14:14 Audio Listening time

2 Kings 3:1-4:17 Good News Translation

War between Israel and Moab

In the eighteenth year of the reign of King Jehoshaphat of Judah, Joram son of Ahab became king of Israel, and he ruled in Samaria for twelve years. He sinned against the Lord, but he was not as bad as his father or his mother Jezebel; he pulled down the image his father had made for the worship of Baal. Yet, like King Jeroboam son of Nebat before him, he led Israel into sin and would not stop.

King Mesha of Moab raised sheep, and every year he gave as tribute to the king of Israel 100,000 lambs and the wool from 100,000 sheep. But when King Ahab of Israel died, Mesha rebelled against Israel. At once King Joram left Samaria and gathered all his troops. He sent word to King Jehoshaphat of Judah: “The king of Moab has rebelled against me; will you join me in war against him?”

“I will,” King Jehoshaphat replied. “I am at your disposal, and so are my men and my horses. What route shall we take for the attack?”

“We will go the long way through the wilderness of Edom,” Joram answered.

So King Joram and the kings of Judah and Edom set out. After marching seven days, they ran out of water, and there was none left for the men or the pack animals. 10 “We’re done for!” King Joram exclaimed. “The Lord has put the three of us at the mercy of the king of Moab!”

11 King Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there a prophet here through whom we can consult the Lord?”

An officer of King Joram’s forces answered, “Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He was Elijah’s assistant.”

12 “He is a true prophet,” King Jehoshaphat said. So the three kings went to Elisha.

13 “Why should I help you?” Elisha said to the king of Israel. “Go and consult those prophets that your father and mother consulted.”

“No!” Joram replied. “It is the Lord who has put us three kings at the mercy of the king of Moab.”

14 Elisha answered, “By the living Lord, whom I serve, I swear that I would have nothing to do with you if I didn’t respect your ally, King Jehoshaphat of Judah. 15 Now get me a musician.”

As the musician played his harp, the power of the Lord came on Elisha, 16 and he said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Dig ditches all over this dry stream bed. 17 Even though you will not see any rain or wind, this stream bed will be filled with water, and you, your livestock, and your pack animals will have plenty to drink.’” 18 And Elisha continued, “But this is an easy thing for the Lord to do; he will also give you victory over the Moabites. 19 You will conquer all their beautiful fortified cities; you will cut down all their fruit trees, stop all their springs, and ruin all their fertile fields by covering them with stones.”

20 The next morning, at the time of the regular morning sacrifice, water came flowing from the direction of Edom and covered the ground.

21 When the Moabites heard that the three kings had come to attack them, all the men who could bear arms, from the oldest to the youngest, were called out and stationed at the border. 22 When they got up the following morning, the sun was shining on the water, making it look as red as blood. 23 “It’s blood!” they exclaimed. “The three enemy armies must have fought and killed each other! Let’s go and loot their camp!”

24 But when they reached the camp, the Israelites attacked them and drove them back. The Israelites kept up the pursuit, slaughtering the Moabites 25 and destroying their cities. As they passed by a fertile field, every Israelite would throw a stone on it until finally all the fields were covered; they also stopped up the springs and cut down the fruit trees. At last only the capital city of Kir Heres was left, and the slingers surrounded it and attacked it.

26 When the king of Moab realized that he was losing the battle, he took seven hundred swordsmen with him and tried to force his way through the enemy lines and escape to the king of Syria, but he failed. 27 So he took his oldest son, who was to succeed him as king, and offered him on the city wall as a sacrifice to the god of Moab. The Israelites were terrified and so they drew back from the city and returned to their own country.

Elisha Helps a Poor Widow

The widow of a member of a group of prophets went to Elisha and said, “Sir, my husband has died! As you know, he was a God-fearing man, but now a man he owed money to has come to take away my two sons as slaves in payment for my husband’s debt.”

“What shall I do for you?” he asked. “Tell me, what do you have at home?”

“Nothing at all, except a small jar of olive oil,” she answered.

“Go to your neighbors and borrow as many empty jars as you can,” Elisha told her. “Then you and your sons go into the house, close the door, and start pouring oil into the jars. Set each one aside as soon as it is full.”

So the woman went into her house with her sons, closed the door, took the small jar of olive oil, and poured oil into the jars as her sons brought them to her. When they had filled all the jars, she asked if there were any more. “That was the last one,” one of her sons answered. And the olive oil stopped flowing. She went back to Elisha, the prophet, who said to her, “Sell the olive oil and pay all your debts, and there will be enough money left over for you and your sons to live on.”

Elisha and the Rich Woman from Shunem

One day Elisha went to Shunem, where a rich woman lived. She invited him to a meal, and from then on every time he went to Shunem he would have his meals at her house. She said to her husband, “I am sure that this man who comes here so often is a holy man. 10 Let’s build a small room on the roof, put a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp in it, and he can stay there whenever he visits us.”

11 One day Elisha returned to Shunem and went up to his room to rest. 12 He told his servant Gehazi to go and call the woman. When she came, 13 he said to Gehazi, “Ask her what I can do for her in return for all the trouble she has had in providing for our needs. Maybe she would like me to go to the king or the army commander and put in a good word for her.”

“I have all I need here among my own people,” she answered.

14 Elisha asked Gehazi, “What can I do for her then?”

He answered, “Well, she has no son, and her husband is an old man.”

15 “Tell her to come here,” Elisha ordered. She came and stood in the doorway, 16 and Elisha said to her, “By this time next year you will be holding a son in your arms.”

“Oh!” she exclaimed. “Please, sir, don’t lie to me. You are a man of God!”

17 But, as Elisha had said, at about that time the following year she gave birth to a son.

Acts 14:8-28 Good News Translation

In Lystra and Derbe

In Lystra there was a crippled man who had been lame from birth and had never been able to walk. He sat there and listened to Paul’s words. Paul saw that he believed and could be healed, so he looked straight at him 10 and said in a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” The man jumped up and started walking around. 11 When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they started shouting in their own Lycaonian language, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us!” 12 They gave Barnabas the name Zeus, and Paul the name Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 The priest of the god Zeus, whose temple stood just outside the town, brought bulls and flowers to the gate, for he and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifice to the apostles.

14 When Barnabas and Paul heard what they were about to do, they tore their clothes and ran into the middle of the crowd, shouting, 15 “Why are you doing this? We ourselves are only human beings like you! We are here to announce the Good News, to turn you away from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven, earth, sea, and all that is in them. 16 In the past he allowed all people to go their own way. 17 But he has always given evidence of his existence by the good things he does: he gives you rain from heaven and crops at the right times; he gives you food and fills your hearts with happiness.” 18 Even with these words the apostles could hardly keep the crowd from offering a sacrifice to them.

19 Some Jews came from Antioch in Pisidia and from Iconium; they won the crowds over to their side, stoned Paul and dragged him out of the town, thinking that he was dead. 20 But when the believers gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town. The next day he and Barnabas went to Derbe.

The Return to Antioch in Syria

21 Paul and Barnabas preached the Good News in Derbe and won many disciples. Then they went back to Lystra, to Iconium, and on to Antioch in Pisidia. 22 They strengthened the believers and encouraged them to remain true to the faith. “We must pass through many troubles to enter the Kingdom of God,” they taught. 23 In each church they appointed elders, and with prayers and fasting they commended them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.

24 After going through the territory of Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 25 There they preached the message in Perga and then went to Attalia, 26 and from there they sailed back to Antioch, the place where they had been commended to the care of God’s grace for the work they had now completed.

27 When they arrived in Antioch, they gathered the people of the church together and told them about all that God had done with them and how he had opened the way for the Gentiles to believe. 28 And they stayed a long time there with the believers.

Psalm 140 Good News Translation

A Prayer for Protection

140 Save me, Lord, from evildoers;
    keep me safe from violent people.
They are always plotting evil,
    always stirring up quarrels.
Their tongues are like deadly snakes;
    their words are like a cobra’s poison.

Protect me, Lord, from the power of the wicked;
    keep me safe from violent people
    who plot my downfall.
The proud have set a trap for me;
    they have laid their snares,
    and along the path they have set traps to catch me.

I say to the Lord, “You are my God.”
    Hear my cry for help, Lord!
My Sovereign Lord, my strong defender,
    you have protected me in battle.
Lord, don’t give the wicked what they want;
    don’t let their plots succeed.

Don’t let my enemies be victorious;
    make their threats against me fall back on them.
10 May red-hot coals fall on them;
    may they be thrown into a pit and never get out.
11 May those who accuse others falsely not succeed;
    may evil overtake violent people and destroy them.

12 Lord, I know that you defend the cause of the poor
    and the rights of the needy.
13 The righteous will praise you indeed;
    they will live in your presence.

Proverbs 17:22 Good News Translation

22 Being cheerful keeps you healthy. It is slow death to be gloomy all the time.

Tobit 7 Good News Translation

At Raguel’s House

When Tobias and the angel Raphael had entered the city of Ecbatana, Tobias said,
    Azarias, my friend, take me to see Raguel as quickly as you can. The angel brought him to Raguel’s house, where they found him sitting at the entrance to his courtyard. Raphael and Tobias greeted him first; then he replied,
    Come in, my friends. You are welcome in my home.

Raguel brought them into his house and said to his wife Edna,
    Doesn’t this young man look just like my cousin Tobit?

Edna asked them,
    Where do you come from?

We are Israelites of the tribe of Naphtali, Tobias and Raphael answered,
but we are now living in exile in the city of Nineveh in Assyria.

Edna said,
    Do you know our cousin Tobit?

We certainly do know him, they answered.

How is he? she asked.

He is alive and well, they replied.

Then Tobias added,
    Tobit is my father. At that Raguel got up, and with tears of joy in his eyes he kissed Tobias. Then he said,
    God bless you, my child. Your father is a good and noble man. What a terrible tragedy that such an honest and generous man should have lost his sight! He threw his arms around Tobias’ neck and wept on his shoulder. His wife Edna and his daughter Sarah also wept for Tobit.

Raguel gave Tobias and Raphael a warm welcome and had one of his rams slaughtered. After the guests had bathed and were about to sit down to eat, Tobias said to Raphael,
    Azarias, my friend, when are you going to ask Raguel to let me marry Sarah?