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Thoughts and Reflection

Today in our reading we learn the story of Elijah fleeing Jezebel. Even after the Lord’s victory over the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, Elijah is discouraged and asks for death. We can be discouraged after victory because there are no more battles to fight. Elijah’s ministry becomes his battle and it is almost over. Discouragement sets in. The Lord tells him to “arise and eat” giving him bread for his journey.

This story reminds us that there will come a day when we are at the end of life and we will need to look forward to eternity with God. Thank goodness for that!

Let’s pray for those who are close to death today that God will give them strength and hope for life everlasting.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

1 Kings 19

1 When Ahab told Jezebel everything that Elijah had done, and how he had put all the prophets to the sword,

2 Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, ‘May the gods bring unnameable ills on me and worse ills too, if by this time tomorrow I have not made your life like one of theirs!’

3 He was afraid and fled for his life. He came to Beersheba, a town of Judah, where he left his servant.

4 He himself went on into the desert, a day’s journey, and sitting under a furze bush wished he were dead. ‘Yahweh,’ he said, ‘I have had enough. Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.’

5 Then he lay down and went to sleep. Then all of a sudden an angel touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat.’

6 He looked round, and there at his head was a scone baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

7 But the angel of Yahweh came back a second time and touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat, or the journey will be too long for you.’

8 So he got up and ate and drank, and strengthened by that food he walked for forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, God’s mountain.

9 There he went into a cave and spent the night there. Then the word of Yahweh came to him saying, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’

10 He replied, ‘I am full of jealous zeal for Yahweh Sabaoth, because the Israelites have abandoned your covenant, have torn down your altars and put your prophets to the sword. I am the only one left, and now they want to kill me.’

11 Then he was told, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before Yahweh.’ For at that moment Yahweh was going by. A mighty hurricane split the mountains and shattered the rocks before Yahweh. But Yahweh was not in the hurricane. And after the hurricane, an earthquake. But Yahweh was not in the earthquake.

12 And after the earthquake, fire. But Yahweh was not in the fire. And after the fire, a light murmuring sound.

13 And when Elijah heard this, he covered his face with his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then a voice came to him, which said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’

14 He replied, ‘I am full of jealous zeal for Yahweh, God Sabaoth, because the Israelites have abandoned your covenant, have torn down your altars and put your prophets to the sword. I am the only one left and now they want to kill me.’

15 ‘Go,’ Yahweh said, ‘go back by the same way to the desert of Damascus. You must go and anoint Hazael as king of Aram.

16 You must anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat, of Abel-Meholah, as prophet to succeed you.

17 Anyone who escapes the sword of Hazael will be put to death by Jehu; and anyone who escapes the sword of Jehu will be put to death by Elisha.

18 But I shall spare seven thousand in Israel; all the knees that have not bent before Baal, all the mouths that have not kissed him.’

19 Leaving there, he came on Elisha son of Shaphat as he was ploughing behind twelve yoke of oxen, he himself being with the twelfth. Elijah passed near to him and threw his cloak over him.

20 Elisha left his oxen and ran after Elijah. ‘Let me kiss my father and mother, then I will follow you,’ he said. Elijah answered, ‘Go, go back; for have I done anything to you?’

21 Elisha turned away, took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He used the oxen’s tackle for cooking the meat, which he gave the people to eat. He then rose and, following Elijah, became his servant.

1 Kings 20

1 Ben-Hadad king of Aram mustered his whole army — thirty-two kings were with him, and horses and chariots — and marched on Samaria, to besiege it and take it by assault.

2 He sent messengers into the city to Ahab king of Israel to tell him, ‘Ben-Hadad says this,

3 “Your silver and gold are mine. Your wives and children remain yours.” ‘

4 The king of Israel replied, ‘As you command, my lord king. Myself and all I have are yours.’

5 The messengers came again, this time they said, ‘Ben-Hadad says this, “I have already sent you an order to hand over your silver and your gold, your wives and your children;

6 but I swear, this time tomorrow, I shall send my servants to ransack your house and your servants’ houses and lay hands on everything that they value and take it away.” ‘

7 The king of Israel summoned all the elders of the country and said, ‘You can see clearly how this man intends to ruin us. He has already demanded my wives and my children, although I have not refused him my silver and gold.’

8 All the elders and all the people said, ‘Take no notice. Do not consent.’

9 So he gave this answer to Ben-Hadad’s messengers, ‘Say to my lord the king, “All you first required of your servant I will do, but this I cannot do.” ‘ And the messengers went back with the answer.

10 Ben-Hadad then sent him the following message, ‘May the gods bring unnameable ills on me and worse ills too, if there is enough dust in Samaria for each of my followers to have a handful!’

11 But the king of Israel returned this answer, ‘Say: the man who puts on his armour is not the one to boast, but the man who takes it off.’

12 When Ben-Hadad heard this message — he was under the awnings drinking with the kings — he gave orders to his servants, ‘Take up position!’ And they took up their positions against the city.

13 A prophet then arrived, looking for Ahab king of Israel. ‘Yahweh says this,’ he said. ‘ “You have seen this huge army? This very day I shall deliver it into your hands, and you will know that I am Yahweh.” ‘

14 ‘By whose means?’ Ahab asked. The prophet replied, ‘Yahweh says this, “By means of the guards of the district governors.” ‘ ‘Who will co-ordinate the attack?’ Ahab asked. ‘You will,’ the prophet replied.

15 So Ahab inspected the guards of the district governors: there were two hundred and thirty-two. After these he reviewed the army, all the Israelites: there were seven thousand.

16 They made a sortie at midday, when Ben-Hadad was drinking himself senseless under the awnings, he and the thirty-two kings who were allies.

17 The guards of the district governors led the sortie. A report was made to Ben-Hadad: ‘Some men have come out of Samaria.’

18 He said, ‘If they have come out for peace, take them alive; if they have come out for war, take them alive too.’

19 So they made a sortie from the city, the district governors’ guards and behind them the army,

20 and each struck down his man. Aram took to flight and Israel pursued; Ben-Hadad king of Aram escaped on horseback.

21 The king of Israel then advanced, capturing horses and chariots and inflicting a great defeat on Aram.

22 The prophet then went to the king of Israel and said, ‘Now is the time to be resolute and think carefully about what you should do, for at the turn of the year the king of Aram will march against you.’

23 The servants of the king of Aram said to him, ‘Their gods are gods of the mountains; that is why they have proved stronger than we are. But if we fight them on level ground, we shall certainly beat them.

24 This is what you must do: remove all these kings from their commands and appoint professional soldiers in their place.

25 You, for your part, must recruit an army as large as the one which deserted you, with as many horses and as many chariots; then if we fight them on level ground, we shall certainly beat them.’ He listened to their advice and acted accordingly.

26 At the turn of the year, Ben-Hadad mustered the Aramaeans and marched on Aphek to fight Israel.

27 The Israelites were already mobilised and provisioned, and marched out to meet them. Encamped opposite them, the Israeliteslooked like two herds of goats, whereas the Aramaeans filled the countryside.

28 The man of God then went to the king of Israel and said, ‘Yahweh says this, “Since Aram has said that Yahweh is a god of the mountains and not a god of the plains, I shall put the whole of this huge army into your power, and you will know that I am Yahweh.”‘

29 For seven days they were encamped opposite each other. On the seventh day battle was joined and the Israelites slaughtered the Aramaeans, a hundred thousand foot soldiers in one day.

30 The rest fled to Aphek, into the citadel, but the city walls collapsed on twenty-seven thousand of the survivors. Now Ben-Hadad had fled and taken refuge in an inner room inside the citadel.

31 ‘Look,’ his servants said to him, ‘we have heard that the kings of Israel are faithful and kind kings. Let us put sackcloth round our waists and cords round our heads and go out to the king of Israel; perhaps he will spare your life.’

32 So they wrapped sackcloth round their waists and put cords round their heads and went to the king of Israel, and said, ‘Your servant Ben-Hadad says, “Spare my life.” ‘

33 ‘So he is still alive?’ he replied. ‘He is my brother.’ The men took this for a good omen and quickly seized on his words. ‘Yes,’ they said, ‘Ben-Hadad is your brother.’ Ahab said, ‘Go and fetch him.’ Then Ben-Hadad came out to him and Ahab made him get up into his chariot.

34 Ben-Hadad said, ‘I shall restore the towns which my father took from your father and you may set up a trading quarter for yourself in Damascus as my father did in Samaria.’ ‘With a treaty,’ Ahab said, ‘I shall set you free.’ Granting him a treaty, Ahab let him go.

35 At Yahweh’s command a member of the brotherhood of prophets said to a companion of his, ‘Strike me,’ but the man refused to strike him.

36 So he said to him, ‘Since you have disobeyed Yahweh’s order, the very moment you leave me a lion will kill you.’ And no sooner had he left him than he met a lion, which killed him.

37 The prophet then went to find another man and said, ‘Strike me,’ and the man struck him and wounded him.

38 The prophet then went and stood waiting for the king on the road, disguising himself with a bandage over his eyes.

39 As the king passed, he called out to him, ‘Your servant was making his way to where the fight was thickest when someone left the fighting to bring a man to me, and said, “Guard this man; if he is found missing, your life will pay for his, or else you will have to pay one talent of silver.”

40 But your servant was busy with one thing and another, the man disappeared.’ The king of Israel said, ‘That is your sentence then. You have pronounced it yourself.’

41 At this the man quickly pulled off the bandage over his eyes, and the king of Israel recognised him as one of the prophets.

42 He said to the king, ‘Yahweh says this, “Since you have let the man escape who was under my curse of destruction, your life will pay for his, your people for his people.” ‘

43 And the king of Israel went home, gloomy and out of temper, back to Samaria.

2 Chronicles 20

1 Some time later, the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them the Meunites, advanced to war against Jehoshaphat.

2 Jehoshaphat received the following intelligence, ‘A vast horde is advancing on you from the other side of the Sea, from Edom; they are already at Hazazon-Tamar, that is, En-Gedi.’

3 Jehoshaphat was alarmed and resolved to have recourse to Yahweh; he proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.

4 So Judah assembled to seek help from Yahweh; to seek Yahweh they came from every town in Judah.

5 Then, standing in the Temple of Yahweh in front of the new court among the assembled people of Judah and Jerusalem, Jehoshaphat

6 said, ‘Yahweh, God of our ancestors, are you not God in heaven, and do you not rule all the kingdoms of the nations? Your power and might are such that no one can resist you.

7 Did not you, our God, dispossess the inhabitants of this country for your people Israel and give it to the descendants of Abraham, your friend, for ever?

8 They have lived in it and built you a sanctuary there for your name,

9 saying, “If disaster, war, flood, pestilence or famine befall us, and we stand in front of this Temple, before you — for your name is in this Temple — and cry to you in our distress, then you will listen and rescue us.”

10 ‘Now see, the Ammonites and Moabites and the people of Mount Seir, whom you would not allow Israel to invade when they came out of Egypt — on the contrary, Israel avoided them, and did not destroy them-

11 see how they reward us, by coming to drive us out of your possession which you allotted to us!

12 Our God, will you not pass sentence on them, since we are helpless against this vast horde about to attack us? Because we do not know what to do, we look to you.’

13 All Judah, including their families, wives and children, were standing before Yahweh,

14 when, in the middle of the assembly, the spirit of Yahweh came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah the Levite, a member of the clan of Asaph,

15 who then cried, ‘Listen, all Judah and you citizens of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Yahweh says this to you, “Do not be afraid, do not be daunted by this vast horde, for the war is not your affair but God’s.

16 Go down against them tomorrow; they are coming up by the Slope of Ziz and you will encounter them at the end of the ravine near the desert of Jeruel.

17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Take up your position, stand firm, and see what salvation Yahweh has in store for you. Judah and Jerusalem, be fearless, be dauntless; march out against them tomorrow and Yahweh will be with you.” ‘

18 Jehoshaphat bowed his head, his face to the ground, and all Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem fell down before Yahweh to worship Yahweh.

19 Then the Levites — both the Kohathites and Korahites — stood up to praise Yahweh, God of Israel, at the top of their voices.

20 Early next morning they prepared to set out for the desert of Tekoa. As they were setting out, Jehoshaphat stood up and said, ‘Listen to me, Judah and you citizens of Jerusalem! Believe in Yahweh your God and you will be secure; believe in his prophets and you will be successful.’

21 Then, having conferred with the people, he appointed singers who were to praise Yahweh and go out ahead of the army in sacred vestments, singing Praise Yahweh, for his faithful love endures for ever!

22 The moment they began their shouts of praise, Yahweh sprang an ambush on the Ammonites, Moabites and the people of Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and that was the end of them,

23 for the Ammonites and Moabites turned on the people of Mount Seir, and put them under the curse of destruction and then, having finished off the people of Seir, set to work slaughtering one another.

24 When Judah reached the point overlooking the desert and looked towards the horde, there were nothing but corpses lying on the ground; no one escaped.

25 When Jehoshaphat arrived to take the booty, they found quantities of cattle and innumerable possessions, clothes and valuables, which they seized for themselves; it was impossible to carry it, and it took them three days to collect it.

26 On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Beracah, where they blessed Yahweh — hence the place was given the name Valley of Beracah, which it still has today.

27 Then all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem with Jehoshaphat at their head as Yahweh had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies.

28 To the sound of lyre, harp and trumpet they came to Jerusalem, to the Temple of Yahweh,

29 and a panic from Yahweh seized all the neighbouring kings when they heard how Yahweh had fought against the enemies of Israel.

30 And henceforth Jehoshaphat’s reign was undisturbed, for his God gave him peace all round.

31 So Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he came to the throne and he reigned for twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azubah daughter of Shilhi.

32 He followed the example of his father Asa undeviatingly, doing what Yahweh regards as right.

33 The high places, however, were not abolished; the people had still not set their hearts on the God of their ancestors.

34 The rest of the history of Jehoshaphat, from first to last, is written down in the records of Jehu son of Hanani, which are quoted in the Book of the Kings of Israel.

35 Afterwards, Jehoshaphat formed a partnership with Ahaziah king of Israel, which was very wrong of him.

36 He joined him in building some ships to go to Tarshish; they built them at Ezion-Geber.

37 Eliezer son of Dodavahu of Mareshah then prophesied against Jehoshaphat as follows, ‘Because you have become Ahaziah’s partner, Yahweh has wrecked your efforts.’ The ships were wrecked and were never fit to sail for Tarshish.

Song of Solomon 6

1 CHORUS: Where did your lover go, O loveliest of women? Which way did your lover turn so that we can help you seek him?

2 BELOVED: My love went down to his garden, to the beds of spices, to pasture his flock on the grass and gather lilies.

3 I belong to my love, and my love to me. He pastures his flock among the lilies.

4 LOVER: You are fair as Tirzah, my beloved, enchanting as Jerusalem, formidable as an army!

5 Turn your eyes away from me, they take me by assault! Your hair is like a flock of goats surging down the slopes of Gilead.

6 Your teeth are like a flock of ewes as they come up from being washed. Each one has its twin, not one unpaired with another.

7 Your cheeks, behind your veil, are halves of pomegranate.

8 There are sixty queens and eighty concubines (and countless girls).

9 My dove is my only one, perfect and mine. She is the darling of her mother, the favourite of the one who bore her. Girls have seen her and proclaimed her blessed, queens and concubines have sung her praises,

10 ‘Who is this arising like the dawn, fair as the moon, resplendent as the sun, formidable as an army?’

11 I went down to the nut orchard to see the fresh shoots in the valley, to see if the vines were budding and the pomegranate trees in flower.

12 Before I knew . . . my desire had hurled me onto the chariots of Amminadib!

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