe's family [a] have already reported to me that you keep arguing with each other. 12They have said that some of you claim to follow me, while others claim to follow Apollos or Peter [b] or Christ. 13Has Christ been divided up? Was I nailed to a cross for you? Were you baptized in my name? 14I thank God [c] that I didn't baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius. 15Not one of you can say that you were baptized in my name. 16I did baptize the family [d] of Stephanas, but I don't remember if I baptized anyone else. 17Christ did not send me to baptize. He sent me to tell the good news without using big words that would make the cross of Christ lose its power.
- 1 Corinthians 1:11 family: Family members and possibly slaves and others who may have lived in the house.
- 1 Corinthians 1:12 Peter: The Greek text has "Cephas," which is an Aramaic name meaning "rock." Peter is the Greek name with the same meaning.
- 1 Corinthians 1:14 I thank God: Some manuscripts have "I thank my God."
- 1 Corinthians 1:16 family: See the note at 1.11.
Psalm 27:1-6 (Contemporary English Version)
A Prayer of Praise1You, LORD, are the light that keeps me safe.
I am not afraid of anyone.
You protect me,
and I have no fears.
2Brutal people may attack
and try to kill me,
but they will stumble.
Fierce enemies may attack,
but they will fall.
3Armies may surround me,
but I won't be afraid;
war may break out,
but I will trust you.
4I ask only one thing, LORD:
Let me live in your house
every day of my life
to see how wonderful you are
and to pray in your temple.
5In times of trouble,
you will protect me.
You will hide me in your tent
and keep me safe
on top of a mighty rock. [a] 6You will let me defeat
all of my enemies.
Then I will celebrate,
as I enter your tent
with animal sacrifices
and songs of praise.
- Psalm 27:5 mighty rock: See the note at 18.2.
Proverbs 20:20-21 (Contemporary English Version)
20Children who curse their parents
will go to the land of darkness
long before their time.
21Getting rich quick [a] may turn out to be a curse.
will go to the land of darkness
long before their time.
21Getting rich quick [a] may turn out to be a curse.
- Proverbs 20:21 quick: Or " the wrong way."
Verse of the Day
“[The LORD Promises To Give the Land Back to His People]I was still being held prisoner in the courtyard of the palace guards when the LORD told me: I am the LORD, and I created the whole world. Ask me, and I will tell you things that you don't know and can't find out.” - Jeremiah 33:2-3
Thought for the Day
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.
Thought for the Day
American politician who served as the 44th President of the United States from 2009 to 2017, Barack Obama wrote, “A declaration is not a government; a creed is not enough. The Founders recognized that there were seeds of anarchy in the idea of individual freedom, an intoxicating danger in the idea of equality, for if everybody is truly free, without the constraints of birth or rank or an inherited social order — if my notion of faith is no better or worse than yours, and my notions of truth and goodness and beauty are as true and good and beautiful as yours — then how can we ever hope to form a society that coheres? Enlightenment thinkers like Hobbes and Locke suggested that free men would form governments as a bargain to ensure that one man's freedom did not become another man's tyranny; that they would sacrifice individual license to better preserve their liberty.”
A Joke for Today
A man dies and goes to heaven when Peter meets him at the Pearly Gates. Peter says, “You need 1000 points to make it into heaven. You tell me all of the good things you’ve done, and I give you a certain number of points for each item. When you reach 1000 points, you get in.”“Okay,” the man says, “I was happily married to the same woman for fifty years and never cheated on her, not even in my mind.”“That’s wonderful,” says Peter, “that’s worth two points!”“Two points?” he says. “Well, I attended church all my life and gave my ten percent tithe faithfully.”“Terrific!” says Peter. “That’s definitely worth a point.”“One point? My goodness! Well, what about this: I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for the homeless?”“Fantastic, that’s good for two more points,” he says.“TWO POINTS!” the man cries. “At this rate the only way I can get into heaven is by the grace of God!”