2 Kings 1:1-2:25, NLT

2 Kings 1

Elijah Confronts King Ahaziah

1After King Ahab’s death, the land of Moab rebelled against Israel.

2One day Israel’s new king, Ahaziah, fell through the latticework of an upper room at his palace in Samaria and was seriously injured. So he sent messengers to the temple of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, to ask whether he would recover.

3But the angel of the Lord told Elijah, who was from Tishbe, “Go and confront the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, ‘Is there no God in Israel? Why are you going to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, to ask whether the king will recover? 4Now, therefore, this is what the Lord says: You will never leave the bed you are lying on; you will surely die.’” So Elijah went to deliver the message.

5When the messengers returned to the king, he asked them, “Why have you returned so soon?”

6They replied, “A man came up to us and told us to go back to the king and give him this message. ‘This is what the Lord says: Is there no God in Israel? Why are you sending men to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, to ask whether you will recover? Therefore, because you have done this, you will never leave the bed you are lying on; you will surely die.’”

7“What sort of man was he?” the king demanded. “What did he look like?”

8They replied, “He was a hairy man,*1:8 Or He was wearing clothing made of hair. and he wore a leather belt around his waist.”

“Elijah from Tishbe!” the king exclaimed.

9Then he sent an army captain with fifty soldiers to arrest him. They found him sitting on top of a hill. The captain said to him, “Man of God, the king has commanded you to come down with us.”

10But Elijah replied to the captain, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and destroy you and your fifty men!” Then fire fell from heaven and killed them all.

11So the king sent another captain with fifty men. The captain said to him, “Man of God, the king demands that you come down at once.”

12Elijah replied, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and destroy you and your fifty men!” And again the fire of God fell from heaven and killed them all.

13Once more the king sent a third captain with fifty men. But this time the captain went up the hill and fell to his knees before Elijah. He pleaded with him, “O man of God, please spare my life and the lives of these, your fifty servants. 14See how the fire from heaven came down and destroyed the first two groups. But now please spare my life!”

15Then the angel of the Lord said to Elijah, “Go down with him, and don’t be afraid of him.” So Elijah got up and went with him to the king.

16And Elijah said to the king, “This is what the Lord says: Why did you send messengers to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, to ask whether you will recover? Is there no God in Israel to answer your question? Therefore, because you have done this, you will never leave the bed you are lying on; you will surely die.”

17So Ahaziah died, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah. Since Ahaziah did not have a son to succeed him, his brother Joram*1:17 Hebrew Jehoram, a variant spelling of Joram. became the next king. This took place in the second year of the reign of Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah.

18The rest of the events in Ahaziah’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel.

2 Kings 2

Elijah Taken into Heaven

1When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were traveling from Gilgal. 2And Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, for the Lord has told me to go to Bethel.”

But Elisha replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, I will never leave you!” So they went down together to Bethel.

3The group of prophets from Bethel came to Elisha and asked him, “Did you know that the Lord is going to take your master away from you today?”

“Of course I know,” Elisha answered. “But be quiet about it.”

4Then Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, for the Lord has told me to go to Jericho.”

But Elisha replied again, “As surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, I will never leave you.” So they went on together to Jericho.

5Then the group of prophets from Jericho came to Elisha and asked him, “Did you know that the Lord is going to take your master away from you today?”

“Of course I know,” Elisha answered. “But be quiet about it.”

6Then Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, for the Lord has told me to go to the Jordan River.”

But again Elisha replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, I will never leave you.” So they went on together.

7Fifty men from the group of prophets also went and watched from a distance as Elijah and Elisha stopped beside the Jordan River. 8Then Elijah folded his cloak together and struck the water with it. The river divided, and the two of them went across on dry ground!

9When they came to the other side, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I can do for you before I am taken away.”

And Elisha replied, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit and become your successor.”

10“You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah replied. “If you see me when I am taken from you, then you will get your request. But if not, then you won’t.”

11As they were walking along and talking, suddenly a chariot of fire appeared, drawn by horses of fire. It drove between the two men, separating them, and Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven. 12Elisha saw it and cried out, “My father! My father! I see the chariots and charioteers of Israel!” And as they disappeared from sight, Elisha tore his clothes in distress.

13Elisha picked up Elijah’s cloak, which had fallen when he was taken up. Then Elisha returned to the bank of the Jordan River. 14He struck the water with Elijah’s cloak and cried out, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” Then the river divided, and Elisha went across.

15When the group of prophets from Jericho saw from a distance what happened, they exclaimed, “Elijah’s spirit rests upon Elisha!” And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him. 16“Sir,” they said, “just say the word and fifty of our strongest men will search the wilderness for your master. Perhaps the Spirit of the Lord has left him on some mountain or in some valley.”

“No,” Elisha said, “don’t send them.” 17But they kept urging him until they shamed him into agreeing, and he finally said, “All right, send them.” So fifty men searched for three days but did not find Elijah. 18Elisha was still at Jericho when they returned. “Didn’t I tell you not to go?” he asked.

Elisha’s First Miracles

19One day the leaders of the town of Jericho visited Elisha. “We have a problem, my lord,” they told him. “This town is located in pleasant surroundings, as you can see. But the water is bad, and the land is unproductive.”

20Elisha said, “Bring me a new bowl with salt in it.” So they brought it to him. 21Then he went out to the spring that supplied the town with water and threw the salt into it. And he said, “This is what the Lord says: I have purified this water. It will no longer cause death or infertility.*2:21 Or or make the land unproductive; Hebrew reads or barrenness.22And the water has remained pure ever since, just as Elisha said.

23Elisha left Jericho and went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, a group of boys from the town began mocking and making fun of him. “Go away, baldy!” they chanted. “Go away, baldy!” 24Elisha turned around and looked at them, and he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of them. 25From there Elisha went to Mount Carmel and finally returned to Samaria.

Acts 13:42-14:7, NLT

42As Paul and Barnabas left the synagogue that day, the people begged them to speak about these things again the next week. 43Many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, and the two men urged them to continue to rely on the grace of God.

Paul Turns to the Gentiles

44The following week almost the entire city turned out to hear them preach the word of the Lord. 45But when some of the Jews saw the crowds, they were jealous; so they slandered Paul and argued against whatever he said.

46Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and declared, “It was necessary that we first preach the word of God to you Jews. But since you have rejected it and judged yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we will offer it to the Gentiles. 47For the Lord gave us this command when he said,

‘I have made you a light to the Gentiles,

to bring salvation to the farthest corners of the earth.’*13:47 Isa 49:6.

48When the Gentiles heard this, they were very glad and thanked the Lord for his message; and all who were chosen for eternal life became believers. 49So the Lord’s message spread throughout that region.

50Then the Jews stirred up the influential religious women and the leaders of the city, and they incited a mob against Paul and Barnabas and ran them out of town. 51So they shook the dust from their feet as a sign of rejection and went to the town of Iconium. 52And the believers*13:52 Greek the disciples. were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Acts of the Apostles 14

Paul and Barnabas in Iconium

1The same thing happened in Iconium.*14:1 Iconium, as well as Lystra and Derbe (14:6), were towns in what is now Turkey. Paul and Barnabas went to the Jewish synagogue and preached with such power that a great number of both Jews and Greeks became believers. 2Some of the Jews, however, spurned God’s message and poisoned the minds of the Gentiles against Paul and Barnabas. 3But the apostles stayed there a long time, preaching boldly about the grace of the Lord. And the Lord proved their message was true by giving them power to do miraculous signs and wonders. 4But the people of the town were divided in their opinion about them. Some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles.

5Then a mob of Gentiles and Jews, along with their leaders, decided to attack and stone them. 6When the apostles learned of it, they fled to the region of Lycaonia—to the towns of Lystra and Derbe and the surrounding area. 7And there they preached the Good News.

Psalm 139:1-24, NLT

Psalm 139

For the choir director: A psalm of David.

1Lord, you have examined my heart

and know everything about me.

2You know when I sit down or stand up.

You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.

3You see me when I travel

and when I rest at home.

You know everything I do.

4You know what I am going to say

even before I say it, Lord.

5You go before me and follow me.

You place your hand of blessing on my head.

6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

too great for me to understand!

7I can never escape from your Spirit!

I can never get away from your presence!

8If I go up to heaven, you are there;

if I go down to the grave,*139:8 Hebrew to Sheol. you are there.

9If I ride the wings of the morning,

if I dwell by the farthest oceans,

10even there your hand will guide me,

and your strength will support me.

11I could ask the darkness to hide me

and the light around me to become night—

12but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.

To you the night shines as bright as day.

Darkness and light are the same to you.

13You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body

and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

15You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,

as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

16You saw me before I was born.

Every day of my life was recorded in your book.

Every moment was laid out

before a single day had passed.

17How precious are your thoughts about me,*139:17 Or How precious to me are your thoughts. O God.

They cannot be numbered!

18I can’t even count them;

they outnumber the grains of sand!

And when I wake up,

you are still with me!

19O God, if only you would destroy the wicked!

Get out of my life, you murderers!

20They blaspheme you;

your enemies misuse your name.

21Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you?

Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you?

22Yes, I hate them with total hatred,

for your enemies are my enemies.

23Search me, O God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24Point out anything in me that offends you,

and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Proverbs 17:19-21, NLT

19Anyone who loves to quarrel loves sin;

anyone who trusts in high walls invites disaster.

20The crooked heart will not prosper;

the lying tongue tumbles into trouble.

21It is painful to be the parent of a fool;

there is no joy for the father of a rebel.