30 June 2017 Bible Reading
Our reading from the 148th Psalm is one of the most frequently used psalms for English language hymns, today. A quick Google search will yield hundreds of variations.
2 Kings 17-18:12
17 In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Hoshea the son of Elah began to reign in Samaria over Israel for nine years. 2 He did that which was evil in Yahweh’s sight, yet not as the kings of Israel who were before him. 3 Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against him, and Hoshea became his servant, and brought him tribute. 4 The king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea; for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and offered no tribute to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year. Therefore the king of Assyria seized him, and bound him in prison. 5 Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years. 6 In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away to Assyria, and placed them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. 7 It was so because the children of Israel had sinned against Yahweh their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods, 8 and walked in the statutes of the nations whom Yahweh cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they made. 9 The children of Israel secretly did things that were not right against Yahweh their God; and they built high places for themselves in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fortified city; 10 and they set up for themselves pillars and Asherah poles on every high hill, and under every green tree; 11 and there they burnt incense in all the high places, as the nations whom Yahweh carried away before them did; and they did wicked things to provoke Yahweh to anger; 12 and they served idols, of which Yahweh had said to them, “You shall not do this thing.” 13 Yet Yahweh testified to Israel, and to Judah, by every prophet, and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.” 14 Notwithstanding, they would not listen, but hardened their neck, like the neck of their fathers, who didn’t believe in Yahweh their God. 15 They rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified to them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom Yahweh had commanded them that they should not do like them. 16 They abandoned all the commandments of Yahweh their God, and made molten images for themselves, even two calves, and made an Asherah, and worshiped all the army of the sky, and served Baal. 17 They caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do that which was evil in Yahweh’s sight, to provoke him to anger. 18 Therefore Yahweh was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight. There was none left but the tribe of Judah only. 19 Also Judah didn’t keep the commandments of Yahweh their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made. 20 Yahweh rejected all the offspring of Israel, afflicted them, and delivered them into the hands of raiders, until he had cast them out of his sight. 21 For he tore Israel from David’s house; and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king; and Jeroboam drove Israel from following Yahweh, and made them sin a great sin. 22 The children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they didn’t depart from them 23 until Yahweh removed Israel out of his sight, as he said by all his servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away out of their own land to Assyria to this day.
24 The king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, from Cuthah, from Avva, and from Hamath and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel; and they possessed Samaria, and lived in its cities. 25 So it was, at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they didn’t fear Yahweh. Therefore Yahweh sent lions among them, which killed some of them. 26 Therefore they spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, “The nations which you have carried away and placed in the cities of Samaria don’t know the law of the god of the land. Therefore he has sent lions among them, and behold, they kill them, because they don’t know the law of the god of the land.”
27 Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, “Carry there one of the priests whom you brought from there; and let them go and dwell there, and let him teach them the law of the god of the land.”
28 So one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and lived in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear Yahweh. 29 However every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities in which they lived. 30 The men of Babylon made Succoth Benoth, and the men of Cuth made Nergal, and the men of Hamath made Ashima, 31 and the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak; and the Sepharvites burnt their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. 32 So they feared Yahweh, and also made from among themselves priests of the high places for themselves, who sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places. 33 They feared Yahweh, and also served their own gods, after the ways of the nations from among whom they had been carried away. 34 To this day they do what they did before. They don’t fear Yahweh, and they do not follow the statutes, or the ordinances, or the law, or the commandment which Yahweh commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel; 35 with whom Yahweh had made a covenant, and commanded them, saying, “You shall not fear other gods, nor bow yourselves to them, nor serve them, nor sacrifice to them; 36 but you shall fear Yahweh, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm, and you shall bow yourselves to him, and you shall sacrifice to him. 37 The statutes and the ordinances, and the law and the commandment, which he wrote for you, you shall observe to do forever more. You shall not fear other gods. 38 You shall not forget the covenant that I have made with you. You shall not fear other gods. 39 But you shall fear Yahweh your God, and he will deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.” 40 However they did not listen, but they did what they did before. 41 So these nations feared Yahweh, and also served their engraved images. Their children likewise, and their children’s children, as their fathers did, so they do to this day.
18 Now in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi the daughter of Zechariah. 3 He did that which was right in Yahweh’s eyes, according to all that David his father had done. 4 He removed the high places, and broke the pillars, and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, because in those days the children of Israel burned incense to it; and he called it Nehushtan. 5 He trusted in Yahweh, the God of Israel; so that after him was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among them that were before him. 6 For he joined with Yahweh. He didn’t depart from following him, but kept his commandments, which Yahweh commanded Moses. 7 Yahweh was with him. Wherever he went, he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria, and didn’t serve him. 8 He struck the Philistines to Gaza and its borders, from the tower of the watchmen to the fortified city.
9 In the fourth year of king Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria, and besieged it. 10 At the end of three years they took it. In the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken. 11 The king of Assyria carried Israel away to Assyria, and put them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes, 12 because they didn’t obey Yahweh their God’s voice, but transgressed his covenant, even all that Moses the servant of Yahweh commanded, and would not hear it or do it.
20 After the uproar had ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, took leave of them, and departed to go into Macedonia. 2 When he had gone through those parts, and had encouraged them with many words, he came into Greece. 3 When he had spent three months there, and a plot was made against him by Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he determined to return through Macedonia. 4 These accompanied him as far as Asia: Sopater of Beroea; Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians; Gaius of Derbe; Timothy; and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia. 5 But these had gone ahead, and were waiting for us at Troas. 6 We sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and came to them at Troas in five days, where we stayed seven days.
7 On the first day of the week, when the disciples were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and continued his speech until midnight. 8 There were many lights in the upper room where we were gathered together. 9 A certain young man named Eutychus sat in the window, weighed down with deep sleep. As Paul spoke still longer, being weighed down by his sleep, he fell down from the third floor, and was taken up dead. 10 Paul went down, and fell upon him, and embracing him said, “Don’t be troubled, for his life is in him.”
11 When he had gone up, and had broken bread, and eaten, and had talked with them a long while, even until break of day, he departed. 12 They brought the boy in alive, and were greatly comforted.
13 But we who went ahead to the ship set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there, for he had so arranged, intending himself to go by land. 14 When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard, and came to Mitylene. 15 Sailing from there, we came the following day opposite Chios. The next day we touched at Samos and stayed at Trogyllium, and the day after we came to Miletus. 16 For Paul had determined to sail past Ephesus, that he might not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hastening, if it were possible for him, to be in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost.
17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called to himself the elders of the assembly. 18 When they had come to him, he said to them, “You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you all the time, 19 serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears, and with trials which happened to me by the plots of the Jews; 20 how I didn’t shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, teaching you publicly and from house to house, 21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus. 22 Now, behold, I go bound by the Spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there; 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions wait for me. 24 But these things don’t count; nor do I hold my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to fully testify to the Good News of the grace of God.
25 “Now, behold, I know that you all, among whom I went about preaching God’s Kingdom, will see my face no more. 26 Therefore I testify to you today that I am clean from the blood of all men, 27 for I didn’t shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Take heed, therefore, to yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the assembly of the Lord and God which he purchased with his own blood. 29 For I know that after my departure, vicious wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Men will arise from among your own selves, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore watch, remembering that for a period of three years I didn’t cease to admonish everyone night and day with tears. 32 Now, brothers, I entrust you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build up, and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I coveted no one’s silver, or gold, or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands served my necessities, and those who were with me. 35 In all things I gave you an example, that so laboring you ought to help the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
36 When he had spoken these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 They all wept a lot, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, 38 sorrowing most of all because of the word which he had spoken, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him to the ship.
148 Praise Yah!
Praise Yahweh from the heavens!
Praise him in the heights!
2 Praise him, all his angels!
Praise him, all his army!
3 Praise him, sun and moon!
Praise him, all you shining stars!
4 Praise him, you heavens of heavens,
You waters that are above the heavens.
5 Let them praise Yahweh’s name,
For he commanded, and they were created.
6 He has also established them forever and ever.
He has made a decree which will not pass away.
7 Praise Yahweh from the earth,
you great sea creatures, and all depths!
8 Lightning and hail, snow and clouds;
stormy wind, fulfilling his word;
9 mountains and all hills;
fruit trees and all cedars;
10 wild animals and all livestock;
small creatures and flying birds;
11 kings of the earth and all peoples;
princes and all judges of the earth;
12 both young men and maidens;
old men and children:
13 let them praise Yahweh’s name,
for his name alone is exalted.
His glory is above the earth and the heavens.
14 He has lifted up the horn of his people,
the praise of all his saints;
even of the children of Israel, a people near to him.
6 A fool’s lips come into strife,
and his mouth invites beatings.
7 A fool’s mouth is his destruction,
and his lips are a snare to his soul.