For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I caused you to be raised up, that I might show in you my power, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Romans 9:17

2 Chronicles 14-16

2 Chronicles 14

Asa Succeeds Abijah in Judah

1 So Abijah rested with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David, and Asa his son reigned in his place. During his reign, the land was quiet for ten years.

2 Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God, 3 for he took away the foreign altars and the high places, broke down the pillars, cut down the Asherah poles, 4 and commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to obey his law and commands. 5 Also he removed the high places and the sun images from all the cities of Judah, and the kingdom was quiet before him.

6 He built fortified cities in Judah; for the land was quiet, and he waged no war in those years, because the Lord had given him rest. 7 For he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities, and make walls around them, with towers, gates, and bars. The land is yet before us, because we have sought the Lord our God. We have sought him, and he has given us rest on every side.”

So they built and prospered.

8 Asa had an army of 300,000 out of Judah who bore bucklers and spears, and 280,000 out of Benjamin who bore shields and drew bows. All these were mighty men of valor.

9 Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots, and they came out to Mareshah. 10 Then Asa went out to meet him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. 11 Asa cried to the Lord his God, and said, “Lord, there is no one besides you to help, between the mighty and him who has no strength. Help us, Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name are we come against this multitude. Lord, you are our God. Do not let man prevail against you.”

12 So the Lord struck the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. 13 Asa and the people who were with him pursued them to Gerar, and so many of the Ethiopians fell that they could not recover, for they were destroyed before the Lord and before his army, and they took a great amount of plunder. 14 They struck all the cities around Gerar, for the fear of the Lord came on them, and they plundered all the cities, for there was much plunder in them. 15 They also struck the tents of livestock and took sheep in abundance, and camels, and returned to Jerusalem.

2 Chronicles 15

The Prophecy of Azariah

1 The Spirit of God came on Azariah the son of Oded, 2 and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin! The Lord is with you when you are with him, and if you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. 3 Now for a long time Israel was without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law. 4 But when, in their distress, they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them. 5 In those times there was no peace to him who went out, nor to him who came in, but great troubles were on all the inhabitants of the lands. 6 They were shattered to pieces, nation crushed by nation, and city by city, for God afflicted them with every adversity. 7 But you be strong, and do not let your hands be slack, for your work will be rewarded.”

Asa’s Reforms

8 When Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage and put away the abominations from all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and from the cities which he had taken from the hill country of Ephraim, and he renewed the alter of the Lord that was before the porch of the Lord. 9 He gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and those who lived with them out of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon, for they came to him out of Israel in abundance when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. 10 So they gathered together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of Asa’s reign. 11 They sacrificed to the Lord in that day, of the plunder which they had brought, 700 head of cattle and 7,000 sheep. 12 They entered into the covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul, 13 and whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, would be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. 14 They swore to the Lord with a loud voice, with shouting, with trumpets, and with cornets. 15 All Judah rejoiced at the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their desire, and he was found by them. Then the Lord gave them rest all around.

16 Also he removed Maacah, his grandmother, from being queen mother because she had made an abominable image for an Asherah, so Asa cut down her Asherah pole, ground it into dust, and burned it at the brook Kidron. 17 But the high places were not removed from Israel. Nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days. 18 He brought the things that his father had dedicated, and that he himself had dedicated, silver, gold, and vessels into the house of the Lord. 19 There was no more war to the 35th year of Asa’s reign.

2 Chronicles 16

Asa’s Treaty with Syria

1 In the 36th year of Asa’s reign, Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah. He built Ramah, that he might prevent anyone from going out or coming in to Asa king of Judah. 2 Then Asa brought out silver and gold out of the treasures of the house of the Lord and of the king’s house, and sent to Ben Hadad king of Syria, who lived at Damascus, saying, 3 “Let there be a treaty between me and you, as there was between my father and your father. Look, I have sent you silver and gold. Go, break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me.”

4 Ben Hadad listened to king Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel; and they struck Ijon, Dan, Abel Maim, and all the storage cities of Naphtali. 5 When Baasha heard of it, he stopped building Ramah and let his work cease. 6 Then Asa the king took all Judah, and they took the stones of Ramah away, and its timber with which Baasha had built, and he built Geba and Mizpah with them.

Hanani’s Message to Asa

7 At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said to him, “Because you have relied on the king of Syria and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand. 8 Were the Ethiopians and the Lubim not a huge army, with chariots and an exceedingly great number of horsemen? Yet, because you relied on the Lord he delivered them into your hand. 9 For the eyes of the Lord run back and forth throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.”

10 Then Asa was angry with the seer and put him in the prison, for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. Asa oppressed some of the people at the same time.

The Death and Burial of Asa

11 The acts of Asa, first and last, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 12 In the 39th year of his reign, Asa had a disease in his feet. His disease was exceedingly great, yet in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but just the physicians. 13 Asa rested with his fathers and died in the 41st year of his reign. 14 They buried him in his own tomb, which he had dug out for himself in the city of David, and laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odors and various kinds of spices prepared by the perfumers’ art, and they made a great fire for him.

Romans 9:1-18

Paul’s Concern for the Jews

1 I tell the truth in Christ. I am not lying, my conscience testifying with me in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing pain in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brothers’ sake, my relatives according to the flesh 4 who are Israelites; whose is the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service, and the promises; 5 of whom are the fathers, and from whom is Christ as concerning the flesh, who is over all, the Lord, blessed forever. Amen.

God’s Sovereign Choice

6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are from Israel are descendants of Israel. 7 Neither, because they are Abraham’s offspring, are they all children. But, “your offspring will be accounted as from Isaac.” 8 That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as heirs. 9 For this is a word of promise, “At the appointed time I will come, and Sarah will have a son.” 10 And not only this, but also Rebekah received a promise when she conceived by one man, by our father Isaac, 11 For being not yet born, neither having done anything good or bad, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him who calls, 12 it was said to her, “The elder will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? May it never be! 15 For he said to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I caused you to be raised up, that I might show in you my power, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then, he has mercy on whom he desires, and he hardens whom he desires.

Psalm 19

For the Chief Musician. A Psalm by David.

1 The heavens declare the glory of God.
The expanse shows his handiwork.
2 Day after day they pour out speech,
and night after night they display knowledge.
3 There is no speech nor language,
where their voice is not heard.
4 Their voice has gone out through all the earth,
their words to the end of the world.
In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
5 which is like a bridegroom coming out of his room,
like a strong man rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises from one end of the heavens,
and circles to the other end.
There is nothing hidden from its heat.

7 The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul.
God’s covenant is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.
The commandments of the Lord are pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.
The ordinances of the Lord are true, and altogether righteous.
10 They are more to be desired than gold, yes, than much fine gold,
sweeter also than honey and the extract of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover your servant is warned by them.
In keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can discern his errors?
Forgive me from hidden errors.

13 Keep your servant back also from presumptuous sins.
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I will be upright.
I will be blameless and innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
Lord, my rock, and my redeemer.

Proverbs 20:1

1 Wine is a mocker and beer is a brawler.
Whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

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