Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

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April 26 - Morning

"When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his robes. As he went along the wall, the people looked, and they saw that, under his robes, he had sackcloth on his body. He said,

'May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today!'

Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. The king sent a messenger ahead, but before he arrived,
Elisha said to the elders,

'Don’t you see how this murderer is sending someone to cut off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold it shut against him. Is not the sound of his master’s footsteps behind him?' 

While he was still talking to them, the messenger came down to him.
The king said, 'This disaster is from the Lord. Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?' "

- Second Kings 6:30-33

When Women Eat Their Children...

The city of Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom, Israel, is under siege by the Arameans. The city is being starved out and the people have been held up in the city for so long that all the food is gone. Two women have agreed to eat their children (which is one of the curses the Lord promised he would send on a disobedient nation during the fifth cycle of discipline according to Leviticus 26:29.)

The king of Israel is Joram. He was Ahab and Jezebel’s second son to rule Israel. Ahab himself had faced drought as announced by Elijah (1 Kings 17:1-6) which had been the second cycle of discipline on the land as promised in Leviticus 26:18-20.

Joram has had enough of God’s judgment when he saw two woman arguing about whose son they were going to eat next. At that point Joram decided it was time to kill Elisha since the Lord was not responding. (Joram’s parents, Ahab and Jezebel came to the same conclusion about Elijah when they decided to kill Elijah because his God had sent a drought. It is interesting that Joram knows the Lord has control, but Joram is tired of waiting on God.

So while the elders of the city of Samaria where sitting with Elisha, apparently in repentance and waiting for the word of the Lord, the king sent a message saying that this siege and the famine are caused by the Lord. Joram feels they have repented and waited long enough. Joram is going to demonstrate his anger with the Lord by decapitating Elisha.

The text does say that the king had been wearing sackcloth under his robe which was a sign of mourning and repentance. Joram is angry with the Lord because he thinks he has repented long enough and it is time for the siege to lift.
Tip’eret (Hb) – Glorious (Eng) – tip’eret is the Hebrew word that is translated “glory,” “beautiful,” “adornment,” “pride,” “honor.” Tip’eret can refer to a person’s rank (Proverbs 4:9; Isaiah 62:3), the glory and beauty of the priestly garments (Exodus 28:40), the honor of the tribes of Israel for their performance in battle (Zechariah 12:7), and the glory and beauty of the Lord (Psalm 71:8; 96:6).
Do I become angry with God because I think I have done my part, but I am still waiting for the Lord?
I will be patient and obedient. I will do what is right and just while I wait on the Lord.

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


Complete Text

General Text




Revelation of the mysteries of God
City governments
Comoro Islands

Inside a rolling stone tomb found in Galilee. (Details)
Details of Isaiah 24-35 located on a map.

Someone to Quote

“The Christian belief system, which the Christian knows to be grounded in divine revelation, is relevant to all of life.”
– Carl F. H. Henry

Something to Ponder

Principles of Availability

Willingness (Isaiah 6:8 – “Here I am. Send me!”) The work is there, but God is looking for willing workers. The work that needs to be done is of a great variety.

Recognize the Need (David saw Goliath needed to be confronted in 1 Sam.17:37) David did not wait for a calling, but simply met the need. David was a shepherd, a delivery boy and a harpist, but he was not yet a warrior when he engaged Goliath.

Let the Word come to Pass (Mary in Luke 1:38, “May it be to me as you have said.”) (1 Timothy 4:14)

Obey (Elijah in 1 Kings 17:2, 3, 8, 9; Paul in Acts 20:22; 21:4,9,10,11) don’t make your own decisions or let worldly opinions influence what you have been told

Self-Sacrifice (Moses in Hebrews 11:25,26, “He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God…He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt.”)

Commit to Point of Death (Esther in Esther 4:16, “I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”) Nothing else is worthy of your life.

Not measured by Human standards (Paul in 2 Timothy 4:16, “No one came to my support, but everyone deserted me.”) Do not let people measure your success.

Reward will be there (2 Timothy 4:6-8) In the end your reward will be there and waiting.

Here’s a Fact

The ruins of Abraham’s city of Ur of the Chaldeans (today called Tell Mugheir and Tell Khaiber) covers 150 acres was excavated in 1854, 1919, from 1922-1934 and has resumed again in 2013 (Details 1, 2). Excavation has revealed a great temple ziggurat with inscribed cylinders in each of the cornerstones listing the name of the city, its founder. A large amount of cuneiform tablets of King Nabonidus, father of Belshazzsr of Daniel chapter 5, where found in a room of abandoned rubbish near the temple. One of the cuneiform tablets recorded a prayer of Nabonidus to the Moon god for himself and his son Belshazzar, who was listed by name. In the 1920’s Woolley completed the excavation of a four square mile area of the city from the time of Abraham.


"Like the useless legs of one who is lame is a proverb in the mouth of a fool."
- Proverbs 26:7

Coach’s Corner

Finishing the game is as important as training for the competition.

Leviticus 26:29
New International Version (NIV)
29 You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters.
1 Kings 17:1-6
New International Version (NIV)
Elijah Announces a Great Drought
17 Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”
Elijah Fed by Ravens
Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.”
So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
Leviticus 26:18-20
New International Version (NIV)
18 “‘If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over. 19 I will break down your stubborn pride and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze. 20 Your strength will be spent in vain, because your soil will not yield its crops, nor will the trees of your land yield their fruit.
Isaiah 24-35
New International Version (NIV)
The Lord’s Devastation of the Earth
See, the Lord is going to lay waste the earth     and devastate it; he will ruin its face     and scatter its inhabitants—

it will be the same     for priest as for people,     for the master as for his servant,     for the mistress as for her servant,     for seller as for buyer,     for borrower as for lender,     for debtor as for creditor.

The earth will be completely laid waste     and totally plundered. The Lord has spoken this word.

The earth dries up and withers,     the world languishes and withers,     the heavens languish with the earth.

The earth is defiled by its people;     they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes     and broken the everlasting covenant.

Therefore a curse consumes the earth;     its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up,     and very few are left.

The new wine dries up and the vine withers;     all the merrymakers groan.

The joyful timbrels are stilled,     the noise of the revelers has stopped,     the joyful harp is silent.

No longer do they drink wine with a song;     the beer is bitter to its drinkers.
The ruined city lies desolate;     the entrance to every house is barred.
In the streets they cry out for wine;     all joy turns to gloom,     all joyful sounds are banished from the earth.
The city is left in ruins,     its gate is battered to pieces.
So will it be on the earth     and among the nations, as when an olive tree is beaten,     or as when gleanings are left after the grape harvest.
They raise their voices, they shout for joy;     from the west they acclaim the Lord’s majesty.
Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord;     exalt the name of the Lord, the God of Israel,     in the islands of the sea.
From the ends of the earth we hear singing:     “Glory to the Righteous One.”
But I said, “I waste away, I waste away!
    Woe to me! The treacherous betray!     With treachery the treacherous betray!”
Terror and pit and snare await you,     people of the earth.
Whoever flees at the sound of terror     will fall into a pit; whoever climbs out of the pit     will be caught in a snare.
The floodgates of the heavens are opened,
    the foundations of the earth shake.
The earth is broken up,     the earth is split asunder,     the earth is violently shaken.
The earth reels like a drunkard,     it sways like a hut in the wind; so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion     that it falls—never to rise again.
In that day the Lord will punish     the powers in the heavens above     and the kings on the earth below.
They will be herded together     like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison     and be punished after many days.
The moon will be dismayed,     the sun ashamed; for the Lord Almighty will reign     on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,     and before its elders—with great glory.
Praise to the Lord
Lord, you are my God;     I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness     you have done wonderful things,     things planned long ago.

You have made the city a heap of rubble,     the fortified town a ruin, the foreigners’ stronghold a city no more;     it will never be rebuilt.

Therefore strong peoples will honor you;     cities of ruthless nations will revere you.

You have been a refuge for the poor,     a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm     and a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless     is like a storm driving against a wall

    and like the heat of the desert. You silence the uproar of foreigners;     as heat is reduced by the shadow of a cloud,     so the song of the ruthless is stilled.

On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare     a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—     the best of meats and the finest of wines.

On this mountain he will destroy     the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations;

    he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears     from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace     from all the earth. The Lord has spoken.
In that day they will say,
“Surely this is our God;     we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him;     let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”
The hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain;     but Moab will be trampled in their land     as straw is trampled down in the manure.
They will stretch out their hands in it,     as swimmers stretch out their hands to swim. God will bring down their pride     despite the cleverness of their hands.
He will bring down your high fortified walls     and lay them low; he will bring them down to the ground,     to the very dust.
A Song of Praise
26 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
We have a strong city;     God makes salvation     its walls and ramparts.

Open the gates     that the righteous nation may enter,     the nation that keeps faith.

You will keep in perfect peace     those whose minds are steadfast,     because they trust in you.

Trust in the Lord forever,     for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

He humbles those who dwell on high,     he lays the lofty city low; he levels it to the ground     and casts it down to the dust.

Feet trample it down—     the feet of the oppressed,     the footsteps of the poor.

The path of the righteous is level;     you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth.

Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws,     we wait for you; your name and renown     are the desire of our hearts.

My soul yearns for you in the night;     in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgments come upon the earth,     the people of the world learn righteousness.
But when grace is shown to the wicked,     they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil     and do not regard the majesty of the Lord.
Lord, your hand is lifted high,     but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people and be put to shame;     let the fire reserved for your enemies consume them.
Lord, you establish peace for us;     all that we have accomplished you have done for us.
Lord our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us,     but your name alone do we honor.
They are now dead, they live no more;     their spirits do not rise. You punished them and brought them to ruin;     you wiped out all memory of them.
You have enlarged the nation, Lord;     you have enlarged the nation. You have gained glory for yourself;     you have extended all the borders of the land.
Lord, they came to you in their distress;     when you disciplined them,     they could barely whisper a prayer.
As a pregnant woman about to give birth     writhes and cries out in her pain,     so were we in your presence, Lord.
We were with child, we writhed in labor,     but we gave birth to wind. We have not brought salvation to the earth,     and the people of the world have not come to life.
But your dead will live, Lord;     their bodies will rise— let those who dwell in the dust     wake up and shout for joy— your dew is like the dew of the morning;     the earth will give birth to her dead.
Go, my people, enter your rooms     and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while     until his wrath has passed by.
See, the Lord is coming out of his dwelling     to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed on it;     the earth will conceal its slain no longer.
Deliverance of Israel
27 In that day,
the Lord will punish with his sword—     his fierce, great and powerful sword— Leviathan the gliding serpent,     Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea.
In that day—
“Sing about a fruitful vineyard:

    I, the Lord, watch over it;     I water it continually. I guard it day and night     so that no one may harm it.

    I am not angry. If only there were briers and thorns confronting me!     I would march against them in battle;     I would set them all on fire.

Or else let them come to me for refuge;     let them make peace with me,     yes, let them make peace with me.”

In days to come Jacob will take root,     Israel will bud and blossom     and fill all the world with fruit.

Has the Lord struck her     as he struck down those who struck her? Has she been killed     as those were killed who killed her?

By warfare and exile you contend with her—     with his fierce blast he drives her out,     as on a day the east wind blows.

By this, then, will Jacob’s guilt be atoned for,     and this will be the full fruit of the removal of his sin: When he makes all the altar stones     to be like limestone crushed to pieces, no Asherah poles or incense altars     will be left standing.
The fortified city stands desolate,     an abandoned settlement, forsaken like the wilderness; there the calves graze,     there they lie down;     they strip its branches bare.
When its twigs are dry, they are broken off     and women come and make fires with them. For this is a people without understanding;     so their Maker has no compassion on them,     and their Creator shows them no favor.
12 In that day the Lord will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, Israel, will be gathered up one by one. 13 And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.
Woe to the Leaders of Ephraim and Judah
Woe to that wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards,     to the fading flower, his glorious beauty, set on the head of a fertile valley—     to that city, the pride of those laid low by wine!

See, the Lord has one who is powerful and strong.     Like a hailstorm and a destructive wind, like a driving rain and a flooding downpour,     he will throw it forcefully to the ground.

That wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards,     will be trampled underfoot.

That fading flower, his glorious beauty,     set on the head of a fertile valley, will be like figs ripe before harvest—     as soon as people see them and take them in hand,     they swallow them.

In that day the Lord Almighty     will be a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath     for the remnant of his people.

He will be a spirit of justice     to the one who sits in judgment, a source of strength     to those who turn back the battle at the gate.

And these also stagger from wine     and reel from beer: Priests and prophets stagger from beer     and are befuddled with wine; they reel from beer,     they stagger when seeing visions,     they stumble when rendering decisions.

All the tables are covered with vomit     and there is not a spot without filth.

“Who is it he is trying to teach?     To whom is he explaining his message? To children weaned from their milk,     to those just taken from the breast?
For it is:     Do this, do that,     a rule for this, a rule for that;     a little here, a little there.”
Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues     God will speak to this people,
to whom he said,     “This is the resting place, let the weary rest”; and, “This is the place of repose”—     but they would not listen.
So then, the word of the Lord to them will become:     Do this, do that,     a rule for this, a rule for that;     a little here, a little there— so that as they go they will fall backward;     they will be injured and snared and captured.
Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers     who rule this people in Jerusalem.
You boast, “We have entered into a covenant with death,     with the realm of the dead we have made an agreement. When an overwhelming scourge sweeps by,     it cannot touch us, for we have made a lie our refuge     and falsehood our hiding place.”
16 So this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone,     a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it     will never be stricken with panic.
I will make justice the measuring line     and righteousness the plumb line; hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie,     and water will overflow your hiding place.
Your covenant with death will be annulled;     your agreement with the realm of the dead will not stand. When the overwhelming scourge sweeps by,     you will be beaten down by it.
As often as it comes it will carry you away;     morning after morning, by day and by night,     it will sweep through.”
The understanding of this message
    will bring sheer terror.
The bed is too short to stretch out on,     the blanket too narrow to wrap around you.
The Lord will rise up as he did at Mount Perazim,     he will rouse himself as in the Valley of Gibeon— to do his work, his strange work,     and perform his task, his alien task.
Now stop your mocking,     or your chains will become heavier; the Lord, the Lord Almighty, has told me     of the destruction decreed against the whole land.
Listen and hear my voice;     pay attention and hear what I say.
When a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually?     Does he keep on breaking up and working the soil?
When he has leveled the surface,     does he not sow caraway and scatter cumin? Does he not plant wheat in its place,     barley in its plot,     and spelt in its field?
His God instructs him     and teaches him the right way.
Caraway is not threshed with a sledge,     nor is the wheel of a cart rolled over cumin; caraway is beaten out with a rod,     and cumin with a stick.
Grain must be ground to make bread;     so one does not go on threshing it forever. The wheels of a threshing cart may be rolled over it,     but one does not use horses to grind grain.
All this also comes from the Lord Almighty,     whose plan is wonderful,     whose wisdom is magnificent.
Woe to David’s City
Woe to you, Ariel, Ariel,     the city where David settled! Add year to year     and let your cycle of festivals go on.

Yet I will besiege Ariel;     she will mourn and lament,     she will be to me like an altar hearth.

I will encamp against you on all sides;     I will encircle you with towers     and set up my siege works against you.

Brought low, you will speak from the ground;     your speech will mumble out of the dust. Your voice will come ghostlike from the earth;     out of the dust your speech will whisper.

But your many enemies will become like fine dust,     the ruthless hordes like blown chaff. Suddenly, in an instant,

    the Lord Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise,     with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire.

Then the hordes of all the nations that fight against Ariel,     that attack her and her fortress and besiege her, will be as it is with a dream,     with a vision in the night—

as when a hungry person dreams of eating,     but awakens hungry still; as when a thirsty person dreams of drinking,     but awakens faint and thirsty still. So will it be with the hordes of all the nations     that fight against Mount Zion.

Be stunned and amazed,     blind yourselves and be sightless; be drunk, but not from wine,     stagger, but not from beer.
The Lord has brought over you a deep sleep:     He has sealed your eyes (the prophets);     he has covered your heads (the seers).
11 For you this whole vision is nothing but words sealed in a scroll. And if you give the scroll to someone who can read, and say, “Read this, please,” they will answer, “I can’t; it is sealed.” 12 Or if you give the scroll to someone who cannot read, and say, “Read this, please,” they will answer, “I don’t know how to read.”
13 The Lord says:
“These people come near to me with their mouth     and honor me with their lips,     but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me     is based on merely human rules they have been taught.
Therefore once more I will astound these people     with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish,     the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”
Woe to those who go to great depths     to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think,     “Who sees us? Who will know?”
You turn things upside down,     as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it,     “You did not make me”? Can the pot say to the potter,     “You know nothing”?
In a very short time, will not Lebanon be turned into a fertile field     and the fertile field seem like a forest?
In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll,     and out of gloom and darkness     the eyes of the blind will see.
Once more the humble will rejoice in the Lord;     the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
The ruthless will vanish,     the mockers will disappear,     and all who have an eye for evil will be cut down—
those who with a word make someone out to be guilty,     who ensnare the defender in court     and with false testimony deprive the innocent of justice.
22 Therefore this is what the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, says to the descendants of Jacob:
“No longer will Jacob be ashamed;     no longer will their faces grow pale.
When they see among them their children,     the work of my hands, they will keep my name holy;     they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob,     and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
Those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding;     those who complain will accept instruction.”
Woe to the Obstinate Nation
“Woe to the obstinate children,”     declares the Lord, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine,     forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit,     heaping sin upon sin;

who go down to Egypt     without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection,     to Egypt’s shade for refuge.

But Pharaoh’s protection will be to your shame,     Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace.

Though they have officials in Zoan     and their envoys have arrived in Hanes,

everyone will be put to shame     because of a people useless to them, who bring neither help nor advantage,     but only shame and disgrace.”
A prophecy concerning the animals of the Negev:
Through a land of hardship and distress,     of lions and lionesses,     of adders and darting snakes, the envoys carry their riches on donkeys’ backs,     their treasures on the humps of camels, to that unprofitable nation,

    to Egypt, whose help is utterly useless. Therefore I call her     Rahab the Do-Nothing.

Go now, write it on a tablet for them,     inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come     it may be an everlasting witness.

For these are rebellious people, deceitful children,     children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction.
They say to the seers,     “See no more visions!” and to the prophets,     “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things,     prophesy illusions.
Leave this way,     get off this path, and stop confronting us     with the Holy One of Israel!”
12 Therefore this is what the Holy One of Israel says:
“Because you have rejected this message,     relied on oppression     and depended on deceit,
this sin will become for you     like a high wall, cracked and bulging,     that collapses suddenly, in an instant.
It will break in pieces like pottery,     shattered so mercilessly that among its pieces not a fragment will be found     for taking coals from a hearth     or scooping water out of a cistern.”
15 This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation,     in quietness and trust is your strength,     but you would have none of it.
You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’     Therefore you will flee! You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’     Therefore your pursuers will be swift!
A thousand will flee     at the threat of one; at the threat of five     you will all flee away, till you are left     like a flagstaff on a mountaintop,     like a banner on a hill.”
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;     therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice.     Blessed are all who wait for him!
19 People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. 20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” 22 Then you will desecrate your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Away with you!”
23 He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows. 24 The oxen and donkeys that work the soil will eat fodder and mash, spread out with fork and shovel. 25 In the day of great slaughter, when the towers fall, streams of water will flow on every high mountain and every lofty hill. 26 The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the Lord binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted.
See, the Name of the Lord comes from afar,     with burning anger and dense clouds of smoke; his lips are full of wrath,     and his tongue is a consuming fire.
His breath is like a rushing torrent,     rising up to the neck. He shakes the nations in the sieve of destruction;     he places in the jaws of the peoples     a bit that leads them astray.
And you will sing     as on the night you celebrate a holy festival; your hearts will rejoice     as when people playing pipes go up to the mountain of the Lord,     to the Rock of Israel.
The Lord will cause people to hear his majestic voice     and will make them see his arm coming down with raging anger and consuming fire,     with cloudburst, thunderstorm and hail.
The voice of the Lord will shatter Assyria;     with his rod he will strike them down.
Every stroke the Lord lays on them     with his punishing club will be to the music of timbrels and harps,     as he fights them in battle with the blows of his arm.
Topheth has long been prepared;     it has been made ready for the king. Its fire pit has been made deep and wide,     with an abundance of fire and wood; the breath of the Lord,     like a stream of burning sulfur,     sets it ablaze.
Woe to Those Who Rely on Egypt
Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,     who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots     and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel,     or seek help from the Lord.

Yet he too is wise and can bring disaster;     he does not take back his words. He will rise up against that wicked nation,     against those who help evildoers.

But the Egyptians are mere mortals and not God;     their horses are flesh and not spirit. When the Lord stretches out his hand,     those who help will stumble,     those who are helped will fall;     all will perish together.
This is what the Lord says to me:
“As a lion growls,     a great lion over its prey— and though a whole band of shepherds     is called together against it, it is not frightened by their shouts     or disturbed by their clamor— so the Lord Almighty will come down     to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights.

Like birds hovering overhead,     the Lord Almighty will shield Jerusalem; he will shield it and deliver it,     he will ‘pass over’ it and will rescue it.”
Return, you Israelites, to the One you have so greatly revolted against. For in that day every one of you will reject the idols of silver and gold your sinful hands have made.

“Assyria will fall by no human sword;     a sword, not of mortals, will devour them. They will flee before the sword     and their young men will be put to forced labor.

Their stronghold will fall because of terror;     at the sight of the battle standard their commanders will panic,” declares the Lord,     whose fire is in Zion,     whose furnace is in Jerusalem.
The Kingdom of Righteousness
See, a king will reign in righteousness     and rulers will rule with justice.

Each one will be like a shelter from the wind     and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert     and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.

Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed,     and the ears of those who hear will listen.

The fearful heart will know and understand,     and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear.

No longer will the fool be called noble     nor the scoundrel be highly respected.

For fools speak folly,     their hearts are bent on evil: They practice ungodliness     and spread error concerning the Lord; the hungry they leave empty     and from the thirsty they withhold water.

Scoundrels use wicked methods,     they make up evil schemes to destroy the poor with lies,     even when the plea of the needy is just.

But the noble make noble plans,     and by noble deeds they stand.
The Women of Jerusalem

You women who are so complacent,     rise up and listen to me; you daughters who feel secure,     hear what I have to say!
In little more than a year     you who feel secure will tremble; the grape harvest will fail,     and the harvest of fruit will not come.
Tremble, you complacent women;     shudder, you daughters who feel secure! Strip off your fine clothes     and wrap yourselves in rags.
Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields,     for the fruitful vines
and for the land of my people,     a land overgrown with thorns and briers— yes, mourn for all houses of merriment     and for this city of revelry.
The fortress will be abandoned,     the noisy city deserted; citadel and watchtower will become a wasteland forever,     the delight of donkeys, a pasture for flocks,
till the Spirit is poured on us from on high,     and the desert becomes a fertile field,     and the fertile field seems like a forest.
The Lord’s justice will dwell in the desert,     his righteousness live in the fertile field.
The fruit of that righteousness will be peace;     its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.
My people will live in peaceful dwelling places,     in secure homes,     in undisturbed places of rest.
Though hail flattens the forest     and the city is leveled completely,
how blessed you will be,     sowing your seed by every stream,     and letting your cattle and donkeys range free.
Distress and Help
Woe to you, destroyer,     you who have not been destroyed! Woe to you, betrayer,     you who have not been betrayed! When you stop destroying,     you will be destroyed; when you stop betraying,     you will be betrayed.

Lord, be gracious to us;     we long for you. Be our strength every morning,     our salvation in time of distress.

At the uproar of your army, the peoples flee;     when you rise up, the nations scatter.

Your plunder, O nations, is harvested as by young locusts;     like a swarm of locusts people pounce on it.

The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high;     he will fill Zion with his justice and righteousness.

He will be the sure foundation for your times,     a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;     the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.

Look, their brave men cry aloud in the streets;     the envoys of peace weep bitterly.

The highways are deserted,     no travelers are on the roads. The treaty is broken,     its witnesses are despised,     no one is respected.

The land dries up and wastes away,     Lebanon is ashamed and withers; Sharon is like the Arabah,     and Bashan and Carmel drop their leaves.
“Now will I arise,” says the Lord.     “Now will I be exalted;     now will I be lifted up.
You conceive chaff,     you give birth to straw;     your breath is a fire that consumes you.
The peoples will be burned to ashes;     like cut thornbushes they will be set ablaze.”
You who are far away, hear what I have done;     you who are near, acknowledge my power!
The sinners in Zion are terrified;     trembling grips the godless: “Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire?     Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?”
Those who walk righteously     and speak what is right, who reject gain from extortion     and keep their hands from accepting bribes, who stop their ears against plots of murder     and shut their eyes against contemplating evil—
they are the ones who will dwell on the heights,     whose refuge will be the mountain fortress. Their bread will be supplied,     and water will not fail them.
Your eyes will see the king in his beauty     and view a land that stretches afar.
In your thoughts you will ponder the former terror:     “Where is that chief officer? Where is the one who took the revenue?     Where is the officer in charge of the towers?”
You will see those arrogant people no more,     people whose speech is obscure,     whose language is strange and incomprehensible.
Look on Zion, the city of our festivals;     your eyes will see Jerusalem,     a peaceful abode, a tent that will not be moved; its stakes will never be pulled up,     nor any of its ropes broken.
There the Lord will be our Mighty One.     It will be like a place of broad rivers and streams. No galley with oars will ride them,     no mighty ship will sail them.
For the Lord is our judge,     the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king;     it is he who will save us.
Your rigging hangs loose:     The mast is not held secure,     the sail is not spread. Then an abundance of spoils will be divided     and even the lame will carry off plunder.
No one living in Zion will say, “I am ill”;     and the sins of those who dwell there will be forgiven.
Judgment Against the Nations
Come near, you nations, and listen;     pay attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it,     the world, and all that comes out of it!

The Lord is angry with all nations;     his wrath is on all their armies. He will totally destroy them,     he will give them over to slaughter.

Their slain will be thrown out,     their dead bodies will stink;     the mountains will be soaked with their blood.

All the stars in the sky will be dissolved     and the heavens rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall     like withered leaves from the vine,     like shriveled figs from the fig tree.

My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens;     see, it descends in judgment on Edom,     the people I have totally destroyed.

The sword of the Lord is bathed in blood,     it is covered with fat— the blood of lambs and goats,     fat from the kidneys of rams. For the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah     and a great slaughter in the land of Edom.

And the wild oxen will fall with them,     the bull calves and the great bulls. Their land will be drenched with blood,     and the dust will be soaked with fat.

For the Lord has a day of vengeance,     a year of retribution, to uphold Zion’s cause.

Edom’s streams will be turned into pitch,     her dust into burning sulfur;     her land will become blazing pitch!
It will not be quenched night or day;     its smoke will rise forever. From generation to generation it will lie desolate;     no one will ever pass through it again.
The desert owl and screech owl will possess it;     the great owl and the raven will nest there. God will stretch out over Edom     the measuring line of chaos     and the plumb line of desolation.
Her nobles will have nothing there to be called a kingdom,     all her princes will vanish away.
Thorns will overrun her citadels,     nettles and brambles her strongholds. She will become a haunt for jackals,     a home for owls.
Desert creatures will meet with hyenas,     and wild goats will bleat to each other; there the night creatures will also lie down     and find for themselves places of rest.
The owl will nest there and lay eggs,     she will hatch them, and care for her young     under the shadow of her wings; there also the falcons will gather,     each with its mate.
16 Look in the scroll of the Lord and read:
None of these will be missing,     not one will lack her mate. For it is his mouth that has given the order,     and his Spirit will gather them together.
He allots their portions;     his hand distributes them by measure. They will possess it forever     and dwell there from generation to generation.
Joy of the Redeemed
The desert and the parched land will be glad;     the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;     it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,     the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord,     the splendor of our God.

Strengthen the feeble hands,     steady the knees that give way;

say to those with fearful hearts,     “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come,     he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution     he will come to save you.”

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened     and the ears of the deaf unstopped.

Then will the lame leap like a deer,     and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness     and streams in the desert.

The burning sand will become a pool,     the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay,     grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.

And a highway will be there;     it will be called the Way of Holiness;     it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it;     wicked fools will not go about on it.

No lion will be there,     nor any ravenous beast;     they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there,
    and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing;     everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them,     and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Joshua 23
New International Version (NIV)
Joshua’s Farewell to the Leaders
23 After a long time had passed and the Lord had given Israel rest from all their enemies around them, Joshua, by then a very old man, summoned all Israel—their elders, leaders, judges and officials—and said to them: “I am very old. You yourselves have seen everything the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was the Lord your God who fought for you. Remember how I have allotted as an inheritance for your tribes all the land of the nations that remain—the nations I conquered—between the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea in the west. The Lord your God himself will push them out for your sake. He will drive them out before you, and you will take possession of their land, as the Lord your God promised you.
“Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them. But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now.
“The Lord has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. 10 One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised. 11 So be very careful to love the Lord your God.
12 “But if you turn away and ally yourselves with the survivors of these nations that remain among you and if you intermarry with them and associate with them, 13 then you may be sure that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you. Instead, they will become snares and traps for you, whips on your backs and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land, which the Lord your God has given you.
14 “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. 15 But just as all the good things the Lord your God has promised you have come to you, so he will bring on you all the evil things he has threatened, until the Lord your God has destroyed you from this good land he has given you. 16 If you violate the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you.”
1 Chronicles 21
New International Version (NIV)
David Counts the Fighting Men
21 Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, “Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are.”
But Joab replied, “May the Lord multiply his troops a hundred times over. My lord the king, are they not all my lord’s subjects? Why does my lord want to do this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?”
The king’s word, however, overruled Joab; so Joab left and went throughout Israel and then came back to Jerusalem. Joab reported the number of the fighting men to David: In all Israel there were one million one hundred thousand men who could handle a sword, including four hundred and seventy thousand in Judah.
But Joab did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, because the king’s command was repulsive to him. This command was also evil in the sight of God; so he punished Israel.
Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by doing this. Now, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.”
The Lord said to Gad, David’s seer, 10 “Go and tell David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am giving you three options. Choose one of them for me to carry out against you.’”
11 So Gad went to David and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Take your choice: 12 three years of famine, three months of being swept away before your enemies, with their swords overtaking you, or three days of the sword of the Lord—days of plague in the land, with the angel of the Lord ravaging every part of Israel.’ Now then, decide how I should answer the one who sent me.”
13 David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is very great; but do not let me fall into human hands.”
14 So the Lord sent a plague on Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel fell dead. 15 And God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem. But as the angel was doing so, the Lord saw it and relented concerning the disaster and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “Enough! Withdraw your hand.” The angel of the Lord was then standing at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
16 David looked up and saw the angel of the Lord standing between heaven and earth, with a drawn sword in his hand extended over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell facedown.
17 David said to God, “Was it not I who ordered the fighting men to be counted? I, the shepherd, have sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Lord my God, let your hand fall on me and my family, but do not let this plague remain on your people.”
David Builds an Altar
18 Then the angel of the Lord ordered Gad to tell David to go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 19 So David went up in obedience to the word that Gad had spoken in the name of the Lord.
20 While Araunah was threshing wheat, he turned and saw the angel; his four sons who were with him hid themselves. 21 Then David approached, and when Araunah looked and saw him, he left the threshing floor and bowed down before David with his face to the ground.
22 David said to him, “Let me have the site of your threshing floor so I can build an altar to the Lord, that the plague on the people may be stopped. Sell it to me at the full price.”
23 Araunah said to David, “Take it! Let my lord the king do whatever pleases him. Look, I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for the wood, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give all this.”
24 But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”
25 So David paid Araunah six hundred shekels of gold for the site. 26 David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. He called on the Lord, and the Lord answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering.
27 Then the Lord spoke to the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath. 28 At that time, when David saw that the Lord had answered him on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, he offered sacrifices there. 29 The tabernacle of the Lord, which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering were at that time on the high place at Gibeon. 30 But David could not go before it to inquire of God, because he was afraid of the sword of the angel of the Lord.
Psalm 73
New International Version (NIV)
Psalms 73–89
Psalm 73
A psalm of Asaph.

Surely God is good to Israel,     to those who are pure in heart.

But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;     I had nearly lost my foothold.

For I envied the arrogant     when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

They have no struggles;     their bodies are healthy and strong.

They are free from common human burdens;     they are not plagued by human ills.

Therefore pride is their necklace;     they clothe themselves with violence.

From their callous hearts comes iniquity;     their evil imaginations have no limits.

They scoff, and speak with malice;     with arrogance they threaten oppression.

Their mouths lay claim to heaven,     and their tongues take possession of the earth.
Therefore their people turn to them     and drink up waters in abundance.
They say, “How would God know?     Does the Most High know anything?”
This is what the wicked are like—     always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.
Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure     and have washed my hands in innocence.
All day long I have been afflicted,     and every morning brings new punishments.
If I had spoken out like that,     I would have betrayed your children.
When I tried to understand all this,     it troubled me deeply
till I entered the sanctuary of God;     then I understood their final destiny.
Surely you place them on slippery ground;     you cast them down to ruin.
How suddenly are they destroyed,     completely swept away by terrors!
They are like a dream when one awakes;     when you arise, Lord,     you will despise them as fantasies.
When my heart was grieved     and my spirit embittered,
I was senseless and ignorant;     I was a brute beast before you.
Yet I am always with you;     you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,     and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?     And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,     but God is the strength of my heart     and my portion forever.
Those who are far from you will perish;     you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
But as for me, it is good to be near God.     I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;     I will tell of all your deeds.

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