Most Relevant Verses
And also all that generation were gathered to their fathers, and there arose another generation after them who did not know (recognize, understand) the Lord, or even the work which He had done for Israel. And the people of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. And they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, Who brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods of the peoples round about them and bowed down to them, and provoked the Lord to anger.read more.
And they forsook the Lord and served Baal [the god worshiped by the Canaanites] and the Ashtaroth [female deities such as Ashtoreth and Asherah]. So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and He gave them into the power of plunderers who robbed them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could no longer stand before their foes. Whenever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn to them; and they were bitterly distressed. But the Lord raised up judges, who delivered them out of the hands of those who robbed them. And yet they did not listen to their judges, for they played the harlot after other gods and bowed down to them. They turned quickly out of the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord, and they did not so. When the Lord raised them up judges, then He was with the judge and delivered them out of the hands of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the Lord was moved to relent because of their groanings by reason of those who oppressed and vexed them. But when the judge was dead, they turned back and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, following and serving other gods, and bowing down to them. They did not cease from their practices or their stubborn way.
Turn again, we beseech You, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven and see, visit, and have regard for this vine! [Protect and maintain] the stock which Your right hand planted, and the branch (the son) that You have reared and made strong for Yourself.
Restore us, O God of our salvation, and cause Your anger toward us to cease [forever]. Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger [and disfavor] and spread it out to all generations? Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?read more.
Show us Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, and grant us Your salvation.
I have surely heard Ephraim [Israel] moaning thus: You have chastised me, and I was chastised, like a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke; bring me back, that I may be restored, for You are the Lord my God.
O Lord, I have heard the report of You and was afraid. O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make [Yourself] known! In wrath [earnestly] remember love, pity, and mercy.
So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, as the king commanded, saying, O Israelites, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, that He may return to those left of you who escaped out of the hands of the kings of Assyria.
Wait and listen, everyone who is thirsty! Come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Yes, come, buy [priceless, spiritual] wine and milk without money and without price [simply for the self-surrender that accepts the blessing]. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your earnings for what does not satisfy? Hearken diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness [the profuseness of spiritual joy]. Incline your ear [submit and consent to the divine will] and come to Me; hear, and your soul will revive; and I will make an everlasting covenant or league with you, even the sure mercy (kindness, goodwill, and compassion) promised to David.
Return, O faithless sons, [says the Lord, and] I will heal your faithlessness. [And they answer] Behold, we come to You, for You are the Lord our God.
O Israel, return to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled and fallen, [visited by calamity] due to your iniquity. Take with you words and return to the Lord. Say to Him, Take away all our iniquity; accept what is good and receive us graciously; so will we render [our thanks] as bullocks [to be sacrificed] and pay the confession of our lips.
Therefore say to them [the Jews of this day], Thus says the Lord of hosts: Return to Me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you; it is the utterance of the Lord of hosts.
Even from the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My ordinances and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, How shall we return?
Remember then from what heights you have fallen. Repent (change the inner man to meet God's will) and do the works you did previously [when first you knew the Lord], or else I will visit you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you change your mind and repent.
Rouse yourselves and keep awake, and strengthen and invigorate what remains and is on the point of dying; for I have not found a thing that you have done [any work of yours] meeting the requirements of My God or perfect in His sight. So call to mind the lessons you received and heard; continually lay them to heart and obey them, and repent. In case you will not rouse yourselves and keep awake and watch, I will come upon you like a thief, and you will not know or suspect at what hour I will come.
Therefore also now, says the Lord, turn and keep on coming to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning [until every hindrance is removed and the broken fellowship is restored]. Rend your hearts and not your garments and return to the Lord, your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness; and He revokes His sentence of evil [when His conditions are met].
But if from there you will seek (inquire for and require as necessity) the Lord your God, you will find Him if you [truly] seek Him with all your heart [and mind] and soul and life.
And shall return to the Lord your God and obey His voice according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your [mind and] heart and with all your being, Then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion upon you and will gather you again from all the nations where He has scattered you.
And I will give them a heart to know (recognize, understand, and be acquainted with) Me, that I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.
Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will release you from captivity and gather you from all the nations and all the places to which I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I caused you to be carried away captive.
Many also of those who were now believers came making full confession and thoroughly exposing their [former deceptive and evil] practices. And many of those who had practiced curious, magical arts collected their books and [throwing them, book after book, on the pile] burned them in the sight of everybody. When they counted the value of them, they found it amounted to 50,000 pieces of silver ( about $9,300).
And the Ammonites passed over the Jordan to fight against Judah, Benjamin, and the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was sorely distressed. And the Israelites cried to the Lord, saying, We have sinned against You, because we have forsaken our God and have served the Baals. And the Lord said to the Israelites, Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, and the Philistines?read more.
Also when the Sidonians, the Amalekites, and the Maonites oppressed and crushed you, you cried to Me, and I delivered you out of their hands. Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods; therefore I will deliver you no more. Go, cry to the gods you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress. And the Israelites said to the Lord, We have sinned, do to us whatever seems good to You; only deliver us, we pray You, this day. So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord, and His heart became impatient over the misery of Israel.
Now while Ezra prayed and made confession, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there gathered to him out of Israel a very great assembly of men, women, and children; for the people wept bitterly.
But if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though your outcasts were in the farthest part of the heavens [the expanse of outer space], yet will I gather them from there and will bring them to the place in which I have chosen to set My Name.
Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, says the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin and so shall they not be a stumbling block to you. Cast away from you all your transgressions by which you have transgressed against Me, and make you a new mind and heart and a new spirit. For why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him who dies, says the Lord God. Therefore turn (be converted) and live!
For the palace shall be forsaken, the populous city shall be deserted; the hill and the watchtower shall become dens [for wild animals] endlessly, a joy for wild donkeys, a pasture for flocks, Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is valued as a forest. Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness (moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relation) will abide in the fruitful field.read more.
And the effect of righteousness will be peace [internal and external], and the result of righteousness will be quietness and confident trust forever.
And I will give them one heart [a new heart] and I will put a new spirit within them; and I will take the stony [unnaturally hardened] heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh [sensitive and responsive to the touch of their God],
But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, says the Lord, I will put My law within them, and on their hearts will I write it; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. And they will no more teach each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for they will all know Me [recognize, understand, and be acquainted with Me], from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will [seriously] remember their sin no more.
A new heart will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
And I will strengthen the house of Judah and I will save the house of Joseph [Ephraim]. I will bring them back and cause them to dwell securely, for I have mercy, loving-kindness, and compassion for them. They shall be as though I had not cast them off, for I am the Lord their God, and I will hear them.
And many people shall come and say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us His ways and that we may walk in His paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the law and instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
And many nations shall come and say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us His ways, and we may walk in His paths. For the law shall go forth out of Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
And the Lord shall smite Egypt, smiting and healing it; and they will return to the Lord, and He will listen to their entreaties and heal them. In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria; and the Egyptians will worship [the Lord] with the Assyrians. In that day Israel shall be the third, with Egypt and with Assyria [in a Messianic league], a blessing in the midst of the earth,read more.
Whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, Blessed be Egypt My people and Assyria the work of My hands and Israel My heritage.
Look to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.
Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord to minister to Him and to love the name of the Lord and to be His servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath so as not to profane it and who holds fast My covenant [by conscientious obedience] -- " All these I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples. Thus says the Lord God, Who gathers the outcasts of Israel: I will gather yet others to [Israel] besides those already gathered.
Thus says the Lord of hosts: It shall yet come to pass that there shall come [to Jerusalem] peoples and the inhabitants of many and great cities, And the inhabitants of one city shall go to them of another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray and entreat the favor of the Lord and to seek, inquire of, and require [to meet our own most essential need] the Lord of hosts. I will go also. Yes, many people and strong nations shall come to Jerusalem to seek, inquire of, and require [to fill their own urgent need] the Lord of hosts and to pray to the Lord for His favor.
He removed the high places, broke the images, cut down the Asherim, and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until then the Israelites had burned incense to it; but he called it Nehushtan [a bronze trifle]. Hezekiah trusted in, leaned on, and was confident in the Lord, the God of Israel; so that neither after him nor before him was any one of all the kings of Judah like him. For he clung and held fast to the Lord and ceased not to follow Him, but kept His commandments, as the Lord commanded Moses.
In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord [which his father had closed] and repaired them. He brought together the priests and Levites in the square on the east And said to them, Levites, hear me! Now sanctify (purify and make free from sin) yourselves and the house of the Lord, the God of your fathers, and carry out the filth from the Holy Place.
King Josiah sent and gathered to him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem. The king went up to the house of the Lord, and with him all the men of Judah, all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests, the prophets, and all the people, both small and great. And he read in their ears all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which was found in the Lord's house. The king stood [on the platform] by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord -- "to walk after the Lord and to keep His commandments, His testimonies, and His statutes with all his heart and soul, to confirm the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to join in the covenant.read more.
And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second rank and the keepers of the threshold to bring out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels made for Baal, for [the goddess] Asherah, and for all the hosts of the heavens; and he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel [where Israel's idolatry began].
Then King Josiah sent and gathered all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. And [he] went up into the house of the Lord, as did all the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests, the Levites, and all the people, great and small; and he [the king] read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant that was found in the Lord's house. Then the king stood in his place and made a covenant before the Lord -- "to walk after the Lord and to keep His commandments, His testimonies, and His statutes with all his heart and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that are written in this book.read more.
And he caused all who were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand in confirmation of it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. Josiah removed all the [idolatrous] abominations from all the territory that belonged to the Israelites, and made all who were in Israel serve the Lord their God. All his days they did not turn from following the Lord, the God of their fathers.
Josiah kept the Passover to the Lord in Jerusalem; they killed the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the first month. He appointed the priests to their positions and encouraged them in the service of the house of the Lord. To the Levites who taught all Israel and were holy to the Lord he said: Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon son of David king of Israel, built; it shall no longer be a burden carried on your shoulders. Now serve the Lord your God and His people Israel.
And there kept going out to him [continuously] all the country of Judea and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, as they were confessing their sins.
So they came to John and reported to him, Rabbi, the Man Who was with you on the other side of the Jordan [ at the Jordan crossing] -- "and to Whom you yourself have borne testimony -- "notice, here He is baptizing too, and everybody is flocking to Him!
Now numerous Samaritans from that town believed in and trusted in Him because of what the woman said when she declared and testified, He told me everything that I ever did.
Therefore those who accepted and welcomed his message were baptized, and there were added that day about 3,000 souls.
But many of those who heard the message believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on Jesus as the Christ). And their number grew and came to about 5,000.
And the presence of the Lord was with them with power, so that a great number [learned] to believe (to adhere to and trust in and rely on the Lord) and turned and surrendered themselves to Him.
And when they had prayed, the place in which they were assembled was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they continued to speak the Word of God with freedom and boldness and courage.
But Saul, who is also called Paul, filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit, looked steadily at [Elymas]
Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day.
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit.
I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].
And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God's image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness.
I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.
Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old (unregenerate) self with its evil practices, And have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] renewed and remolded into [fuller and more perfect knowledge upon] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him Who created it. [In this new creation all distinctions vanish.] There is no room for and there can be neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, [nor difference between nations whether alien] barbarians or Scythians [ who are the most savage of all], nor slave or free man; but Christ is all and in all [ everything and everywhere, to all men, without distinction of person].read more.
Clothe yourselves therefore, as God's own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper]. Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]. And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony].