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!

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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Daily Encouragement

August 9 – Faith that says “I don’t need a life jacket?”

August 9
Ezra 8:21-9:15
1 Corinthians 5:1-13
Psalm 31:1-8
Proverbs 21:1-2

Ezra 8:22 – Ezra was faced with a tension – accept the gracious offer of the king to provide protection, or allow God to protect them as they travel with over $100 million of gold not counting the silver (Ezra 8:26). Hudson Taylor once refused to wear a life jacket on a boat because he thought it showed his faith in God. Should we refuse to wear lifejackets as well? How are we to balance keeping our faith in God and exercising reasonable care?

First, note that Elijah fasted and prayed about this decision (Ezra 8:23). Keep in mind that this was someone that God was willing to be intreated of (Psalm 66:18). If we’re not living for the LORD we should be hesitant to claim we heard a command from the LORD.

Second, Ezra learned the lesson of Hezekiah and Sennacherib in 2 Kings 18:15 – trust God first or soldiers won’t help you (Psalm 127:1). His decision was a response to a specific problem in Israelite history, not a general disregard of human precautions. God blessed this decision (Ezra 8:31).

Third, Ezra who was demonstrating his trust in God (see today’s reading in Psalm 31), took a very human precaution of auditing the treasure. Not because the transport team was untrustworthy, but to a) protect their reputation, b) deter temptation, and c) ensure they focused on the goal for the team instead of personal enrichment. Similar to a church treasurer who completes a deposit slip with the rest of the finance team, then is dispatched to the bank to deposit the bag, and then the church auditor reconciles the deposit slip with the deposit receipt to make sure nothing happened to the money en route. Ezra found trustworthy men (Ezra 8:24), weighed the gold (Ezra 8:25), documented the weights (Ezra 8:26-27), charged the trustworthy men with the sacred trust (Ezra 8:28) and scheduled an audit in Jerusalem (Ezra 8:29). While today’s treasurer might pocket some loose change en route, the big danger in times past was debasement – Roman emperors would reduce the silver content of coins thinking people wouldn’t notice. Archimedes famously developed a test to ensure the gold in the crown wasn’t diluted. Here, the chapter concludes with the auditing in Ezra 8:33-34.

Back to Hudson Taylor:

Later he realized that was wrong thinking and wrote, “The use of means ought not to lessen our faith in God; and our faith in God ought not to hinder whatever means He has given us for the accomplishment of His own purposes…When in medical or surgical charge of any case, I have never thought of neglecting to ask God’s guidance and blessing in the use of appropriate means…to me it would appear presumptuous  and wrong to neglect the use of those measures which He Himself has put within our reach, as to neglect to take daily food, and suppose that life and health might be maintained by prayer alone” (p. 99). He was later said to be “a man of prayer, but it was prayer associated with action…’He prayed about things as if everything depended upon the praying…but he worked also, as if everything depended upon the working’” (p. 329).

Ezra 9:1-2 – Ezra, whose father was executed by a pagan king in a pagan land as part of God’s judgment on the sins of Israel, knew sin could not be tolerated. They were commanded not to defile themselves with the Canaanite et al practices (Leviticus 18:24). They were commanded not to associate with them but to drive them out (Deuteronomy 7:1) and show no mercy.

Ezra 9:6 – Ezra’s prayer of contrition – recognizing his lowly position (Psalm 40:17), and the vastness of his sins (Psalm 51:3). He cites the very command they have broken (Ezra 9:11-12 / Deuteronomy 7:3). Ezra refuses to allow people to make the same mistake Solomon made (1 Kings 11:1-2).

1 Corinthians 5:1 – Speaking of sin in the camp – Paul commands a harsh penalty (1 Corinthians 5:5) for sinners and disapproval for those who tolerated it (1 Corinthians 5:2, 1 Corinthians 5:6, 1 Corinthians 5:9).

1 Corinthians 5:10-12 – We’re not to avoid those who sin – just those who claim to be washed of their sin in the blood of the Lamb and yet persist in the sin that nailed the Lamb to the Cross! God will take care of sinners, we must take care of our brothers so-called.

Psalm 31:1 – The Psalmist is declaring what Ezra believed – we can trust in the LORD and be delivered! He has delivered us from our enemies!

Proverbs 21:1 – The Lord changed the heart of the king from Ezra 4:21 to Ezra 6:7. God can still change hearts even today!

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Daily Encouragement

August 8 – Why does Ezra’s father sound familiar?

August 8
Ezra 7:1-8:20
1 Corinthians 4:1-21
Psalm 30:1-12
Proverbs 20:28-30

Ezra 7:1 – Don’t gloss over this genealogy! Who is Seraiah? The last high priest of Jerusalem (2 Kings 25:18, Jeremiah 52:24). They were executed as vanquished leaders (2 Kings 25:21, Jeremiah 52:27) by the Babylonians. But God has exercised judgment on the Babylonians and the Persians are in charge and they have a much different attitude to Ezra than to his father.

Ezra 7:5 – Remember Phinehas the Bold? Yes we have his descendant with us. Ezra the scribe, birthed to be high priest, descended from the valiant, studied in the law, favored by the king.

Ezra 7:9 – Ezra was in a 4 month long wagon train with thousands of his kinfolk, and we complain about rush hour traffic, delays boarding our seat on a plane, or flying international in just economy!

Ezra 7:10 – Great verse to memorize and to apply!

  • Seek it (Josiah upon discovering the law – 2 Kings 22:8-10)
  • Do it (James 1:22 – Doers of the Word, and not hearers only)
  • Teach it (1 Timothy 4:11 – These things command and teach)

Ezra 7:15 – Five  surprising things in the Royal Letter:

  • The king is giving to the God of Israel silver and gold (Ezra 7:15)
  • The king is not specifying what can be purchased (Ezra 7:18)
  • The king is giving a blank check (Ezra 7:20, Ezra 7:22)
  • The king is giving tax exemption (Ezra 7:24)
  • The king is establishing a theocracy (Ezra 7:26)

1 Corinthians 4:7 – “What hast thou that thou didst not receive?” Everything we have is from God – why are we boasting in what we have and comparing ourselves?

1 Corinthians 4:10 – What does Christian love entail (John 13:34)? Appearing foolish, appearing weak, being despised, hungering, thirsting, being naked, beaten, homeless, earning your own pay, reviled, and persecuted, and giving their best (Timothy – 1 Corinthians 4:17). This is the love of their spiritual father, Paul (1 Corinthians 4:15).

Psalm 30:4Sing to the Lord and Be Not Silent is based on Psalm 30:4-5.

Proverbs 20:28 – Solomon wrote out instructions for his son, Rehoboam, but Rehoboam ignored them (1 Kings 12:11).

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Daily Encouragement

August 7 – Authority from God changes the heart of a King!

August 7
Ezra 4:24-6:22
1 Corinthians 3:5-23
Psalm 29:1-11
Proverbs 20:26-27

Ezra 5:11 – Who said you could build this? Interesting the response back – “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth” – not just a regional territorial god, but the God of all that is on earth and all that is above the earth!

Ezra 6:7 – The Israelis knew they had

  • authority from God (Ezra 5:11)
  • atonement for their fathers (Ezra 5:12), and the
  • auspice of Cyrus to build!

God used the researchers of Babylon (Ezra 6:1-2) to find the records and confirm His will!

Darius

  • protected them from interference (Ezra 6:7)
  • provided the resources needed, and
  • proferred the sacrifices.

Was he a devout believer? No but he had enough issues without ticking off whoever this “God of heaven” is.

1 Corinthians 3:6-7 – Just as God was the confidence of the Israeli’s, He is the giver of increase to the Christian. Our enemy is not Team Apollos or Team Paul, but the world, the flesh, and the devil. Apollos and Paul are “labourers together” (1 Corinthians 3:9).

1 Corinthians 3:13 – The Bema Seat that we read about in Romans 14:10 is discussed here. What will be revealed is what has been done not in the economy, not in the political world, but what has been built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ! Rewards and losses will be measured out as the fire tests our work.

Psalm 29 – Notice the structure of the Psalm – two “Give unto the LORD”, 3 “voice of the LORD,” a center keynote, 3 “voice of the LORD’, followed by two descriptions of the LORD. A modified chiasm. In v.1-2 we give strength to Him, in v.10-11, He gives strength to us! What an amazing God we serve!

Proverbs 20:26 – For those wanting to keep religion out of politics – we need some good leaders who will follow Proverbs. The good ruler does not let the wicked take over his city. You may not be a ruler of a city, but if you are a leader in your family, do not let the wicked take over your family!

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Daily Encouragement

August 6 – A ragtag band turns down ecumenical unity, and suffers…

August 6
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,” “After the ordinance of David” (Ezra 3:10).

Ezra 3:12 – From Ellicott:

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 peoplc 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), but 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). And 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? Because it appears as foolishness. There are two spirits – the spirit of the world and the spirit of God (v. 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 supercedes 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 16:25Jeremiah 10:23)?

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