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First Reading: 2 Chronicles Chapter 15 and 16

2 Chronicles 15

15:1 The Reforms of Asa

Now the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded. 2 And he went out to meet Asa, and said to him: "Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. 3 For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law; 4 but when in their trouble they turned to the LORD God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found by them. 5 And in those times there was no peace to the one who went out, nor to the one who came in, but great turmoil was on all the inhabitants of the lands. 6 So nation was destroyed by nation, and city by city, for God troubled them with every adversity. 7 But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!"
8 And when Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and removed the abominable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities which he had taken in the mountains of Ephraim; and he restored the altar of the LORD that was before the vestibule of the LORD. 9 Then he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and those who dwelt with them from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon, for they came over to him in great numbers from Israel when they saw that the LORD his God was with him.
10 So they gathered together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. 11 And they offered to the LORD at that time seven hundred bulls and seven thousand sheep from the spoil they had brought. 12 Then they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; 13 and whoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. 14 Then they took an oath before the LORD with a loud voice, with shouting and trumpets and rams' horns. 15 And all Judah rejoiced at the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and sought Him with all their soul; and He was found by them, and the LORD gave them rest all around.
16 Also he removed Maachah, the mother of Asa the king, from being queen mother, because she had made an obscene image of Asherah; and Asa cut down her obscene image, then crushed and burned it by the Brook Kidron. 17 But the high places were not removed from Israel. Nevertheless the heart of Asa was loyal all his days.
18 He also brought into the house of God the things that his father had dedicated and that he himself had dedicated: silver and gold and utensils. 19 And there was no war until the thirty-fifth year of the reign of Asa.

2 Chronicles 16

16:1 Asa's Treaty with Syria
(1 Kings 15:16-22)

In the thirty-sixth year of the reign of Asa, Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah and built Ramah, that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah. 2 Then Asa brought silver and gold from the treasuries of the house of the LORD and of the king's house, and sent to Ben-Hadad king of Syria, who dwelt in Damascus, saying, 3 "Let there be a treaty between you and me, as there was between my father and your father. See, I have sent you silver and gold; come, break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel, so that he will withdraw from me."
4 So Ben-Hadad heeded King Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel. They attacked Ijon, Dan, Abel Maim, and all the storage cities of Naphtali. 5 Now it happened, when Baasha heard it, that he stopped building Ramah and ceased his work. 6 Then King Asa took all Judah, and they carried away the stones and timber of Ramah, which Baasha had used for building; and with them he built Geba and Mizpah.
7 Hanani's Message to Asa

And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said to him:"Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and have not relied on the LORD your God, therefore the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand. 8 Were the Ethiopians and the Lubim not a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because you relied on the LORD, He delivered them into your hand. 9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars." 10 Then Asa was angry with the seer, and put him in prison, for he was enraged at him because of this. And Asa oppressed some of the people at that time.
11 Illness and Death of Asa
(1 Kings 15:23,24)

Note that the acts of Asa, first and last, are indeed written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 12 And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the LORD, but the physicians.
13 So Asa rested with his fathers; he died in the forty-first year of his reign. 14 They buried him in his own tomb, which he had made for himself in the City of David; and they laid him in the bed which was filled with spices and various ingredients prepared in a mixture of ointments. They made a very great burning for him.

Second Reading: Psalms Chapter 114 and 115

Psalms 114

114:1 The Power of God in His Deliverance of Israel
(cf. Ex 14)

When Israel went out of Egypt,The house of Jacob from a people of strange language, 2 Judah became His sanctuary,And Israel His dominion.
3 The sea saw it and fled;Jordan turned back. 4 The mountains skipped like rams,The little hills like lambs. 5 What ails you, O sea, that you fled?O Jordan, that you turned back? 6 O mountains, that you skipped like rams?O little hills, like lambs?
7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,At the presence of the God of Jacob, 8 Who turned the rock into a pool of water,The flint into a fountain of waters.

Psalms 115

115:1 The Futility of Idols and the Trustworthiness of God

Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us,But to Your name give glory,Because of Your mercy,Because of Your truth. 2 Why should the Gentiles say,"So where is their God?"
3 But our God is in heaven;He does whatever He pleases. 4 Their idols are silver and gold,The work of men's hands. 5 They have mouths, but they do not speak;Eyes they have, but they do not see; 6 They have ears, but they do not hear;Noses they have, but they do not smell; 7 They have hands, but they do not handle;Feet they have, but they do not walk;Nor do they mutter through their throat. 8 Those who make them are like them;So is everyone who trusts in them.
9 O Israel, trust in the LORD;He is their help and their shield. 10 O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD;He is their help and their shield. 11 You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD;He is their help and their shield.
12 The LORD has been mindful of us;He will bless us;He will bless the house of Israel;He will bless the house of Aaron. 13 He will bless those who fear the LORD,Both small and great.
14 May the LORD give you increase more and more,You and your children. 15 May you be blessed by the LORD,Who made heaven and earth.
16 The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD's;But the earth He has given to the children of men. 17 The dead do not praise the LORD,Nor any who go down into silence. 18 But we will bless the LORDFrom this time forth and forevermore.
Praise the LORD!

Bible Background


Part 1 of 8

The Bible throughout its pages claims to be the word of God:

All Scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. II Timothy 3:16 (NKJ)

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. II Peter 1:20-21 (NIV)

Either the Bible is as it claims--the word of God or it's claims are false. What can give us the assurance that the Bible is speaking truth?


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