2 Kings 15; 2 Kings 16; John 3:1-18

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2 Kings 15

1 In Jeroboam's twenty-seventh year as king of Israel, Amaziah's son Azariah began to rule as king of Judah.
2 He was 16 years old when he began to rule, and he ruled for 52 years in Jerusalem. His mother was Jecoliah from Jerusalem.
3 He did what the LORD considered right, as his father Amaziah had done.
4 But the illegal places of worship were still not torn down. The people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense at these worship sites.
5 The LORD inflicted the king with a skin disease that lasted until the day the king died. So the king lived in a separate house. The king's son Jotham was in charge of the palace and governed the country.
6 Isn't everything else about Azariah--everything he did--written in the official records of the kings of Judah?
7 Azariah lay down in death with his ancestors and was buried with them in the City of David. His son Jotham succeeded him as king.
8 In Azariah's thirty-eighth year as king of Judah, Jeroboam's son Zechariah was king of Israel in Samaria for six months.
9 He did what the LORD considered evil, as his ancestors had done. He didn't turn away from the sins that Jeroboam (Nebat's son) led Israel to commit.
10 Shallum, son of Jabesh, plotted against Zechariah, attacked him at Kabal Am, killed him, and succeeded him as king.
11 Everything else about Zechariah is written in the official records of the kings of Israel.
12 It happened exactly as the LORD had told Jehu: "Four generations of your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel."
13 Shallum, son of Jabesh, became king in Azariah's thirty-ninth year as king of Judah. Shallum ruled for an entire month in Samaria.
14 Then Menahem, son of Gadi, came from Tirzah to Samaria, attacked Shallum (son of Jabesh), killed him, and succeeded him as king.
15 Everything else about Shallum--all about his conspiracy--is written in the official records of the kings of Israel.
16 Then Menahem attacked Tiphsah, everyone there, and its territory. Because the city didn't open its gates for him, he attacked it and ripped open all its pregnant women.
17 In Azariah's thirty-ninth year as king of Judah, Menahem, son of Gadi, began to rule as king of Israel. He ruled for 10 years in Samaria.
18 He did what the LORD considered evil. During his entire life he never turned away from the sins that Jeroboam (Nebat's son) led Israel to commit.
19 King Pul of Assyria came to [attack] the country. So Menahem gave Pul 75,000 pounds of silver to gain his support and help strengthen his hold on the kingdom.
20 Menahem raised the money from all the wealthy men in Israel. Each gave 20 ounces of silver for the king of Assyria. Then the king of Assyria left the country.
21 Isn't everything else about Menahem--everything he did--written in the official records of the kings of Israel?
22 Menahem lay down in death with his ancestors, and his son Pekahiah succeeded him as king.
23 In Azariah's fiftieth year as king of Judah, Menahem's son Pekahiah began to rule. Pekahiah was king of Israel in Samaria for two years.
24 He did what the LORD considered evil. He didn't turn away from the sins that Jeroboam (Nebat's son) led Israel to commit.
25 His officer Pekah, son of Remaliah, plotted against him. With 50 men from Gilead, Pekah attacked Pekahiah, Argob, and Arieh in the fortress of the royal palace in Samaria. Pekah killed him and succeeded him as king.
26 Everything else about Pekahiah--everything he did--is written in the official records of the kings of Israel.
27 In Azariah's fifty-second year as king of Judah, Pekah, son of Remaliah, began to rule Israel in Samaria. He ruled for 20 years.
28 He did what the LORD considered evil. He did not turn away from the sins that Jeroboam (Nebat's son) led Israel to commit.
29 In the days of King Pekah of Israel, King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria took Ijon, Abel Beth Maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, Galilee, and the entire territory of Naphtali. He also took the people away to Assyria as captives.
30 Hoshea, son of Elah, plotted against Pekah, son of Remaliah. Hoshea attacked him and killed him. Hoshea began to rule as king in his place in the twentieth year that Jotham, son of Azariah, was king of Judah.
31 Everything else about Pekah--everything he did--is written in the official records of the kings of Israel.
32 In the second year that King Pekah, son of Remaliah, ruled Israel, Jotham, son of Azariah, began to rule as king of Judah.
33 He was 25 years old when he began to rule. He ruled for 16 years in Jerusalem. His mother was Jerusha, daughter of Zadok.
34 He did what the LORD considered right, as his father Azariah had done.
35 But the illegal places of worship were not torn down. The people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense at these worship sites. Jotham built the Upper Gate of the LORD's temple.
36 Isn't everything else about Jotham--everything he did--written in the official records of the kings of Judah?
37 In those days the LORD began to use King Rezin of Aram and Pekah, son of Remaliah, to attack Judah.
38 Jotham lay down in death with his ancestors and was buried with them in the city of his ancestor David. His son Ahaz succeeded him as king.

2 Kings 16

1 Pekah, son of Remaliah, was in his seventeenth year as king of Israel when King Ahaz, son of Jotham, began to rule as king of Judah.
2 Ahaz was 20 years old when he began to rule. He ruled for 26 years in Jerusalem. He didn't do what the LORD his God considered right, as his ancestor David had done.
3 He followed the example of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son by burning him alive. Sacrificing [children] was one of the disgusting things done by the nations that the LORD had forced out of the Israelites' way.
4 He offered sacrifices and burned incense as an offering at the illegal worship sites, which were on hills and under every large tree.
5 Then King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah, son of Remaliah of Israel, came to wage war against Jerusalem. They blockaded Ahaz but couldn't get him to fight.
6 At that time King Rezin of Aram drove the Judeans out of Elath and gave it back to Edom. The Edomites came to Elath and still live there today.
7 Ahaz sent messengers to King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria to say, "I'm your servant, your son. Come and save me from the kings of Aram and Israel who are attacking me."
8 Ahaz took the silver and gold he found in the LORD's temple and in the treasury in the royal palace and sent them to the king of Assyria as a present.
9 The king of Assyria listened to him and attacked Damascus. He captured it, took the people to Kir as captives, and killed Rezin.
10 Then King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria. He saw an altar there in Damascus. So King Ahaz sent the priest Urijah a model of the altar and a set of detailed plans.
11 Urijah built an altar exactly like the model King Ahaz sent from Damascus. He finished it before Ahaz returned home from Damascus.
12 When the king came from Damascus, he saw the altar. The king approached the altar and went up to it.
13 He sacrificed his burnt offering and grain offering, poured out his wine offering, and sprinkled the blood of his fellowship offering on the altar.
14 But he moved the bronze altar dedicated to the LORD. It had been in front of the temple between his altar and the LORD's temple. Ahaz put it on the north side of his altar.
15 King Ahaz gave this command to the priest Urijah: "On this great altar you must burn the morning burnt offerings and the evening grain offering, the king's burnt offerings and grain offerings, and the burnt offerings, grain offerings, and wine offerings of all the people of the land. Sprinkle all the blood of the burnt offerings and [other] sacrifices on it. I will use the bronze altar for prayer."
16 The priest Urijah did what King Ahaz had commanded.
17 King Ahaz cut off the side panels of the [bronze] stands [used in the temple] and removed the basin from each of them. He took the bronze pool down from the bronze bulls that were under it and set it on a stone base.
18 Ahaz removed the covered walkway used on the day of worship. This walkway had been built in the temple. He also removed the outer entrance for the king from the LORD's temple. He did this to please the king of Assyria.
19 Isn't everything else about Ahaz--the things he did--written in the official records of the kings of Judah?
20 Ahaz lay down in death with his ancestors and was buried with them in the City of David. His son Hezekiah succeeded him as king.

John 3:1-18

1 Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Jewish council.
2 He came to Jesus one night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that God has sent you as a teacher. No one can perform the miracles you perform unless God is with him."
3 Jesus replied to Nicodemus, "I can guarantee this truth: No one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above."
4 Nicodemus asked him, "How can anyone be born when he's an old man? He can't go back inside his mother a second time to be born, can he?"
5 Jesus answered Nicodemus, "I can guarantee this truth: No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.
6 Flesh and blood give birth to flesh and blood, but the Spirit gives birth to things that are spiritual.
7 Don't be surprised when I tell you that all of you must be born from above.
8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you don't know where the wind comes from or where it's going. That's the way it is with everyone born of the Spirit."
9 Nicodemus replied, "How can that be?"
10 Jesus told Nicodemus, "You're a well-known teacher of Israel. Can't you understand this?
11 I can guarantee this truth: We know what we're talking about, and we confirm what we've seen. Yet, you don't accept our message.
12 If you don't believe me when I tell you about things on earth, how will you believe me when I tell you about things in heaven?
13 No one has gone to heaven except the Son of Man, who came from heaven.
14 "As Moses lifted up the snake [on a pole] in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up.
15 Then everyone who believes in him will have eternal life."
16 God loved the world this way: He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.
17 God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but to save the world.
18 Those who believe in him won't be condemned. But those who don't believe are already condemned because they don't believe in God's only Son.