2 Chron. 31:1–21
31:1 When all this was over, the Israelites who were in the cities of Judah went out and smashed the sacred pillars, cut down the Asherah poles, and demolished all the high places and altars throughout Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh. Then all the Israelites returned to their own homes in their cities.
2Hezekiah appointed the divisions of the priests and Levites to do their assigned tasks – to offer burnt sacrifices and present offerings and to serve, give thanks, and offer praise in the gates of the Lord’s sanctuary.
3The king contributed some of what he owned for burnt sacrifices, including the morning and evening burnt sacrifices and the burnt sacrifices made on Sabbaths, new moon festivals, and at other appointed times prescribed in the law of the Lord. 4He ordered the people living in Jerusalem to contribute the portion prescribed for the priests and Levites so they might be obedient to the law of the Lord. 5When the edict was issued, the Israelites freely contributed the initial portion of their grain, wine, olive oil, honey, and all the produce of their fields. They brought a tenth of everything, which added up to a huge amount. 6The Israelites and people of Judah who lived in the cities of Judah also contributed a tenth of their cattle and sheep, as well as a tenth of the holy items consecrated to the Lord their God. They brought them and placed them in many heaps. 7In the third month they began piling their contributions in heaps and finished in the seventh month. 8When Hezekiah and the officials came and saw the heaps, they praised the Lord and pronounced blessings on his people Israel.
9When Hezekiah asked the priests and Levites about the heaps, 10Azariah, the head priest from the family of Zadok, said to him, “Since the contributions began arriving in the Lord’s temple, we have had plenty to eat and have a large quantity left over. For the Lord has blessed his people, and this large amount remains.” 11Hezekiah ordered that storerooms be prepared in the Lord’s temple. When this was done, 12they brought in the contributions, tithes, and consecrated items that had been offered. Konaniah, a Levite, was in charge of all this, assisted by his brother Shimei. 13Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismakiah, Mahath, and Benaiah worked under the supervision of Konaniah and his brother Shimei, as directed by King Hezekiah and Azariah, the supervisor of God’s temple.
14Kore son of Imnah, a Levite and the guard on the east side, was in charge of the voluntary offerings made to God and disbursed the contributions made to the Lord and the consecrated items. 15In the cities of the priests, Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah faithfully assisted him in making disbursements to their fellow priests according to their divisions, regardless of age. 16They made disbursements to all the males three years old and up who were listed in the genealogical records – to all who would enter the Lord’s temple to serve on a daily basis and fulfill their duties as assigned to their divisions. 17They made disbursements to the priests listed in the genealogical records by their families, and to the Levites twenty years old and up, according to their duties as assigned to their divisions, 18and to all the infants, wives, sons, and daughters of the entire assembly listed in the genealogical records, for they faithfully consecrated themselves. 19As for the descendants of Aaron, the priests who lived in the outskirts of all their cities, men were assigned to disburse portions to every male among the priests and to every Levite listed in the genealogical records.
20This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah. He did what the Lord his God considered good and right and faithful. 21He wholeheartedly and successfully reinstituted service in God’s temple and obedience to the law, in order to follow his God.(NET Bible)
105:1 Give thanks to the Lord!
Call on his name!
Make known his accomplishments among the nations!
2Sing to him!
Make music to him!
Tell about all his miraculous deeds!
3Boast about his holy name!
Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
4Seek the Lord and the strength he gives!
Seek his presence continually!
5Recall the miraculous deeds he performed,
his mighty acts and the judgments he decreed,
6O children of Abraham, God’s servant,
you descendants of Jacob, God’s chosen ones!
7He is the Lord our God;
he carries out judgment throughout the earth.
8He always remembers his covenantal decree,
the promise he made to a thousand generations –
9the promise he made to Abraham,
the promise he made by oath to Isaac!
10He gave it to Jacob as a decree,
to Israel as a lasting promise,
11saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan
as the portion of your inheritance.”
12When they were few in number,
just a very few, and resident foreigners within it,
13they wandered from nation to nation,
and from one kingdom to another.
14He let no one oppress them;
he disciplined kings for their sake,
15saying, “Don’t touch my chosen ones!
Don’t harm my prophets!”
16He called down a famine upon the earth;
he cut off all the food supply.
17He sent a man ahead of them –
Joseph was sold as a servant.
18The shackles hurt his feet;
his neck was placed in an iron collar,
19until the time when his prediction came true.
The Lord’s word proved him right.
20The king authorized his release;
the ruler of nations set him free.
21He put him in charge of his palace,
and made him manager of all his property,
22giving him authority to imprison his officials
and to teach his advisers.
23Israel moved to Egypt;
Jacob lived for a time in the land of Ham.
24The Lord made his people very fruitful,
and made them more numerous than their enemies.
25He caused them to hate his people,
and to mistreat his servants.
26He sent his servant Moses,
and Aaron, whom he had chosen.
27They executed his miraculous signs among them,
and his amazing deeds in the land of Ham.
28He made it dark;
they did not disobey his orders.
29He turned their water into blood,
and killed their fish.
30Their land was overrun by frogs,
which even got into the rooms of their kings.
31He ordered flies to come;
gnats invaded their whole territory.
32He sent hail along with the rain;
there was lightning in their land.
33He destroyed their vines and fig trees,
and broke the trees throughout their territory.
34He ordered locusts to come,
35They ate all the vegetation in their land,
and devoured the crops of their fields.
36He struck down all the firstborn in their land,
the firstfruits of their reproductive power.
37He brought his people out enriched with silver and gold;
none of his tribes stumbled.
38Egypt was happy when they left,
for they were afraid of them.
39He spread out a cloud for a cover,
and provided a fire to light up the night.
40They asked for food, and he sent quails;
he satisfied them with food from the sky.
41He opened up a rock and water flowed out;
a river ran through dry regions.
42Yes, he remembered the sacred promise
he made to Abraham his servant.
43When he led his people out, they rejoiced;
his chosen ones shouted with joy.
44He handed the territory of nations over to them,
and they took possession of what other peoples had produced,
45so that they might keep his commands
and obey his laws.
Praise the Lord!(NET Bible)
15:11 Then Jesus said, “A man had two sons. 12The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that will belong to me.’ So he divided his assets between them. 13After a few days, the younger son gathered together all he had and left on a journey to a distant country, and there he squandered his wealth with a wild lifestyle. 14Then after he had spent everything, a severe famine took place in that country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and worked for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16He was longing to eat the carob pods the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17But when he came to his senses he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have food enough to spare, but here I am dying from hunger! 18I will get up and go to my father and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired workers.”’ 20So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way from home his father saw him, and his heart went out to him; he ran and hugged his son and kissed him. 21Then his son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22But the father said to his slaves, ‘Hurry! Bring the best robe, and put it on him! Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet! 23Bring the fattened calf and kill it! Let us eat and celebrate, 24because this son of mine was dead, and is alive again – he was lost and is found!’ So they began to celebrate.
25 “Now his older son was in the field. As he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26So he called one of the slaves and asked what was happening. 27The slave replied, ‘Your brother has returned, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he got his son back safe and sound.’ 28But the older son became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and appealed to him, 29but he answered his father, ‘Look! These many years I have worked like a slave for you, and I never disobeyed your commands. Yet you never gave me even a goat so that I could celebrate with my friends! 30But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your assets with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31Then the father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and everything that belongs to me is yours. 32It was appropriate to celebrate and be glad, for your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost and is found.’”(NET Bible)
This word of Luther spoken at Worms has o en, unfortunately, been misconstrued. It has been inferred from it that Luther here demanded an unrestricted liberty of thought and conscience, according to which there is no such thing as an objective authority outside of ourselves, and man is responsible to no one but himself, his own subjective, arbitrary conscience. It is not to be denied that natural man would find his greatest delight in such an absolute freedom of thought and conscience, just as such freedom sooner or later always leads to a dissolution of morality and religion but never serves to fortify the same. Such unrestricted individualism, centering only in itself, divorced from all objective authority, was, perhaps, advocated by Italian humanism but never by Luther. This needs no further proof even though historians like Harnack saw fit to write: “ The Reformation protested against all formal, external authority in matters of religion. Thus Luther also protested against the authority of the letter of the Bible.” Whoever appeals to the confession of Luther at Worms in support of this deliberately closes his eyes to the fact that Luther expressly declared, “my conscience is captive to the Word of God.” (19)
–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.