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10/13/2017
2 Kings 20 & 2 Kings 21
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Hezekiah’s Illness and Recovery (2 Chr 32.24—26; Isa 38.1—8)

Video     2 Kings 20     1 In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.’ ” 2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, saying, 3 “Now, O LORD, please remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4 And before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him: 5 “Turn back, and say to Hezekiah the leader of my people, Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD, 6 and I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David’s sake.” 7 And Isaiah said, “Bring a cake of figs. And let them take and lay it on the boil, that he may recover.”

     8 And Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “What shall be the sign that the LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the LORD on the third day?” 9 And Isaiah said, “This shall be the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that he has promised: shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or go back ten steps?” 10 And Hezekiah answered, “It is an easy thing for the shadow to lengthen ten steps. Rather let the shadow go back ten steps.” 11 And Isaiah the prophet called to the LORD, and he brought the shadow back ten steps, by which it had gone down on the steps of Ahaz.

Hezekiah and the Babylonian Envoys

     12 At that time Merodach-baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent envoys with letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that Hezekiah had been sick. 13 And Hezekiah welcomed them, and he showed them all his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his armory, all that was found in his storehouses. There was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them. 14 Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say? And from where did they come to you?” And Hezekiah said, “They have come from a far country, from Babylon.” 15 He said, “What have they seen in your house?” And Hezekiah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them.”

     16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD: 17 Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the LORD. 18 And some of your own sons, who will come from you, whom you will father, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” 19 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the LORD that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?”

     20 The rest of the deeds of Hezekiah and all his might and how he made the pool and the conduit and brought water into the city, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 21 And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and Manasseh his son reigned in his place.

Manasseh Reigns in Judah

Video     2 Kings 21     1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. 2 And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the despicable practices of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel. 3 For he rebuilt the high places that Hezekiah his father had destroyed, and he erected altars for Baal and made an Asherah, as Ahab king of Israel had done, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. 4 And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “In Jerusalem will I put my name.” 5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. 6 And he burned his son as an offering and used fortune-telling and omens and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger. 7 And the carved image of Asherah that he had made he set in the house of which the LORD said to David and to Solomon his son, “In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my name forever. 8 And I will not cause the feet of Israel to wander anymore out of the land that I gave to their fathers, if only they will be careful to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the Law that my servant Moses commanded them.” 9 But they did not listen, and Manasseh led them astray to do more evil than the nations had done whom the LORD destroyed before the people of Israel.

Manasseh’s Idolatry Denounced

     10 And the LORD said by his servants the prophets, 11 “Because Manasseh king of Judah has committed these abominations and has done things more evil than all that the Amorites did, who were before him, and has made Judah also to sin with his idols, 12 therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing upon Jerusalem and Judah such disaster that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. 13 And I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line of Samaria, and the plumb line of the house of Ahab, and I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. 14 And I will forsake the remnant of my heritage and give them into the hand of their enemies, and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies, 15 because they have done what is evil in my sight and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came out of Egypt, even to this day.”

     16 Moreover, Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides the sin that he made Judah to sin so that they did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.

     17 Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh and all that he did, and the sin that he committed, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 18 And Manasseh slept with his fathers and was buried in the garden of his house, in the garden of Uzza, and Amon his son reigned in his place.

Amon Reigns in Judah

     19 Amon was twenty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Meshullemeth the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah. 20 And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, as Manasseh his father had done. 21 He walked in all the way in which his father walked and served the idols that his father served and worshiped them. 22 He abandoned the LORD, the God of his fathers, and did not walk in the way of the LORD. 23 And the servants of Amon conspired against him and put the king to death in his house. 24 But the people of the land struck down all those who had conspired against King Amon, and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his place. 25 Now the rest of the acts of Amon that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 26 And he was buried in his tomb in the garden of Uzza, and Josiah his son reigned in his place.

English Standard Version Bible with Apocrypha


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The Prayer and the Cry (Luther on Psalm 102)

By Fred Sanders 8/14/2017

     The first line of Psalm 102 asks God the same thing twice: “Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee.”

     Or does it? Martin Luther, commenting on the psalm, takes the two requests as really distinct from each other: on the one hand there’s a prayer, and on the other hand there’s a cry. On this reading, the Psalmist asks God to hear his prayer, and also to let his cry ascend.

     What’s the difference between a prayer and a cry? Luther explains it in term of intellect and feeling: “The intellect makes the prayer, but the feeling makes the cry.” The feeling is the impulse of desire: vague, unstructured, nonthematic. But the prayer is formed, directed, and instructed: it shows the feeling “what it should desire, and how and whence.”

     He then plays this distinction out in Paul’s terms, “praying with the spirit, and praying with the understanding” (1 Cor 14). Prayer with the spirit, Luther says, is “strictly speaking, not a prayer but a cry.” On the other hand,

     to pray with the mind, that is, with meaning, is to have the meaning of the words which one reads or speaks. And according to this form the cry and desire is shaped, according to which prudence and thought forms every act of the will.

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Fred Sanders is Professor of Theology at Biola University's Torrey Honors Institute. He has an MDiv from Asbury Theological Seminary and PhD from Graduate Theological Union. He is the co-editor of Christology, Ancient and Modern: Explorations in Constructive Dogmatics (Los Angeles Theology Conference Series).

Fred Sanders Books:

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Numbers 1; Psalm 35; Eccl. 11; Titus 3

By Don Carson 1/1/2018

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Read The Psalms In "1" Year

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ESV Study Bible


  • Ordinary Men 1 Mark 6:6-9
  • Ordinary Men 2
  • Ordinary Men 3


     Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

UCB The Word For Today
     An appetite for God’s Word
     (Oct 13)    Bob Gass

     ‘His Word can cut through our spirits.’

(Heb 4:12) 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. ESV

     As you read the Bible, God will give you strength and guidance for your life that you simply can’t get any other way. Eliphaz said to Job the patriarch: ‘He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole’ (Job 5:18 NKJV). That’s what God does to you as you read the Scriptures. ‘His Word can cut through our spirits.’ Others see what we do, but when we get alone with God and open the Scriptures, He reveals to us what we are. He brings to the surface long-standing and unresolved issues, and helps us to deal with them. He confronts us over our stubborn habits and shows us how to conquer them. He pinpoints our selfish and unloving attitudes, giving us a chance to repent and change our ways. The old Quakers had a saying: ‘Sin will keep you from your Bible, and your Bible will keep you from sin.’ You say, ‘But when I get up in the morning, I’m so busy that I don’t have time to read the Bible.’ Then read it when you come home at night! You say, ‘By the time I get home from work at night, I’m exhausted and can’t concentrate on anything!’ You must rearrange your priorities. If you spend hours watching television, surely you can spend some time each day reading your Bible. The truth is that we make time for the things that we want, that we value, and that we enjoy. So, ask God to give you a greater appetite for His Word. Then read your Bible, and watch your appetite for it grow!

Jer 20-21
1 Tim 3

UCB The Word For Today

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     Margaret Thatcher was born this day, October 13, 1925. She was the first woman Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. While traveling through New York City in 1996, Margaret Thatcher stated: “Today, people are trying democracy. But they look at it as a philosophy or political pattern, without understanding its roots. I’m afraid democracy’s fundamental religious roots are weakening. There are some countries, fortunately, kept alive by faithful people. But even they are tending to weaken. In the British system, children are taught Christianity. They are taught a faith in school. It is a compulsory subject.”

American Minute

The Soul of Prayer
     by P.T. Forsyth, (1848-1921)


     Is it not because they have never really had personal religion? That is, they have never really prayed with all their heart; only, at most, with all their fervour, certainly not with strength and mind. They have neer “spread out” their whole soul and situation to a god who knows. They have never opened the petals of their soul in the warm sympathy of His knowledge. They have not become particular enough in their prayer, faithful with themselves, or relevant to their complete situation. They do not face themselves, only what happens to them. They pray with their heart and not with their conscience. They pity themselves, perhaps they spare themselves, they shrink from hurting themselves more than misfortune hurts them. They say, “If you knew all you could not help pitying me.” They do not say, “God knows all, and how can He spare me?” For themselves, or for their fellows, it is the prayer of pity, not of repentance. We need the prayer of self-judgment more than the prayer of fine insight.

     We are not humble in God’s sight, partly because in our prayer there is a point at which we cease to pray, where we do not turn everything out into God’s light. It is because there is a chamber or two in our souls where we do not enter in and take God with us. We hurry Him by the door as we take Him along the corridors of our life to see our tidy places or our public rooms. We ask from our prayers too exclusively comfort, strength, enjoyment, or tenderness and graciousness, and not often enough humiliation and its fine strength. We want beautiful prayers, touching prayers, simple prayers, thoughtful prayers; prayers with a quaver or a tear in them, or prayers with delicacy and dignity in them. But searching prayer, humbling prayer, which is the prayer of the conscience, and not merely of the heart or taste; prayer which is bent on reality, and to win the new joy goes through new misery if need by—are such prayers as welcome and common as they should be? Too much of our prayer is apt to leave us with the self-complacency of the sympathetically incorrigible, of the benevolent and irremediable, of the breezy octogenarian, all of whose yesterdays look backward with a cheery and exasperating smile.

     It is an art—this great and creative prayer—this intimate conversation with God. “Magna ars est conversari cum Deo,” says Thomas a Kempis. It has to be learned. In social life we learn that conversation is not mere talk. There is an art in it, if we are not to have a table of gabblers. How much more is it so in the conversation of heaven! We must learn that art by practice, and by keeping the best society in that kind. Associate much with the great masters in this kind; especially with the Bible; and chiefly with Christ. Cultivate His Holy Spirit. He is the grand master of God’s art and mystery in communing with man. And there is no other teacher, at least, of man’s art of communion with God.


--- Forsyth, P. T. (1848-1921).

The Soul of Prayer

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams


The terrible thing about terrorism
is that ultimately it destroys those who practice it.
Slowly but surely, as they try to extinguish life in others,
the light within them dies.
--- Terry Waite


We can never escape God’s lovely essence.
--- Sonnett Branche


The only possible effect one can have on the world is through unpopular ideas.
--- Vivienne Westwood

... from here, there and everywhere

History of the Destruction of Jerusalem
     Thanks to Meir Yona

     CHAPTER 2.

     How Titus Gave Orders To Demolish The Tower Of Antonia And Then Persuaded Josephus To Exhort The Jews Again [To A Surrender].

     1. And now Titus gave orders to his soldiers that were with him to dig up the foundations of the tower of Antonia, and make him a ready passage for his army to come up; while he himself had Josephus brought to him, [for he had been informed that on that very day, which was the seventeenth day 5of Panemus, [Tamuz,] the sacrifice called "the Daily Sacrifice" had failed, and had not been offered to God, for want of men to offer it, and that the people were grievously troubled at it,] and commanded him to say the same things to John that he had said before, that if he had any malicious inclination for fighting, he might come out with as many of his men as he pleased, in order to fight, without the danger of destroying either his city or temple; but that he desired he would not defile the temple, nor thereby offend against God. That he might, if he pleased, offer the sacrifices which were now discontinued by any of the Jews whom he should pitch upon. Upon this Josephus stood in such a place where he might be heard, not by John only, but by many more, and then declared to them what Caesar had given him in charge, and this in the Hebrew language. 6 So he earnestly prayed them to spare their own city, and to prevent that fire which was just ready to seize upon the temple, and to offer their usual sacrifices to God therein. At these words of his a great sadness and silence were observed among the people. But the tyrant himself cast many reproaches upon Josephus, with imprecations besides; and at last added this withal, that he did never fear the taking of the city, because it was God's own city. In answer to which Josephus said thus with a loud voice: "To be sure thou hast kept this city wonderfully pure for God's sake; the temple also continues entirely unpolluted! Nor hast thou been guilty of any impiety against him for whose assistance thou hopest! He still receives his accustomed sacrifices! Vile wretch that thou art! if any one should deprive thee of thy daily food, thou wouldst esteem him to be an enemy to thee; but thou hopest to have that God for thy supporter in this war whom thou hast deprived of his everlasting worship; and thou imputest those sins to the Romans, who to this very time take care to have our laws observed, and almost compel these sacrifices to be still offered to God, which have by thy means been intermitted! Who is there that can avoid groans and lamentations at the amazing change that is made in this city? since very foreigners and enemies do now correct that impiety which thou hast occasioned; while thou, who art a Jew, and wast educated in our laws, art become a greater enemy to them than the others. But still, John, it is never dishonorable to repent, and amend what hath been done amiss, even at the last extremity. Thou hast an instance before thee in Jechoniah, 7 the king of the Jews, if thou hast a mind to save the city, who, when the king of Babylon made war against him, did of his own accord go out of this city before it was taken, and did undergo a voluntary captivity with his family, that the sanctuary might not be delivered up to the enemy, and that he might not see the house of God set on fire; on which account he is celebrated among all the Jews, in their sacred memorials, and his memory is become immortal, and will be conveyed fresh down to our posterity through all ages. This, John, is an excellent example in such a time of danger, and I dare venture to promise that the Romans shall still forgive thee. And take notice that I, who make this exhortation to thee, am one of thine own nation; I, who am a Jew, do make this promise to thee. And it will become thee to consider who I am that give thee this counsel, and whence I am derived; for while I am alive I shall never be in such slavery, as to forego my own kindred, or forget the laws of our forefathers. Thou hast indignation at me again, and makest a clamor at me, and reproachest me; indeed I cannot deny but I am worthy of worse treatment than all this amounts to, because, in opposition to fate, I make this kind invitation to thee, and endeavor to force deliverance upon those whom God hath condemned. And who is there that does not know what the writings of the ancient prophets contain in them,—and particularly that oracle which is just now going to be fulfilled upon this miserable city? For they foretold that this city should be then taken when somebody shall begin the slaughter of his own countrymen. And are not both the city and the entire temple now full of the dead bodies of your countrymen? It is God, therefore, it is God himself who is bringing on this fire, to purge that city and temple by means of the Romans, 8 and is going to pluck up this city, which is full of your pollutions."

     2. As Josephus spoke these words, with groans and tears in his eyes, his voice was intercepted by sobs. However, the Romans could not but pity the affliction he was under, and wonder at his conduct. But for John, and those that were with him, they were but the more exasperated against the Romans on this account, and were desirous to get Josephus also into their power: yet did that discourse influence a great many of the better sort; and truly some of them were so afraid of the guards set by the seditious, that they tarried where they were, but still were satisfied that both they and the city were doomed to destruction. Some also there were who, watching a proper opportunity when they might quietly get away, fled to the Romans, of whom were the high priests Joseph and Jesus, and of the sons of high priests three, whose father was Ishmael, who was beheaded in Cyrene, and four sons of Matthias, as also one son of the other Matthias, who ran away after his father's death, 9 and whose father was slain by Simon the son of Gioras, with three of his sons, as I have already related; many also of the other nobility went over to the Romans, together with the high priests. Now Caesar not only received these men very kindly in other respects, but, knowing they would not willingly live after the customs of other nations, he sent them to Gophna, and desired them to remain there for the present, and told them, that when he was gotten clear of this war, he would restore each of them to their possessions again; so they cheerfully retired to that small city which was allotted them, without fear of any danger. But as they did not appear, the seditious gave out again that these deserters were slain by the Romans, which was done in order to deter the rest from running away, by fear of the like treatment. This trick of theirs succeeded now for a while, as did the like trick before; for the rest were hereby deterred from deserting, by fear of the like treatment.

     3. However, when Titus had recalled those men from Gophna, he gave orders that they should go round the wall, together with Josephus, and show themselves to the people; upon which a great many fled to the Romans. These men also got in a great number together, and stood before the Romans, and besought the seditious, with groans and tears in their eyes, in the first place to receive the Romans entirely into the city, and save that their own place of residence again; but that, if they would not agree to such a proposal, they would at least depart out of the temple, and save the holy house for their own use; for that the Romans would not venture to set the sanctuary on fire but under the most pressing necessity. Yet did the seditious still more and more contradict them; and while they cast loud and bitter reproaches upon these deserters, they also set their engines for throwing of darts, and javelins, and stones upon the sacred gates of the temple, at due distances from one another, insomuch that all the space round about within the temple might be compared to a burying-ground, so great was the number of the dead bodies therein; as might the holy house itself be compared to a citadel. Accordingly, these men rushed upon these holy places in their armor, that were otherwise unapproachable, and that while their hands were yet warm with the blood of their own people which they had shed; nay, they proceeded to such great transgressions, that the very same indignation which Jews would naturally have against Romans, had they been guilty of such abuses against them, the Romans now had against Jews, for their impiety in regard to their own religious customs. Nay, indeed, there were none of the Roman soldiers who did not look with a sacred horror upon the holy house, and adored it, and wished that the robbers would repent before their miseries became incurable.

          The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Wars of the Jews or History of the Destruction of Jerusalem, by Flavius Josephus Translator: William Whiston

The War of the Jews: The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem (complete edition, 7 books)

Proverbs 27:3
     by D.H. Stern

3     Stone is heavy and sand a dead weight,
but a fool’s provocation outweighs them both.

Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
My Utmost For The Highest
     A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers


                Individual discouragement
                    and personal enlargement


     Moses went unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens. --- Exodus 2:11.

     Moses saw the oppression of his people and felt certain that he was the one to deliver them, and in the righteous indignation of his own spirit he started to right their wrongs. After the first strike for God and for the right, God allowed Moses to be driven into blank discouragement, He sent him into the desert to feed sheep for forty years. At the end of that time, God appeared and told Moses to go and bring forth His people, and Moses said—‘Who am I, that I should go?’ In the beginning Moses realized that he was the man to deliver the people, but he had to be trained and disciplined by God first. He was right in the individual aspect, but he was not the man for the work until he had learned communion with God.

     We may have the vision of God and a very clear understanding of what God wants, and we start to do the thing; then comes something equivalent to the forty years in the wilderness, as if God had ignored the whole thing, and when we are thoroughly discouraged God comes back and revives the call, and we get the quaver in and say—‘Oh, who am I!’ We have to learn the first great stride of God—“I AM THAT I AM hath sent thee.” We have to learn that our individual effort for God is an impertinence; our individuality is to be rendered incandescent by a personal relationship to God (see Matthew 3:11. We fix on the individual aspect of things; we have the vision—‘This is what God wants me to do’; but we have not got into God’s stride. If you are going through a time of discouragement, there is a big personal enlargement ahead.


My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

Out There
     the Poetry of R.S. Thomas


                Out There

It is another country.
  There is no speech there such
  as we know; even the colours
          are different.
  When the residents use their eyes,
  it is not shapes they see but the distance
  between them. if they go,
  it is not in a traveller's
  usual direction, but sideways and
  out through the mirror of a refracted
  timescale. If you met them early,
  you would recognize them by an absence
  of shadow. Your problems
          are in their past;   those they are about to solve
  are what you are incapable
  of conceiving. In experiments
  in outbreeding, under the growing microscope
  of the mind, they are isolating
  the human virus and burning it
  up in the fierceness of their detachment.


The Poems of R.S. Thomas

ONE / PHILOSOPHY IN MAIMONIDES’ LEGAL WORKS (cont)
     Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest

     The tradition, in its desire not only to legislate for community but also to guide individuals, was concerned with not exposing the road of spiritual excellence to those unprepared to understand or to appreciate the sublime teachings of Ma’aseh Bereshit and Ma’aseh Merkavah. The symbolic language of Aggadah enables the individual to cultivate his individual capacity for excellence within a community defined by a comprehensive, all-inclusive law.

     The emphasis upon individual excellence and the spiritual well-being of community are two characteristics of the supposedly incompatible world views of philosophy and Judaism. Maimonides resolves this apparent conflict between philosophy and Halakhah by showing that the Talmud, through Halakhah and Aggadah, embraced both the individual and community.

     It is mistaken to impute to Maimonides the introduction of Hellenistic teachings into Judaism when he maintains that not all men can be placed at the same level of spiritual excellence. Any superficial reading of the Bible or the Talmud would show that not every member of the community was on the same level as the prophets or the talmudists. Husik is mistaken in his claim that the Bible is exclusively a guidebook for action. (Husik, A History of Medieval Jewish Philosophy, p. 300.) We are not told in the Bible that the difference between prophet and community is based solely on degrees of practice. Maimonides did not invent the idea of the rarity of excellence. He only offered us a way of understanding it.

     After explaining why aggadic language is symbolic, Maimonides proceeds, in his introduction, to show the reader how to interpret an aggadic statement which is opposed to reason. If his concern had been solely epistemological, i.e., to show that Aggadah does not violate the conclusions of science and metaphysics, he should have selected an aggadic statement which appears to contradict reason’s understanding of nature and then proceeded to interpret and to reveal that statement’s compatibility with reason. There are many bizarre factual claims in Aggadah which could serve this purpose. The Aggadah which he chose to explain, however, is a model from which to evaluate the supposed incompatibility of the spiritual outlooks of Athens and Jerusalem. This Aggadah is neither a factual nor a metaphysical claim. It is, instead, a succinct statement of a world view which would destroy any attempts to construct a unity of philosophy and halakhic Judaism: “God only has in His world the four cubits of the Halakhah” (T.B. Berakhot 8a).

     To what does Maimonides appeal to convince his reader that this statement must not be accepted at face value, but requires a symbolic interpretation in order to reveal its hidden meaning? In dealing with a statement which presents a world view, Maimonides is unable to declare the literal meaning as false through an appeal to factual affairs or to some violation of demonstrable principles. Instead, he counters the literal sense of this statement by appealing to human models present in the tradition which would invalidate the purported way of life suggested by this Aggadah.

     If Halakhah is the only way to God, which is the obvious meaning of the aggadic statement, how can one explain the relationship of men to God prior to the giving of the law? Maimonides, in an incredulous manner, asks whether one can seriously entertain the possibility that in the time of Shem and Ever and those living prior to the existence of Halakhah no one was able to approach God. The Torah does not begin with Sinai, but portrays men relating to God prior to the revelation of the law. Only by understanding a way to God, independent of the revelation of the Torah, can we make sense of these human models. Maimonides presents the method of the philosophers to elucidate the nature of this spiritual way.

     The philosophic method develops from a teleological understanding of the world of nature. After discovering that the final cause of sublunar beings is primarily related to the service of man, the philosopher proceeds to analyze the purpose of man. To discover the human end, one must first reveal the essence of man. From among all human activities, the philosopher isolates that activity which is unique to man. Having done this he can then understand how true humanity can be achieved. Since rational activity distinguishes man from all other animals, and since the discipline of metaphysics deals with the most sublime object of thought, the philosopher concludes that man’s purpose can only be realized in reflection on God. Intellectual disciplines have significance because they lead a person from knowledge of nature to metaphysics and, ultimately, to knowledge of the most perfect Being—God. This final step consummates man’s quest to realize his absolute purpose.

     The search for this end entails a way of life as well as a development in theoretical knowledge. It is self-evident, to Maimonides, that one cannot live an animal existence of exaggerated gratification of the senses while seeking at the same time to perfect one’s intellect. Philosophers know that knowledge of God requires that man achieve moral excellence. The ideal of reason—the single-minded pursuit of knowing God—gives rise to an ethic which attempts to limit one’s involvement with bodily needs to the extent necessary for intellectual fulfillment.

     At this point Maimonides could have legitimated the way of the philosophers in the eyes of his halakhic reader by inventing some claim which attributed the philosophers’ understanding of man’s purpose to the influence of the prophets. The identification of Aggadah with philosophic teachings would have been acceptable to pious students of the Talmud if Maimonides had claimed that the philosophers were influenced by the prophets. Maimonides, however, makes a definite point of stating that

     … this matter was not made known through the Prophets alone, but also the wise men of the ancient nations, even though they never saw the Prophets nor heard their words, already knew that man is not whole unless he includes [within himself] knowledge and practice.

     The way to God resulting from human reasoning does not require the authentication of the prophets. If philosophy alone can lead to a pursuit of God, why then is Torah needed? This question is not raised, but we shall deal with the way Maimonides might address himself to such a problem. What is crucial at this point is that the halakhic reader gain an appreciation of the importance of philosophy not only as a cognitive discipline, but as an important road to God.

     Before examining Maimonides’ interpretation of the aggadic statement, “God only has in His world the four cubits of the Halakhah,” let us evaluate what Maimonides has established so far. He has shown that philosophic knowledge enables one to discover criteria for interpreting both the form and content of Aggadah. Maimonides does not elaborate upon the methods and teachings of philosophy in his legal works. This training must be initiated by the student through independent study. The teachings of Aggadah, which aim at the development of the individual’s spiritual capacities, cannot be taught in works which attempt to clarify and to codify the normative tradition of Judaism. What Maimonides does in his legal works is to goad his halakhic reader toward the path of Aggadah by revealing to the reader how deeply he, Maimonides, values aggadic knowledge.

     Whenever the opportunity presents itself in his Commentary to the Mishnah, Maimonides stresses the importance of his aggadic explanations. One does not need the complicated exegesis of Strauss to determine Maimonides’ view regarding the primacy of his aggadic explanations in comparison to his legal commentary:

     And also we shall discuss something of this matter in tractate Avot, and we shall show you some indication of the agreement of the teachings of the greatest philosophers with the teachings of the Rabbis in all matters. And it is not appropriate in this place to discuss this issue. Rather my way at all times [is that] in all places where there is an allusion to matters of belief, I explain something, for it is more worthy to me to explain one of the principles than anything else.

     Maimonides does not hide his supreme evaluation of Aggadah. His holding back of a full explication of Aggadah in his legal works is based upon his love for the community and his profound awareness that there are stages of intellectual and spiritual growth which the student must undergo by himself before fully comprehending the path of spiritual excellence. A responsible guide in Aggadah waits to hear from his student before he teaches. The student’s capacity and level of appropriation will determine what the teacher imparts.

     Maimonides has a model for this approach in the talmudic tradition:

     And the Sages, peace to them, would hide from each other secrets of Torah. They related that one of the Sages happened to meet with people who were learned in the Account of Creation [Ma’aseh Bereshit] where as he knew the Account of the Chariot [Ma’aseh Merkavah]. He said to them, “Teach me the Account of Creation and I will teach you the Account of the Chariot.” They complied with him. After they taught him the Account of Creation he refused to teach them the Account of the Chariot. And he did not do this, Heaven forbid, out of jealousy nor because he wished to be greater than they, for these qualities are disgraceful even for the lowliest of men and all the more so for great men. Rather, he did this because he saw himself worthy of learning what they had and he did not find them worthy of learning what he had.

     Maimonides’ method in the introduction of Commentary to the Mishnah is to point to the unified way of Judaism and philosophy. In The Commentary to the Mishnah Maimonides states that such a unity exists, and he locates within the tradition those human models whose example provides a basis for integrating the claims of Athens and Jerusalem.

     In his introduction, Maimonides’ model of pre-Mosaic man and his analysis of the philosophers’ way may not be sufficient evidence to convince a halakhic reader of the importance of philosophic knowledge for his relationship to God. Such a reader might acknowledge the necessity of theoretical knowledge of nature and metaphysics prior to the availability of Torah law. However, both Maimonides and his reader live after Sinai. Halakhic Jews claiming to possess a clear statement of God’s will expressed in a comprehensive normative system, are not compelled to decipher the secrets of nature in order to know God. After all, is not Maimonides writing a commentary to the Mishnah—a legal text to which Jews can turn to discover the necessary elaboration and clarification of divine commandments? After Sinai, the primacy of practice cannot be overlooked by any religious Jewish writer who addresses a halakhic audience. His points of departure and return must be located within Halakhah. Consequently, for a traditional Jew to accept the importance of theoretical knowledge for his service to God, he must be convinced that it also affects practice.

     Maimonides, aware of the problem, proceeded to offer evidence that would point to the primacy of Aggadah after Sinai. He turned to the talmudic tradition for human models which suggested different approaches to halakhic observance. If one could show that the Talmud was cognizant of varying levels of halakhic practice, proof then will be established for showing how knowledge of Aggadah is, in fact, responsible for the different levels of halakhic practice.

     Maimonides presents three different models of action. The first model, which the prophets and the philosophers reject, is the person who imagines he can separate the perfection of his intellect from the way he conducts his daily life. The hedonistic intellectual is valued neither by the prophets nor by the genuine philosophers.

     The second model is the person who fears God, acts with moderation, and conditions himself to practice the moral virtues. His only limitation is that he is not learned. From the context of Maimonides’ previous discussion, as well as from the explicit statement in his commentary to Avot, we must understand this lack of knowledge to refer to knowledge of the sciences of nature and of metaphysics. Maimonides claims that this lack of theoretical knowledge affects the nature of practice:

     And so if a man is God-fearing, abstemious, keeps afar from the pleasures other than for the maintenance of the body, behaves in all natural matters in the way of moderation, and possesses all the good virtues, but has no knowledge, he too lacks perfection, although he is more perfect than the first because these actions of his are not the result of true knowledge and understanding [of what is most fundamental]. And, therefore, the Sages said, “A rude man [bur] is not one that fears sin—nor is a man that knows not Torah [am ha-areẓ] a ḥasid” (T.B. Avot 2:6).

     And he who says of an am ha-areẓ that he is a ḥasid is but denying the teachings of the Sages who have made it absolutely clear and he is denying also reason. And thus you will find the commandment everywhere in the Torah, “Study them,” and afterward “to observe them.” Learning precedes practice, for through learning one comes to practice and practice does not bring about learning, and this is what they said, peace to them, “that learning [talmud] brings about practice” (T.B. Kedushin 40b).40

     Here, Maimonides does not simply identify the am ha-areẓ by his lack of theoretical virtue. Theoretical and practical virtues are not two distinct and independent properties. Maimonides claims that the imperfection in the practice of the am ha-areẓ can be explained by his lack of theoretical knowledge of God. Just as insufficient knowledge of one’s legal tradition is detrimental to action, so too is one’s ignorance of the philosophic disciplines which provide an understanding of God. Maimonides fortifies these claims by referring to the talmudic statement which places learning before practice. Although the surface meaning of the talmudic statement would suggest that the knowledge referred to is that touching directly on practice, i.e., the study of commandments, the deeper meaning of talmud includes both Halakhah and Aggadah. Both the am ha-areẓ and the ḥasid agree that their tradition maintains the importance of knowledge for practice. They differ, however, in their understanding of which body of knowledge has this effect.

     For now, it is sufficient to stress that by identifying the ḥasid of the Talmud with the halakhic Jew who knows philosophy, Maimonides indicated that he did not abandon the centrality of the normative tradition by insisting on the primacy of Aggadah.

     It is not only with regard to the interaction of theoretical reflection and behavior that Maimonides seeks precedent models in the Talmud. He must also show how the ideal of individual excellence can emerge in a tradition that is heavily concerned with community. The Torah covenant was between a total community and its God. The community—as a whole—was addressed by God and challenged to become a holy people. How, then, can one maintain that Judaism subscribes to a conception of excellence which depends on individual intellectual capacities? The ideal of intellectual perfection isolates singular, gifted individuals and would thus appear to be incompatible with a tradition in which community is central. The philosopher discovers God as an outgrowth of independent reasoning. The burden of a covenant-community is not part of his consciousness. How, then, can a Jew make sense of Maimonides’ characterization of the hasid?


Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest

Take Heart
     October 13



     And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” --- Luke 1:46–47.

     Is there any true praise without joy?  Spurgeon's Sermons on Old Testament Women, Vol. 1  Isn’t praise the twin to joy? And do not joy and praise always dwell together? Rejoice, then, beloved, in your Savior—in him above everything else. Never let any earthly thing or any person stand higher in your joy than Jesus Christ. Rejoice in him as most surely yours, for, dear believer, Christ is yours. If you are resting in him, he belongs to you, so rejoice in your own Savior, for all of Christ is yours—not half a Savior; not one of his wounds for you and one for me, but all his wounds for you and all for me; not his thoughtful head for you and his loving heart for me, but his head and his heart all for you and all for me—he is my Savior from his feet that were pierced by the nails to his head that was crowned with thorns.

     If the fact that Christ is ours involves the bearing of the cross, we are glad to bear it. It may involve suffering and shame and a thousand temptations and trials; if it is so, each true believer can say with Mary, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior”—in what he is, in what he is to me, in what he is to all his children, in what he is to poor sinners, in what he is to God, in what he will be when he comes again, and in what he will be throughout eternity. Do as much as you can of all good things, but still there must be times for quiet meditation, times for reading, times for praying, and times for praising. There is no waste about such times; they are among the best-spent hours that we ever have. You and I, beloved, are the living to praise God. This is the culmination, the very apex of the pyramid of existence, pointing straight up to heaven—that we praise God with all our hearts and souls.

     Prayer and praise are two of the sure signs of a true-born heir of heaven. If you never praise God, my friend, you can never go to heaven. Until the Lord has taken out of you the praise of other things and the love of other things and given you the grace to love him and praise him, you cannot enter his glory. Begin now to praise that God who freely forgives the greatest sin and who is willing to cleanse the very worst sinner, for he has given Christ to die, the just for the unjust, that he may bring them to God. Oh, begin to glorify him and rejoice in him now, and you will never want to leave off doing so, world without end.
--- C. H. Spurgeon


Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers

On This Day   October 13
     Relics


     Medieval crusaders returning from Palestine and Constantinople brought with them a treasure trove of “relics”—sacred objects from the Holy Land. All Europe was astir, bishop vying with bishop, church competing with church, to acquire and display various holy items. Cathedrals became virtual museums, and these relics were soon objects of veneration and pilgrimage.

     In various churches, worshipers could view barbs from the crown of thorns, splinters from the cross of Christ, or the finger that Thomas thrust into Jesus’ side. The church of Halberstadt acquired the sponge and reed of Golgotha. A church in St. Omer claimed the lance that pierced the Savior’s side. The cathedral of Amiens enshrined the head of John the Baptist in a silver cup. Three different churches in France boasted a complete corpse of Mary Magdalene. In various other European churches, one could view Noah’s beard, Jacob’s rock, Moses’ rod, or the stone of Christ’s sepulcher. Elsewhere his robe, his chalice (the Holy Grail), or shavings from his beard thrilled wide-eyed pilgrims.

     Even the Lord’s foreskin, his naval cord, and milk from Mary’s breasts were reportedly discovered and displayed. The basilica of St. Peter in Rome enshrined the bodies of Peter and Paul, making it the ultimate goal of Christian pilgrimage.

     It isn’t surprising, then, that England was beside itself on October 13, 1247, when some of “Christ’s blood” arrived in London. The Crusaders vouched for its authenticity, and it bore the seals of the patriarch of Jerusalem and the archbishops of the Holy Land. King Henry III fasted and prayed through the night of October 12; then as Morning broke he marched through London’s streets, accompanying the priests in full regalia. He held aloft the vase containing the holy liquid. The procession moved from St. Paul’s to Westminster, then the Bishop of Norwich preached a great sermon regarding the relic in the vase.

     But he would have done better to have ignored the relic and preached the reality, proclaiming nothing more nor less than the truth of Ephesians 1:7—Christ sacrificed his life’s blood to set us free, which means that our sins are now forgiven.

     Christ sacrificed his life’s blood to set us free, which means that our sins are now forgiven. Christ did this because God was so kind to us. God has great wisdom and understanding, and by what Christ has done, God has shown us his own mysterious ways.
--- Ephesians 1:7-9.


On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - October 13

     “Godly sorrow worketh repentance.” --- 2 Corinthians 7:10.

     Genuine, spiritual mourning for sin is the work of the Spirit of God. Repentance is too choice a flower to grow in nature’s garden. Pearls grow naturally in oysters, but penitence never shows itself in sinners except divine grace works it in them. If thou hast one particle of real hatred for sin, God must have given it thee, for human nature’s thorns never produced a single fig. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.”

     True repentance has a distinct reference to the Saviour. When we repent of sin, we must have one eye upon sin and another upon the cross, or it will be better still if we fix both our eyes upon Christ and see our transgressions only, in the light of his love.

     True sorrow for sin is eminently practical. No man may say he hates sin, if he lives in it. Repentance makes us see the evil of sin, not merely as a theory, but experimentally—as a burnt child dreads fire. We shall be as much afraid of it, as a man who has lately been stopped and robbed is afraid of the thief upon the highway; and we shall shun it—shun it in everything—not in great things only, but in little things, as men shun little vipers as well as great snakes. True mourning for sin will make us very jealous over our tongue, lest it should say a wrong word; we shall be very watchful over our daily actions, lest in anything we offend, and each night we shall close the day with painful confessions of shortcoming, and each Morning awaken with anxious prayers, that this day God would hold us up that we may not sin against him.

     Sincere repentance is continual. Believers repent until their dying day. This dropping well is not intermittent. Every other sorrow yields to time, but this dear sorrow grows with our growth, and it is so sweet a bitter, that we thank God we are permitted to enjoy and to suffer it until we enter our eternal rest.


          Evening - October 13

     “Love is strong as death.” --- Song of Solomon 8:6.

     Whose love can this be which is as mighty as the conqueror of monarchs, the destroyer of the human race? Would it not sound like satire if it were applied to my poor, weak, and scarcely living love to Jesus my Lord? I do love him, and perhaps by his grace, I could even die for him, but as for my love in itself, it can scarcely endure a scoffing jest, much less a cruel death. Surely it is my Beloved’s love which is here spoken of—the love of Jesus, the matchless lover of souls. His love was indeed stronger than the most terrible death, for it endured the trial of the cross triumphantly. It was a lingering death, but love survived the torment; a shameful death, but love despised the shame; a penal death, but love bore our iniquities; a forsaken, lonely death, from which the eternal Father hid his face, but love endured the curse, and gloried over all. Never such love, never such death. It was a desperate duel, but love bore the palm. What then, my heart? Hast thou no emotions excited within thee at the contemplation of such heavenly affection? Yes, my Lord, I long, I pant to feel thy love flaming like a furnace within me. Come thou thyself and excite the ardour of my spirit.

     “For every drop of crimson blood
     Thus shed to make me live,
     O wherefore, wherefore have not I
     A thousand lives to give?”

     Why should I despair of loving Jesus with a love as strong as death? He deserves it: I desire it. The martyrs felt such love, and they were but flesh and blood, then why not I? They mourned their weakness, and yet out of weakness were made strong. Grace gave them all their unflinching constancy—there is the same grace for me. Jesus, lover of my soul, shed abroad such love, even thy love in my heart, this Evening.


Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version

Amazing Grace
     October 13

          ONWARD, CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS

     Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834–1924

     Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. (2 Timothy 2:3 KJV)

     The Christian life is often compared in Scripture to a warfare—the struggle of sin against righteousness and of the flesh versus the spirit. Each follower of Christ is called to be a “good” soldier. This involves motivation, training, discipline, good equipment, and endurance.

     This hymn text reminds us that the church universal, the “called out” body of believers from every age, race, and culture, is to be an aggressive, unified body. It must always be moving forward in its mission. We cannot allow ourselves to become stagnant and contented with the status quo.

     The author of this text, Sabine Baring-Gould, a Church of England minister, has left this account regarding the writing of this hymn:

     It was written in a very simple fashion, without thought of publication. Whitmonday is a great day for school festivals in Yorkshire, and one Whitmonday it was arranged that our school should join forces with that of a neighboring village. I wanted the children to sing while marching from one village to the other, but couldn’t think of anything quite suitable, so I sat up at night resolved to write something myself. “Onward, Christian Soldiers” was the result. It was written in great haste, likely in less than 15 minutes.

     Yet these words that were written hurriedly for marching children became the text for a hymn that God ordained to inspire lives around the world, challenging Christians with their responsibility to be aggressive in advancing His cause both individually and with other members of the “Church of God.”

     Onward, Christian soldiers marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before! Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; forward into battle see His banner go!
     Like a mighty army moves the Church of God; brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod. We are not divided, all one body we—One in hope and doctrine, one in charity.
     Onward, then, ye people, join our happy throng; blend with ours your voices in the triumph song. Glory, laud and honor unto Christ the King—This thru countless ages men and angels sing.
     Refrain: Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before!


     For Today: 1 Corinthians 16:13; Ephesians 6:10–18; 1 Timothy 6:11, 12

     Consider how the outreach ministry of your local church could be advanced more effectively in the community. Sing this musical truth to help as you reflect on this concern ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Friday, October 13, 2017 | After Pentecost


Proper 22, Friday
Year 1

Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 140, 142
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 141, 143:1–11 (12)
Old Testament     2 Kings 23:36–24:17
New Testament     1 Corinthians 12:12–26
Gospel     Matthew 9:27–34

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Psalm 140, 142

To the leader. A Psalm of David.

1 Deliver me, O LORD, from evildoers;
protect me from those who are violent,
2 who plan evil things in their minds
and stir up wars continually.
3 They make their tongue sharp as a snake’s,
and under their lips is the venom of vipers.     Selah

4 Guard me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked;
protect me from the violent
who have planned my downfall.
5 The arrogant have hidden a trap for me,
and with cords they have spread a net,
along the road they have set snares for me.     Selah

6 I say to the LORD, “You are my God;
give ear, O LORD, to the voice of my supplications.”
7 O LORD, my Lord, my strong deliverer,
you have covered my head in the day of battle.
8 Do not grant, O LORD, the desires of the wicked;
do not further their evil plot.     Selah

9 Those who surround me lift up their heads;
let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!
10 Let burning coals fall on them!
Let them be flung into pits, no more to rise!
11 Do not let the slanderer be established in the land;
let evil speedily hunt down the violent!

12 I know that the LORD maintains the cause of the needy,
and executes justice for the poor.
13 Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name;
the upright shall live in your presence.

A Maskil of David. When he was in the cave. A Prayer.

1 With my voice I cry to the LORD;
with my voice I make supplication to the LORD.
2 I pour out my complaint before him;
I tell my trouble before him.
3 When my spirit is faint,
you know my way.

In the path where I walk
they have hidden a trap for me.
4 Look on my right hand and see—
there is no one who takes notice of me;
no refuge remains to me;
no one cares for me.

5 I cry to you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”
6 Give heed to my cry,
for I am brought very low.

Save me from my persecutors,
for they are too strong for me.
7 Bring me out of prison,
so that I may give thanks to your name.
The righteous will surround me,
for you will deal bountifully with me.

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 141, 143:1–11 (12)

A Psalm of David.

1 I call upon you, O LORD; come quickly to me;
give ear to my voice when I call to you.
2 Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.

3 Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD;
keep watch over the door of my lips.
4 Do not turn my heart to any evil,
to busy myself with wicked deeds
in company with those who work iniquity;
do not let me eat of their delicacies.

5 Let the righteous strike me;
let the faithful correct me.
Never let the oil of the wicked anoint my head,
for my prayer is continually against their wicked deeds.
6 When they are given over to those who shall condemn them,
then they shall learn that my words were pleasant.
7 Like a rock that one breaks apart and shatters on the land,
so shall their bones be strewn at the mouth of Sheol.

8 But my eyes are turned toward you, O GOD, my Lord;
in you I seek refuge; do not leave me defenseless.
9 Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me,
and from the snares of evildoers.
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
while I alone escape.

1 Hear my prayer, O LORD;
give ear to my supplications in your faithfulness;
answer me in your righteousness.
2 Do not enter into judgment with your servant,
for no one living is righteous before you.

3 For the enemy has pursued me,
crushing my life to the ground,
making me sit in darkness like those long dead.
4 Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled.

5 I remember the days of old,
I think about all your deeds,
I meditate on the works of your hands.
6 I stretch out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.     Selah

7 Answer me quickly, O LORD;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me,
or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.
8 Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning,
for in you I put my trust.
Teach me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.

9 Save me, O LORD, from my enemies;
I have fled to you for refuge.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
Let your good spirit lead me
on a level path.

11 For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life.
In your righteousness bring me out of trouble.

[     12 In your steadfast love cut off my enemies,
and destroy all my adversaries,
for I am your servant.     ]

Old Testament
2 Kings 23:36–24:17

36 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he began to reign; he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zebidah daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah. 37 He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, just as all his ancestors had done.

24 In his days King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came up; Jehoiakim became his servant for three years; then he turned and rebelled against him. 2 The LORD sent against him bands of the Chaldeans, bands of the Arameans, bands of the Moabites, and bands of the Ammonites; he sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the LORD that he spoke by his servants the prophets. 3 Surely this came upon Judah at the command of the LORD, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, for all that he had committed, 4 and also for the innocent blood that he had shed; for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the LORD was not willing to pardon. 5 Now the rest of the deeds of Jehoiakim, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? 6 So Jehoiakim slept with his ancestors; then his son Jehoiachin succeeded him. 7 The king of Egypt did not come again out of his land, for the king of Babylon had taken over all that belonged to the king of Egypt from the Wadi of Egypt to the River Euphrates.

8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign; he reigned three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Nehushta daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem. 9 He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, just as his father had done.

10 At that time the servants of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came up to Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. 11 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to the city, while his servants were besieging it; 12 King Jehoiachin of Judah gave himself up to the king of Babylon, himself, his mother, his servants, his officers, and his palace officials. The king of Babylon took him prisoner in the eighth year of his reign.

13 He carried off all the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s house; he cut in pieces all the vessels of gold in the temple of the LORD, which King Solomon of Israel had made, all this as the LORD had foretold. 14 He carried away all Jerusalem, all the officials, all the warriors, ten thousand captives, all the artisans and the smiths; no one remained, except the poorest people of the land. 15 He carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon; the king’s mother, the king’s wives, his officials, and the elite of the land, he took into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. 16 The king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon all the men of valor, seven thousand, the artisans and the smiths, one thousand, all of them strong and fit for war. 17 The king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in his place, and changed his name to Zedekiah.

New Testament
1 Corinthians 12:12–26

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

14 Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; 24 whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, 25 that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.

Gospel
Matthew 9:27–34

27 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, crying loudly, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” 28 When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” 29 Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you.” 30 And their eyes were opened. Then Jesus sternly ordered them, “See that no one knows of this.” 31 But they went away and spread the news about him throughout that district.

32 After they had gone away, a demoniac who was mute was brought to him. 33 And when the demon had been cast out, the one who had been mute spoke; and the crowds were amazed and said, “Never has anything like this been seen in Israel.” 34 But the Pharisees said, “By the ruler of the demons he casts out the demons.”


The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church



Jesus Walks on Water 1 Mark 6:45-56
John MacArthur





Jesus Walks on Water 2 Mark 6:45-56
John MacArthur






Scripture-Twisting 1 Mark 7:1-13
John MacArthur





Scripture-Twisting 2 Mark 7:1-13
John MacArthur