Psalm 66:1-9 The Voice (VOICE)
For the worship leader. A song.
1 Shout out to God, all the earth.
5 Come and witness the True God’s endless works.
8 Everyone, bless our True God!
2 Kings 21:1-15 The Voice (VOICE)
21 Manasseh was 12 years old when he inherited the throne. His reign in Jerusalem lasted 55 years. His mother was Hephzibah. 2 He committed evil in the Eternal’s eyes, like the abhorrent practices of those nations driven out by the Eternal before the Israelites settled in Canaan. 3 Manasseh reconstructed the high places his father, Hezekiah, had demolished. He constructed altars for Baal and crafted a sacred pole, just as Ahab the former king of Israel had done. He offered his praise to all the gods of the skies and was in service to them.
4 He constructed altars in the Eternal’s temple to foreign, pagan gods. This was the temple the Eternal had spoken of when He said, “My name will dwell in Jerusalem.” 5 He contaminated the temple by constructing altars for all the gods of the skies in both the courts in the Eternal’s temple.
6 He forced his son to go through the fire as a burnt offering, and he was trained in the dark arts of witchcraft and fortune-telling. He practiced them both. He consulted necromancers and clairvoyants. He committed many wicked acts in the Eternal’s eyes, which caused Him to boil in anger.
7 He placed a carved image of the goddess Asherah in the Eternal’s temple. It was the very temple that the Eternal had spoken of to David and to Solomon, saying, “My name will dwell in this temple in Jerusalem forever. I have handpicked it from all of Israel’s tribes. 8 If the Israelites will honor the commands and laws I have given them through Moses, then I will no longer force them to be apart from the land I promised to their ancestors. They will live peacefully within the promised land.”
9 But the Israelites kept their ears and hearts closed to the message of the Lord; and Manasseh caused them to live even more sinful lives than the wicked nations, whom the Eternal annihilated before them, had committed. 10 The Eternal One delivered His message through His servants, the prophets.
Prophets: 11 Manasseh, Judah’s king, has committed even worse atrocities than the Amorites had committed before his time, and he also inspired wickedness throughout Judah because of his idols; 12 therefore, this is the message of the Eternal One, Israel’s God: “Observe! I am going to infect Jerusalem and Judah with disaster. The ears of anyone who hears the sounds of this catastrophe will tingle! 13 I will judge the uprightness of Jerusalem by the same plumb line that I used in Samaria and by the same level I used for Ahab’s house. I will clean Jerusalem in the same manner that one cleans a dirty dish. I will wipe off the grime and flip the dish over and wipe off the underside of it as well. 14 I am going to relinquish what is left of My inheritance to the possession of their adversaries. They will be like stolen goods and booty for all their adversaries. 15 This will take place because of all the wickedness they have committed before Me and because of the anger they have caused to boil within Me since the day their ancestors were delivered by Me from Egypt until this very day.”
Romans 7:14-25 The Voice (VOICE)
14 This is what we know: the law comes from the spiritual realm. My problem is that I am of the fallen human realm, owned by sin, which tries to keep me in its service.
God gives Israel the law as part of His covenant promises. The law does a great deal for His people; mainly it sets them apart from all other nations of the world and gives them a blueprint for God’s will. But, according to Paul, the law cannot fix everything that is wrong with this broken world. Although the law is perfectly suited for bringing sin to the surface and exposing it, the law cannot free people from the power of sin and its evil twin, death.
15 Listen, I can’t explain my actions. Here’s why: I am not able to do the things I want; and at the same time, I do the things I despise. 16 If I am doing the things I have already decided not to do, I am agreeing with the law regarding what is good. 17 But now I am no longer the one acting—I’ve lost control—sin has taken up residence in me and is wreaking havoc. 18 I know that in me, that is, in my fallen human nature, there is nothing good. I can will myself to do something good, but that does not help me carry it out. 19 I can determine that I am going to do good, but I don’t do it; instead, I end up living out the evil that I decided not to do. 20 If I end up doing the exact thing I pledged not to do, I am no longer doing it because sin has taken up residence in me.
21 Here’s an important principle I’ve discovered: regardless of my desire to do the right thing, it is clear that evil is never far away. 22 For deep down I am in happy agreement with God’s law; 23 but the rest of me does not concur. I see a very different principle at work in my bodily members, and it is at war with my mind; I have become a prisoner in this war to the rule of sin in my body. 24 I am absolutely miserable! Is there anyone who can free me from this body where sin and death reign so supremely? 25 I am thankful to God for the freedom that comes through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One! So on the one hand, I devotedly serve God’s law with my mind; but on the other hand, with my flesh, I serve the principle of sin.
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