Through the Bible – Day 155

Bible text(s)

King Abijah of Judah

1Abijah became king of Judah in Jeroboam's eighteenth year as king of Israel, 2and he ruled from Jerusalem for three years. His mother was Micaiah the daughter of Uriel from Gibeah.

Some time later, Abijah and King Jeroboam of Israel went to war against each other. 3Abijah's army had four hundred thousand troops, and Jeroboam met him in battle with eight hundred thousand troops.

4Abijah went to the top of Mount Zemaraim in the hills of Ephraim and shouted:

Listen, Jeroboam and all you Israelites! 5The LORD God of Israel has made a solemn promise that every king of Israel will be from David's family. 6But Jeroboam, you were King Solomon's official, and you rebelled. 7Then straight after Rehoboam became king, you and your bunch of worthless followers challenged Rehoboam, who was too young to know how to stop you.

8Now you and your powerful army think you can stand up to the kingdom that the LORD has given to David's descendants. The only gods you have are those gold statues of calves that Jeroboam made for you. 9You don't even have descendants of Aaron on your side, because you forced out the LORD's priests and Levites. In their place, you appoint ordinary people to be priests, just as the foreign nations do. In fact, anyone who brings a bull and seven rams to the altar can become a priest of your so called gods.

10But we have not turned our backs on the LORD God! Aaron's own descendants serve as our priests, and the Levites are their assistants. 11Twice every day they offer sacrifices and burn incense to the LORD. They set out the sacred loaves of bread on a table that has been purified, and they light the lamps in the gold lampstand every day at sunset. We follow the commands of the LORD our God—you have rejected him! 12That's why God is on our side and will lead us into battle when the priests sound the signal on the trumpets. It's no use, Israelites. You might as well give up. There's no way you can defeat the LORD, the God your ancestors worshipped.

13But while Abijah was talking, Jeroboam had sent some of his troops to attack Judah's army from behind, while the rest attacked from the front. 14Judah's army realized they were trapped, and so they prayed to the LORD. The priests blew the signal on the trumpet, 15and the troops let out a battle cry. Then with Abijah leading them into battle, God defeated Jeroboam and Israel's army. 16The Israelites ran away, and God helped Judah's soldiers slaughter 17five hundred thousand enemy troops. 18Judah's army won because they had trusted the LORD God of their ancestors.

19Abijah kept up his attack on Jeroboam's army and captured the Israelite towns of Bethel, Jeshanah, and Ephron, as well as the villages around them.

20Jeroboam never regained his power during the rest of Abijah's rule. The LORD punished Jeroboam, and he died, but Abijah became more powerful.

21Abijah had a total of fourteen wives, twenty-two sons, and sixteen daughters. 22Everything Abijah said and did while he was king is written in the records of Iddo the prophet.

King Asa of Judah

1Abijah died and was buried in Jerusalem. Then his son Asa became king, and Judah had ten years of peace.

2Asa obeyed the LORD his God and did right. 3He destroyed the local shrines and the altars to foreign gods. He smashed the stone images of gods and cut down the sacred poles used in worshipping the goddess Asherah. 4Then he told everyone in Judah to worship the LORD God, just as their ancestors had done, and to obey his laws and teachings. 5He destroyed every local shrine and incense altar in Judah.

6The LORD blessed Judah with peace while Asa was king, and so during that time, Asa fortified many of the towns. 7He said to the people, “Let's build walls and defence towers for these towns, and put in gates that can be locked with bars. This land still belongs to us, because we have obeyed the LORD our God. He has given us peace from all our enemies.” The people did everything Asa had suggested.

8Asa had a large army of brave soldiers: three hundred thousand of them were from the tribe of Judah and were armed with shields and spears; two hundred and eighty thousand were from Benjamin and were armed with bows and arrows.

Judah defeats Ethiopia's army

9Zerah from Ethiopia led an army of a million soldiers and three hundred chariots to the town of Mareshah in Judah. 10Asa met him there, and the two armies prepared for battle in Zephathah Valley.

11Asa prayed:

LORD God, only you can help a powerless army defeat a stronger one. So we depend on you to help us. We will fight against this powerful army to honour your name, and we know that you won't be defeated. You are the LORD our God.

12The LORD helped Asa and his army defeat the Ethiopians. The enemy soldiers ran away, 13but Asa and his troops chased them as far as Gerar. It was a total defeat—the Ethiopians could not even fight back!

The soldiers from Judah took everything that had belonged to the Ethiopians. 14The people who lived in the villages around Gerar learnt what had happened and were afraid of the LORD. So Judah's army easily defeated them and carried off everything of value that they wanted from these towns. 15They also attacked the camps where the shepherds lived and took a lot of sheep, goats, and camels. Then they went back to Jerusalem.

Asa destroys the idols in Judah

1Some time later, God spoke to Azariah son of Oded. 2At once, Azariah went to Asa and said:

Listen to me, King Asa and you people of Judah and Benjamin. The LORD will be with you and help you, as long as you obey and worship him. But if you disobey him, he will desert you.

3For a long time, the people of Israel did not worship the true God or listen to priests who could teach them about God. They refused to obey God's Law. 4But whenever trouble came, Israel turned back to the LORD their God and worshipped him.

5There was so much confusion in those days that it wasn't safe to go anywhere in Israel. 6Nations were destroying each other, and cities were wiping out other cities, because God was causing trouble and unrest everywhere.

7So you must be brave. Don't give up! God will honour you for obeying him.

8As soon as Asa heard what Azariah the prophet said, he gave orders for all the idols in Judah and Benjamin to be destroyed, including those in the towns he had captured in the territory of Ephraim. He also repaired the LORD's altar that was in front of the temple porch.

9Asa called together the people from Judah and Benjamin, as well as the people from the territories of Ephraim, West Manasseh, and Simeon who were living in Judah. Many of these people were now loyal to Asa, because they had seen that the LORD was with him.

10In the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa's rule, they all met in Jerusalem. 11That same day, they took seven hundred bulls and seven thousand sheep and goats from what they had brought back from Gerar and sacrificed them as offerings to the LORD. 12They made a solemn promise to faithfully worship the LORD God their ancestors had worshipped, 13and to put to death anyone who refused to obey him. 14The crowd solemnly agreed to keep their promise to the LORD, then they celebrated by shouting and blowing trumpets and horns. 15Everyone was happy because they had made this solemn promise, and in return, the LORD blessed them with peace from all their enemies.

16Asa's grandmother Maacah had made a disgusting idol of the goddess Asherah, so he cut it down, crushed it, and burnt it in Kidron Valley. Then he removed Maacah from her position as queen mother. 17As long as Asa lived, he was faithful to the LORD, even though he did not destroy the local shrines in Israel. 18He placed in the temple all the silver and gold objects that he and his father had dedicated to God.

19There was peace in Judah until the thirty-fifth year of Asa's rule.

2 Chronicles 13:1-15:19CEVOpen in Bible reader

Jesus is the true vine

1Jesus said to his disciples:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts away every branch of mine that doesn't produce fruit. But he trims clean every branch that does produce fruit, so that it will produce even more fruit. 3You are already clean because of what I have said to you.

4Stay joined to me, and I will stay joined to you. Just as a branch cannot produce fruit unless it stays joined to the vine, you cannot produce fruit unless you stay joined to me. 5I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay joined to me, and I stay joined to you, then you will produce lots of fruit. But you cannot do anything without me. 6If you don't stay joined to me, you will be thrown away. You will be like dry branches that are gathered up and burnt in a fire.

7Stay joined to me and let my teachings become part of you. Then you can pray for whatever you want, and your prayer will be answered. 8When you become fruitful disciples of mine, my Father will be honoured. 9I have loved you, just as my Father has loved me. So remain faithful to my love for you. 10If you obey me, I will keep loving you, just as my Father keeps loving me, because I have obeyed him.

11I have told you this to make you as completely happy as I am. 12Now I tell you to love each other, as I have loved you. 13The greatest way to show love for friends is to die for them. 14And you are my friends, if you obey me. 15Servants don't know what their master is doing, and so I don't speak to you as my servants. I speak to you as my friends, and I have told you everything that my Father has told me.

16You did not choose me. I chose you and sent you out to produce fruit, the kind of fruit that will last. Then my Father will give you whatever you ask for in my name. 17So I command you to love each other.

The world's hatred

Jesus continued:

18If the people of this world hate you, just remember that they hated me first. 19If you belonged to the world, its people would love you. But you don't belong to the world. I have chosen you to leave the world behind, and that is why its people hate you. 20Remember how I told you that servants are not greater than their master. So if people ill-treat me, they will ill-treat you. If they do what I say, they will do what you say.

21People will do to you exactly what they did to me. They will do it because you belong to me, and they don't know the one who sent me. 22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have no excuse for their sin.

23Everyone who hates me also hates my Father. 24I have done things that no one else has ever done. If they had not seen me do these things, they would not be guilty. But they did see me do these things, and they still hate me and my Father too. 25That is why the Scriptures are true when they say, “People hated me for no reason.”

26I will send you the Spirit who comes from the Father and shows what is true. The Spirit will help you and will tell you about me. 27Then you will also tell others about me, because you have been with me from the beginning.

John 15:1-27CEVOpen in Bible reader
Canadian Bible Societyv.4.21.8
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