The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his loving kindness. Psalm 157:11

2 Kings 15-16

2 Kings 15

Azariah’s Good Reign in Judah

1 In the 27th year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah began to reign. 2 He was sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned 52 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. 3 He did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah had done. 4 However the high places were not removed. The people still sacrificed and burned incense in the high places. 5 The Lord struck the king, so that he was a leper to the day of his death and lived in a separate house. Jotham, the king’s son was over the household, judging the people of the land.

6 Now the rest of the acts of Azariah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? 7 Azariah rested with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David: and Jotham his son reigned in his place.

Zechariah Reigns in Israel

8 In the 38th year of Azariah king of Judah, Zechariah the son of Jeroboam reigned over Israel in Samaria six months. 9 He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as his fathers had done. He did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to commit. 10 Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him, and struck him before the people, and killed him, and reigned in his place. 11 Now the rest of the acts of Zechariah, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel. 12 This was the word of the Lord which he spoke to Jehu, saying, “Your sons to the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.”  So it came to pass.

Shallum Reigns in Israel

13 Shallum the son of Jabesh began to reign in the 39th year of Uzziah king of Judah, and he reigned for a month in Samaria. 14 Menahem the son of Gadi went up from Tirzah, came to Samaria, struck Shallum the son of Jabesh in Samaria, killed him, and reigned in his place. 15 Now the rest of the acts of Shallum, and his conspiracy which he made, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.

16 Then Menahem attacked Tiphsah, and all who were in it, and its border areas, from Tirzah. He attacked it because they did not open their gates to him, and he ripped open all their women who were with child.

Menahem Reigns in Israel

17 In the 39th year of Azariah king of Judah, Menahem the son of Gadi began to reign over Israel for ten years in Samaria. 18 He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord. He did not depart all his days from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to commit.

19 Pul the king of Assyria came against the land, and Menahem gave Pul 38 tons of silver, to gain his support and to strengthen his hand on the kingdom. 20 Menahem exacted the money from Israel. From all the mighty men of wealth, twenty ounces of silver each, to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back and didn’t stay there in the land. 21 Now the rest of the acts of Menahem, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? 22 Menahem rested with his fathers, and Pekahiah his son reigned in his place.

Pekahiah Reigns in Israel

23 In the 50th year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekahiah the son of Menahem began to reign over Israel in Samaria for two years. 24 He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord. He did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to commit. 25 Pekah the son of Remaliah, his captain, conspired against him and attacked him in Samaria, in the fortress of the king’s house, with Argob and Arieh; and with him were 50 men of the Gileadites. He killed him, and reigned in his place. 26 Now the rest of the acts of Pekahiah, and all that he did, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.

Pekah Reigns in Isreal

27 In the 52nd year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekah the son of Remaliah began to reign over Israel in Samaria for twenty years. 28 He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord. He did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to commit.

29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath Pileser king of Assyria came and took Ijon, Abel Beth Maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali; and he carried them captive to Assyria. 30 Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah, attacked him, killed him, and reigned in his place, in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah. 31 Now the rest of the acts of Pekah, and all that he did, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.

Jotham’s Good Reign in Judah

32 In the second year of Pekah the son of Remaliah king of Israel, Jotham the son of Uzziah king of Judah began to reign. 33 He was 25 years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jerusha the daughter of Zadok. 34 He did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord. He did according to all that his father Uzziah had done. 35 However the high places were not taken away, and the people still sacrificed and burned incense in the high places. He built the upper gate of the house of the Lord. 36 Now the rest of the acts of Jotham, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? 37 In those days, the Lord began to send Rezin the king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah against Judah. 38 Jotham rested with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David, his father, and Ahaz his son reigned in his place.

2 Kings 16

Ahaz Reigns Wickedly in Judah

1 In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of Remaliah, Ahaz the son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign. 2 Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. He didn’t do that which was right in the eyes of the Lord his God, like David his father. 3 But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yes, and made his son pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord cast out from before the Israelites. 4 He sacrificed and burned incense in the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree.

5 Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to wage war. They besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him. 6 At that time Rezin king of Syria recovered Elath to Syria, and drove the Jews from Elath; and the Syrians came to Elath, and lived there, to this day. 7 So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath Pileser king of Assyria, saying, “I am your servant and your son. Come up and save me from the hands of the king of Syria and the king of Israel, who rise up against me.” 8 Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasures of the king’s house, and sent it as a present to the king of Assyria. 9 The king of Assyria listened to him; and the king of Assyria went up against Damascus, and took it, and carried its people captive to Kir, and killed Rezin.

Damascus Falls

10 King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath Pileser king of Assyria, and saw the altar that was at Damascus; and king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest a drawing of the altar and plans to build it. 11 Urijah the priest built an altar. According to all that king Ahaz had sent from Damascus, so Urijah the priest made it for the coming of king Ahaz from Damascus. 12 When the king had come from Damascus, the king saw the altar; and the king came near to the altar, and offered on it. 13 He offered his burnt offering and his grain offering, poured his drink offering, and sprinkled the blood of his peace offerings on the altar. 14 The bronze altar, which was before the Lord, he brought from the front of the house, from between his altar and the house of the Lord, and put it on the north side of his altar. 15 King Ahaz commanded Urijah the priest, saying, “On the great altar burn the morning burnt offering, the evening grain offering, the king’s burnt offering, his grain offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land, their grain offering, and their drink offerings; and sprinkle on it all the blood of the burnt offering, and all the blood of the sacrifice; but the bronze altar will be for me to inquire by.” 16 Urijah the priest did so, according to all that king Ahaz commanded.

17 King Ahaz cut off the panels of the bases, and removed the basin from off them, and took down the sea from off the bronze oxen that were under it, and put it on a pavement of stone. 18 He removed the covered way for the Sabbath that they had built in the house, and the king’s entry outside to the house of the Lord, because of the king of Assyria.

Hezekiah Succeeds Ahaz in Judah

19 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaz which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? 20 Ahaz rested with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David, and Hezekiah his son reigned in his place.

Acts 19:13-41

The Sons of Sceva

13 But some of the vagabond Jewish exorcists took upon themselves to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had the evil spirits, saying, “We command you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 14 There were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did this.

15 The evil spirit answered, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?” 16 The man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 This became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived at Ephesus. Fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 18 Many also of those who had believed came, confessing, and declaring their deeds. 19 Many of those who practiced magical arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. They counted their price, and found it to be 50,000 pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord was growing and becoming mighty.

The Riot in Ephesus

21 Now after these things had ended, Paul determined in the Spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.”

22 He sent two who served him; Timothy and Erastus, into Macedonia, and he himself stayed in Asia for a while.

23 About that time there arose a big disturbance concerning the Way, 24 for a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought much business to the craftsmen. 25 He gathered them together, with the workmen of similar occupation, and said, “Sirs, you know that we have our wealth from this business. 26 You hear and see that not only in Ephesus, but almost throughout all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are no gods that are made with hands. 27 Not only is there danger that our trade will come into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be counted as nothing, and her majesty destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worships.”

28 When they heard this they were filled with anger, and cried out, saying, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 The whole city was filled with confusion, and they rushed in one accord into the theater, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel. 30 When Paul wanted to enter in to the people, the disciples didn’t allow him. 31 And certain leaders of Asia, who were his friends, sent to him, imploring that he would not venture into the theater. 32 Some therefore cried one thing, and some another, for the assembly was in confusion. Most of them didn’t know why they had come together. 33 They brought Alexander out of the crowd, the Jews pushing him forward. Alexander beckoned with his hand, and would have made a defense to the people, 34 but when they perceived that he was a Jew, all of them, with one voice cried out for about two hours, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

35 When the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, “You men of Ephesus, what man is there who doesn’t know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great goddess Artemis, and of the image which fell down from Zeus? 36 Seeing then that these things can’t be denied, you ought to be quiet and to do nothing rash. 37 For you have brought these men here, who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of your goddess. 38 If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen who are with him have a matter against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them press charges against one another. 39 But if you seek anything about other matters, it will be settled in the regular assembly. 40 For indeed we are in danger of being accused, without cause, concerning today’s riot. Concerning this, we wouldn’t be able to give an account of this commotion.” 41 When he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.

Psalm 147

1 Praise the Lord,
for it is good to sing praises to our God;
for it is pleasant and fitting to praise him.
2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem.
He gathers together the outcasts of Israel.
3 He heals the broken hearted,
and binds up their wounds.
4 He counts the number of the stars.
He calls them all by their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and mighty in power.
His understanding is infinite.
6 The Lord upholds the humble.
He brings the wicked down to the ground.
7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving.
Sing praises on the harp to our God,
8 who covers the sky with clouds,
who prepares rain for the earth,
who makes grass grow on the mountains.
9 He provides food for the livestock,
and for the young ravens when they call.
10 He does not delight in the strength of the horse.
He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man.
11 The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his loving kindness.
12 Praise the Lord, Jerusalem!
Praise your God, Zion!
13 For he has strengthened the bars of your gates.
He has blessed your children within you.
14 He makes peace in your borders.
He fills you with the finest of the wheat.
15 He sends out his commandment to the earth.
His word runs very swiftly.
16 He gives snow like wool,
and scatters frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
Who can stand before his cold?
18 He sends out his word, and melts them.
He causes his wind to blow, and the waters flow.
19 He shows his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
20 He has not done this for just any nation.
They do not know his ordinances.
Praise the Lord!

Proverbs 18:4-5

4 The words of a man’s mouth are like deep waters.
The fountain of wisdom is like a flowing brook.
5 To be partial to the faces of the wicked is not good,
nor to deprive the innocent of justice.

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