2 Corinthians 4; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; 2 Kings 17; Micah 6

2 Corinthians 4

The Light of the Gospel

1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not give up. 2 Instead, we have renounced shameful secret things, not walking in deceit or distorting God's message, but in God's sight we commend ourselves to every person's conscience by an open display of the truth. 3 But if, in fact, our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 Regarding them: the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves because of Jesus. 6 For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness"-He has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God's glory in the face of Jesus Christ.

Treasure in Clay Jars

7 Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. 8 We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; 9 we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed. 10 We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who live are always given over to death because of Jesus, so that Jesus' life may also be revealed in our mortal flesh. 12 So death works in us, but life in you. 13 And since we have the same spirit of faith in accordance with what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke, we also believe, and therefore speak, 14 knowing that the One who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and present us with you. 15 For all this is because of you, so that grace, extended through more and more people, may cause thanksgiving to overflow to God's glory. 16 Therefore we do not give up; even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. 18 So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen; for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 5:1-10

Our Future after Death

1 For we know that if our earthly house, a tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 And, in fact, we groan in this one, longing to put on our house from heaven, 3 since, when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 Indeed, we who are in this tent groan, burdened as we are, because we do not want to be unclothed but clothed, so that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 And the One who prepared us for this very thing is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment. 6 Therefore, though we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord- 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight- 8 yet we are confident and satisfied to be out of the body and at home with the Lord. 9 Therefore, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or bad.

2 Kings 17

Israel's King Hoshea

1 In the twelfth year of Judah's King Ahaz, Hoshea son of Elah became king over Israel in Samaria; [he reigned] nine years. 2 He did what was evil in the Lord's sight, but not like the kings of Israel who preceded him. 3 Shalmaneser king of Assyria attacked him, and Hoshea became his vassal and paid him tribute money. 4 But the king of Assyria discovered a conspiracy by Hoshea-he had sent envoys to So king of Egypt and had not paid tribute money to the king of Assyria as in previous years. Therefore, the king of Assyria arrested him and put him in prison. 5 Then the king of Assyria invaded the whole land, marched up to Samaria, and besieged it for three years.

The Fall of Samaria

6 In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria. He deported the Israelites to Assyria and settled them in Halah and by the Habor, Gozan's river, and in the cities of the Medes.

Why Israel Fell

7 [This disaster] happened because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God who had brought them out of the land of Egypt from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt and because they had worshiped other gods. 8 They had lived according to the customs of the nations that the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites and the customs the kings of Israel had introduced. 9 The Israelites secretly did what was not right against the Lord their God. They built high places in all their towns from watchtower to fortified city. 10 They set up for themselves sacred pillars and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every green tree. 11 They burned incense on all the high places just like those nations that the Lord had driven out before them. They did evil things, provoking the Lord. 12 They served idols, although the Lord had told them, "You must not do this." 13 Still, the Lord warned Israel and Judah through every prophet and every seer, saying, "Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments and statutes according to all the law I commanded your ancestors and sent to you through My servants the prophets." 14 But they would not listen. Instead, they became obstinate like their ancestors who did not believe the Lord their God. 15 They rejected His statutes and His covenant He had made with their ancestors and the warnings He had given them. They pursued worthless idols and became worthless themselves, following the surrounding nations the Lord had commanded them not to imitate. 16 They abandoned all the commandments of the Lord their God. They made for themselves molded images-even two calves-and an Asherah pole. They worshiped the whole heavenly host and served Baal. 17 They made their sons and daughters pass through the fire and practiced divination and interpreted omens. They devoted themselves to do what was evil in the Lord's sight and provoked Him. 18 Therefore, the Lord was very angry with Israel, and He removed them from His presence. Only the tribe of Judah remained. 19 Even Judah did not keep the commandments of the Lord their God but lived according to the customs Israel had introduced. 20 So the Lord rejected all the descendants of Israel, afflicted them, and handed them over to plunderers until He had banished them from His presence.

Summary of Israel's History

21 When the Lord tore Israel from the house of David, Israel made Jeroboam son of Nebat king. Then Jeroboam led Israel away from following the Lord and caused them to commit great sin. 22 The Israelites persisted in all the sins that Jeroboam committed and did not turn away from them. 23 Finally, the Lord removed Israel from His presence just as He had declared through all His servants the prophets. So Israel has been exiled to Assyria from their homeland until today.

Foreign Refugees in Israel

24 Then the king of Assyria brought [people] from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim and settled them in place of the Israelites in the cities of Samaria. The settlers took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities. 25 When they first lived there, they did not fear the Lord. So the Lord sent lions among them, which killed some of them. 26 The settlers spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, "The nations that you have deported and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the custom of the God of the land. Therefore, He has sent lions among them, which are killing them because the people don't know the custom of the God of the land." 27 Then the king of Assyria issued a command: "Send back one of the priests you deported. Have him go and live there so he can teach them the custom of the God of the land." 28 So one of the priests they had deported came and lived in Bethel, and he began to teach them how they should fear the Lord. 29 But [the people of] each nation, in the cities where they lived, were still making their own gods and putting them in the shrines of the high places that the Samaritans had made. 30 The men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, the men of Cuth made Nergal, the men of Hamath made Ashima, 31 the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of the Sepharvaim. 32 So they feared the Lord, but they also appointed from their number, priests to serve them in the shrines of the high places. 33 They feared the Lord, but they also worshiped their own gods according to the custom of the nations where they had been deported from. 34 They are [still] practicing the former customs to this day. None of them fear the Lord or observe their statutes and ordinances, the law and commandments the Lord commanded the descendants of Jacob; He renamed him Israel. 35 The Lord made a covenant with them and commanded them, "Do not fear other gods; do not bow down to them; do not serve them; do not sacrifice to them. 36 Instead, fear the Lord, who brought you from the land of Egypt with great power and an outstretched arm. You are to bow down to Him, and you are to sacrifice to Him. 37 You are to be careful always to observe the statutes, the ordinances, the laws, and the commandment He wrote for you; do not fear other gods. 38 Do not forget the covenant that I have made with you. Do not fear other gods, 39 but fear the Lord your God, and He will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies." 40 However, they would not listen but continued practicing their former custom. 41 These nations feared the Lord but also served their idols. Their children and grandchildren continue doing as their fathers did until today.

Micah 6

God's Lawsuit against Judah

1 Now listen to what the Lord is saying: Rise, plead [your] case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice. 2 Listen to the Lord's lawsuit, you mountains and enduring foundations of the earth, because the Lord has a case against His people, and He will argue it against Israel. 3 My people, what have I done to you, or how have I wearied you? Testify against Me! 4 Indeed, I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from that place of slavery. I sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam ahead of you. 5 My people, remember what Balak king of Moab proposed, what Balaam son of Beor answered him, and [what happened] from Acacia Grove to Gilgal, so that you may acknowledge the Lord's righteous acts. 6 What should I bring before the Lord when I come to bow before God on high? Should I come before Him with burnt offerings, with year-old calves? 7 Would the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousand streams of oil? Should I give my firstborn for my transgression, the child of my body for my own sin? 8 He has told you men what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: Only to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.

Verdict of Judgment

9 The voice of the Lord calls out to the city (and it is wise to fear Your name): "Pay attention to the rod and the One who ordained it. 10 Are there still the treasures of wickedness and the accursed short measure in the house of the wicked? 11 Can I excuse wicked scales or bags of deceptive weights? 12 For the wealthy of the city are full of violence, and its residents speak lies; the tongues in their mouths are deceitful. 13 "As a result, I have begun to strike you severely, bringing desolation because of your sins. 14 You will eat but not be satisfied, for there will be hunger within you. What you acquire, you cannot save, and what you do save, I will give to the sword. 15 You will sow but not reap; you will press olives but not anoint yourself with oil; and [you will tread] grapes but not drink the wine. 16 The statutes of Omri and all the practices of Ahab's house have been observed; you have followed their policies. Therefore, I will make you a desolate place and the city's residents an object of contempt; you will bear the scorn of My people."
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