Sunday, August 1, 2010

August One

~Good Morning~

August first. WOW. Great summer weather so far.

  • What are theses prostitutes?

7 He also tore down the living quarters of the male and female shrine prostitutes that were inside the Temple of the Lord, where the women wove coverings for the Asherah pole.



Today's Scripture:

2 Kings 23

Josiah's Religious Reforms

 1 Then the king summoned all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 2 And the king went up to the Temple of the Lord with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, along with the priests and the prophets—all the people from the least to the greatest. There the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the Lord's Temple. 3 The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the Lord's presence. He pledged to obey the Lord by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. In this way, he confirmed all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll, and all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.

 4 Then the king instructed Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second rank and the Temple gatekeepers to remove from the Lord's Temple all the articles that were used to worship Baal, Asherah, and all the powers of the heavens. The king had all these things burned outside Jerusalem on the terraces of the Kidron Valley, and he carried the ashes away to Bethel. 5 He did away with the idolatrous priests, who had been appointed by the previous kings of Judah, for they had offered sacrifices at the pagan shrines throughout Judah and even in the vicinity of Jerusalem. They had also offered sacrifices to Baal, and to the sun, the moon, the constellations, and to all the powers of the heavens. 6 The king removed the Asherah pole from the Lord's Temple and took it outside Jerusalem to the Kidron Valley, where he burned it. Then he ground the ashes of the pole to dust and threw the dust over the graves of the people7 He also tore down the living quarters of the male and female shrine prostitutes that were inside the Temple of the Lord, where the women wove coverings for the Asherah pole.

 8 Josiah brought to Jerusalem all the priests who were living in other towns of Judah. He also defiled the pagan shrines, where they had offered sacrifices—all the way from Geba to Beersheba. He destroyed the shrines at the entrance to the gate of Joshua, the governor of Jerusalem. This gate was located to the left of the city gate as one enters the city. 9 The priests who had served at the pagan shrines were not allowed to serve at the Lord's altar in Jerusalem, but they were allowed to eat unleavened bread with the other priests.

 10 Then the king defiled the altar of Topheth in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, so no one could ever again use it to sacrifice a son or daughter in the fire as an offering to Molech. 11 He removed from the entrance of the Lord's Temple the horse statues that the former kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. They were near the quarters of Nathan-melech the eunuch, an officer of the court. The king also burned the chariots dedicated to the sun.

 12 Josiah tore down the altars that the kings of Judah had built on the palace roof above the upper room of Ahaz. The king destroyed the altars that Manasseh had built in the two courtyards of the Lord's Temple. He smashed them to bits and scattered the pieces in the Kidron Valley. 13 The king also desecrated the pagan shrines east of Jerusalem, to the south of the Mount of Corruption, where King Solomon of Israel had built shrines for Ashtoreth, the detestable goddess of the Sidonians; and for Chemosh, the detestable god of the Moabites; and for Molech, the vile god of the Ammonites. 14 He smashed the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah poles. Then he desecrated these places by scattering human bones over them.

 15 The king also tore down the altar at Bethel—the pagan shrine that Jeroboam son of Nebat had made when he caused Israel to sin. He burned down the shrine and ground it to dust, and he burned the Asherah pole. 16 Then Josiah turned around and noticed several tombs in the side of the hill. He ordered that the bones be brought out, and he burned them on the altar at Bethel to desecrate it. (This happened just as the Lord had promised through the man of God when Jeroboam stood beside the altar at the festival.)

   Then Josiah turned and looked up at the tomb of the man of God who had predicted these things. 17 "What is that monument over there?" Josiah asked.

   And the people of the town told him, "It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and predicted the very things that you have just done to the altar at Bethel!"

 18 Josiah replied, "Leave it alone. Don't disturb his bones." So they did not burn his bones or those of the old prophet from Samaria.

 19 Then Josiah demolished all the buildings at the pagan shrines in the towns of Samaria, just as he had done at Bethel. They had been built by the various kings of Israel and had made the Lord very angry. 20 He executed the priests of the pagan shrines on their own altars, and he burned human bones on the altars to desecrate them. Finally, he returned to Jerusalem.

2 Chronicles 34:29-33

Josiah's Religious Reforms

 29 Then the king summoned all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 30 And the king went up to the Temple of the Lord with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, along with the priests and the Levites—all the people from the greatest to the least. There the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the Lord's Temple. 31 The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the Lord's presence. He pledged to obey the Lord by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. He promised to obey all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll. 32 And he required everyone in Jerusalem and the people of Benjamin to make a similar pledge. The people of Jerusalem did so, renewing their covenant with God, the God of their ancestors.

 33 So Josiah removed all detestable idols from the entire land of Israel and required everyone to worship the Lord their God. And throughout the rest of his lifetime, they did not turn away from the Lord, the God of their ancestors.

2 Kings 23:21-28

Josiah Celebrates Passover

 21 King Josiah then issued this order to all the people: "You must celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God, as required in this Book of the Covenant." 22 There had not been a Passover celebration like that since the time when the judges ruled in Israel, nor throughout all the years of the kings of Israel and Judah. 23 This Passover was celebrated to the Lord in Jerusalem in the eighteenth year of King Josiah's reign.

 24 Josiah also got rid of the mediums and psychics, the household gods, the idols, and every other kind of detestable practice, both in Jerusalem and throughout the land of Judah. He did this in obedience to the laws written in the scroll that Hilkiah the priest had found in the Lord's Temple. 25 Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since.

 26 Even so, the Lord was very angry with Judah because of all the wicked things Manasseh had done to provoke him. 27 For the Lordsaid, "I will also banish Judah from my presence just as I have banished Israel. And I will reject my chosen city of Jerusalem and the Temple where my name was to be honored."

 28 The rest of the events in Josiah's reign and all his deeds are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah.

2 Chronicles 35:1-19

2 Chronicles 35

Josiah Celebrates Passover

 1 Then Josiah announced that the Passover of the Lord would be celebrated in Jerusalem, and so the Passover lamb was slaughtered on the fourteenth day of the first month. 2 Josiah also assigned the priests to their duties and encouraged them in their work at the Temple of the Lord. 3 He issued this order to the Levites, who were to teach all Israel and who had been set apart to serve the Lord: "Put the holy Ark in the Temple that was built by Solomon son of David, the king of Israel. You no longer need to carry it back and forth on your shoulders. Now spend your time serving the Lord your God and his people Israel. 4 Report for duty according to the family divisions of your ancestors, following the directions of King David of Israel and the directions of his son Solomon.

 5 "Then stand in the sanctuary at the place appointed for your family division and help the families assigned to you as they bring their offerings to the Temple. 6 Slaughter the Passover lambs, purify yourselves, and prepare to help those who come. Follow all the directions that the Lord gave through Moses."

 7 Then Josiah provided 30,000 lambs and young goats for the people's Passover offerings, along with 3,000 cattle, all from the king's own flocks and herds. 8 The king's officials also made willing contributions to the people, priests, and Levites. Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, the administrators of God's Temple, gave the priests 2,600 lambs and young goats and 300 cattle as Passover offerings. 9 The Levite leaders—Conaniah and his brothers Shemaiah and Nethanel, as well as Hashabiah, Jeiel, and Jozabad—gave 5,000 lambs and young goats and 500 cattle to the Levites for their Passover offerings.

 10 When everything was ready for the Passover celebration, the priests and the Levites took their places, organized by their divisions, as the king had commanded. 11 The Levites then slaughtered the Passover lambs and presented the blood to the priests, who sprinkled the blood on the altar while the Levites prepared the animals. 12 They divided the burnt offerings among the people by their family groups, so they could offer them to the Lord as prescribed in the Book of Moses. They did the same with the cattle. 13 Then they roasted the Passover lambs as prescribed; and they boiled the holy offerings in pots, kettles, and pans, and brought them out quickly so the people could eat them.

 14 Afterward the Levites prepared Passover offerings for themselves and for the priests—the descendants of Aaron—because the priests had been busy from morning till night offering the burnt offerings and the fat portions. The Levites took responsibility for all these preparations.

 15 The musicians, descendants of Asaph, were in their assigned places, following the commands that had been given by David, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, the king's seer. The gatekeepers guarded the gates and did not need to leave their posts of duty, for their Passover offerings were prepared for them by their fellow Levites.

 16 The entire ceremony for the Lord's Passover was completed that day. All the burnt offerings were sacrificed on the altar of the Lord, as King Josiah had commanded. 17 All the Israelites present in Jerusalem celebrated Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days. 18 Never since the time of the prophet Samuel had there been such a Passover. None of the kings of Israel had ever kept a Passover as Josiah did, involving all the priests and Levites, all the people of Jerusalem, and people from all over Judah and Israel. 19This Passover celebration took place in the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign.

Nahum 1-3:19

Nahum 1

 1 This message concerning Nineveh came as a vision to Nahum, who lived in Elkosh.

The Lord's Anger against Nineveh

 2 The Lord is a jealous God,
      filled with vengeance and rage.
   He takes revenge on all who oppose him
      and continues to rage against his enemies!
 3 The Lord is slow to get angry, but his power is great,
      and he never lets the guilty go unpunished.
   He displays his power in the whirlwind and the storm.
      The billowing clouds are the dust beneath his feet.
 4 At his command the oceans dry up,
      and the rivers disappear.
   The lush pastures of Bashan and Carmel fade,
      and the green forests of Lebanon wither.
 5 In his presence the mountains quake,
      and the hills melt away;
   the earth trembles,
      and its people are destroyed.
 6 Who can stand before his fierce anger?
      Who can survive his burning fury?
   His rage blazes forth like fire,
      and the mountains crumble to dust in his presence.

 7 The Lord is good,
      a strong refuge when trouble comes.
      He is close to those who trust in him.
 8 But he will sweep away his enemies
      in an overwhelming flood.
   He will pursue his foes
      into the darkness of night.

 9 Why are you scheming against the Lord?
      He will destroy you with one blow;
      he won't need to strike twice!
 10 His enemies, tangled like thornbushes
      and staggering like drunks,
      will be burned up like dry stubble in a field.
 11 Who is this wicked counselor of yours
      who plots evil against the Lord?

 12 This is what the Lord says:
   "Though the Assyrians have many allies,
      they will be destroyed and disappear.
   O my people, I have punished you before,
      but I will not punish you again.
 13 Now I will break the yoke of bondage from your neck
      and tear off the chains of Assyrian oppression."

 14 And this is what the Lord says concerning the Assyrians in Nineveh:
   "You will have no more children to carry on your name.
      I will destroy all the idols in the temples of your gods.
   I am preparing a grave for you
      because you are despicable!"

 15 Look! A messenger is coming over the mountains with good news!
      He is bringing a message of peace.
   Celebrate your festivals, O people of Judah,
      and fulfill all your vows,
   for your wicked enemies will never invade your land again.
      They will be completely destroyed!

Nahum 2

The Fall of Nineveh

 1 Your enemy is coming to crush you, Nineveh.
      Man the ramparts! Watch the roads!
      Prepare your defenses! Call out your forces!

 2 Even though the destroyer has destroyed Judah,
      the Lord will restore its honor.
   Israel's vine has been stripped of branches,
      but he will restore its splendor.

 3 Shields flash red in the sunlight!
      See the scarlet uniforms of the valiant troops!
   Watch as their glittering chariots move into position,
      with a forest of spears waving above them.
 4 The chariots race recklessly along the streets
      and rush wildly through the squares.
   They flash like firelight
      and move as swiftly as lightning.
 5 The king shouts to his officers;
      they stumble in their haste,
      rushing to the walls to set up their defenses.
 6 The river gates have been torn open!
      The palace is about to collapse!
 7 Nineveh's exile has been decreed,
      and all the servant girls mourn its capture.
   They moan like doves
      and beat their breasts in sorrow.
 8 Nineveh is like a leaking water reservoir!
      The people are slipping away.
   "Stop, stop!" someone shouts,
      but no one even looks back.
 9 Loot the silver!
      Plunder the gold!
   There's no end to Nineveh's treasures—
      its vast, uncounted wealth.
 10 Soon the city is plundered, empty, and ruined.
      Hearts melt and knees shake.
   The people stand aghast,
      their faces pale and trembling.

 11 Where now is that great Nineveh,
      that den filled with young lions?
   It was a place where people—like lions and their cubs—
      walked freely and without fear.
 12 The lion tore up meat for his cubs
      and strangled prey for his mate.
   He filled his den with prey,
      his caverns with his plunder.

 13 "I am your enemy!"
      says the Lord of Heaven's Armies.
   "Your chariots will soon go up in smoke.
      Your young men will be killed in battle.
   Never again will you plunder conquered nations.
      The voices of your proud messengers will be heard no more."

Nahum 3

The Lord's Judgment against Nineveh

 1 What sorrow awaits Nineveh,
      the city of murder and lies!
   She is crammed with wealth
      and is never without victims.
 2 Hear the crack of whips,
      the rumble of wheels!
   Horses' hooves pound,
      and chariots clatter wildly.
 3 See the flashing swords and glittering spears
      as the charioteers charge past!
   There are countless casualties,
      heaps of bodies—
   so many bodies that
      people stumble over them.
 4 All this because Nineveh,
      the beautiful and faithless city,
   mistress of deadly charms,
      enticed the nations with her beauty.
   She taught them all her magic,
      enchanting people everywhere.

 5 "I am your enemy!"
      says the Lord of Heaven's Armies.
   "And now I will lift your skirts
      and show all the earth your nakedness and shame.
 6 I will cover you with filth
      and show the world how vile you really are.
 7 All who see you will shrink back and say,
      'Nineveh lies in ruins.
   Where are the mourners?'
      Does anyone regret your destruction?"

 8 Are you any better than the city of Thebes,
      situated on the Nile River, surrounded by water?
   She was protected by the river on all sides,
      walled in by water.
 9 Ethiopia and the land of Egypt
      gave unlimited assistance.
   The nations of Put and Libya
      were among her allies.
 10 Yet Thebes fell,
      and her people were led away as captives.
   Her babies were dashed to death
      against the stones of the streets.
   Soldiers threw dice to get Egyptian officers as servants.
      All their leaders were bound in chains.

 11 And you, Nineveh, will also stagger like a drunkard.
      You will hide for fear of the attacking enemy.
 12 All your fortresses will fall.
      They will be devoured like the ripe figs
   that fall into the mouths
      of those who shake the trees.
 13 Your troops will be as weak
      and helpless as women.
   The gates of your land will be opened wide to the enemy
      and set on fire and burned.
 14 Get ready for the siege!
      Store up water!
      Strengthen the defenses!
   Go into the pits to trample clay,
      and pack it into molds,
      making bricks to repair the walls.

 15 But the fire will devour you;
      the sword will cut you down.
   The enemy will consume you like locusts,
      devouring everything they see.
   There will be no escape,
      even if you multiply like swarming locusts.
 16 Your merchants have multiplied
      until they outnumber the stars.
   But like a swarm of locusts,
      they strip the land and fly away.
 17 Your guards and officials are also like swarming locusts
      that crowd together in the hedges on a cold day.
   But like locusts that fly away when the sun comes up,
      all of them will fly away and disappear.

 18 Your shepherds are asleep, O Assyrian king;
      your princes lie dead in the dust.
   Your people are scattered across the mountains
      with no one to gather them together.
 19 There is no healing for your wound;
      your injury is fatal.
   All who hear of your destruction
      will clap their hands for joy.
   Where can anyone be found
      who has not suffered from your continual cruelty?




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