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2 Kings 15
2 Chronicles 26
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Azariah Reigns over Judah (2 Chr 26.3—23)

2 Kings 15:1     In the twenty-seventh year of King Jeroboam of Israel King Azariah son of Amaziah of Judah began to reign. 2 He was sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. 3 He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. 4 Nevertheless the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places. 5 The Lord struck the king, so that he was leprous to the day of his death, and lived in a separate house. Jotham the king’s son was in charge of the palace, governing the people of the land. 6 Now the rest of the acts of Azariah, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? 7 Azariah slept with his ancestors; they buried him with his ancestors in the city of David; his son Jotham succeeded him.

Zechariah Reigns over Israel

     8 In the thirty-eighth year of King Azariah of Judah, Zechariah son of Jeroboam reigned over Israel in Samaria six months. 9 He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, as his ancestors had done. He did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to sin. 10 Shallum son of Jabesh conspired against him, and struck him down in public and killed him, and reigned in place of him. 11 Now the rest of the deeds of Zechariah are written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel. 12 This was the promise of the Lord that he gave to Jehu, “Your sons shall sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.” And so it happened.

Shallum Reigns over Israel

     13 Shallum son of Jabesh began to reign in the thirty-ninth year of King Uzziah of Judah; he reigned one month in Samaria. 14 Then Menahem son of Gadi came up from Tirzah and came to Samaria; he struck down Shallum son of Jabesh in Samaria and killed him; he reigned in place of him. 15 Now the rest of the deeds of Shallum, including the conspiracy that he made, are written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel. 16 At that time Menahem sacked Tiphsah, all who were in it and its territory from Tirzah on; because they did not open it to him, he sacked it. He ripped open all the pregnant women in it.

Menahem Reigns over Israel

     17 In the thirty-ninth year of King Azariah of Judah, Menahem son of Gadi began to reign over Israel; he reigned ten years in Samaria. 18 He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not depart all his days from any of the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to sin. 19 King Pul of Assyria came against the land; Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, so that he might help him confirm his hold on the royal power. 20 Menahem exacted the money from Israel, that is, from all the wealthy, fifty shekels of silver from each one, to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back, and did not stay there in the land. 21 Now the rest of the deeds of Menahem, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel? 22 Menahem slept with his ancestors, and his son Pekahiah succeeded him.

Pekahiah Reigns over Israel

     23 In the fiftieth year of King Azariah of Judah, Pekahiah son of Menahem began to reign over Israel in Samaria; he reigned two years. 24 He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to sin. 25 Pekah son of Remaliah, his captain, conspired against him with fifty of the Gileadites, and attacked him in Samaria, in the citadel of the palace along with Argob and Arieh; he killed him, and reigned in place of him. 26 Now the rest of the deeds of Pekahiah, and all that he did, are written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel.

Pekah Reigns over Israel

     27 In the fifty-second year of King Azariah of Judah, Pekah son of Remaliah began to reign over Israel in Samaria; he reigned twenty years. 28 He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to sin.

     29 In the days of King Pekah of Israel, King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria came and captured Ijon, Abel-beth-maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali; and he carried the people captive to Assyria. 30 Then Hoshea son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah son of Remaliah, attacked him, and killed him; he reigned in place of him, in the twentieth year of Jotham son of Uzziah. 31 Now the rest of the acts of Pekah, and all that he did, are written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel.

Jotham Reigns over Judah (2 Chr 27.1—9)

32 In the second year of King Pekah son of Remaliah of Israel, King Jotham son of Uzziah of Judah began to reign. 33 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign and reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jerusha daughter of Zadok. 34 He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, just as his father Uzziah had done. 35 Nevertheless the high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places. He built the upper gate of the house of the Lord. 36 Now the rest of the acts of Jotham, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? 37 In those days the Lord began to send King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah against Judah. 38 Jotham slept with his ancestors, and was buried with his ancestors in the city of David, his ancestor; his son Ahaz succeeded him.

Reign of Uzziah (2 Kings 14.21—22; 15.1—3)

2 Chronicles26:1     Then all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king to succeed his father Amaziah. 2 He rebuilt Eloth and restored it to Judah, after the king slept with his ancestors. 3 Uzziah was sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. 4 He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. 5 He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.

     6 He went out and made war against the Philistines, and broke down the wall of Gath and the wall of Jabneh and the wall of Ashdod; he built cities in the territory of Ashdod and elsewhere among the Philistines. 7 God helped him against the Philistines, against the Arabs who lived in Gur-baal, and against the Meunites. 8 The Ammonites paid tribute to Uzziah, and his fame spread even to the border of Egypt, for he became very strong. 9 Moreover Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate, at the Valley Gate, and at the Angle, and fortified them. 10 He built towers in the wilderness and hewed out many cisterns, for he had large herds, both in the Shephelah and in the plain, and he had farmers and vinedressers in the hills and in the fertile lands, for he loved the soil. 11 Moreover Uzziah had an army of soldiers, fit for war, in divisions according to the numbers in the muster made by the secretary Jeiel and the officer Maaseiah, under the direction of Hananiah, one of the king’s commanders. 12 The whole number of the heads of ancestral houses of mighty warriors was two thousand six hundred. 13 Under their command was an army of three hundred seven thousand five hundred, who could make war with mighty power, to help the king against the enemy. 14 Uzziah provided for all the army the shields, spears, helmets, coats of mail, bows, and stones for slinging. 15 In Jerusalem he set up machines, invented by skilled workers, on the towers and the corners for shooting arrows and large stones. And his fame spread far, for he was marvelously helped until he became strong.

Pride and Apostasy (2 Kings 15.4—7)

     16 But when he had become strong he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was false to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to make offering on the altar of incense. 17 But the priest Azariah went in after him, with eighty priests of the Lord who were men of valor; 18 they withstood King Uzziah, and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to make offering to the Lord, but for the priests the descendants of Aaron, who are consecrated to make offering. Go out of the sanctuary; for you have done wrong, and it will bring you no honor from the Lord God.” 19 Then Uzziah was angry. Now he had a censer in his hand to make offering, and when he became angry with the priests a leprous disease broke out on his forehead, in the presence of the priests in the house of the Lord, by the altar of incense. 20 When the chief priest Azariah, and all the priests, looked at him, he was leprous in his forehead. They hurried him out, and he himself hurried to get out, because the Lord had struck him. 21 King Uzziah was leprous to the day of his death, and being leprous lived in a separate house, for he was excluded from the house of the Lord. His son Jotham was in charge of the palace of the king, governing the people of the land.

     22 Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, from first to last, the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz wrote. 23 Uzziah slept with his ancestors; they buried him near his ancestors in the burial field that belonged to the kings, for they said, “He is leprous.” His son Jotham succeeded him.

The Holy Bible: containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books [New Revised Standard Version]

What I'm Reading

Why Are You Thrilled to Be Loved by Jesus?

By John Piper 9/8/2011

     Believers in Jesus are precious to God (we’re his bride!). And he loves us so much that he will not allow our preciousness to become our god.

     God does indeed make much of us (adoption!), but he does so in a way that draws us out of ourselves to enjoy his greatness.

     Test yourself. If Jesus came to spend the day with you, sat down beside you on the couch, and said, “I really love you,” what would you focus on the rest of the day that you spend together?

     It seems to me that too many songs and sermons leave us with the wrong answer. They leave the impression that the heights of our joy would be in the recurrent feeling of being loved. “He loves me!” “He loves me!” This is joy indeed. But not the heights and not the focus.

     What are we saying with the words “I am loved”? What do we mean? What is this “being loved”?

Click here to read all of the article

     John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.

John Piper Books:

Pursuing God intellectually: Being honest about our questions

By Travis Dickinson, PhD

     In my last post, I gave an invitation to pursue God intellectually.

     Jesus identified the greatest commandment as loving God with our all of who we are, and Jesus specifically included loving God with our minds. But what does this mean? I suggested that we understand this as pursuing God intellectually in a way that is consonant with other relational pursuits. When we love someone, we want to know things. We are intellectually curious about what makes them tick.

     Now this was only intended as an analogy and all analogies break down somewhere. When it comes to God, we are not simply in the sort of love relationship as we are in, say, a marriage. Pursuing God intellectually has its own shape, its own approach.

     What does this approach look like?

     The first thing I want to suggest is that we be honest about where we are at intellectually on matters of faith. What I mean by this is that, we tend to act as if we have perfect confidence in all matters. Suppose you were asked, “when it comes to faith, what questions do you have?’ If there are not a ready handful of things that you are thinking about, then I want to suggest you are not intellectually pursuing God.

Click here to read all of the article

     Welcome to The Benefit of the Doubt where I talk about the art of dialogue, the value of doubts, and the virtue of Christian faith.

     I LOVE to dialogue about big ideas, especially with those with whom I disagree. But the tone of most discussions are, let’s call it, unproductive. I’m really interested in helping people with the art of dialoguing well.

     No one likes to doubt deeply cherished beliefs. However, I want to suggest that there is great value in our doubts. When handled properly, they lead to truth and knowledge, and even deeper faith.

     I’m convinced that Christianity is true, good and beautiful. I’m convinced that Jesus is peerless. Though faith is often disparaged, caricatured and deeply misunderstood, I’m convinced that Christian faith is the primary way to flourish as a human being.

     I am the author of Everyday Apologetics and co-author of Stand Firm: Apologetics and the Brilliance of the Gospel (B&H, forthcoming). He blogs at www.travisdickinson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter.

An invitation to the intellectual pursuit of God

By Travis Dickinson, PhD

     Jesus commands us to love God with all of who we are—our hearts, souls and minds (Matt. 22:37). One might find this as a command problematic since love isn’t the sort of thing we can turn on or off. When something is lovely, we experience loving feelings and affections toward that thing. And when it is not, we don’t.

(Mt 22:37–40) 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” ESV

     But this of course assumes that all Jesus had in mind was the mere feeling of love. What seems more plausible in context is that Jesus was not dictating certain feelings we ought to have but dictating a certain approach. He was telling us that we ought to turn our affections, the deepest part of us, and our minds toward the relational pursuit of God.

     I think we have at least a grasp of what it means to pursue God with our hearts and affections. Most Christians regularly pursue God in an impassioned way each week in a worship service. It’s perhaps less clear, but I think we have an idea of what’s involved with pursuing God with our souls. But I don’t think we have the first clue what it means to love God with our minds.

     I want to suggest that loving God with our minds is to pursue God intellectually.

     Okay, but what does it mean to pursue God intellectually? The picture that I’d like to paint is one where we bring our deep and difficult questions, our doubts, and our intellectual struggles into our pursuit of God. We need to think of this as a normal part of discipleship.

Click here to read all of the article

     Welcome to The Benefit of the Doubt where I talk about the art of dialogue, the value of doubts, and the virtue of Christian faith.

     I LOVE to dialogue about big ideas, especially with those with whom I disagree. But the tone of most discussions are, let’s call it, unproductive. I’m really interested in helping people with the art of dialoguing well.

     No one likes to doubt deeply cherished beliefs. However, I want to suggest that there is great value in our doubts. When handled properly, they lead to truth and knowledge, and even deeper faith.

     I’m convinced that Christianity is true, good and beautiful. I’m convinced that Jesus is peerless. Though faith is often disparaged, caricatured and deeply misunderstood, I’m convinced that Christian faith is the primary way to flourish as a human being.

     I am the author of Everyday Apologetics and co-author of Stand Firm: Apologetics and the Brilliance of the Gospel (B&H, forthcoming). He blogs at www.travisdickinson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Forgiving the Wounds of a Friend

By Kristie Anyabwile 9/7/2017

     I thought we were friends. The pain behind those words can overshadow years of life, love, and memories. All the good times fade to black when a friendship is betrayed. Investment, down the drain. Vulnerability, restrained. Trust shattered. Love questioned.

     Friends hurt friends. It’s inevitable because every friend is a sinner, and sinners gon’ sin against one another and hurt one another — intentionally or unintentionally. Either way, it’s always harder to recover from the pain inflicted by a friend.

     The pain of conviction that comes through the godly rebuke of a friend who speaks truth in love is a real gift (Proverbs 27:6). But what if you’re the one sinned against, and you’re hurt because of unkind words, betrayal, or manipulation by a person you consider a friend? How do you address it with your friend, and how do you move past the pain and toward reconciliation?

(Pr 27:6) 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. ESV

     Overlook an Offense | In the midst of your hurt, trust that God is working in your relationship to grow you both in the grace and knowledge of Christ: “Trust in him at all times, O people” (Psalm 62:8).

(Ps 62:8) 8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah ESV

     It is one’s glory (or beauty) to overlook an offense (Proverbs 19:11). This requires prudence, patience, maturity, and wisdom. Overlooking an offense adorns the gospel and is a loving response that demonstrates we are indeed Christ’s disciples (John 13:35).

(Pr 19:11) 11 Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. ESV

(Ps 62:8) 8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah ESV

Click here to read all of the article

      (@kanyabwile) is a mother of three, reader, baker, cook, discipler, speaker, writer, and wife of Thabiti. They live in Washington, D.C.

In A Religiously And Politically Polarized Country, Is There Still Hope For Shared Ground?

By Gracy Olmstead 9/7/2017

     When Alexis de Tocqueville wrote “Democracy In America,” he described a populace spread across wide geographic swaths, characterized by various political and vocational affiliations, but united by shared religious traditions and mores.

     Today, that reality is steadily on the decline: as a new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) points out this week, America’s unaffiliated (the religious “nones”) are growing in number on a state level, and steadily affecting both political parties on a national level. Not only is this group abstaining from religious participation, they’re more likely to abstain from various forms of political participation, like voting.

     In addition, these religious changes are increasingly generational ones: “Young adults are more than three times as likely as seniors to identify as religiously unaffiliated (38% vs. 12%, respectively).” What does this mean for America’s future?

     The Rise of the Unaffiliateds | The religiously unaffiliated—those who identify as “atheist,” “agnostic,” or “nothing in particular”—now account for nearly one-quarter (24%) of Americans,” notes the report. “Since the early 1990s, this group has roughly tripled in size.

     Unaffiliated Americans may be younger than the religiously affiliated on average, but interestingly, the report notes that the group is also older than it used to be: “Today, about one-third (34%) of unaffiliated Americans are under the age of 30, while nearly three in ten (29%) are at least 50 years old. In the 1970s, half (50%) of all unaffiliated Americans were under 30 years old, and only 17% were age 50 or older.”

Click here to read all of the article

     Gracy Olmstead is associate managing editor at The Federalist and the Thursday editor of BRIGHT, a weekly newsletter for women. Her writings can also be found at The American Conservative, The Week, Christianity Today, Acculturated, The University Bookman, and Catholic Rural Life.

Mothers Show Us More of God

By Tyler Holley 9/7/2017

     I’ve had dozens of mothers. That may raise a few eyebrows around town, but it shouldn’t surprise us as Christians. After all, Jesus promised us much in following him (Mark 10:29–30). Clearly, motherhood is about more than just physically giving birth.

     In my case, the main mother in my life has been my biological mom. It may be easy to romanticize motherhood, but only one person picked up after me when I was little and made the best PB&J ever created when I broke my arm — we still talk of that sandwich, never since reproduced. Stories of my mother’s love will fill annals in God’s library of unrecognized faithfulness, even though true motherhood is more broad than just that.

     God's Glory, Many Mothers | Motherhood reflects the glory of God. It is the particularly feminine shape of holiness that women of faith strive for. When Paul says that women are “saved through childbearing” (1 Timothy 2:15), he does not mean that women can earn their salvation by giving birth, but that God is able to save them even as they endure the feminine part of sin’s curse (Genesis 3:16). Childbearing symbolizes the creational role of women because motherhood is the clearest example of the difference between men and women.

     When I was a child, a middle-aged woman slipped a torn corner of the church bulletin in my hand with a Bible reference penciled on it. She said it was her favorite passage and that I might like it too. And I remember a young lady with a felt board teaching a Sunday school class on baptism, and that’s when I learned what baptism meant. When I was in college, an older lady in my church would give me weekly hugs and tell me she was praying for me — those prayers would sometimes be accompanied by brownies.

     Mothers are everywhere, if we only have eyes to see them. Motherhood is woven into the very fabric of creation, and God says that all of creation tells about his glory (Psalms 19:1Romans 1:20). What, then, does God have to teach us about his glory through motherhood?

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      is a husband, seminary student at Bethlehem College & Seminary, and member of Cities Church in Minneapolis.

No One Follows Their Heart

By Jon Bloom 9/7/2017

     No one actually follows their heart. I know that sounds odd, given the prevalence of our cultural creed to "follow your heart." But if we think carefully about what the "heart" really is and how it functions, we will see that this creed doesn’t make sense, and why it ends up confusing and misleading people.

     A few years ago, I wrote an article titled, “Don’t Follow Your Heart,” in which I argued that, considering the heart’s pathologically selfish orientation, it is not a leader we should want to follow.

     Some readers objected, arguing that as Christians our hearts of stone have been replaced with new hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26), and therefore should be reliable to follow. I understand the point, though I believe it to be naïve. Romans 7 (and much of the New Testament) bears witness to — and my extensive personal experience and observation confirms — an active, deceptive sin nature still infecting the regenerate person, requiring us to remain wary and vigilant.

     But in pursuing greater clarity, I'll push my argument one step further and say, No one follows their heart. Because God did not make the heart to work that way.

     What Is “the Heart”? | What do people mean when they say, “Follow your heart”? I doubt most have thought carefully about it. Since it’s always wise to know who one’s leader is before we decide whether it’s wise and safe to follow, we must ask, what is this immaterial thing we call “the heart”?

Click here to read all of the article

     Jon Bloom serves as author, board chair, and co-founder of Desiring God. He and his wife live in the Twin Cities with their five children.

Jon Bloom Books:

  • Symposium on Youth Ministries I
  • ... Youth Ministry Part II
  • Part III

#1 Cheryl Crawford  
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Gordon College


  Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

UCB The Word For Today
     (Sept 9)    Bob Gass

     In Genesis, before Eve was created God warned Adam not to eat the forbidden fruit, and it was his responsibility to communicate that to his wife. Clearly, he didn’t do a very good job. As a result, he lost his job and they ended up losing their home. Notice, the devil first approached Eve with the idea of disobeying God. ‘When the woman saw that the tree was good…She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.’ Question: where was Adam when Eve was being deceived? ‘With her.’ So, here’s an important lesson: when a man fails to listen to God and obey Him, he can’t be the leader his wife and family need. He literally opens the door to Satan and allows him to come in and cause chaos in the family. When Satan was trying to sell Eve a bill of goods, Adam stood silently by instead of speaking up and saying, ‘That’s not right. Unless we follow the path God has laid out for us, we’ll lose everything.’ The issue in marriage isn’t about who’s the boss; it’s about honouring the structure God created so everyone in the family can walk in His blessing. The Bible says Satan comes to ‘steal, kill and destroy’ (see John 10:10). But when a husband is truly submitted to Christ, he can protect his family. So, if you’re a husband, you need to step up to the plate. And if you’re a wife, you need to encourage your husband to walk with God and let him know that it’s an honour and privilege to follow such a man.

(Ge 3:6) 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. ESV

Is 11-13
Gal 3

UCB The Word For Today

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     The same year the United States won California from Mexico, some workers constructing a sawmill for John Sutter on the south fork of the American River, discovered gold. News spread like fire and soon “Forty-Niners,” as the prospectors were called, poured in from all parts of the world. Quickly populated, California became the thirty-first State on this day, September 9, 1850. The Constitution, which prohibited slavery, stated in its Preamble: “We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure and perpetuate its blessings, do establish this Constitution.”

American Minute

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams

Life is a culmination of the past,
an awareness of the present,
an indication of a future beyond knowledge,
the quality that gives a touch of divinity to matter.
--- Charles Lindbergh

Every human character appears only once in the history of human beings. And so does every event of love.
--- Isaac Bashevis Singer   ISBN-13: 978-0374519926

At the bottom of the heart of every human being, from earliest infancy until the tomb, there is something that goes on indomitably expecting, in the teeth of all experience of crimes committed, suffered, and witnessed, that good and not evil will be done to him. It is this above all that is sacred in every human being. The good is the only source of the sacred. There is nothing sacred except the good and what pertains to it.
--- Simone Weil
Two Moral Essays: Draft for a Statement of Human Obligations, and, Human Personality

... from here, there and everywhere

History of the Destruction of Jerusalem
     Thanks to Meir Yona

     CHAPTER 7.

     How John Tyrannized Over The Rest; And What Mischiefs The Zealots Did At Masada. How Also Vespasian Took Gadara; And What Actions Were Performed By Placidus.

     1. By this time John was beginning to tyrannize, and thought it beneath him to accept of barely the same honors that others had; and joining to himself by degrees a party of the wickedest of them all, he broke off from the rest of the faction. This was brought about by his still disagreeing with the opinions of others, and giving out injunctions of his own, in a very imperious manner; so that it was evident he was setting up a monarchical power. Now some submitted to him out of their fear of him, and others out of their good-will to him; for he was a shrewd man to entice men to him, both by deluding them and putting cheats upon them. Nay, many there were that thought they should be safer themselves, if the causes of their past insolent actions should now be reduced to one head, and not to a great many. His activity was so great, and that both in action and in counsel, that he had not a few guards about him; yet was there a great party of his antagonists that left him; among whom envy at him weighed a great deal, while they thought it a very heavy thing to be in subjection to one that was formerly their equal. But the main reason that moved men against him was the dread of monarchy, for they could not hope easily to put an end to his power, if he had once obtained it; and yet they knew that he would have this pretense always against them, that they had opposed him when he was first advanced; while every one chose rather to suffer any thing whatsoever in war, than that, when they had been in a voluntary slavery for some time, they should afterward perish. So the sedition was divided into two parts, and John reigned in opposition to his adversaries over one of them: but for their leaders, they watched one another, nor did they at all, or at least very little, meddle with arms in their quarrels; but they fought earnestly against the people, and contended one with another which of them should bring home the greatest prey. But because the city had to struggle with three of the greatest misfortunes, war, and tyranny, and sedition, it appeared, upon the comparison, that the war was the least troublesome to the populace of them all. Accordingly, they ran away from their own houses to foreigners, and obtained that preservation from the Romans which they despaired to obtain among their own people.

     2. And now a fourth misfortune arose, in order to bring our nation to destruction. There was a fortress of very great strength not far from Jerusalem, which had been built by our ancient kings, both as a repository for their effects in the hazards of war, and for the preservation of their bodies at the same time. It was called Masada. Those that were called Sicarii had taken possession of it formerly, but at this time they overran the neighboring countries, aiming only to procure to themselves necessaries; for the fear they were then in prevented their further ravages. But when once they were informed that the Roman army lay still, and that the Jews were divided between sedition and tyranny, they boldly undertook greater matters; and at the feast of unleavened bread, which the Jews celebrate in memory of their deliverance from the Egyptian bondage, when they were sent back into the country of their forefathers, they came down by night, without being discovered by those that could have prevented them, and overran a certain small city called Engaddi:—in which expedition they prevented those citizens that could have stopped them, before they could arm themselves, and fight them. They also dispersed them, and cast them out of the city. As for such as could not run away, being women and children, they slew of them above seven hundred. Afterward, when they had carried every thing out of their houses, and had seized upon all the fruits that were in a flourishing condition, they brought them into Masada. And indeed these men laid all the villages that were about the fortress waste, and made the whole country desolate; while there came to them every day, from all parts, not a few men as corrupt as themselves. At that time all the other regions of Judea that had hitherto been at rest were in motion, by means of the robbers. Now as it is in a human body, if the principal part be inflamed, all the members are subject to the same distemper; so, by means of the sedition and disorder that was in the metropolis,. had the wicked men that were in the country opportunity to ravage the same. Accordingly, when every one of them had plundered their own villages, they then retired into the desert; yet were these men that now got together, and joined in the conspiracy by parties, too small for an army, and too many for a gang of thieves: and thus did they fall upon the holy places 11 and the cities; yet did it now so happen that they were sometimes very ill treated by those upon whom they fell with such violence, and were taken by them as men are taken in war: but still they prevented any further punishment as do robbers, who, as soon as their ravages [are discovered], run their way. Nor was there now any part of Judea that was not in a miserable condition, as well as its most eminent city also.

     3. These things were told Vespasian by deserters; for although the seditious watched all the passages out of the city, and destroyed all, whosoever they were, that came thither, yet were there some that had concealed themselves, and when they had fled to the Romans, persuaded their general to come to their city's assistance, and save the remainder of the people; informing him withal, that it was upon account of the people's good-will to the Romans that many of them were already slain, and the survivors in danger of the same treatment. Vespasian did indeed already pity the calamities these men were in, and arose, in appearance, as though he was going to besiege Jerusalem, but in reality to deliver them from a [worse] siege they were already under. However, he was obliged first to overthrow what remained elsewhere, and to leave nothing out of Jerusalem behind him that might interrupt him in that siege. Accordingly, he marched against Gadara, the metropolis of Perea, which was a place of strength, and entered that city on the fourth day of the month Dystrus [Adar]; for the men of power had sent an embassage to him, without the knowledge of the seditious, to treat about a surrender; which they did out of the desire they had of peace, and for saving their effects, because many of the citizens of Gadara were rich men. This embassy the opposite party knew nothing of, but discovered it as Vespasian was approaching near the city. However, they despaired of keeping possession of the city, as being inferior in number to their enemies who were within the city, and seeing the Romans very near to the city; so they resolved to fly, but thought it dishonorable to do it without shedding some blood, and revenging themselves on the authors of this surrender; so they seized upon Dolesus, [a person not only the first in rank and family in that city, but one that seemed the occasion of sending such an embassy,] and slew him, and treated his dead body after a barbarous manner, so very violent was their anger at him, and then ran out of the city. And as now the Roman army was just upon them, the people of Gadara admitted Vespasian with joyful acclamations, and received from him the security of his right hand, as also a garrison of horsemen and footmen, to guard them against the excursions of the runagates; for as to their wall, they had pulled it down before the Romans desired them so to do, that they might thereby give them assurance that they were lovers of peace, and that, if they had a mind, they could not now make war against them.

     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 24:15-16
     by D.H. Stern

15     Don’t lurk like an outlaw near the home of the righteous,
     don’t raid the place where he lives.
16     For though he falls seven times, he will get up again;
     it’s the wicked who fail under stress.

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

                Do it yourself

     Determinedly Discipline other Things.

     Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. ---
2 Cor. 10:5.

     This is another aspect of the strenuous nature of sainthood. Paul says—“I take every project prisoner to make it obey Christ.” (Moffatt.) How much Christian work there is to-day which has never been disciplined, but has simply sprung into being by impulse! In Our Lord’s life every project was disciplined to the will of His Father. There was not a movement of an impulse of His own will as distinct from His Father’s—
“The Son can do nothing of Himself.” Then take ourselves—a vivid religious experience, and every project born of impulse put into action immediately, instead of being imprisoned and disciplined to obey Christ.

     This is a day when practical work is over-emphasized, and the saints who are bringing every project into captivity are criticized and told that they are not in earnest for God or for souls. True earnestness is found in obeying God, not in the inclination to serve Him that is born of undisciplined human nature. It is inconceivable, but true nevertheless, that saints are not bringing every project into captivity, but are doing work for God at the instigation of their own human nature which has not been spiritualized by determined discipline.

     We are apt to forget that a man is not only committed to Jesus Christ for salvation; he is committed to Jesus Christ’s view of God, of the world, of sin and of the devil, and this will mean that he must recognize the responsibility of being transformed by the renewing of his mind.

My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

Those Others (Tares)
     the Poetry of RS Thomas

                Those Others (Tares)

A gofid gwerin gyfan
  Yn fy nghri fel taerni tan.
      Dewi Emrys

I have looked long at this land,
  Trying to understand
  My place in it--why,
  With each fertile country
  So free of its room,
  This was the cramped womb
  At last took me in
  From the void of unbeing.

Hate takes a long time
  To grow in, and mine
  Has increased from birth;
  Not for the brute earth
  That is strong here and clean
  And plain in its meaning
  As none of the books are
  That tell but of the war

Of heart with head, leaving
  The wild birds to sing
  The best songs; I find
  This hate's for my own kind,
  For men of the Welsh race
  Who brood with dark face
  Over their thin navel
  To learn what to sell;

Yet not for them all either,
  There are still those other
  Castaways on a sea
  Of grass, who call to me,
  Clinging to their doomed farms;
  Their hearts though rough are warm
  And firm, and their slow wake
  Through time bleeds for our sake.

Selected poems, 1946-1968

Searching For Meaning In Midrash

     The two rabbis in our Midrash offer very different explanations of the ritual of the Red Heifer. In so doing, they actually present two very different approaches to the significance and meaning of religion. Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Zakkai admits to his students that the ritual is a great mystery and is beyond our comprehension and understanding. God decrees the ritual; therefore we obey. It is enough for us to know that in performing the ritual, we are following God’s will. The very act of going through all the prescribed steps should bring us closer to God. Why these particular steps is something that we can never fathom. And exactly what happens when we do these steps is also a secret. Having thus been drawn closer to God, we surrender ourselves over to the divine plan, confident that somehow all this is for the best. Rabbi Yoḥanan might tell us that “God is in the details.” Doing the ritual with all its particulars brings us into contact with the divine.

     Rabbi Aivu takes an entirely different approach. The meaning of the ritual, and the beauty of it, lie in its logic, which is simple. Sinning requires atonement; atonement comes through a sacrifice. Since the sin was committed with a (golden) calf, the atonement should come through the sacrifice of a (red) cow; the mother should clean up after her child!

     Applying this approach to religion in general, Rabbi Aivu might tell us that the goal of religion is not to have us surrender, but to push us to search. The ritual has a message to convey to us. If we perform it blindly, without thinking about its deeper meaning, we are missing the whole point. God gave us rituals pregnant with meaning. We perform them, and it is our search for “the message-that-lies-within” that helps to change us in very significant ways.

     The Red Heifer or cow was, in one way or another, about purification. The closest thing that we have today to such a ritual, in content (if not in form), is our observance of Yom Kippur. Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Zakkai, sitting through the twenty-five hours of the Day of Atonement, might say to us: It’s the solemn mood of the day that makes Yom Kippur so powerful: the gathering at twilight, the wearing of the tallit after dark, the daylong fasting, the heart-wrenching melody of Kol Nidrei, the sadness of the Yizkor prayers for the dead, the confession of sins accompanied by the beating of the breast, and the terror of the words reminding us that God decides who will live and who will die. An overpowering, mysterious atmosphere is created, and, coming to synagogue, we are brought closer to God.

     Rabbi Aivu might see it differently. We’ve sinned, so we need to do teshuvah, to turn around our lives. We accomplish this by spending long hours sitting (or standing) and meditating on our shortcomings and how we might best make up for them. The prayers we recite, the melodies we hear, the RS Thomas we listen to, all inspire us to repent and become better human beings. It’s all very simple: We resolve to stop sinning and do better.

     Both approaches are committed to the rituals; where they differ is about the purpose of those rituals.


     At first blush, the story of the king, the servant woman, and her child may seem rather crude. The Hebrew word translated as “filth,” צוֹאָה/tzo-ah, also means “excrement.” The king can wave his hand and command, “Let his mother come and wipe up the filth.”

     However, on a deeper level, the parable may be less coarse than we think—if we reconsider the reaction of the king. He is not looking for blame. He does not ask, “Why did this happen?” He simply wants his palace cleaned up (and it would be improper for a king to do it himself). Were he a vengeful ruler, he could have said, “Off with the head of the child who sullied my palace!” Or “That mother did not watch over her son. Let her rot in jail!” Rather than focusing on blame, vengeance, or justice, the king instead asks, “Whose mess is it?” so that he or she may clean it up.

     The Rabbis often use “king parables” to speak of the relationship between God (the King) and the Jewish people (God’s subjects). If the king in the story is less concerned with finding fault than with righting the situation, then perhaps we should reassess our view of God. The Rabbis may be saying that God does not want to punish us for what’s wrong; rather, God wants to remind us to remedy the inequities. If this is God’s focus, then it should be ours as well.

     Imagine the following: It’s Shabbat Morning, and the Torah scroll, in preparation for reading, is being taken out of the Ark. The gabbai hands the scroll to Bernie, the uncle of the Bat Mitzvah girl, who turns to face the congregation. All of a sudden, before anyone can do anything about it, Bernie stumbles and the Torah falls to the floor. What should happen next?

     Here’s what we don’t do next:

•     A discussion on why the sefer Torah fell and who was at fault.
•     A heated meeting on the side of the pulpit to discuss honors at future Bat Mitzvah ceremonies.
•     An angry explanation to all assembled that those with honors must pay attention to the three steps leading up to the Holy Ark.

     What should happen when a Torah scroll falls?

•     We pick it up!
•     After Shabbat, we fix the Torah if it needs repair.
•     During the week, we may fast or give to tzedakah as a sign of our communal remorse.

     We are saddened that this happened. Our first—and most important—reaction should be to right the wrong. Rabbi Yoḥanan is teaching us that we can be too focused on theory and philosophy. His approach reminds us: “If something is amiss, then clean it up!”

Searching for Meaning in Midrash: Lessons for Everyday Living

Take Heart
     September 9

     They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. --- Hebrews 11:37–38.

     We have not even in dreams experienced the things among which those men and women spent their whole lives, always doing rightly and yet always afflicted.   (The Early Church Fathers: Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: First Series (The Early Church Fathers, First Series , So14))

     They had not even clothing, no city, no lodging place—the same as Christ, who had no place to lay his head. Not even when they had gained the wilderness were they at rest. Even there, they were driven out of even that which was uninhabitable. Wandering like exiles and outcasts, they found no refuge but must always be flying, seeking hiding places, always in terror.

     What then is the reward?

     They have not yet received it but are still waiting, and after thus dying in such great tribulation. They gained their victory so many ages ago and have not yet received it. And you who are yet in the conflict, are you vexed?

     How great a thing it is that Abraham should be sitting, and the apostle Paul, waiting till you have been perfected, that then they may receive their reward. For the Savior has told them that unless we also are present, he will not give it to them. And are you vexed that you have not yet received the reward? What then will Abel do, who is sitting uncrowned? And Noah? And they who lived in those times, seeing that they wait for you and those after you?

     For “God had planned something better for us.” In order that they might not seem to have the advantage over us from being crowned before us, he appointed one time of crowning for all, and those who gained the victory so many years before receive their crowns with you. See his tender carefulness?

     “That only together with us would they be made perfect.” They were before us as regards the conflicts but are not before us as regards the crowns. He didn’t wrong them, but he honored us. For if we are all one body, the pleasure becomes greater to this body when it is crowned altogether. The righteous are worthy of admiration in this, that they rejoice in our welfare as in their own. So this is their wish, to be crowned along with their own members. To be glorified all together is a great delight.
--- John Chrysostom

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

On This Day
     Jabez  September 9

     Mary Redfern lived in the small English village of Haddon in Derbyshire. Her mother was bedfast, and all the care for her eight younger siblings fell onto Mary’s shoulders. One day in 1769, she heard a commotion in the street. A little man was preaching before a crowd in the open. His name was John Wesley.

     Soon after, Richard Boardman, one of Wesley’s evangelists, came preaching. He had recently lost his wife, and his demeanor was tender and poignant. He spoke from 1 Chronicles 4:9 about Jabez, “the most respected son in his family.” Mary was deeply moved and never forgot the story of Jabez. She moved to Manchester, married, and named her firstborn Jabez. And when Wesley preached in Manchester’s Oldham Street Church Mary brought little Jabez. The great evangelist touched the child and blessed him.

     Little did he know he was blessing his future successor.

     Young Jabez often heard Wesley preach, and he developed a great love for the Gospel. As a lad he would walk miles to hear preaching, returning to deliver his own little RS Thomas to long-suffering sisters, using his father’s shirts as ministerial robes. When 19 he preached his first official sermon in Sodom, near Manchester, and shortly thereafter he was ordained to the ministry.

     Jabez quickly advanced in Methodism, but he often proved hardheaded and strong-willed. When he rose to leadership following Wesley’s death, he ruled with a strong hand. His slogan was: “Methodism hates democracy as it hates sin.” One of several controversies occurred on September 9, 1825, when the Brunswick Chapel opened in Leeds, England. A dispute arose over whether an organ should be installed. Many members opposed it, but Bunting and the leaders installed it anyway. The organ, it was later said, cost 1,000 pounds and 1,000 Methodists.

     Jabez was called the Pope of Methodism. But he preached a clear Gospel and brought Methodist theological training and world missions into their own. His influence lasts to this day.

     You must watch over everyone God has placed in your care. Do it willingly in order to please God, and not simply because you think you must. Don’t be bossy to those people who are in your care, but set an example for them.
--- 1 Peter 5:2b,3.

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

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - September 9

     "I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not." --- Jeremiah 33:3.

     There are different translations of these words. One version renders it, “I will shew thee great and fortified things.” Another, “Great and reserved things.” Now, there are reserved and special things in Christian experience: all the developments of spiritual life are not alike easy of attainment. There are the common frames and feelings of repentance, and faith, and joy, and hope, which are enjoyed by the entire family; but there is an upper realm of rapture, of communion, and conscious union with Christ, which is far from being the common dwelling-place of believers. We have not all the high privilege of John, to lean upon Jesus’ bosom; nor of Paul, to be caught up into the third heaven. There are heights in experimental knowledge of the things of God which the eagle’s eye of acumen and philosophic thought hath never seen: God alone can bear us there; but the chariot in which he takes us up, and the fiery steeds with which that chariot is dragged, are prevailing prayers. Prevailing prayer is victorious over the God of mercy, “By his strength he had power with God: yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Beth-el, and there he spake with us.” Prevailing prayer takes the Christian to Carmel, and enables him to cover heaven with clouds of blessing, and earth with floods of mercy. Prevailing prayer bears the Christian aloft to Pisgah, and shows him the inheritance reserved; it elevates us to Tabor and transfigures us, till in the likeness of his Lord, as he is, so are we also in this world. If you would reach to something higher than ordinary grovelling experience, look to the Rock that is higher than you, and gaze with the eye of faith through the window of importunate prayer. When you open the window on your side, it will not be bolted on the other.

          Evening - September 9

     “And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment.”
--- Revelation 4:4.

     These representatives of the saints in heaven are said to be around the throne. In the passage in Canticles, where Solomon sings of the King sitting at his table, some render it “a round table.” From this, some expositors, I think, without straining the text, have said, “There is an equality among the saints.” That idea is conveyed by the equal nearness of the four and twenty elders. The condition of glorified spirits in heaven is that of nearness to Christ, clear vision of his glory, constant access to his court, and familiar fellowship with his person: nor is there any difference in this respect between one saint and another, but all the people of God, apostles, martyrs, ministers, or private and obscure Christians, shall all be seated near the throne, where they shall for ever gaze upon their exalted Lord, and be satisfied with his love. They shall all be near to Christ, all ravished with his love, all eating and drinking at the same table with him, all equally beloved as his favourites and friends even if not all equally rewarded as servants.

     Let believers on earth imitate the saints in heaven in their nearness to Christ. Let us on earth be as the elders are in heaven, sitting around the throne. May Christ be the object of our thoughts, the centre of our lives. How can we endure to live at such a distance from our Beloved? Lord Jesus, draw us nearer to thyself. Say unto us, “Abide in me, and I in you”; and permit us to sing, “His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.”

     O lift me higher, nearer thee,
     And as I rise more pure and meet,
     O let my soul’s humility
     Make me lie lower at thy feet;
     Less trusting self, the more I prove
     The blessed comfort of thy love.

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

Amazing Grace
     September 9


     Walter Chalmers Smith, 1824–1908

     Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever, Amen. 1 Timothy 1:17

     In our enjoyment of a personal relationship with God, we sometimes lose sight of the awe and reverence that should also be part of our worship of Him. Often we tend to forget the supreme holiness and greatness of who God really is. In our hymnody and theology we can carelessly treat our Lord as merely “the friend upstairs.”

     Consider this ancient advice from a father to his son:

     First of all, my child, think magnificently of God. Magnify His providence; adore His power, pray to Him frequently and incessantly. Bear Him always in your mind. Teach your thoughts to reverence Him in every place for there is no place where He is not. Therefore, my child, fear and worship and love God; first and last, think magnificently of Him!
--- Paternus, Advice to a Son

     The author of the fine worshipful text of “Immortal, Invisible” was Walter Chalmers Smith, a pastor and an important leader of the Free churches of Scotland. He had various volumes of his poetry published, including several hymnals. “Immortal, Invisible” was first published in Smith’s 1867 hymnal, Hymns of Christ and the Christian Life.

     One can reflect at length on the greatness of God as described by these words:

     Immortal, invisible, God only wise, in light inaccessible hid from our eyes, most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days, Almighty, victorious—Thy great name we praise.
     Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light, nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might; Thy justice, like mountains, high soaring above Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.
     To all, life Thou givest—to both great and small; in all life Thou livest—the true life of all; we blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree, and wither and perish—but naught changeth Thee.
     Great Father of glory, pure Father of light, Thine angels adore Thee all veiling their sight; all praise we would render—O help us to see ’tis only the splendor of light hideth Thee!

     For Today: Job 37:21–24; Psalm 36:5, 6; 104:1–5; Colossians 1:15–17, 19; Revelation 21:23

     J. P. Phillips, in his book Your God Is Too Small, reminds us that our concept of God is generally too limited. Reflect on this truth as you sing ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Saturday, September 9, 2017 | After Pentecost

Proper 17, Saturday
Year 1

Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 30, 32
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 42, 43
Old Testament     1 Kings 12:1–20
New Testament     James 5:7–12, 19–20
Gospel     Mark 15:33–39

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Psalm 30, 32

A Psalm. A Song at the dedication of the temple. Of David.
1 I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up,
and did not let my foes rejoice over me.
2 O LORD my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
3 O LORD, you brought up my soul from Sheol,
restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.

4 Sing praises to the LORD, O you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger is but for a moment;
his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

6 As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
7 By your favor, O LORD,
you had established me as a strong mountain;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.

8 To you, O LORD, I cried,
and to the LORD I made supplication:
9 “What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the Pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O LORD, and be gracious to me!
O LORD, be my helper!”

11 You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth
and clothed me with joy,
12 so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

Of David. A Maskil.

1 Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
2 Happy are those to whom the LORD imputes no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

3 While I kept silence, my body wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.     Selah

5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not hide my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
and you forgave the guilt of my sin.     Selah

6 Therefore let all who are faithful
offer prayer to you;
at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters
shall not reach them.
7 You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with glad cries of deliverance.     Selah

8 I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9 Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle,
else it will not stay near you.

10 Many are the torments of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the LORD.
11 Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 42, 43

To the leader. A Maskil of the Korahites.
1 As a deer longs for flowing streams,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and behold
the face of God?
3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while people say to me continually,
“Where is your God?”

4 These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I went with the throng,
and led them in procession to the house of God,
with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving,
a multitude keeping festival.
5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help 6 and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep
at the thunder of your cataracts;
all your waves and your billows
have gone over me.
8 By day the LORD commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.

9 I say to God, my rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I walk about mournfully
because the enemy oppresses me?”
10 As with a deadly wound in my body,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me continually,
“Where is your God?”

11 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.

1 Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
against an ungodly people;
from those who are deceitful and unjust
deliver me!
2 For you are the God in whom I take refuge;
why have you cast me off?
Why must I walk about mournfully
because of the oppression of the enemy?

s 3 O send out your light and your truth;
let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
and to your dwelling.
4 Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God my exceeding joy;
and I will praise you with the harp,
O God, my God.

5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.

Old Testament
1 Kings 12:1–20

12 Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. 2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of it (for he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), then Jeroboam returned from Egypt. 3 And they sent and called him; and Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and said to Rehoboam, 4 “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke that he placed on us, and we will serve you.” 5 He said to them, “Go away for three days, then come again to me.” So the people went away.

6 Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the older men who had attended his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?” 7 They answered him, “If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them, and speak good words to them when you answer them, then they will be your servants forever.” 8 But he disregarded the advice that the older men gave him, and consulted with the young men who had grown up with him and now attended him. 9 He said to them, “What do you advise that we answer this people who have said to me, ‘Lighten the yoke that your father put on us’?” 10 The young men who had grown up with him said to him, “Thus you should say to this people who spoke to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you must lighten it for us’; thus you should say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins. 11 Now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.’ ”

12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had said, “Come to me again the third day.” 13 The king answered the people harshly. He disregarded the advice that the older men had given him 14 and spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not listen to the people, because it was a turn of affairs brought about by the LORD that he might fulfill his word, which the LORD had spoken by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam son of Nebat.

16 When all Israel saw that the king would not listen to them, the people answered the king,

     “What share do we have in David?
     We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse.
     To your tents, O Israel!
     Look now to your own house, O David.”

So Israel went away to their tents. 17 But Rehoboam reigned over the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah. 18 When King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was taskmaster over the forced labor, all Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam then hurriedly mounted his chariot to flee to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.

20 When all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. There was no one who followed the house of David, except the tribe of Judah alone.

New Testament
James 5:7–12, 19–20

7 Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! 10 As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

12 Above all, my beloved, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “Yes” be yes and your “No” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

19 My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another, 20 you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Mark 15:33–39

33 When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.” 36 And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”

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

Double Vision
Claire Sullivan   Gordon College

The Orthodox Church in America
Theo Nicolakis   Gordon College

The Audacity of Imago Dei
C. Ben Mitchell   Gordon College

International Activism:
The Ethics of Force Multipliers    
Aleksander Jokic   Gordon College

Caught in the Web: Internet Addiction Chapel
Bryan Auday   Gordon College

Everyday Holiness
Greg Carmer   Gordon College

Apocrypha Witness Between the Testaments L8, Impact of Apocrypha on NT
David A. deSilva, Ph.D.

Apocrypha ... L9, Apocrypha in Church and Canon
David A. deSilva, Ph.D.