Luke 11:29–36; 2 Thessalonians 1:1–7; Psalm 144; 2 Chronicles 17–19

The Sign of Jonah

29 uWhen the crowds were increasing, he began to say, vThis generation is an evil generation. wIt seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as xJonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31 yThe queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the men of this generation and zcondemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, asomething greater than Solomon is here. 32 bThe men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and zcondemn it, for cthey repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, asomething greater than Jonah is here.

The Light in You

33 dNo one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is ethe lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is fbad, your body is full of darkness. 35 eTherefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. 36 If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, gas when a lamp with its rays gives you light.


2 Thessalonians Illustration

2 Thessalonians

Greeting

aPaul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving

bWe ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers,1 as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore cwe ourselves boast about you din the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith ein all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.

The Judgment at Christ’s Coming

This is fevidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be gconsidered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering since indeed God considers it hjust ito repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant jrelief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when kthe Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven lwith his mighty angels


My Rock and My Fortress

Of David.

144  Blessed be the Lord, my grock,

hwho trains my hands for war,

and my fingers for battle;

he is my isteadfast love and my jfortress,

my kstronghold and my deliverer,

my lshield and he in whom I take refuge,

who msubdues peoples1 under me.

O Lord, nwhat is man that you oregard him,

or the son of man that you think of him?

pMan is like a breath;

his days are like qa passing rshadow.

sBow your heavens, O Lord, and come down!

tTouch the mountains so that they smoke!

uFlash forth the lightning and scatter them;

usend out your arrows and rout them!

vStretch out your hand from on high;

wrescue me and deliver me from the many waters,

from the hand xof foreigners,

whose mouths speak ylies

and whose right hand is za right hand of falsehood.

I will sing aa new song to you, O God;

upon aa ten-stringed harp I will play to you,

10  who gives victory to kings,

who brescues David his servant from the cruel sword.

11  Rescue me and deliver me

from the hand xof foreigners,

whose mouths speak ylies

and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

12  May our sons in their youth

be like cplants full grown,

our daughters like dcorner pillars

cut for the structure of a palace;

13  emay our granaries be full,

fproviding all kinds of produce;

may our sheep bring forth thousands

and ten thousands in our fields;

14  may our cattle be heavy with young,

suffering no mishap or failure in bearing;2

may there be no gcry of distress in our streets!

15  hBlessed are the people to whom such blessings fall!

iBlessed are the people whose God is the Lord!


Jehoshaphat Reigns in Judah

17 Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his place and strengthened himself against Israel. He placed forces in all the nfortified cities of Judah and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim othat Asa his father had captured. The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father David. He did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments, pand not according to the practices of Israel. Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand. And all Judah qbrought tribute to Jehoshaphat, rand he had great riches and honor. His heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord. And furthermore, she took the high places and the Asherim out of Judah.

In the third year of his reign he sent his officials, Ben-hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah, tto teach in the cities of Judah; uand with them the Levites, Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tobadonijah; and with these Levites, the priests Elishama and Jehoram. And tthey taught in Judah, having the Book of the Law of the Lord with them. They went about through all the cities of Judah and taught among the people.

10 vAnd the fear of the Lord fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah, and they made no war against Jehoshaphat. 11 Some of the Philistines wbrought Jehoshaphat presents and silver for tribute, and the Arabians also brought him 7,700 rams and 7,700 goats. 12 And Jehoshaphat grew steadily greater. He built in Judah fortresses and store cities, 13 and he had large supplies in the cities of Judah. He had soldiers, mighty men of valor, in Jerusalem. 14 This was the muster of them by fathers’ houses: Of Judah, the commanders of thousands: Adnah the commander, with 300,000 mighty men of valor; 15 and next to him Jehohanan the commander, with 280,000; 16 and next to him Amasiah the son of Zichri, xa volunteer for the service of the Lord, with 200,000 mighty men of valor. 17 Of Benjamin: Eliada, a mighty man of valor, with 200,000 men yarmed with bow and shield; 18 and next to him Jehozabad with 180,000 armed for war. 19 These were in the service of the king, besides zthose whom the king had placed in the fortified cities throughout all Judah.

Jehoshaphat Allies with Ahab

18 Now Jehoshaphat ahad great riches and honor, band he made a marriage alliance with Ahab. cAfter some years he went down to Ahab in Samaria. And Ahab killed an abundance of sheep and oxen for him and for the people who were with him, and induced him to go up against Ramoth-gilead. Ahab king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, Will you go with me to Ramoth-gilead? He answered him, I am as you are, my people as your people. We will be with you in the war.

And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, Inquire first for the word of the Lord. Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, four hundred men, and said to them, Shall we go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain? And they said, Go up, for God will give it into the hand of the king. But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here another prophet of the Lord of whom we may inquire? And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord, Micaiah the son of Imlah; but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but always evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so. Then the king of Israel summoned an officer and said, Bring quickly Micaiah the son of Imlah. Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah were sitting on their thrones, arrayed in their robes. And they were sitting at the threshing floor dat the entrance of the gate of Samaria, and all the prophets were prophesying before them. 10 And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made for himself horns of iron and said, Thus says the Lord, With these you shall push the Syrians until they are destroyed. 11 And all the prophets prophesied so and said, Go up to Ramoth-gilead and triumph. The Lord will give it into the hand of the king.

12 And the messenger who went to summon Micaiah said to him, Behold, the words of the prophets with one accord are favorable to the king. Let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably. 13 But Micaiah said, eAs the Lord lives, fwhat my God says, that I will speak. 14 And when he had come to the king, the king said to him, Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I refrain? And he answered, Go up and triumph; they will be given into your hand. 15 But the king said to him, How many times shall I make you swear that you speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord? 16 And he said, I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, gas sheep that have no shepherd. And the Lord said, These have no master; let each return to his home in peace. 17 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil? 18 And Micaiah said, Therefore hear the word of the Lord: hI saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left. 19 And the Lord said, Who will entice Ahab the king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said one thing, and another said another. 20 Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, saying, I will entice him. And the Lord said to him, By what means? 21 And he said, I will go out, and will be ia lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so. 22 Now therefore behold, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these your prophets. The Lord has declared disaster concerning you.

23 Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near jand struck Micaiah on the cheek and said, Which way did the Spirit of the Lord go from me to speak to you? 24 And Micaiah said, Behold, you shall see on that day when you go into an inner chamber to hide yourself. 25 And the king of Israel said, Seize Micaiah and take him back to Amon kthe governor of the city and to Joash the king’s son, 26 and say, Thus says the king, lPut this fellow in prison and feed him with meager rations of bread and water until I return in peace. 27 And Micaiah said, If you return in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me. And he said, mHear, all you peoples!

The Defeat and Death of Ahab

28 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead. 29 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself and go into battle, but you wear your robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and they went into battle. 30 Now the king of Syria had commanded the captains of his chariots, Fight with neither small nor great, but only with the king of Israel. 31 As soon as the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, they said, It is the king of Israel. So they turned to fight against him. And Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him; God drew them away from him. 32 For as soon as the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him. 33 But a certain man drew his bow at random1 and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate. Therefore he said to the driver of his chariot, Turn around and carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded. 34 And the battle continued that day, and the king of Israel was propped up in his chariot facing the Syrians until evening. Then at sunset he died.

Jehoshaphat’s Reforms

19 Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned in safety to his house in Jerusalem. But nJehu the son of oHanani pthe seer went out to meet him and said to King Jehoshaphat, Should you qhelp the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Because of this, rwrath has gone out against you from the Lord. Nevertheless, ssome good is found in you, for tyou destroyed the Asheroth out of the land, and have uset your heart to seek God.

Jehoshaphat lived at Jerusalem. And he went out again among the people, from Beersheba to vthe hill country of Ephraim, and brought them back to the Lord, the God of their fathers. He appointed wjudges in the land in all xthe fortified cities of Judah, city by city, and said to the judges, Consider what you do, yfor you judge not for man but for the Lord. He is with you in giving judgment. Now then, let the fear of the Lord be upon you. Be careful what you do, for zthere is no injustice with the Lord our God, aor partiality or taking bribes.

Moreover, in Jerusalem Jehoshaphat bappointed certain Levites and priests and heads of families of Israel, yto give judgment for the Lord and to decide disputed cases. They had their seat at Jerusalem. And he charged them: cThus you shall do in the fear of the Lord, in faithfulness, dand with your whole heart: 10 ewhenever a case comes to you from your brothers who live in their cities, concerning bloodshed, law or commandment, statutes or rules, then you shall warn them, that they may not incur guilt before the Lord and fwrath may not come upon you and your brothers. Thus you shall do, and you will not incur guilt. 11 And behold, Amariah the chief priest is over you gin all matters of the Lord; and Zebadiah the son of Ishmael, the governor of the house of Judah, in all the king’s matters, and the Levites will serve you as officers. hDeal courageously, and may the Lord be with the upright!2