Day 248 of the Holy Bible One Year CHALLENGE. God uses the King of Assyria to punish Israel. 2 Corinthians 8: Help for Macedonia
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2 Corinthians 8:1-15
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Warnings to Isaiah
11 The LORD spoke to me with his great power and warned me not to be like these people: 12 “Don’t worry about the ‘evil plans’ these people talk about. Don’t be afraid of what they fear. Don’t let them frighten you.”
13 The LORD All-Powerful is the one you should fear. He is the one you should respect.§§ He is the one who should frighten you. 14 If you people would re- spect him, he would be a safe place* for you. But you don’t respect him, so he is like a stone that you stumble over. He is a rock that makes both families of Israel fall. He has become a trap that all the people of Jerusalem will fall into.
15 (Many people will trip over this rock. They will fall and be broken. They will be caught in the trap.)
16 Write this agreement. Tie it up and seal it so that it cannot be changed. Give these teachings to my followers for safekeeping.
17 The LORD has turned away from the descendants of Jacob, but I will wait for him.
I trust that he will come to save us.
18 Here I am with the children the LORD has given me. We are here as signs from the LORD All-Powerful, who lives on Mount Zion. He is using us to show his plans for the people of Israel.
19 People will say to you, “Go to those who know how to get advice from ghosts and spirits of the dead and who mumble and chirp like birds. Ask them what to do. Shouldn’t people go to their gods, the spirits of their ancestors, for help? By contacting the dead, those still living 20 can get advice or some message to help them know what to do.” But I tell you for sure, there is no future for those who say these things.
21 They will go down to the world below, tired and hungry. Their growing hunger will make them angry. And looking up, they will curse their king and their gods. 22 And looking down into the world below, they will see only trouble, depressing darkness and misery. Then they will be thrown down into the deep- est darkness.
A New Day Is Coming
But there will be an end to the gloom those people suffered. In the past, people thought the land of Zebulun and
Naphtali was not important. But later, that land will be honored—the land along the sea, the land east of the Jor- dan River and Galilee where the people from other nations live.
2 The people who live in spiritual darkness
have seen a great light.
Salvation has come like the dawn†
for those who live in a land as dark as death.
3 Lord, you have given your nation great joy;
you have made your people happy.
They rejoice before you
as they rejoice at harvest time.
They are like soldiers celebrating
over what they have won in battle.
4 Yes, you have lifted the heavy yoke off their shoulders
and have taken away their heavy burden.
You have taken away the rod that the enemy used to punish your people,
as you did when you defeated Midian.
5 Yes, every boot that marched in battle and every uniform stained with blood
will be destroyed
and thrown into the fire.
6 This will happen when a special child is born.
God will give us a son.
He will be responsible for leading the people,
and his name will be
Wonderful Counsellor, Powerful God, Father Who Lives Forever, Prince of Peace.
7 His power will continue to grow,
and there will be peace without end.
He will sit as king on the throne David had
and rule over his kingdom.
He will rule with honesty and justice
and build a strong kingdom that will go on forever.
It is the deep desire of the LORD All-Powerful
to make this happen!
God Will Punish Israel
8 The Lord gave a command against Jacob
and someone in Israel fell.
9 So all the people in Ephraim, including the ruler in Samaria,
learned their lesson.
Those people are very proud and boastful now. They say,
10 “Yes, those bricks fell,
but we will rebuild with strong stone.
Yes, those little trees were chopped down,
but we will plant new trees,
and they will be large, strong trees.”
11 The LORD found people to go up and fight against Rezin.
He stirred up Rezin’s enemies.
12 As for Israel, the Arameans are in front of him
and the Philistines are behind him.
And they are both eating away at him. But the Lord is not finished yet.
He is still angry,
and his arm is raised to continue punishing Israel.
13 The people did not stop sinning.
They did not come to the LORD All- Powerful for help.
14 So the LORD cut off Israel’s head and tail.
He took away the branch and the stalk in one day.
15 Israel’s leaders and those in power are the “head”.
And their lying prophets are the “tail”.
16 Their guides are leading them the wrong way,
so those who follow them are headed for ruin.
17 They are all evil and have no respect for God.
Everything they say is wrong.
So the Lord is not happy with their young men,
and he will not have pity even on their widows and orphans.
The Lord has punished them, but he is not finished yet.
He is still angry,
and his arm is raised to continue punishing his people.
18 That evil was like a small fire that started among the weeds and thorns and then spread to the larger bushes in
Finally, it became a giant fire, and everything went up in smoke.
19 The LORD All-Powerful was angry, so the land was burned.
The people were fuel for the fire.
No one showed any compassion to anyone else.
20 People looked to the right and
grabbed whatever they could, but they were still hungry.
They grabbed whatever was on their left, but still, they were not satisfied.
So they turned on themselves
and began to eat the bodies of their own children.
21 Manasseh fought against Ephraim,
and Ephraim fought against Manasseh. Then both of them turned on Judah.
But the Lord is not finished punishing his people.
He is still angry,
and his arm is raised to continue punishing them.
Just look at those lawmakers who write evil laws
and make life hard for the people.
2 They are not fair to the poor.
They take away the rights of the poor
and allow people to steal from widows and orphans.
3 Lawmakers, you will have to explain
what you have done. What will you do then?
Your destruction is coming from a far-away country.
Where will you run for help?
Your money and your riches will not help you.
4 You will have to bow down like a prisoner.
You will fall down like a dead man, but that will not help you.
God will still be angry
and ready to punish you.
God Will Punish Assyria’s Pride
5 God says: “I will use Assyria like a stick. In my anger, I will use Assyria to punish Israel.
6 I will send Assyria to fight against the people who do evil.
I am angry with them,
and I will command Assyria to fight against them.
Assyria will defeat them and take their wealth.
Israel will be like dirt for Assyria to trample in the streets.
7 But Assyria’s king does not understand that I will use him.
He does not think of himself as my tool. He only wants to destroy other people; he only plans to destroy many nations. 8 The king of Assyria says to himself, ‘All my officers are like kings!
9 They defeated the city of Calno as easily as Carchemish.
Arpad was defeated like Hamath and Samaria like Damascus.
10 I took control of those evil kingdoms
whose gods were greater than those of Jerusalem and Samaria.
11 Just as I defeated Samaria and her gods,
so I will also defeat Jerusalem and its idols.’”
12 When the Lord finishes doing what
he planned to Jerusalem and Mount Zion, he will punish Assyria. The king of Assyria is very proud. His pride made him do many bad things, so God will punish him. 13 The king of Assyria said: “By my own power I have done many great things;
by my wisdom I have defeated many nations.
I have taken their wealth and their people as slaves.
I am a very powerful man.
14 With my own hands I have taken the riches of all these people,
like someone taking eggs from a bird’s nest.
A bird often leaves its nest and eggs,
and there is nothing to protect the nest.
There is no bird to chirp and fight with its wings and beak,
so anyone can come and take the eggs.
And there is no one to stop me
from taking all the people on earth.”
15 But an axe is not better than the one who cuts with it.
A saw is not better than the one who uses it.
Is a stick stronger than the one who picks it up?
It can’t do anything to the person who is using it to punish someone!
16 So Assyria will be helpless before the
Lord GOD All-Powerful.
The Lord will send a terrible disease against Assyria’s strong army.
Its glory will be destroyed,
like a fire that burns until everything is gone.
17 The Light of Israel will be like a fire.
The Holy One will be like a flame.
He will be like a fire that first begins to burn the weeds and thorns
18 and then spreads to burn up the tall
trees and vineyards.
Finally, everything will be destroyed— even the people.
Assyria will be like a rotting log.
19 There will be a few trees left standing in the forest,
so few that even a child could count them.
2 Corinthians 8:1-15
Help for God’s People in Judea
And now, brothers and sisters, we want to tell you what God’s grace has done in the churches in Macedonia. 2 These believers have been tested by great troubles, and they are very poor. But their great joy caused them to be very generous in their giving. 3 I can tell you that they gave as much as they were able and even more than they could afford. No one told them to do this. It
was their idea. 4 They asked us again and again—they begged us to let them share in this service for God’s people. 5 And they gave in a way that we did not expect: they gave themselves to the Lord and to us before they gave their money. This is what God wants. 6 So we asked Titus to help you finish this special work of giving. He is the one who helped you begin this work. 7 You are rich in everything—in faith, in speaking ability, in knowledge, in the willingness to help in every way and in the love you learned from us. So now we want you to be rich in this work of giving too.
8 I am not ordering you to give, but I want to see how real your love is by comparing you with others who have been so ready and willing to help. 9 You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. You know that he gave up his heavenly riches and became poor for you. He gave up everything so that you could be richly blessed.
10 This is what I think you should do:
last year you were the first to want to give, and you were the first who gave. 11 So now finish the work you started. Then your “doing” will be equal to your “wanting to do”. Give from what you have. 12 If you want to give, your gift will be accepted. Your gift will be judged by what you have, not by what you don’t have. 13 We don’t want you to have troubles while others are comforted. We want everything to be equal. 14 At this time you have plenty and can provide what they need. Then later, when they have plenty, they can provide what you need. Then everyone will have an equal share. 15 As the Scriptures say,
“Those who gathered much did not have too much, and those who gathered little did not have too little.”
27 God hates sacrifices from the wicked,
especially when their reason for offering them is evil.
28 Witnesses who lie will be caught and punished.
The ones who listen to them carefully will win the case when they speak.
29 The wicked act like they are telling the truth,
but honest people can see what they are doing.
30 There is no one wise enough to make a plan
that can succeed if the LORD is against it.
31 You can prepare your horses for battle, but only the LORD can give you the victory.
It is better to be respected than to be rich.
A good name is worth more than silver or gold.
2 The rich and the poor are the same.
The LORD made them all.
3 Wise people see trouble coming and get out of the way,
but fools ignore the danger and suffer for it.
4 Respect the LORD and be humble.
Then you will have wealth, honor and true life.
5 Evil people follow a path full of thorns and traps,
but people who want to protect themselves avoid such dangers.
6 Teach children in a way that fits their needs,
and even when they are old, they will not leave the right path.
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