October 20 – OT Reading

Jeremiah 1-3

Jeremiah 1

Jeremiah’s Call and Commission

The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, to whom the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the exile of Jerusalem in the fifth month.

Now the word of the Lord came to me saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
And before you were born I consecrated you;
I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Then I said, “Alas, Lord God!
Behold, I do not know how to speak,
Because I am a youth.”
But the Lord said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
Because everywhere I send you, you shall go,
And all that I command you, you shall speak.
“Do not be afraid of them,
For I am with you to deliver you,” declares the Lord.

Then the Lord stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me,

“Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
10 “See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms,
To pluck up and to break down,
To destroy and to overthrow,
To build and to plant.”

The Almond Rod and Boiling Pot

11 The word of the Lord came to me saying, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” And I said, “I see a rod of an almond tree.” 12 Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it.”

13 The word of the Lord came to me a second time saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see a boiling pot, facing away from the north.” 14 Then the Lord said to me, “Out of the north the evil will break forth on all the inhabitants of the land. 15 For, behold, I am calling all the families of the kingdoms of the north,” declares the Lord; “and they will come and they will set each one his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all its walls round about and against all the cities of Judah. 16 I will pronounce My judgments on them concerning all their wickedness, whereby they have forsaken Me and have offered sacrifices to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands. 17 Now, gird up your loins and arise, and speak to them all which I command you. Do not be dismayed before them, or I will dismay you before them. 18 Now behold, I have made you today as a fortified city and as a pillar of iron and as walls of bronze against the whole land, to the kings of Judah, to its princes, to its priests and to the people of the land. 19 They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you,” declares the Lord.

 

Jeremiah 2

Judah’s Apostasy

Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Go and proclaim in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord,

“I remember concerning you the devotion of your youth,
The love of your betrothals,
Your following after Me in the wilderness,
Through a land not sown.
“Israel was holy to the Lord,
The first of His harvest.
All who ate of it became guilty;
Evil came upon them,” declares the Lord.’”

Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. Thus says the Lord,

“What injustice did your fathers find in Me,
That they went far from Me
And walked after emptiness and became empty?
“They did not say, ‘Where is the Lord
Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt,
Who led us through the wilderness,
Through a land of deserts and of pits,
Through a land of drought and of deep darkness,
Through a land that no one crossed
And where no man dwelt?’
“I brought you into the fruitful land
To eat its fruit and its good things.
But you came and defiled My land,
And My inheritance you made an abomination.
“The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’
And those who handle the law did not know Me;
The rulers also transgressed against Me,
And the prophets prophesied by Baal
And walked after things that did not profit.

“Therefore I will yet contend with you,” declares the Lord,
“And with your sons’ sons I will contend.
10 “For cross to the coastlands of Kittim and see,
And send to Kedar and observe closely
And see if there has been such a thing as this!
11 “Has a nation changed gods
When they were not gods?
But My people have changed their glory
For that which does not profit.
12 “Be appalled, O heavens, at this,
And shudder, be very desolate,” declares the Lord.
13 “For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me,
The fountain of living waters,
To hew for themselves cisterns,
Broken cisterns
That can hold no water.

14 “Is Israel a slave? Or is he a homeborn servant?
Why has he become a prey?
15 “The young lions have roared at him,
They have roared loudly.
And they have made his land a waste;
His cities have been destroyed, without inhabitant.
16 “Also the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes
Have shaved the crown of your head.
17 “Have you not done this to yourself
By your forsaking the Lord your God
When He led you in the way?
18 “But now what are you doing on the road to Egypt,
To drink the waters of the Nile?
Or what are you doing on the road to Assyria,
To drink the waters of the Euphrates?
19 “Your own wickedness will correct you,
And your apostasies will reprove you;
Know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter
For you to forsake the Lord your God,
And the dread of Me is not in you,” declares the Lord God of hosts.

20 “For long ago I broke your yoke
And tore off your bonds;
But you said, ‘I will not serve!’
For on every high hill
And under every green tree
You have lain down as a harlot.
21 “Yet I planted you a choice vine,
A completely faithful seed.
How then have you turned yourself before Me
Into the degenerate shoots of a foreign vine?
22 “Although you wash yourself with lye
And use much soap,
The stain of your iniquity is before Me,” declares the Lord God.
23 “How can you say, ‘I am not defiled,
I have not gone after the Baals’?
Look at your way in the valley!
Know what you have done!
You are a swift young camel entangling her ways,
24 A wild donkey accustomed to the wilderness,
That sniffs the wind in her passion.
In the time of her heat who can turn her away?
All who seek her will not become weary;
In her month they will find her.
25 “Keep your feet from being unshod
And your throat from thirst;
But you said, ‘It is hopeless!
No! For I have loved strangers,
And after them I will walk.’

26 “As the thief is shamed when he is discovered,
So the house of Israel is shamed;
They, their kings, their princes
And their priests and their prophets,
27 Who say to a tree, ‘You are my father,’
And to a stone, ‘You gave me birth.’
For they have turned their back to Me,
And not their face;
But in the time of their trouble they will say,
‘Arise and save us.’
28 “But where are your gods
Which you made for yourself?
Let them arise, if they can save you
In the time of your trouble;
For according to the number of your cities
Are your gods, O Judah.

29 “Why do you contend with Me?
You have all transgressed against Me,” declares the Lord.
30 “In vain I have struck your sons;
They accepted no chastening.
Your sword has devoured your prophets
Like a destroying lion.
31 “O generation, heed the word of the Lord.
Have I been a wilderness to Israel,
Or a land of thick darkness?
Why do My people say, ‘We are free to roam;
We will no longer come to You’?
32 “Can a virgin forget her ornaments,
Or a bride her attire?
Yet My people have forgotten Me
Days without number.
33 “How well you prepare your way
To seek love!
Therefore even the wicked women
You have taught your ways.
34 “Also on your skirts is found
The lifeblood of the innocent poor;
You did not find them breaking in.
But in spite of all these things,
35 Yet you said, ‘I am innocent;
Surely His anger is turned away from me.’
Behold, I will enter into judgment with you
Because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’
36 “Why do you go around so much
Changing your way?
Also, you will be put to shame by Egypt
As you were put to shame by Assyria.
37 “From this place also you will go out
With your hands on your head;
For the Lord has rejected those in whom you trust,
And you will not prosper with them.”

 

Jeremiah 3

The Polluted Land

God says, “If a husband divorces his wife
And she goes from him
And belongs to another man,
Will he still return to her?
Will not that land be completely polluted?
But you are a harlot with many lovers;
Yet you turn to Me,” declares the Lord.
“Lift up your eyes to the bare heights and see;
Where have you not been violated?
By the roads you have sat for them
Like an Arab in the desert,
And you have polluted a land
With your harlotry and with your wickedness.
“Therefore the showers have been withheld,
And there has been no spring rain.
Yet you had a harlot’s forehead;
You refused to be ashamed.
“Have you not just now called to Me,
‘My Father, You are the friend of my youth?
‘Will He be angry forever?
Will He be indignant to the end?’
Behold, you have spoken
And have done evil things,
And you have had your way.”

Faithless Israel

Then the Lord said to me in the days of Josiah the king, “Have you seen what faithless Israel did? She went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and she was a harlot there. I thought, ‘After she has done all these things she will return to Me’; but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also. Because of the lightness of her harlotry, she polluted the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. 10 Yet in spite of all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to Me with all her heart, but rather in deception,” declares the Lord.

God Invites Repentance

11 And the Lord said to me, “Faithless Israel has proved herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. 12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north and say,

‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord;
‘I will not look upon you in anger.
For I am gracious,’ declares the Lord;
‘I will not be angry forever.
13 ‘Only acknowledge your iniquity,
That you have transgressed against the Lord your God
And have scattered your favors to the strangers under every green tree,
And you have not obeyed My voice,’ declares the Lord.
14 ‘Return, O faithless sons,’ declares the Lord;
‘For I am a master to you,
And I will take you one from a city and two from a family,
And I will bring you to Zion.’

15 “Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding. 16 It shall be in those days when you are multiplied and increased in the land,” declares the Lord, “they will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the Lord.’ And it will not come to mind, nor will they remember it, nor will they miss it, nor will it be made again. 17 At that time they will call Jerusalem ‘The Throne of the Lord,’ and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Jerusalem, for the name of the Lord; nor will they walk anymore after the stubbornness of their evil heart. 18 In those days the house of Judah will walk with the house of Israel, and they will come together from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers as an inheritance.

19 “Then I said,

‘How I would set you among My sons
And give you a pleasant land,
The most beautiful inheritance of the nations!’
And I said, ‘You shall call Me, My Father,
And not turn away from following Me.’
20 “Surely, as a woman treacherously departs from her lover,
So you have dealt treacherously with Me,
O house of Israel,” declares the Lord.

21 A voice is heard on the bare heights,
The weeping and the supplications of the sons of Israel;
Because they have perverted their way,
They have forgotten the Lord their God.
22 “Return, O faithless sons,
I will heal your faithlessness.”
“Behold, we come to You;
For You are the Lord our God.
23 “Surely, the hills are a deception,
A tumult on the mountains.
Surely in the Lord our God
Is the salvation of Israel.

24 “But the shameful thing has consumed the labor of our fathers since our youth, their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. 25 Let us lie down in our shame, and let our humiliation cover us; for we have sinned against the Lord our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day. And we have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God.”

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

October 9 – OT Reading

Isaiah 49-53

Isaiah 49

Salvation Reaches to the End of the Earth

49 Listen to Me, O islands, And pay attention, you peoples from afar. The Lord called Me from the womb; From the body of My mother He named Me. He has made My mouth like a sharp sword, In the shadow of His hand He has concealed Me; And He has also made Me a select arrow, He has hidden Me in His quiver. He said to Me, “You are My Servant, Israel, In Whom I will show My glory.” But I said, “I have toiled in vain, I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity; Yet surely the justice due to Me is with the Lord, And My reward with My God.”

And now says the Lord, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel might be gathered to Him (For I am honored in the sight of the Lord, And My God is My strength), He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and its Holy One, To the despised One, To the One abhorred by the nation, To the Servant of rulers, “Kings will see and arise, Princes will also bow down, Because of the Lord who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen You.”

Thus says the Lord, “In a favorable time I have answered You, And in a day of salvation I have helped You; And I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people, To restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages; Saying to those who are bound, ‘Go forth,’ To those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’ Along the roads they will feed, And their pasture will be on all bare heights. 10 “They will not hunger or thirst, Nor will the scorching heat or sun strike them down; For He who has compassion on them will lead them And will guide them to springs of water. 11 “I will make all My mountains a road, And My highways will be raised up. 12 “Behold, these will come from afar; And lo, these will come from the north and from the west, And these from the land of Sinim.” 13 Shout for joy, O heavens! And rejoice, O earth! Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted His people And will have compassion on His afflicted.

Promise to Zion

14 But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, And the Lord has forgotten me.” 15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. 16 “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me. 17 “Your builders hurry; Your destroyers and devastators Will depart from you. 18 “Lift up your eyes and look around; All of them gather together, they come to you. As I live,” declares the Lord, “You will surely put on all of them as jewels and bind them on as a bride. 19 “For your waste and desolate places and your destroyed land— Surely now you will be too cramped for the inhabitants, And those who swallowed you will be far away. 20 “The children of whom you were bereaved will yet say in your ears, ‘The place is too cramped for me; Make room for me that I may live here.’ 21 “Then you will say in your heart, ‘Who has begotten these for me, Since I have been bereaved of my children And am barren, an exile and a wanderer? And who has reared these? Behold, I was left alone; From where did these come?’”

22 Thus says the Lord God,

“Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations And set up My standard to the peoples; And they will bring your sons in their bosom, And your daughters will be carried on their shoulders. 23 “Kings will be your guardians, And their princesses your nurses. They will bow down to you with their faces to the earth And lick the dust of your feet; And you will know that I am the Lord; Those who hopefully wait for Me will not be put to shame.

24 “Can the prey be taken from the mighty man, Or the captives of a tyrant be rescued?”

25 Surely, thus says the Lord,

“Even the captives of the mighty man will be taken away, And the prey of the tyrant will be rescued; For I will contend with the one who contends with you, And I will save your sons. 26 “I will feed your oppressors with their own flesh, And they will become drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine; And all flesh will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”

 

Isaiah 50

God Helps His Servant

50 Thus says the Lord,

“Where is the certificate of divorce By which I have sent your mother away? Or to whom of My creditors did I sell you? Behold, you were sold for your iniquities, And for your transgressions your mother was sent away. “Why was there no man when I came? When I called, why was there none to answer? Is My hand so short that it cannot ransom? Or have I no power to deliver? Behold, I dry up the sea with My rebuke, I make the rivers a wilderness; Their fish stink for lack of water And die of thirst. “I clothe the heavens with blackness And make sackcloth their covering.”

The Lord God has given Me the tongue of disciples, That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple. The Lord God has opened My ear; And I was not disobedient Nor did I turn back. I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting. For the Lord God helps Me, Therefore, I am not disgraced; Therefore, I have set My face like flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed. He who vindicates Me is near; Who will contend with Me? Let us stand up to each other; Who has a case against Me? Let him draw near to Me. Behold, the Lord God helps Me; Who is he who condemns Me? Behold, they will all wear out like a garment; The moth will eat them. 10 Who is among you that fears the Lord, That obeys the voice of His servant, That walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God. 11 Behold, all you who kindle a fire, Who encircle yourselves with firebrands, Walk in the light of your fire And among the brands you have set ablaze. This you will have from My hand: You will lie down in torment.

 

Isaiah 51

Israel Exhorted

51 “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, Who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were hewn And to the quarry from which you were dug. “Look to Abraham your father And to Sarah who gave birth to you in pain; When he was but one I called him, Then I blessed him and multiplied him.” Indeed, the Lord will comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places. And her wilderness He will make like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the Lord; Joy and gladness will be found in her, Thanksgiving and sound of a melody.

“Pay attention to Me, O My people, And give ear to Me, O My nation; For a law will go forth from Me, And I will set My justice for a light of the peoples. “My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth, And My arms will judge the peoples; The coastlands will wait for Me, And for My arm they will wait expectantly. “Lift up your eyes to the sky, Then look to the earth beneath; For the sky will vanish like smoke, And the earth will wear out like a garment And its inhabitants will die in like manner; But My salvation will be forever, And My righteousness will not wane. “Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, A people in whose heart is My law; Do not fear the reproach of man, Nor be dismayed at their revilings. “For the moth will eat them like a garment, And the grub will eat them like wool. But My righteousness will be forever, And My salvation to all generations.”

Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; Awake as in the days of old, the generations of long ago. Was it not You who cut Rahab in pieces, Who pierced the dragon? 10 Was it not You who dried up the sea, The waters of the great deep; Who made the depths of the sea a pathway For the redeemed to cross over? 11 So the ransomed of the Lord will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, And everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.

12 “I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you are afraid of man who dies And of the son of man who is made like grass, 13 That you have forgotten the Lord your Maker, Who stretched out the heavens And laid the foundations of the earth, That you fear continually all day long because of the fury of the oppressor, As he makes ready to destroy? But where is the fury of the oppressor?

14 The exile will soon be set free, and will not die in the dungeon, nor will his bread be lacking. 15 For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea and its waves roar (the Lord of hosts is His name). 16 I have put My words in your mouth and have covered you with the shadow of My hand, to establish the heavens, to found the earth, and to say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’”

17 Rouse yourself! Rouse yourself! Arise, O Jerusalem, You who have drunk from the Lord’s hand the cup of His anger; The chalice of reeling you have drained to the dregs. 18 There is none to guide her among all the sons she has borne, Nor is there one to take her by the hand among all the sons she has reared. 19 These two things have befallen you; Who will mourn for you? The devastation and destruction, famine and sword; How shall I comfort you? 20 Your sons have fainted, They lie helpless at the head of every street, Like an antelope in a net, Full of the wrath of the Lord, The rebuke of your God.

21 Therefore, please hear this, you afflicted, Who are drunk, but not with wine: 22 Thus says your Lord, the Lord, even your God Who contends for His people, “Behold, I have taken out of your hand the cup of reeling, The chalice of My anger; You will never drink it again. 23 “I will put it into the hand of your tormentors, Who have said to you, ‘Lie down that we may walk over you.’ You have even made your back like the ground And like the street for those who walk over it.”

 

Isaiah 52

Cheer for Prostrate Zion

52 Awake, awake, Clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion; Clothe yourself in your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; For the uncircumcised and the unclean Will no longer come into you. Shake yourself from the dust, rise up, O captive Jerusalem; Loose yourself from the chains around your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.

For thus says the Lord, “You were sold for nothing and you will be redeemed without money.” For thus says the Lord God, “My people went down at the first into Egypt to reside there; then the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. Now therefore, what do I have here,” declares the Lord, “seeing that My people have been taken away without cause?” Again the Lord declares, “Those who rule over them howl, and My name is continually blasphemed all day long. Therefore My people shall know My name; therefore in that day I am the one who is speaking, ‘Here I am.’”

How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices, They shout joyfully together; For they will see with their own eyes When the Lord restores Zion. Break forth, shout joyfully together, You waste places of Jerusalem; For the Lord has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. 10 The Lord has bared His holy arm In the sight of all the nations, That all the ends of the earth may see The salvation of our God.

11 Depart, depart, go out from there, Touch nothing unclean; Go out of the midst of her, purify yourselves, You who carry the vessels of the Lord. 12 But you will not go out in haste, Nor will you go as fugitives; For the Lord will go before you, And the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

The Exalted Servant

13 Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted. 14 Just as many were astonished at you, My people, So His appearance was marred more than any man And His form more than the sons of men. 15 Thus He will sprinkle many nations, Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him; For what had not been told them they will see, And what they had not heard they will understand.

 

Isaiah 53

The Suffering Servant

53 Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

10 But the Lord was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand. 11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

October 8 – OT Reading

2 Kings 18:9-19:37

Psalm 46, 80, 135

2 Kings 18:9-19:37

Now in the fourth year of King Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria and besieged it. 10 At the end of three years they captured it; in the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was captured. 11 Then the king of Assyria carried Israel away into exile to Assyria, and put them in Halah and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes, 12 because they did not obey the voice of the Lord their God, but transgressed His covenant, even all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded; they would neither listen nor do it.

Invasion of Judah

13 Now in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and seized them. 14 Then Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong. Withdraw from me; whatever you impose on me I will bear.” So the king of Assyria required of Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15 Hezekiah gave him all the silver which was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasuries of the king’s house. 16 At that time Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, and from the doorposts which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.

17 Then the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rab-saris and Rabshakeh from Lachish to King Hezekiah with a large army to Jerusalem. So they went up and came to Jerusalem. And when they went up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the highway of the fuller’s field.18 When they called to the king, Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebnah the scribe and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder, came out to them.

19 Then Rabshakeh said to them, “Say now to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria, “What is this confidence that you have? 20 You say (but they are only empty words), ‘I have counsel and strength for the war.’ Now on whom do you rely, that you have rebelled against me? 21 Now behold, you rely on the staff of this crushed reed, even on Egypt; on which if a man leans, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who rely on him. 22 But if you say to me, ‘We trust in the Lord our God,’ is it not He whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away, and has said to Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem’?23 Now therefore, come, make a bargain with my master the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them. 24 How then can you repulse one official of the least of my master’s servants, and rely on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? 25 Have I now come up without the Lord’s approval against this place to destroy it? The Lord said to me, ‘Go up against this land and destroy it.’”’”

26 Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebnah and Joah, said to Rabshakeh, “Speak now to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it; and do not speak with us in Judean in the hearing of the people who are on the wall.” 27 But Rabshakeh said to them, “Has my master sent me only to your master and to you to speak these words, and not to the men who sit on the wall, doomed to eat their own dung and drink their own urine with you?”

28 Then Rabshakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in Judean, saying, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria. 29 Thus says the king, ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you from my hand; 30 nor let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord, saying, “The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.” 31 Do not listen to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of Assyria, “Make your peace with me and come out to me, and eat each of his vine and each of his fig tree and drink each of the waters of his own cistern, 32 until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey, that you may live and not die.” But do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you, saying, “The Lord will deliver us.” 33 Has any one of the gods of the nations delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria? 34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah? Have they delivered Samaria from my hand? 35 Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their land from my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?’”

36 But the people were silent and answered him not a word, for the king’s commandment was, “Do not answer him.” 37 Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn and told him the words of Rabshakeh.

Isaiah Encourages Hezekiah

19 And when King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth and entered the house of the Lord. Then he sent Eliakim who was over the household with Shebna the scribe and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz.They said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah, ‘This day is a day of distress, rebuke, and rejection; for children have come to birth and there is no strength to deliverPerhaps the Lord your God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to reproach the living God, and will rebuke the words which the Lord your God has heard. Therefore, offer a prayer for the remnant that is left.’” So the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah. Isaiah said to them, “Thus you shall say to your master, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. Behold, I will put a spirit in him so that he will hear a rumor and return to his own land. And I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.”’”

Sennacherib Defies God

Then Rabshakeh returned and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah, for he had heard that the king had left Lachish. When he heard them say concerning Tirhakah king of Cush, “Behold, he has come out to fight against you,” he sent messengers again to Hezekiah saying, 10 “Thus you shall say to Hezekiah king of Judah, ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you saying, “Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.” 11 Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the lands, destroying them completely. So will you be spared? 12 Did the gods of those nations which my fathers destroyed deliver them, even Gozan and Haran and Rezeph and the sons of Eden who were in Telassar? 13 Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, and of Hena and Ivvah?’”

Hezekiah’s Prayer

14 Then Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it, and he went up to the house of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. 15 Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and listen to the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. 17 Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have devastated the nations and their lands18 and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. 19 Now, O Lord our God, I pray, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, O Lord, are God.”

God’s Answer through Isaiah

20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah saying, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Because you have prayed to Me about Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard you.’ 21 This is the word that the Lord has spoken against him:

‘She has despised you and mocked you, The virgin daughter of Zion; She has shaken her head behind you, The daughter of Jerusalem! 22 ‘Whom have you reproached and blasphemed? And against whom have you raised your voice, And haughtily lifted up your eyes? Against the Holy One of Israel! 23 ‘Through your messengers you have reproached the Lord, And you have said, “With my many chariots I came up to the heights of the mountains, To the remotest parts of Lebanon; And I cut down its tall cedars and its choice cypresses. And I entered its farthest lodging place, its thickest forest. 24 “I dug wells and drank foreign waters, And with the sole of my feet I dried up All the rivers of Egypt.”

25 ‘Have you not heard? Long ago I did it; From ancient times I planned it. Now I have brought it to pass, That you should turn fortified cities into ruinous heaps. 26 ‘Therefore their inhabitants were short of strength, They were dismayed and put to shame; They were as the vegetation of the field and as the green herb, As grass on the housetops is scorched before it is grown up. 27 ‘But I know your sitting down, And your going out and your coming in, And your raging against Me. 28 ‘Because of your raging against Me, And because your arrogance has come up to My ears, Therefore I will put My hook in your nose, And My bridle in your lips, And I will turn you back by the way which you came.

29 ‘Then this shall be the sign for you: you will eat this year what grows of itself, in the second year what springs from the same, and in the third year sow, reap, plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. 30 The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward. 31 For out of Jerusalem will go forth a remnant, and out of Mount Zion survivors. The zeal of the Lord will perform this.

32 ‘Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, “He will not come to this city or shoot an arrow there; and he will not come before it with a shield or throw up a siege ramp against it. 33 By the way that he came, by the same he will return, and he shall not come to this city,”’ declares theLord. 34 ‘For I will defend this city to save it for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.’”

35 Then it happened that night that the angel of the Lord went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men rose early in the morning, behold, all of them were dead. 36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home, and lived at Nineveh. 37 It came about as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son became king in his place.

 

Psalm 46

God the Refuge of His People.

For the choir director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah, set to Alamoth. A Song.

46 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, The holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.

Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has wrought desolations in the earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire. 10 “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.

 

Psalm 80

God Implored to Rescue His People from Their Calamities.

For the choir director; set to El Shoshannim; Eduth. A Psalm of Asaph.

80 Oh, give ear, Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock; You who are enthroned above the cherubim, shine forth! Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up Your power And come to save us! O God, restore us And cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved.

O Lord God of hosts, How long will You be angry with the prayer of Your people? You have fed them with the bread of tears, And You have made them to drink tears in large measure. You make us an object of contention to our neighbors, And our enemies laugh among themselves. O God of hosts, restore us And cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved.

You removed a vine from Egypt; You drove out the nations and planted it. You cleared the ground before it, And it took deep root and filled the land. 10 The mountains were covered with its shadow, And the cedars of God with its boughs. 11 It was sending out its branches to the sea And its shoots to the River. 12 Why have You broken down its hedges, So that all who pass that way pick its fruit? 13 A boar from the forest eats it away And whatever moves in the field feeds on it.

14 O God of hosts, turn again now, we beseech You; Look down from heaven and see, and take care of this vine, 15 Even the shoot which Your right hand has planted, And on the son whom You have strengthened for Yourself. 16 It is burned with fire, it is cut down; They perish at the rebuke of Your countenance. 17 Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, Upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself. 18 Then we shall not turn back from You; Revive us, and we will call upon Your name. 19 O Lord God of hosts, restore us; Cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved.

 

Psalm 135

Praise the Lord’s Wonderful Works. Vanity of Idols.

135 Praise the Lord! Praise the name of the Lord; Praise Him, O servants of the Lord, You who stand in the house of the Lord, In the courts of the house of our God! Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; Sing praises to His name, for it is lovely. For the Lord has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His own possession.

For I know that the Lord is great And that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps. He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; Who makes lightnings for the rain, Who brings forth the wind from His treasuries.

He smote the firstborn of Egypt, Both of man and beast. He sent signs and wonders into your midst, O Egypt, Upon Pharaoh and all his servants. 10 He smote many nations And slew mighty kings, 11 Sihon, king of the Amorites, And Og, king of Bashan, And all the kingdoms of Canaan; 12 And He gave their land as a heritage, A heritage to Israel His people. 13 Your name, O Lord, is everlasting, Your remembrance, O Lord, throughout all generations. 14 For the Lord will judge His people And will have compassion on His servants. 15 The idols of the nations are but silver and gold, The work of man’s hands. 16 They have mouths, but they do not speak; They have eyes, but they do not see; 17 They have ears, but they do not hear, Nor is there any breath at all in their mouths. 18 Those who make them will be like them, Yes, everyone who trusts in them.

19 O house of Israel, bless the Lord; O house of Aaron, bless the Lord; 20 O house of Levi, bless the Lord; You who revere the Lord, bless the Lord. 21 Blessed be the Lord from Zion, Who dwells in Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

October 7 – OT Reading

Isaiah 44-48

Isaiah 44

The Blessings of Israel

44 “But now listen, O Jacob, My servant, And Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus says the Lord who made you And formed you from the womb, who will help you, ‘Do not fear, O Jacob My servant; And you Jeshurun whom I have chosen. ‘For I will pour out water on the thirsty land And streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring And My blessing on your descendants; And they will spring up among the grass Like poplars by streams of water.’ “This one will say, ‘I am the Lord’s’; And that one will call on the name of Jacob; And another will write on his hand, ‘Belonging to the Lord,’ And will name Israel’s name with honor.

“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:

‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me. ‘Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; Yes, let him recount it to Me in order, From the time that I established the ancient nation. And let them declare to them the things that are coming And the events that are going to take place. ‘Do not tremble and do not be afraid; Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none.’”

The Folly of Idolatry

Those who fashion a graven image are all of them futile, and their precious things are of no profit; even their own witnesses fail to see or know, so that they will be put to shame. 10 Who has fashioned a god or cast an idol to no profit? 11 Behold, all his companions will be put to shame, for the craftsmen themselves are mere men. Let them all assemble themselves, let them stand up, let them tremble, let them together be put to shame.

12 The man shapes iron into a cutting tool and does his work over the coals, fashioning it with hammers and working it with his strong arm. He also gets hungry and his strength fails; he drinks no water and becomes weary. 13 Another shapes wood, he extends a measuring line; he outlines it with red chalk. He works it with planes and outlines it with a compass, and makes it like the form of a man, like the beauty of man, so that it may sit in a house. 14 Surely he cuts cedars for himself, and takes a cypress or an oak and raises it for himself among the trees of the forest. He plants a fir, and the rain makes it grow. 15 Then it becomes something for a man to burn, so he takes one of them and warms himself; he also makes a fire to bake bread. He also makes a god and worships it; he makes it a graven image and falls down before it. 16 Half of it he burns in the fire; over this half he eats meat as he roasts a roast and is satisfied. He also warms himself and says, “Aha! I am warm, I have seen the fire.” 17 But the rest of it he makes into a god, his graven image. He falls down before it and worships; he also prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god.”

18 They do not know, nor do they understand, for He has smeared over their eyes so that they cannot see and their hearts so that they cannot comprehend. 19 No one recalls, nor is there knowledge or understanding to say, “I have burned half of it in the fire and also have baked bread over its coals. I roast meat and eat it. Then I make the rest of it into an abomination, I fall down before a block of wood!” 20 He feeds on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside. And he cannot deliver himself, nor say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

God Forgives and Redeems

21 “Remember these things, O Jacob, And Israel, for you are My servant; I have formed you, you are My servant, O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me. 22 “I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud And your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.” 23 Shout for joy, O heavens, for the Lord has done it! Shout joyfully, you lower parts of the earth; Break forth into a shout of joy, you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it; For the Lord has redeemed Jacob And in Israel He shows forth His glory.

24 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb,

“I, the Lord, am the maker of all things, Stretching out the heavens by Myself And spreading out the earth all alone, 25 Causing the omens of boasters to fail, Making fools out of diviners, Causing wise men to draw back And turning their knowledge into foolishness, 26 Confirming the word of His servant And performing the purpose of His messengers. It is I who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited!’ And of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built.’ And I will raise up her ruins again. 27 It is I who says to the depth of the sea, ‘Be dried up!’ And I will make your rivers dry. 28 It is I who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd! And he will perform all My desire.’ And he declares of Jerusalem, ‘She will be built,’ And of the temple, ‘Your foundation will be laid.’”

 

Isaiah 45

God Uses Cyrus

45 Thus says the Lord to Cyrus His anointed, Whom I have taken by the right hand, To subdue nations before him And to loose the loins of kings; To open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: “I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars. “I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden wealth of secret places, So that you may know that it is I, The Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name. “For the sake of Jacob My servant, And Israel My chosen one, I have also called you by your name; I have given you a title of honor Though you have not known Me. “I am the Lord, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.

God’s Supreme Power

“Drip down, O heavens, from above, And let the clouds pour down righteousness; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, And righteousness spring up with it. I, the Lord, have created it.

“Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker— An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands’? 10 “Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’ Or to a woman, ‘To what are you giving birth?’”

11 Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker:

“Ask Me about the things to come concerning My sons, And you shall commit to Me the work of My hands. 12 “It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands And I ordained all their host. 13 “I have aroused him in righteousness And I will make all his ways smooth; He will build My city and will let My exiles go free, Without any payment or reward,” says the Lord of hosts.

14 Thus says the Lord,

“The products of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush And the Sabeans, men of stature, Will come over to you and will be yours; They will walk behind you, they will come over in chains And will bow down to you; They will make supplication to you: ‘Surely, God is with you, and there is none else, No other God.’” 15 Truly, You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, Savior! 16 They will be put to shame and even humiliated, all of them; The manufacturers of idols will go away together in humiliation. 17 Israel has been saved by the Lord With an everlasting salvation; You will not be put to shame or humiliated To all eternity.

18 For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited),

“I am the Lord, and there is none else. 19 “I have not spoken in secret, In some dark land; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in a waste place’; I, the Lord, speak righteousness, Declaring things that are upright.

20 “Gather yourselves and come; Draw near together, you fugitives of the nations; They have no knowledge, Who carry about their wooden idol And pray to a god who cannot save. 21 “Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me. 22 “Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other. 23 “I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness And will not turn back, That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. 24 “They will say of Me, ‘Only in the Lord are righteousness and strength.’ Men will come to Him, And all who were angry at Him will be put to shame. 25 “In the Lord all the offspring of Israel Will be justified and will glory.”

 

Isaiah 46

Babylon’s Idols and the True God

46 Bel has bowed down, Nebo stoops over; Their images are consigned to the beasts and the cattle. The things that you carry are burdensome, A load for the weary beast. They stooped over, they have bowed down together; They could not rescue the burden, But have themselves gone into captivity.

“Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, And all the remnant of the house of Israel, You who have been borne by Me from birth And have been carried from the womb; Even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you.

“To whom would you liken Me And make Me equal and compare Me, That we would be alike? “Those who lavish gold from the purse And weigh silver on the scale Hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god; They bow down, indeed they worship it. “They lift it upon the shoulder and carry it; They set it in its place and it stands there. It does not move from its place. Though one may cry to it, it cannot answer; It cannot deliver him from his distress.

“Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you transgressors. “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’; 11 Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.

12 “Listen to Me, you stubborn-minded, Who are far from righteousness. 13 “I bring near My righteousness, it is not far off; And My salvation will not delay. And I will grant salvation in Zion, And My glory for Israel.

 

Isaiah 47

Lament for Babylon

47 “Come down and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon; Sit on the ground without a throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans! For you shall no longer be called tender and delicate. “Take the millstones and grind meal. Remove your veil, strip off the skirt, Uncover the leg, cross the rivers. “Your nakedness will be uncovered, Your shame also will be exposed; I will take vengeance and will not spare a man.” Our Redeemer, the Lord of hosts is His name, The Holy One of Israel. “Sit silently, and go into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans, For you will no longer be called The queen of kingdoms. “I was angry with My people, I profaned My heritage And gave them into your hand. You did not show mercy to them, On the aged you made your yoke very heavy. “Yet you said, ‘I will be a queen forever.’ These things you did not consider Nor remember the outcome of them.

“Now, then, hear this, you sensual one, Who dwells securely, Who says in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one besides me. I will not sit as a widow, Nor know loss of children.’ “But these two things will come on you suddenly in one day: Loss of children and widowhood. They will come on you in full measure In spite of your many sorceries, In spite of the great power of your spells. 10 “You felt secure in your wickedness and said, ‘No one sees me,’ Your wisdom and your knowledge, they have deluded you; For you have said in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one besides me.’ 11 “But evil will come on you Which you will not know how to charm away; And disaster will fall on you For which you cannot atone; And destruction about which you do not know Will come on you suddenly.

12 “Stand fast now in your spells And in your many sorceries With which you have labored from your youth; Perhaps you will be able to profit, Perhaps you may cause trembling. 13 “You are wearied with your many counsels; Let now the astrologers, Those who prophesy by the stars, Those who predict by the new moons, Stand up and save you from what will come upon you. 14 “Behold, they have become like stubble, Fire burns them; They cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame; There will be no coal to warm by Nor a fire to sit before! 15 “So have those become to you with whom you have labored, Who have trafficked with you from your youth; Each has wandered in his own way; There is none to save you.

 

Isaiah 48

Israel’s Obstinacy

48 “Hear this, O house of Jacob, who are named Israel And who came forth from the loins of Judah, Who swear by the name of the Lord And invoke the God of Israel, But not in truth nor in righteousness. “For they call themselves after the holy city And lean on the God of Israel; The Lord of hosts is His name. “I declared the former things long ago And they went forth from My mouth, and I proclaimed them. Suddenly I acted, and they came to pass. “Because I know that you are obstinate, And your neck is an iron sinew And your forehead bronze, Therefore I declared them to you long ago, Before they took place I proclaimed them to you, So that you would not say, ‘My idol has done them, And my graven image and my molten image have commanded them.’ “You have heard; look at all this. And you, will you not declare it? I proclaim to you new things from this time, Even hidden things which you have not known. “They are created now and not long ago; And before today you have not heard them, So that you will not say, ‘Behold, I knew them.’ “You have not heard, you have not known. Even from long ago your ear has not been open, Because I knew that you would deal very treacherously; And you have been called a rebel from birth. “For the sake of My name I delay My wrath, And for My praise I restrain it for you, In order not to cut you off. 10 “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. 11 “For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another.

Deliverance Promised

12 “Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I am He, I am the first, I am also the last. 13 “Surely My hand founded the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together. 14 “Assemble, all of you, and listen! Who among them has declared these things? The Lord loves him; he will carry out His good pleasure on Babylon, And His arm will be against the Chaldeans. 15 “I, even I, have spoken; indeed I have called him, I have brought him, and He will make his ways successful. 16 “Come near to Me, listen to this: From the first I have not spoken in secret, From the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit.”

17 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,

“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go. 18 “If only you had paid attention to My commandments! Then your well-being would have been like a river, And your righteousness like the waves of the sea. 19 “Your descendants would have been like the sand, And your offspring like its grains; Their name would never be cut off or destroyed from My presence.”

20 Go forth from Babylon! Flee from the Chaldeans! Declare with the sound of joyful shouting, proclaim this, Send it out to the end of the earth; Say, “The Lord has redeemed His servant Jacob.” 21 They did not thirst when He led them through the deserts. He made the water flow out of the rock for them; He split the rock and the water gushed forth. 22 “There is no peace for the wicked,” says the Lord.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

October 6 – OT Reading

Isaiah 40-43

Isaiah 40

The Greatness of God

40 “Comfort, O comfort My people,” says your God. “Speak kindly to Jerusalem; And call out to her, that her warfare has ended, That her iniquity has been removed, That she has received of the Lord’s hand Double for all her sins.”

A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. “Let every valley be lifted up, And every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley; Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” A voice says, “Call out.” Then he answered, “What shall I call out?” All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, When the breath of the Lord blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.

Get yourself up on a high mountain, O Zion, bearer of good news, Lift up your voice mightily, O Jerusalem, bearer of good news; Lift it up, do not fear. Say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!” 10 Behold, the Lord God will come with might, With His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him And His recompense before Him. 11 Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.

12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, And marked off the heavens by the span, And calculated the dust of the earth by the measure, And weighed the mountains in a balance And the hills in a pair of scales? 13 Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, Or as His counselor has informed Him? 14 With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge And informed Him of the way of understanding? 15 Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, And are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales; Behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust. 16 Even Lebanon is not enough to burn, Nor its beasts enough for a burnt offering. 17 All the nations are as nothing before Him, They are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless.

18 To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with Him? 19 As for the idol, a craftsman casts it, A goldsmith plates it with gold, And a silversmith fashions chains of silver. 20 He who is too impoverished for such an offering Selects a tree that does not rot; He seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman To prepare an idol that will not totter.

21 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. 23 He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. 24 Scarcely have they been planted, Scarcely have they been sown, Scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, But He merely blows on them, and they wither, And the storm carries them away like stubble. 25 “To whom then will you liken Me That I would be his equal?” says the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing.

27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God”? 28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. 29 He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. 30 Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, 31 Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

 

Isaiah 41

Israel Encouraged

41 “Coastlands, listen to Me in silence, And let the peoples gain new strength; Let them come forward, then let them speak; Let us come together for judgment. “Who has aroused one from the east Whom He calls in righteousness to His feet? He delivers up nations before him And subdues kings. He makes them like dust with his sword, As the wind-driven chaff with his bow. “He pursues them, passing on in safety, By a way he had not been traversing with his feet. “Who has performed and accomplished it, Calling forth the generations from the beginning? ‘I, the Lord, am the first, and with the last. I am He.’”

The coastlands have seen and are afraid; The ends of the earth tremble; They have drawn near and have come. Each one helps his neighbor And says to his brother, “Be strong!” So the craftsman encourages the smelter, And he who smooths metal with the hammer encourages him who beats the anvil, Saying of the soldering, “It is good”; And he fastens it with nails, So that it will not totter. “But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, Descendant of Abraham My friend, You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its remotest parts And said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you. 10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ 11 “Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored; Those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish. 12 “You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them, Those who war with you will be as nothing and non-existent. 13 “For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ 14 “Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. 15 “Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; You will thresh the mountains and pulverize them, And will make the hills like chaff. 16 “You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, And the storm will scatter them; But you will rejoice in the Lord, You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.

17 “The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the Lord, will answer them Myself, As the God of Israel I will not forsake them. 18 “I will open rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water. 19 “I will put the cedar in the wilderness, The acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert Together with the box tree and the cypress, 20 That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.

21 “Present your case,” the Lord says. “Bring forward your strong arguments,” The King of Jacob says. 22 Let them bring forth and declare to us what is going to take place; As for the former events, declare what they were, That we may consider them and know their outcome. Or announce to us what is coming; 23 Declare the things that are going to come afterward, That we may know that you are gods; Indeed, do good or evil, that we may anxiously look about us and fear together. 24 Behold, you are of no account, And your work amounts to nothing; He who chooses you is an abomination.

25 “I have aroused one from the north, and he has come; From the rising of the sun he will call on My name; And he will come upon rulers as upon mortar, Even as the potter treads clay.” 26 Who has declared this from the beginning, that we might know? Or from former times, that we may say, “He is right!”? Surely there was no one who declared, Surely there was no one who proclaimed, Surely there was no one who heard your words. 27 “Formerly I said to Zion, ‘Behold, here they are.’ And to Jerusalem, ‘I will give a messenger of good news.’ 28 “But when I look, there is no one, And there is no counselor among them Who, if I ask, can give an answer. 29 “Behold, all of them are false; Their works are worthless, Their molten images are wind and emptiness.

 

Isaiah 42

God’s Promise concerning His Servant

42 “Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations. “He will not cry out or raise His voice, Nor make His voice heard in the street. “A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. “He will not be disheartened or crushed Until He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law.”

Thus says God the Lord,

Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it And spirit to those who walk in it, “I am the Lord, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the nations, To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the dungeon And those who dwell in darkness from the prison. “I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images. “Behold, the former things have come to pass, Now I declare new things; Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you.”

10 Sing to the Lord a new song, Sing His praise from the end of the earth! You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it. You islands, and those who dwell on them. 11 Let the wilderness and its cities lift up their voices, The settlements where Kedar inhabits. Let the inhabitants of Sela sing aloud, Let them shout for joy from the tops of the mountains. 12 Let them give glory to the Lord And declare His praise in the coastlands. 13 The Lord will go forth like a warrior, He will arouse His zeal like a man of war. He will utter a shout, yes, He will raise a war cry. He will prevail against His enemies.

The Blindness of the People

14 “I have kept silent for a long time, I have kept still and restrained Myself. Now like a woman in labor I will groan, I will both gasp and pant. 15 “I will lay waste the mountains and hills And wither all their vegetation; I will make the rivers into coastlands And dry up the ponds. 16 “I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, In paths they do not know I will guide them. I will make darkness into light before them And rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, And I will not leave them undone.” 17 They will be turned back and be utterly put to shame, Who trust in idols, Who say to molten images, “You are our gods.”

18 Hear, you deaf! And look, you blind, that you may see. 19 Who is blind but My servant, Or so deaf as My messenger whom I send? Who is so blind as he that is at peace with Me, Or so blind as the servant of the Lord? 20 You have seen many things, but you do not observe them; Your ears are open, but none hears. 21 The Lord was pleased for His righteousness’ sake To make the law great and glorious. 22 But this is a people plundered and despoiled; All of them are trapped in caves, Or are hidden away in prisons; They have become a prey with none to deliver them, And a spoil, with none to say, “Give them back!”

23 Who among you will give ear to this? Who will give heed and listen hereafter? 24 Who gave Jacob up for spoil, and Israel to plunderers? Was it not the Lord, against whom we have sinned, And in whose ways they were not willing to walk, And whose law they did not obey? 25 So He poured out on him the heat of His anger And the fierceness of battle; And it set him aflame all around, Yet he did not recognize it; And it burned him, but he paid no attention.

 

Isaiah 43

Israel Redeemed

43 But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. “For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I have given Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in your place. “Since you are precious in My sight, Since you are honored and I love you, I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life. “Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, And gather you from the west. “I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ And to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring My sons from afar And My daughters from the ends of the earth, Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”

Israel Is God’s Witness

Bring out the people who are blind, even though they have eyes, And the deaf, even though they have ears. All the nations have gathered together So that the peoples may be assembled. Who among them can declare this And proclaim to us the former things? Let them present their witnesses that they may be justified, Or let them hear and say, “It is true.” 10 “You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me. 11 “I, even I, am the Lord, And there is no savior besides Me. 12 “It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed, And there was no strange god among you; So you are My witnesses,” declares the Lord, “And I am God. 13 “Even from eternity I am He, And there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?”

Babylon to Be Destroyed

14 Thus says the Lord your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,

“For your sake I have sent to Babylon, And will bring them all down as fugitives, Even the Chaldeans, into the ships in which they rejoice. 15 “I am the Lord, your Holy One, The Creator of Israel, your King.”

16 Thus says the Lord,

Who makes a way through the sea And a path through the mighty waters, 17 Who brings forth the chariot and the horse, The army and the mighty man (They will lie down together and not rise again; They have been quenched and extinguished like a wick): 18 “Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past. 19 “Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert. 20 “The beasts of the field will glorify Me, The jackals and the ostriches, Because I have given waters in the wilderness And rivers in the desert, To give drink to My chosen people. 21 “The people whom I formed for Myself Will declare My praise.

The Shortcomings of Israel

22 “Yet you have not called on Me, O Jacob; But you have become weary of Me, O Israel. 23 “You have not brought to Me the sheep of your burnt offerings, Nor have you honored Me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with offerings, Nor wearied you with incense. 24 “You have bought Me not sweet cane with money, Nor have you filled Me with the fat of your sacrifices; Rather you have burdened Me with your sins, You have wearied Me with your iniquities.

25 “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins. 26 “Put Me in remembrance, let us argue our case together; State your cause, that you may be proved right. 27 “Your first forefather sinned, And your spokesmen have transgressed against Me. 28 “So I will pollute the princes of the sanctuary, And I will consign Jacob to the ban and Israel to revilement.

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

September 29 – OT Reading

Hosea 8-14

Hosea 8

Israel Reaps the Whirlwind

Put the trumpet to your lips! Like an eagle the enemy comes against the house of the Lord, Because they have transgressed My covenant And rebelled against My law. They cry out to Me, “My God, we of Israel know You!” Israel has rejected the good; The enemy will pursue him. They have set up kings, but not by Me; They have appointed princes, but I did not know it. With their silver and gold they have made idols for themselves, That they might be cut off. He has rejected your calf, O Samaria, saying, “My anger burns against them!” How long will they be incapable of innocence? For from Israel is even this! A craftsman made it, so it is not God; Surely the calf of Samaria will be broken to pieces. For they sow the wind And they reap the whirlwind. The standing grain has no heads; It yields no grain. Should it yield, strangers would swallow it up.

Israel is swallowed up; They are now among the nations Like a vessel in which no one delights. For they have gone up to Assyria, Like a wild donkey all alone; Ephraim has hired lovers. 10 Even though they hire allies among the nations, Now I will gather them up; And they will begin to diminish Because of the burden of the king of princes.

11 Since Ephraim has multiplied altars for sin, They have become altars of sinning for him. 12 Though I wrote for him ten thousand precepts of My law, They are regarded as a strange thing. 13 As for My sacrificial gifts, They sacrifice the flesh and eat it, But the Lord has taken no delight in them. Now He will remember their iniquity, And punish them for their sins; They will return to Egypt. 14 For Israel has forgotten his Maker and built palaces; And Judah has multiplied fortified cities, But I will send a fire on its cities that it may consume its palatial dwellings.

 

Hosea 9

Ephraim Punished

9 Do not rejoice, O Israel, with exultation like the nations! For you have played the harlot, forsaking your God. You have loved harlots’ earnings on every threshing floor. Threshing floor and wine press will not feed them, And the new wine will fail them. They will not remain in the Lord’s land, But Ephraim will return to Egypt, And in Assyria they will eat unclean food. They will not pour out drink offerings of wine to the Lord, Their sacrifices will not please Him. Their bread will be like mourners’ bread; All who eat of it will be defiled, For their bread will be for themselves alone; It will not enter the house of the Lord. What will you do on the day of the appointed festival And on the day of the feast of the Lord? For behold, they will go because of destruction; Egypt will gather them up, Memphis will bury them. Weeds will take over their treasures of silver; Thorns will be in their tents.

The days of punishment have come, The days of retribution have come; Let Israel know this! The prophet is a fool, The inspired man is demented, Because of the grossness of your iniquity, And because your hostility is so great. Ephraim was a watchman with my God, a prophet; Yet the snare of a bird catcher is in all his ways, And there is only hostility in the house of his God. They have gone deep in depravity As in the days of Gibeah; He will remember their iniquity, He will punish their sins.

10 I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your forefathers as the earliest fruit on the fig tree in its first season. But they came to Baal-peor and devoted themselves to shame, And they became as detestable as that which they loved. 11 As for Ephraim, their glory will fly away like a bird— No birth, no pregnancy and no conception! 12 Though they bring up their children, Yet I will bereave them until not a man is left. Yes, woe to them indeed when I depart from them! 13 Ephraim, as I have seen, Is planted in a pleasant meadow like Tyre; But Ephraim will bring out his children for slaughter. 14 Give them, O Lord—what will You give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.

15 All their evil is at Gilgal; Indeed, I came to hate them there! Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of My house! I will love them no more; All their princes are rebels. 16 Ephraim is stricken, their root is dried up, They will bear no fruit. Even though they bear children, I will slay the precious ones of their womb. 17 My God will cast them away Because they have not listened to Him; And they will be wanderers among the nations.

 

Hosea 10

Retribution for Israel’s Sin

10 Israel is a luxuriant vine; He produces fruit for himself. The more his fruit, The more altars he made; The richer his land, The better he made the sacred pillars. Their heart is faithless; Now they must bear their guilt. The Lord will break down their altars And destroy their sacred pillars.

Surely now they will say, “We have no king, For we do not revere the Lord. As for the king, what can he do for us?” They speak mere words, With worthless oaths they make covenants; And judgment sprouts like poisonous weeds in the furrows of the field. The inhabitants of Samaria will fear For the calf of Beth-aven. Indeed, its people will mourn for it, And its idolatrous priests will cry out over it, Over its glory, since it has departed from it. The thing itself will be carried to Assyria As tribute to King Jareb; Ephraim will be seized with shame And Israel will be ashamed of its own counsel. Samaria will be cut off with her king Like a stick on the surface of the water. Also the high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, will be destroyed; Thorn and thistle will grow on their altars; Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!” And to the hills, “Fall on us!” From the days of Gibeah you have sinned, O Israel; There they stand! Will not the battle against the sons of iniquity overtake them in Gibeah? 10 When it is My desire, I will chastise them; And the peoples will be gathered against them When they are bound for their double guilt.

11 Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh, But I will come over her fair neck with a yoke; I will harness Ephraim, Judah will plow, Jacob will harrow for himself. 12 Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord Until He comes to rain righteousness on you. 13 You have plowed wickedness, you have reaped injustice, You have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your way, in your numerous warriors, 14 Therefore a tumult will arise among your people, And all your fortresses will be destroyed, As Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle, When mothers were dashed in pieces with their children. 15 Thus it will be done to you at Bethel because of your great wickedness. At dawn the king of Israel will be completely cut off.

 

Hosea 11

God Yearns over His People

11 When Israel was a youth I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son. The more they called them, The more they went from them; They kept sacrificing to the Baals And burning incense to idols. Yet it is I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them in My arms; But they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of a man, with bonds of love, And I became to them as one who lifts the yoke from their jaws; And I bent down and fed them.

They will not return to the land of Egypt; But Assyria—he will be their king Because they refused to return to Me. The sword will whirl against their cities, And will demolish their gate bars And consume them because of their counsels. So My people are bent on turning from Me. Though they call them to the One on high, None at all exalts Him.

How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I surrender you, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart is turned over within Me, All My compassions are kindled. I will not execute My fierce anger; I will not destroy Ephraim again. For I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst, And I will not come in wrath. 10 They will walk after the Lord, He will roar like a lion; Indeed He will roar And His sons will come trembling from the west. 11 They will come trembling like birds from Egypt And like doves from the land of Assyria; And I will settle them in their houses, declares the Lord.

12 Ephraim surrounds Me with lies And the house of Israel with deceit; Judah is also unruly against God, Even against the Holy One who is faithful.

 

Hosea 12

Ephraim Reminded

12 Ephraim feeds on wind, And pursues the east wind continually; He multiplies lies and violence. Moreover, he makes a covenant with Assyria, And oil is carried to Egypt. The Lord also has a dispute with Judah, And will punish Jacob according to his ways; He will repay him according to his deeds. In the womb he took his brother by the heel, And in his maturity he contended with God. Yes, he wrestled with the angel and prevailed; He wept and sought His favor. He found Him at Bethel And there He spoke with us, Even the Lord, the God of hosts, The Lord is His name. Therefore, return to your God, Observe kindness and justice, And wait for your God continually. A merchant, in whose hands are false balances, He loves to oppress. And Ephraim said, “Surely I have become rich, I have found wealth for myself; In all my labors they will find in me No iniquity, which would be sin.” But I have been the Lord your God since the land of Egypt; I will make you live in tents again, As in the days of the appointed festival. 10 I have also spoken to the prophets, And I gave numerous visions, And through the prophets I gave parables. 11 Is there iniquity in Gilead? Surely they are worthless. In Gilgal they sacrifice bulls, Yes, their altars are like the stone heaps Beside the furrows of the field.

12 Now Jacob fled to the land of Aram, And Israel worked for a wife, And for a wife he kept sheep. 13 But by a prophet the Lord brought Israel from Egypt, And by a prophet he was kept. 14 Ephraim has provoked to bitter anger; So his Lord will leave his bloodguilt on him And bring back his reproach to him.

 

Hosea 13

Ephraim’s Idolatry

13 When Ephraim spoke, there was trembling. He exalted himself in Israel, But through Baal he did wrong and died. And now they sin more and more, And make for themselves molten images, Idols skillfully made from their silver, All of them the work of craftsmen. They say of them, “Let the men who sacrifice kiss the calves!” Therefore they will be like the morning cloud And like dew which soon disappears, Like chaff which is blown away from the threshing floor And like smoke from a chimney.

Yet I have been the Lord your God Since the land of Egypt; And you were not to know any god except Me, For there is no savior besides Me. I cared for you in the wilderness, In the land of drought. As they had their pasture, they became satisfied, And being satisfied, their heart became proud; Therefore they forgot Me. So I will be like a lion to them; Like a leopard I will lie in wait by the wayside. I will encounter them like a bear robbed of her cubs, And I will tear open their chests; There I will also devour them like a lioness, As a wild beast would tear them.

It is your destruction, O Israel, That you are against Me, against your help. 10 Where now is your king That he may save you in all your cities, And your judges of whom you requested, “Give me a king and princes”? 11 I gave you a king in My anger And took him away in My wrath.

12 The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; His sin is stored up. 13 The pains of childbirth come upon him; He is not a wise son, For it is not the time that he should delay at the opening of the womb. 14 Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from death? O Death, where are your thorns? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion will be hidden from My sight.

15 Though he flourishes among the reeds, An east wind will come, The wind of the Lord coming up from the wilderness; And his fountain will become dry And his spring will be dried up; It will plunder his treasury of every precious article. 16 Samaria will be held guilty, For she has rebelled against her God. They will fall by the sword, Their little ones will be dashed in pieces, And their pregnant women will be ripped open.

 

Hosea 14

Israel’s Future Blessing

14 Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, For you have stumbled because of your iniquity. Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to Him, “Take away all iniquity And receive us graciously, That we may present the fruit of our lips. “Assyria will not save us, We will not ride on horses; Nor will we say again, ‘Our god,’ To the work of our hands; For in You the orphan finds mercy.”

I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, For My anger has turned away from them. I will be like the dew to Israel; He will blossom like the lily, And he will take root like the cedars of Lebanon. His shoots will sprout, And his beauty will be like the olive tree And his fragrance like the cedars of Lebanon. Those who live in his shadow Will again raise grain, And they will blossom like the vine. His renown will be like the wine of Lebanon.

O Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you. I am like a luxuriant cypress; From Me comes your fruit.

Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; Whoever is discerning, let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right, And the righteous will walk in them, But transgressors will stumble in them.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

September 26 – OT Reading

Hosea 1-7

Hosea 1

Hosea’s Wife and Children

1 The word of the Lord which came to Hosea the son of Beeri, during the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.

When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry; for the land commits flagrant harlotry, forsaking the Lord.” So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. And the Lord said to him, “Name him Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will punish the house of Jehu for the bloodshed of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. On that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.”

Then she conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. And the Lord said to him, “Name her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have compassion on the house of Israel, that I would ever forgive them. But I will have compassion on the house of Judah and deliver them by the Lord their God, and will not deliver them by bow, sword, battle, horses or horsemen.”

When she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the Lord said, “Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not My people and I am not your God.”

10 Yet the number of the sons of Israel Will be like the sand of the sea, Which cannot be measured or numbered; And in the place Where it is said to them, “You are not My people,” It will be said to them, “You are the sons of the living God.” 11 And the sons of Judah and the sons of Israel will be gathered together, And they will appoint for themselves one leader, And they will go up from the land, For great will be the day of Jezreel.

 

Hosea 2

Israel’s Unfaithfulness Condemned

2 Say to your brothers, “Ammi,” and to your sisters, “Ruhamah.”

“Contend with your mother, contend, For she is not my wife, and I am not her husband; And let her put away her harlotry from her face And her adultery from between her breasts, Or I will strip her naked And expose her as on the day when she was born. I will also make her like a wilderness, Make her like desert land And slay her with thirst. “Also, I will have no compassion on her children, Because they are children of harlotry. “For their mother has played the harlot; She who conceived them has acted shamefully. For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, Who give me my bread and my water, My wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’ “Therefore, behold, I will hedge up her way with thorns, And I will build a wall against her so that she cannot find her paths. “She will pursue her lovers, but she will not overtake them; And she will seek them, but will not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my first husband, For it was better for me then than now!’

“For she does not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the new wine and the oil, And lavished on her silver and gold, Which they used for Baal. “Therefore, I will take back My grain at harvest time And My new wine in its season. I will also take away My wool and My flax Given to cover her nakedness. 10 “And then I will uncover her lewdness In the sight of her lovers, And no one will rescue her out of My hand. 11 “I will also put an end to all her gaiety, Her feasts, her new moons, her sabbaths And all her festal assemblies. 12 “I will destroy her vines and fig trees, Of which she said, ‘These are my wages Which my lovers have given me.’ And I will make them a forest, And the beasts of the field will devour them. 13 “I will punish her for the days of the Baals When she used to offer sacrifices to them And adorn herself with her earrings and jewelry, And follow her lovers, so that she forgot Me,” declares the Lord.

Restoration of Israel

14 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Bring her into the wilderness And speak kindly to her. 15 “Then I will give her her vineyards from there, And the valley of Achor as a door of hope. And she will sing there as in the days of her youth, As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. 16 “It will come about in that day,” declares the Lord, “That you will call Me Ishi And will no longer call Me Baali. 17 “For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, So that they will be mentioned by their names no more. 18 “In that day I will also make a covenant for them With the beasts of the field, The birds of the sky And the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword and war from the land, And will make them lie down in safety. 19 “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, In lovingkindness and in compassion, 20 And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the Lord.

21 “It will come about in that day that I will respond,” declares the Lord. “I will respond to the heavens, and they will respond to the earth, 22 And the earth will respond to the grain, to the new wine and to the oil, And they will respond to Jezreel. 23 “I will sow her for Myself in the land. I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, And I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they will say, ‘You are my God!’”

 

Hosea 3

Hosea’s Second Symbolic Marriage

3 Then the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.” So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a half of barley. Then I said to her, “You shall stay with me for many days. You shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man; so I will also be toward you.” For the sons of Israel will remain for many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar and without ephod or household idols. Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the Lord and to His goodness in the last days.

 

Hosea 4

God’s Controversy with Israel

4 Listen to the word of the Lord, O sons of Israel, For the Lord has a case against the inhabitants of the land, Because there is no faithfulness or kindness Or knowledge of God in the land. There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing and adultery. They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore the land mourns, And everyone who lives in it languishes Along with the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky, And also the fish of the sea disappear.

Yet let no one find fault, and let none offer reproof; For your people are like those who contend with the priest. So you will stumble by day, And the prophet also will stumble with you by night; And I will destroy your mother. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

The more they multiplied, the more they sinned against Me; I will change their glory into shame. They feed on the sin of My people And direct their desire toward their iniquity. And it will be, like people, like priest; So I will punish them for their ways And repay them for their deeds. 10 They will eat, but not have enough; They will play the harlot, but not increase, Because they have stopped giving heed to the Lord.

11 Harlotry, wine and new wine take away the understanding. 12 My people consult their wooden idol, and their diviner’s wand informs them; For a spirit of harlotry has led them astray, And they have played the harlot, departing from their God. 13 They offer sacrifices on the tops of the mountains And burn incense on the hills, Under oak, poplar and terebinth, Because their shade is pleasant. Therefore your daughters play the harlot And your brides commit adultery. 14 I will not punish your daughters when they play the harlot Or your brides when they commit adultery, For the men themselves go apart with harlots And offer sacrifices with temple prostitutes; So the people without understanding are ruined.

15 Though you, Israel, play the harlot, Do not let Judah become guilty; Also do not go to Gilgal, Or go up to Beth-aven And take the oath: “As the Lord lives!” 16 Since Israel is stubborn Like a stubborn heifer, Can the Lord now pasture them Like a lamb in a large field? 17 Ephraim is joined to idols; Let him alone. 18 Their liquor gone, They play the harlot continually; Their rulers dearly love shame. 19 The wind wraps them in its wings, And they will be ashamed because of their sacrifices.

 

Hosea 5

The People’s Apostasy Rebuked

5 Hear this, O priests! Give heed, O house of Israel! Listen, O house of the king! For the judgment applies to you, For you have been a snare at Mizpah And a net spread out on Tabor. The revolters have gone deep in depravity, But I will chastise all of them. I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from Me; For now, O Ephraim, you have played the harlot, Israel has defiled itself. Their deeds will not allow them To return to their God. For a spirit of harlotry is within them, And they do not know the Lord. Moreover, the pride of Israel testifies against him, And Israel and Ephraim stumble in their iniquity; Judah also has stumbled with them. They will go with their flocks and herds To seek the Lord, but they will not find Him; He has withdrawn from them. They have dealt treacherously against the Lord, For they have borne illegitimate children. Now the new moon will devour them with their land.

Blow the horn in Gibeah, The trumpet in Ramah. Sound an alarm at Beth-aven: “Behind you, Benjamin!” Ephraim will become a desolation in the day of rebuke; Among the tribes of Israel I declare what is sure. 10 The princes of Judah have become like those who move a boundary; On them I will pour out My wrath like water. 11 Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgment, Because he was determined to follow man’s command. 12 Therefore I am like a moth to Ephraim And like rottenness to the house of Judah. 13 When Ephraim saw his sickness, And Judah his wound, Then Ephraim went to Assyria And sent to King Jareb. But he is unable to heal you, Or to cure you of your wound. 14 For I will be like a lion to Ephraim And like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear to pieces and go away, I will carry away, and there will be none to deliver. 15 I will go away and return to My place Until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.

 

Hosea 6

The Response to God’s Rebuke

6 “Come, let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. “He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, That we may live before Him. “So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth.”

What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah? For your loyalty is like a morning cloud And like the dew which goes away early. Therefore I have hewn them in pieces by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of My mouth; And the judgments on you are like the light that goes forth. For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. But like Adam they have transgressed the covenant; There they have dealt treacherously against Me. Gilead is a city of wrongdoers, Tracked with bloody footprints. And as raiders wait for a man, So a band of priests murder on the way to Shechem; Surely they have committed crime. 10 In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing; Ephraim’s harlotry is there, Israel has defiled itself. 11 Also, O Judah, there is a harvest appointed for you, When I restore the fortunes of My people.

 

Hosea 7

Ephraim’s Iniquity

7 When I would heal Israel, The iniquity of Ephraim is uncovered, And the evil deeds of Samaria, For they deal falsely; The thief enters in, Bandits raid outside, And they do not consider in their hearts That I remember all their wickedness. Now their deeds are all around them; They are before My face. With their wickedness they make the king glad, And the princes with their lies. They are all adulterers, Like an oven heated by the baker Who ceases to stir up the fire From the kneading of the dough until it is leavened. On the day of our king, the princes became sick with the heat of wine; He stretched out his hand with scoffers, For their hearts are like an oven As they approach their plotting; Their anger smolders all night, In the morning it burns like a flaming fire. All of them are hot like an oven, And they consume their rulers; All their kings have fallen. None of them calls on Me.

Ephraim mixes himself with the nations; Ephraim has become a cake not turned. Strangers devour his strength, Yet he does not know it; Gray hairs also are sprinkled on him, Yet he does not know it. 10 Though the pride of Israel testifies against him, Yet they have not returned to the Lord their God, Nor have they sought Him, for all this. 11 So Ephraim has become like a silly dove, without sense; They call to Egypt, they go to Assyria. 12 When they go, I will spread My net over them; I will bring them down like the birds of the sky. I will chastise them in accordance with the proclamation to their assembly. 13 Woe to them, for they have strayed from Me! Destruction is theirs, for they have rebelled against Me! I would redeem them, but they speak lies against Me. 14 And they do not cry to Me from their heart When they wail on their beds; For the sake of grain and new wine they assemble themselves, They turn away from Me. 15 Although I trained and strengthened their arms, Yet they devise evil against Me. 16 They turn, but not upward, They are like a deceitful bow; Their princes will fall by the sword Because of the insolence of their tongue. This will be their derision in the land of Egypt.

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

The Ways of the Lord are Right!

 

Thoughts About What We’re Reading…

 

Today in our reading, we are looking at the book of Hosea – one of the minor prophets.

Hosea’s name means salvation. He has been called by some as the “tender” prophet or prophet of grace.

The major themes of Hosea are the same as many of the prophets – sin, judgment, and salvation with promises of restoration to those who are faithful – the remnant.

In this book we find five cycles of judgment and restoration.  God loves Israel but they have betrayed Him – judgment on sin is coming, but God will eventually bring His people back to Himself.

The uniqueness of this book is how the prophetic message is linked so closely to Hosea’s personal life.

Hosea marries a woman who will betray his trust, and take other lovers.

In addition, Hosea gives his children names that sent messages of judgment to the people of Israel. The return of Hosea’s wife Gomer after seeking other lovers is symbolic of restoration.

We can find the background for the book, the big idea so to speak, in the covenantal agreement and relationship between the Lord and Israel established in Deuteronomy 28.

Israel was to maintain loyalty and relationship with the Lord by worshiping Him alone and obeying His Commandments.

Obedience would bring blessing – disobedience would bring judgment and eventual exile.

Hosea’s role as a prophet was to expose Israel’s breach of the covenant and warn them of the Lord’s impending judgment.

Israel believed that by prostituting herself in worship to Baal she would receive blessing for her crops and other necessities in life – she was guilty of spiritual adultery.

Although other sins are mentioned in the book – social injustice, religious hypocrisy, etc., the nation was primarily summarized as an adulteress.

Judgment would come and exile would be a result.

Israel was so steeped in their sin of prostitution to the other idols and “gods” that any possibility of repentance was precluded for the time being.

Though Hosea’s prophecy contains some calls to repentance, he did not expect a positive response. The Lord’s coming judgment was inescapable.

In implementing the curses, the Lord would cause the nation to experience infertility, military invasion, and exile.

Several times Hosea emphasized the justice of God by indicating that His divine punishment fit the crimes perfectly.

However, the Lord would not abandon Israel totally.

Despite its severity, each judgment was disciplinary and was intended to turn Israel back to God.

Hosea’s own reconciliation with his wayward wife illustrated Israel’s ultimate restoration.

The ultimate purpose of the Lord’s judgment on His people was to restore them (Hosea 2:5–7).

For the time being, though, God would not hear their prayers.

He would go back to His place like a lion returning to its lair (Hosea 5:14) till the nation underwent its punishment.

As we read though this book we are again reminded of the consequence and effects of our sin.

We can be so much like ancient Israel pursuing idols in a vain attempt to build our own kingdoms, chasing greener pastures, yet end up wallowing in the shame and guilt of our actions.

Yet, our loving God, extends His mercy to a sinful people, despite our rebellion and sin, that we might repent and be restored into a rightful relationship with Him – our God, Lord, and Savior.

Until next time…  keep reading!

Jim

Sources and excerpts used for this blog were taken from: The Bible Knowledge Commentary 

September 25 – OT Reading

2 Kings 18:1-8, 2 Chronicles 29-31, Psalm 48

2 Kings 18: 1-8

Hezekiah Reigns over Judah

18 Now it came about in the third year of Hoshea, the son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah became king. He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Abi the daughter of Zechariah. He did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done. He removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it; and it was called Nehushtan. He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel; so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among those who were before him. For he clung to the Lord; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the Lord had commanded Moses.

Hezekiah Victorious

And the Lord was with him; wherever he went he prospered. And he rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. He defeated the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city.

 

2 Chronicles 29

Hezekiah Succeeds Ahaz in Judah

29 Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old; and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. He did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done.

In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them. He brought in the priests and the Levites and gathered them into the square on the east.

Reforms Begun

Then he said to them, “Listen to me, O Levites. Consecrate yourselves now, and consecrate the house of the Lord, the God of your fathers, and carry the uncleanness out from the holy place. For our fathers have been unfaithful and have done evil in the sight of the Lord our God, and have forsaken Him and turned their faces away from the dwelling place of the Lord, and have turned their backs. They have also shut the doors of the porch and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings in the holy place to the God of Israel. Therefore the wrath of theLord was against Judah and Jerusalem, and He has made them an object of terror, of horror, and of hissing, as you see with your own eyes. For behold, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this. 10 Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that His burning anger may turn away from us. 11 My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before Him, to minister to Him, and to be His ministers and burn incense.”

12 Then the Levites arose: Mahath, the son of Amasai and Joel the son of Azariah, from the sons of the Kohathites; and from the sons of Merari, Kish the son of Abdi and Azariah the son of Jehallelel; and from the Gershonites, Joah the son of Zimmah and Eden the son of Joah; 13 and from the sons of Elizaphan, Shimri and Jeiel; and from the sons of Asaph, Zechariah and Mattaniah; 14 and from the sons of Heman, Jehiel and Shimei; and from the sons of Jeduthun, Shemaiah and Uzziel. 15 They assembled their brothers, consecrated themselves, and went in to cleanse the house of the Lord, according to the commandment of the king by the words of the Lord. 16 So the priests went in to the inner part of the house of the Lord to cleanse it, and every unclean thing which they found in the temple of the Lord they brought out to the court of the house of the Lord. Then the Levites received it to carry out to the Kidron valley. 17 Now they began the consecration on the first day of the first month, and on the eighth day of the month they entered the porch of the Lord. Then they consecrated the house of the Lord in eight days, and finished on the sixteenth day of the first month. 18 Then they went in to King Hezekiah and said, “We have cleansed the whole house of the Lord, the altar of burnt offering with all of its utensils, and the table of showbread with all of its utensils. 19 Moreover, all the utensils which King Ahaz had discarded during his reign in his unfaithfulness, we have prepared and consecrated; and behold, they are before the altar of the Lord.”

Hezekiah Restores Temple Worship

20 Then King Hezekiah arose early and assembled the princes of the city and went up to the house of the Lord. 21 They brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs and seven male goats for a sin offering for the kingdom, the sanctuary, and Judah. And he ordered the priests, the sons of Aaron, to offer them on the altar of the Lord. 22 So they slaughtered the bulls, and the priests took the blood and sprinkled it on the altar. They also slaughtered the rams and sprinkled the blood on the altar; they slaughtered the lambs also and sprinkled the blood on the altar. 23 Then they brought the male goats of the sin offering before the king and the assembly, and they laid their hands on them. 24 The priests slaughtered them and purged the altar with their blood to atone for all Israel, for the king ordered the burnt offering and the sin offering for all Israel.

25 He then stationed the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, with harps and with lyres, according to the command of David and of Gad the king’s seer, and of Nathan the prophet; for the command was from the Lord through His prophets. 26 The Levites stood with the musical instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. 27 Then Hezekiah gave the order to offer the burnt offering on the altar. When the burnt offering began, the song to the Lord also began with the trumpets, accompanied by the instruments of David, king of Israel. 28 While the whole assembly worshiped, the singers also sang and the trumpets sounded; all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.

29 Now at the completion of the burnt offerings, the king and all who were present with him bowed down and worshiped. 30 Moreover, King Hezekiah and the officials ordered the Levites to sing praises to the Lord with the words of David and Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with joy, and bowed down and worshiped.

31 Then Hezekiah said, “Now that you have consecrated yourselves to the Lord, come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the house of the Lord.” And the assembly brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and all those who were willing brought burnt offerings. 32 The number of the burnt offerings which the assembly brought was 70 bulls, 100 rams, and 200 lambs; all these were for a burnt offering to the Lord. 33 The consecrated things were 600 bulls and 3,000 sheep. 34 But the priests were too few, so that they were unable to skin all the burnt offerings; therefore their brothers the Levites helped them until the work was completed and until the other priests had consecrated themselves. For the Levites were more conscientious to consecrate themselves than the priests. 35 There were also many burnt offerings with the fat of the peace offerings and with the libations for the burnt offerings. Thus the service of the house of the Lord was established again36 Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced over what God had prepared for the people, because the thing came about suddenly.

 

2 Chronicles 30

All Israel Invited to the Passover

30 Now Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover to the Lord God of Israel. For the king and his princes and all the assembly in Jerusalem had decided to celebrate the Passover in the second month, since they could not celebrate it at that time, because the priests had not consecrated themselves in sufficient numbers, nor had the people been gathered to Jerusalem. Thus the thing was right in the sight of the king and all the assembly. So they established a decree to circulate a proclamation throughout all Israel from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to celebrate the Passover to the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem. For they had not celebrated it in great numbers as it was prescribed. The couriers went throughout all Israel and Judah with the letters from the hand of the king and his princes, even according to the command of the king, saying, “O sons of Israel, return to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that He may return to those of you who escaped and are left from the hand of the kings of Assyria. Do not be like your fathers and your brothers, who were unfaithful to the Lord God of their fathers, so that He made them a horror, as you see. Now do not stiffen your neck like your fathers, but yield to the Lord and enter His sanctuary which He has consecrated forever, and serve the Lord your God, that His burning anger may turn away from you. For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and your sons will find compassion before those who led them captive and will return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate, and will not turn His face away from you if you return to Him.”

10 So the couriers passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun, but they laughed them to scorn and mocked them. 11 Nevertheless some men of Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12 The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the word of the Lord.

Passover Reinstituted

13 Now many people were gathered at Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month, a very large assembly. 14 They arose and removed the altars which were in Jerusalem; they also removed all the incense altars and cast them into the brook Kidron. 15 Then they slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth of the second month. And the priests and Levites were ashamed of themselves, and consecrated themselves and brought burnt offerings to the house of the Lord. 16 They stood at their stations after their custom, according to the law of Moses the man of God; the priests sprinkled the blood which they received from the hand of the Levites. 17 For there were many in the assembly who had not consecrated themselves; therefore, the Levites were over the slaughter of the Passover lambs for everyone who was unclean, in order to consecrate them to the Lord. 18 For a multitude of the people, even many from Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun, had not purified themselves, yet they ate the Passover otherwise than prescribed. For Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the good Lord pardon 19 everyone who prepares his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though not according to the purification rules of the sanctuary.” 20 So the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people. 21 The sons of Israel present in Jerusalem celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with great joy, and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day after day with loud instruments to the Lord. 22 Then Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites who showed good insight in the things of the Lord. So they ate for the appointed seven days, sacrificing peace offerings and giving thanks to the Lord God of their fathers.

23 Then the whole assembly decided to celebrate the feast another seven days, so they celebrated the seven days with joy. 24 For Hezekiah king of Judah had contributed to the assembly 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep, and the princes had contributed to the assembly 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep; and a large number of priests consecrated themselves. 25 All the assembly of Judah rejoiced, with the priests and the Levites and all the assembly that came from Israel, both the sojourners who came from the land of Israel and those living in Judah. 26 So there was great joy in Jerusalem, because there was nothing like this in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel. 27 Then the Levitical priests arose and blessed the people; and their voice was heard and their prayer came to His holy dwelling place, to heaven.

 

2 Chronicles 31

Idols Are Destroyed

31 Now when all this was finished, all Israel who were present went out to the cities of Judah, broke the pillars in pieces, cut down the Asherim and pulled down the high places and the altars throughout all Judah and Benjamin, as well as in Ephraim and Manasseh, until they had destroyed them all. Then all the sons of Israel returned to their cities, each to his possession.

And Hezekiah appointed the divisions of the priests and the Levites by their divisions, each according to his service, both the priests and the Levites, for burnt offerings and for peace offerings, to minister and to give thanks and to praise in the gates of the camp of the Lord.

Reforms Continued

He also appointed the king’s portion of his goods for the burnt offerings, namely, for the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths and for the new moons and for the fixed festivals, as it is written in the law of the Lord. Also he commanded the people who lived in Jerusalem to give the portion due to the priests and the Levites, that they might devote themselves to the law of the Lord. As soon as the order spread, the sons of Israel provided in abundance the first fruits of grain, new wine, oil, honey and of all the produce of the field; and they brought in abundantly the tithe of all. The sons of Israel and Judah who lived in the cities of Judah also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of sacred gifts which were consecrated to the Lord their God, and placed them in heaps. In the third month they began to make the heaps, and finished them by the seventh month. When Hezekiah and the rulers came and saw the heaps, they blessed the Lord and His people Israel. Then Hezekiah questioned the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps.10 Azariah the chief priest of the house of Zadok said to him, “Since the contributions began to be brought into the house of the Lord, we have had enough to eat with plenty left over, for the Lord has blessed His people, and this great quantity is left over.”

11 Then Hezekiah commanded them to prepare rooms in the house of the Lord, and they prepared them12 They faithfully brought in the contributions and the tithes and the consecrated things; and Conaniah the Levite was the officer in charge of them and his brother Shimei was second. 13 Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismachiah, Mahath and Benaiah were overseers under the authority of Conaniah and Shimei his brother by the appointment of King Hezekiah, and Azariah was the chief officer of the house of God. 14 Kore the son of Imnah the Levite, the keeper of the eastern gate, was over the freewill offerings of God, to apportion the contributions for the Lord and the most holy things. 15 Under his authority were Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah and Shecaniah in the cities of the priests, to distribute faithfully their portions to their brothers by divisions, whether great or small, 16 without regard to their genealogical enrollment, to the males from thirty years old and upward—everyone who entered the house of the Lord for his daily obligations—for their work in their duties according to their divisions; 17 as well as the priests who were enrolled genealogically according to their fathers’ households, and the Levites from twenty years old and upwards, by their duties and their divisions. 18 The genealogical enrollment included all their little children, their wives, their sons and their daughters, for the whole assembly, for they consecrated themselves faithfully in holiness. 19 Also for the sons of Aaron the priests who were in the pasture lands of their cities, or in each and every city, there were men who were designated by name to distribute portions to every male among the priests and to everyone genealogically enrolled among the Levites.

20 Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah; and he did what was good, right and true before the Lord his God. 21 Every work which he began in the service of the house of God in law and in commandment, seeking his God, he did with all his heart and prospered.

 

Psalm 48

The Beauty and Glory of Zion.

A Song; a Psalm of the sons of Korah.

48 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, In the city of our God, His holy mountain. Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, Is Mount Zion in the far north, The city of the great King. God, in her palaces, Has made Himself known as a stronghold.

For, lo, the kings assembled themselves, They passed by together. They saw it, then they were amazed; They were terrified, they fled in alarm. Panic seized them there, Anguish, as of a woman in childbirth. With the east wind You break the ships of Tarshish. As we have heard, so have we seen In the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God; God will establish her forever. Selah.

We have thought on Your lovingkindness, O God, In the midst of Your temple. 10 As is Your name, O God, So is Your praise to the ends of the earth; Your right hand is full of righteousness. 11 Let Mount Zion be glad, Let the daughters of Judah rejoice Because of Your judgments. 12 Walk about Zion and go around her; Count her towers; 13 Consider her ramparts; Go through her palaces, That you may tell it to the next generation. 14 For such is God, Our God forever and ever; He will guide us until death.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

September 24 – OT Reading

Isaiah 23-27

Isaiah 23

The Fall of Tyre

23 The oracle concerning Tyre.

Wail, O ships of Tarshish, For Tyre is destroyed, without house or harbor; It is reported to them from the land of Cyprus. Be silent, you inhabitants of the coastland, You merchants of Sidon; Your messengers crossed the sea And were on many waters. The grain of the Nile, the harvest of the River was her revenue; And she was the market of nations. Be ashamed, O Sidon; For the sea speaks, the stronghold of the sea, saying, “I have neither travailed nor given birth, I have neither brought up young men nor reared virgins.” When the report reaches Egypt, They will be in anguish at the report of Tyre. Pass over to Tarshish; Wail, O inhabitants of the coastland. Is this your jubilant city, Whose origin is from antiquity, Whose feet used to carry her to colonize distant places?

Who has planned this against Tyre, the bestower of crowns, Whose merchants were princes, whose traders were the honored of the earth? The Lord of hosts has planned it, to defile the pride of all beauty, To despise all the honored of the earth. 10 Overflow your land like the Nile, O daughter of Tarshish, There is no more restraint. 11 He has stretched His hand out over the sea, He has made the kingdoms tremble; The Lord has given a command concerning Canaan to demolish its strongholds.

12 He has said, “You shall exult no more, O crushed virgin daughter of Sidon. Arise, pass over to Cyprus; even there you will find no rest.”

13 Behold, the land of the Chaldeans—this is the people which was not; Assyria appointed it for desert creatures—they erected their siege towers, they stripped its palaces, they made it a ruin.

14 Wail, O ships of Tarshish, For your stronghold is destroyed.

15 Now in that day Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years like the days of one king. At the end of seventy years it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the harlot:

16 Take your harp, walk about the city, O forgotten harlot; Pluck the strings skillfully, sing many songs, That you may be remembered.

17 It will come about at the end of seventy years that the Lord will visit Tyre. Then she will go back to her harlot’s wages and will play the harlot with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. 18 Her gain and her harlot’s wages will be set apart to the Lord; it will not be stored up or hoarded, but her gain will become sufficient food and choice attire for those who dwell in the presence of the Lord.

 

Isaiah 24

Judgment on the Earth

24 Behold, the Lord lays the earth waste, devastates it, distorts its surface and scatters its inhabitants. And the people will be like the priest, the servant like his master, the maid like her mistress, the buyer like the seller, the lender like the borrower, the creditor like the debtor. The earth will be completely laid waste and completely despoiled, for the Lord has spoken this word. The earth mourns and withers, the world fades and withers, the exalted of the people of the earth fade away. The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants, for they transgressed laws, violated statutes, broke the everlasting covenant. Therefore, a curse devours the earth, and those who live in it are held guilty. Therefore, the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left.

The new wine mourns, The vine decays, All the merry-hearted sigh. The gaiety of tambourines ceases, The noise of revelers stops, The gaiety of the harp ceases. They do not drink wine with song; Strong drink is bitter to those who drink it. 10 The city of chaos is broken down; Every house is shut up so that none may enter. 11 There is an outcry in the streets concerning the wine; All joy turns to gloom. The gaiety of the earth is banished. 12 Desolation is left in the city And the gate is battered to ruins. 13 For thus it will be in the midst of the earth among the peoples, As the shaking of an olive tree, As the gleanings when the grape harvest is over. 14 They raise their voices, they shout for joy; They cry out from the west concerning the majesty of the Lord. 15 Therefore glorify the Lord in the east, The name of the Lord, the God of Israel, In the coastlands of the sea. 16 From the ends of the earth we hear songs, “Glory to the Righteous One,” But I say, “Woe to me! Woe to me! Alas for me! The treacherous deal treacherously, And the treacherous deal very treacherously.” 17 Terror and pit and snare Confront you, O inhabitant of the earth. 18 Then it will be that he who flees the report of disaster will fall into the pit, And he who climbs out of the pit will be caught in the snare; For the windows above are opened, and the foundations of the earth shake. 19 The earth is broken asunder, The earth is split through, The earth is shaken violently. 20 The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard And it totters like a shack, For its transgression is heavy upon it, And it will fall, never to rise again. 21 So it will happen in that day, That the Lord will punish the host of heaven on high, And the kings of the earth on earth. 22 They will be gathered together Like prisoners in the dungeon, And will be confined in prison; And after many days they will be punished. 23 Then the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed, For the Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, And His glory will be before His elders.

 

Isaiah 25

Song of Praise for God’s Favor

25 O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness. For You have made a city into a heap, A fortified city into a ruin; A palace of strangers is a city no more, It will never be rebuilt. Therefore a strong people will glorify You; Cities of ruthless nations will revere You. For You have been a defense for the helpless, A defense for the needy in his distress, A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; For the breath of the ruthless Is like a rain storm against a wall. Like heat in drought, You subdue the uproar of aliens; Like heat by the shadow of a cloud, the song of the ruthless is silenced.

The Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain; A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow, And refined, aged wine. And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples, Even the veil which is stretched over all nations. He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the Lord has spoken. And it will be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” 10 For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain, And Moab will be trodden down in his place As straw is trodden down in the water of a manure pile. 11 And he will spread out his hands in the middle of it As a swimmer spreads out his hands to swim, But the Lord will lay low his pride together with the trickery of his hands. 12 The unassailable fortifications of your walls He will bring down, Lay low and cast to the ground, even to the dust.

 

Isaiah 26

Song of Trust in God’s Protection

26 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:

“We have a strong city; He sets up walls and ramparts for security. “Open the gates, that the righteous nation may enter, The one that remains faithful. “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. “Trust in the Lord forever, For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock. “For He has brought low those who dwell on high, the unassailable city; He lays it low, He lays it low to the ground, He casts it to the dust. “The foot will trample it, The feet of the afflicted, the steps of the helpless.”

The way of the righteous is smooth; O Upright One, make the path of the righteous level. Indeed, while following the way of Your judgments, O Lord, We have waited for You eagerly; Your name, even Your memory, is the desire of our souls. At night my soul longs for You, Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently; For when the earth experiences Your judgments The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. 10 Though the wicked is shown favor, He does not learn righteousness; He deals unjustly in the land of uprightness, And does not perceive the majesty of the Lord.

11 O Lord, Your hand is lifted up yet they do not see it. They see Your zeal for the people and are put to shame; Indeed, fire will devour Your enemies. 12 Lord, You will establish peace for us, Since You have also performed for us all our works. 13 O Lord our God, other masters besides You have ruled us; But through You alone we confess Your name. 14 The dead will not live, the departed spirits will not rise; Therefore You have punished and destroyed them, And You have wiped out all remembrance of them. 15 You have increased the nation, O Lord, You have increased the nation, You are glorified; You have extended all the borders of the land. 16 O Lord, they sought You in distress; They could only whisper a prayer, Your chastening was upon them. 17 As the pregnant woman approaches the time to give birth, She writhes and cries out in her labor pains, Thus were we before You, O Lord. 18 We were pregnant, we writhed in labor, We gave birth, as it seems, only to wind. We could not accomplish deliverance for the earth, Nor were inhabitants of the world born. 19 Your dead will live; Their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, For your dew is as the dew of the dawn, And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.

20 Come, my people, enter into your rooms And close your doors behind you; Hide for a little while Until indignation runs its course. 21 For behold, the Lord is about to come out from His place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; And the earth will reveal her bloodshed And will no longer cover her slain.

 

Isaiah 27

The Deliverance of Israel

27 In that day the Lord will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, With His fierce and great and mighty sword, Even Leviathan the twisted serpent; And He will kill the dragon who lives in the sea.

In that day, “A vineyard of wine, sing of it! “I, the Lord, am its keeper; I water it every moment. So that no one will damage it, I guard it night and day. “I have no wrath. Should someone give Me briars and thorns in battle, Then I would step on them, I would burn them completely. “Or let him rely on My protection, Let him make peace with Me, Let him make peace with Me.” In the days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout, And they will fill the whole world with fruit.

Like the striking of Him who has struck them, has He struck them? Or like the slaughter of His slain, have they been slain? You contended with them by banishing them, by driving them away. With His fierce wind He has expelled them on the day of the east wind. Therefore through this Jacob’s iniquity will be forgiven; And this will be the full price of the pardoning of his sin: When he makes all the altar stones like pulverized chalk stones; When Asherim and incense altars will not stand. 10 For the fortified city is isolated, A homestead forlorn and forsaken like the desert; There the calf will graze, And there it will lie down and feed on its branches. 11 When its limbs are dry, they are broken off; Women come and make a fire with them, For they are not a people of discernment, Therefore their Maker will not have compassion on them. And their Creator will not be gracious to them.

12 In that day the Lord will start His threshing from the flowing stream of the Euphrates to the brook of Egypt, and you will be gathered up one by one, O sons of Israel. 13 It will come about also in that day that a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were perishing in the land of Assyria and who were scattered in the land of Egypt will come and worship the Lord in the holy mountain at Jerusalem.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)