2 Chronicles 15; 2 Chronicles 16; John 12:27-50

1 The spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded, 2 and he went to meet King Asa. He called out, "Listen to me, King Asa, and all you people of Judah and Benjamin! The Lord is with you as long as you are with him. If you look for him, he will let you find him, but if you turn away, he will abandon you. 3 For a long time Israel lived without the true God, without priests to teach them, and without a law. 4 But when trouble came, they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel. They searched for him and found him. 5 In those days no one could come and go in safety, because there was trouble and disorder in every land. 6 One nation oppressed another nation, and one city oppressed another city, because God was bringing trouble and distress on them. 7 But you must be strong and not be discouraged. The work that you do will be rewarded." 8 When Asa heard the prophecy that Azariah son of Oded had spoken, he was encouraged. He did away with all the idols in the land of Judah and Benjamin and all the idols in the cities he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim. He also repaired the altar of the Lord that stood in the Temple courtyard. 9 Many people had come over to Asa's side from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon, and were living in his kingdom, because they had seen that the Lord was with him. Asa summoned all of them and the people of Judah and Benjamin. 10 They assembled in Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year that Asa was king. 11 On that day they offered sacrifices to the Lord from the loot they had brought back: seven hundred head of cattle and seven thousand sheep. 12 They made a covenant in which they agreed to worship the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul. 13 Anyone, young or old, male or female, who did not worship him was to be put to death. 14 In a loud voice they took an oath in the Lord's name that they would keep the covenant, and then they shouted and blew trumpets. 15 All the people of Judah were happy because they had made this covenant with all their heart. They took delight in worshiping the Lord, and he accepted them and gave them peace on every side. 16 King Asa removed his grandmother Maacah from her position as queen mother, because she had made an obscene idol of the fertility goddess Asherah. Asa cut down the idol, chopped it up, and burned the pieces in Kidron Valley. 17 Even though Asa did not destroy all the pagan places of worship in the land, he remained faithful to the Lord all his life. 18 He placed in the Temple all the objects his father Abijah had dedicated to God, as well as the gold and silver objects that he himself dedicated. 19 There was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of his reign.
1 In the thirty-sixth year of the reign of King Asa of Judah, King Baasha of Israel invaded Judah and started to fortify Ramah in order to cut off all traffic in and out of Judah. 2 So Asa took silver and gold from the treasuries of the Temple and the palace and sent it to Damascus, to King Benhadad of Syria, with this message: 3 "Let us be allies, as our fathers were. This silver and gold is a present for you. Now break your alliance with King Baasha of Israel so that he will have to pull his troops out of my territory." 4 Benhadad agreed to Asa's proposal and sent his commanding officers and their armies to attack the cities of Israel. They captured Ijon, Dan, Abel Beth Maacah, and all the cities of Naphtali where supplies were stored. 5 When King Baasha heard what was happening, he stopped fortifying Ramah and abandoned the work. 6 Then King Asa gathered men from throughout Judah and had them carry off the stones and timbers that Baasha had been using at Ramah, and they used them to fortify the cities of Geba and Mizpah. 7 At that time the prophet Hanani went to King Asa and said, "Because you relied on the king of Syria instead of relying on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Israel has escaped from you. 8 Didn't the Ethiopians and the Libyans have large armies with many chariots and cavalry troops? But because you relied on the Lord, he gave you victory over them. 9 The Lord keeps close watch over the whole world, to give strength to those whose hearts are loyal to him. You have acted foolishly, and so from now on you will always be at war." 10 This made Asa so angry with the prophet that he had him put in chains. It was at this same time that Asa began treating some of the people cruelly. 11 All the events of Asa's reign from beginning to end are recorded in [The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel.] 12 In the thirty-ninth year that Asa was king, he was crippled by a severe foot disease; but even then he did not turn to the Lord for help, but to doctors. 13 Two years later he died 14 and was buried in the rock tomb which he had carved out for himself in David's City. They used spices and perfumed oils to prepare his body for burial, and they built a huge bonfire to mourn his death.
27 "Now my heart is troubled - and what shall I say? Shall I say, "Father, do not let this hour come upon me'? But that is why I came - so that I might go through this hour of suffering. 28 Father, bring glory to your name!" Then a voice spoke from heaven, "I have brought glory to it, and I will do so again." 29 The crowd standing there heard the voice, and some of them said it was thunder, while others said, "An angel spoke to him!" 30 But Jesus said to them, "It was not for my sake that this voice spoke, but for yours. 31 Now is the time for this world to be judged; now the ruler of this world will be overthrown. 32 When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to me. 33 (In saying this he indicated the kind of death he was going to suffer.) 34 The crowd answered, "Our Law tells us that the Messiah will live forever. How, then, can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?" 35 Jesus answered, "The light will be among you a little longer. Continue on your way while you have the light, so that the darkness will not come upon you; for the one who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. 36 Believe in the light, then, while you have it, so that you will be the people of the light." After Jesus said this, he went off and hid himself from them. 37 Even though he had performed all these miracles in their presence, they did not believe in him, 38 so that what the prophet Isaiah had said might come true: "Lord, who believed the message we told? To whom did the Lord reveal his power?" 39 And so they were not able to believe, because Isaiah also said, 40 "God has blinded their eyes and closed their minds, so that their eyes would not see, and their minds would not understand, and they would not turn to me, says God, for me to heal them." 41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him. 42 Even then, many Jewish authorities believed in Jesus; but because of the Pharisees they did not talk about it openly, so as not to be expelled from the synagogue. 43 They loved human approval rather than the approval of God. 44 Jesus said in a loud voice, "Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in him who sent me. 45 Whoever sees me sees also him who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. 47 If people hear my message and do not obey it, I will not judge them. I came, not to judge the world, but to save it. 48 Those who reject me and do not accept my message have one who will judge them. The words I have spoken will be their judge on the last day! 49 This is true, because I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has commanded me what I must say and speak. 50 And I know that his command brings eternal life. What I say, then, is what the Father has told me to say."
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