Day 192 – 1 Maccabees 3:42-4:61; Psalms 12, 13; Proverbs 2:10–16; Acts 16:16–40

1 Maccabees 3:42-4:61

If You will not help us?”
54 Then they blew the trumpets and cried out with a loud shout. 55 After this, Judas appointed rulers for the people, leaders for thousands and hundreds and fifties and tens. 56 He ordered those who were building houses, or were betrothed to women, or were growing vineyards, or were afraid, to return each one to his own home, according to the law.
57 Then the army departed and set up camp south of Emmaus. 58 Judas said to them, “Be ready at dawn to fight with these Gentiles who have gathered against us to destroy us and our sanctuary. 59 For it is better for us to die in war than to look upon the evils the Gentiles would bring to us and the sanctuary. 60 But as God’s will is in heaven, so He will do.”
Judas Fights the Gentiles at Emmaus
1 Then Gorgias took five thousand men and a thousand choice cavalry, and the army marched out by night, 2 to descend upon the camp of the Judaeans and strike them suddenly. Young men from the citadel served as his guides. 3 But Judas got word of it, and he and his soldiers marched out to strike the king’s army in Emmaus 4 while his forces were dispersed from the camp. 5 When Gorgias came into the camp of Judas at night, he found no one. So he sought them in the mountains, saying, “These are fleeing from us.”
6 At first light, Judas was seen on the plain with three thousand men, but they did not have armor and swords as they wished. 7 They saw the Gentiles’ camp with strong fortification and surrounded by cavalry trained for battle. 8 But Judas said to his men, “Do not be afraid of their numbers or of their attack. 9 Remember how our fathers were saved in the Red Sea, when Pharaoh pursued them with his army? 10 So now, let us cry out to heaven to see if the Lord will be with us, and remember the covenant of our fathers, and crush these forces before us this day. 11 Then all the nations will know that He is the Redeemer and Savior of Israel.”
12 So the Gentiles lifted their eyes and saw them coming opposite them, 13 and they departed from their camp and went into battle. Then those with Judas sounded the trumpets. 14 Thus they met, and the foreigners were crushed, fleeing into the plain. 15 All those remaining fell by the sword. They pursued them as far as Gazara and as far as the plain of Idumea and Azotus and Jamnia, and about three thousand of their men fell. 16 Then Judas and his army returned from pursuing them, 17 and he said to the people, “Do not desire the spoils, for the battle is before us. 18 Gorgias and his army are in the mountain nearby, but stand firm before our enemies and battle them; and afterwards, take the spoils boldly.”
19 While Judas was finishing these words, an enemy detachment was seen peeping out from the mountains, 20 and they saw that their army had been put to flight and that the Judeans had set their camp on fire; for the smoke that was seen revealed what had happened. 21 When they became aware of this, they were very afraid, and when they observed the forces of Judas prepared for battle in the plain, 22 they fled to the region of the Philistines. 23 Judas returned to take spoils from their camp, and they took massive amounts of gold and silver, and cloth dyed blue and purple, and abundant wealth. 24 As they returned from battle they sang hymns and blessed heaven, because the Lord is good, for His mercy endures forever. 25 Thus great deliverance happened to Israel on that day. 26 But all the Gentiles who escaped went and reported to Lysias everything that had happened. 27 When he heard this, he was bewildered and disheartened, because things had not happened to Israel as he wished, and had not turned out as the king commanded him.
Judas Defeats Lysias
28 The following year, Lysias recruited sixty thousand chosen men and fifty thousand cavalry so he could fight them. 29 Then he came to Idumea and camped in Beth-zur, and Judas met them there with ten thousand soldiers. 30 When he saw their mighty camp, he prayed and said, “Blessed are you, O Savior of Israel, who stopped the attack of the giant warrior by the hand of your servant David, and delivered the Philistines’ camp into the hands of Jonathan the son of Saul, his armor-bearer. 31 Even so, besiege this camp by the hand of your people Israel, and let these enemies be ashamed of their army and cavalry. 32 Put cowardice in them and melt the boldness of their might, and let them be shaken by their defeat. 33 Cast them down with the sword of those who love You, and let all men who know Your name give praise to You with hymns.”
  34 Then they attacked one another, and five thousand men from the camp of Lysias fell, and some fell from the opposite side. 35 When Lysias saw the turn of events for his troops, and the courage shown by those of Judas, and how they were prepared either to live or to die bravely, he returned to Antioch and recruited mercenaries to again invade Judea with an even greater force.
Restoration of the Temple
36 So Judas and his brothers with him said, “Behold, our foes have been crushed. Let us go up to purify the sanctuary and renew it.” 37 Thus the entire camp gathered and ascended to Mount Zion. 38 They saw there the sanctuary deserted, the altar desecrated, and the doors burned down. In the courtyard they found that bushes had grown up as in a wooded area or on one of the mountains. They also saw the priests’ quarters in ruins. 39 So they tore their garments and lamented greatly, and sprinkled themselves with ashes. 40 They fell on their faces on the earth, sounded the signal on the trumpets, and cried to heaven.
41 Then Judas ordered his men to fight those in the citadel until he purified the sanctuary. 42 He chose righteous priests, devoted to the law. 43 They purified the sanctuary, and carried the defiled stones to an unclean place. 44 And they discussed what they should do with the altar of whole burnt offerings, which had been desecrated. 45 It seemed to them the best plan was to tear it down, so it would not be a reproach to them because the Gentiles had corrupted it. So they tore down the altar. 46 They also stacked the stones in an appropriate location on the temple hill until a prophet would come and tell what should be done with them.
47 Then they took uncut stones, according to the law, and constructed a new altar like the one before. 48 They also repaired the sanctuary and the inside of the temple, and consecrated the courtyards. 49 They made new holy vessels and carried the lampstand, the altar of incense, and the table into the temple. 50 And they burnt incense on the altar and lit the lights on the lampstands, and these gave light inside the temple. 51 Then they set bread on the table, hung the curtains, and completed all the tasks they had begun.
52 They rose early on the morning of the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, which is the month of Chislev, in the one hundred and forty-eighth year, 53 and offered sacrifice according to the law on the new altar of whole burnt offerings which they made. 54 It was consecrated with songs and harps and lutes and cymbals at the time and on the day the Gentiles had desecrated it. 55 All the people fell down and worshiped and blessed heaven, which had prospered them. 56 They celebrated the consecration of the altar for eight days; and they offered whole burnt offerings with gladness, and the sacrifice of a peace offering and a thank-offering. 57 They also adorned the face of the temple with crowns of gold and small shields, and restored the gates and the priests’ quarters, and installed doors. 58 There was great gladness among the people, and the disgrace of the Gentiles was removed.
59 Then Judas and his brothers and the congregation of Israel decided that each year at that time the days of the consecration of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness for eight full days, beginning on the twenty-fifth of the month of Chislev.
60 At this same time they also built high walls and strong towers around Mount Zion, lest the Gentiles come and destroy these things, as they had done before. 61 Then he stationed an army there to guard it, and he fortified the town of Beth-zur, so the people would have a fortress that faced Idumea.

Psalm 12

1 For the End; a psalm by David.

2 How long, O Lord? Will You forget me to the end?

How long will You turn Your face from me?

3 How long will I take counsel in my soul,

Having grief in my heart daily?

How long will my enemy be exalted over me?

4 Look upon me and hear me, O Lord my God;

Enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep in death,

5 Lest my enemy say,

“I prevailed against him”;

Those who afflict me greatly rejoice, if I am shaken.

6 But I hope in Your mercy;

My heart shall greatly rejoice in Your salvation;

I will sing to the Lord, who shows kindness to me;

I will sing to the name of the Lord Most High.

Psalm 13

1 For the End; a psalm by David.

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

They are corrupt, they are abominable in their habits;

There is none, not even one, who does good.

2 The Lord stooped down from heaven to look upon the sons of men,

To see if there were any who understood or sought God.

3 All turned aside and were altogether corrupted;

There was not even one doing good, no, not one.

Their throat is an open tomb;

They deal deceptively with their tongues;

The poison of serpents is under their lips,

Whose mouth is full of curses and bitterness;

Their feet are swift to shed blood;

Affliction and suffering are in their ways,

And the way of peace they have not known;

There is no fear of God before their eyes.

4 Do all the workers of lawlessness not know?

They eat up my people as they eat bread, and they do not call upon the Lord.

5 They were in great fear where no fear was,

Because God is in the righteous generation.

6 You shamed the counsel of the poor man,

Because the Lord is his hope.

7 Who will bring about the salvation of Israel out of Zion?

When the Lord returns His people from captivity,

Let Jacob greatly rejoice, and let Israel be glad.

Proverbs 2:10–16

10 For if wisdom comes into your mind,

And the perception in your soul seems to be good,

11 Then good counsel will guard you,

And holy thinking will keep you;

12 That it might rescue you from an evil way

And from a man who speaks nothing trustworthy.

13 Woe to those who forsake the paths of uprightness

So they may walk in the ways of darkness,

14 Who delight in evils

And rejoice in evil perversion,

15 Whose ways are crooked

And their paths devious,

16 So they may cause you to be far from the straight way

And a stranger to righteous judgment.

Acts 16:16–40

16 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” 18 And this she did for many days.

But Paul, greatly [d]annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour. 19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.

20 And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; 21 and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.” 22 Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. 23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”

29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

35 And when it was day, the magistrates sent the [e]officers, saying, “Let those men go.”

36 So the keeper of the prison reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Now therefore depart, and go in peace.”

37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.”

38 And the officers told these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Romans. 39 Then they came and pleaded with them and brought them out, and asked them to depart from the city. 40 So they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.

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