Daily Encouragement

August 21 – Why Study Job?

Job 1:1-3:26
1 Corinthians 14:1-17
Psalm 37:12-29
Proverbs 21:25-26

Job 1:1 — Why study Job?

Job 1:21 — I have a friend that has gone through the loss of his family (Job 1:15, Job 1:19), the loss of financial provisions (Job 1:17), and also the loss of good health (Job 2:7). Today, you may be facing these same challenges, or you may know someone who is. If you aren’t being challenged right now, thank God for this season of blessing. If you are, this is the book to read!

Job 2:13 — Sometimes the best thing you can do for your friends is to sit silently by. Job’s friends did well until they opened their mouths.

1 Corinthians 14:5 — It would be exciting to have a cool spiritual gift to be seen by many (or even just your friends), or to be admired or even envied. But as we read in 1 Corinthians 14:12, your value is not in how impressive your gift is, but in how it edifies the church. From Preaching Today:

Edward Kimball is probably not known to you. He lived over a hundred years ago. He was a Sunday school teacher in Boston, where a young teenager became part of his class. The young man was a country boy. He didn’t know the ways of the city or of the church. But he came to Kimball’s Sunday school class.

When the teen first came to his class, Edward Kimball handed him a Bible. When Mr. Kimball said, “Turn to the Gospel of John,” the country boy didn’t know how to find the Gospel of John. Edward Kimball recognized what was happening, and while the other boys were snickering, he opened the Bible to the Gospel of John and handed it back. When he asked the boys to read, the country boy fumbled as he read.

But Edward Kimball had a big perspective, and he saw possibilities in the boy. Kimball worked with him, and after some months he went down to the store where the boy was working, went into the back room where he was stacking boxes, and led Dwight to Jesus Christ. That was the beginning of the ministry of Dwight L. Moody, this continent’s greatest evangelist during the last century.

Psalm 37:16 — Contentment … whether it’s with your spiritual gift or with your financial state. For at the end, you will be satisfied in the days of famine (Psalm 37:19)! You will not be begging bread (Psalm 37:25)! You will not be forsaken by the LORD (Psalm 37:28)!

Psalm 37:23-24 — Mac Lynch of the WILDS wrote the song “The Steps of a Good Man are Ordered by the LORD:”

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Daily Encouragement

August 20 – Delight Yourself in the LORD!

Esther 8:1-10:3
1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13
Psalm 37:1-11
Proverbs 21:23-24

Esther 8:14 — Why did the couriers hurry? Because they had an important message that would save the lives of many people! There was a limited amount of time until the people would die, and they had the message that could save their lives! This wasn’t just an ordinary message – this was a message from the king!

We have a message that our King has given us. There’s a limited time left to get this message out to the ends of the earth. This message can save people’s lives – let’s hasten and spread the royal message!

1 Corinthians 12:27 — What is your role in the body of Christ?

1 Corinthians 13:1 — Look at the things that you can do and yet be meaningless:

  • speak with the tongues of men and angels
  • gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries
  • have faith to remove mountains
  • bestow all my goods to feed the poor
  • give my body to be burned

1 Corinthians 13:4 — What is “charity”? Love today seems to be a feeling – “I love this song,” or “love is love,” or “as long as our love shall last”. Let’s use the KJV word “charity” so we’re not confusing the biblical definition with a temporal emotion:

  • long suffering
  • kind
  • not envying
  • not vaunting
  • not puffed up
  • not unseemly
  • seeking not her own
  • not easily provoked
  • thinketh not evil
  • rejoiceth not in iniquity
  • rejoiceth in truth
  • beareth all things
  • believeth all things
  • hopeth all things
  • endureth all things

1 Corinthians 13:13 — Faith can move mountains, and hope is the assurance (not a “hope-so” guess) of eternal life, but charity is greater. Why? How? Because it was charity (love) that brought the hope through faith to us (John 3:16)!

Psalm 37:2 — The lawnmower’s theme verse! Yes, we have some simple commands:

  • Trust in the LORD and do good (Psalm 37:3)
  • Delight thyself also in the LORD (Psalm 37:4)
  • Commit thy way unto the LORD (Psalm 37:5)
  • Rest in the LORD (Psalm 37:7)

What will we have if we do that?

  • land and food (Psalm 37:3)
  • desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4)
  • our way will come (Psalm 37:5)
  • righteousness and judgment (Psalm 37:6)
  • inherit the earth (Psalm 37:9)
  • abundance of peace (Psalm 37:11)

Take time to delight yourself in the LORD – His way is best! From the Herbster Trio:

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Daily Encouragement

August 19 – A Queen That is Ignorant and Incapacitated?

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 or why an obscure Canaanite tribe from 3,000 years ago that was virtually wiped out 2,000 years ago, has regrouped to be 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. It’s 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 him (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 was soon hanged (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, but you can be content with what He has given you.

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 and 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?

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 living 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’s Commentary for English Readers:

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 2:11; Esther 2:22). The name Mordecai occurs in Ezra 2:2; Nehemiah 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 — Adolph Hitler would try the same thing 2,300 years later!

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

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 wore many hats!

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 the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary (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.

“… 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, and his old enemy Tobiah was 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 a toddler, but the cry of a 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.

MacArthur, John F., Jr. 1 Corinthians. MacArthur New Testament Commentary. Chicago: Moody Press, 1984.

Strangely, by the time he gets to 1 Corinthians 11:4, he says:

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

MacArthur, John F., Jr. 1 Corinthians. MacArthur New Testament Commentary. Chicago: Moody Press, 1984.

As we go through 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 also 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 in 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?

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.com:

  • 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.
  • To live in Jerusalem, you had to re-arrange your social priorities, certainly leaving some friends and family behind in your old village.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, and he does so 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; 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.org avoids this verse in its discussion. Trumpet Call also fails to analyze this verse as well, in order to help us understand how the teaching of Paul fits in with the rest of Scripture, including that of 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 it’s okay to eat meat offered to idols – he says if you don’t know it’s offered to idols, it’s not a problem (an unmarked can of Pepsi). But if you know that it is – avoid it, if 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. Al Mohler exhaustively points out that the answer is, “NO!” The meat is not offered to the God of the Bible, but to another god (1 Corinthians 8:5) which in reality 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) he/she cannot eat it (1 Corinthians 10:28), but b) he/she must decline without giving offence (1 Corinthians 10:32). A tactful refusal must show that you love your Muslim neighbor (Matthew 5:44) for whom Jesus Christ died (2 Corinthians 5:15) and for whom Jesus wants to be saved (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??

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” and “We have done wickedly.”

Nehemiah 9:38 — Nehemiah makes another covenant with God on behalf of the people. 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) so we 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 like 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 — The Rock that was to be spoken to by Moses the second time was Christ (Numbers 20:8)!

1 Corinthians 10:10 — If you didn’t catch the examples of lust, idolatry, fornication, and 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 — Ask yourself this question, “If everyone in the church did exactly what I did, what kind of church would my church be?”

Share how reading through the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

Daily Encouragement

August 14 – Begging to Hear the Word of God All Morning?

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 from 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’s time, almost a thousand years earlier!

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

Nehemiah 9:5 — James 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 His 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 vs. 12, “we have not used this power.” Paul voluntarily gave up his rights so as not to hinder the Gospel. Sounds like Paul is imitating his LORD Who gave up His rights in order to give us the Gospel!

1 Corinthians 9:16 — We need more preachers who can declare “Woe is me if I preach not the Gospel!” 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!”

Share how reading through the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

Daily Encouragement

August 13 – The Foreman Who Refused His Pay

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. 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, was 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.org 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 come to the conclusion that Jesus Christ Himself reiterates 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 through before he made 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 that 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 no one else is offended by it. Contrary to their opinions, however, 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 for something legitimate like getting paid for ministry, I will waive my rights, and do without if it causes 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)?

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Daily Encouragement

August 12 – Five Blessings of Singleness!

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! Nehemiah has learned the lesson from the past and intersperses the building project with prayer; we see this 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 so 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 more subtle and dangerous enemy that has lulled us to sleep: APATHY!

Nehemiah 5:7-8 — Nehemiah is decrying crony capitalism – the “war profiteering” of his day. But note how he argued with them (Nehemiah 5:10) – he had the opportunity to demand their submission, but he didn’t. He led by example!

1 Corinthians 7:27 — Paul’s advice seems to contradict Ezra’s in Ezra 10:11 where he ordered the Israelites to divorce. Ezra, however, was talking to Jewish men who were marrying unbelievers, while Paul is talking to Gentile men who became believers after they had 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.

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. Here’s the Disney version from 1934:

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