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2 Chronicles 24-25

King Joash of Judah

24 Joash was only seven years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled forty years from Jerusalem. His mother Zibiah was from the town of Beersheba.

While Jehoiada the priest was alive, Joash obeyed the Lord by doing right. Jehoiada even chose two women for Joash to marry so he could have a family.

Some time later, Joash decided it was time to repair the temple. He called together the priests and Levites and said, “Go everywhere in Judah and collect the annual tax from the people. I want this done right away—we need that money to repair the temple.”

But the Levites were in no hurry to follow the king’s orders. So he sent for Jehoiada the high priest and asked, “Why didn’t you send the Levites to collect the taxes? The Lord’s servant Moses and the people agreed long ago that this tax would be collected and used to pay for the upkeep of the sacred tent. And now we need it to repair the temple because the sons of that evil woman Athaliah came in and wrecked it. They even used some of the sacred objects to worship the god Baal.”

Joash gave orders for a wooden box to be made and had it placed outside, near the gate of the temple. He then sent letters everywhere in Judah and Jerusalem, asking everyone to bring their taxes to the temple, just as Moses had required their ancestors to do.

10 The people and their leaders agreed, and they brought their money to Jerusalem and placed it in the box. 11 Each day, after the Levites took the box into the temple, the king’s secretary and the high priest’s assistant would dump out the money and count it. Then the empty box would be taken back outside.

This happened day after day, and soon a large amount of money was collected. 12 Joash and Jehoiada turned the money over to the men who were supervising the repairs to the temple. They used the money to hire stonecutters, carpenters, and experts in working with iron and bronze.

13 These workers went right to work repairing the temple, and when they were finished, it looked as good as new. 14 They did not use all the tax money for the repairs, so the rest of it was handed over to Joash and Jehoiada, who then used it to make dishes and other gold and silver objects for the temple.

Sacrifices to please the Lord[a] were offered regularly in the temple for as long as Jehoiada lived. 15 He died at the ripe old age of one hundred thirty years, 16 and he was buried in the royal tombs in Jerusalem, because he had done so much good for the people of Israel, for God, and for the temple.

Joash Turns Away from the Lord

17 After the death of Jehoiada the priest, the leaders of Judah went to Joash and talked him into doing what they wanted. 18 Right away, the people of Judah stopped worshiping in the temple of the Lord God, and they started worshiping idols and the symbols of the goddess Asherah. These sinful things made the Lord God angry at the people of Judah and Jerusalem, 19 but he still sent prophets who warned them to turn back to him. The people refused to listen.

20 God’s Spirit spoke to Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest, and Zechariah told everyone that God was saying: “Why are you disobeying me and my laws? This will only bring punishment! You have deserted me, so now I will desert you.”

21-22 King Joash forgot that Zechariah’s father had always been a loyal friend. So when the people of Judah plotted to kill Zechariah, Joash joined them and gave orders for them to stone him to death in the courtyard of the temple. As Zechariah was dying, he said, “I pray that the Lord will see this and punish all of you.”

Joash Is Killed

23 In the spring of the following year, the Syrian army invaded Judah and Jerusalem, killing all of the nation’s leaders. They collected everything of value that belonged to the people and took it back to their king in Damascus. 24 The Syrian army was very small, but the Lord let them defeat Judah’s large army, because he was punishing Joash and the people of Judah for turning away from him.

25-26 Joash was severely wounded during the battle, and as soon as the Syrians left Judah, two of his officials, Zabad and Jehozabad,[b] decided to revenge the death of Zechariah. They plotted and killed Joash while he was in bed, recovering from his wounds. Joash was buried in Jerusalem, but not in the royal tombs. 27 The History of the Kings also tells more about the sons of Joash, what the prophets said about him, and how he repaired the temple. Amaziah son of Joash became king after his father’s death.

King Amaziah of Judah

25 Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he ruled twenty-nine years from Jerusalem, the hometown of his mother Jehoaddin.[c]

Even though Amaziah obeyed the Lord by doing right, he refused to be completely faithful. For example, as soon as he had control of Judah, he arrested and killed the officers who had murdered his father. But the children of those officers were not killed; the Lord had commanded in the Law of Moses that only the people who sinned were to be punished.[d]

Edom Is Defeated

Amaziah sent a message to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin and called together all the men who were twenty years old and older. Three hundred thousand men went to Jerusalem, all of them ready for battle and able to fight with spears and shields. Amaziah grouped these soldiers according to their clans and put them under the command of his army officers. Amaziah also paid almost four tons of silver to hire one hundred thousand soldiers from Israel.

One of God’s prophets said, “Your Majesty, don’t let these Israelite soldiers march into battle with you. The Lord has refused to help anyone from the northern kingdom of Israel, and so he will let your enemies defeat you, even if you fight hard. He is the one who brings both victory and defeat.”

Amaziah replied, “What am I supposed to do about all the silver I paid those troops?”

“The Lord will give you back even more than you paid,” the prophet answered.

10 Amaziah ordered the troops from Israel to go home, but when they left, they were furious with the people of Judah.

11 After Amaziah got his courage back, he led his troops to Salt Valley, where he killed ten thousand Edomite soldiers in battle. 12 He captured ten thousand more soldiers and dragged them to the top of a high cliff. Then he pushed them over the side, and they all were killed on the rocks below.

13 Meanwhile, the Israelite troops that Amaziah had sent home, raided the towns in Judah between Samaria and Beth-Horon. They killed three thousand people and carried off their possessions.

14 After Amaziah had defeated the Edomite army, he returned to Jerusalem. He took with him the idols of the Edomite gods and set them up. Then he bowed down and offered them sacrifices. 15 This made the Lord very angry, and he sent a prophet to ask Amaziah, “Why would you worship these foreign gods that couldn’t even save their own people from your attack?”

16 But before the prophet finished speaking, Amaziah interrupted and said, “You’re not one of my advisors! Don’t say another word, or I’ll have you killed.”

The prophet stopped. But then he added, “First you sinned and now you’ve ignored my warning. It’s clear that God has decided to punish you!”

Israel Defeats Judah

17 King Amaziah of Judah talked with his officials, then sent a message to King Jehoash[e] of Israel: “Come out and face me in battle!”

18 Jehoash sent back a reply that said:

Once upon a time, a small thornbush in Lebanon arranged the marriage between his son and the daughter of a large cedar tree. But a wild animal came along and trampled the small bush.

19 Amaziah, you think you’re so powerful because you defeated Edom. But stay at home and do your celebrating. If you cause any trouble, both you and your kingdom of Judah will be destroyed.

20 God made Amaziah stubborn because he was planning to punish him for worshiping the Edomite gods. Amaziah refused to listen to Jehoash’s warning, 21 so Jehoash led his army to the town of Beth-Shemesh in Judah to attack Amaziah and his troops. 22 During the battle, Judah’s army was crushed. Every soldier from Judah ran back home, 23 and Jehoash captured Amaziah.

Jehoash took Amaziah with him when he went to attack Jerusalem. Jehoash broke down the city wall from Ephraim Gate to Corner Gate, a section about six hundred feet long. 24 He carried away the gold, the silver, and all the valuable furnishings from God’s temple where the descendants of Obed-Edom stood guard. He robbed the king’s treasury, took hostages, then returned to Samaria.

Amaziah Is Killed

25 Amaziah lived fifteen years after Jehoash died. 26 Everything else Amaziah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel.

27 As soon as Amaziah started disobeying the Lord, some people in Jerusalem plotted against Amaziah. He was able to escape to the town of Lachish, but another group of people caught him and killed him there. 28 His body was taken to Jerusalem on horseback and buried beside his ancestors.

Footnotes:

  1. 24.14 Sacrifices to please the Lord: See the note at 1.6.
  2. 24.25,26 Zabad and Jehozabad: Hebrew “Zabad son of Shimeath from Ammon and Jehozabad son of Shimrith from Moab.”
  3. 25.1 Jehoaddin: The Hebrew text has “Jehoaddan,” another spelling of the name.
  4. 25.4 the Lord had commanded. . . punished: See Deuteronomy 24.16.
  5. 25.17 King Jehoash: The Hebrew text has “King Joash son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu”; Jehoash is another spelling for the name Joash.
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Romans 12

Christ Brings New Life

12 Dear friends, God is good. So I beg you to offer your bodies to him as a living sacrifice, pure and pleasing. That’s the most sensible way to serve God. Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him.

I realize how kind God has been to me, and so I tell each of you not to think you are better than you really are. Use good sense and measure yourself by the amount of faith that God has given you. A body is made up of many parts, and each of them has its own use. That’s how it is with us. There are many of us, but we each are part of the body of Christ, as well as part of one another.

God has also given each of us different gifts to use. If we can prophesy, we should do it according to the amount of faith we have. If we can serve others, we should serve. If we can teach, we should teach. If we can encourage others, we should encourage them. If we can give, we should be generous. If we are leaders, we should do our best. If we are good to others, we should do it cheerfully.

Rules for Christian Living

Be sincere in your love for others. Hate everything that is evil and hold tight to everything that is good. 10 Love each other as brothers and sisters and honor others more than you do yourself. 11 Never give up. Eagerly follow the Holy Spirit and serve the Lord. 12 Let your hope make you glad. Be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying. 13 Take care of God’s needy people and welcome strangers into your home.

14 Ask God to bless everyone who mistreats you. Ask him to bless them and not to curse them. 15 When others are happy, be happy with them, and when they are sad, be sad. 16 Be friendly with everyone. Don’t be proud and feel that you are smarter than others. Make friends with ordinary people.[a] 17 Don’t mistreat someone who has mistreated you. But try to earn the respect of others, 18 and do your best to live at peace with everyone.

19 Dear friends, don’t try to get even. Let God take revenge. In the Scriptures the Lord says,

“I am the one to take revenge
    and pay them back.”

20 The Scriptures also say,

“If your enemies are hungry,
    give them something to eat.
And if they are thirsty,
give them something
    to drink.
This will be the same
as piling burning coals
    on their heads.”

21 Don’t let evil defeat you, but defeat evil with good.

Footnotes:

  1. 12.16 Make friends with ordinary people: Or “Do ordinary jobs.”
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Psalm 22:19-31

19 Don’t stay far away, Lord!
    My strength comes from you,
    so hurry and help.
20 Rescue me from enemy swords
    and save me from those dogs.
21     Don’t let lions eat me.

You rescued me from the horns
    of wild bulls,
22     and when your people meet,
    I will praise you, Lord.

23 All who worship the Lord,
    now praise him!
You belong to Jacob’s family
and to the people of Israel,
    so fear and honor the Lord!
24 The Lord doesn’t hate
or despise the helpless
    in all of their troubles.
When I cried out, he listened
    and did not turn away.

25 When your people meet,
you will fill my heart
    with your praises, Lord,
    and everyone will see me
    keep my promises to you.
26 The poor will eat and be full,
and all who worship you
    will be thankful
    and live in hope.

27 Everyone on this earth
    will remember you, Lord.
People all over the world
    will turn and worship you,
28     because you are in control,
    the ruler of all nations.

29 All who are rich
and have more than enough
    will bow down to you, Lord.
Even those who are dying
and almost in the grave
    will come and bow down.
30 In the future, everyone
will worship
    and learn
    about you, our Lord.
31 People not yet born
will be told,
    “The Lord has saved us!”

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Proverbs 20:8-10

When rulers decide cases,
    they weigh the evidence.
Can any of us really say,
    “My thoughts are pure,
    and my sins are gone”?

10 Two things the Lord hates
are dishonest scales
    and dishonest measures.

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