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1 Kings 19

Elijah Runs for His Life

19 Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, including a detailed account of how he killed all the prophets with the sword. Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah with this warning, “May the gods judge me severely if by this time tomorrow I do not take your life as you did theirs!”

Elijah was afraid, so he got up and fled for his life to Beer Sheba in Judah. He left his servant there, while he went a day’s journey into the desert. He went and sat down under a shrub and asked the Lord to take his life: “I’ve had enough! Now, O Lord, take my life. After all, I’m no better than my ancestors.” He stretched out and fell asleep under the shrub. All of a sudden an angelic messenger touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked and right there by his head was a cake baking on hot coals and a jug of water. He ate and drank and then slept some more. The Lord’s angelic messenger came back again, touched him, and said, “Get up and eat, for otherwise you won’t be able to make the journey.” So he got up and ate and drank. That meal gave him the strength to travel forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.

He went into a cave there and spent the night. All of a sudden the Lord spoke to him, “Why are you here, Elijah?” 10 He answered, “I have been absolutely loyal to the Lord, the sovereign God, even though the Israelites have abandoned the agreement they made with you, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left and now they want to take my life.” 11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord. Look, the Lord is ready to pass by.”

A very powerful wind went before the Lord, digging into the mountain and causing landslides, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the windstorm there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake, there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire, there was a soft whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his robe and went out and stood at the entrance to the cave. All of a sudden a voice asked him, “Why are you here, Elijah?” 14 He answered, “I have been absolutely loyal to the Lord, the sovereign God, even though the Israelites have abandoned the agreement they made with you, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left and now they want to take my life.” 15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came and then head for the Desert of Damascus. Go and anoint Hazael king over Syria. 16 You must anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to take your place as prophet. 17 Jehu will kill anyone who escapes Hazael’s sword, and Elisha will kill anyone who escapes Jehu’s sword. 18 I still have left in Israel seven thousand followers who have not bowed their knees to Baal or kissed the images of him.”

19 Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve pairs of oxen; he was near the twelfth pair. Elijah passed by him and threw his robe over him. 20 He left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Please let me kiss my father and mother goodbye, then I will follow you.” Elijah said to him, “Go back! Indeed, what have I done to you?” 21 Elisha went back and took his pair of oxen and slaughtered them. He cooked the meat over a fire that he made by burning the harness and yoke. He gave the people meat and they ate. Then he got up and followed Elijah and became his assistant.

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Acts 12:1-23

James is Killed and Peter Imprisoned

12 About that time King Herod laid hands on some from the church to harm them. He had James, the brother of John, executed with a sword. When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter too. (This took place during the feast of Unleavened Bread.) When he had seized him, he put him in prison, handing him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him. Herod planned to bring him out for public trial after the Passover. So Peter was kept in prison, but those in the church were earnestly praying to God for him. On that very night before Herod was going to bring him out for trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, while guards in front of the door were keeping watch over the prison. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the prison cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly!” And the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. The angel said to him, “Fasten your belt and put on your sandals.” Peter did so. Then the angel said to him, “Put on your cloak and follow me.” Peter went out and followed him; he did not realize that what was happening through the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 After they had passed the first and second guards, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went outside and walked down one narrow street, when at once the angel left him. 11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from everything the Jewish people were expecting to happen.”

12 When Peter realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many people had gathered together and were praying. 13 When he knocked at the door of the outer gate, a slave girl named Rhoda answered. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she did not open the gate, but ran back in and told them that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 But they said to her, “You’ve lost your mind!” But she kept insisting that it was Peter, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” 16 Now Peter continued knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were greatly astonished. 17 He motioned to them with his hand to be quiet and then related how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. He said, “Tell James and the brothers these things,” and then he left and went to another place.

18 At daybreak there was great consternation among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. 19 When Herod had searched for him and did not find him, he questioned the guards and commanded that they be led away to execution. Then Herod went down from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there.

20 Now Herod was having an angry quarrel with the people of Tyre and Sidon. So they joined together and presented themselves before him. And after convincing Blastus, the king’s personal assistant, to help them, they asked for peace, because their country’s food supply was provided by the king’s country. 21 On a day determined in advance, Herod put on his royal robes, sat down on the judgment seat, and made a speech to them. 22 But the crowd began to shout, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” 23 Immediately an angel of the Lord struck Herod down because he did not give the glory to God, and he was eaten by worms and died.

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Psalm 136

Psalm 136

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his loyal love endures.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his loyal love endures.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his loyal love endures,
to the one who performs magnificent, amazing deeds all by himself,
for his loyal love endures,
to the one who used wisdom to make the heavens,
for his loyal love endures,
to the one who spread out the earth over the water,
for his loyal love endures,
to the one who made the great lights,
for his loyal love endures,
the sun to rule by day,
for his loyal love endures,
the moon and stars to rule by night,
for his loyal love endures,
10 to the one who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
for his loyal love endures,
11 and led Israel out from their midst,
for his loyal love endures,
12 with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
for his loyal love endures,
13 to the one who divided the Red Sea in two,
for his loyal love endures,
14 and led Israel through its midst,
for his loyal love endures,
15 and tossed Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea,
for his loyal love endures,
16 to the one who led his people through the wilderness,
for his loyal love endures,
17 to the one who struck down great kings,
for his loyal love endures,
18 and killed powerful kings,
for his loyal love endures,
19 Sihon, king of the Amorites,
for his loyal love endures,
20 Og, king of Bashan,
for his loyal love endures,
21 and gave their land as an inheritance,
for his loyal love endures,
22 as an inheritance to Israel his servant,
for his loyal love endures,
23 to the one who remembered us when we were down,
for his loyal love endures,
24 and snatched us away from our enemies,
for his loyal love endures,
25 to the one who gives food to all living things,
for his loyal love endures.
26 Give thanks to the God of heaven,
for his loyal love endures!

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Proverbs 17:14-15

14 Starting a quarrel is like letting out water;
stop it before strife breaks out!
15 The one who acquits the guilty and the one who condemns the innocent—
both of them are an abomination to the Lord.

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New English Translation (NET)

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