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64 Bible Verses about Reformation
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Then Samuel told the whole house of Israel, "If you're returning to the LORD with all your heart, then remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you, direct your hearts back to the LORD, and serve him only. Then he will deliver you from the control of the Philistines."
Jacob announced to his household and to everyone with him, "Throw away the foreign gods that you've kept among you, purify yourselves, and change your clothes.
"Now you must fear the LORD and serve him in faithfulness and truth. Throw away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Instead, serve the LORD. If you think it's the wrong thing for you to serve the LORD, then choose for yourselves today whom you will serve the gods whom your ancestors served on the other side of the Euphrates River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose territories you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." In response, the people said, "Far be it from us that we should abandon the LORD to serve other gods, read more.
since the LORD our God is the one who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, from a life of slavery. He did those great things right in front of us, preserving us along the way that we traveled and among all the nations through whose territory we passed. The LORD expelled all the people before us, including the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore, we also will serve the LORD, since he is our God." So Joshua told the people, "You will not be able to serve the LORD, because he is a God of Holiness. He is a jealous God, and he will forgive neither your transgressions nor your sins. If you abandon the LORD and serve foreign deities, then he will turn and do you harm, consuming you after all the good he has done for you." "No," the people replied to Joshua. "We will serve the LORD." Joshua responded, "You are giving testimony against yourselves, that you have chosen to serve the LORD." They replied, "We are witnesses!" Joshua said, "Therefore abandon the foreign gods that are among you, and turn your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel." The people replied, "We will serve the LORD our God and obey his voice."
Later that very night, the LORD told Gideon, "Take the bull that belongs to your father, along with a second bull that's seven years old. Then tear down the altar to Baal that your father owns, cut down the Asherah that's beside it, and build an altar to the LORD your God on top of this stronghold in an orderly manner. Then take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering using the wood from the Asherah that you'll be cutting down." So Gideon went with ten men who were his servants and did just what the LORD had told him to do, though he did it at night because he was too afraid of his father's family and the leading men of the city to do it during the day.
Then Jehu assembled all the people and announced to them, "Ahab served Baal a little, but Jehu will serve him a lot! Therefore summon all of Baal's prophets to me, including all his worshipers and all his priests. Don't leave even one out, because I've prepared a great sacrifice for Baal. Whoever doesn't show up doesn't live!" But Jehu did this deceptively, intending to destroy Baal's worshippers. Jehu ordered, "Set aside a solemn assembly for Baal!"read more.
And so they proclaimed it. Jehu sent the proclamation throughout Israel, and all the Baal worshipers came. There wasn't a single man left who failed to come. When they entered Baal's temple, it was filled from one end to the other. Then Jehu ordered the one in charge of the wardrobe, "Bring out garments for all of the worshipers of Baal." So he brought out garments for them. Jehu and Rechab's son Jehonadab entered Baal's temple, and Jehu told the Baal worshipers, "Look around and be sure that no servant of the LORD is here among you, but only worshipers of Baal." Then they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings. Meanwhile, Jehu had stationed 80 men outside, ordering them, "If any of these men whom I've brought into your control escape, the one who allows it will forfeit his life." As soon as he had completed the burnt offering, Jehu ordered the guards and the officers, "Go in and execute them. Don't let even one man escape." So they executed them with swords, and the guards and the officers threw the bodies out and proceeded into the inner room of Baal's temple, from which they brought out the sacred pillars and burned them. They also cut down the pillar to Baal, tore apart Baal's temple, and turned it into a latrine and it remains that way today.
Then Jehoiada entered into a covenant with the LORD, the king, and the people, that they would live as the LORD's people, and also entered into a covenant with the king and the people. Then all of the people of the land entered Baal's temple, tore it down, and broke his altars and his images to pieces, killing Mattan the priest of Baal right in front of the altars. Furthermore, Jehoiada the priest appointed officers to guard the LORD's Temple,
After this, Jehoiada drew up a covenant between himself as an individual with all the people, and between himself as king, that they would be the LORD's people. Then all the people went to the temple of Baal, broke its altars and idols to pieces, and executed Mattan, the priest of Baal, in front of the altars.
He also eliminated the foreign gods and idols from the LORD's Temple, along with all of the altars that he had built in Jerusalem and on the mountain where the LORD's Temple was located, and he discarded them outside the city.
He also removed the male cult prostitutes from the land and destroyed all the idols that his ancestors had made. He removed his mother Maacah from her position as Queen Mother because she had made a detestable image dedicated to Asherah. Asa cut down his mother's idol, crushed it, and burned it at the Kidron Brook.
Encouraged by what Oded's son Azariah the prophet had said in his prophecy, Asa removed the detestable idols from throughout the entire territories of Judah and Benjamin, and from the cities that he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim. He repaired the LORD's altar that stood in front of the vestibule of the LORD's Temple.
Then he gathered together all of Judah, Benjamin, and people from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who were living among them, since many people had defected to him from Israel when they learned that the LORD his God was with him. They all assembled in Jerusalem during the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa's reign. They sacrificed to the LORD that day 700 oxen and 7,000 sheep from the spoil that they had brought with them. read more.
They also entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their ancestors with all their heart and soul, and they further agreed that whoever would refuse to seek the LORD God of Israel was to be executed, whether important or unimportant, man or woman. They also made a vow to the LORD with loud voices, shouting, trumpets, and horns. Everybody in Judah was very glad to make their oath, because they had made their vow with all their heart and had sought him with all of their might, and they found him! The LORD also gave them rest in their surrounding lands.
He removed the high places, demolished the sacred pillars, and tore down the Asherah poles. He also demolished the bronze serpent that Moses had crafted, because the Israelis had been burning incense to it right up until that time. Hezekiah called it a piece of brass.
At the conclusion of all of these activities, everybody in Israel who was in attendance traveled throughout the cities of Judah, broke down the sacred pillars, cut down the Asherim, and broke down the high places and altars throughout the territories of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh until they had eliminated all of them. Then the people of Israel went back to their cities and back to their work.
In the first month of the first year of his reign he repaired and reopened the doors of the LORD's Temple. Then he brought in the priests and descendants of Levi, gathered them into the square in the eastern part of the Temple, and told them,read more.
"Pay attention to me, you descendants of Levi! Consecrate yourselves and the Temple of the LORD God of your ancestors by taking out from the Holy Place whatever is unclean. Our ancestors have been unfaithful. They practiced what the LORD considers to be evil, abandoned him, turned their faces away from the place where the LORD resides, and turned their backs to him. They shut the doors to the vestibule of the Temple, extinguished its lamps, and have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel in the Holy Place.
I'm intending to make a covenant with the LORD God of Israel so his burning anger may turn away from us. Please don't be careless, you descendants of Aaron, because the LORD has chosen you to minister in his presence, to serve him, to be his ministers, and to burn incense."
Hezekiah also sent word to all of Israel and Judah, and wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh that they should come to the LORD's Temple in Jerusalem to observe the Passover to the LORD God of Israel. The king, his princes, and the entire assembly in Jerusalem had mutually decided to observe the Passover in the second month, but they had been unable to celebrate it then because not enough priests had consecrated themselves and the people had not yet been gathered together in Jerusalem. read more.
This decision seemed to be a good one in the opinion of the king and of the entire assembly, so they published a decree that was circulated throughout Israel from Beer-sheba to Dan that they are to come celebrate the Passover to the LORD God of Israel in Jerusalem. The Passover had not been celebrated in great numbers as was being prescribed by the decree. Couriers were sent throughout all of Israel and Judah with letters written by the king and his princes, just as the king had commanded: "Listen, you descendants of Israel! Come back to the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, so he may come back to those of you who have escaped and survived from domination by the kings of Assyria. Don't be like your ancestors and your relatives, who weren't faithful to the LORD God of their ancestors, who, as a result, made them a desolate horror, as you well know. So don't be stiff-necked like your ancestors were. Instead, submit to the LORD, enter his sanctuary that he has sanctified forever, and serve the LORD your God so that he'll stop being angry with you. If you return to the LORD, your relatives and children will receive compassion from those who took them away captive, and they'll return to this land, because the LORD is both gracious and compassionate he will not turn away from you if you return to him." Couriers crossed from city to city throughout the territories of Ephraim and Manasseh as far as Zebulun, but those people just mocked them and laughed at them. Nevertheless, a few men from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and traveled to Jerusalem. God also poured out his grace throughout Judah, giving them a dedicated heart to do what the king and princes had decreed according to the message from the LORD. Many of the people gathered together in Jerusalem to observe the Festival of Unleavened Bread during the second month. It was a very large assembly. They all got to work and removed the idolatrous altars that were throughout Jerusalem. They also removed all the incense altars and threw them into the Kidron Brook. Then they slaughtered the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and descendants of Levi felt ashamed of themselves, so they consecrated themselves and brought burnt offerings to the LORD's Temple. Then they took their customary places, as the Law of Moses the man of God prescribes, and the priests sprinkled the blood that they were given by the descendants of Levi. Because there were so many in the assembly that had not consecrated themselves, therefore the descendants of Levi supervised the slaughter of the Passover sacrifices on behalf of everyone who remained unclean, so they could be consecrated to the LORD. Even though a large crowd of people from as far away as Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not completed consecrating themselves, they still ate the Passover in a manner not proscribed by the Law, because Hezekiah had prayed like this for them: "May the good LORD extend a pardon on behalf of everyone who prepares his own heart to seek God, the LORD God of his ancestors, even though he does so inconsistent with the laws of consecration." The LORD listened to Hezekiah and healed the people. The Israelis who were present in Jerusalem observed the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days with immense gladness, and the descendants of Levi and priests praised the LORD throughout each day, singing mightily to the LORD. Hezekiah encouraged all the descendants of Levi who demonstrated significant insight in their service to the LORD, so they all participated in the festival meals for seven days, all the while sacrificing peace offerings and giving thanks to the LORD God of their ancestors. After this, the whole assembly agreed to celebrate for another seven days, and so they did and they were very happy to do so! King Hezekiah of Judah gave the assembly 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep for offerings, and the princes contributed 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep, and a large number of priests consecrated themselves. Everyone in the assembly of Judah rejoiced, as did the priests, the descendants of Levi, and the people who gathered together from throughout Israel, including those who came from the land of Israel and those who lived in Judah. There was great joy throughout Jerusalem, because nothing had happened like this in Jerusalem since the days of David's son Solomon, king of Israel. After this, the priests arose, blessed the people, and their voices were heard in prayer all the way to heaven, where God resides in holiness.
Hezekiah appointed the priestly divisions and the divisions of the descendants of Levi, each according to their service duties, including both priests and descendants of Levi who offered morning and evening burnt offerings, peace offerings, general ministry, thanksgiving, and praise in the gateways to the LORD's campgrounds. He also gave a portion of his own income for both morning and evening burnt offerings, for burnt offerings on the Sabbath, New Moons, and for the scheduled festivals, as is recorded in the LORD's Law. Hezekiah also directed the people who lived in Jerusalem to give what was due to the priests and descendants of Levi, so they could be strengthened in the LORD's Law. read more.
As the word spread around, the people of Israel gave generously for the first fruits of grain, wine, oil, honey, and all of the produce of the fields. They generously gave a tithe of everything. The descendants of Israel and Judah who lived throughout the cities of Judah also brought tithes of cattle and sheep, as well as tithes of gifts that had been dedicated to the LORD their God. As these gifts were given, they were laid in piles. They began to make these piles of gifts during the third month, and it took them until the seventh month to finish. When Hezekiah and the officials arrived and saw the piles of gifts, they blessed the LORD and his people Israel, and Hezekiah quizzed the priests and the descendants of Levi about the piles of gifts. Azariah replied, "Since they began to bring their gifts into the LORD's Temple, we have eaten and have been satisfied. Now we still have plenty left, because the LORD has blessed his people so that we have all of this left over." Hezekiah gave an order to prepare storerooms in the LORD's Temple, and so they did. They faithfully brought in the gifts, tithes, and consecrated materials, and Conaniah the descendant of Levi was placed in charge of them. His brother Shimei was second in command, Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismachiah, Mahath, and Benaiah served as supervisors under Conaniah and his brother Shimei, who had been appointed by King Hezekiah. Azariah served as senior officer of God's Temple. Imnah the descendant of Levi's son Kore, keeper of the eastern gate, was in charge of voluntary offerings to God, apportioning contributions for the LORD and the most holy things. Under his authority, Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah served in the priestly cities, making sure contributions were distributed faithfully to their relatives division by division, no matter how large or how small, without regard to genealogical enrollment, to every male 30 years old and older that is, to everyone who entered the LORD's Temple as their duty obligations required for their work and duties according to their divisions as well as the priests who were enrolled in the genealogies according to their ancestral households. These genealogical enrollments also included all of their little children, their wives, and their sons and daughters for the entire assembly, because they were being faithful to consecrating themselves in holiness. Furthermore, with respect to the descendants of Aaron, that is, the priests who lived out in the country away from the cities, or who lived in each and every city, men were designated by name to distribute portions to every male among the priests and to everyone who had been enrolled by genealogy among the descendants of Levi.
Eighteen years after King Josiah had begun to reign, the king sent Azaliah's son Shaphan, grandson of Meshullam the scribe, to the LORD's Temple. He told him, "Go to the high priest Hilkiah, so he can count the money that has been brought into the LORD's Temple by the doorkeepers who have been gathering it from the people. Have them deliver it to the workmen who are supervising the LORD's Temple, so that they may pay it over to the workmen who serve in the LORD's Temple to repair its damages, read more.
including paying the carpenters, builders, and masons, as well as buying timber and pre-carved stone to repair the Temple. But you won't need to force them to be accountable for money already paid to them, since they're faithful."
In the eighteenth year of his reign, after he had purged the land and the Temple, he sent Azaliah's son Shaphan, Maaseiah, mayor of Jerusalem, and Joahaz's son Joah, the recorder, to repair the Temple of the LORD his God. They approached Hilkiah the high priest and delivered to him the money that had been brought into God's Temple that the descendants of Levi and gatekeepers had collected from Manasseh, Ephraim, the surviving Israelis, Judah, Benjamin, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They paid it to the workmen who supervised the LORD's Temple, and the workmen who were employed in the LORD's Temple to supervise restoration and repair of the Temple. read more.
They, in turn, paid the carpenters and builders to purchase quarried stone and timber for binders and beams for the buildings that previous kings of Judah had let deteriorate. The workmen did their duties faithfully with these foremen supervising them: Jahath and Obadiah, descendants of Levi who were Merari's sons, Zechariah and Meshullam, descendants of Kohath, and various descendants of Levi, who were skilled musicians. These men also supervised the heavy lift workers and supervised all the workmen from job to job, while some of the descendants of Levi served as scribes, officials, and gatekeepers.
The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the priests of the secondary order, and the doorkeepers to take out of the LORD's Temple all of the implements that had been crafted for Baal, for Asherah, and for every star in the heavens. Then he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron and carried the ashes to Bethel. The king unseated the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had appointed to burn incense in the high places throughout the cities of Judah and in the environs surrounding Jerusalem, including those who had been burning incense to Baal, to the sun, to the moon, to the constellations, and to every star in the heavens. He brought the Asherah from the LORD's Temple to the Kidron Brook outside Jerusalem, burned it at the Kidron brook, pulverized the ashes to dust, and scattered it over the graves of the common people.read more.
He also demolished the temples of the cultic male prostitutes that had been operating in the LORD's Temple, where the women had been doing weaving for the Asherah. Then he gathered together all the priests from the cities of Judah and defiled the high places from Geba to Beer-sheba, where the priests had burned incense. He also demolished the high places of the gates that had been erected to the left as one enters the city gate that is, near the entrance operated by Joshua, the governor of the city. Nevertheless, the priests of the high places did not approach the LORD's altar in Jerusalem, but instead they ate unleavened bread given to them by their relatives. He also defiled Topheth, which is located in the Ben-hinnom Valley, so that no one would force his son or daughter to pass through the fire in dedication to Molech. He abolished the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun at the entrance to the LORD's Temple, near the offices of Nathan-melech, the official, that were in the precincts. He also set fire to the chariots of the sun. The king demolished the rooftop altars on top of Ahaz's upper chamber that the kings of Judah had erected, as well as the altars that Manasseh had made in the two courts of the LORD's Temple. He pulverized them where they stood and cast their dust into the Kidron Brook. The king defiled the high places which faced Jerusalem on the south side of Corruption Mountain, which King Solomon of Israel had constructed for Ashtoreth, the Sidonian abomination, for Chemosh, the Moabite abomination, and for Milcom, the Ammonite abomination. He broke the pillars to pieces, cut down the Asherim, and filled their locations with human bones. Furthermore, he even broke down the altar that had been at Bethel as well as the high place constructed by Nebat's son Jeroboam, who had caused Israel to sin. He demolished its stones, pulverized them to dust, and burned the Asherah. As Josiah turned around, he observed the graves located there on the mountain, so he sent for and recovered the bones from the graves and burned them on the altar to defile it, in keeping with the message from the LORD that the godly man had proclaimed when he was declaring these things. He asked, "What is this monument that I'm looking at?" The men who lived in that city answered him, "It's the grave of that godly man who came from Judah and predicted these things that you've done against the altar at Bethel!" Josiah replied, "Leave him alone. No one is to disturb his bones." So they preserved his bones undisturbed, along with the bones of the prophet who had come from Samaria. Josiah also removed all of the temples on the high places that had been in the cities of Samaria and that the kings of Israel had erected, thereby provoking the LORD. He treated Samaria just as he had Bethel. After he had slaughtered all the priests who served at the high places and burned their bones on those high places, he returned to Jerusalem. After this, the king commanded all of the people, "Celebrate the Passover to the LORD your God, just as it's prescribed in this Book of the Covenant." From the days of the judges who ruled in Israel, no Passover had been celebrated like this, not even in all the reigns of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah. In the eighteenth year of the reign of King Josiah, this Passover was observed in Jerusalem to honor the LORD. Furthermore, Josiah removed the mediums, the necromancers, the household gods, the idols, and every despicable thing that could be seen in the territory of Judah and in Jerusalem, so that he might confirm the words of the Law that had been written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the LORD's Temple.
In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his ancestor David. In the twelfth year of his reign, he began to remove the high places, Asherim, carved images, and cast images from Judah and Jerusalem. They tore down the altars of Baals in his presence. He chopped down the incense altars that stood high above them. He broke into pieces the Asherim, the carved images, and the cast images, ground them to dust, and scattered the residue on the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He burned the bones of the priests on their altars, thus purging Judah and Jerusalem. read more.
In the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, Simeon, and as far as Naphtali and their surrounding ruins, he also tore down altars, destroyed the Asherim and the carved images, grinding them into dust, and chopped down all the incense altars throughout the land of Israel. Then he went back to Jerusalem.
Josiah also removed all the detestable things from the territories that belonged to the people of Israel, and made everyone who lived in Israel to serve the LORD their God. For the rest of his life, they didn't abandon their quest to follow the LORD God of their ancestors.
When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes and issued these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Shaphan's son Ahikam, Micaiah's son Achbor, Shaphan the scribe, and the king's servant Asaiah: "Go ask the LORD for me, for the people, and for all of Judah about what's written in this book that has been discovered, because the LORD's anger is burning against us, since our ancestors have not listened to the words written in this book and have not lived according to everything that is written concerning us."read more.
So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to the prophet Huldah, the wife of Tikvah's son Shallum, the grandson of Harhas and supervisor of the royal wardrobe, who lived in the Second Quarter in Jerusalem. They spoke with her, and she told them, "This is what the LORD God of Israel says: "Tell the man who sent you to me: "This is what the Lord says: "Look! I'm bringing disaster on this place and on its inhabitants everything written in the book that the king of Judah has read because they have abandoned me, burned incense to other gods, and they have provoked me to anger with everything that they've done. Therefore my anger is kindled against this place and it won't be quenched!'" Nevertheless, tell the king of Judah who sent you to ask the LORD about this, "This is what the LORD God of Israel says: "Now about what you've heard, because your heart was sensitive, and you humbled yourself in the LORD's presence when you heard what I had to say against this place and against its inhabitants that they would become a desolation and a curse and you have torn your clothes and cried out before me, be assured that I have truly heard you,' declares the LORD. "Therefore, look! I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be placed in your grave in peace. Your eyes will never see all the evil that I will bring on this place.'"'"
As soon as he heard what the Law said, he tore his clothes. He issued these orders to Hilkiah, Shaphan's son Ahikam, Micah's son Abdon, Shaphan the scribe, and the king's personal assistant Asaiah: "Go ask the LORD for me and for those who survive in Israel and in Judah about the words that we've read in this book that we found, because the wrath of the LORD that we deserve to have poured out on us is very great, since our ancestors haven't obeyed the command from the LORD that required us to do everything that is written in this book."read more.
So Hilkiah and the others who had received orders from the king went to visit Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Tokhath's son Shallum, grandson of Hasrah. She was the king's wardrobe supervisor, and she lived in Jerusalem's Second Quarter. They asked her about what had happened. In response, she replied: "This is what the LORD God of Israel says: "Tell the man who sent you to me, "This is what the LORD says: "Pay attention! I'm bringing evil to visit this place and its inhabitants every single curse written in the book that they've been reading to the King of Judah. Because they abandoned me and have burned incense to other gods, provoking me to become angry at everything they're doing, therefore my wrath is about to be poured out on this place, and it won't be quenched.'"' "Now tell the king of Judah who sent you to ask the LORD about this: "This is what the LORD God of Israel says about what you've heard: "Because your heart was sensitive, and you humbled yourself before God when you heard what he had to say about this place and its inhabitants indeed, because you humbled yourself before me, tore your clothes, and cried out to me, I have heard you," declares the LORD. "Look! I'm going to take you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in your grave in peace so that you won't have to see all the evil that I'm going to bring to this place and to its inhabitants."'" So they all brought back this message to the king.
At this, the king sent for and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. The king went up to the LORD's Temple, accompanied by all the men of Judah, everyone who lived in Jerusalem, the priests, the prophets, and everyone including those who were unimportant and those who were important and he read to them everything written in the Book of the Covenant that had been discovered in the LORD's Temple. The king stood beside a pillar and made a covenant in the presence of the LORD: to follow after the LORD, to keep his commandments, his testimonies, and his statutes with all of his heart and soul, and to carry out what was written in the covenant contained in the book. All the people consented to enter into the covenant.
The king sent word to gather all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. Then the king went up to the LORD's Temple, accompanied by the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests and descendants of Levi, and everyone else from the most important to the least important, and he read out loud all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the LORD's Temple. While standing in his appointed place, the king made a public covenant with the LORD to follow the LORD, to keep his commandments, his testimonies, and his statutes, and to do so with all of his heart and soul, and to carry out what was written in the covenant contained in the book. read more.
He also made everyone who was present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand in agreement with him. As a result, the inhabitants of Jerusalem reconfirmed the covenant of God, the God of their ancestors.
The king stood beside a pillar and made a covenant in the presence of the LORD: to follow after the LORD, to keep his commandments, his testimonies, and his statutes with all of his heart and soul, and to carry out what was written in the covenant contained in the book. All the people consented to enter into the covenant.
While standing in his appointed place, the king made a public covenant with the LORD to follow the LORD, to keep his commandments, his testimonies, and his statutes, and to do so with all of his heart and soul, and to carry out what was written in the covenant contained in the book. He also made everyone who was present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand in agreement with him. As a result, the inhabitants of Jerusalem reconfirmed the covenant of God, the God of their ancestors.
After this, the king commanded all of the people, "Celebrate the Passover to the LORD your God, just as it's prescribed in this Book of the Covenant." From the days of the judges who ruled in Israel, no Passover had been celebrated like this, not even in all the reigns of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah. In the eighteenth year of the reign of King Josiah, this Passover was observed in Jerusalem to honor the LORD.
Josiah observed the Passover to the LORD in Jerusalem. They slaughtered the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. He appointed priests to their offices, encouraging them in their service at the LORD's Temple. He addressed the descendants of Levi who were teaching all Israel and who had consecrated themselves to the LORD, telling them:read more.
"Put the holy ark in the Temple that Solomon, the son of Israel's King David, built. It will no longer be a burden on their shoulders. Now go serve the LORD your God and his people Israel. Prepare yourselves by divisions according to your ancestral households, keeping to what King David of Israel and his son Solomon wrote about this. In addition to this, take your place in the Holy Place according to the groupings of the ancestral households of your relatives consistent with the division of the descendants of Levi by their ancestral households. Now slaughter the Passover, consecrate yourselves, and prepare your relatives to obey the command from the LORD given by Moses." Josiah contributed 30,000 animals from the flocks of lambs and young goats, giving Passover offerings to all of the people who were present, plus an additional 3,000 bulls from the king's private possessions. His officers contributed a voluntary offering to the people, the priests, and the descendants of Levi. Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, the officials who supervised God's Temple, gave 2,600 animals from their flocks to the priests for Passover offerings, along with 300 bulls. Also, Conaniah, and his relatives Shemaiah, and Nethanel, along with Hashabiah, Jeiel, and Jozabad, the officers in charge of the descendants of Levi, contributed 5,000 animals from the flocks to the descendants of Levi for the Passover offerings, along with 500 bulls. As a result, the Passover service was prepared, the priests took their assigned places, and the descendants of Levi stood in their divisions as the king had commanded. They slaughtered the Passover lamb, and the priests poured out the blood that they had received from the lambs while the descendants of Levi flayed the sacrifices. They set aside in reserve the burnt offerings, so they could distribute them in proportion to the divisions of their ancestral households for presentation by the people to the LORD, as is required by the book of Moses. They did this with respect to the bulls, also. They roasted the Passover in fire, as required by the ordinances, and boiled the holy things in pots, kettles, and pans, and delivered them quickly to all the people. After this, because the priests, who were descendants of Aaron, were busy offering the burnt offerings and fat portions until evening, the descendants of Levi prepared the Passover for themselves and their fellow-descendants of Aaron, the priests. The singers, as descendants of Asaph, remained at their stations as David, Asaph, Heman, and the king's seer Jeduthun required, and the gatekeepers did not have to leave their posts because their descendant of Levi relatives prepared the Passover for them. That's how the LORD's service was prepared that day to celebrate the Passover and to offer burnt offerings on the LORD's altar according to what King Josiah had commanded. The Israelis who were present celebrated the Passover that day, as well as the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days. There had not been a Passover celebration like it in Israel since Samuel the prophet was alive, nor had any of the kings of Israel celebrated a Passover like Josiah did at that time with the priests, the descendants of Levi, everyone from Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. This Passover celebration was observed during the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah.
Jehiel's son Shecaniah, one of Elam's descendants, responded to Ezra: "We have sinned against our God by marrying foreign wives from the people of the land, but even now there is hope in Israel, despite this. So let's make a promise to our God by which we divorce all of these foreign wives as well as those born to them in accordance with the counsel of our Lord and of those who tremble at our God's command. Furthermore, let it be done according to the Law.
After these things occurred, certain officials approached me and said "The people of Israel, the priests, and the descendants of Levi have not separated themselves from the people of the lands or from the detestable behavior of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites, because they and their sons have married foreign women. As a result, the holy people have mingled themselves among the nations of these lands. As a matter of fact, the senior officials and the rulers have been foremost in this sin." When I heard this, I tore both my garment and robe, plucked hair from both my head and my beard, and collapsed in shock! read more.
Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered together as a group because of the sin committed by those who had been led astray. As for me, I remained seated, in shock, until the evening sacrifice. At the time of the evening sacrifice, I arose from my discouragement. Still in my torn garment and robe, I fell to my knees with my hands outstretched to the LORD my God, and said, "My God, I am too ashamed and hurt to turn to you, because we're in our iniquities over our heads. Furthermore, my God, our sins have grown as high as the heavens. We have lived in great sin from the days of our ancestors even until today, and because of those iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been delivered over to foreign kings, for execution, for captivity, for plunder, and for humiliation, as is the case today. Though now, for a moment, grace has been shown from the LORD our God, leaving a few survivors to escape, and providing us a secure hold in his Holy Place, so that our God might enlighten us and give us relief from our servitude. Even though we are slaves, our God has not abandoned us in our slavery. Instead, he has extended gracious love to us in the presence of the kings of Persia, to grant us revival, to set up the Temple of our God, to repair its damage, and to give us a protective wall for Judah and Jerusalem. Now, our God, what can we say besides this? Because we have abandoned your commandments that you gave in the writings of your servants, the prophets: "The land you are entering to possess is a morally unclean land due to the moral uncleanness of the nations of the lands along with their abominations that has filled it from one end to the other with their impurities. So, therefore, do not give your daughters in marriage to their sons, nor marry their daughters to your sons, and under no circumstances are you to seek their well-being or their wealth, so that you may remain strong, enjoying the best things the land has to give, and so that you may establish an inheritance for your children forever.' "After all that has happened to us because of our evil behavior, and because of our great sin considering that you our God have punished us less than our iniquities deserve and have given us this deliverance should we violate your commandments by intermarrying with the nations who practice these abominations? Would you not be angry with us until you had consumed us, with not even a remnant surviving to escape? LORD God of Israel, you are just: As a result, we remain here today delivered. Look at us! Because of our sin, we cannot stand in your presence as a result of everything that has happened."
So Ezra got up and made the chief priests, the descendants of Levi, and all of Israel vow to carry out everything they promised. And so they agreed. Ezra arose in front of the Temple of God to visit the apartment of Eliashib's son Jehohanan. While there, he neither ate nor drank because he was in mourning over the sins of those who had returned from exile. Then they sent word throughout Judah and Jerusalem to everyone who had returned from the exile, to gather together in Jerusalem. read more.
Whoever would not come within three days would forfeit his assets and be separated from the community of the returning exiles, just as the high officials and elders had advised. Less than three days later, all of the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered together on the twentieth day of the ninth month. Everyone sat in the plaza of the Temple of God, trembling because of everything that was happening, and also because it was raining heavily. Ezra the priest stood up and spoke to them, "You have sinned by marrying foreign wives, thereby increasing the transgressions of Israel. Now confess this to the LORD God of your ancestors, and separate yourselves from the nations of the land and from foreign wives." At this, the entire community responded with a loud cry, "We will do just as you've spoken! However, many people are involved, and it's raining heavily. Furthermore, this is not just a matter of a day or two of work, because many of us have sinned in this. So let's have our officials remain on behalf of the whole community. Then all who have married foreign wives are to come appear at specific times before the elders and judges of each city until the fierce anger of our God has been turned away from us in this matter." Only Asahel's son Jonathan and Tikvah's son Jahzeiah opposed this, and they were supported by Meshullam and Shabbethai the descendant of Levi. So those who had returned from exile did this. Ezra the priest and leaders of certain ancestral groups listed by name devoted themselves to examine the situation on the first day of the tenth month. By the first day of the first month they concluded their investigation of all of the men who had married foreign wives.
At that time I also noticed that Jews had married women from Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. Furthermore, their children spoke half of the time in the language of Ashdod, and could not speak in the language of Judah. Instead, they spoke in the languages of various nations. So I rebuked them, cursed them, struck some of their men, tore out their hair, and made them take this oath in the name of God: "You are not to give your daughters to their sons nor take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. read more.
Didn't Solomon, king of Israel, sin by doing these things, even though among many nations there was no king like him who was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel? Even so, foreign women caused him to sin. Should we listen to you and do all of this terrible evil by transgressing against our God to marry foreign wives?"
Now prior to this, Eliashib the priest, who supervised the store rooms of the Temple of our God and who was related to Tobiah, had prepared a great chamber for him, in the place where they used to place the grain offerings, incense, and vessels, along with the tithes of the grain, the new wine, and the oil that was mandated for the descendants of Levi, the singers, the gate keepers, and the priests' offerings. During all of this time, I was not in Jerusalem, because I had returned to the king in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes, king of Babylon. After a while I obtained permission from the king read more.
to return to Jerusalem. I learned of the evil thing that Eliashib had done for Tobiah in furnishing him with a room in the courts of the Temple of God. I was greatly upset, so I threw out all of Tobiah's property from the room. I ordered them to purify the chambers, and then they brought back the vessels from the Temple of God, along with the grain offerings and incense. I also learned that the allotments for the descendants of Levi had not been distributed. As a result, the descendants of Levi and singers who were responsible for the service had each left to go back to their fields. So I confronted the officials and asked, "Why is the Temple of God neglected?" Then I gathered them together and put them back in their places. Then all of Judah brought the tithe of the grain, the new wine, and the oil into the storerooms. I appointed over the storerooms: Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah from the descendants of Levi; and next to them Zaccur's son Hanan, the grandson of Mattaniah, because they had been considered faithful. Their duties were to distribute to their associates.
At that time I saw in Judah some who were treading wine presses on the Sabbath, bringing in sacks of grain, loading them onto donkeys, along with wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads. They brought them into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. So I rebuked them on the day on which they were selling food.
Furthermore, Tyrians were living there who were importing fish and all kinds of merchandise, selling them to the people of Judah on the Sabbath, even in Jerusalem. I rebuked the officials of Judah, saying to them, "What's this evil thing that you're doing by profaning the Sabbath day? Didn't your ancestors do the same? And didn't our God bring on us and on this city all of this trouble? Now you're adding to the wrath against Israel by profaning the Sabbath!"read more.
As the Sabbath approached and it began to get dark at the gates of Jerusalem, I gave word to shut the gates, charging that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath. I stationed some of my men at the gates to ensure that no loads would be brought in on the Sabbath day. As a result, the merchants and sellers of all sorts of goods remained outside Jerusalem a couple of times. I argued with them, "Why are you staying outside the wall? If you do this again, I'll arrest you." From that time on, they didn't come anymore on the Sabbath. Then I commanded the descendants of Levi to purify themselves and to come as gate keepers to sanctify the Sabbath day. Remember me, my God, and show mercy to me according to the greatness of your gracious love.
That's how Jehu eradicated Baal from Israel. Even so, Jehu never abandoned the sins of Nebat's son Jeroboam, who caused Israel to sin, regarding the golden calves that were at Bethel and Dan.
practicing evil in the LORD's presence, only not to the extent that his mother and father had done he forced abolition of the sacred pillar to Baal that his father had crafted. Even so, he kept on committing the sins that Nebat's son Jeroboam had done, which ensnared Israel in sin he never abandoned them.
Jehoash did what the LORD considered to be right during the entire time when Jehoiada the priest was instructing him, except that the high places were not demolished, so the people continued to sacrifice and burn incense on the high places.
This is what the LORD of the Heavenly Armies, the God of Israel, says:
when my people humble themselves the ones who are called by my name and pray, seek me, and turn away from their evil practices, I myself will listen from heaven, I will pardon their sins, and I will restore their land.
"Wash yourselves, and make yourselves clean; remove your evil behavior from my presence; stop practicing what is evil. Learn to practice what is good; seek justice, alleviate oppression, defend orphans in court, and plead the widow's case.
"Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous person his thoughts. Let him return to the LORD, So he'll have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he'll pardon abundantly.
"Now say to the people of Judah and to the residents of Jerusalem, "This is what the LORD says: "Look, I'm designing a disaster just for you, and I'm making plans against you. Each one of you must repent from his evil way. Make your ways and deeds right."'
Now, change your habits and your deeds and obey the LORD your God, and the LORD will change his mind about the disaster that he told you about.
I've sent you all my servants, the prophets, sending them again and again. I've said, "Each of you turn from his evil behavior and make your deeds right. Don't follow other gods to serve them. Then you will remain in the land that I gave to you and to your ancestors.' But you haven't paid attention and you haven't obeyed me.
Therefore, repent and turn to him to have your sins blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord and so that he may send you Jesus, whom he appointed long ago to be the Messiah. He must remain in heaven until the time of universal restitution, which God announced long ago through the voice of his holy prophets. read more.
In fact, Moses said, "The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers. You must listen to everything he tells you. Any person who will not listen to that prophet will be utterly destroyed from among the people.' "Indeed, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who followed him, also announced these days. You are the descendants of the prophets and the heirs of the covenant that God made with your ancestors when he told Abraham, "Through your descendant all the families of the earth will be blessed.' When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning every one of you from your evil ways."
"I know what you've been doing. You are known for being alive, but you are dead. Be alert, and strengthen the things that are left, which are about to die. I note that your actions are incomplete before my God. So remember what you received and heard. Obey it, and repent. If you are not alert, I will come like a thief, and you won't know the time when I will come to you.
It is actually reported that sexual immorality exists among you, and of a kind that is not found even among the gentiles. A man is actually living with his father's wife! And you are being arrogant instead of being filled with grief and seeing to it that the man who did this is removed from among you. Even though I am away from you physically, I am with you in spirit. I have already passed judgment on the man who did this, as though I were present with you. read more.
In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are gathered together (and I am there in spirit), and the power of our Lord Jesus is there, too, turn this man over to Satan for the destruction of his body, so that his spirit may be saved on the Day of the Lord. Your boasting is not good. You know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough, don't you? Get rid of the old yeast so that you may be a new batch of dough, since you are to be free from yeast. For the Messiah, our Passover, has been sacrificed. So let's keep celebrating the festival, neither with old yeast nor with yeast that is evil and wicked, but with yeast-free bread that is both sincere and true. I wrote to you in my letter to stop associating with people who are sexually immoral not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, greedy, robbers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you to stop associating with any so-called brother if he is sexually immoral, greedy, an idolater, a slanderer, a drunk, or a robber. You must even stop eating with someone like that. After all, is it my business to judge outsiders? You are to judge those who are in the community, aren't you? God will judge outsiders. "Expel that wicked man."
Therefore, remember how far you have fallen. Repent and go back to what you were doing at first. If you don't, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place unless you repent.
"I know your actions, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. Since you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I am going to spit you out of my mouth. You say, "I am rich. I have become wealthy. I don't need anything." Yet you don't realize that you are miserable, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. read more.
Therefore, I advise you to buy from me gold purified in fire so you may be rich, white clothes to wear so your shameful nakedness won't show, and ointment to put on your eyes so you may see. I correct and discipline those whom I love, so be serious and repent! Look! I am standing at the door and knocking. If anyone listens to my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he will eat with me.
Therefore, rid yourselves of everything impure and every expression of wickedness, and with a gentle spirit welcome the word planted in you that can save your souls.
Do not be conformed to this world, but continuously be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may be able to determine what God's will is what is proper, pleasing, and perfect.
Regarding your former way of life, you were taught to strip off your old nature, which is being ruined by its deceptive desires, to be renewed in your mental attitude, and to clothe yourselves with the new nature, which was created according to God's image in righteousness and true holiness.
So put to death your worldly impulses: sexual sin, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). It is because of these things that the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. You used to behave like them as you lived among them. read more.
But now you must also get rid of anger, wrath, malice, slander, obscene speech, and all such sins. Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old nature with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new nature, which is being renewed in full knowledge, consistent with the image of the one who created it.
Keep on being obedient to the word, and not merely being hearers who deceive themselves. For if anyone hears the word but is not obedient to it, he is like a man who looks at himself in a mirror and studies himself carefully, and then goes off and immediately forgets what he looks like. read more.
But the one who looks at the perfect law of freedom and remains committed to it thereby demonstrating that he is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of what that law requires will be blessed in what he does.
Therefore, submit yourselves to God. Resist the Devil, and he will run away from you. Come close to God, and he will come close to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable, mourn, and cry. Let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into gloom. read more.
Humble yourselves in the Lord's presence, and he will exalt you.