Bible Gateway The Daily Audio Bible Reading Plan (VOICE) 2015-07-28T00:00:00-05:00 Powered by Bible Gateway http://www.biblegateway.com http://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/daily-audio-bible?version=VOICE The Daily Audio Bible Reading for Tuesday July 28, 2015 (VOICE)

2 Chronicles 21-23

21 When Jehoshaphat joined his ancestors in death and was laid to rest with his fathers in the city of David, Jerusalem, his son Jehoram succeeded him to the throne. Jehoshaphat, king of the true Israel,[a] had a number of sons in addition to Jehoram: Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azaryahu, Michael, and Shephatiah. Jehoshaphat made each one a wealthy governor with silver, gold, and costly gifts over his own fortified cities in Judah and appointed Jehoram as the future king since he was the firstborn. Once Jehoram had taken over his father’s kingdom and had established himself, he killed all his brothers and some rulers of Israel so they could not challenge his right to rule.

Jehoram was 32 years old when he ascended to the throne, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. But he was not a righteous king as his father was before him. He married Ahab’s daughter and was tempted to worship her pagan gods as the kings of the Northern Kingdom did. He did evil instead of following the Eternal; now despite this the Eternal upheld His promise to David. In His covenant with David, He promised David’s family would guide Israel forever, so He would not destroy Jehoram or his government. But God punished him with revolts by Edom and Libnah.

Instead of following Jehoram’s rule, the people of Edom revolted and elected their own king. Jehoram responded to their disobedience by attacking the Edomites with all of his officers and chariots. But the Edomites surrounded Jehoram with his army of commanders and chariots. Then Jehoram went out in the dark of night and struck down the Edomite rebellion. 10 Edom has continually rebelled against the rule of Judah until this day. Likewise, Libnah (a Levitical city in southwestern Judah) revolted against Jehoram’s rule at the same time because Jehoram had abandoned the Eternal One, the True God of his ancestors, in favor of worshiping foreign gods. 11 He even built high places in the mountains of Judah to honor those gods, leading the citizens of Jerusalem and Judah to prostitute themselves spiritually to other gods.

This is a particularly bloody time for Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Each king—or queen in the case of Athaliah in Judah—has to watch his or her back constantly for international threats from Aram north of Israel, Egypt south of Judah, or Ammon, Moab, and Edom on the other side of the Jordan River and Dead Sea. As well, there is political and familial intrigue and deception in the palace households of some of these kings. Being a monarch is a very dangerous position, and some do not fare well.

In just a few years, King Jehu from Israel carries out a bloody campaign against anyone associated with the House of Ahab in order to eradicate idolatry and rebellion from the land. But this move by Jehu only buys Israel another century before the Neo-Assyrians move in and exile the people.

12 Having heard about Jehoram’s actions, Elijah the prophet sent a letter to the king.

Elijah’s Letter: I received this message from the Eternal One, True God of your ancestor David: “You have not followed Me as Jehoshaphat, your father, and as Asa, your grandfather, did during their reigns 13 but have instead followed the gods of the kings of Israel. You have caused the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves spiritually as Ahab and his family did. You have murdered your brothers, your own family, who were better men than you. 14 Because of your evil actions, the Eternal will severely punish your people, your children, your wives, and all your possessions. 15 And you will suffer with an intestinal disease until your bowels come out, ending your life.”

16 Fulfilling His promise, the Eternal incited the Philistines and the Arabs who bordered the Cushites to attack Jehoram 17 and Judah. They invaded the nation and plundered the palace, taking all the possessions including the king’s children and wives. When they had finished, all that remained was Jehoahaz,[b] Jehoram’s youngest son. 18 Then the Eternal infected the king with a terminal intestinal illness. 19 He died painfully two years later with the prolapse of his intestines. After he died, the people did not honor his memory by lighting a fire for him as they had done for his ancestors. 20 He was 32 years old when he became king, and he ruled in Jerusalem for eight years. No one was sorry when he died. They buried him in the city of David, Jerusalem, but not in the tombs with the other kings and his ancestors.

22 Since the Philistines and Arabs had killed all of Jehoram’s older sons when they plundered the palace, the citizens of Jerusalem made Ahaziah, his youngest son, king. Ahaziah was 22 years old[c] when he became king, and he ruled for only one year in Jerusalem.

Ahaziah was the son of Athaliah, the granddaughter of Omri and daughter of Ahab. 3-4 Since his mother and her relatives were his counselors during his reign, Ahaziah followed the gods worshiped by the Northern Kingdom, and performed evil deeds before the Eternal as the house of Ahab did. By following this bad advice, Ahaziah ensured his destruction. 5-6 He repeated the mistake of Jehoshaphat and followed Jehoram, the son of Ahab king of the Northern Kingdom, to fight Hazael, king of Aram, at Ramoth-gilead. When the Arameans wounded Joram, he returned to Jezreel to heal his wounds and Ahaziah went to visit him there.

Ahaziah’s destruction by the True God was decided when he visited Joram because his visit coincided with the attack Jehu, the son of Nimshi, executed on Jezreel. (The Eternal had incited Jehu to destroy the house of Ahab.) During his assault, Jehu found Ahaziah’s sons and nephews who served him and killed them. Then Jehu looked for Ahaziah and found him cowering in Samaria. Jehu’s forces brought Ahaziah to Jehu, killed him, and buried him.[d] He was given a burial only because of his descent from Jehoshaphat, who looked for the Eternal and followed His commands. Because of Jehu’s slaughter, no one from Ahaziah’s immediate family lived to inherit the kingdom.

10 When Athaliah realized that her son Ahaziah had died along with all of the royal line, she decided to kill her opponents—the remaining royal offspring of the Southern Kingdom.

She decides to fill the power vacuum herself and become queen as her husband, Jehoram, did years before.

11 But little did she know that Jehoshabeath, King Jehoram’s daughter, had stolen Ahaziah’s son Joash from among the king’s sons when Jehu’s soldiers were killing them. She hid Joash and his nurse in a bedroom. So Jehoshabeath, the daughter of King Jehoram and the sister of King Ahaziah, saved the Davidic line by protecting him from Athaliah’s murderous rage. Since she was the wife of Jehoiada the priest, Jehoshabeath 12 was able to hide Joash and his nurse in the temple of the True God during the six years of Athaliah’s reign.

23 During the seventh year of Athaliah’s reign, Jehoiada the priest prepared to revolt and conferred with the commanders over divisions of warriors: Azariah (son of Jeroham), Ishmael (son of Johanan), Azariah (son of Obed), Maaseiah (son of Adaiah), and Elishaphat (son of Zichri). These men made an agreement with Jehoiada, promising to fight against Athaliah’s illegitimate government. They traveled through Judah telling the people about the coming revolt. Then all the Levites and all the Israelite tribal leaders came to Jerusalem to make another contract with the rightful king, Joash, in the house of God.

Jehoiada: Remember when the Eternal promised David that his sons would be king? Athaliah’s reign has disrupted that promise. Look now on the son of the king! This is what you will do: One-third of you priests and Levites who work on the Sabbath will guard the gates to the temple, 5-7 one-third will guard Joash’s house, and one-third will guard the gate of the foundation. Those posted at the king’s house will surround him with drawn weapons. If anyone enters Joash’s house, kill him. If Joash leaves his house, kill anyone who approaches him.

All the people will wait in the courts of the Eternal’s house and guard His temple. Kill anyone who comes into the Eternal’s house (except, of course, for the priests and ministering Levites who are consecrated).

The Levites and the people did as they were told by Jehoiada the priest. Everyone worked that day, even those who were typically off duty on Sabbath, because Jehoiada reenlisted them all in the rebellion. He armed the divisions under the commanders of hundreds with King David’s spears and large and small shields which were offerings to the house of the True God, 10 and he stationed all the people, who were armed with their own weapons, to surround both the temple and Joash. 11 Once everyone was in place, they publicly made Joash king: the people crowned him and gave him a copy of the covenant laws; Jehoiada and his sons anointed him and said, “Long live the king!”

12 Hearing the commotion of her people running and praising a different monarch, Athaliah entered the Eternal’s house where all the people were stationed. 13 There she saw King Joash standing by his pillar at the entrance, flanked by the commanders and the trumpeters. All the people of the land rejoiced and blew trumpets as the singers led the people in songs of praise with their musical instruments.

Athaliah (tearing her clothes in sorrow): Treason! Treason!

Jehoiada (to the commanders of divisions in response to Athaliah and her violation of the temple): 14 Take her and her followers out between the ranks, and kill them with the sword. Do not kill her in the Eternal’s house.

15 So they took her to the entrance of the Horse Gate at the palace and executed her.

16 Then Jehoiada made a covenant between himself, all the people, and the king, promising to follow the Eternal. 17 Because of this covenant, all the people demolished Baal’s temple, destroyed the altars and icons there, and killed Mattan, the priest of Baal, in front of the altars. 18 Then Jehoiada restored the organization of the temple as David had intended: He appointed the Levitical priests[e] to the offices of the Eternal’s temple, where they gave the burnt offerings to the Eternal (as Moses’ law required) with rejoicing and singing. 19 He preserved the sanctity of the Eternal’s temple by stationing gatekeepers there so ritually unclean people could not enter.

Having restored the temple, Jehoiada properly restores the Davidic monarchy.

20 He and the commanders of the divisions, the nobles, the rulers of the people, and all the people of the land took the king from the Eternal’s temple through the upper gate to the palace. There, they put Joash on his royal throne. 21 Since their rightful king was restored and Athaliah had been killed, all the people of the land rejoiced and were at peace.

Footnotes:

  1. 21:2 Greek, Syriac, and Vulgate read, “king of Judah”
  2. 21:17 Also called “Ahaziah” (22:1)
  3. 22:2 The Hebrew text says Ahaziah was 42 years old. Most follow the Greek text and the parallel reference in 2 Kings 8:26.
  4. 22:9 A different place of death and burial for Ahaziah is given in 2 Kings 9:27–28.
  5. 23:18 Greek and other sources read, “the priests and the Levites.”
The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

Romans 11:13-36

13 But I have this to say to all of you who are not ethnic Jews: I am God’s emissary[a] to you, and I honor this call by focusing on what God is doing with and through you. 14 I do this so that somehow my own blood brothers and sisters will be made jealous; and that, I trust, will bring some to salvation. 15 If the fact that they are currently set aside resolves the hostility between God and the rest of the world, what will their acceptance bring if not life from the dead? 16 If the first and best of the dough you offer is sacred, the entire loaf will be as well. If the root of the tree is sacred, the branches will be also.

17 Imagine some branches are cut off of the cultivated olive tree and other branches of a wild olive (which represents all of you outsiders) are grafted in their place. You are nourished by the root of the cultivated olive tree. 18 It doesn’t give you license to become proud and self-righteous about the fact that you’ve been grafted in. If you do boast, remember that the branches do not sustain the root—it is the system of roots that nourishes and supports you.

19 I can almost hear some of you saying, “Branches had to be pruned to make room for me.” 20 Yes, they were. They were removed because they did not believe; and you will stay attached, be strong, and be productive only through faith. So don’t think too highly of yourselves; instead, stand in awe of God’s mercy. 21 Besides we know that God did not spare the natural branches, so there is no reason to think He will spare you. 22 Witness the simultaneous balance of the kindness and severity of our God. Severity is directed at the fallen branches withering without faith. Yet kindness is directed at you. So live in the kindness of God or else prepare to be cut off yourselves. 23 If those branches that have been cut from the tree do not stay in unbelief, then God will carefully graft them back onto the tree because He has the power to do that. 24 So if it is possible for you to be taken from a wild olive tree and become part of a cultivated olive tree, imagine how much easier it would be to reconnect branches that originally grew on that olive tree.

The cultivated olive tree provides Paul with a beautiful image of how believing Jews and non-Jews were organically connected in the plan of God. Life flows from the earth to the branches—some natural, some grafted in—through the rootstock. Paul wants to make sure the grafted branches know they have not arrived on their own; their spiritual life and vitality flow from the root, Israel. God is the Farmer who has tenderly grafted them into the sturdy stock on the basis of faith. So pride and arrogance are completely out of place for those grafted branches. They will bear fruit only as they remain connected by faith to the stock.

25 My brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be in the dark about this mystery—I am going to let you in on the plan so that you will not think too highly of yourselves. A part of Israel has been hardened to the good news until the full number of those outside the Jewish family have entered in. 26 This is the way that all of Israel will be saved. As it was written, so it also stands:

The Deliverer will come from Zion;
He will drive away wickedness from Jacob.
27 And this is My covenant promise to them,
on the day when I take away their sins.[b]

28 It may seem strange. When it comes to the work of the gospel, the fact that they oppose it is actually for your benefit. But when you factor in God’s election, they are truly loved because they descended from faithful forefathers. 29 You see, when God gives a grace gift and issues a call to a people, He does not change His mind and take it back. 30 There was a time when you outsiders were disobedient to God and at odds with His purpose, but now you have experienced mercy as a result of their disobedience. 31 In the same way, their disobedience now will make a way for them to receive mercy as a result of the mercy shown to you. 32 For God has assigned all of us together—Jews and non-Jews, insiders and outsiders—to disobedience so He can show His mercy to all.

Paul says that God’s mysterious plan for the ages is being revealed as the number of outsiders swells in the churches and as a part of Israel is hardened, at least for a time. But let’s not forget that hardening is not God’s unilateral action. Whatever hardening takes place happens first on our side before God reluctantly agrees. That part of Israel now hardened has already rejected God’s Anointed. Yet when the full complement of non-Jewish outsiders enters God’s kingdom, “all Israel will be saved.” But clearly “all Israel” can’t mean every last Jew, because Paul has already shown that not every son or daughter of Abraham is an heir to the promise.

33 We cannot wrap our minds around God’s wisdom and knowledge! Its depths can never be measured! We cannot understand His judgments or explain the mysterious ways that He works! For,

34 Who can fathom the mind of the Lord?
Or who can claim to be His advisor?[c]

35 Or,

Who can give to God in advance
so that God must pay him back?[d]

36 For all that exists originates in Him, comes through Him, and is moving toward Him; so give Him the glory forever. Amen.

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

Psalm 22:1-18

Psalm 22

For the worship leader. A song of David to the tune “Deer of the Dawn.”[a]

Jesus prayed this individual lament from the cross (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34). Though it begins with a sense of abandonment, it ends on a triumphant note.

My God, my God, why have You turned Your back on me?
Your ears are deaf to my groans.
O my God, I cry all day and You are silent;
my tears in the night bring no relief.

Still, You are holy;
You make Your home on the praises of Israel.
Our mothers and fathers trusted in You;
they trusted, and You rescued them.
They cried out to You for help and were spared;
they trusted in You and were vindicated.

But I am a worm and not a human being,
a disgrace and an object of scorn.
Everyone who sees me laughs at me;
they whisper to one another I’m a loser; they sneer and mock me, saying,
“He relies on the Eternal; let the Eternal rescue him
and keep him safe because He is happy with him.”

But You are the One who granted me life;
You endowed me with trust as I nursed at my mother’s breast.
10 I was dedicated to You at birth;
You’ve been my God from my mother’s womb.
11 Stay close to me—
trouble is at my door;
no one else can help me.

12 I’m surrounded by many tormenters;
like strong bulls of Bashan,[b] they circle around me with their taunts.
13 They open their mouths wide at me
like ravenous, roaring lions.

14 My life is poured out like water,
and all my bones have slipped out of joint.
My heart melts like wax inside me.
15 My strength is gone, dried up like shards of pottery;
my dry tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
You lay me in the dust of death.

16 A throng of evil ones has surrounded me
like a pack of wild dogs;
They[c] pierced my hands and ripped a hole in my feet.
17 I count all my bones;
people gawk and stare at me.
18 They make a game out of dividing my clothes among themselves;
they cast lots for the clothes on my back.

Footnotes:

  1. 22:title Hebrew, ayyeleth ha-shachar, perhaps the melody to which the song is sung
  2. 22:12 A region east of the Sea of Galilee
  3. 22:16 Most Hebrew manuscripts read, “like the lion.”
The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

Proverbs 20:7

The right-living act with integrity;
the children who follow their example are happy.

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

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