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Thoughts and Reflection

Today we learn about the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel when all ten tribes were exiled by the Assyrians. The tribes are now gone and all that remains are the two tribes in the south — Judah and Benjamin.

In Micah, we hear about the prophecy of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. Micah is telling the people that they will be scattered but from Bethlehem, a ruler will come that will bring them back.

This is an amazing prophecy and foretells the coming of Jesus!

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 17

1 In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Hoshea son of Elah became king of Israel in Samaria, and reigned for nine years.

2 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, though not like the preceding kings of Israel.

3 Shalmaneser king of Assyria made war on Hoshea who submitted to him and paid him tribute.

4 But the king of Assyria discovered that Hoshea was playing a double game with him; he had sent messengers to Sais, to the king of Egypt, and had not, as in previous years, handed over the tribute to the king of Assyria. For this the king of Assyria imprisoned him in chains.

5 The king of Assyria invaded the whole country and, coming to Samaria, laid siege to it for three years.

6 In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah on the Habor, a river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

7 This happened because the Israelites had sinned against Yahweh their God who had brought them out of Egypt, out of the grip of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshipped other gods,

8 they followed the practices of the nations which Yahweh had dispossessed for them.

9 The Israelites spoke slightingly of Yahweh their God. They built themselves high places wherever they lived, from watchtower to fortified town.

10 They set up pillars and sacred poles for themselves on every high hill and under every luxuriant tree.

11 They sacrificed on all the high places like the nations which Yahweh had expelled for them, and did wicked things there, provoking Yahweh’s anger.

12 They served idols, although Yahweh had told them, ‘This you must not do.’

13 And yet through all the prophets and the seers, Yahweh had given Israel and Judah this warning, ‘Turn from your wicked ways and keep my commandments and my laws in accordance with the entire Law which I laid down for your fathers and delivered to them through my servants the prophets.’

14 But they would not listen, they were as stubborn as their ancestors, who had no faith in Yahweh their God.

15 They despised his laws and the covenant which he had made with their ancestors and the warnings which he had given them. Pursuing futility, they themselves became futile through copying the nations round them, although Yahweh had ordered them not to act as they did.

16 They rejected all the commandments of Yahweh their God and cast themselves metal idols, two calves; they made themselves sacred poles, they worshipped the whole array of heaven, and they served Baal.

17 They caused their sons and daughters to pass through the fire of sacrifice, also they practised divination and sorcery, they sold themselves to doing what displeases Yahweh, provoking his anger.

18 Because of which, Yahweh became enraged with Israel and thrust them away from him. The tribe of Judah was the only one left.

19 Judah did not keep the commandments of Yahweh their God either but copied the practices which Israel had introduced.

20 Yahweh rejected the whole race of Israel; he brought them low, delivering them into the hands of marauders, until at length he thrust them away from him.

21 And indeed he had torn Israel away from the House of David, and they had made Jeroboam son of Nebat king; Jeroboam had drawn Israel away from Yahweh and led them into a great sin.

22 The Israelites copied the sin which Jeroboam had committed; they did not give it up,

23 until at length Yahweh thrust Israel away from him, as he had foretold through all his servants the prophets; he deported the Israelitesfrom their own country to Assyria, where they have been ever since.

24 The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim, and settled them in the towns of Samariato replace the Israelites; these took possession of Samaria and lived in its towns.

25 When they first came to live there, they did not worship Yahweh; hence, Yahweh set lions on them, which killed a number of them.

26 Consequently, the king of Assyria was informed as follows, ‘The nations whom you deported and settled in the towns of Samaria do not know how to worship the local god, and he has set lions on them; and now these are killing them because they do not know how to worship the local god.’

27 So the king of Assyria gave this order, ‘Send back one of the priests whom I deported from there; let him go and live there and teach them how to worship the local god.’

28 Accordingly, one of the priests who had been deported from Samaria came to live in Bethel; he taught them how to worship Yahweh.

29 Each nationality made gods of its own and put them in the shrines on the high places built by the Samaritans; each nationality did this in the towns where it lived.

30 The people from Babylon had made a Succoth-Benoth, the people from Cuthah a Nergal, the people from Hamath an Ashima,

31 the Avvites a Nibhaz and a Tartak; while the Sepharvites caused their children to pass through the fire of sacrifice to Adrammelech and Anammelech, gods of Sepharvaim.

32 They worshipped Yahweh as well, and they appointed priests out of their own number for the high places, and these officiated in the shrines on the high places.

33 They worshipped Yahweh and served their own gods at the same time, with the rites of the countries from which they had been deported.

34 They still follow their old rites even now. They did not worship Yahweh and did not conform to his statutes or ritual, or the law or the commandments, which Yahweh had laid down for the sons of Jacob to whom he gave the name Israel.

35 Yahweh had made a covenant with them and had given them this command, ‘You are not to worship alien gods, you are not to bow down to them or serve them or offer them sacrifices.

36 You are to bow down and offer sacrifice only to Yahweh who brought you out of Egypt with great power and outstretched arm.

37 You are to observe the statutes and ritual, the law and the commandments which he has given you in writing and to which you are always to conform; you are not to worship alien gods.

38 Do not forget the covenant which I have made with you, and do not venerate alien gods.

39 But venerate Yahweh your God, and he will deliver you from the clutches of all your enemies.’

40 But they would not listen and still followed their old rites.

41 These nationalities, then, worshipped Yahweh and served their idols as well, as did their children; and their children’s children still behave today as their ancestors behaved in the past.

Micah 5

1 But you (Bethlehem) Ephrathah, the least of the clans of Judah, from you will come for me a future ruler of Israel whose origins go back to the distant past, to the days of old.

2 Hence Yahweh will abandon them only until she who is in labour gives birth, and then those who survive of his race will be reunited to the Israelites.

3 He will take his stand and he will shepherd them with the power of Yahweh, with the majesty of the name of his God, and they will be secure, for his greatness will extend henceforth to the most distant parts of the country.

4 He himself will be peace! Should the Assyrian invade our country, should he set foot in our land, we shall raise seven shepherds against him, eight leaders of men;

5 they will shepherd Assyria with the sword, the country of Nimrod with naked blade. He will save us from the Assyrian, should he invade our country, should he set foot inside our frontiers.

6 Then what is left of Jacob, surrounded by many peoples, will be like a dew from Yahweh, like showers on the grass, which do not depend on human agency and are beyond human control.

7 Then what is left of Jacob, surrounded by many peoples, will be like a lion among the forest beasts, like a fierce lion among flocks of sheep trampling as he goes, mangling his prey which no one takes from him.

8 You will be victorious over your foes and all your enemies will be torn to pieces.

9 When that day comes- declares Yahweh- I shall tear your horses away from you, I shall destroy your chariots;

10 I shall tear the cities from your country, I shall overthrow all your fortresses;

11 I shall tear the spells out of your hands and you will have no more soothsayers;

12 I shall tear away your images and your sacred pillars from among you, and no longer will you worship things which your own hands have made!

13 I shall uproot your sacred poles and shall destroy your cities!

14 In furious anger I shall wreak vengeance on the nations who have disobeyed me!

Micah 6

1 Now listen to what Yahweh says: ‘Stand up, state your case to the mountains and let the hills hear what you have to say!’

2 Listen, mountains, to the case as Yahweh puts it, give ear, you foundations of the earth, for Yahweh has a case against his people and he will argue it with Israel.

3 ‘My people, what have I done to you, how have I made you tired of me? Answer me!

4 For I brought you up from Egypt, I ransomed you from the place of slave-labour and sent Moses, Aaron and Miriam to lead you.

5 My people, please remember: what was Balak king of Moab’s plan and how did Balaam son of Beor answer him? . . . from Shittim to Gilgal, for you to know Yahweh’s saving justice.

6 ‘With what shall I enter Yahweh’s presence and bow down before God All-high? Shall I enter with burnt offerings, with calves one year old?

7 Will he be pleased with rams by the thousand, with ten thousand streams of oil? Shall I offer my eldest son for my wrong-doing, the child of my own body for my sin?

8 ‘You have already been told what is right and what Yahweh wants of you. Only this, to do what is right, to love loyalty and to walk humbly with your God.’

9 Yahweh’s voice! He thunders to the city, ‘Listen, tribe of assembled citizens!

10 Can I overlook the false measure, that abomination, the short bushel?

11 Can I connive at rigged scales and at the bag of fraudulent weights?

12 For the rich there are steeped in violence, and the citizens there are habitual liars.

13 ‘I myself have therefore begun to strike you down, to bring you to ruin for your sins.

14 You will eat but not be satisfied; you will store up but never keep safe; what you do keep safe I shall hand over to the sword;

15 you will sow but will not reap, press the olive but will not rub yourself with oil, tread the grape but will not drink the wine.

16 ‘For you keep the laws of Omri; what the House of Ahab did, you have done; by modelling yourselves on their standards, you force me to make an appalling example of you and reduce your citizens to a laughing-stock; hence you will endure the scorn of other people.’ 

Micah 7

1 How wretched I am, a harvester in summer time, like a gleaner at the vintage: not a single cluster to eat, none of those early figs I love!

2 The faithful have vanished from the land: there is no one honest left. All of them are on the alert for blood, every man hunting his brother with a net.

3 Their hands are adept at wrong-doing: the official makes his demands, the judge gives judgement for a bribe, the man in power pronounces as he pleases.

4 The best of them is like a briar, the most honest of them like a thorn-hedge. Now from the north their punishment approaches! That willbe when they are confounded!

5 Trust no neighbour, put no confidence in a friend; do not open your mouth to the wife who shares your bed.

6 For son insults father, daughter rebels against mother, daughter-in-law against mother-in-law; a person’s enemies come from within the household itself.

7 But I shall look to Yahweh, my hope is in the God who will save me; my God will hear me.

8 Do not gloat over me, my enemy: though I have fallen, I shall rise; though I live in darkness, Yahweh is my light.

9 I must endure Yahweh’s anger for I have sinned against him, until he takes up my cause and rights my wrongs; he will bring me out into the light, and then I shall contemplate his saving justice.

10 When my enemy sees this, she will be covered with shame, having sneered, ‘Where is Yahweh your God?’ This time, I shall be watching as she is trampled underfoot like mud in the streets.

11 That will be the day for rebuilding your walls! The day for expanding your frontiers!

12 The day when others come to you all the way from Assyria, from Egypt, from Tyre and all the way from the Euphrates, from sea to sea, from the mountains to the mountains!

13 The earth will become a desert by reason of its inhabitants, in return for what they have done.

14 With shepherd’s crook lead your people to pasture, the flock that is your heritage, living confined in a forest with meadow land all round. Let them graze in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old!

15 As in the days when you came out of Egypt, grant us to see wonders!

16 The nations will see and be confounded in spite of all their power; they will put their hands over their mouths, their ears will be deafened.

17 They will lick the dust like snakes, like reptiles that crawl on the earth. They will creep trembling out of their lairs, in terror before you.

18 What god can compare with you for pardoning guilt and for overlooking crime? He does not harbour anger for ever, since he delights in showing faithful love.

19 Once more have pity on us, tread down our faults; throw all our sins to the bottom of the sea.

20 Grant Jacob your faithfulness, and Abraham your faithful love, as you swore to our ancestors from the days of long ago.

Psalm 140

1 [For the choirmaster Psalm Of David] Rescue me, Yahweh, from evil men, protect me from violent men,

2 whose heart is bent on malice, day after day they harbour strife;

3 their tongues as barbed as a serpent’s, viper’s venom behind their lips.

4 Keep me, Yahweh, from the clutches of the wicked, protect me from violent men, who are bent on making me stumble,laying out snares where I walk,

5 in their arrogance hiding pitfall and nooseto trap me as I pass.

6 I said to Yahweh, ‘You are my God.’ Listen, Yahweh, to the sound of my prayer.

7 Yahweh my Lord, my saving strength, you shield my head when battle comes.

8 Yahweh, do not grant the wicked their wishes, do not let their plots succeed. Do not let my attackers

9 prevail, but let them be overwhelmed by their own malice.

10 May red-hot embers rain down on them, may they be flung into the mire once and for all.

11 May the slanderer find no rest anywhere, may evil hunt down violent men implacably.

12 I know that Yahweh will give judgement for the wretched, justice for the needy.

13 The upright shall praise your name, the honest dwell in your presence.

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