15 The Spirit of God came[a] upon Azariah the son of Oded,2 and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The Lord is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.3 For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest and without law,4 but when in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them.5 In those times there was no peace to him who went out or to him who came in, for great disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands.6 They were broken in pieces. Nation was crushed by nation and city by city, for God troubled them with every sort of distress.7 But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.”
8 As soon as Asa heard these words, the prophecy of Azariah the son of Oded, he took courage and put away the detestable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities that he had taken in the hill country of Ephraim, and he repaired the altar of the Lord that was in front of the vestibule of the house of the Lord.[b]9 And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and those from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who were residing with them, for great numbers had deserted to him from Israel when they saw that the Lord his God was with him.10 They were gathered at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa.11 They sacrificed to the Lord on that day from the spoil that they had brought 700 oxen and 7,000 sheep.12 And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul,13 but that whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman.14 They swore an oath to the Lord with a loud voice and with shouting and with trumpets and with horns.15 And all Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and had sought him with their whole desire, and he was found by them, and the Lord gave them rest all around.
16 Even Maacah, his mother, King Asa removed from being queen mother because she had made a detestable image for Asherah. Asa cut down her image, crushed it, and burned it at the brook Kidron.17 But the high places were not taken out of Israel. Nevertheless, the heart of Asa was wholly true all his days.18 And he brought into the house of God the sacred gifts of his father and his own sacred gifts, silver, and gold, and vessels.19 And there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of the reign of Asa.
Asa's Last Years
16 In the thirty-sixth year of the reign of Asa, Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and built Ramah, that he might permit no one to go out or come in to Asa king of Judah.2 Then Asa took silver and gold from the treasures of the house of the Lord and the king's house and sent them to Ben-hadad king of Syria, who lived in Damascus, saying,3 “There is a covenant[c] between me and you, as there was between my father and your father. Behold, I am sending to you silver and gold. Go, break your covenant with Baasha king of Israel, that he may withdraw from me.”4 And Ben-hadad listened to King Asa and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel, and they conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel-maim, and all the store cities of Naphtali.5 And when Baasha heard of it, he stopped building Ramah and let his work cease.6 Then King Asa took all Judah, and they carried away the stones of Ramah and its timber, with which Baasha had been building, and with them he built Geba and Mizpah.
7 At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, “Because you relied on the king of Syria, and did not rely on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you.8 Were not the Ethiopians and the Libyans a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the Lord, he gave them into your hand.9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless[d]toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.”10 Then Asa was angry with the seer and put him in the stocks in prison, for he was in a rage with him because of this. And Asa inflicted cruelties upon some of the people at the same time.
11 The acts of Asa, from first to last, are written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel.12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe. Yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought help from physicians.13 And Asa slept with his fathers, dying in the forty-first year of his reign.14 They buried him in the tomb that he had cut for himself in the city of David. They laid him on a bier that had been filled with various kinds of spices prepared by the perfumer's art, and they made a very great fire in his honor.
2 Corinthians 5English Standard Version (ESV)
Our Heavenly Dwelling
5 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling,3 if indeed by putting it on[a] we may not be found naked.4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord,7 for we walk by faith, not by sight.8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
The Ministry of Reconciliation
11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.12 We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart.13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[b] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling[c] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
13 In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, Abijah began to reign over Judah.2 He reigned for three years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Micaiah[a] the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah.
Now there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam.3 Abijah went out to battle, having an army of valiant men of war, 400,000 chosen men. And Jeroboam drew up his line of battle against him with 800,000 chosen mighty warriors.4 Then Abijah stood up on Mount Zemaraim that is in the hill country of Ephraim and said, “Hear me, O Jeroboam and all Israel!5 Ought you not to know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingship over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt?6 Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, a servant of Solomon the son of David, rose up and rebelled against his lord,7 and certain worthless scoundrels[b] gathered about him and defied Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and irresolute[c] and could not withstand them.
8 “And now you think to withstand the kingdom of the Lord in the hand of the sons of David, because you are a great multitude and have with you the golden calves that Jeroboam made you for gods.9 Have you not driven out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and made priests for yourselves like the peoples of other lands? Whoever comes for ordination[d] with a young bull or seven rams becomes a priest of what are not gods.10 But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken him. We have priests ministering to the Lord who are sons of Aaron, and Levites for their service.11 They offer to the Lord every morning and every evening burnt offerings and incense of sweet spices, set out the showbread on the table of pure gold, and care for the golden lampstand that its lamps may burn every evening. For we keep the charge of the Lord our God, but you have forsaken him.12 Behold, God is with us at our head, and his priests with their battle trumpets to sound the call to battle against you. O sons of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your fathers, for you cannot succeed.”
13 Jeroboam had sent an ambush around to come upon them from behind. Thus his troops[e] were in front of Judah, and the ambush was behind them.14 And when Judah looked, behold, the battle was in front of and behind them. And they cried to the Lord, and the priests blew the trumpets.15 Then the men of Judah raised the battle shout. And when the men of Judah shouted, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.16 The men of Israel fled before Judah, and God gave them into their hand.17 Abijah and his people struck them with great force, so there fell slain of Israel 500,000 chosen men.18 Thus the men of Israel were subdued at that time, and the men of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the Lord, the God of their fathers.19 And Abijah pursued Jeroboam and took cities from him, Bethel with its villages and Jeshanah with its villages and Ephron[f] with its villages.20 Jeroboam did not recover his power in the days of Abijah. And the Lord struck him down, and he died.21 But Abijah grew mighty. And he took fourteen wives and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters.22 The rest of the acts of Abijah, his ways and his sayings, are written in the story of the prophet Iddo.
Asa Reigns in Judah
14 [g] Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David. And Asa his son reigned in his place. In his days the land had rest for ten years.2 [h] And Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God.3 He took away the foreign altars and the high places and broke down the pillars and cut down the Asherim4 and commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to keep the law and the commandment.5 He also took out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the incense altars. And the kingdom had rest under him.6 He built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest. He had no war in those years, for the Lord gave him peace.7 And he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God. We have sought him, and he has given us peace on every side.” So they built and prospered.8 And Asa had an army of 300,000 from Judah, armed with large shields and spears, and 280,000 men from Benjamin that carried shields and drew bows. All these were mighty men of valor.
9 Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots, and came as far as Mareshah.10 And Asa went out to meet him, and they drew up their lines of battle in the Valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.11 And Asa cried to the Lord his God, “O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.”12 So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled.13 Asa and the people who were with him pursued them as far as Gerar, and the Ethiopians fell until none remained alive, for they were broken before the Lord and his army. The men of Judah[i] carried away very much spoil.14 And they attacked all the cities around Gerar, for the fear of the Lord was upon them. They plundered all the cities, for there was much plunder in them.15 And they struck down the tents of those who had livestock and carried away sheep in abundance and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.
2 Corinthians 4English Standard Version (ESV)
The Light of the Gospel
4 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God,[a] we do not lose heart.2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice[b] cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God.3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants[c] for Jesus' sake.6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Treasure in Jars of Clay
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.
13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak,14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self[d] is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.