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Thoughts and Reflection

Today we learn that Ahaz does not live like his father Jotham or his grandfather Uzziah. He turns away from the worship of the Lord to idolatry. He even goes as far as to sacrifice his own son. After meeting with the king of Assyria, Ahaz wants an altar built just like the pagan altar he sees on his visit. Aha will act as a priest and offers false sacrifices on a false altar.

Syria and Israel join forces against Judah. The prophet Isaiah tells Ahaz to ask the Lord for a sign. Ahaz responds that he will not tempt the Lord. He says this to make a deal with the king of Assyria rather than trusting in the Lord. Assyria will destroy Israel and lead the people into exile. Eventually, Judah will be destroyed.

Micah is serving God as a prophet. Like the other prophets, he proclaims both judgment and hope. God’s judgment will be there if the people remain far from the Lord but hope if they draw near to him. Assyria and Babylon will destroy the kingdoms of Israel and Judah because the leaders are corrupt.

Trust in the Lord is difficult. It is hard to surrender our own plans and trust in the Lord.

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

2 Kings 16

1 In the seventeenth year of Pekah son of Remaliah, Ahaz son of Jotham became king of Judah.

2 Ahaz was twenty years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for sixteen years in Jerusalem. He did not do what Yahweh his God regards as right, as his ancestor David had done.

3 He followed the example of the kings of Israel, even causing his son to pass through the fire of sacrifice, also copying the disgusting practices of the nations whom Yahweh had dispossessed for the Israelites.

4 He offered sacrifices and incense on the high places, on the hills and under every luxuriant tree.

5 Then it was that Razon king of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah, king of Israel, launched their campaign against Jerusalem. They besieged it but could not reduce it.

6 (At that time, the king of Edom recovered Elath for Edom; he drove the Judaeans out of Elath, and the Edomites occupied it and have been there ever since.)

7 Ahaz then sent messengers to Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria to say, ‘I am your servant and your son. Come and rescue me from the king of Aram and the king of Israel who are making war on me.’

8 And Ahaz took what silver and gold was to be found in the Temple of Yahweh and in the palace treasury, and sent this as a present to the king of Assyria.

9 The king of Assyria granted his request and, marching on Damascus, captured it; he deported its population to Kir and put Razon to death.

10 When King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria, he saw the altar which was in Damascus. King Ahaz then sent a picture and model of the altar, with details of its construction, to Uriah the priest.

11 Uriah the priest constructed the altar; all the instructions sent by King Ahaz from Damascus were carried out by Uriah the priestbefore King Ahaz returned from Damascus.

12 When the king arrived from Damascus, he inspected the altar, he approached it and ascended it.

13 And on the altar he made his burnt offering and his oblation; he poured out his libation and sprinkled the blood of his communion sacrifices.

14 The altar which used to stand before Yahweh he removed from the front of the Temple, where it had stood between the new altar and the Temple of Yahweh, and placed it at the north side of the new altar.

15 King Ahaz gave this order to Uriah the priest, ‘In future you will present the morning burnt offering, the evening oblation, the king’s burnt offering and oblation, the burnt offering, the oblation and the libations of all the people of the country on the large altar; on it you will pour out all the blood of the burnt offerings and sacrifices. As regards the bronze altar, I shall see to that.’

16 Uriah the priest did everything that King Ahaz had ordered.

17 King Ahaz broke up the wheeled stands; removed the crosspieces and the basins from them, and took the bronze Sea off the oxen supporting it, and rested it on the stone pavement.

18 And from the Temple of Yahweh, in deference to the king of Assyria, he removed the dais for the throne which had been built inside, and the royal entrance on the outside.

19 The rest of the history of Ahaz, his entire career, is this not recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah?

20 Then Ahaz fell asleep with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David; his son Hezekiah succeeded him.

Micah 1

1 The word of Yahweh which came to Micah of Moresheth during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah kings of Judah. His visionsabout Samaria and Jerusalem.

2 Listen, all you peoples, attend, earth and everyone on it! Yahweh intends to give evidence against you, the Lord, from his holy temple.

3 For look, Yahweh is leaving his home, down he comes, he treads the heights of earth.

4 Beneath him, the mountains melt, and valleys are torn open, like wax near a fire, like water pouring down a slope.

5 All this is because of the crime of Jacob, the sin of the House of Israel. What is the crime of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? What is the sinof the House of Judah? Is it not Jerusalem?

6 So I shall make Samaria a ruin in the open country, a place for planting vines. I shall send her stones rolling into the valley, until I have laid her foundations bare.

7 All her images will be shattered, all her earnings consumed by fire. I shall leave all her idols derelict- they were amassed out of prostitutes’ earnings and prostitutes’ earnings once more they will be.

8 This is why I shall howl and wail, why I shall go barefoot and naked, why I shall howl like the jackals, why I shall shriek like the owls;

9 for there is no cure for the wounds that Yahweh inflicts: the blow falls on Judah, it falls on the gateway of my people, on Jerusalemitself.

10 Do not announce it in Gath, in . . . shed no tears! In Beth-Leaphrah roll in the dust!

11 Sound the horn, inhabitant of Shaphir! She has not left her city, she who lives in Zaanan. Beth-Ezel is torn from its foundations, from its strong supports.

12 What hope has she of happiness, she who lives in Maroth? Instead Yahweh sent down disaster on the gateway of Jerusalem itself!

13 Harness the horse to the chariot, you inhabitant of Lachish! That is where the sin of the daughter of Zion began; the crimes of Israel can be traced to you!

14 And so you must provide a dowry for Moresheth-Gath. Beth-Achzib will prove a disappointment for the kings of Israel.

15 The plunderer will come to you again, you citizen of Mareshah! And into Adullam will vanish the glory of Israel.

16 Off with your hair, shave your head, for the children that were your joy. Make yourselves bald like the vulture, for they have left you for exile.

Micah 2

1 Disaster for those who plot evil, who lie in bed planning mischief! No sooner is it dawn than they do it, since they have the power to do so.

2 Seizing the fields that they covet, they take over houses as well, owner and house they seize alike, the man himself as well as his inheritance.

3 So Yahweh says this: Look, I am now plotting a disaster for this breed from which you will not extricate your necks; you will not hold your heads up then, for the times will be disastrous indeed.

4 That day they will make a satire on you, they will strike up a dirge and say, ‘We have been stripped of everything; my people’s land has been divided up, no one else can restore it to them, our fields have been awarded to our despoiler.’

5 Because of this, you will have no one to measure out a share in Yahweh’s community.

6 ‘Do not drivel,’ they drivel, ‘do not drivel like this! Disgrace will not overtake us!

7 ‘Can the House of Jacob be accursed? Has Yahweh grown short-tempered? Is that his way of going to work? His prophecies can only be favourable for his people Israel!’

8 But you are the ones who play the enemy to my people. From the inoffensive man you snatch his cloak, on those who feel safe you inflict the damage of war.

9 My people’s women you evict from the homes they love, and deprive the children of my glory for ever,

10 saying, ‘Up and off with you! You can’t stay here!’ For a worthless thing you exact an extortionate pledge.

11 If a man of the spirit came and invented this lie, ‘I prophesy wine and liquor for you,’ he would be the prophet for a people like this.

12 I shall assemble the whole of Jacob, I shall gather the remnant of Israel, I shall gather them together like sheep in an enclosure. And like a flock within their fold, they will bleat far away from anyone,

13 their leader will break out first, then all break out through the gate and escape, with their king leading the way and with Yahweh at their head.

Micah 3

1 Then I said, ‘Kindly listen, you leaders of the House of Jacob, you princes of the House of Israel. Surely you are the ones who ought to know what is right,

2 and yet you hate what is good and love what is evil, skinning people alive, pulling the flesh off their bones,

3 eating my people’s flesh, stripping off their skin, breaking up their bones, chopping them up small like flesh for the pot, like meat in the stew-pan?’

4 Then they will call to Yahweh, but he will not answer them. When the time comes he will hide his face from them because of the crimes they have committed.

5 Yahweh says this against the prophets who lead my people astray: So long as they have something to eat they cry ‘Peace’. But on anyone who puts nothing into their mouths they declare war.

6 And so, for you, night will be without vision and for you the darkness without divination. The sun will set for the prophets, the daylight will go black above them.

7 Then the seers will be covered with shame, the diviners with confusion; they will all put their hands over their mouths because there is no answer from God.

8 Not so with me, I am full of strength (full of Yahweh’s spirit), of the sense of right, of energy to accuse Jacob of his crime and Israel of his sin.

9 Kindly listen to this, you leaders of the House of Jacob, you princes of the House of Israel, who detest justice, wresting it from its honest course,

10 who build Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity!

11 Her leaders give verdicts for presents, her priests take a fee for their rulings, her prophets divine for money and yet they rely on Yahweh! ‘Isn’t Yahweh among us?’ they say, ‘No disaster is going to overtake us.’

12 That is why, thanks to you, Zion will become ploughland, Jerusalem a heap of rubble and the Temple Mount a wooded height.

Micah 4

1 But in days to come Yahweh’s Temple Mountain will tower above the mountains, rise higher than the hills.

2 Then the peoples will stream to it, then many nations will come and say, ‘Come, we will go up to Yahweh’s mountain, to the Temple of the God of Jacob, so that he may teach us his ways and we may walk in his paths; for the Law issues from Zion and Yahweh’s word from Jerusalem.’

3 He will judge between many peoples and arbitrate between mighty nations. They will hammer their swords into ploughshares and their spears into bill-hooks. Nation will not lift sword against nation or ever again be trained to make war.

4 But each man will sit under his vine and fig tree with no one to trouble him. The mouth of Yahweh Sabaoth has spoken.

5 For all peoples go forward, each in the name of its god, while we go forward in the name of Yahweh our God for ever and ever.

6 That day — declares Yahweh- I shall gather in the lame and bring together the strays and those whom I have treated harshly.

7 From the footsore I shall make a remnant, and from the far-flung a mighty nation. And Yahweh will reign over them on Mount Zion thenceforth and for ever.

8 And to you, Tower of the Flock, Ophel of the daughter of Zion, to you your former sovereignty will return, the royal power of the daughter of Jerusalem.

9 Why are you crying out now? Have you no king? Has your counsellor perished, for pangs to grip you like those of a woman in labour?

10 Writhe in pain and cry aloud, daughter of Zion, like a woman in labour, for now you must leave the city and camp in the open country; to Babylon you must go, and there you will be rescued; there Yahweh will ransom you from the clutches of your enemies.

11 Now many nations have mustered against you. They say, ‘Let us desecrate her, let us gloat over Zion!’

12 But they do not know Yahweh’s thoughts, they do not understand his design: he has collected them like sheaves on the threshing-floor.

13 Start your threshing, daughter of Zion, for I shall make your horn like iron, I shall make your hooves like bronze, so that you can crush many peoples. And you will devote what they have stolen to Yahweh, their wealth to the Lord of the whole earth.

14 Now look to your fortifications, Fortress! They have laid siege to us; the ruler of Israel will be struck on the cheek with a rod.

Psalm 139

1 [For the choirmaster Of David Psalm] Yahweh, you examine me and know me,

2 you know when I sit, when I rise, you understand my thoughts from afar.

3 You watch when I walk or lie down, you know every detail of my conduct.

4 A word is not yet on my tongue before you, Yahweh, know all about it.

5 You fence me in, behind and in front, you have laid your hand upon me.

6 Such amazing knowledge is beyond me, a height to which I cannot attain.

7 Where shall I go to escape your spirit? Where shall I flee from your presence?

8 If I scale the heavens you are there, if I lie flat in Sheol, there you are.

9 If I speed away on the wings of the dawn, if I dwell beyond the ocean,

10 even there your hand will be guiding me, your right hand holding me fast.

11 I will say, ‘Let the darkness cover me, and the night wrap itself around me,’

12 even darkness to you is not dark, and night is as clear as the day.

13 You created my inmost self, knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 For so many marvels I thank you; a wonder am I, and all your works are wonders. You knew me through and through,

15 my being held no secrets from you, when I was being formed in secret, textured in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes could see my embryo. In your book all my days were inscribed, every one that was fixed is there.

17 How hard for me to grasp your thoughts, how many, God, there are!

18 If I count them, they are more than the grains of sand; if I come to an end, I am still with you.

19 If only, God, you would kill the wicked!-Men of violence, keep away from me!-

20 those who speak blasphemously about you, and take no account of your thoughts.

21 Yahweh, do I not hate those who hate you, and loathe those who defy you?

22 My hate for them has no limits, I regard them as my own enemies.

23 God, examine me and know my heart, test me and know my concerns.

24 Make sure that I am not on my way to ruin, and guide me on the road of eternity.

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