2 Chr 28; 2 Kings 17; Psalm 66; 1 Cor 7
Discuss in the comments section.
The following text is from the English Standard Version.
2 Chr 28
Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as his father David had done,
but he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel. He even made metal images for the Baals,
and he made offerings in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom and burned his sons as an offering, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel.
And he sacrificed and made offerings on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree.
Therefore the LORD his God gave him into the hand of the king of Syria, who defeated him and took captive a great number of his people and brought them to Damascus. He was also given into the hand of the king of Israel, who struck him with great force.
For Pekah the son of Remaliah killed 120,000 from Judah in one day, all of them men of valor, because they had forsaken the LORD, the God of their fathers.
And Zichri, a mighty man of Ephraim, killed Maaseiah the king’s son and Azrikam the commander of the palace and Elkanah the next in authority to the king.
The men of Israel took captive 200,000 of their relatives, women, sons, and daughters. They also took much spoil from them and brought the spoil to Samaria.
But a prophet of the LORD was there, whose name was Oded, and he went out to meet the army that came to Samaria and said to them, ”Behold, because the LORD, the God of your fathers, was angry with Judah, he gave them into your hand, but you have killed them in a rage that has reached up to heaven.
And now you intend to subjugate the people of Judah and Jerusalem, male and female, as your slaves. Have you not sins of your own against the LORD your God?
Now hear me, and send back the captives from your relatives whom you have taken, for the fierce wrath of the LORD is upon you.”
Certain chiefs also of the men of Ephraim, Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiah the son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai, stood up against those who were coming from the war
and said to them, ”You shall not bring the captives in here, for you propose to bring upon us guilt against the LORD in addition to our present sins and guilt. For our guilt is already great, and there is fierce wrath against Israel.”
So the armed men left the captives and the spoil before the princes and all the assembly.
And the men who have been mentioned by name rose and took the captives, and with the spoil they clothed all who were naked among them. They clothed them, gave them sandals, provided them with food and drink, and anointed them, and carrying all the feeble among them on donkeys, they brought them to their kinsfolk at Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then they returned to Samaria.
At that time King Ahaz sent to the king of Assyria for help.
For the Edomites had again invaded and defeated Judah and carried away captives.
And the Philistines had made raids on the cities in the Shephelah and the Negeb of Judah, and had taken Beth-shemesh, Aijalon, Gederoth, Soco with its villages, Timnah with its villages, and Gimzo with its villages. And they settled there.
For the LORD humbled Judah because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had made Judah act sinfully and had been very unfaithful to the LORD.
So Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria came against him and afflicted him instead of strengthening him.
For Ahaz took a portion from the house of the LORD and the house of the king and of the princes, and gave tribute to the king of Assyria, but it did not help him.
In the time of his distress he became yet more faithless to the LORD–this same King Ahaz.
For he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus that had defeated him and said, ”Because the gods of the kings of Syria helped them, I will sacrifice to them that they may help me.” But they were the ruin of him and of all Israel.
And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and he shut up the doors of the house of the LORD, and he made himself altars in every corner of Jerusalem.
In every city of Judah he made high places to make offerings to other gods, provoking to anger the LORD, the God of his fathers.
Now the rest of his acts and all his ways, from first to last, behold, they are written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel.
And Ahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city, in Jerusalem, for they did not bring him into the tombs of the kings of Israel. And Hezekiah his son reigned in his place.
2 Kings 17
In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Hoshea the son of Elah began to reign in Samaria over Israel, and he reigned nine years.
And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, yet not as the kings of Israel who were before him.
Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria. And Hoshea became his vassal and paid him tribute.
But the king of Assyria found treachery in Hoshea, for he had sent messengers to So, king of Egypt, and offered no tribute to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year. Therefore the king of Assyria shut him up and bound him in prison.
Then the king of Assyria invaded all the land and came to Samaria, and for three years he besieged it.
In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria, and he carried the Israelites away to Assyria and placed them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
And this occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods
and walked in the customs of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel, and in the customs that the kings of Israel had practiced.
And the people of Israel did secretly against the LORD their God things that were not right. They built for themselves high places in all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city.
They set up for themselves pillars and Asherim on every high hill and under every green tree,
and there they made offerings on all the high places, as the nations did whom the LORD carried away before them. And they did wicked things, provoking the LORD to anger,
and they served idols, of which the LORD had said to them, ”You shall not do this.”
Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, ”Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the Law that I commanded your fathers, and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets.”
But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the LORD their God.
They despised his statutes and his covenant that he made with their fathers and the warnings that he gave them. They went after false idols and became false, and they followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom the LORD had commanded them that they should not do like them.
And they abandoned all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made for themselves metal images of two calves; and they made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal.
And they burned their sons and their daughters as offerings and used divination and omens and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger.
Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them out of his sight. None was left but the tribe of Judah only.
Judah also did not keep the commandments of the LORD their God, but walked in the customs that Israel had introduced.
And the LORD rejected all the descendants of Israel and afflicted them and gave them into the hand of plunderers, until he had cast them out of his sight.
When he had torn Israel from the house of David, they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king. And Jeroboam drove Israel from following the LORD and made them commit great sin.
The people of Israel walked in all the sins that Jeroboam did. They did not depart from them,
until the LORD removed Israel out of his sight, as he had spoken by all his servants the prophets. So Israel was exiled from their own land to Assyria until this day.
And the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the people of Israel. And they took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities.
And at the beginning of their dwelling there, they did not fear the LORD. Therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which killed some of them.
So the king of Assyria was told, ”The nations that you have carried away and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the law of the god of the land. Therefore he has sent lions among them, and behold, they are killing them, because they do not know the law of the god of the land.”
Then the king of Assyria commanded, ”Send there one of the priests whom you carried away from there, and let him go and dwell there and teach them the law of the god of the land.”
So one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and lived in Bethel and taught them how they should fear the LORD.
But every nation still made gods of its own and put them in the shrines of the high places that the Samaritans had made, every nation in the cities in which they lived.
The men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, the men of Cuth made Nergal, the men of Hamath made Ashima,
and the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak; and the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim.
They also feared the LORD and appointed from among themselves all sorts of people as priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the shrines of the high places.
So they feared the LORD but also served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away.
To this day they do according to the former manner. They do not fear the LORD, and they do not follow the statutes or the rules or the law or the commandment that the LORD commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel.
The LORD made a covenant with them and commanded them, ”You shall not fear other gods or bow yourselves to them or serve them or sacrifice to them,
but you shall fear the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm. You shall bow yourselves to him, and to him you shall sacrifice.
And the statutes and the rules and the law and the commandment that he wrote for you, you shall always be careful to do. You shall not fear other gods,
and you shall not forget the covenant that I have made with you. You shall not fear other gods,
but you shall fear the LORD your God, and he will deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.”
However, they would not listen, but they did according to their former manner.
So these nations feared the LORD and also served their carved images. Their children did likewise, and their children’s children–as their fathers did, so they do to this day.
Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise!
Say to God, ”How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.
All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” Selah
Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot. There did we rejoice in him,
who rules by his might forever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations–let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah
Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard,
who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip.
For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.
You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs;
you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.
I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will perform my vows to you,
that which my lips uttered and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
I will offer to you burnt offerings of fattened animals, with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams; I will make an offering of bulls and goats. Selah
Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!
1 Cor 7
Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: ”It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.”
But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.
The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.
For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
Now as a concession, not a command, I say this.
I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.
To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am.
But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.
To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband
(but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.
To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her.
If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him.
For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace.
Wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband? Husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife?
Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.
Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision.
For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God.
Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called.
Were you a slave when called? Do not be concerned about it. But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.
For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ.
You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.
So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.
Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.
I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is.
Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife.
But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that.
This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none,
and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods,
and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.
I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord.
But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife,
and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband.
I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.
If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry–it is no sin.
But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well.
So then he who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.
A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.
Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God.
The reading plan I’ve chosen is from Bible Class Material and it’s a 5 day plan, with weekend days to catch up or get ahead or just take a break!