1 Kings 12:20-13:34
20 When the people of Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned from Egypt, they invited him to a meeting of the people and made him king of Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to David's descendants.
21 When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he called together 180,000 of the best soldiers from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. He intended to go to war and restore his control over the northern tribes of Israel. 22 But God told the prophet Shemaiah 23 to give this message to Rehoboam and to all the people of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin: 24 “Do not attack your own relatives, the people of Israel. Go home, all of you. What has happened is my will.” They all obeyed the Lord's command and went back home.
Jeroboam Turns Away from God
25 King Jeroboam of Israel fortified the town of Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there for a while. Then he left and fortified the town of Penuel. 26-27 He said to himself, “As things are now, if my people go to Jerusalem and offer sacrifices to the Lord in the Temple there, they will transfer their allegiance to King Rehoboam of Judah and will kill me.”
28 (B)After thinking it over, he made two bull-calves of gold and said to his people, “You have been going long enough to Jerusalem to worship. People of Israel, here are your gods who brought you out of Egypt!” 29 He placed one of the gold bull-calves in Bethel and the other in Dan. 30 And so the people sinned, going to worship in Bethel and in Dan.[a] 31 Jeroboam also built places of worship on hilltops, and he chose priests from families who were not of the tribe of Levi.
Worship at Bethel Is Condemned
32 (C)Jeroboam also instituted a religious festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival in Judah. On the altar in Bethel he offered sacrifices to the gold bull-calves he had made, and he placed there in Bethel the priests serving at the places of worship he had built. 33 And on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, the day that he himself had set, he went to Bethel and offered a sacrifice on the altar in celebration of the festival he had instituted for the people of Israel.
13 At the Lord's command a prophet from Judah went to Bethel and arrived there as Jeroboam stood at the altar to offer the sacrifice. 2 (D)Following the Lord's command, the prophet denounced the altar: “O altar, altar, this is what the Lord says: A child, whose name will be Josiah, will be born to the family of David. He will slaughter on you the priests serving at the pagan altars who offer sacrifices on you, and he will burn human bones on you.” 3 And the prophet went on to say, “This altar will fall apart, and the ashes on it will be scattered. Then you will know that the Lord has spoken through me.”
4 When King Jeroboam heard this, he pointed at him and ordered, “Seize that man!” At once the king's arm became paralyzed so that he couldn't pull it back. 5 The altar suddenly fell apart and the ashes spilled to the ground, as the prophet had predicted in the name of the Lord. 6 King Jeroboam said to the prophet, “Please pray for me to the Lord your God, and ask him to heal my arm!”
The prophet prayed to the Lord, and the king's arm was healed. 7 Then the king said to the prophet, “Come home with me and have something to eat. I will reward you for what you have done.”
8 The prophet answered, “Even if you gave me half of your wealth, I would not go with you or eat or drink anything with you. 9 The Lord has commanded me not to eat or drink a thing, and not to return home the same way I came.” 10 So he did not go back the same way he had come, but by another road.
The Old Prophet of Bethel
11 At that time there was an old prophet living in Bethel. His sons[b] came and told him what the prophet from Judah had done in Bethel that day and what he had said to King Jeroboam. 12 “Which way did he go when he left?” the old prophet asked them. They showed him[c] the road 13 and he told them to saddle his donkey for him. They did so, and he rode off 14 down the road after the prophet from Judah and found him sitting under an oak tree. “Are you the prophet from Judah?” he asked.
“I am,” the man answered.
15 “Come home and have a meal with me,” he said.
16 But the prophet from Judah answered, “I can't go home with you or accept your hospitality. And I won't eat or drink anything with you here, 17 because the Lord has commanded me not to eat or drink a thing, and not to return home the same way I came.”
18 Then the old prophet from Bethel said to him, “I, too, am a prophet just like you, and at the Lord's command an angel told me to take you home with me and offer you my hospitality.” But the old prophet was lying.
19 So the prophet from Judah went home with the old prophet and had a meal with him. 20 As they were sitting at the table, the word of the Lord came to the old prophet, 21 and he cried out to the prophet from Judah, “The Lord says that you disobeyed him and did not do what he commanded. 22 Instead, you returned and ate a meal in a place he had ordered you not to eat in. Because of this you will be killed, and your body will not be buried in your family grave.”
23 After they had finished eating, the old prophet saddled the donkey for the prophet from Judah, 24 who rode off. On the way a lion met him and killed him. His body lay on the road, and the donkey and the lion stood beside it. 25 Some men passed by and saw the body on the road, with the lion standing near by. They went on into Bethel and reported what they had seen.
26 When the old prophet heard about it, he said, “That is the prophet who disobeyed the Lord's command! And so the Lord sent the lion to attack and kill him, just as the Lord said he would.” 27 Then he said to his sons, “Saddle my donkey for me.” They did so, 28 and he rode off and found the prophet's body lying on the road, with the donkey and the lion still standing by it. The lion had not eaten the body or attacked the donkey. 29 The old prophet picked up the body, put it on the donkey, and brought it back to Bethel to mourn over it and bury it. 30 He buried it in his own family grave, and he and his sons mourned over it, saying, “Oh my brother, my brother!” 31 After the burial the prophet said to his sons, “When I die, bury me in this grave and lay my body next to his. 32 The words that he spoke at the Lord's command against the altar in Bethel and against all the places of worship in the towns of Samaria will surely come true.”
Jeroboam's Fatal Sin
33 King Jeroboam of Israel still did not turn from his evil ways but continued to choose priests from ordinary families to serve at the altars he had built. He ordained as priest anyone who wanted to be one. 34 This sin on his part brought about the ruin and total destruction of his dynasty.
Saul in Jerusalem
26 Saul went to Jerusalem and tried to join the disciples. But they would not believe that he was a disciple, and they were all afraid of him. 27 Then Barnabas came to his help and took him to the apostles. He explained to them how Saul had seen the Lord on the road and that the Lord had spoken to him. He also told them how boldly Saul had preached in the name of Jesus in Damascus. 28 And so Saul stayed with them and went all over Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He also talked and disputed with the Greek-speaking Jews, but they tried to kill him. 30 When the believers found out about this, they took Saul to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus.
31 And so it was that the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had a time of peace. Through the help of the Holy Spirit it was strengthened and grew in numbers, as it lived in reverence for the Lord.
Peter in Lydda and Joppa
32 Peter traveled everywhere, and on one occasion he went to visit God's people who lived in Lydda. 33 There he met a man named Aeneas, who was paralyzed and had not been able to get out of bed for eight years. 34 “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ makes you well. Get up and make your bed.” At once Aeneas got up. 35 All the people living in Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.
36 In Joppa there was a woman named Tabitha, who was a believer. (Her name in Greek is Dorcas, meaning “a deer.”) She spent all her time doing good and helping the poor. 37 At that time she got sick and died. Her body was washed and laid in a room upstairs. 38 Joppa was not very far from Lydda, and when the believers in Joppa heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him with the message, “Please hurry and come to us.” 39 So Peter got ready and went with them. When he arrived, he was taken to the room upstairs, where all the widows crowded around him, crying and showing him all the shirts and coats that Dorcas had made while she was alive. 40 Peter put them all out of the room, and knelt down and prayed; then he turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up!” She opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 41 Peter reached over and helped her get up. Then he called all the believers, including the widows, and presented her alive to them. 42 The news about this spread all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. 43 Peter stayed on in Joppa for many days with a tanner of leather named Simon.
In Praise of the Temple
132 Lord, do not forget David
and all the hardships he endured.
2 Remember, Lord, what he promised,
the vow he made to you, the Mighty God of Jacob:
3 “I will not go home or go to bed;
4 I will not rest or sleep,
5 until I provide a place for the Lord,
a home for the Mighty God of Jacob.”
6 (A)In Bethlehem we heard about the Covenant Box,
and we found it in the fields of Jearim.
7 We said, “Let us go to the Lord's house;
let us worship before his throne.”
8 Come to the Temple, Lord, with the Covenant Box,
the symbol of your power,
and stay here forever.
9 May your priests do always what is right;
may your people shout for joy!
10 You made a promise to your servant David;
do not reject your chosen king, Lord.
11 (B)You made a solemn promise to David—
a promise you will not take back:
“I will make one of your sons king,
and he will rule after you.
12 If your sons are true to my covenant
and to the commands I give them,
their sons, also, will succeed you for all time as kings.”
13 The Lord has chosen Zion;
he wants to make it his home:
14 “This is where I will live forever;
this is where I want to rule.
15 I will richly provide Zion with all she needs;
I will satisfy her poor with food.
16 I will bless her priests in all they do,
and her people will sing and shout for joy.
17 (C)Here I will make one of David's descendants a great king;
here I will preserve the rule of my chosen king.
18 I will cover his enemies with shame,
but his kingdom will prosper and flourish.”
6 Grandparents are proud of their grandchildren, just as children are proud of their parents.