Home > Devotions > Daily Reading – August 20, 2019

2 Kings 17:24–18:12

17:24 The king of Assyria brought foreigners from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim and settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the Israelites. They took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities. 25When they first moved in, they did not worship the Lord. So the Lord sent lions among them and the lions were killing them. 26The king of Assyria was told, “The nations whom you deported and settled in the cities of Samaria do not know the requirements of the God of the land, so he has sent lions among them. They are killing the people because they do not know the requirements of the God of the land.” 27So the king of Assyria ordered, “Take back one of the priests whom you deported from there. He must settle there and teach them the requirements of the God of the land.” 28So one of the priests whom they had deported from Samaria went back and settled in Bethel. He taught them how to worship the Lord.

29But each of these nations made its own gods and put them in the shrines on the high places that the people of Samaria had made. Each nation did this in the cities where they lived. 30The people from Babylon made Succoth Benoth, the people from Cuth made Nergal, the people from Hamath made Ashima, 31the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burned their sons in the fire as an offering to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. 32At the same time they worshiped the Lord. They appointed some of their own people to serve as priests in the shrines on the high places. 33They were worshiping the Lord and at the same time serving their own gods in accordance with the practices of the nations from which they had been deported.

34To this very day they observe their earlier practices. They do not worship the Lord; they do not obey the rules, regulations, law, and commandments that the Lord gave the descendants of Jacob, whom he renamed Israel. 35The Lord made a covenant with them and instructed them, “You must not worship other gods. Do not bow down to them, serve them, or offer sacrifices to them. 36Instead you must worship the Lord, who brought you up from the land of Egypt by his great power and military ability; bow down to him and offer sacrifices to him. 37You must carefully obey at all times the rules, regulations, law, and commandments he wrote down for you. You must not worship other gods. 38You must never forget the covenant I made with you, and you must not worship other gods. 39Instead you must worship the Lord your God; then he will rescue you from the power of all your enemies.” 40But they pay no attention; instead they observe their earlier practices. 41These nations are worshiping the Lord and at the same time serving their idols; their sons and grandsons do just as their fathers have done, to this very day.

18:1 In the third year of the reign of Israel’s King Hoshea son of Elah, Ahaz’s son Hezekiah became king over Judah. 2He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother was Abi, the daughter of Zechariah. 3He did what the Lord approved, just as his ancestor David had done. 4He eliminated the high places, smashed the sacred pillars to bits, and cut down the Asherah pole. He also demolished the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been offering incense to it; it was called Nehushtan. 5He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; in this regard there was none like him among the kings of Judah either before or after. 6He was loyal to the Lord and did not abandon him. He obeyed the commandments which the Lord had given to Moses. 7The Lord was with him; he succeeded in all his endeavors. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and refused to submit to him. 8He defeated the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city.

9In the fourth year of King Hezekiah’s reign (it was the seventh year of the reign of Israel’s King Hoshea, son of Elah), King Shalmaneser of Assyria marched up against Samaria and besieged it. 10After three years he captured it (in the sixth year of Hezekiah’s reign); in the ninth year of King Hoshea’s reign over Israel Samaria was captured. 11The king of Assyria deported the people of Israel to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, along the Habor (the river of Gozan), and in the cities of the Medes. 12This happened because they did not obey the Lord their God and broke his covenant with them. They did not pay attention to and obey all that Moses, the Lord’s servant, had commanded.

(NET Bible)

Ps. 49

49:1 For the music director, a psalm by the Korahites.

Listen to this, all you nations!

Pay attention, all you inhabitants of the world!

2Pay attention, all you people,

both rich and poor!

3I will declare a wise saying;

I will share my profound thoughts.

4I will learn a song that imparts wisdom;

I will then sing my insightful song to the accompaniment of a harp.

5Why should I be afraid in times of trouble,

when the sinful deeds of deceptive men threaten to overwhelm me?

6They trust in their wealth

and boast in their great riches.

7Certainly a man cannot rescue his brother;

he cannot pay God an adequate ransom price

8 (the ransom price for a human life is too high,

and people go to their final destiny),

9so that he might continue to live forever

and not experience death.

10Surely one sees that even wise people die;

fools and spiritually insensitive people all pass away

and leave their wealth to others.

11Their grave becomes their permanent residence,

their eternal dwelling place.

They name their lands after themselves,

12but, despite their wealth, people do not last,

they are like animals that perish.

13This is the destiny of fools,

and of those who approve of their philosophy. (Selah)

14They will travel to Sheol like sheep,

with death as their shepherd.

The godly will rule over them when the day of vindication dawns;

Sheol will consume their bodies and they will no longer live in impressive houses.

15But God will rescue my life from the power of Sheol;

certainly he will pull me to safety. (Selah)

16Do not be afraid when a man becomes rich

and his wealth multiplies!

17For he will take nothing with him when he dies;

his wealth will not follow him down into the grave.

18He pronounces this blessing on himself while he is alive:

“May men praise you, for you have done well!”

19But he will join his ancestors;

they will never again see the light of day.

20Wealthy people do not understand;

they are like animals that perish.

(NET Bible)

Matt. 23:37–24:2

23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would have none of it! 38Look, your house is left to you desolate! 39For I tell you, you will not see me from now until you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

24:1 Now as Jesus was going out of the temple courts and walking away, his disciples came to show him the temple buildings. 2And he said to them, “Do you see all these things? I tell you the truth, not one stone will be left on another. All will be torn down!”

(NET Bible)

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.

In his Enarratio Capitis Noni Esaiae, of 1543-44 (printed 1546), [Luther] confesses: “ I am much displeased with myself and I hate myself because I know that all that Scripture says concerning Christ is true, that there is nothing besides it that can be greater, more important, sweeter or joyful, and that it should intoxicate me with the highest joy because I see that Scripture is consonant in all and through all and agrees with itself in such a measure that it is impossible to doubt the truth and certainty of such a weighty matter in any detail—and yet I am hindered by the malice of my esh and I am ‘bound by the law of sin’ that I cannot let this favor permeate into all my limbs and bones and even into my marrow as I should like.”

On January 17, 1546, Luther preached his last sermon in Wittenberg. It is necessary to read that sermon, in which he speaks more disparagingly of reason than ever before, to see how at the very end of his life he clung to the literalness of Scripture as the only authority in matters of faith. (37)

–Johann Michael Reu, Luther on the Scriptures

This daily Bible reading guide, Reading the Word of God, was conceived and prepared as a result of the ongoing discussions between representatives of three church bodies: Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). The following individuals have represented their church bodies and approved this introduction and the reading guide: LCC: President Robert Bugbee; NALC: Bishop John Bradosky, Revs. Mark Chavez, James Nestingen, and David Wendel; LCMS: Revs. Albert Collver, Joel Lehenbauer, John Pless, and Larry Vogel.

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