September 8 - John 12.27-50, 2 Chronicles 16-17 and Psalm 78.1-20

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Jesus Speaks about His Death

John 12 27"Now my heart is troubled--and what shall I say? Shall I say, 'Father, do not let this hour come upon me'? But that is why I came--so that I might go through this hour of suffering. 28Father, bring glory to your name!"
Then a voice spoke from heaven, "I have brought glory to it, and I will do so again."
29The crowd standing there heard the voice, and some of them said it was thunder, while others said, "An angel spoke to him!"
30But Jesus said to them, "It was not for my sake that this voice spoke, but for yours. 31Now is the time for this world to be judged; now the ruler of this world will be overthrown. 32When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to me." ( 33In saying this he indicated the kind of death he was going to suffer.)
34The crowd answered, "Our Law tells us that the Messiah will live forever. How, then, can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?"
35Jesus answered, "The light will be among you a little longer. Continue on your way while you have the light, so that the darkness will not come upon you; for the one who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. 36Believe in the light, then, while you have it, so that you will be the people of the light."

The Unbelief of the People

After Jesus said this, he went off and hid himself from them. 37Even though he had performed all these miracles in their presence, they did not believe in him, 38so that what the prophet Isaiah had said might come true:
"Lord, who believed the message we told?
To whom did the Lord reveal his power?"
39And so they were not able to believe, because Isaiah also said,
40"God has blinded their eyes
and closed their minds,
so that their eyes would not see,
and their minds would not understand,
and they would not turn to me, says God,
for me to heal them."
41Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him.
42Even then, many Jewish authorities believed in Jesus; but because of the Pharisees they did not talk about it openly, so as not to be expelled from the synagogue. 43They loved human approval rather than the approval of God.

Judgment by Jesus' Words

44Jesus said in a loud voice, "Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in him who sent me. 45Whoever sees me sees also him who sent me. 46I have come into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. 47If people hear my message and do not obey it, I will not judge them. I came, not to judge the world, but to save it. 48Those who reject me and do not accept my message have one who will judge them. The words I have spoken will be their judge on the last day! 49This is true, because I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has commanded me what I must say and speak. 50And I know that his command brings eternal life. What I say, then, is what the Father has told me to say."

Troubles with Israel
(1 Kings 15.17-22)

2 Chronicles 16 In the thirty-sixth year of the reign of King Asa of Judah, King Baasha of Israel invaded Judah and started to fortify Ramah in order to cut off all traffic in and out of Judah. 2So Asa took silver and gold from the treasuries of the Temple and the palace and sent it to Damascus, to King Benhadad of Syria, with this message: 3"Let us be allies, as our fathers were. This silver and gold is a present for you. Now break your alliance with King Baasha of Israel so that he will have to pull his troops out of my territory."
4Benhadad agreed to Asa's proposal and sent his commanding officers and their armies to attack the cities of Israel. They captured Ijon, Dan, Abel Beth Maacah, and all the cities of Naphtali where supplies were stored. 5When King Baasha heard what was happening, he stopped fortifying Ramah and abandoned the work. 6Then King Asa gathered men from throughout Judah and had them carry off the stones and timbers that Baasha had been using at Ramah, and they used them to fortify the cities of Geba and Mizpah.

The Prophet Hanani

7At that time the prophet Hanani went to King Asa and said, "Because you relied on the king of Syria instead of relying on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Israel has escaped from you. 8Didn't the Ethiopians and the Libyans have large armies with many chariots and cavalry troops? But because you relied on the LORD, he gave you victory over them. 9The LORD keeps close watch over the whole world, to give strength to those whose hearts are loyal to him. You have acted foolishly, and so from now on you will always be at war." 10This made Asa so angry with the prophet that he had him put in chains. It was at this same time that Asa began treating some of the people cruelly.

The End of Asa's Reign
(1 Kings 15.23, 24)

11All the events of Asa's reign from beginning to end are recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 12In the thirty-ninth year that Asa was king, he was crippled by a severe foot disease; but even then he did not turn to the LORD for help, but to doctors. 13Two years later he died 14and was buried in the rock tomb which he had carved out for himself in David's City. They used spices and perfumed oils to prepare his body for burial, and they built a huge bonfire to mourn his death.

Jehoshaphat Becomes King

2 Chronicles 17 Jehoshaphat succeeded his father Asa as king and strengthened his position against Israel. 2He stationed troops in the fortified cities of Judah, in the Judean countryside, and in the cities which Asa had captured in the territory of Ephraim. 3The LORD blessed Jehoshaphat because he followed the example of his father's early life and did not worship Baal. 4He served his father's God, obeyed God's commands, and did not act the way the kings of Israel did. 5The LORD gave Jehoshaphat firm control over the kingdom of Judah, and all the people brought him gifts, so that he became wealthy and highly honored. 6He took pride in serving the LORD and destroyed all the pagan places of worship and the symbols of the goddess Asherah in Judah.
7In the third year of his reign he sent out the following officials to teach in the cities of Judah: Benhail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah. 8They were accompanied by nine Levites and two priests. The Levites were Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tobadonijah; and the priests were Elishama and Jehoram. 9They took the book of the Law of the LORD and went through all the towns of Judah, teaching it to the people.

Jehoshaphat's Greatness

10The LORD made all the surrounding kingdoms afraid to go to war against King Jehoshaphat. 11Some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat a large amount of silver and other gifts, and some Arabs brought him 7,700 sheep and 7,700 goats. 12So Jehoshaphat continued to grow more and more powerful. Throughout Judah he built fortifications and cities, 13where supplies were stored in huge amounts.
In Jerusalem he stationed outstanding officers, 14according to their clans. Adnah was the commander of the troops from the clans of Judah, and he had 300,000 soldiers under him. 15Second in rank was Jehohanan, with 280,000 soldiers, 16and third was Amasiah son of Zichri, with 200,000. (Amasiah had volunteered to serve the LORD.) 17The commander of the troops from the clans of Benjamin was Eliada, an outstanding soldier, in command of 200,000 men armed with shields and bows. 18His second in command was Jehozabad with 180,000 men, well-equipped for battle. 19These soldiers served the king in Jerusalem, and in addition he stationed others in the other fortified cities of Judah.

God and His People

Psalm 78 Listen, my people, to my teaching,
and pay attention to what I say.
2I am going to use wise sayings
and explain mysteries from the past,
3things we have heard and known,
things that our ancestors told us.
4We will not keep them from our children;
we will tell the next generation
about the LORD's power and his great deeds
and the wonderful things he has done.

5He gave laws to the people of Israel
and commandments to the descendants of Jacob.
He instructed our ancestors
to teach his laws to their children,
6so that the next generation might learn them
and in turn should tell their children.
7In this way they also will put their trust in God
and not forget what he has done,
but always obey his commandments.
8They will not be like their ancestors,
a rebellious and disobedient people,
whose trust in God was never firm
and who did not remain faithful to him.

9The Ephraimites, armed with bows and arrows,
ran away on the day of battle.
10They did not keep their covenant with God;
they refused to obey his law.
11They forgot what he had done,
the miracles they had seen him perform.
12While their ancestors watched, God performed miracles
in the plain of Zoan in the land of Egypt.
13He divided the sea and took them through it;
he made the waters stand like walls.
14By day he led them with a cloud
and all night long with the light of a fire.
15He split rocks open in the desert
and gave them water from the depths.
16He caused a stream to come out of the rock
and made water flow like a river.

17But they continued to sin against God,
and in the desert they rebelled against the Most High.
18They deliberately put God to the test
by demanding the food they wanted.
19They spoke against God and said,
"Can God supply food in the desert?
20It is true that he struck the rock,
and water flowed out in a torrent;
but can he also provide us with bread
and give his people meat?"

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This reading is from The Holy Bible, Today's English Version, Second Edition copyright © American Bible Society, 1992;
Old Testament copyright © American Bible Society, 1976, 1992; New Testament © American Bible Society, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1992.

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