Daily Encouragement

August 19 – A Queen that is Ignorant and Incapacitated?

August 19
Esther 4:1-7:10
1 Corinthians 12:1-26
Psalm 36:1-12
Proverbs 21:21-22

Esther 4:2 – Esther is a legitimate hero, but the account shows she’s a bit naive. When she sees someone with sackcloth, she seems ignorant – she doesn’t ask what’s the matter but offers new clothing. When she hears her people are going to die (Esther 4:8), her initial response is that she’s incapacitated – “I can’t do anything about it” (Esther 4:11).

Esther 4:14 – Without talking about the LORD – Mordecai – the Jew who didn’t return to Jerusalem because he possibly was too influential and partially secularized – still knew that his people would be delivered. Many people today may not recognize the divine protection of the Jewish people (Why are Jews 11,250% as likely to win a Nobel prize?) or why an obscure Canaanite tribe from 3,000 years ago, that was virtually wiped out 2,000 years ago has regrouped as at least the 8th most powerful Nuclear state in the world. Yes people may not ascribe a divine reason to this – but Esther shows us that this is not mere coincidence, but rather divine Providence.

Mordecai’s timeless words to Esther can be turned from a question into a declaration: “Thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this.”  Has God put you in a place that you can use your title, your time, your talents, or your treasure to advance the Kingdom? Don’t be ignorant or pretend you’re incapacitated – you have been placed where you are, for such a time as this!

Esther 5:3 – The fearful Esther was offered half of the kingdom!


Esther 5:14 – Speaking of Providence – the very day that Haman was going to ask Mordecai to be hanged (Esther 6:4), the king orders Haman to honor (Esther 6:10).

Esther 6:13 – Ah, the wise men figure out that this isn’t going well. But Haman is too committed to back out now. Haman decided to hang in there, and he soon hung (Esther 7:10).

1 Corinthians 12:3 – Paul has to start out with the very basics of discernment!

1 Corinthians 12:18 – Contentment – God may not have given you the preaching ability, the deepness in prayer, the quick wisdom, the capacity to gift millions, the ability to do works for God that everyone will sit up and take note of.

When I consider how my light is spent,
   Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
   And that one Talent which is death to hide
   Lodged with me useless, though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
   My true account, lest he returning chide;
   “Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
   I fondly ask. But patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
   Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best
   Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
   And post o’er Land and Ocean without rest:
   They also serve who only stand and wait.”
Psalm 36:5 – Let’s thank God for:
  • His Mercy (Psalm 36:5)
  • His Faithfulness (Psalm 36:5)
  • His Righteousness (Psalm 36:6, Psalm 36:10)
  • His Judgments (Psalm 36:6)
  • His Lovingkindness (Psalm 36:7, Psalm 36:10)
  • His Trustworthiness (Psalm 36:7)
  • His Satisfaction (Psalm 36:8)
  • His Pleasures (Psalm 36:8)
  • His Fountain of Life (Psalm 36:9)
  • His Light (Psalm 36:9)

Proverbs 21:21 – We just read about Mercy & Righteousness – how they lead to the fountain of life (Whose fountain is it?)

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Daily Encouragement

August 18 – Do we have ancient records of Mordecai?

August 18
Esther 1:1-3:15
1 Corinthians 11:17-34
Psalm 35:17-28
Proverbs 21:19-20

Esther 1:2 – Welcome to the book of Esther. The only book of the Bible where the name of God is not found even once! Unfortunately, Alexander the Great’s troops were none too kind to the legacy of Xerxes:

compared to the palace of Darius, the house of Xerxes is badly damaged. A likely explanation is that it received a special treatment when the Macedonian king Alexander the Great destroyed Persepolis in the spring of 330 BCE. His soldiers were especially interested in the palace of the man who had once sacked Athens.

The relief on the second photo shows the great king leaving the palace and is an example of the destruction. The damages from the right are partly due to natural causes (and quite recent), but the face has been destroyed with a hammer, and someone must have made a great effort to create a hole near the king’s ear.

And while we’re at it, J. Vernon McGee has a helpful infographic on Esther:

Esther 2:5 – Who was Mordecai? He was of the lineage of Saul, but now in secular Persia. Do we have secular records of him? From the Biblical Cyclopedia

As regards Mordecai’s place in profane history, the domestic annals of the reign of Xerxes are so scanty that it would not surprise us to find no mention of this Jew.”

But, he may be recorded as Matacas, Xerxes’ chief favorite. Ellicott:

(5) Mordecai.–Canon Rawlinson is disposed to identify Mordecai with Matacas, who was the most powerful of the eunuchs in the reign of Xerxes. It may be assumed that Mordecai was a eunuch, by the way in which he was allowed access to the royal harem (Esther 2:11Esther 2:22). The name Mordecai occurs in Ezra 2:2Nehemiah 7:7, as one of those who returned to Judaea with Zerubbabel.

Esther 2:12 – Spa treatments today pale in comparison.

Esther 3:1 – Saul kept Agag, king of Amalek alive in disobedience to God’s will (1 Samuel 15:20).

Esther 3:13 – 2,300 years later, Adolph Hitler would try the same thing.

1 Corinthians 11:18 – Paul is continually talking about the problems in the church of Corinth. Shockingly people came to the Lord’s Supper drunk (1 Corinthians 11:21).

1 Corinthians 11:32 – David recognized this truth in 2 Samuel 24:14 and 1 Chronicles 21:13. We can seek the chastening of the LORD now and repent, or endure his wrath later.

Psalm 35:24 – Echoing Paul, let us seek the LORD’s judgment now and not later.

Proverbs 21:19 – Some people desire simply to be married, and find their desires were too simple. The Bible has much to offer in premarital counseling!

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Daily Encouragement

August 17 – Paul takes on virtually every religion today

August 17
Nehemiah 12:27-13:31
1 Corinthians 11:1-16
Psalm 35:1-16
Proverbs 21:17-18

Nehemiah 12:31 – Cup Bearer, Building Inspector, Commander, General Contractor, Negotiator, and Singspiration Architect Nehemiah!

Wopod’s blog includes a helpful map to show you what the choirs were doing. The Eastern Choir (Nehemiah 12:31-37) and the Western Choir (Nehemiah 12:38-39) circled around the city, leaving the dung gate, and entering the sheep gate.

Nehemiah 12:42 – The singers sang loud (even without electronic amplification)!

Nehemiah 13:1 – From JFB – “This was not immediately consequent on the dedication of the city wall and gates, but after Nehemiah’s return from the Persian court to Jerusalem, his absence having extended over a considerable period. ” (Nehemiah 13:6).

“therein was found written” – What’s sad is there was so little familiarity with the law of the LORD that it shocked them.  How familiar are we with God’s law?

Nehemiah 13:15 – Ezra and Nehemiah had done so much to restore the Kingdom. They were vigilant about trusting God, prayer, sanctification, and so much more! But when Nehemiah left this young congregation, he returns to see people marrying unbelievers, people violating the sabbath, his old enemy Tobiah now living in the temple complex.

Nehemiah didn’t trust the people who had been watching the gate, he had to put his personal staff at the gates to make sure the Sabbath would be kept.

Nehemiah 13:21 – Not the cry of the weary mother of toddlers, but of the commander of Jerusalem to those who would cause his people to sin!

1 Corinthians 11:1 – Is Paul giving merely cultural advice to those in 1st Century Corinth? John MacArthur in his Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11 says

“[some] believe that Paul, Peter, and other scriptural writers added some of their own opinions to God’s revealed truth or that the apostles sometimes taught culturally determined customs rather than divinely revealed standards. When that approach is taken, man must decide for himself what part of Scripture is revealed and what is not – making him the judge over God’s Word….”

Strangely by the time he gets to 11:4 he says:

“It seems, therefore, that Paul is not stating a divine universal requirement but simply acknowledging a local custom.”

As we go thru this passage, we will not be quoting from Dr. G.I. Barber’s message on the Doctrine of Hairology.

1 Corinthians 11:4 – Not only did Jesus reverse the Mosaic law on bacon, Jesus reversed the Mosaic law on head coverings for the religious leaders (Exodus 28:4, Exodus 28:37, and Exodus 28:40). Under Moses the priests all wore head coverings – but now that Jesus is our head, that is forbidden! This verse is in contrast to most religions including the Muslim Taqiyah, the Jewish Kippah, the Sikh Turban, and the liturgical Zucchettos and Birettas. Interestingly, Paul is talking about almost all religious activity, per MacArthur:

“In the most general senses praying is talking to God about people, including ourselves, and prophesying is talking to people about God. One is vertical (man to God) and the other is horizontal (Man to man), and they represent the two primary dimensions of believers’ ministry.”

1 Corinthians 11:10 – What do angels have to do with head coverings? Are angels watching what you wear in church? Apparently! (Ephesians 3:10, 1 Timothy 5:21)

1 Corinthians 11:15Commentators seem to distinguish between the hair and the covering.

NOTE: Today’s reading from 1 Corinthians may seem difficult to understand – but anytime we read something in the Bible that seems difficult to understand, 1) Don’t give up! 2) Dig in! Keep reading as you interpret Scripture with Scripture.

Psalm 35:1 – Do you remember how difficult life has been? Thank God for his salvation (Psalm 35:9).

Proverbs 21:17 – Don’t rich people spend their days at leisure? Don’t they buy expensive stuff? They may but loving pleasure is unsustainable – God created man to work in the Garden (Genesis 2:15).

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Daily Encouragement

August 16 – Can Christians Eat Halal Meat?

August 16
Nehemiah 11:1-12:26
1 Corinthians 10:14-33
Psalm 34:11-22
Proverbs 21:14-16

Nehemiah 11:1 – The nobles led by example in dwelling in Jerusalem. Why was it a sacrifice for others to live in Jerusalem? From EnduringWord:

i. To live in Jerusalem, you had to re-order your view of material things. You had to give up land in your previous region and take up some kind of new business in Jerusalem.

ii. To live in Jerusalem, you had to re-arrange your social priorities, certainly leaving some friends and family behind in your old village.

iii. To live in Jerusalem, you had to have a mind to endure the problems in the city. It had been a ghost town for 70 years, and was now basically a slightly rebuilt, somewhat repopulated ghost town. The city didn’t look all that glorious and it needed work.

iv. To live in Jerusalem, you had to live knowing you were a target for the enemy. There were strong walls to protect you, but since Jerusalem was now a notable city with rebuilt walls, the fear was more from whole armies than bands of robbers. The old village was nice, but not in much danger from great armies.

v. The Bible tells us there is a city coming down from heaven to earth, when God is done with this earth as we know it, and it calls that city New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2). People don’t want to be citizens of the New Jerusalem for the same reasons many didn’t want to be citizens of Nehemiah’s Jerusalem.

1 Corinthians 10:14 – Paul resumes his teaching on what to do about meats offered to idols, forcefully! He mentioned yesterday that we must avoid idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:7), and he repeats it today.

1 Corinthians 10:20 – And here is the capstone of the argument – meats offered to idols, are not under a harmless spell, but they are sacrificed to devils! Paul laid out the case earlier (1 Corinthians 10:17) that fellowship is identity – you are judged and rewarded by who you fellowship with. We are communing with the body and blood of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:16) – why should we commune with devils? If you missed Paul’s argument – look at 1 Corinthians 10:21 – you cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24) – pick which table you want to eat at – the table of devils or the table of the LORD? Unfortunately GotQuestions avoids this verse in its discussion. Trumpet-Call also fails to analyze this verse as well to understand how Paul fits in with the rest of Scripture including Jesus Christ in Revelation 2:14 and 2:20. Paul here clearly says – if you work for Coca-Cola, what on earth are you doing drinking Pepsi? Paul never says that is ok to eat meat offered to idols – he says if you don’t know its offered to idols, its not a problem (an unmarked can of Pepsi). But if you know that it is – avoid it for nothing else than loving your fellow Christian believer.

Can Christians eat halal meat?

1 Corinthians 10:32-33 – Can a Christian eat meat that is halal (slaughtered in the name of Allah)? First – we must discuss whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God. And as Al Mohler exhaustively points out – the answer is no. Therefore the meat is not offered to the God of the Bible, but to another god (1 Corinthians 8:5), which is not another god (compare to Galatians 1:6-7, 1 Corinthians 8:6). The Bible tells us who this meat is offered to in 1 Corinthians 10:20. So then, a Christian who is offered meat by his Muslim neighbor and told that it is halal, a) cannot eat it (1 Corinthians 10:28), but b) must decline without giving offence (1 Corinthians 10:32). So a tactful refusal that shows that you love your Muslim neighbor (Matthew 5:44) for whom Jesus Christ died (2 Corinthians 5:15) and whom Jesus wants to be saved thru your lovingly declining the meat (1 Corinthians 10:33).

Psalm 34:11 – Pay attention to this Psalm – this is the secret of Proverbs! (Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 1:29, Proverbs 2:5, Proverbs 9:10, Proverbs 10:27, Proverbs 14:26-27, Proverbs 15:16, Proverbs 15:33, Proverbs 16:6, Proverbs 19:23, Proverbs 22:4, Proverbs 23:17).

Proverbs 21:14 – Jesus may have been thinking about this verse in Luke 14:32. Note Solomon is not talking about bribery.

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Daily Encouragement

August 15 – Another covenant??

August 15
Nehemiah 9:22-10:39
1 Corinthians 9:19-10:13
Psalm 34:1-10
Proverbs 21:13

Nehemiah 9:33 – The right perspective says “thou art just” – “we have done wickedly.”

Nehemiah 9:38 – Nehemiah makes another covenant on behalf of the people with God. Though we fail often as did the children of Israel, we can renew our relationship with God each day. Brother Homsher of Neighborhood Bible Time referred to it as Personal, Daily, Direct, Dedication Renewal. We are a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) – we daily need to get back on the altar.

Nehemiah 10:29-32 – Nehemiah might be considered a legalist. It had been generations since the people had committed (and followed) all the commandments of the LORD. Not entering into marriages with the locals. Obeying the Sabbath. Obeying the year of Jubilee. Following the temple taxes. Every single command. Which regardless of what people today may say – is what God requires!

1 Corinthians 9:23 – Paul would sacrifice his rights “for the gospel’s sake.” Will we? Hudson Taylor abandoned English dress to reduce barriers between him and the Chinese people:

His ship arrived in Shanghai, one of five “treaty ports” China had opened to foreigners following its first Opium War with England. Almost immediately Taylor made a radical decision (as least for Protestant missionaries of the day): he decided to dress in Chinese clothes and grow a pigtail (as Chinese men did). His fellow Protestants were either incredulous or critical.

1 Corinthians 10:4 – That Rock that was supposed to be spoke to the second time – was Christ! (Numbers 20:8)

1 Corinthians 10:10 – If you didn’t catch the examples of lust, idolatry, fornication, tempting God, you should have caught the prohibition against murmuring!

1 Corinthians 10:13 – If you haven’t memorized this verse, do it today!

Psalm 34:7 – We saw what the Angel of the LORD did to Sennacherib’s massive army that went against Hezekiah. God will protect you just as fiercely!

Psalm 34:8 – Here’s another memory song from Earl Martin:

Proverbs 21:13 –  If everyone in the church did exactly what I did – what kind of church would my church be?

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Daily Encouragement

August 14 – Begging to hear the Word of God all morning?

August 14
Nehemiah 7:73-9:21
1 Corinthians 9:1-18
Psalm 33:12-22
Proverbs 21:11-12

Nehemiah 8:3 – Imagine – all the people gathered, begging Ezra to bring the book of the law, and Ezra reads it to the standing room only congregation from morning till noon!

Nehemiah 8:5 – Wondered where our modern church architecture comes from? The preacher is above the people, standing in a pulpit (Nehemiah 8:4). The preacher reads the book, and then causes understanding (Nehemiah 8:8).

Nehemiah 8:14 – Watching people obey the law is exciting! Especially when it was the most exciting Feast of Booths since Joshua almost a thousand years earlier!

Nehemiah 9:3 – What does revival look like? Reading the Word, confessing sins, worshiping God!

Nehemiah 9:5James Montgomery was inspired by this verse to write the song, “Stand Up and Bless the LORD.” Hear it recorded by the Herbster Trio

Nehemiah 9:6 – Notice how in the Psalms and in Nehemiah – the worship of God starts with the recognition of Him as Creator! They continue to recount the history of how God worked with their people.

1 Corinthians 9:11 – Paul outlines his case for the reasonableness of being paid for ministry, but then he surprises us by saying – in v.12 – “we have not used this power.” Voluntarily giving up his rights, to not hinder the gospel. Sounds like Paul is imitating his LORD – who gave up his rights to give us the Gospel.

1 Corinthians 9:16 – We need more preachers who can declare this! Matt Black recorded a song based on this verse:

Psalm 33:12 – A musical was composed based on this verse:

Psalm 33:16-17 – These are the verses that Ezra claimed – we will not trust in horses or mighty men but in the LORD! He can deliver our souls from death (Psalm 33:19).

Proverbs 21:11 – Like Zig Ziglar said, God has a plan for everyone – even the worst of you can serve as bad examples!

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Daily Encouragement

August 13 – The foreman who refused his pay

August 13
Nehemiah 5:14-7:73
1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Psalm 33:1-11
Proverbs 21:8-10

Nehemiah 5:14 – Should Christian leaders be paid? Nehemiah had a right to eat (Nehemiah 5:15), he had an opportunity to profit off the work (Nehemiah 5:16), but he realized this would be a “heavy bondage” for the people (Nehemiah 5:18). Paul says the Christian leader has a right to be paid (2 Timothy 2:6, 1 Corinthians 9:11, 1 Corinthians 9:14, Galatians 6:6) and so did Jesus (Luke 10:5-7), but at times Paul taught it is better not to be paid (1 Corinthians 9:12-18). Les Bridgeman has a lengthy discussion on Paul’s financial sources for ministry. But it is interesting that Nehemiah, as foreman of a massive construction project, passed on some of the pay he had a claim to because of the specific needs of the situation.

Nehemiah 6:3 – I read about a pastor who had some naysayers criticizing his ministry. He simply replied to their voluminous attack with a simple reply. “Nehemiah 6:3.”

Nehemiah 6:9 – Notice Nehemiah again breaks into prayer! He has learned from the KIngs of Israel that failure to pray is the greatest predictor of failure. How many times has Nehemiah prayed in his short little book? From BridgePointe Church:

  1. Nehemiah 1:4-11
  2. Nehemiah 2:4
  3. Nehemiah 4:4-5
  4. Nehemiah 5:19
  5. Nehemiah 6:9
  6. Nehemiah 6:14
  7. Nehemiah 9:5-38
  8. Nehemiah 13:14
  9. Nehemiah 13:22
  10. Nehemiah 13:29

Of the 405 verses in Nehemiah, 51 are prayers. 12.6% of the book is about Nehemiah praying to God. In contrast, by my count only 45 verses talk about the work that Nehemiah did. Nehemiah the great builder lets us know its more important to be praying than it is to be working.

Nehemiah 6:18 – Commentators note that Shechaniah the son of Arah were one of the leading pioneer families (Ezra 2:5, and we’ll see him in Nehemiah 7:10) that returned with Zerubbabel.

Nehemiah 7:17 – Why does Nehemiah report the children of Azgad as 2,322 and Ezra 2:12 reports it as 1,222? Will Kinney thinks Nehemiah is just reporting the records he found, which were varied from Ezra’s record. CARM examines all the differences and thinks it was a copyist error. Lavista thinks Ezra recorded the departure count, and Nehemiah recorded the arrival count. GotQuestions concurs – thinking it was based on deaths/births in families. Jack Kelly addresses the subtotals but not the family discrepancies. He does give a good analysis of the bigger issue:

Skeptics look at apparent discrepancies like this and immediately conclude that the Bible is not the inspired Word of God but a flawed work of man.

But those who believe in the inspiration of Scripture assume that the discrepancy is caused by a lack of understanding on their part and dig deeper for the solution.

1 Corinthians 8:1 – Paul is asked to weigh in on the issue of meats offered to idols. He will in a future chapter give a very clear answer on this issue and make a conclusion that Jesus Christ himself will stand behind in the book of Revelation! If the question was merely theoretical, he would have gone right to the answer. But because it was rooted in a messy situation he had several other problems to work thru before he can make his point about meats offered to idols. His first point – showing love is better than having the right answer.

1 Corinthians 8:4 – The wanna be meat eaters said that idols aren’t real, so what’s wrong with meat offered to something that doesn’t exist? Paul acknowledges they have a valid point – but that is not the final point (1 Corinthians 8:7).

1 Corinthians 8:13 – Many people think that Paul’s teaching is limited to just not offending our brother. They have extended that theory to other things such as claiming that drinking alcohol is not addressed in the Bible and we can do it as long as you’re not offended by it. Contrary to their opinions, the Bible has clear warnings against the consumption of alcohol (Proverbs 20:1, Ephesians 5:18, Genesis 9:21, Leviticus 10:9, Proverbs 23:29-32, Proverbs 31:4, Isaiah 5:22, Hosea 4:11, Habakkuk 2:5, etc.). Paul’s point is something he has exemplified in his own life – even something legitimate like getting paid for ministry, I will waive and do without if it will cause problems for my brothers. Interesting that we read this passage today – for this was Nehemiah’s point in Nehemiah 5:18. Paul will continue to address meats offered to idols in the next few chapters.

Psalm 33:2 – What is a ten string instrument (Psalm 92:3, Psalm 144:9)?

Psalm 33:8 – Why should all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe? Because He made the world (Psalm 33:6).

Proverbs 21:9 – I am glad that the LORD has given me a Proverbs 19:14 wife, and not a Proverbs 21:9 wife!

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Daily Encouragement

August 12 – Five blessings of singleness!

August 12
Nehemiah 3:15-5:13
1 Corinthians 7:25-40
Psalm 32:1-11
Proverbs 21:5-7

Nehemiah 3:1 – The roll call of the faithful who were involved in rebuilding the walls! Pastor Wolfmueller has collected some maps to help explain what is going on:

Nehemiah 4:1 – No good deed goes unpunished! But Nehemiah has learned the lesson from the past – and intersperses the building project with prayer as we see in Nehemiah 4:4-5, and Nehemiah 4:9.

Nehemiah 4:16 – A most unusual church building campaign – we often see the story of Nehemiah used in church building campaigns but we can be thankful for the freedom of religion in America that we don’t have to be physically armed. But just because our enemies don’t threaten us physically – we are daily tempted with a perhaps more dangerous enemy that has lulled us to sleep – apathy.

Nehemiah 5:7-8 – Nehemiah is decrying the crony capitalism – the “war profiteering” of his day.  But note how he argued with them – Nehemiah 5:10 – he had the opportunity to but led by example!

1 Corinthians 7:27 – Paul’s advice seems to contradicts Ezra’s that he gave a few days ago ordering divorce. Ezra however was talking to Jewish men who were marrying unbelievers, while Paul is talking to Gentile men who became believers after they married other unbelievers.

1 Corinthians 7:28 – Having recently been married I am glad that Paul says I have not sinned! For those of you who are single – John MacArthur has preached on this passage and notes the five blessings of singleness:

  • pressure of the system (1 Corinthians 7:26)
  • problems of the flesh (1 Corinthians 7:28)
  • passing of the world (1 Corinthians 7:29)
  • preoccupation of the married (1 Corinthians 7:32)
  • permanence of the union (1 Corinthians 7:39-40)

Psalm 32:1 – Read how Isaac Watts set this Psalm to music (Hymnody.org)

Psalm 32:7 – “You are my Hiding Place” is based on this verse.

Psalm 32:8 – Sally Atari recorded “Be Glad“, almost word for word from Psalm 32:8 & Psalm 32:11.

Proverbs 21:5 – Aesop memorialized this truth in his classic tale of the tortoise and the hare. Or today we are more likely to remember the Disney version:

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Daily Encouragement

August 11 – What is the plowing of the wicked?

August 11
Nehemiah 1:1-3:14
1 Corinthians 7:1-24
Psalm 31:19-24
Proverbs 21:4

Nehemiah 1:7 – 1,000 years after Moses, Nehemiah is still aware of the consequences of forsaking the law, but the promise for obedience to the law (Nehemiah 1:8).

Nehemiah 2:4 – One of the shortest prayers recorded in the Bible

Nehemiah 2:18 -The energy within the crowd – “Let us rise up and build!” God’s work should result in an enthusiastic response!

Nehemiah 3:1 – Nehemiah motivated the pilgrims of Israel to follow thru on the burden that God shared with Nehemiah to rebuild the city.

1 Corinthians 7:1 – Paul picks up – having chastised the Corinthians for tolerating incest, he backs up and shows the why of sexual morality:

  • Exclusivity (1 Corinthians  7:1),
  • Monogamy (1 Corinthians 7:2),
  • Sexuality (1 Corinthians 7:3),
  • Submissive (1 Corinthians 7:4)

1 Corinthians 7:19 – Paul reiterates that circumcision is not valuable in God’s economy – in Romans 4:9-12.

Psalm 31:20 – The Psalmist knows the blessing of the LORD hiding him safely away from his enemies! Because God has been so good, the Psalmist has to shout (Psalm 31:19, Psalm 31:21, Psalm 31:23-24).

Proverbs 21:4 – What does he mean the plowing of the wicked? From Ellicott’s:

The plowing of the wicked.–i.e., their work, all they do; for it is not done to please God but themselves; nor carried on in His strength, but in reliance upon their own, and therefore it is “sin,” not pleasing to Him.

Share how reading thru the Bible has been The plowing of the wicked.–i.e., their work, all they do; for it is not done to please God but themselves; nor carried on in His strength, but in reliance upon their own, and therefore it is “sin,” not pleasing to Him.a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

Daily Encouragement

August 10 – Did God order mass divorce?

August 10
Ezra 10:1-44
1 Corinthians 6:1-20
Psalm 31:9-18
Proverbs 21:3

Ezra 10:3 – Is God ordering mass divorce? In today’s culture we are told “love is love” – but Luke 10:27 reminds us the first commandment is to love God, then to love our neighbor. Sometimes following God will cause family division (Matthew 10:35). Joshua had warned the people of the curse following religious intermarriage (Joshua 23:12-13). Ezra is hyper-sensitive to violations of the law – because this is the precedent setting time! Ezra is establishing patterns that will be followed for the next 500 plus years until the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. He is afraid that if the people fail at the start – how can the nation continue? Notice also that animals died for this sin (Ezra 10:19).

“First, the wives in the OT were not just “unbelievers” who were “willing” to be “sanctified” by the believing husband (1 Cor. 7:14). They were “pagans,” that is, they were probably Babylonian idol worshipers (cf. Neh. 13:25–26), who were having a pagan influence on their husbands. ” –DefendingInerrancy

“there are heart-breaking temporal consequences associated with wrongdoing, to say nothing of the potential eternal penalty.” ChristianCourier

“the special instructions to divorce non-believers in Ezra 10 must be understood from an exceptional, nationalistic circumstance during a most critical time under Jewish law and should not be looked at as objective moral law especially when considering the totality of the Bible (See: 1 Cor. 7:12ff; 1 Pet. 3:1ff).” KevinPendergrass

Ezra 10:10

1 Corinthians 6:1 – This idea has been a historical part of the American legal system. Other religions adopt similar systems – see Sharia Tribunals, Rabbinical Courts, and Christian Panels. From the Santa Clara Law Review:

At present, in the United States, agreements to arbitrate a dispute before a religious tribunal are generally enforceable in civil courts, as are awards made by religious arbitral tribunals… A Boston town in 1635 laid down an ordinance that no congregation members could litigate unless there had been a prior effort at arbitration.

1 Corinthians 6:7 – Paul says that even though we have a right to “religious arbitration” – are we willing to suffer temporally, because we shall inherit the Kingdom? (1 Corinthians 6:9).

1 Corinthians 6:11 – The encouragement following a list of convicting sins – such were some of you!

1 Corinthians 6:15-16 – Paul might have been thinking about the sins of Ezra’s day just 500 years prior. How can a follower of the LORD unite with someone following another god? Our bodies are not our own (1 Corinthians 6:19).

Psalm 31:9 – The miserable man makes much of mercy, because He trusts in God (Psalm 31:14)

Proverbs 21:3 – Samuel has stated this before (1 Samuel 15:22). God does not believe that it is better to ask forgiveness than permission.

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