Home > Devotions > Daily Reading – August 28, 2019

2 Kings 23:1–20

23:1 The king summoned all the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem. 2The king went up to the Lord’s temple, accompanied by all the people of Judah, all the residents of Jerusalem, the priests, and the prophets. All the people were there, from the youngest to the oldest. He read aloud all the words of the scroll of the covenant that had been discovered in the Lord’s temple. 3The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant before the Lord, agreeing to follow the Lord and to obey his commandments, laws, and rules with all his heart and being, by carrying out the terms of this covenant recorded on this scroll. All the people agreed to keep the covenant.

4The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the high-ranking priests, and the guards to bring out of the Lord’s temple all the items that were used in the worship of Baal, Asherah, and all the stars of the sky. The king burned them outside of Jerusalem in the terraces of Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel. 5He eliminated the pagan priests whom the kings of Judah had appointed to offer sacrifices on the high places in the cities of Judah and in the area right around Jerusalem. (They offered sacrifices to Baal, the sun god, the moon god, the constellations, and all the stars in the sky.) 6He removed the Asherah pole from the Lord’s temple and took it outside Jerusalem to the Kidron Valley, where he burned it. He smashed it to dust and then threw the dust in the public graveyard. 7He tore down the quarters of the male cultic prostitutes in the Lord’s temple, where women were weaving shrines for Asherah.

8He brought all the priests from the cities of Judah and ruined the high places where the priests had offered sacrifices, from Geba to Beer Sheba. He tore down the high place of the goat idols situated at the entrance of the gate of Joshua, the city official, on the left side of the city gate. 9(Now the priests of the high places did not go up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, but they did eat unleavened cakes among their fellow priests.) 10The king ruined Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom so that no one could pass his son or his daughter through the fire to Molech. 11He removed from the entrance to the Lord’s temple the statues of horses that the kings of Judah had placed there in honor of the sun god. (They were kept near the room of Nathan Melech the eunuch, which was situated among the courtyards.) He burned up the chariots devoted to the sun god. 12The king tore down the altars the kings of Judah had set up on the roof of Ahaz’s upper room, as well as the altars Manasseh had set up in the two courtyards of the Lord’s temple. He crushed them up and threw the dust in the Kidron Valley. 13The king ruined the high places east of Jerusalem, south of the Mount of Destruction, that King Solomon of Israel had built for the detestable Sidonian goddess Astarte, the detestable Moabite god Chemosh, and the horrible Ammonite god Milcom. 14He smashed the sacred pillars to bits, cut down the Asherah poles, and filled those shrines with human bones.

15He also tore down the altar in Bethel at the high place made by Jeroboam son of Nebat, who encouraged Israel to sin. He burned all the combustible items at that high place and crushed them to dust; including the Asherah pole. 16When Josiah turned around, he saw the tombs there on the hill. So he ordered the bones from the tombs to be brought; he burned them on the altar and defiled it, just as in the Lord’s message that was announced by the prophet while Jeroboam stood by the altar during a festival. Then the king turned and saw the grave of the prophet who had foretold this. 17He asked, “What is this grave marker I see?” The men from the city replied, “It’s the grave of the prophet who came from Judah and foretold these very things you have done to the altar of Bethel.” 18The king said, “Leave it alone! No one must touch his bones.” So they left his bones undisturbed, as well as the bones of the Israelite prophet buried beside him.

19Josiah also removed all the shrines on the high places in the cities of Samaria. The kings of Israel had made them and angered the Lord. He did to them what he had done to the high place in Bethel. 20He sacrificed all the priests of the high places on the altars located there, and burned human bones on them. Then he returned to Jerusalem.

(NET Bible)

Ps. 57

57:1 For the music director; according to the al-tashcheth style; a prayer of David, written when he fled from Saul into the cave.

Have mercy on me, O God! Have mercy on me!

For in you I have taken shelter.

In the shadow of your wings I take shelter

until trouble passes.

2I cry out for help to God Most High,

to the God who vindicates me.

3May he send help from heaven and deliver me

from my enemies who hurl insults! (Selah)

May God send his loyal love and faithfulness!

4I am surrounded by lions;

I lie down among those who want to devour me;

men whose teeth are spears and arrows,

whose tongues are a sharp sword.

5Rise up above the sky, O God!

May your splendor cover the whole earth!

6They have prepared a net to trap me;

I am discouraged.

They have dug a pit for me.

They will fall into it! (Selah)

7I am determined, O God! I am determined!

I will sing and praise you!

8Awake, my soul!

Awake, O stringed instrument and harp!

I will wake up at dawn!

9I will give you thanks before the nations, O Lord!

I will sing praises to you before foreigners!

10For your loyal love extends beyond the sky,

and your faithfulness reaches the clouds.

11Rise up above the sky, O God!

May your splendor cover the whole earth!

(NET Bible)

Matt. 26:36–56

26:36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and became anguished and distressed. 38Then he said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, even to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with me.” 39Going a little farther, he threw himself down with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if possible, let this cup pass from me! Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 40Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “So, couldn’t you stay awake with me for one hour? 41Stay awake and pray that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will must be done.” 43He came again and found them sleeping; they could not keep their eyes open. 44So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same thing once more. 45Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is approaching, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46Get up, let us go. Look! My betrayer is approaching!”

47While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent by the chief priests and elders of the people. 48(Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I kiss is the man. Arrest him!”) 49Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi,” and kissed him. 50Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you are here to do.” Then they came and took hold of Jesus and arrested him. 51But one of those with Jesus grabbed his sword, drew it out, and struck the high priest’s slave, cutting off his ear. 52Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back in its place! For all who take hold of the sword will die by the sword. 53Or do you think that I cannot call on my Father, and that he would send me more than twelve legions of angels right now? 54How then would the scriptures that say it must happen this way be fulfilled?” 55At that moment Jesus said to the crowd, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me like you would an outlaw? Day after day I sat teaching in the temple courts, yet you did not arrest me. 56But this has happened so that the scriptures of the prophets would be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.

(NET Bible)

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

Luther was not unaware of the difficulties that arise when parallel passages in the Gospels are compared with each other. So in the Lenten Postil, of 1525, he discusses the order of time in the three temptations of our Lord. He makes this statement: “The order in which these temptations came to Christ cannot be determined with certainty, for the evangelists do not agree. What Matthew places in the middle, Luke places at the end, and what he places in the middle, Matthew places at the end, as though he  placed little importance on the order. If we want to preach about it or discuss it, the order of Luke would be the best, for it makes a fine sequence that the devil first attacks through need and misfortune and, when this does not bring results, follows with fortune and honor. Finally, when this is all in vain, he strikes out with all force with errors, lies, and other spiritual deceits. But because they do not occur thus in our daily experience, but, as it happens, a Christian is tempted now with the last, now with the first, Matthew did not pay much attention to the order, as would be fitting for a preacher. And perhaps Christ was so tempted during the forty days that the devil did not observe any particular order but came today with the one temptation, tomorrow with the other, after ten days again with the first and so on as it happened to take place.” (45)

–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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