Psalm 89:1-18 The Voice (VOICE)
A contemplative song[a] of Ethan the Ezrahite.
1 I will sing of Your unfailing love, Eternal One, forever.
5 Let the heavens join in praising the wonderful works of the Eternal.
2 Chronicles 33:1-17 The Voice (VOICE)
33 Manasseh was 12 years old when he became king, and he reigned 55 years in Jerusalem, the longest of any king in Israel. 2 He behaved wickedly before the Eternal, acting with the same abominations as the previous nations did before the Eternal gave their land to Israel. 3 He reversed the good deeds of Hezekiah, rebuilding the high places and altars for the Baals and hoisting carved images of Asherah into the skies. He worshiped all the celestial bodies as false deities. 4-5 He even desecrated the Eternal’s temple, the place honoring His reputation which was to remain in Jerusalem forever, by building pagan altars in two courts there. 6 In the valley of Ben-hinnom, Manasseh offered his children as burnt offerings to those false gods and used every form of magic: witchcraft, divination, sorcery, and necromancy. Manasseh’s evil actions infuriated the Eternal, but the worst of his actions was 7 his installation of an image of a statue in the True God’s temple. Many years before when His glory entered the temple for the first time, God had spoken.
Eternal One (to David and his son Solomon): From among all the tribes I have chosen this house and this city, Jerusalem, from all the cities throughout Israel. This place will honor My reputation forever, 8 so that I will never allow Israel to leave the land that I gave to your ancestors—as long as you and your descendants follow the laws and requirements I gave to you through Moses.[a]
9 Manasseh corrupted Judah and the people of Jerusalem until they were more evil than the nations whom the Eternal had destroyed before the Israelites. 10 Their minds were so full of sin that they didn’t hear the Eternal asking them to return to His ways. 11 So to get their attention, the Eternal used the Assyrian army to express His anger. The commanders captured Manasseh, forced a ring through his nose, bound his limbs with bronze chains, and carried him to Babylon as if he were an animal. 12 From this position of complete powerlessness, Manasseh finally humbled himself and begged the forgiveness of the Eternal God of his fathers. 13 He heard Manasseh’s prayer and found it sincere; He returned Manasseh to the throne in Jerusalem. From that day forward, Manasseh never doubted that the Eternal was the True God.
Unlike his evil predecessor Ahaz, Manasseh sees the error of his ways and returns to God. He even reinstates his father’s reforms, further demonstrating his devotion to God. Manasseh’s change of heart is rewarded with the longest reign of any Israelite king.
14 Having returned to proper faith, Manasseh continued his father’s work. He finished building the outer city wall from the west side of the Gihon River through the valley to the fish gate. Then he built high walls around the hill of Ophel[b] and stationed commanders at each fortified city in Judah. 15 Then Manasseh began to purge the nation of the sin he had brought there. He tore out the idols from inside the Eternal’s temple and the foreign altars from the temple mount and in Jerusalem, disposing of them outside the city. 16 He then restored the Eternal’s altar and gave grateful offerings of peace and praise there. Even though Manasseh ordered the Judahites to serve only the Eternal God of Israel in the way that He commanded, 17 they continued to sacrifice to the Eternal God at other high places instead of only in Jerusalem.
Hebrews 11:1-7 The Voice (VOICE)
11 Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen. 2 It was by faith that our forebears were approved. 3 Through faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God; everything we now see was fashioned from that which is invisible.
Faith begins as hope and indeed is unseen; so many doubt that it is real. What follows is the proof that faith is a reality that can be trusted.
4 By faith Abel presented to God a sacrifice more acceptable than his brother Cain’s. By faith Abel learned he was righteous, as God Himself testified by approving his offering. And by faith he still speaks, although his voice was silenced by death.
5 By faith Enoch was carried up into heaven so that he did not see death; no one could find him because God had taken him. Before he was taken up, it was said of him that he had pleased God. 6 Without faith no one can please God because the one coming to God must believe He exists, and He rewards those who come seeking.
7 By faith Noah respected God’s warning regarding the flood—the likes of which no one had ever seen—and built an ark that saved his family. In this he condemned the world and inherited the righteousness that comes by faith.