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First Reading: 2 Chronicles Chapter 13 and 14
2 Chronicles 13
1 In the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam began Abijah to reign over Judah.
2 Three years reigned he in Jerusalem: and his mother's name was Micaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. And there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam.
3 And Abijah joined battle with an army of valiant men of war, even four hundred thousand chosen men: and Jeroboam set the battle in array against him with eight hundred thousand chosen men, who were mighty men of valor.
4 And Abijah stood up upon mount Zemaraim, which is in the hill-country of Ephraim, and said, Hear me, O Jeroboam and all Israel:
5 Ought ye not to know that Jehovah, the God of Israel, gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?
6 Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, the servant of Solomon the son of David, rose up, and rebelled against his lord.
7 And there were gathered unto him worthless men, base fellows, that strengthened themselves against Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and tender-hearted, and could not withstand them.
8 And now ye think to withstand the kingdom of Jehovah in the hand of the sons of David; and ye are a great multitude, and there are with you the golden calves which Jeroboam made you for gods.
9 Have ye not driven out the priests of Jehovah, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and made you priests after the manner of the peoples of `other' lands? so that whosoever cometh to consecrate himself with a young bullock and seven rams, the same may be a priest of `them that are' no gods.
10 But as for us, Jehovah is our God, and we have not forsaken him; and `we have' priests ministering unto Jehovah, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites in their work:
11 and they burn unto Jehovah every morning and every evening burnt-offerings and sweet incense: the showbread also `set they' in order upon the pure table; and the candlestick of gold with the lamps thereof, to burn every evening: for we keep the charge of Jehovah our God; but ye have forsaken him.
12 And, behold, God is with us at our head, and his priests with the trumpets of alarm to sound an alarm against you. O children of Israel, fight ye not against Jehovah, the God of your fathers; for ye shall not prosper.
13 But Jeroboam caused an ambushment to come about behind them: so they were before Judah, and the ambushment was behind them.
14 And when Judah looked back, behold, the battle was before and behind them; and they cried unto Jehovah, and the priests sounded with the trumpets.
15 Then the men of Judah gave a shout: and as the men of Judah shouted, it came to pass, that God smote Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.
16 And the children of Israel fled before Judah; and God delivered them into their hand.
17 And Abijah and his people slew them with a great slaughter: so there fell down slain of Israel five hundred thousand chosen men.
18 Thus the children of Israel were brought under at that time, and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied upon Jehovah, the God of their fathers.
19 And Abijah pursued after Jeroboam, and took cities from him, Beth-el with the towns thereof, and Jeshanah with the towns thereof, and Ephron with the towns thereof.
20 Neither did Jeroboam recover strength again in the days of Abijah: and Jehovah smote him, and he died.
21 But Abijah waxed mighty, and took unto himself fourteen wives, and begat twenty and two sons, and sixteen daughters.
22 And the rest of the acts of Abijah, and his ways, and his sayings, are written in the commentary of the prophet Iddo.
2 Chronicles 14
1 So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David; and Asa his son reigned in his stead. In his days the land was quiet ten years.
2 And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of Jehovah his God:
3 for he took away the foreign altars, and the high places, and brake down the pillars, and hewed down the Asherim,
4 and commanded Judah to seek Jehovah, the God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment.
5 Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the sun-images: and the kingdom was quiet before him.
6 And he built fortified cities in Judah; for the land was quiet, and he had no war in those years, because Jehovah had given him rest.
7 For he said unto Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about them walls, and towers, gates, and bars; the land is yet before us, because we have sought Jehovah our God; we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered.
8 And Asa had an army that bare bucklers and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of Benjamin, that bare shields and drew bows, two hundred and fourscore thousand: all these were mighty men of valor.
9 And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with an army of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots; and he came unto Mareshah.
10 Then Asa went out to meet him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.
11 And Asa cried unto Jehovah his God, and said, Jehovah, there is none besides thee to help, between the mighty and him that hath no strength: help us, O Jehovah our God; for we rely on thee, and in thy name are we come against this multitude. O Jehovah, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee.
12 So Jehovah smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled.
13 And Asa and the people that were with him pursued them unto Gerar: and there fell of the Ethiopians so many that they could not recover themselves; for they were destroyed before Jehovah, and before his host; and they carried away very much booty.
14 And they smote all the cities round about Gerar; for the fear of Jehovah came upon them: and they despoiled all the cities; for there was much spoil in them.
15 They smote also the tents of cattle, and carried away sheep in abundance, and camels, and returned to Jerusalem.
Second Reading: Hebrews Chapter 3
1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, `even' Jesus;
2 who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also was Moses in all his house.
3 For he hath been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by so much as he that built the house hath more honor than the house.
4 For every house is builded by some one; but he that built all things is God.
5 And Moses indeed was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were afterward to be spoken;
6 but Christ as a son, over his house; whose house are we, if we hold fast our boldness and the glorying of our hope firm unto the end.
7 Wherefore, even as the Holy Spirit saith, To-day if ye shall hear his voice,
8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, Like as in the day of the trial in the wilderness,
9 Where your fathers tried `me' by proving `me,' And saw my works forty years.
10 Wherefore I was displeased with this generation, And said, They do always err in their heart: But they did not know my ways;
11 As I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.
12 Take heed, brethren, lest haply there shall be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God:
13 but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called To-day; lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin:
14 for we are become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end:
15 while it is said, To-day if ye shall hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
16 For who, when they heard, did provoke? nay, did not all they that came out of Egypt by Moses?
17 And with whom was he displeased forty years? was it not with them that sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?
18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that were disobedient?
19 And we see that they were not able to enter in because of unbelief.
BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
Part 3 of 3
In chapters 6 and 10 of Hebrews there are strong warnings about turning against Christ after acceptance of his atonement. The book of Hebrews encourages and exhorts perseverance in faith in Christ in the face of trials and persecutions. Chapter 11 is known as the faith chapter and defines faith in the first verse:
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
Chapter 11 also tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God:
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)
A section that summarizes the book of Hebrews is found in chapter 10:19-25:
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
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