Praise the Lord!
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures for ever.
Who can utter the mighty doings of the Lord, or declare all his praise?
Happy are those who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times.
Remember me, O Lord, when you show favour to your people;
help me when you deliver them;
that I may see the prosperity of your chosen ones,
that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation,
that I may glory in your heritage.
Both we and our ancestors have sinned;
we have committed iniquity, have done wickedly.
Our ancestors, when they were in Egypt,
did not consider your wonderful works;
they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love,
but rebelled against the Most High at the Red Sea.
Yet he saved them for his name’s sake,
so that he might make known his mighty power.
He rebuked the Red Sea, and it became dry;
he led them through the deep as through a desert.
So he saved them from the hand of the foe,
and delivered them from the hand of the enemy.
The waters covered their adversaries; not one of them was left.
Then they believed his words; they sang his praise.
But they soon forgot his works; they did not wait for his counsel.
But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness,
and put God to the test in the desert;
he gave them what they asked, but sent a wasting disease among them.
They were jealous of Moses in the camp, and of Aaron, the holy one of the Lord.
The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the faction of Abiram.
Fire also broke out in their company; the flame burned up the wicked.
They made a calf at Horeb and worshipped a cast image.
They exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox that eats grass.
They forgot God, their Saviour, who had done great things in Egypt,
wondrous works in the land of Ham, and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
Therefore he said he would destroy them—had not Moses, his chosen one,
stood in the breach before him, to turn away his wrath from destroying them.
Then they despised the pleasant land, having no faith in his promise.
They grumbled in their tents, and did not obey the voice of the Lord.
Therefore he raised his hand and swore to them
that he would make them fall in the wilderness,
and would disperse their descendants among the nations,
scattering them over the lands.
Then they attached themselves to the Baal of Peor,
and ate sacrifices offered to the dead;
they provoked the Lord to anger with their deeds,
and a plague broke out among them.
Then Phinehas stood up and interceded,
and the plague was stopped.
And that has been reckoned to him as righteousness
from generation to generation for ever.
They angered the Lord at the waters of Meribah,
and it went ill with Moses on their account;
for they made his spirit bitter, and he spoke words that were rash.
They did not destroy the peoples as the Lord commanded them,
but they mingled with the nations and learned to do as they did.
They served their idols, which became a snare to them.
They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons;
they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters,
whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan;
and the land was polluted with blood.
Thus they became unclean by their acts,
and prostituted themselves in their doings.
Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people,
and he abhorred his heritage;
he gave them into the hand of the nations,
so that those who hated them ruled over them.
Their enemies oppressed them,
and they were brought into subjection under their power.
Many times he delivered them,
but they were rebellious in their purposes,
and were brought low through their iniquity.
Nevertheless, he regarded their distress when he heard their cry.
For their sake he remembered his covenant,
and showed compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
He caused them to be pitied by all who held them captive.
Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.
And let all the people say, ‘Amen.’
Praise the Lord!
2 Chronicles 28
Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign; he reigned for sixteen years in Jerusalem. He did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord, as his ancestor David had done, but he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel. He even made cast images for the Baals; and he made offerings in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and made his sons pass through fire, according to the abominable practices of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel. He sacrificed and made offerings on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree.
Therefore the Lord his God gave him into the hand of the king of Aram, who defeated him and took captive a great number of his people and brought them to Damascus. He was also given into the hand of the king of Israel, who defeated him with great slaughter. Pekah son of Remaliah killed one hundred and twenty thousand in Judah in one day, all of them valiant warriors, because they had abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors. And Zichri, a mighty warrior of Ephraim, killed the king’s son Maaseiah, Azrikam the commander of the palace, and Elkanah the next in authority to the king.
The people of Israel took captive two hundred thousand of their kin, women, sons, and daughters; they also took much booty from them and brought the booty to Samaria. But a prophet of the Lord was there, whose name was Oded; he went out to meet the army that came to Samaria, and said to them, ‘Because the Lord, the God of your ancestors, was angry with Judah, he gave them into your hand, but you have killed them in a rage that has reached up to heaven. Now you intend to subjugate the people of Judah and Jerusalem, male and female, as your slaves. But what have you except sins against the Lord your God? Now hear me, and send back the captives whom you have taken from your kindred, for the fierce wrath of the Lord is upon you.’ Moreover, certain chiefs of the Ephraimites, Azariah son of Johanan, Berechiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai, stood up against those who were coming from the war, and said to them, ‘You shall not bring the captives in here, for you propose to bring on us guilt against the Lord in addition to our present sins and guilt. For our guilt is already great, and there is fierce wrath against Israel.’ So the warriors left the captives and the booty before the officials and all the assembly. Then those who were mentioned by name got up and took the captives, and with the booty they clothed all that were naked among them; they clothed them, gave them sandals, provided them with food and drink, and anointed them; and carrying all the feeble among them on donkeys, they brought them to their kindred at Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then they returned to Samaria.
At that time King Ahaz sent to the king of Assyria for help. For the Edomites had again invaded and defeated Judah, and carried away captives. And the Philistines had made raids on the cities in the Shephelah and the Negeb of Judah, and had taken Beth-shemesh, Aijalon, Gederoth, Soco with its villages, Timnah with its villages, and Gimzo with its villages; and they settled there. For the Lord brought Judah low because of King Ahaz of Israel, for he had behaved without restraint in Judah and had been faithless to the Lord. So King Tilgath-pilneser of Assyria came against him, and oppressed him instead of strengthening him. For Ahaz plundered the house of the Lord and the houses of the king and of the officials, and gave tribute to the king of Assyria; but it did not help him.
In the time of his distress he became yet more faithless to the Lord—this same King Ahaz. For he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus, which had defeated him, and said, ‘Because the gods of the kings of Aram helped them, I will sacrifice to them so that they may help me.’ But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel. Ahaz gathered together the utensils of the house of God, and cut in pieces the utensils of the house of God. He shut up the doors of the house of the Lord and made himself altars in every corner of Jerusalem. In every city of Judah he made high places to make offerings to other gods, provoking to anger the Lord, the God of his ancestors. Now the rest of his acts and all his ways, from first to last, are written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. Ahaz slept with his ancestors, and they buried him in the city, in Jerusalem; but they did not bring him into the tombs of the kings of Israel. His son Hezekiah succeeded him.
After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But it is to fulfil the scripture, “The one who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.” I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am he. Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.’
O God, forasmuch as without you we are not able to please you;
mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.