Day 259 of the Holy Bible One Year CHALLENGE. King Hezekiah is gravely ill and turns to Isaiah for help. Galatians 2: Faith vs The Law

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Isaiah 38

Isaiah 39

Isaiah 40

Galatians 2:11-21

Galatians 3:1-9

Psalm 107: 33-43

You're listening to the "Holy Bible One Year CHALLENGE" with Master Storyteller, Michael Wood. Featuring the Holy Bible Easy-to-Read version and used by permission from Bible League International

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Isaiah 38

Jeremiah Is Thrown Into a Well

Some of the officials had heard what Jeremiah was saying to the people. They were Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jehu- cal son of Shelemiah and Pashhur son of Malkijah. He said, 2 “This is what the LORD says: ‘Everyone who stays in Jerusalem will die from war, hunger or disease. But everyone who surrenders to the army of Babylon will live and escape with their lives.’ 3 And this is what the LORD says: ‘This city of Jerusalem will surely be given to the army of the king of Babylon. He will capture this city.’”

4 When those officials heard Jeremiah say these things, they went to King Zedekiah. They said to him, “Jeremiah should be put to death. He is discouraging the soldiers who are still in the city and everyone else by what he is saying. He is not looking for peace; he is just trying to cause trouble.”

5 So King Zedekiah said to the officials, “Jeremiah is in your control. I cannot do anything to stop you.”

6 So they took Jeremiah and put him in an open well that belonged to the king’s son Malkijah. This well was in the courtyard of the guardhouse. The officials used ropes to lower Jeremiah down into the well. There was no water in it, only mud. And Jeremiah sank down into the mud.

7 But a man named Ebed Melech heard that the officials had put Jeremiah into the well. Ebed Melech was from Ethiopia, and he was a eunuch in the king’s palace. King Zedekiah was sitting at the Benjamin Gate, 8 so Ebed Melech left the palace and went to talk to the king at the gate. 9 Ebed Melech said, “My lord and king, these officials have done evil. They have treated Jeremiah the prophet badly. They have thrown him into a well and left him there. He will starve to death when there is no more food left in the city.”

10 Then King Zedekiah gave a com-

mand to Ebed Melech, the Ethiopian: “Ebed Melech, take three* men from the palace with you, and go and get Jeremiah out of the well before he dies.” 11 So Ebed Melech took the men with him. But first, he went to a room under the storeroom in the king’s palace. He took some old rags and worn-out clothes from that room. Then he let the rags down with some ropes to Jeremiah in the well. 12 Ebed Melech, the Ethiopian, said to Jeremiah, “Put these old rags and worn-out clothes under your arms. When we pull you out, these rags will pad your underarms, and the ropes will not hurt you.” So Jeremiah did as Ebed Melech said. 13 The men pulled Jeremiah up with the ropes and lifted him out of the well. And Jeremiah was kept there in the courtyard of the guardhouse.

Zedekiah Asks Jeremiah Some Questions

14 Then King Zedekiah sent someone to get Jeremiah the prophet. He had Jeremiah brought to the third entrance to the Temple of the LORD. Then the king said, “Jeremiah, I am going to ask you something. Don’t hide anything from me, but tell me everything honestly.”

15 Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “If I give you an answer, you will probably kill me. And even if I give you advice, you will not listen to me.”

16 But King Zedekiah secretly swore an oath to Jeremiah. Zedekiah said, “As surely as the LORD lives, the one who gives us breath and life, I will not kill you, Jeremiah. And I promise not to give you to the officials who want to kill you.”

17 Then Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, “This is what the LORD God All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, your life will be saved, and Jerusalem will not be burned down. And you and your family will live. 18 But if you refuse to surrender, Jerusalem will be given to the Babylonian army. They will burn Jerusalem down, and you will not escape from them.’”

19 But King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “But I am afraid of the men of Judah who have already gone over to the side of the Babylonian army. I am afraid that the soldiers will give me to those men, and they will treat me badly.”

20 But Jeremiah answered, “The soldiers will not give you to the men of Ju- dah. King Zedekiah, obey the LORD by doing what I tell you. Then things will go well for you, and your life will be saved. 21 But if you refuse to surrender to the army of Babylon, the LORD has shown me what will happen. This is what he has told me: 22 All the women who are left in the house of the king of Judah will be brought out to the important officials of the king of Babylon. Your women will make fun of you with a song. This is what they will say:

‘Your friends were stronger than you, and they led you the wrong way. You trusted them, but now your feet are stuck in the mud, and your friends have left you.’

23 “All your wives and children will be brought out and given to the Babylonian army. You yourself will not escape from the army of Babylon. You will be captured by the king of Babylon, and Jerusalem will be burned down.”

24 Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Don’t tell anyone that I have been talking to you. If you do, you might die. 25 If the officials find out that I talked to you, they will come to you and say, ‘Jeremiah, tell us what you said to King Zedekiah and what he said to you. Be honest with us, and tell us everything, or we will kill you.’ 26 If they say this to you, tell them, ‘I was begging the king not to send me back to Jonathan’s house to die.’”

27 It happened that the king’s officials did come to Jeremiah to question him. So Jeremiah told them everything the king had ordered him to say. Then they left Jeremiah alone. No one had heard what he and the king had talked about. 28 So Jeremiah was kept there in the courtyard of the guardhouse until the day Jerusalem was captured.

Isaiah 39

The Fall of Jerusalem

This is how Jerusalem was captured: during the tenth month of the ninth year that Zedekiah was king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Baby- lon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. He surrounded the city to defeat it. 2 And on the ninth day of the fourth month in Zedekiah’s eleventh year, the wall of Jerusalem was broken through. 3 Then all the officials of the king of Babylon came into the city of Jerusalem. They came in and sat down

at the Middle Gate. These are the names of the officials: Nergal-Sharezer, the governor of the district of Samgar, a very high official; Nebo Sarsekim, another very high official; and various other important officials were there also.

4 King Zedekiah of Judah saw the officials from Babylon, so he and the soldiers with him ran away. They left Jerusalem at night. They went out through the king’s garden and out through the gate that was between the two walls. Then they went towards the desert. 5 The Babylonian army chased Zedekiah and the soldiers with him. They caught up with Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. They captured Zedekiah and took him to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar- zar was at the town of Riblah in the land of Hamath. There Nebuchadnezzar decided what to do to Zedekiah. 6 At that same place, the king of Babylon killed Zedekiah’s sons and the leaders of Judah’s ruling families while Zedekiah watched. 7 Then Nebuchadnezzar poked out Zedekiah’s eyes. He put bronze chains on Zedekiah and took him to Babylon.

8 The Babylonian army set fire to the king’s palace and the houses of the people of Jerusalem. And they broke down the walls of Jerusalem. 9 Nebuzaradan was the commander of the king of Babylon’s special guards. He took all the people who had surrendered to him and all the people still in Jerusalem and made them captives. He carried them away to Babylon. 10 But the commander Nebuzaradan left behind some of the poor people of Judah who owned nothing. Nebuzaradan gave them vineyards and farmland in Judah.

11 Nebuchadnezzar also gave an order about Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan:

12 “Find Jeremiah and take care of him.

Don’t hurt him. Give him whatever he asks for.”

13 So Nebuzaradan, commander of the king’s special guards, Nebushazban, a chief officer in the army of Babylon, Nergal-Sharezer, a high official and all the other officers of the army of Baby- lon sent for Jeremiah. 14 They had him brought from the courtyard of the guard-house and turned him over to Gedaliah* son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan. Gedaliah did as he was told and took Jeremiah back home. So Jeremiah was able to stay in Judah among his own people.

The Lord’s Message to Ebed Melech

15 Earlier, when Jeremiah was still be- ing held in the courtyard of the guardhouse, he received this message from the LORD: 16 “Jeremiah, go and tell Ebed Melech† the Ethiopian that this is what the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: ‘Very soon I will make everything I said about this city of Jerusalem come true. My words will come true through disaster, not through something good. You will see everything happen with your own eyes. 17 But I will save you on that day, Ebed Melech,’ says the LORD. ‘You will not be given to those you fear. 18 I will save you, Ebed Melech. You will not die from a sword, but you will escape and live. That will happen because you have trusted in me,’” says the LORD.

Isaiah 40

Jeremiah Is Set Free

The LORD spoke his message to Jeremiah after he was set free at the city of Ramah. Nebuzaradan, the commander of the king of Babylon’s special guards, found Jeremiah in Ramah. Jeremiah was bound with chains. He was with all the captives from Jerusalem and Judah. They were being taken away in captivity to Babylon. 2 When the commander Nebuzaradan found Jeremiah, he said to him: “Jeremiah, the LORD your God warned that this disaster would come to this land. 3 And now the LORD has done everything just as he said he would do. This disaster happened because you people of Judah sinned against the LORD. You did not obey him. 4 But now, Jeremiah, I will set you free. I am taking the chains off your wrists. If you want to, come with me to Babylon, and I will take good care of you. But if you do not want to come with me, then don’t come. Look, the whole country is open to you. Go anywhere you want. 5 Or go back to Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan. The king of Babylon has chosen Gedaliah to be governor over the towns of Judah. Go and live with Gedaliah among the people. Or you can go anywhere you want.”

Then Nebuzaradan gave Jeremiah some food and a present and let him go. 6 So Jeremiah went to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah. He stayed with Gedaliah among those who were left behind in the land of Judah.

The Short Rule of Gedaliah

7 There were some of the officers from the army of Judah and their men still out in the open country when Jerusalem was destroyed. They heard that the king of Babylon had put Gedaliah son of Ahikam in charge of those who were left in the land. Those who were left were men, women and children who were very poor. They were not carried off to Baby- lon as captives. 8 So these officers and their men came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. They were Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan and his brother Jonathan, sons of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai from Netophah, and Jaazaniah son of the Maacathite, and the men who were with them.

9 Gedaliah, son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, made an oath to make the soldiers and their men feel more secure. This is what he said: “You soldiers, don’t be afraid to serve the Babylonians. Settle down in the land and serve the king of Babylon. If you do this, things will go well for you. 10 I myself will live in Mizpah. I will speak for you before the Babylonians who come here. You leave that work to me. You should harvest the wine, the summer fruit and the oil. Put what you harvest in your storage jars. Live in the towns that you control.”

11 The people of Judah who were in Moab, Ammon, Edom and other countries heard that the king of Babylon had let some people stay in Judah. And they heard that the king had chosen Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, to be governor over them. When they heard this, 12 they came back to the land of Judah from all the places where they had been scattered. They met with Gedaliah at Mizpah. Then they joined in gathering a large harvest of wine and summer fruit.

13 Johanan son of Kareah and all the officers of the army of Judah who were still in the open country came to Gedaliah. Gedaliah was at the town of Mizpah. 14 Johanan and the officers with

him said to Gedaliah, “Do you know that Baalis, the king of the Ammonites, wants to kill you? He has sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to kill you.” But Gedaliah son of Ahikam didn’t believe them.

15 Then Johanan son of Kareah spoke to Gedaliah in private at Mizpah. Johanan said to Gedaliah, “Let me go and kill Ishmael son of Nethaniah. No one will know anything about it. We should not let Ishmael kill you. That would cause all the people of Judah who are gathered around you to be scattered to different countries again. And that would mean that the few survivors of Ju- dah would be lost.”

16 But Gedaliah son of Ahikam said to Johanan son of Kareah, “Don’t kill Ishmael. The things you are saying about Ishmael are not true.”

Galatians 2:11-21

Paul Shows That Peter Was Wrong

11 When Peter came to Antioch, he did something that was not right. I stood against him, because he was wrong. 12 This is what happened: When Peter first came to Antioch, he ate and associated with the non-Jewish people. But when some Jews came from James, Peter separated himself from the non-Jews. He stopped eating with them because he

was afraid of those Jews who say that even non-Jewish believers must be circumcised. 13 So Peter pretended to agree with something he knew was wrong, and the other Jewish believers there followed him in being dishonest. And this caused even Barnabas to pretend that he agreed with them. 14 They were not following the truth of the Good News. When I saw this, I spoke to Peter in front of everyone. I said, “Peter, you are a Jew, but you don’t live like one. You live like someone who is not a Jew. So why are you trying to force those who are not Jewish to live like Jews?

15 “We are Jews by birth. We are not

like those non-Jews we consider to be ‘sinners’. 16 But we know that following the law cannot make us right before God. It is trusting in* Jesus Christ that makes us right with God. So even we Jews have put our faith in Christ Jesus, because we wanted to be made right with God. And we are right with him because we trusted in† Christ, not because we followed the law. I can say this because no one can be made right with God by following the law.

17 “So we are trusting in our relation-

ship to Christ, not the law, to make us right with God. If that makes us look like non-Jewish ‘sinners’, does it mean Christ is causing an increase of sin? Of course not! 18 The law put up a wall between us Jews and everyone else—a wall that I have worked to tear down. I would re- ally be wrong to put that wall up again. 19 It was the law itself that caused me to end my life under the law. I died to the

law so that I could live for God. I have been nailed to the cross with Christ. 20 So I am not the one living now—it is Christ living in me. I still live in the same body, but I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God. He is the one who loved me and gave himself to save me. 21 I will not reject as meaningless God’s free gift of grace. I mean, if following the law is how people are made right with God, then Christ died for nothing!”

Galatians 3:1-9

God’s Blessing Comes Through Faith

You people in Galatia, have you lost your minds? I thought you under-

stood why Jesus Christ was hung on a cross! I made it so clear, like a picture painted right before your eyes. Has someone used a magic spell to make you forget? 2 Tell me this one thing: did you receive the Spirit because of something you did—obeying the law’s commands? No, you received the Spirit because of something God did—sending the message about Jesus for you to believe. 3 You began your new life with the Spirit. How can you possibly think you can be made complete with something so weak as circumcision‡? 4 Were those powerful experiences you had all for nothing? I hope not! 5 Does God give you the Spirit and work miracles among you because you do those things the law commands? No, God gives you these blessings because you heard the message about Jesus and believed it.

6 The Scriptures say the same thing about Abraham. “Abraham believed God, and because of this faith he was accepted as one who is right with God.”* 7 So you should know that the true children of Abraham are those who have faith. 8 The Scriptures said that in the future God would make the non-Jewish people right through faith. God told this Good News to Abraham before it happened. God said to Abraham, “By bless- ing you, I will bless all people on earth.” 9 So this blessing is for all those who, like Abraham, put their faith in God.

Psalm 107: 33-43

33 He changed rivers into a desert and stopped springs from flowing.

34 He made the fertile land become salty, because the people living there did such evil things.

35 He changed the desert into a land with pools of water.

He caused springs to flow from dry ground.

36 He led the hungry to that good land,

and they built a city to live in.

37 They planted seeds in their fields and grapes in their vineyards,

and they had a good harvest.

38 God blessed them with many children and plenty of animals.

39 But because of disaster and troubles,

their families became small and weak.

40 God shames even great leaders

and makes them wander through empty deserts.

41 But he rescues the poor from their misery.

He makes their families large like flocks of sheep.

42 Good people see this and are happy,

but the wicked see it and don’t know what to say.

43 Whoever is wise will remember these things

and begin to understand the LORD’s faithful love.