Daily Encouragement

August 6 – A Ragtag Band Turns Down Ecumenical Unity and Suffers

Ezra 3:1-4:23
1 Corinthians 2:6-3:4
Psalm 28:1-9
Proverbs 20:24-25

Ezra 3:2 — This “3 Chronicles” (because it picks up right where 2 Chronicles ends) is a rebuilding and emphasizes the obedience of the people. “As it is written in the Law of Moses,” and “After the ordinance of David” (Ezra 3:10) is a common theme.

Ezra 3:12 — From Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers:

This most affecting scene requires the comment of Haggai 2:3 and Zechariah 4:10. The first house was destroyed in B.C. 588, fifty years before. The weeping of the ancients was not occasioned by any comparison as to size and grandeur, unless indeed they marked the smallness of their foundation stones. They thought chiefly of the great desolation as measured by the past; the younger people thought of the new future.

Ezra 4:2 — Esar-haddon was the son of Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:37). After the Northern Kingdom was wiped out, the new settlers were brought in and were judged by the LORD (2 Kings 17:25), so presumably Esar-haddon sent a priest to teach them how to fear the LORD (2 Kings 17:28). In spite of this, they didn’t stop serving other gods (2 Kings 17:32-34). The LORD isn’t just another idol for the shelf of gods. He is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14)! We are commanded to separate from false believers (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).

Ezra 4:5 — One of the earliest references to a special interest lobbyist in the Bible!

Ezra 4:6 — Is this why Esther was afraid to let Ahasuerus know she was a Jew (Esther 2:10)?

Ezra 4:23 — Did ‘legalistic obedience’ to the command to separate cost the Jews their city walls? Did the enemies use of special interest lobbyists end the hope of an reconstructed Israeli settlement? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s reading!

1 Corinthians 2:6 — Paul has the answer – the world’s wisdom comes to nought, but God’s wisdom is superior!

1 Corinthians 2:14 — Why is it so hard for unbelievers to see the joys of serving the LORD? Primarily because it appears as foolishness. There are two spirits – the spirit of the world and the spirit of God (vs. 12), and the spirit you have determines what you see and receive.

1 Corinthians 3:1 — In spite of this teaching on the revelation we have from the Spirit of God, Paul says that we are carnal (1 Corinthians 3:1), and not able to bear the meat of the word (1 Corinthians 3:2). We who have the power of the Spirit of God are using the spirit of the world!

Psalm 28:1 — Ah, the words which would have saved countless heartache to the “good kings” and would have saved the “bad kings” – crying out to the LORD! When we cry, we will be able to rejoice (Psalm 28:6-8) in that He hears us!

Proverbs 20:24 — Echoing Proverbs 16:9, Solomon shows the LORD’s knowledge supersedes mere earthly wisdom/knowledge. From the Pulpit Commentary:

If man cannot see all sides, as God does, cannot comprehend the beginning, middle, and end in one view, how then can a man (a weak mortal) understand his own ways. How can he find out of himself whither he should go, or what will be the issue of his doings (comp. Proverbs 16:25; Jeremiah 10:23)?

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