Introduction

Hi there. Thanks for reading. I have a story to tell. It is the story of me, and my relationship with my best friend, who is awesome. It includes my hopes for my loved ones, family and friends.

I have knowledge and lessons to share. I have Biblical wisdom and practical applications. I have learned many of life’s big lessons flat on my face and maybe I can help you avoid them.

God is: Elohim (Isa.40:1), El Shaddai (Prov. 3:27), Jehovah-Jireh (Gen. 22:14), my redeemer (Isa. 41:14), my way, my truth, my life (John 14:6), and my beginning and my end (Rev. 22:13). The bible says it, I believe it – its good enough for me.

If you read these posts and want to develop your own relationship with God through Christ Jesus, it is easy to do. He wants to have a relationship with you. At the end of this post is a prayer, you can pray.

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

Romans 10:9-10 NIV

Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus,
I believe you are who you said you are: the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!

Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be.
Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. Please reveal yourself and your ways to me and in my life.
In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

I pray you find a good church near you and let them help you grow after you decide to follow Him. I hope you are blessed. Thank you for reading. Have a wonderful day.

Jesus in Hand

“For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, “Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.”
Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.”
Nehemiah 6:9 NKJV

Nehemiah was a conspiracy theorist – and he was right, there was a conspiracy! His physical task of rebuilding the walls is a beautiful parable of what happens in the spirit as you and I are busy doing the Lord’s work. Let’s dig in more… and put Jesus in our hand to strengthen it!

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is from the book of Nehemiah, chapters 6-7 (embedded below the image below for your convenience).  We began this book over the weekend – so let me catch us all up with a quick overview of the book.  Most scholars believe that the books of Ezra and Nehemiah were on one scroll and are one book and have the same author.  The book of Ezra and Nehemiah follow the same structural pattern which starts with a decree from the Persian ruler, then a campaign to go complete a task in Jerusalem, followed by conflict, and resolved in the most fizzled out, uninspired way.  They also have a few weird quirks (especially that divorce decree in Ezra).   If Ezra-Nehemiah are one book, then I am on board at that beginning and I have flat lined by the end buried in the unresolved conflicts – and seemingly contradictions to the word of the Lord through other contemporaries.

For example – Zechariah prophesied that Jerusalem should not have walls because God was going to place it in a bubble.  And Nehemiah says to himself: “geesh, the holy city has no walls, let me go build them.” As I continue to study the word and mature – I start to form understanding which helps resolve this contradiction.  As we know Zechariah is in the spirit world, outside of time, (like most prophets) when he prophesies. So sometimes elements of prophesy for other earthly times are mixed up together.
Let’s look at these from today’s vantage point and what we know about what has been fulfilled. A big headline in world news last week was that the USA congress removed their promise support of Israel’s iron dome and then at the last minute changed their minds and put it back (Thank God, The USA doesn’t need any more wrath from God). And Israel’s invisible bubble of protection has made physical walls unnecessary.  Zechariah’s prophesy of not needing walls as God will put them in a bubble of protection has come true!!! Glory to God!! And it came through for my generation to see.
This means it was not for Zechariah and Nehemiah’s generation. But it certainly feels like there might have been a better way to handle things and not building a wall with your sword in your hand. Again – my own discomfort with how things played out.

Let us dig into today’s reading – being busy doing the Lord’s work.  For me, at this very moment, I am called to write this blog and make earrings.  I know I have more tasks in my future – but I cannot get distracted waiting on the future when right now I build – in the spirit realm I build with a sword in my hand.  And there really is a conspiracy to take me down.  I know, what I do is not very significant in terms of mega preacher who win hundreds of souls for Christ. None the less this ministry HAS set a couple captives free. It has transformed at least one life – these have been reported back to me. And I rejoice with ALL the angels in heaven for every victory.  Jesus says He leaves the 99 for the 1. Each person is important. And if this ministry is purposed by God just to reach one – and it happens – then this is a mighty ministry in the spirit realm. They do not count numbers in that place – they count purpose. If in God’s will or not. If you are in His will the enemy attacks – if you are not, they do not care. If God’s will for your life is just to read the Bible and pray – and you do it, then you have a mighty ministry in the Kingdom and the enemy will attack. If you have no attacks whatsoever, are you in God’s will? Cause the only game in town is the enemy attacking the will of God for humanity – and nothing else matter to them – they know their own fate and can do nothing about it so they are taking as many people down with them as they can.

I do not often share all the attacks against me. Some are so bizarre. Like someone keeps trying to vandalize my house and throw bags of dog poop at it.  Yet, as if I have an iron dome the bags of poop are all out on the street surrounding my property but cannot touch me. (I think I shared that one before – it is still happening.)
Less seen – the business (leather accessories business God told me to open a few months back) is doing exceptionally well for a business of its size and being only a few month old. It even reached the needed sales goal for me to survive at it. God be glorified!! So I started sharing and telling people – I reached out to online preachers share with them and encourage the people of the Lord who are losing their jobs right now. Here is the testimony:
I lost my job and God provided! God gave me something that makes me even happier and gives me the time to study the word more and pray more and fulfill His work for my life!!! ALL GLORY TO HIM!!!
Immediately, the spring was damned up. The orders stopped coming.  The funds to survive gone. And I look into the spirit world and I see a damn.  There are my promises – God promised He WILL provide all my needs. He will because He wills it. No doubt in my mine. I asked Him to do His will – I asked for His blessings of provision and asked for exceedingly abundant. I asked to be able to go back to supporting other ministries as well and giving to mission and going above my tithe! He will – it is written. But the battle rages and they have damned up my promises. I build the business with a sword in my hand.

I also build this ministry (my tasks of building and not saying I am doing the tasks that only God can do). And I do it in prayer with a sword in my hand. As things try to encroach on study time and prayer time and writing time. Or the days I do not spend my personal time with God – and HE STANDS IN THE WAY OF ME DOING ANYTHING HERE. If I haven’t spent the time – I cannot do his will.  Some days it feels super anointed and some days it feels like an attack – no matter what, I dig in to do my Father’s will.

If God’s will for your life is to be a huge mega church leader or if He calls you to be hidden alone in a prayer closet simply praying 1 thing through – it is MIGHTY and attack worthy if it is God’s purpose and will.

We should also note that Nehemiah had a spiritual attack as well as a physical one.  Sometimes humans are influenced by the enemy to do deceitful and evil things to harm believers – sometimes the fight IS physical.  Sometimes. So I need to be very clear here because we battle not against flesh and blood – we ask the lord to forgive them and open their eyes to see Him and understand. But sometimes there are physical things we must do.
For example – the results of the Arizona election audit clearly state that there are more questionable votes than the winning margin. If you shuffle that and are evil media you can report that there are now even more Biden votes – but that is a huge shuffle of the numbers and speaks to literally one sentence of the multipage report. It is getting hidden in business. We know wherever there is a lie – the devil (father of lies) is involved. We know that the USA election was a spirit war and still is. If God will move His mighty hand and release us from the chaos kinda depends on “IF my people… humble themselves”. If we repent He will remove this from us – if we do not repent, our grace will be shortened. He has proven it and keeps proving it.
So this is one of those times where there is physical work to do as well as spiritual! We all must repent (physical and spiritual), we must warn others (physical), we must back the law suits with finances and signatures (physical), and we must have unity physically and spiritually with other believes – we must not be alone.  And we must do all these things with a sword in hand.

I would be completely remiss if I did not speak of our sword. Let’s take a moment to understand what the word of God says about the sword.  (and the full armor)

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” Ephesians 6:10-18 NKJV

So – what is the sword of the spirit? Luckily – we do not need to interpret – it is explained for us. The sword is the word of God. And this is why we do the memory verse challenge and are memorizing verses where we can stand and say: IT IS WRITTEN – and swing the sword. Just as Jesus did when He was tempted.

Many people separate this thought, of the Bible, the scripture verses being our sword, and the next. Which is – what is the Word? Obviously it is the inspired Word of God, His revelation to man of Himself and His plan of salvation. What more? The word is Jesus!

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:1-5 NKJV

Keep reading…

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 NKJV

Jesus is the word, the word is the sword – Jesus is the sword!

Nehemiah had a physical sword in his hand while he worked and a physical conspiracy but he did not yet have the victorious sword of Christ himself! We know Jesus finished it – the battle is won. We know we must still swing the sword and play out our parts.  Part of having a relationship with God is participating. I mean, how long will your friendships or marriages last if you do not participate?

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: This month we have another great verse to pick up and swing when you need a sword in your hand!

1 John 4:4 NKJV – “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
NAS – “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
ESV – “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
AMP – “Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind].”
NIV – “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Nehemiah 6-7 NKJV

Conspiracy Against Nehemiah

Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, [a]Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), that Sanballat and [b]Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together [c]among the villages in the plain of Ono.” But they thought to do me harm.

So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?”

But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner.

Then Sanballat sent his servant to me as before, the fifth time, with an open letter in his hand. In it was written:

It is reported among the nations, and [d]Geshem says, that you and the Jews plan to rebel; therefore, according to these rumors, you are rebuilding the wall, that you may be their king. And you have also appointed prophets to proclaim concerning you at Jerusalem, saying, “There is a king in Judah!” Now these matters will be reported to the king. So come, therefore, and let us consult together.

Then I sent to him, saying, “No such things as you say are being done, but you invent them in your own heart.”

For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, “Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.”

Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.

10 Afterward I came to the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was a secret informer; and he said, “Let us meet together in the house of God, within the [e]temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you; indeed, at night they will come to kill you.”

11 And I said, “Should such a man as I flee? And who is there such as I who would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in!” 12 Then I perceived that God had not sent him at all, but that he pronounced this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 For this reason he was hired, that I should be afraid and act that way and sin, so that they might have cause for an evil report, that they might reproach me.

14 My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat, according to these their works, and the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who would have made me afraid.

The Wall Completed

15 So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days. 16 And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God.

17 Also in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came to them. 18 For many in Judah were pledged to him, because he was the son-in-law of Shechaniah the son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah. 19 Also they reported his good deeds before me, and reported my [f]words to him. Tobiah sent letters to frighten me.

List of Returning Exiles

Then it was, when the wall was built and I had hung the doors, when the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed, that I gave the charge of Jerusalem to my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the leader of the [g]citadel, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many.

And I said to them, “Do not let the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot; and while they stand guard, let them shut and bar the doors; and appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, one at his watch station and another in front of his own house.”

The Captives Who Returned to Jerusalem

Now the city was large and spacious, but the people in it were few, and the houses were not rebuilt. Then my God put it into my heart to gather the nobles, the rulers, and the people, that they might be registered by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of those who had come up in the first return, and found written in it:

These are the people of the province who came back from the captivity, of those who had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and who returned to Jerusalem and Judah, everyone to his city.

Those who came with Zerubbabel were Jeshua, Nehemiah, [h]Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, [i]Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, and Baanah.

The number of the men of the people of Israel: the sons of Parosh, two thousand one hundred and seventy-two;

the sons of Shephatiah, three hundred and seventy-two;

10 the sons of Arah, six hundred and fifty-two;

11 the sons of Pahath-Moab, of the sons of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and eighteen;

12 the sons of Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four;

13 the sons of Zattu, eight hundred and forty-five;

14 the sons of Zaccai, seven hundred and sixty;

15 the sons of [j]Binnui, six hundred and forty-eight;

16 the sons of Bebai, six hundred and twenty-eight;

17 the sons of Azgad, two thousand three hundred and twenty-two;

18 the sons of Adonikam, six hundred and sixty-seven;

19 the sons of Bigvai, two thousand and sixty-seven;

20 the sons of Adin, six hundred and fifty-five;

21 the sons of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety-eight;

22 the sons of Hashum, three hundred and twenty-eight;

23 the sons of Bezai, three hundred and twenty-four;

24 the sons of [k]Hariph, one hundred and twelve;

25 the sons of [l]Gibeon, ninety-five;

26 the men of Bethlehem and Netophah, one hundred and eighty-eight;

27 the men of Anathoth, one hundred and twenty-eight;

28 the men of [m]Beth Azmaveth, forty-two;

29 the men of [n]Kirjath Jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred and forty-three;

30 the men of Ramah and Geba, six hundred and twenty-one;

31 the men of Michmas, one hundred and twenty-two;

32 the men of Bethel and Ai, one hundred and twenty-three;

33 the men of the other Nebo, fifty-two;

34 the sons of the other Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four;

35 the sons of Harim, three hundred and twenty;

36 the sons of Jericho, three hundred and forty-five;

37 the sons of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred and twenty-one;

38 the sons of Senaah, three thousand nine hundred and thirty.

39 The priests: the sons of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred and seventy-three;

40 the sons of Immer, one thousand and fifty-two;

41 the sons of Pashhur, one thousand two hundred and forty-seven;

42 the sons of Harim, one thousand and seventeen.

43 The Levites: the sons of Jeshua, of Kadmiel,

and of the sons of [o]Hodevah, seventy-four.

44 The singers: the sons of Asaph, one hundred and forty-eight.

45 The gatekeepers: the sons of Shallum,

the sons of Ater,

the sons of Talmon,

the sons of Akkub,

the sons of Hatita,

the sons of Shobai, one hundred and thirty-eight.

46 The Nethinim: the sons of Ziha,

the sons of Hasupha,

the sons of Tabbaoth,

47 the sons of Keros,

the sons of [p]Sia,

the sons of Padon,

48 the sons of [q]Lebana,

the sons of [r]Hagaba,

the sons of [s]Salmai,

49 the sons of Hanan,

the sons of Giddel,

the sons of Gahar,

50 the sons of Reaiah,

the sons of Rezin,

the sons of Nekoda,

51 the sons of Gazzam,

the sons of Uzza,

the sons of Paseah,

52 the sons of Besai,

the sons of Meunim,

the sons of [t]Nephishesim,

53 the sons of Bakbuk,

the sons of Hakupha,

the sons of Harhur,

54 the sons of [u]Bazlith,

the sons of Mehida,

the sons of Harsha,

55 the sons of Barkos,

the sons of Sisera,

the sons of Tamah,

56 the sons of Neziah,

and the sons of Hatipha.

57 The sons of Solomon’s servants: the sons of Sotai,

the sons of Sophereth,

the sons of [v]Perida,

58 the sons of Jaala,

the sons of Darkon,

the sons of Giddel,

59 the sons of Shephatiah,

the sons of Hattil,

the sons of Pochereth of Zebaim,

and the sons of [w]Amon.

60 All the Nethinim, and the sons of Solomon’s servants, were three hundred and ninety-two.

61 And these were the ones who came up from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Cherub, [x]Addon, and Immer, but they could not identify their father’s house nor their lineage, whether they were of Israel: 62 the sons of Delaiah,

the sons of Tobiah,

the sons of Nekoda, six hundred and forty-two;

63 and of the priests: the sons of Habaiah,

the sons of [y]Koz,

the sons of Barzillai, who took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called by their name.

64 These sought their listing among those who were registered by genealogy, but it was not found; therefore they were excluded from the priesthood as defiled. 65 And the [z]governor said to them that they should not eat of the most holy things till a priest could consult with the Urim and Thummim.

66 Altogether the whole assembly was forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty, 67 besides their male and female servants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred and thirty-seven; and they had two hundred and forty-five men and women singers. 68 Their horses were seven hundred and thirty-six, their mules two hundred and forty-five, 69 their camels four hundred and thirty-five, and donkeys six thousand seven hundred and twenty.

70 And some of the heads of the fathers’ houses gave to the work. The [aa]governor gave to the treasury one thousand gold drachmas, fifty basins, and five hundred and thirty priestly garments. 71 Some of the heads of the fathers’ houses gave to the treasury of the work twenty thousand gold drachmas, and two thousand two hundred silver minas. 72 And that which the rest of the people gave was twenty thousand gold drachmas, two thousand silver minas, and sixty-seven priestly garments.

73 So the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, some of the people, the Nethinim, and all Israel dwelt in their cities.

Ezra Reads the Law

When the seventh month came, the children of Israel were in their cities.

Footnotes

  1. Nehemiah 6:1 Or Gashmu
  2. Nehemiah 6:2 Or Gashmu
  3. Nehemiah 6:2 Or in Kephirim, exact location unknown
  4. Nehemiah 6:6 Heb. Gashmu
  5. Nehemiah 6:10 Lit. house
  6. Nehemiah 6:19 Or affairs
  7. Nehemiah 7:2 palace
  8. Nehemiah 7:7 Seraiah, Ezra 2:2
  9. Nehemiah 7:7 Mispar, Ezra 2:2
  10. Nehemiah 7:15 Bani, Ezra 2:10
  11. Nehemiah 7:24 Jorah, Ezra 2:18
  12. Nehemiah 7:25 Gibbar, Ezra 2:20
  13. Nehemiah 7:28 Azmaveth, Ezra 2:24
  14. Nehemiah 7:29 Kirjath Arim, Ezra 2:25
  15. Nehemiah 7:43 Hodaviah, Ezra 2:40; or Judah, Ezra 3:9
  16. Nehemiah 7:47 Siaha, Ezra 2:44
  17. Nehemiah 7:48 MT Lebanah
  18. Nehemiah 7:48 MT Hogabah
  19. Nehemiah 7:48 Shalmai, Ezra 2:46; or Shamlai
  20. Nehemiah 7:52 Nephusim, Ezra 2:50
  21. Nehemiah 7:54 Bazluth, Ezra 2:52
  22. Nehemiah 7:57 Peruda, Ezra 2:55
  23. Nehemiah 7:59 Ami, Ezra 2:57
  24. Nehemiah 7:61 Addan, Ezra 2:59
  25. Nehemiah 7:63 Or Hakkoz
  26. Nehemiah 7:65 Heb. Tirshatha
  27. Nehemiah 7:70 Heb. Tirshatha

Weekend Reading (September 26)

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: This month we have another great verse to pick up and swing when you need a sword in your hand!

1 John 4:4

NKJV – “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
NAS – “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
ESV – “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
AMP – “Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind].”
NIV – “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Nehemiah 1-5 NKJV

Nehemiah Prays for His People

The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah.

It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan[a] the [b]citadel, that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.”

So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

And I said: “I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love [c]You and observe [d]Your commandments, please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father’s house and I have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses. Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you [e]are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.’ 10 Now these are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand. 11 O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”

For I was the king’s cupbearer.

Nehemiah Sent to Judah

And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King [f]Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. Therefore the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.”

So I became [g]dreadfully afraid, and said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?”

Then the king said to me, “What do you request?”

So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.”

Then the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him), “How long will your journey be? And when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.

Furthermore I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me for the governors of the region beyond [h]the River, that they must permit me to pass through till I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he must give me timber to make beams for the gates of the [i]citadel which pertains to the [j]temple, for the city wall, and for the house that I will occupy.” And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me.

Then I went to the governors in the region beyond the River, and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me. 10 When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite [k]official heard of it, they were deeply disturbed that a man had come to seek the well-being of the children of Israel.

Nehemiah Views the Wall of Jerusalem

11 So I came to Jerusalem and was there three days. 12 Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me; I told no one what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem; nor was there any animal with me, except the one on which I rode. 13 And I went out by night through the Valley Gate to the Serpent Well and the [l]Refuse Gate, and [m]viewed the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down and its gates which were burned with fire. 14 Then I went on to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, but there was no room for the animal under me to pass. 15 So I went up in the night by the valley,[n] and [o]viewed the wall; then I turned back and entered by the Valley Gate, and so returned. 16 And the officials did not know where I had gone or what I had done; I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, or the others who did the work.

17 Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies [p]waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.” 18 And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me.

So they said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set[q] their hands to this good work.

19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us, and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?”

20 So I answered them, and said to them, “The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem.”

Rebuilding the Wall

Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests and built the Sheep Gate; they consecrated it and hung its doors. They built as far as the Tower of [r]the Hundred, and consecrated it, then as far as the Tower of Hananel. [s]Next to Eliashib the men of Jericho built. And next to them Zaccur the son of Imri built.

Also the sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors with its bolts and bars. And next to them Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of [t]Koz, made repairs. Next to them Meshullam the son of Berechiah, the son of Meshezabel, made repairs. Next to them Zadok the son of Baana made repairs. Next to them the Tekoites made repairs; but their nobles did not put their [u]shoulders to the work of their Lord.

Moreover Jehoiada the son of Paseah and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah repaired the Old Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors, with its bolts and bars. And next to them Melatiah the Gibeonite, Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon and Mizpah, repaired the residence[v] of the governor of the region [w]beyond the River. Next to him Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs. Also next to him Hananiah, [x]one of the perfumers, made repairs; and they [y]fortified Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall. And next to them Rephaiah the son of Hur, leader of half the district of Jerusalem, made repairs. 10 Next to them Jedaiah the son of Harumaph made repairs in front of his house. And next to him Hattush the son of Hashabniah made repairs.

11 Malchijah the son of Harim and Hashub the son of Pahath-Moab repaired another section, as well as the Tower of the Ovens. 12 And next to him was Shallum the son of Hallohesh, leader of half the district of Jerusalem; he and his daughters made repairs.

13 Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah repaired the Valley Gate. They built it, hung its doors with its bolts and bars, and repaired a thousand cubits of the wall as far as the Refuse Gate.

14 Malchijah the son of Rechab, leader of the district of Beth Haccerem, repaired the Refuse Gate; he built it and hung its doors with its bolts and bars.

15 Shallun the son of Col-Hozeh, leader of the district of Mizpah, repaired the Fountain Gate; he built it, covered it, hung its doors with its bolts and bars, and repaired the wall of the Pool of Shelah[z] by the King’s Garden, as far as the stairs that go down from the City of David. 16 After him Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, leader of half the district of Beth Zur, made repairs as far as the place in front of the [aa]tombs of David, to the man-made pool, and as far as the House of the Mighty.

17 After him the Levites, under Rehum the son of Bani, made repairs. Next to him Hashabiah, leader of half the district of Keilah, made repairs for his district. 18 After him their brethren, under [ab]Bavai the son of Henadad, leader of the other half of the district of Keilah, made repairs. 19 And next to him Ezer the son of Jeshua, the leader of Mizpah, repaired another section in front of the Ascent to the Armory at the buttress.[ac] 20 After him Baruch the son of [ad]Zabbai carefully repaired the other section, from the [ae]buttress to the door of the house of Eliashib the high priest. 21 After him Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of [af]Koz, repaired another section, from the door of the house of Eliashib to the end of the house of Eliashib.

22 And after him the priests, the men of the plain, made repairs. 23 After him Benjamin and Hasshub made repairs opposite their house. After them Azariah the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ananiah, made repairs by his house. 24 After him Binnui the son of Henadad repaired another section, from the house of Azariah to the [ag]buttress, even as far as the corner. 25 Palal the son of Uzai made repairs opposite the [ah]buttress, and on the tower which projects from the king’s upper house that was by the court of the prison. After him Pedaiah the son of Parosh made repairs.

26 Moreover the Nethinim who dwelt in Ophel made repairs as far as the place in front of the Water Gate toward the east, and on the projecting tower. 27 After them the Tekoites repaired another section, next to the great projecting tower, and as far as the wall of Ophel.

28 Beyond the Horse Gate the priests made repairs, each in front of his own house. 29 After them Zadok the son of Immer made repairs in front of his own house. After him Shemaiah the son of Shechaniah, the keeper of the East Gate, made repairs. 30 After him Hananiah the son of Shelemiah, and Hanun, the sixth son of Zalaph, repaired another section. After him Meshullam the son of Berechiah made repairs in front of his [ai]dwelling. 31 After him Malchijah, [aj]one of the goldsmiths, made repairs as far as the house of the Nethinim and of the merchants, in front of the [ak]Miphkad Gate, and as far as the upper room at the corner. 32 And between the upper room at the corner, as far as the Sheep Gate, the goldsmiths and the merchants made repairs.

The Wall Defended Against Enemies

But it so happened, when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, that he was furious and very indignant, and mocked the Jews. And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they complete it in a day? Will they revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish—stones that are burned?”

Now Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, “Whatever they build, if even a fox goes up on it, he will break down their stone wall.”

Hear, O our God, for we are despised; turn their reproach on their own heads, and give them as plunder to a land of captivity! Do not cover their iniquity, and do not let their sin be blotted out from before You; for they have provoked You to anger before the builders.

So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.

Now it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the [al]gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion. Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night.

10 Then Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is failing, and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall.”

11 And our adversaries said, “They will neither know nor see anything, till we come into their midst and kill them and cause the work to cease.”

12 So it was, when the Jews who dwelt near them came, that they told us ten times, “From whatever place you turn, they will be upon us.”

13 Therefore I positioned men behind the lower parts of the wall, at the openings; and I set the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. 14 And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.”

15 And it happened, when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had brought their plot to nothing, that all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work. 16 So it was, from that time on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armor; and the leaders [am]were behind all the house of Judah. 17 Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon. 18 Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me.

19 Then I said to the nobles, the rulers, and the rest of the people, “The work is great and extensive, and we are separated far from one another on the wall. 20 Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”

21 So we labored in the work, and half of [an]the men held the spears from daybreak until the stars appeared. 22 At the same time I also said to the people, “Let each man and his servant stay at night in Jerusalem, that they may be our guard by night and a working party by day.” 23 So neither I, my brethren, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me took off our clothes, except that everyone took them off for washing.

Nehemiah Deals with Oppression

And there was a great outcry of the people and their wives against their Jewish brethren. For there were those who said, “We, our sons, and our daughters are many; therefore let us get grain, that we may eat and live.”

There were also some who said, “We have mortgaged our lands and vineyards and houses, that we might buy grain because of the famine.”

There were also those who said, “We have borrowed money for the king’s tax on our lands and vineyards. Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children; and indeed we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have been brought into slavery. It is not in our power to redeem them, for other men have our lands and vineyards.”

And I became very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers, and said to them, “Each of you is [ao]exacting usury from his brother.” So I [ap]called a great assembly against them. And I said to them, “According to our ability we have redeemed our Jewish brethren who were sold to the nations. Now indeed, will you even sell your brethren? Or should they be sold to us?”

Then they were silenced and found nothing to say. Then I said, “What you are doing is not good. Should you not walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the nations, our enemies? 10 I also, with my brethren and my servants, am lending them money and grain. Please, let us stop this [aq]usury! 11 Restore now to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, also a hundredth of the money and the grain, the new wine and the oil, that you have charged them.”

12 So they said, “We will restore it, and will require nothing from them; we will do as you say.”

Then I called the priests, and required an oath from them that they would do according to this promise. 13 Then I shook out [ar]the fold of my garment and said, “So may God shake out each man from his house, and from his property, who does not perform this promise. Even thus may he be shaken out and emptied.”

And all the assembly said, “Amen!” and praised the Lord. Then the people did according to this promise.

The Generosity of Nehemiah

14 Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year until the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes, twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the governor’s provisions. 15 But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people, and took from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people, but I did not do so, because of the fear of God. 16 Indeed, I also continued the work on this wall, and [as]we did not buy any land. All my servants were gathered there for the work.

17 And at my table were one hundred and fifty Jews and rulers, besides those who came to us from the nations around us. 18 Now that which was prepared daily was one ox and six choice sheep. Also fowl were prepared for me, and once every ten days an abundance of all kinds of wine. Yet in spite of this I did not demand the governor’s provisions, because the bondage was heavy on this people.

19 Remember me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.

Footnotes

  1. Nehemiah 1:1 Or Susa
  2. Nehemiah 1:1 Or fortified palace, and so elsewhere in the book
  3. Nehemiah 1:5 Lit. Him
  4. Nehemiah 1:5 Lit. His
  5. Nehemiah 1:8 act treacherously
  6. Nehemiah 2:1 Artaxerxes Longimanus
  7. Nehemiah 2:2 Lit. very much
  8. Nehemiah 2:7 The Euphrates
  9. Nehemiah 2:8 palace
  10. Nehemiah 2:8 Lit. house
  11. Nehemiah 2:10 Lit. servant
  12. Nehemiah 2:13 Dung
  13. Nehemiah 2:13 examined
  14. Nehemiah 2:15 torrent valley, wadi
  15. Nehemiah 2:15 examined
  16. Nehemiah 2:17 desolate
  17. Nehemiah 2:18 Lit. strengthened
  18. Nehemiah 3:1 Heb. Hammeah
  19. Nehemiah 3:2 Lit. On his hand
  20. Nehemiah 3:4 Or Hakkoz
  21. Nehemiah 3:5 Lit. necks
  22. Nehemiah 3:7 Lit. throne
  23. Nehemiah 3:7 West of the Euphrates
  24. Nehemiah 3:8 Lit. the son
  25. Nehemiah 3:8 restored
  26. Nehemiah 3:15 Or Shiloah
  27. Nehemiah 3:16 LXX, Syr., Vg. tomb
  28. Nehemiah 3:18 So with MT, Vg.; some Heb. mss., LXX, Syr. Binnui (cf. v. 24)
  29. Nehemiah 3:19 Lit. turning
  30. Nehemiah 3:20 A few Heb. mss., Syr., Vg. Zaccai
  31. Nehemiah 3:20 Lit. turning
  32. Nehemiah 3:21 Or Hakkoz
  33. Nehemiah 3:24 Lit. turning
  34. Nehemiah 3:25 Lit. turning
  35. Nehemiah 3:30 Lit. room
  36. Nehemiah 3:31 Lit. a son of the goldsmiths
  37. Nehemiah 3:31 Lit. Inspection or Recruiting
  38. Nehemiah 4:7 Lit. breaks
  39. Nehemiah 4:16 Supported
  40. Nehemiah 4:21 Lit. them
  41. Nehemiah 5:7 charging interest
  42. Nehemiah 5:7 Lit. held
  43. Nehemiah 5:10 interest
  44. Nehemiah 5:13 Lit. my lap
  45. Nehemiah 5:16 So with MT; LXX, Syr., Vg. I

Weekend Reading (September 25)

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: This month we have another great verse to pick up and swing when you need a sword in your hand!

1 John 4:4

NKJV – “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
NAS – “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
ESV – “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
AMP – “Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind].”
NIV – “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Ezra 7-10 NKJV

The Arrival of Ezra

Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, the son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub, the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth, the son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki, the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest— this Ezra came up from Babylon; and he was a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given. The king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him. Some of the children of Israel, the priests, the Levites, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the Nethinim came up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. On the first day of the first month he began his journey from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him. 10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek[a] the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.

The Letter of Artaxerxes to Ezra

11 This is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave Ezra the priest, the scribe, expert in the words of the commandments of the Lord, and of His statutes to Israel:

12 [b]Artaxerxes, king of kings,

To Ezra the priest, a scribe of the Law of the God of heaven:

Perfect peace, and[c] so forth.

13 I issue a decree that all those of the people of Israel and the priests and Levites in my realm, who volunteer to go up to Jerusalem, may go with you. 14 And whereas you are being sent [d]by the king and his seven counselors to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, with regard to the Law of your God which is in your hand; 15 and whereas you are to carry the silver and gold which the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem; 16 and whereas all the silver and gold that you may find in all the province of Babylon, along with the freewill offering of the people and the priests, are to be freely offered for the [e]house of their God in Jerusalem— 17 now therefore, be careful to buy with this money bulls, rams, and lambs, with their grain offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them on the altar of the house of your God in Jerusalem.

18 And whatever seems good to you and your brethren to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, do it according to the will of your God. 19 Also the articles that are given to you for the service of the house of your God, deliver in full before the God of Jerusalem. 20 And whatever more may be needed for the house of your God, which you may have occasion to provide, pay for it from the king’s treasury.

21 And I, even I, Artaxerxes the king, issue a decree to all the treasurers who are in the region beyond the River, that whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, may require of you, let it be done diligently, 22 up to one hundred talents of silver, one hundred kors of wheat, one hundred baths of wine, one hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribed limit. 23 Whatever [f]is commanded by the God of heaven, let it diligently be done for the [g]house of the God of heaven. For why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?

24 Also we inform you that it shall not be lawful to impose tax, tribute, or custom on any of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, Nethinim, or servants of this house of God. 25 And you, Ezra, according to your God-given wisdom, set magistrates and judges who may judge all the people who are in the region beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God; and teach those who do not know them. 26 Whoever will not observe the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily on him, whether it be death, or [h]banishment, or confiscation of goods, or imprisonment.

27 Blessed[i] be the Lord God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem, 28 and has extended mercy to me before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty princes.

So I was encouraged, as the hand of the Lord my God was upon me; and I gathered leading men of Israel to go up with me.

Heads of Families Who Returned with Ezra

These are the heads of their fathers’ houses, and this is the genealogy of those who went up with me from Babylon, in the reign of King Artaxerxes: of the sons of Phinehas, Gershom; of the sons of Ithamar, Daniel; of the sons of David, Hattush; of the sons of Shecaniah, of the sons of Parosh, Zechariah; and registered with him were one hundred and fifty males; of the sons of Pahath-Moab, Eliehoenai the son of Zerahiah, and with him two hundred males; of [j]the sons of Shechaniah, Ben-Jahaziel, and with him three hundred males; of the sons of Adin, Ebed the son of Jonathan, and with him fifty males; of the sons of Elam, Jeshaiah the son of Athaliah, and with him seventy males; of the sons of Shephatiah, Zebadiah the son of Michael, and with him eighty males; of the sons of Joab, Obadiah the son of Jehiel, and with him two hundred and eighteen males; 10 of [k]the sons of Shelomith, Ben-Josiphiah, and with him one hundred and sixty males; 11 of the sons of Bebai, Zechariah the son of Bebai, and with him twenty-eight males; 12 of the sons of Azgad, Johanan [l]the son of Hakkatan, and with him one hundred and ten males; 13 of the last sons of Adonikam, whose names are these—Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shemaiah—and with them sixty males; 14 also of the sons of Bigvai, Uthai and [m]Zabbud, and with them seventy males.

Servants for the Temple

15 Now I gathered them by the river that flows to Ahava, and we camped there three days. And I looked among the people and the priests, and found none of the sons of Levi there. 16 Then I sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, leaders; also for Joiarib and Elnathan, men of understanding. 17 And I gave them a command for Iddo the chief man at the place Casiphia, and [n]I told them what they should say to [o]Iddo and his brethren the Nethinim at the place Casiphia—that they should bring us servants for the house of our God. 18 Then, by the good hand of our God upon us, they brought us a man of understanding, of the sons of Mahli the son of Levi, the son of Israel, namely Sherebiah, with his sons and brothers, eighteen men; 19 and Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, his brothers and their sons, twenty men; 20 also of the Nethinim, whom David and the leaders had appointed for the service of the Levites, two hundred and twenty Nethinim. All of them were designated by name.

Fasting and Prayer for Protection

21 Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions. 22 For I was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the road, because we had spoken to the king, saying, “The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him.” 23 So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer.

Gifts for the Temple

24 And I separated twelve of the leaders of the priests—Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brethren with them— 25 and weighed out to them the silver, the gold, and the articles, the offering for the house of our God which the king and his counselors and his princes, and all Israel who were present, had offered. 26 I weighed into their hand six hundred and fifty talents of silver, silver articles weighing one hundred talents, one hundred talents of gold, 27 twenty gold basins worth a thousand drachmas, and two vessels of fine polished bronze, precious as gold. 28 And I said to them, “You are holy[p] to the Lord; the articles are holy also; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering to the Lord God of your fathers. 29 Watch and keep them until you weigh them before the leaders of the priests and the Levites and heads of the fathers’ houses of Israel in Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of the Lord.” 30 So the priests and the Levites received the silver and the gold and the articles by weight, to bring them to Jerusalem to the house of our God.

The Return to Jerusalem

31 Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem. And the hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambush along the road. 32 So we came to Jerusalem, and stayed there three days.

33 Now on the fourth day the silver and the gold and the articles were weighed in the house of our God by the hand of Meremoth the son of Uriah the priest, and with him was Eleazar the son of Phinehas; with them were the Levites, Jozabad the son of Jeshua and Noadiah the son of Binnui, 34 with the number and weight of everything. All the weight was written down at that time.

35 The children of those who had been carried away captive, who had come from the captivity, offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel: twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven lambs, and twelve male goats as a sin offering. All this was a burnt offering to the Lord.

36 And they delivered the king’s orders to the king’s satraps and the governors in the region beyond [q]the River. So they gave support to the people and the [r]house of God.

Intermarriage with Pagans

When these things were done, the leaders came to me, saying, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, with respect to the abominations of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, so that the holy seed is mixed with the peoples of those lands. Indeed, the hand of the leaders and rulers has been foremost in this [s]trespass.” So when I heard this thing, I tore my garment and my robe, and plucked out some of the hair of my head and beard, and sat down astonished. Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel assembled to me, because of the transgression of those who had been carried away captive, and I sat astonished until the evening sacrifice.

At the evening sacrifice I arose from my fasting; and having torn my garment and my robe, I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God. And I said: “O my God, I am too ashamed and humiliated to lift up my face to You, my God; for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has grown up to the heavens. Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been very guilty, and for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plunder, and to humiliation,[t] as it is this day. And now for a little while grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage. For we were slaves. Yet our God did not forsake us in our bondage; but He extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to revive us, to repair the house of our God, to rebuild its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem. 10 And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken Your commandments, 11 which You commanded by Your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land which you are entering to possess is an unclean land, with the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations which have filled it from one end to another with their impurity. 12 Now therefore, do not give your daughters as wives for their sons, nor take their daughters to your sons; and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land, and leave it as an inheritance to your children forever.’ 13 And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, since You our God have punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and have given us such deliverance as this, 14 should we again break Your commandments, and join in marriage with the people committing these abominations? Would You not be angry with us until You had [u]consumed us, so that there would be no remnant or survivor? 15 O Lord God of Israel, You are righteous, for we are left as a remnant, as it is this day. Here we are before You, in our guilt, though no one can stand before You because of this!”

Confession of Improper Marriages

10 Now while Ezra was praying, and while he was confessing, weeping, and bowing down before the house of God, a very large assembly of men, women, and children gathered to him from Israel; for the people wept very bitterly. And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, spoke up and said to Ezra, “We have trespassed[v] against our God, and have taken pagan wives from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope in Israel in spite of this. Now therefore, let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and those who have been born to them, according to the advice of my master and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law. Arise, for this matter is your responsibility. We also are with you. Be of good courage, and do it.

Then Ezra arose, and made the leaders of the priests, the Levites, and all Israel swear an oath that they would do according to this word. So they swore an oath. Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib; and when he came there, he ate no bread and drank no water, for he mourned because of the guilt of those from the captivity.

And they issued a proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the descendants of the captivity, that they must gather at Jerusalem, and that whoever would not come within three days, according to the instructions of the leaders and elders, all his property would be confiscated, and he himself would be separated from the assembly of those from the captivity.

So all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered at Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth of the month; and all the people sat in the open square of the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of heavy rain. 10 Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have [w]transgressed and [x]have taken pagan wives, adding to the guilt of Israel. 11 Now therefore, make confession to the Lord God of your fathers, and do His will; separate yourselves from the peoples of the land, and from the pagan wives.”

12 Then all the assembly answered and said with a loud voice, “Yes! As you have said, so we must do. 13 But there are many people; it is the season for heavy rain, and we are not able to stand outside. Nor is this the work of one or two days, for there are many of us who have transgressed in this matter. 14 Please, let the leaders of our entire assembly stand; and let all those in our cities who have taken pagan wives come at appointed times, together with the elders and judges of their cities, until the fierce wrath of our God is turned away from us in this matter.” 15 Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahaziah the son of Tikvah opposed this, and Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite gave them support.

16 Then the descendants of the captivity did so. And Ezra the priest, with certain heads of the fathers’ households, were set apart by the fathers’ households, each of them by name; and they sat down on the first day of the tenth month to examine the matter. 17 By the first day of the first month they finished questioning all the men who had taken pagan wives.

Pagan Wives Put Away

18 And among the sons of the priests who had taken pagan wives the following were found of the sons of Jeshua the son of [y]Jozadak, and his brothers: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah. 19 And they gave their promise that they would put away their wives; and being guilty, they presented a ram of the flock as their trespass offering.

20 Also of the sons of Immer: Hanani and Zebadiah; 21 of the sons of Harim: Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel, and Uzziah; 22 of the sons of Pashhur: Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad, and Elasah.

23 Also of the Levites: Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah (the same is Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer.

24 Also of the singers: Eliashib; and of the gatekeepers: Shallum, Telem, and Uri.

25 And others of Israel: of the sons of Parosh: Ramiah, Jeziah, Malchiah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Malchijah, and Benaiah; 26 of the sons of Elam: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth, and Eliah; 27 of the sons of Zattu: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad, and Aziza; 28 of the sons of Bebai: Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai; 29 of the sons of Bani: Meshullam, Malluch, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal, and [z]Ramoth; 30 of the sons of Pahath-Moab: Adna, Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui, and Manasseh; 31 of the sons of Harim: Eliezer, Ishijah, Malchijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon, 32 Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah; 33 of the sons of Hashum: Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, and Shimei; 34 of the sons of Bani: Maadai, Amram, Uel, 35 Benaiah, Bedeiah, [aa]Cheluh, 36 Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37 Mattaniah, Mattenai, [ab]Jaasai, 38 Bani, Binnui, Shimei, 39 Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah, 40 Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, 41 Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42 Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph; 43 of the sons of Nebo: Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, [ac]Jaddai, Joel, and Benaiah.

44 All these had taken pagan wives, and some of them had wives by whom they had children.

Footnotes

  1. Ezra 7:10 Study
  2. Ezra 7:12 The original language of Ezra 7:12–26 is Aramaic.
  3. Ezra 7:12 Lit. and now
  4. Ezra 7:14 from before
  5. Ezra 7:16 Temple
  6. Ezra 7:23 Lit. is from the decree
  7. Ezra 7:23 Temple
  8. Ezra 7:26 Lit. rooting out
  9. Ezra 7:27 The Hebrew language resumes in Ezra 7:27.
  10. Ezra 8:5 So with MT, Vg.; LXX the sons of Zatho, Shechaniah
  11. Ezra 8:10 So with MT, Vg.; LXX the sons of Banni, Shelomith
  12. Ezra 8:12 Or the youngest son,
  13. Ezra 8:14 Or Zakkur
  14. Ezra 8:17 Lit. I put words in their mouths to say
  15. Ezra 8:17 So with Vg.; MT to Iddo his brother; LXX to their brethren
  16. Ezra 8:28 consecrated
  17. Ezra 8:36 The Euphrates
  18. Ezra 8:36 Temple
  19. Ezra 9:2 unfaithfulness
  20. Ezra 9:7 Lit. shame of faces
  21. Ezra 9:14 destroyed
  22. Ezra 10:2 been unfaithful to
  23. Ezra 10:10 acted unfaithfully
  24. Ezra 10:10 Heb. have caused to dwell or have brought back
  25. Ezra 10:18 Jehozadak, 1 Chr. 6:14
  26. Ezra 10:29 Or Jeremoth
  27. Ezra 10:35 Or Cheluhi or Cheluhu
  28. Ezra 10:37 Or Jaasu
  29. Ezra 10:43 Or Jaddu

Esther and a Time Like This (part 2)

“Now Esther spoke again to the king, fell down at his feet, and implored him with tears to counteract the evil of Haman the Agagite, and the scheme which he had devised against the Jews.” Esther 8:3 NKJV

I feel like Esther, do you? I often fall at the feet of Christ and implore Him to intercede! I cry out to God in tears to counteract the evil schemes! So let’s shift this lesson into a slight abstraction.

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is from the book of Esther, chapters 6-10 (embedded below the image below for your convenience). Today the book takes a shift Mordechai begins to rise to power and Haman falls. Today I take a shift – from this physical world to the spirit.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 NKJV

First we acknowledge that we live in perilous times on a global scale. Our minds are under a World War III level attack.  So let us take a deep breath and let God transform us as we do not conform, we do not bow, we do not submit to anything but God. Let God renew our minds.  I know I need it – do you? My flesh is weary. Oh wait, I am not supposed to be in the flesh…

“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16 NKJV

Ok – let us jump into the spirit. Esther was facing perilous times. So are we – God gave us this map in the spirit to follow. As we saw yesterday we should fast and pray. And then in today’s reading God opens supernatural doors for us. He is working – always working – even when we do not see him working.  God is good!!! There is no such thing as a coincidence because God loves the process, He loves our involvement and He loves the long play.

The Agagites – these are the people Saul was told to completely destroy. Samuel came to see Saul after the battle and hears sheep as he speaks to Saul. Samuel says did you obey God and destroy every last one and their animals. And Saul said yes – and Samuel says why do I hear sheep? And Saul says we took all of the best animals and people alive… and generation past and here is their heir trying a genocide.  See why God told them to destroy them. But Saul’s disobedience gives us all the beautiful lessons and poetry in this book.

Now, let us think of our own lives – what was the past sin, evil, or Agagite that we were told to cut off? Obviously, as we look at the state of the world today and each of our 48 nations represented here in this blog, there are quite a few we have been complacent or apathetic to, and even more that our ancestors participated in. A door was left open – this is how we landed in the position we are in.

Not that Haman, in our story, didn’t cheat, steal and lie to get into power – and not that our oppressors did not cheat, steal and lie to get into power.  Look at the Canadian election this week: seems reminiscent of the USA elections, doesn’t it?  Same software?! Same tactics as seen the week before in California?  The world is waking up a little by a little – those of us who are awake should be yelling to stir the heart of the sleepers!

“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” Romans 13:11 NKJV

Let me try another analogy – let’s say you are a huge Team A fan of some sport. The final game was Monday Night, but you and your friends needed to work and you agreed to be careful to not get spoilers and watch it together the next night.  But, you accidently cause a spoiler during the day and learned your team won. 
You join your friends and you are careful not to tell them what you know. You let the game play out. Your team’s best player gets hurt and has to sit out the game. You don’t worry, you know you win. The other team scores more points in the first half – you still have peace, you know you are going to win.
I could go on, but I think you get the point. Get out of the flesh and into the spirit – our team wins.

God loves the process and has planned out a spectacular story to show His genuine love for us and inspire us to fall in love with Him. He wants us to participate – but not under panic and fear of death.  Yes, we should be moved to tears – laying at His feet begging for His help. (Who else can help us?!)

God has a couple options – If we repent then He will heal our land but if we don’t…. oh Lord help us if we don’t. Lord help us to learn from Esther!

It is not too late to slay the Agagite in your life – it is not too late to separate from sin – it is not too late to stop this madness. The world is in bad shape – very bad. I am not going to sugar coat it. It looks hopeless! But God has a plan for those who have a relationship with Him and can even turn the tides on a global scale.  We must take immediate action!

ONE. Repent and get humble!

TWO. Read, fast, pray, worship and spend time building your relationship with God and seek His Kingdom!

THREE. Tell everyone – tell others how bad it is and that they need a relationship with God!

That is what you must do if you have a relationship – and if you don’t you ought to get that figured out because if you are not with Him, then you are against Him and He made a hell for the devil and enemy – and if you choose to be God’s enemy you will go there too. And it won’t be a party – it will be a terrible place.

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: This month we have another great verse to pick up and swing when you need a sword in your hand!

1 John 4:4 NKJV – “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
NAS – “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
ESV – “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
AMP – “Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind].”
NIV – “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Esther 6-10  NKJV

The King Honors Mordecai

That night [a]the king could not sleep. So one was commanded to bring the book of the records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king. And it was found written that Mordecai had told of [b]Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, the doorkeepers who had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. Then the king said, “What honor or dignity has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?”

And the king’s servants who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.”

So the king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the king’s palace to suggest that the king hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him.

The king’s servants said to him, “Haman is there, standing in the court.”

And the king said, “Let him come in.”

So Haman came in, and the king asked him, “What shall be done for the man whom the king delights to honor?”

Now Haman thought in his heart, “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?” And Haman answered the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor, let a royal robe be brought which the king has worn, and a horse on which the king has ridden, which has a royal [c]crest placed on its head. Then let this robe and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that he may array the man whom the king delights to honor. Then [d]parade him on horseback through the city square, and proclaim before him: ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!’ ”

10 Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry, take the robe and the horse, as you have suggested, and do so for Mordecai the Jew who sits within the king’s gate! Leave nothing undone of all that you have spoken.”

11 So Haman took the robe and the horse, arrayed Mordecai and led him on horseback through the city square, and proclaimed before him, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!”

12 Afterward Mordecai went back to the king’s gate. But Haman hurried to his house, mourning and with his head covered. 13 When Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him, his wise men and his wife Zeresh said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him.”

14 While they were still talking with him, the king’s eunuchs came, and hastened to bring Haman to the banquet which Esther had prepared.

Haman Hanged Instead of Mordecai

So the king and Haman went to dine with Queen Esther. And on the second day, at the banquet of wine, the king again said to Esther, “What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request, up to half the kingdom? It shall be done!”

Then Queen Esther answered and said, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request. For we have been sold, my people and I, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. Had we been sold as male and female slaves, I would have held my tongue, although the enemy could never compensate for the king’s loss.”

So King Ahasuerus answered and said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who would dare presume in his heart to do such a thing?”

And Esther said, “The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman!”

So Haman was terrified before the king and queen.

Then the king arose in his wrath from the banquet of wine and went into the palace garden; but Haman stood before Queen Esther, pleading for his life, for he saw that evil was determined against him by the king. When the king returned from the palace garden to the place of the banquet of wine, Haman had fallen across the couch where Esther was. Then the king said, “Will he also assault the queen while I am in the house?”

As the word left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. Now Harbonah, one of the eunuchs, said to the king, “Look! The [e]gallows, fifty cubits high, which Haman made for Mordecai, who spoke good on the king’s behalf, is standing at the house of Haman.”

Then the king said, “Hang him on it!”

10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the king’s wrath subsided.

Esther Saves the Jews

On that day King Ahasuerus gave Queen Esther the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told how he was related to her. So the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai; and Esther appointed Mordecai over the house of Haman.

Now Esther spoke again to the king, fell down at his feet, and implored him with tears to counteract the evil of Haman the Agagite, and the scheme which he had devised against the Jews. And the king held out the golden scepter toward Esther. So Esther arose and stood before the king, and said, “If it pleases the king, and if I have found favor in his sight and the thing seems right to the king and I am pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to annihilate the Jews who are in all the king’s provinces. For how can I endure to see the evil that will come to my people? Or how can I endure to see the destruction of my countrymen?”

Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and Mordecai the Jew, “Indeed, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows because he tried to lay his hand on the Jews. You yourselves write a decree concerning the Jews, [f]as you please, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s signet ring; for whatever is written in the king’s name and sealed with the king’s signet ring no one can revoke.”

So the king’s scribes were called at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan, on the twenty-third day; and it was written, according to all that Mordecai commanded, to the Jews, the satraps, the governors, and the princes of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, one hundred and twenty-seven provinces in all, to every province in its own script, to every people in their own language, and to the Jews in their own script and language. 10 And he wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus, sealed it with the king’s signet ring, and sent letters by couriers on horseback, riding on royal horses [g]bred from swift steeds.

11 By these letters the king permitted the Jews who were in every city to gather together and protect their lives—to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the forces of any people or province that would assault them, both little children and women, and to plunder their possessions, 12 on one day in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of [h]Adar. 13 A copy of the document was to be issued as a decree in every province and published for all people, so that the Jews would be ready on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies. 14 The couriers who rode on royal horses went out, hastened and pressed on by the king’s command. And the decree was issued in [i]Shushan the [j]citadel.

15 So Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of [k]blue and white, with a great crown of gold and a garment of fine linen and purple; and the city of [l]Shushan rejoiced and was glad. 16 The Jews had light and gladness, joy and honor. 17 And in every province and city, wherever the king’s command and decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a holiday. Then many of the people of the land became Jews, because fear of the Jews fell upon them.

The Jews Destroy Their Tormentors

Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day, the time came for the king’s command and his decree to be executed. On the day that the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, the opposite occurred, in that the Jews themselves overpowered those who hated them. The Jews gathered together in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to lay hands on those who sought their harm. And no one could withstand them, because fear of them fell upon all people. And all the officials of the provinces, the satraps, the governors, and all those doing the king’s work, helped the Jews, because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them. For Mordecai was great in the king’s palace, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces; for this man Mordecai became increasingly prominent. Thus the Jews defeated all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, with slaughter and destruction, and did what they pleased with those who hated them.

And in Shushan[m] the [n]citadel the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men. Also Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vajezatha— 10 the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews—they killed; but they did not lay a hand on the [o]plunder.

11 On that day the number of those who were killed in [p]Shushan the [q]citadel [r]was brought to the king. 12 And the king said to Queen Esther, “The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the citadel, and the ten sons of Haman. What have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? Now what is your petition? It shall be granted to you. Or what is your further request? It shall be done.”

13 Then Esther said, “If it pleases the king, let it be granted to the Jews who are in Shushan to do again tomorrow according to today’s decree, and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged on the gallows.”

14 So the king commanded this to be done; the decree was issued in Shushan, and they hanged Haman’s ten sons.

15 And the Jews who were in [s]Shushan gathered together again on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar and killed three hundred men at Shushan; but they did not lay a hand on the plunder.

16 The remainder of the Jews in the king’s provinces gathered together and protected their lives, had rest from their enemies, and killed seventy-five thousand of their enemies; but they did not lay a hand on the plunder. 17 This was on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar. And on the fourteenth of [t]the month they rested and made it a day of feasting and gladness.

The Feast of Purim

18 But the Jews who were at [u]Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day, as well as on the fourteenth; and on the fifteenth of [v]the month they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness. 19 Therefore the Jews of the villages who dwelt in the unwalled towns celebrated the fourteenth day of the month of Adar with gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and for sending presents to one another.

20 And Mordecai wrote these things and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, 21 to establish among them that they should celebrate yearly the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar, 22 as the days on which the Jews had rest from their enemies, as the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor. 23 So the Jews accepted the custom which they had begun, as Mordecai had written to them, 24 because Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to annihilate them, and had cast Pur (that is, the lot), to consume them and destroy them; 25 but when [w]Esther came before the king, he commanded by letter that [x]this wicked plot which Haman had devised against the Jews should return on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.

26 So they called these days Purim, after the name [y]Pur. Therefore, because of all the words of this letter, what they had seen concerning this matter, and what had happened to them, 27 the Jews established and imposed it upon themselves and their descendants and all who would join them, that without fail they should celebrate these two days every year, according to the written instructions and according to the prescribed time, 28 that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city, that these days of Purim should not fail to be observed among the Jews, and that the memory of them should not perish among their descendants.

29 Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter about Purim. 30 And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews, to the one hundred and twenty-seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth, 31 to confirm these days of Purim at their appointed time, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had prescribed for them, and as they had decreed for themselves and their descendants concerning matters of their fasting and lamenting. 32 So the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim, and it was written in the book.

Mordecai’s Advancement

10 And King Ahasuerus imposed tribute on the land and on the islands of the sea. Now all the acts of his power and his might, and the account of the greatness of Mordecai, to which the king [z]advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia? For Mordecai the Jew was second to King Ahasuerus, and was great among the Jews and well received by the multitude of his brethren, seeking the good of his people and speaking peace to all his [aa]countrymen.

Footnotes

  1. Esther 6:1 Lit. the king’s sleep fled away
  2. Esther 6:2 Bigthan, Esth. 2:21
  3. Esther 6:8 crown
  4. Esther 6:9 Lit. cause him to ride
  5. Esther 7:9 Lit. tree or wood
  6. Esther 8:8 Lit. as is good in your eyes
  7. Esther 8:10 Lit. sons of the swift horses
  8. Esther 8:12 LXX adds the text of the letter here
  9. Esther 8:14 Or Susa
  10. Esther 8:14 palace
  11. Esther 8:15 violet
  12. Esther 8:15 Or Susa
  13. Esther 9:6 Or Susa
  14. Esther 9:6 palace
  15. Esther 9:10 spoil
  16. Esther 9:11 Or Susa
  17. Esther 9:11 palace
  18. Esther 9:11 Lit. came
  19. Esther 9:15 Or Susa
  20. Esther 9:17 Lit. it
  21. Esther 9:18 Or Susa
  22. Esther 9:18 Lit. it
  23. Esther 9:25 Lit. she or it
  24. Esther 9:25 Lit. his
  25. Esther 9:26 Lit. Lot
  26. Esther 10:2 Lit. made him great
  27. Esther 10:3 Lit. seed. LXX, Vg. add a dream of Mordecai here; Vg. adds six more chapters

Esther and a Time Like This (part 1)

“And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:13-14 NKJV

Yes – God’s sovereignty! Although God is never mentioned (and neither is the word prayer) His planning, timing and purpose are all over this story and these Jews (who were not even obedient Jews – until things got scary then they call upon God).  God uses whoever He wants to use. So chose to be a willing vessel.  And of course God made us for a time such as this! We can handle it, we were made for it – and we are equipped for it.

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is from the book of Esther, chapters 1-5 (embedded below the image below for your convenience). Besides fitting in our chronological Bible reading here – let me tell you a bit more about when this story fits into history.

We remember Babylon and Daniel there and when Babylon fell to the Persians – and Daniel was then working for King Darius and the lion’s den happened and all of that? Yes we remember? It was last week.  So Daniel grew old and passed away – King Darius attacked Greece, failed and then a few years later passed away. His son King Xerxes took over.

This king went back after the Greeks, after dealing with a few minor uprisings.  The story of the 300 Spartan fighting the massive army of Persia played out – historians believe Xerxes army was much smaller than historically stated and there is proof that Greeks, Thespians, and other surrounding people all helped at the historic battle so there were more than 300.

Any way the Persian eventually go home after a few more conquests.  King Xerxes has something to prove now – He has been king for 3 years and a lot happened – yet they have nothing to show for it and He needs to show His people He is a successful king.  So he throws himself a heck of a party that lasts 6 months and in the end he divorced His wife in a drunken fit and finds himself alone and depressed. The same advisers who advised him to divorce his wife now tell him to have a beauty pageant to pick the next queen. And that gives us what happened before through the events of chapter one and a couple verses of chapter 2 – but read it for yourself!

So – let’s get back to that famous verse from Esther. I usually avoid giving commentary of such commonly used verses. However, China is occupying our old military base in Afghanistan, And the US has refused promised help to Israel.  Will God permit the US to withhold help without judgment? You think it is a coincidence China secured a key base location the same day and the stories both broke within minutes of each other.

The other night in prayer – I felt the Lord say my people did not repent.  Even in Esther they waited until their lives were at risk failing to see that their lives were always at risk! Repent in order that our land will be saved – it might be too late – BUT COME ON PEOPLE LET’S TRY ANYWAY!!!

It is time to prepare – unless God changes something we are on a course of destruction.  Millions will be without jobs! The markets will crash (China’s already has and their only hope of getting out is a military action).  What will our nations look like with a shortage of doctors, nurses, first responders, etc. In the United States there is already a shortage of school bus drivers and the military has stepped in to drive the children.  But people think it is just a staffing shortage. It is not.

Open our eyes Lord to see the spirit world. Let us understand the chaos that is about to overrun us.  Is it too late for civil disobedience and “let’s do something”? It is great idea in the flesh, but we battle NOT against flesh.  Look past it. Can we stop the birth pangs of the prophesies of this time?

We are under grace – but this grace is dwindling and if you do not have the faith to back it, will you remain?  Tough questions – be we really need to ask ourselves these things.

I offered my testimony to the Religious Liberty Collision – they are working with people who are losing their jobs now.  I look back at my job loss and it is not inaccurate to say that one of the many reasons it happened in the complexity and chaos of it all was because I could not serve 2 masters – God and Governor Cuomo. I have no steady income, and a baby business (only a few months old) and faith in God. Last week, I did not earn enough money. I look around to see what in my house I can sell.  I have sold most of it over the years and there isn’t much left. But what I do have – I have GOD. I do have a business. I do have His blessings immaterially on my life. I do have His anointing. I have grace. I have power through Him. I have God.  And I know my God – I know in whom I serve and He is able!! I am persuaded He is able – and even if He doesn’t I will praise Him.
Now is not the time to be a gummy bear watered down Christian! New Christian are just learning and give it all to him and ask for understanding – He loves you enough to send it to you!! But those who have been here awhile better tighten up the ropes – get your hose in order! It is about to go down!!!

What can we do?

Thank you for asking! I have a great answer!

“When Mordecai learned all that had happened, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city. He cried out with a loud and bitter cry.  He went as far as the front of the king’s gate, for no one might enter the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. And in every province where the king’s command and decree arrived, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.” Est. 4:1-3

FIRST – REPENT – Mordecai ripped his clothes and put on sackcloth (humility) and fasted (repented).

SECOND – Cry out to God, like Mordecai did!!! Only God can save us. Work on your relationship with Him. Get in close enough to know that you know you hear from Him.

THIRD – Tell others like Mordecai did! Tell everyone! Get everyone on board – maybe God will save us? If not they need to know!  We need to be planting seeds – telling other they need to be saved. If you or they are on the fence – let me challenge you this day to choose a side – because luke warm Christians will be spit out! Warn your friends and family. Ask God to open doors for you to tell people at the store and gas station. Tell them how to have their own relationship with God through Christ Jesus!! If you need help, then let me give you a tool you can pull up on your phone app to help you explain it to people. Just pop open this blog and it is a pinned post and it is also in every single post every single day:

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: This month we have another great verse to pick up and swing when you need a sword in your hand!

1 John 4:4 NKJV – “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
NAS – “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
ESV – “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
AMP – “Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind].”
NIV – “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Esther 1-5  NKJV

The King Dethrones Queen Vashti

Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus[a] (this was the Ahasuerus who reigned over one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, from India to Ethiopia), in those days when King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan[b] the [c]citadel, that in the third year of his reign he made a feast for all his officials and servants—the powers of Persia and Media, the nobles, and the princes of the provinces being before him— when he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the splendor of his excellent majesty for many days, one hundred and eighty days in all.

And when these days were completed, the king made a feast lasting seven days for all the people who were present in [d]Shushan the [e]citadel, from great to small, in the court of the garden of the king’s palace. There were white and blue linen curtains fastened with cords of fine linen and purple on silver rods and marble pillars; and the couches were of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of alabaster, turquoise, and white and black marble. And they served drinks in golden vessels, each vessel being different from the other, with royal wine in abundance, according to the [f]generosity of the king. In accordance with the law, the drinking was not compulsory; for so the king had ordered all the officers of his household, that they should do according to each man’s pleasure.

Queen Vashti also made a feast for the women in the royal palace which belonged to King Ahasuerus.

10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, 11 to bring Queen Vashti before the king, wearing her royal crown, in order to show her beauty to the people and the officials, for she was beautiful to behold. 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command brought by his eunuchs; therefore the king was furious, and his anger burned within him.

13 Then the king said to the wise men who understood the times (for this was the king’s manner toward all who knew law and justice, 14 those closest to him being Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, who had access to the king’s presence, and who [g]ranked highest in the kingdom): 15 “What shall we do to Queen Vashti, according to law, because she did not obey the command of King Ahasuerus brought to her by the eunuchs?”

16 And Memucan answered before the king and the princes: “Queen Vashti has not only wronged the king, but also all the princes, and all the people who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. 17 For the queen’s behavior will become known to all women, so that they will despise their husbands in their eyes, when they report, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought in before him, but she did not come.’ 18 This very day the noble ladies of Persia and Media will say to all the king’s officials that they have heard of the behavior of the queen. Thus there will be excessive contempt and wrath. 19 If it pleases the king, let a royal [h]decree go out from him, and let it be recorded in the laws of the Persians and the Medes, so that it will not [i]be altered, that Vashti shall come no more before King Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she. 20 When the king’s decree which he will make is proclaimed throughout all his empire (for it is great), all wives will honor their husbands, both great and small.”

21 And the reply pleased the king and the princes, and the king did according to the word of Memucan. 22 Then he sent letters to all the king’s provinces, to each province in its own script, and to every people in their own language, that each man should be master in his own house, and speak in the language of his own people.

Esther Becomes Queen

After these things, when the wrath of King Ahasuerus subsided, he remembered Vashti, what she had done, and what had been decreed against her. Then the king’s servants who attended him said: “Let beautiful young virgins be sought for the king; and let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather all the beautiful young virgins to [j]Shushan the [k]citadel, into the women’s quarters, under the custody of [l]Hegai the king’s eunuch, custodian of the women. And let beauty preparations be given them. Then let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.”

This thing pleased the king, and he did so.

In [m]Shushan the [n]citadel there was a certain Jew whose name was Mordecai the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite. Kish[o] had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captives who had been captured with [p]Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away. And Mordecai had brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman was lovely and beautiful. When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.

So it was, when the king’s command and decree were heard, and when many young women were gathered at [q]Shushan the [r]citadel, under the custody of Hegai, that Esther also was taken to the king’s palace, into the care of Hegai the custodian of the women. Now the young woman pleased him, and she obtained his favor; so he readily gave beauty preparations to her, besides [s]her allowance. Then seven choice maidservants were provided for her from the king’s palace, and he moved her and her maidservants to the best place in the house of the women.

10 Esther had not [t]revealed her people or family, for Mordecai had charged her not to reveal it. 11 And every day Mordecai paced in front of the court of the women’s quarters, to learn of Esther’s welfare and what was happening to her.

12 Each young woman’s turn came to go in to King Ahasuerus after she had completed twelve months’ preparation, according to the regulations for the women, for thus were the days of their preparation apportioned: six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with perfumes and preparations for beautifying women. 13 Thus prepared, each young woman went to the king, and she was given whatever she desired to take with her from the women’s quarters to the king’s palace. 14 In the evening she went, and in the morning she returned to the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who kept the concubines. She would not go in to the king again unless the king delighted in her and called for her by name.

15 Now when the turn came for Esther the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her as his daughter, to go in to the king, she requested nothing but what Hegai the king’s eunuch, the custodian of the women, advised. And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her. 16 So Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. 17 The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. 18 Then the king made a great feast, the Feast of Esther, for all his officials and servants; and he proclaimed a holiday in the provinces and gave gifts according to the [u]generosity of a king.

Mordecai Discovers a Plot

19 When virgins were gathered together a second time, Mordecai sat within the king’s gate. 20 Now Esther had not revealed her family and her people, just as Mordecai had charged her, for Esther obeyed the command of Mordecai as when she was brought up by him.

21 In those days, while Mordecai sat within the king’s gate, two of the king’s eunuchs, [v]Bigthan and Teresh, doorkeepers, became furious and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. 22 So the matter became known to Mordecai, who told Queen Esther, and Esther informed the king in Mordecai’s name. 23 And when an inquiry was made into the matter, it was confirmed, and both were hanged on a gallows; and it was written in the book of the chronicles in the presence of the king.

Haman’s Conspiracy Against the Jews

After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him and set his seat above all the princes who were with him. And all the king’s servants who were within the king’s gate bowed and paid homage to Haman, for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai would not bow or pay homage. Then the king’s servants who were within the king’s gate said to Mordecai, “Why do you transgress the king’s command?” Now it happened, when they spoke to him daily and he would not listen to them, that they told it to Haman, to see whether Mordecai’s words would stand; for Mordecai had told them that he was a Jew. When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow or pay him homage, Haman was filled with wrath. But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him of the people of Mordecai. Instead, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus—the people of Mordecai.

In the first month, which is the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur (that is, the lot), before Haman [w]to determine the day and the [x]month, [y]until it fell on the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar.

Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from all other people’s, and they do not keep the king’s laws. Therefore it is not fitting for the king to let them remain. If it pleases the king, let a decree be written that they be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who do the work, to bring it into the king’s treasuries.”

10 So the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 And the king said to Haman, “The money and the people are given to you, to do with them as seems good to you.”

12 Then the king’s scribes were called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and a decree was written according to all that Haman commanded—to the king’s satraps, to the governors who were over each province, to the officials of all people, to every province according to its script, and to every people in their language. In the name of King Ahasuerus it was written, and sealed with the king’s signet ring. 13 And the letters were sent by couriers into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their [z]possessions. 14 A copy of the document was to be issued as law in every province, being published for all people, that they should be ready for that day. 15 The couriers went out, hastened by the king’s command; and the decree was proclaimed in [aa]Shushan the [ab]citadel. So the king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Shushan was [ac]perplexed.

Esther Agrees to Help the Jews

When Mordecai learned all that had happened, [ad]he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city. He cried out with a loud and bitter cry. He went as far as the front of the king’s gate, for no one might enter the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. And in every province where the king’s command and decree arrived, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

So Esther’s maids and eunuchs came and told her, and the queen was deeply distressed. Then she sent garments to clothe Mordecai and take his sackcloth away from him, but he would not accept them. Then Esther called Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs whom he had appointed to attend her, and she gave him a command concerning Mordecai, to learn what and why this was. So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the city square that was in front of the king’s gate. And Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and the sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasuries to destroy the Jews. He also gave him a copy of the written decree for their destruction, which was given at [ae]Shushan, that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her, and that he might command her to go in to the king to make supplication to him and plead before him for her people. So Hathach returned and told Esther the words of Mordecai.

10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach, and gave him a command for Mordecai: 11 “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go in to the king these thirty days.” 12 So they told Mordecai Esther’s words.

13 And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in [af]Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”

17 So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded [ag]him.

Esther’s Banquet

Now it happened on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace, across from the king’s house, while the king sat on his royal throne in the royal house, facing the entrance of the [ah]house. So it was, when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the scepter.

And the king said to her, “What do you wish, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given to you—up to half the kingdom!”

So Esther answered, “If it pleases the king, let the king and Haman come today to the banquet that I have prepared for him.”

Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly, that he may do as Esther has said.” So the king and Haman went to the banquet that Esther had prepared.

At the banquet of wine the king said to Esther, “What is your petition? It shall be granted you. What is your request, up to half the kingdom? It shall be done!”

Then Esther answered and said, “My petition and request is this: If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and [ai]fulfill my request, then let the king and Haman come to the banquet which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said.”

Haman’s Plot Against Mordecai

So Haman went out that day joyful and with a glad heart; but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, and that he did not stand or tremble before him, he was filled with indignation against Mordecai. 10 Nevertheless Haman restrained himself and went home, and he sent and called for his friends and his wife Zeresh. 11 Then Haman told them of his great riches, the multitude of his children, everything in which the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and servants of the king.

12 Moreover Haman said, “Besides, Queen Esther invited no one but me to come in with the king to the banquet that she prepared; and tomorrow I am again invited by her, along with the king. 13 Yet all this avails me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.”

14 Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Let a gallows[aj] be made, [ak]fifty cubits high, and in the morning suggest to the king that Mordecai be hanged on it; then go merrily with the king to the banquet.”

And the thing pleased Haman; so he had the gallows made.

Footnotes

  1. Esther 1:1 Generally identified with Xerxes I (485–464 b.c.)
  2. Esther 1:2 Or Susa
  3. Esther 1:2 Or fortified palace, and so elsewhere in the book
  4. Esther 1:5 Or Susa
  5. Esther 1:5 palace
  6. Esther 1:7 Lit. hand
  7. Esther 1:14 Lit. sat in first place
  8. Esther 1:19 Lit. word
  9. Esther 1:19 pass away
  10. Esther 2:3 Or Susa
  11. Esther 2:3 palace
  12. Esther 2:3 Heb. Hege
  13. Esther 2:5 Or Susa
  14. Esther 2:5 palace
  15. Esther 2:6 Lit. Who
  16. Esther 2:6 Jehoiachin, 2 Kin. 24:6
  17. Esther 2:8 Or Susa
  18. Esther 2:8 palace
  19. Esther 2:9 Lit. her portions
  20. Esther 2:10 Revealed the identity of
  21. Esther 2:18 Lit. hand
  22. Esther 2:21 Bigthana, Esth. 6:2
  23. Esther 3:7 Lit. from day to day and month to month
  24. Esther 3:7 LXX adds to destroy the people of Mordecai in one day; Vg. adds the nation of the Jews should be destroyed
  25. Esther 3:7 So with MT, Vg.; LXX and the lot fell on the fourteenth of the month
  26. Esther 3:13 LXX adds the text of the letter here
  27. Esther 3:15 Or Susa
  28. Esther 3:15 palace
  29. Esther 3:15 in confusion
  30. Esther 4:1 Lit. Mordecai
  31. Esther 4:8 Or Susa
  32. Esther 4:16 Or Susa
  33. Esther 4:17 LXX adds a prayer of Mordecai here
  34. Esther 5:1 LXX adds many extra details in vv. 12
  35. Esther 5:8 Lit. to do
  36. Esther 5:14 Lit. tree or wood
  37. Esther 5:14 About 75 feet

Two days with Zech (day 2)

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.” Zechariah 9:9 NKJV

Prophesy must be fulfilled. Zechariah is a prophetic book. As we have discussed before many times prophesy is outside of time blending events to happen soon with event to happen in the far off future.  Sometimes it isn’t easy to separate.

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is from the book of Zechariah, chapters 8-14 (embedded below the image below for your convenience). It is not fair to only have 2 days to dig through this book – I took my complaint to God. But it is more important that we get through the Bible then we get hung up studying prophesy.  Please come back and spend some time here on your own. 

As we see the verse I opened with today – Jesus was to arrive, declaring himself the messiah, riding on a donkey – while the very next verse is about the second coming. (If you do not know, He is coming twice with a ‘drive by’ somewhere in between.) As we saw in the New Testament, in Matthew 21:1–11, Mark 11:1–11, Luke 19:28–44, and John 12:12–19, this is fulfilled literally.  Many thought it was the symbolism of coming in meekness. It was literal, still symbolically meaning meekness – but Jesus literally rode a donkey.

We also see Judas’ 30 pieces of silver, which he sold out Jesus for as well as the potter’s field. Literal. So when you read – do not worry about interpreting.  Ezekiel was about symbolism – but most prophesy is literal. And where it gets confusing, Zechariah asks the angels what it means so we have answers.  Now, do not overthink it.

There is a spirit world which most people have not seen – and when in Galatians 5:16 we are told to walk in the spirit, I fear we do not obey that since we seem to lack understanding in the spirit.

Since this is too small a venue for such deep teachings – let’s focus on what we can understand.  We understand there are no coincidences. Did you know we are in the middle of the Feast of Tabernacles?  It is a week-long celebration of feasting in a tent (some camp there) in memory of the exodus and living in temporary tents – and a time of looking forward to the promise land. Times of remembrance of this level of faith in God – I cannot help but think about how God is calling His children to return to this level of faith – living day to day trusting Him completely for their daily bread.  God has removed all from my life so I am – I know many others in or about to be in these shoes. But God lead Israel into the Promised Land!

What does that have to do with today’s reading?  Today’s reading is prophesy of the first and second coming of Messiah, the Christ – Jesus – Yeshua!  Jesus is our promise that we look forward to. He said he is the groom, coming back for the bride – making this feast a practice run for the wedding supper of the Lamb! (and yes, many Messianic Jews have made that connection – I am not just tying things together all silly nilly). So it is fitting we read about His first and second coming during this time.  It is good that we prepare ourselves for Him as He loves us like a groom loves His bride.

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” Eph. 5:25-27 esv

And we see this marriage supper in Revelations:

“Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” Rev. 19:7-9 esv

Blessed are those who are invited! Hallelujah!

Here is the question: are you invited as of today? And will you be invited on that special day?
I guess I’ll have to first answer your question: How do we get ourselves invited?! You get invited by accepting all the truth of the Word of God and having a relationship with God through Jesus.  Accepting Jesus is the messiah who fulfilled these prophesies literally and even to the day (as the donkey ride was declared in prophesy by Daniel with the timeframe as well as prophesied here in Zechariah). And if you already have a relationship with God and Jesus…. Press in, work harder at the relationship. Read the Bible, Pray, have quiet time before Him, worship Him and do it daily and hen obey him – and you will have an invitation to this heavenly feast!

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: This month we have another great verse to pick up and swing when you need a sword in your hand!

1 John 4:4 NKJV – “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
NAS – “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
ESV – “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
AMP – “Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind].”
NIV – “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Thank you for reading.
Repent and get humble because the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand! (Because I did not say that in the message above.) AND May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Zechariah 8-14  NKJV

Jerusalem, Holy City of the Future

Again the word of the Lord of hosts came, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts:

‘I am [a]zealous for Zion with great [b]zeal;
With great [c]fervor I am zealous for her.’

“Thus says the Lord:

‘I will return to Zion,
And dwell in the midst of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth,
The Mountain of the Lord of hosts,
The Holy Mountain.’

“Thus says the Lord of hosts:

‘Old men and old women shall again sit
In the streets of Jerusalem,
Each one with his staff in his hand
Because of [d]great age.
The streets of the city
Shall be full of boys and girls
Playing in its streets.’

“Thus says the Lord of hosts:

‘If it is [e]marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days,
Will it also be marvelous in My eyes?’
Says the Lord of hosts.

“Thus says the Lord of hosts:

‘Behold, I will save My people from the land of the [f]east
And from the land of the [g]west;
I will bring them back,
And they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem.
They shall be My people
And I will be their God,
In truth and righteousness.’

“Thus says the Lord of hosts:

‘Let your hands be strong,
You who have been hearing in these days
These words by the mouth of the prophets,
Who spoke in the day the foundation was laid
For the house of the Lord of hosts,
That the temple might be built.
10 For before these days
There were no wages for man nor any hire for beast;
There was no peace from the enemy for whoever went out or came in;
For I set all men, everyone, against his neighbor.

11 But now I will not treat the remnant of this people as in the former days,’ says the Lord of hosts.

12 ‘For the [h]seed shall be prosperous,
The vine shall give its fruit,
The ground shall give her increase,
And the heavens shall give their dew—
I will cause the remnant of this people
To possess all these.
13 And it shall come to pass
That just as you were a curse among the nations,
O house of Judah and house of Israel,
So I will save you, and you shall be a blessing.
Do not fear,
Let your hands be strong.’

14 “For thus says the Lord of hosts:

‘Just as I determined to [i]punish you
When your fathers provoked Me to wrath,’
Says the Lord of hosts,
‘And I would not relent,
15 So again in these days
I am determined to do good
To Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.
Do not fear.
16 These are the things you shall do:
Speak each man the truth to his neighbor;
Give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace;
17 Let none of you think evil in [j]your heart against your neighbor;
And do not love a false oath.
For all these are things that I hate,’
Says the Lord.”

18 Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying, 19 “Thus says the Lord of hosts:

‘The fast of the fourth month,
The fast of the fifth,
The fast of the seventh,
And the fast of the tenth,
Shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts
For the house of Judah.
Therefore love truth and peace.’

20 “Thus says the Lord of hosts:

‘Peoples shall yet come,
Inhabitants of many cities;
21 The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying,
“Let us continue to go and pray before the Lord,
And seek the Lord of hosts.
I myself will go also.”
22 Yes, many peoples and strong nations
Shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem,
And to pray before the Lord.’

23 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the [k]sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” ’ ”

Israel Defended Against Enemies

The [l]burden of the word of the Lord
Against the land of Hadrach,
And Damascus its resting place
(For the eyes of men
And all the tribes of Israel
Are on the Lord);
Also against Hamath, which borders on it,
And against Tyre and Sidon, though they are very wise.

For Tyre built herself a tower,
Heaped up silver like the dust,
And gold like the mire of the streets.
Behold, the Lord will cast her out;
He will destroy her power in the sea,
And she will be devoured by fire.

Ashkelon shall see it and fear;
Gaza also shall be very sorrowful;
And Ekron, for He dried up her expectation.
The king shall perish from Gaza,
And Ashkelon shall not be inhabited.

“A[m] mixed race shall settle in Ashdod,
And I will cut off the pride of the Philistines.
I will take away the blood from his mouth,
And the abominations from between his teeth.
But he who remains, even he shall be for our God,
And shall be like a leader in Judah,
And Ekron like a Jebusite.
I will camp around My house
Because of the army,
Because of him who passes by and him who returns.
No more shall an oppressor pass through them,
For now I have seen with My eyes.

The Coming King

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King is coming to you;
He is just and having salvation,
Lowly and riding on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.
10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
And the horse from Jerusalem;
The battle bow shall be cut off.
He shall speak peace to the nations;
His dominion shall be ‘from sea to sea,
And from the River to the ends of the earth.’

God Will Save His People

11 “As for you also,
Because of the blood of your covenant,
I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
12 Return to the stronghold,
You prisoners of hope.
Even today I declare
That I will restore double to you.
13 For I have bent Judah, My bow,
Fitted the bow with Ephraim,
And raised up your sons, O Zion,
Against your sons, O Greece,
And made you like the sword of a mighty man.”

14 Then the Lord will be seen over them,
And His arrow will go forth like lightning.
The Lord God will blow the trumpet,
And go with whirlwinds from the south.
15 The Lord of hosts will defend them;
They shall devour and subdue with slingstones.
They shall drink and roar as if with wine;
They shall be filled with blood like [n]basins,
Like the corners of the altar.
16 The Lord their God will save them in that day,
As the flock of His people.
For they shall be like the [o]jewels of a crown,
Lifted like a banner over His land—
17 For how great is [p]its goodness
And how great its beauty!
Grain shall make the young men thrive,
And new wine the young women.

Restoration of Judah and Israel

10 Ask the Lord for rain
In the time of the [q]latter rain.
The Lord will make [r]flashing clouds;
He will give them showers of rain,
Grass in the field for everyone.

For the idols[s] speak delusion;
The diviners envision lies,
And tell false dreams;
They comfort in vain.
Therefore the people wend their way like sheep;
They are [t]in trouble because there is no shepherd.

“My anger is kindled against the shepherds,
And I will punish the [u]goatherds.
For the Lord of hosts will visit His flock,
The house of Judah,
And will make them as His royal horse in the battle.
From him comes the cornerstone,
From him the tent peg,
From him the battle bow,
From him every [v]ruler together.
They shall be like mighty men,
Who tread down their enemies
In the mire of the streets in the battle.
They shall fight because the Lord is with them,
And the riders on horses shall be put to shame.

“I will strengthen the house of Judah,
And I will save the house of Joseph.
I will bring them back,
Because I have mercy on them.
They shall be as though I had not cast them aside;
For I am the Lord their God,
And I will hear them.
Those of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man,
And their heart shall rejoice as if with wine.
Yes, their children shall see it and be glad;
Their heart shall rejoice in the Lord.
I will whistle for them and gather them,
For I will redeem them;
And they shall increase as they once increased.

“I will [w]sow them among the peoples,
And they shall remember Me in far countries;
They shall live, together with their children,
And they shall return.
10 I will also bring them back from the land of Egypt,
And gather them from Assyria.
I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon,
Until no more room is found for them.
11 He shall pass through the sea with affliction,
And strike the waves of the sea:
All the depths of [x]the River shall dry up.
Then the pride of Assyria shall be brought down,
And the scepter of Egypt shall depart.

12 “So I will strengthen them in the Lord,
And they shall walk up and down in His name,”
Says the Lord.

Desolation of Israel

11 Open your doors, O Lebanon,
That fire may devour your cedars.
Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen,
Because the mighty trees are ruined.
Wail, O oaks of Bashan,
For the thick forest has come down.
There is the sound of wailing shepherds!
For their glory is in ruins.
There is the sound of roaring lions!
For the [y]pride of the Jordan is in ruins.

Prophecy of the Shepherds

Thus says the Lord my God, “Feed the flock for slaughter, whose owners slaughter them and feel no guilt; those who sell them say, ‘Blessed be the Lord, for I am rich’; and their shepherds do not pity them. For I will no longer pity the inhabitants of the land,” says the Lord. “But indeed I will give everyone into his neighbor’s hand and into the hand of his king. They shall [z]attack the land, and I will not deliver them from their hand.”

So I fed the flock for slaughter, [aa]in particular the poor of the flock. I took for myself two staffs: the one I called [ab]Beauty, and the other I called [ac]Bonds; and I fed the flock. [ad]dismissed the three shepherds in one month. My soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me. Then I said, “I will not feed you. Let what is dying die, and what is perishing perish. Let those that are left eat each other’s flesh.” 10 And I took my staff, [ae]Beauty, and cut it in two, that I might break the covenant which I had made with all the peoples. 11 So it was broken on that day. Thus the[af] poor of the flock, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the Lord. 12 Then I said to them, “If it is [ag]agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.” So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.

13 And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord for the potter. 14 Then I cut in two my other staff, [ah]Bonds, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.

15 And the Lord said to me, “Next, take for yourself the implements of a foolish shepherd. 16 For indeed I will raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for those who are cut off, nor seek the young, nor heal those that are broken, nor feed those that still stand. But he will eat the flesh of the fat and tear their hooves in pieces.

17 “Woe to the worthless shepherd,
Who leaves the flock!
A sword shall be against his arm
And against his right eye;
His arm shall completely wither,
And his right eye shall be totally blinded.”

The Coming Deliverance of Judah

12 The [ai]burden of the word of the Lord against Israel. Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him: “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of [aj]drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it. In that day,” says the Lord, “I will strike every horse with confusion, and its rider with madness; I will open My eyes on the house of Judah, and will strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem are my strength in the Lord of hosts, their God.’ In that day I will make the governors of Judah like a firepan in the woodpile, and like a fiery torch in the sheaves; they shall devour all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left, but Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place—Jerusalem.

“The Lord will save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall not become greater than that of Judah. In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the Lord before them. It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

Mourning for the Pierced One

10 “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. 11 In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of [ak]Megiddo. 12 And the land shall mourn, every family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; 13 the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves; 14 all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves.

Idolatry Cut Off

13 “In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.

“It shall be in that day,” says the Lord of hosts, “that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they shall no longer be remembered. I will also cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to depart from the land. It shall come to pass that if anyone still prophesies, then his father and mother who begot him will say to him, ‘You shall not live, because you have spoken lies in the name of the Lord.’ And his father and mother who begot him shall thrust him through when he prophesies.

“And it shall be in that day that every prophet will be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies; they will not wear a robe of coarse hair to deceive. But he will say, ‘I am no prophet, I am a farmer; for a man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.’ And one will say to him, ‘What are these wounds between your [al]arms?’ Then he will answer, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’

The Shepherd Savior

“Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,
Against the Man who is My Companion,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“Strike the Shepherd,
And the sheep will be scattered;
Then I will turn My hand against the little ones.
And it shall come to pass in all the land,”
Says the Lord,
That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die,
But one-third shall be left in it:
I will bring the one-third through the fire,
Will refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them.
I will say, ‘This is My people’;
And each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’ ”

The Day of the Lord

14 Behold, the day of the Lord is coming,
And your [am]spoil will be divided in your midst.
For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem;
The city shall be taken,
The houses [an]rifled,
And the women ravished.
Half of the city shall go into captivity,
But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

Then the Lord will go forth
And fight against those nations,
As He fights in the day of battle.
And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,
Which faces Jerusalem on the east.
And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two,
From east to west,
Making a very large valley;
Half of the mountain shall move toward the north
And half of it toward the south.

Then you shall flee through My mountain valley,
For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal.
Yes, you shall flee
As you fled from the earthquake
In the days of Uzziah king of Judah.

Thus the Lord my God will come,
And all the saints with [ao]You.

It shall come to pass in that day
That there will be no light;
The [ap]lights will diminish.
It shall be one day
Which is known to the Lord—
Neither day nor night.
But at evening time it shall happen
That it will be light.

And in that day it shall be
That living waters shall flow from Jerusalem,
Half of them toward [aq]the eastern sea
And half of them toward [ar]the western sea;
In both summer and winter it shall occur.
And the Lord shall be King over all the earth.
In that day it shall be—
“The Lord is one,”
And His name one.

10 All the land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. [as]Jerusalem shall be raised up and inhabited in her place from Benjamin’s Gate to the place of the First Gate and the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s winepresses.

11 The people shall dwell in it;
And no longer shall there be utter destruction,
But Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.

12 And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem:

Their flesh shall [at]dissolve while they stand on their feet,
Their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets,
And their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths.

13 It shall come to pass in that day
That a great panic from the Lord will be among them.
Everyone will seize the hand of his neighbor,
And raise his hand against his neighbor’s hand;
14 Judah also will fight at Jerusalem.
And the wealth of all the surrounding nations
Shall be gathered together:
Gold, silver, and apparel in great abundance.

15 Such also shall be the plague
On the horse and the mule,
On the camel and the donkey,
And on all the cattle that will be in those camps.
So shall this plague be.

The Nations Worship the King

16 And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. 17 And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. 18 If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. 19 This shall be the [au]punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

20 In that day “HOLINESS TO THE LORD” shall be engraved on the bells of the horses. The pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar. 21 Yes, [av]every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to the Lord of hosts. Everyone who sacrifices shall come and take them and cook in them. In that day there shall no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts.

Footnotes

  1. Zechariah 8:2 Or jealous
  2. Zechariah 8:2 Or jealousy
  3. Zechariah 8:2 Lit. heat or rage
  4. Zechariah 8:4 Lit. many days
  5. Zechariah 8:6 Or wonderful
  6. Zechariah 8:7 Lit. rising sun
  7. Zechariah 8:7 Lit. setting sun
  8. Zechariah 8:12 Lit. seed of peace
  9. Zechariah 8:14 Lit. bring calamity to you
  10. Zechariah 8:17 Lit. his
  11. Zechariah 8:23 Lit. wing, corner of a garment
  12. Zechariah 9:1 oracle, prophecy
  13. Zechariah 9:6 Lit. An illegitimate one
  14. Zechariah 9:15 Sacrificial basins
  15. Zechariah 9:16 Lit. stones
  16. Zechariah 9:17 Lit. His
  17. Zechariah 10:1 Spring rain
  18. Zechariah 10:1 Or lightning flashes
  19. Zechariah 10:2 Heb. teraphim
  20. Zechariah 10:2 afflicted
  21. Zechariah 10:3 Leaders
  22. Zechariah 10:4 Or despot
  23. Zechariah 10:9 Or scatter
  24. Zechariah 10:11 The Nile
  25. Zechariah 11:3 Or floodplain, thicket
  26. Zechariah 11:6 Lit. strike
  27. Zechariah 11:7 So with MT, Tg., Vg.; LXX for the Canaanites
  28. Zechariah 11:7 Or Grace
  29. Zechariah 11:7 Or Unity
  30. Zechariah 11:8 Or destroyed, lit. cut off
  31. Zechariah 11:10 Or Grace
  32. Zechariah 11:11 So with MT, Tg., Vg.; LXX the Canaanites
  33. Zechariah 11:12 good in your sight
  34. Zechariah 11:14 Or Unity
  35. Zechariah 12:1 oracle, prophecy
  36. Zechariah 12:2 Lit. reeling
  37. Zechariah 12:11 Heb. Megiddon
  38. Zechariah 13:6 Or hands
  39. Zechariah 14:1 plunder or booty
  40. Zechariah 14:2 Or plundered
  41. Zechariah 14:5 Or you; LXX, Tg., Vg. Him
  42. Zechariah 14:6 Lit. glorious ones
  43. Zechariah 14:8 The Dead Sea
  44. Zechariah 14:8 The Mediterranean Sea
  45. Zechariah 14:10 Lit. She
  46. Zechariah 14:12 Lit. decay
  47. Zechariah 14:19 Lit. sin
  48. Zechariah 14:21 Or on every pot . . . shall be engraved “HOLINESS TO THE LORD OF HOSTS”

Two days with Zech (day 1)

“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” says the Lord. “Many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. And the Lord will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem. Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for He is aroused from His holy habitation!” Zechariah 2:10-13 NKJV

This passage starts with praise and ends with silence – after a call of repentance and the promise of restoration if they do. It goes along with the trending theme in the spirit lately – a reverent respect of God is so badly needed. Humility, repentance because of His holiness and our fear of the Lord.  Yes, another book and I am still proclaiming: “Repent and get humble – for the Kingdom of God is at hand!”

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is from the book of Zechariah, chapters 1-7 (embedded below the image below for your convenience).  I could spend all day studying this book! God pulled back the curtain and showed Zechariah the spirit world.  With my gifts, I really feel that the spirit world is the real place and we are living in the rippling results of that place.  Zechariah is literally split into 2 section: the first is his prophesy to his people at his time (with lessons we can apply today) and the second half is future prophesies of the first and second coming of Messiah (and the first coming of the Messiah is already history for us). Also, Zechariah overlaps Haggai and Ezra – and there are still a few more books we will read from this period.

So as this overlaps and you are thinking – but the people responded to Haggai and Ezra so why so we need this third guy who was a bit weird?! Although His initial calling was to tell the people to repent – you see it also quickly changes into seeing these visions of the spirit world.  This is profound: a class on the Spirit World 101 (or basics).  And because it is not preached or taught often enough – I want to stay here is study it with you for a while. But we are going to stick to the schedule, so you should come back and study it!

Let’s point out a couple notable basics, though. 
1. The spirit world is real and it is busy and everyone is doing their jobs. No one is sitting on a cloud, looking like a fat baby in a diaper, and playing a harp.
1.a. – There are spirit horses! Many assume the horse is a symbol when they see it else were in visions – but here, it is a curtain drawn back so Zechariah could see what was happening right them. The horse is not a symbol – there are angelic, heavenly spirit horses.
2. Angels do not know everything – they are not all knowing, like God is. Chapter 1 verse 12 the angel did not know something and had to ask – this is how I know they are not all knowing, because why else would he have asked?  The Bible says not to pray to angels, and besides the obvious reasons as to why not (like the angel named satan pretending to be a good angel, and not the fallen one who he is, causing you to unknowingly pray to him) – another good reason is because they do not know everything and they are busy doing their jobs. You can go direct to God or Jesus- you do not need to interrupt the angels’ work.
Besides in the hagiarchy created by God, We are created just under angels but given authority through God over them (at least over the evil ones – we can debate the theologies of the rest another time). So for the point of argument, why would we pray to something we have authority over?
And in the ranks of angels the top are the cherubim (who guard the throne), next seraphim (who sing “holy holy holy”), the the Archangel – which is Michael (and if there are others we do not know, but catholic lore says there are others), and finally the regular angels who are messenger and patrols (guards and armies who execute the judgments of God).
We also see here in chapter 2 verse 4 that one of the angels was doing his task of measuring wrong and another had to go correct him – they make mistakes and they sin (that is how we get the fallen angels like satan, and his followers).
3. And sometimes when someone is having a bad day or a few bad days – they aren’t really having a bad day. Joshua seemed to be just having a down or off day(s) – but once the curtain was drawn back Zechariah saw that satan was throwing mud at him – causing his spiritual garments to be dirty. So the angel tells the others to clean him up and give him clean clothes and a clean turban. (Chapter 3) So pray for someone who is having an off day. 
(On a side note – over the past few days someone has been flinging bags of dog poop at my house. And someone else immediately throws it off my property. So all around the front property line on the city owned side is a ring of doggie do-do. I need a camera.  But the enemy likes to fling mud – maybe it is more than mud.  I pray a hedge of protection around my property so I find it almost comical how it ends up in front of the house and not on my property. But when I read about satan flinging mud – I thought about those tiny bags.)
4. It’s a spirit thing. We live in the ripple effects – the consequences of actions happening there. We do not see the spirit world but they see us – they live in a more true reality.  We must remember they are there because we are told in the New Testament to walk in the spirit and in truth. We are told that we battle NOT against flesh and blood – we have an effect and impact on this other world (and we should) and we must understand it.
So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts. ‘Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone With shouts of “Grace, grace to it!” Zechariah 4:6-7
Does this remind you of the verses about moving mountains in the New Testament? Have you ever tied it back into grace? You see when Jesus quoted it, the Jews (aka disciples) knew this passage about Zerubbabel. They understood the grace of it all!

Do we understand the grace? How it can bring us into a relationship with God through Christ Jesus and it can transform us – How it is sufficient and sustains us – how if not for grace….

 Do you have a relationship with God and this kind of grace in your life?  Do you have a relationship with the living God but it is not vibrant and alive? Choose today to draw close to God and dwell on these things.

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: This month we have another great verse to pick up and swing when you need a sword in your hand!

1 John 4:4 NKJV – “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
NAS – “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
ESV – “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
AMP – “Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind].”
NIV – “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Zechariah 1-7  NKJV

A Call to Repentance

In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, “The Lord has been very angry with your fathers. Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Return to Me,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts. “Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets preached, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds.” ’ But they did not hear nor heed Me,” says the Lord.

“Your fathers, where are they?
And the prophets, do they live forever?
Yet surely My words and My statutes,
Which I commanded My servants the prophets,
Did they not overtake your fathers?

“So they returned and said:

‘Just as the Lord of hosts determined to do to us,
According to our ways and according to our deeds,
So He has dealt with us.’ ” ’ ”

Vision of the Horses

On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet: I saw by night, and behold, a man riding on a red horse, and it stood among the myrtle trees in the hollow; and behind him were horses: red, sorrel, and white. Then I said, “My lord, what are these?” So the angel who talked with me said to me, “I will show you what they are.

10 And the man who stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, “These are the ones whom the Lord has sent to walk to and fro throughout the earth.”

11 So they answered the Angel of the Lord, who stood among the myrtle trees, and said, “We have walked to and fro throughout the earth, and behold, all the earth is [a]resting quietly.”

The Lord Will Comfort Zion

12 Then the Angel of the Lord answered and said, “O Lord of hosts, how long will You not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which You were angry these seventy years?”

13 And the Lord answered the angel who talked to me, with good and comforting words. 14 So the angel who spoke with me said to me, [b]“Proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts:

“I am zealous[c] for Jerusalem
And for Zion with great [d]zeal.
15 I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease;
For I was a little angry,
And they helped—but with evil intent.

16 ‘Therefore thus says the Lord:

“I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy;
My house shall be built in it,” says the Lord of hosts,
“And a surveyor’s line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem.” ’

17 “Again proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts:

“My cities shall again [e]spread out through prosperity;
The Lord will again comfort Zion,
And will again choose Jerusalem.” ’ ”

Vision of the Horns

18 Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there were four horns. 19 And I said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these?”

So he answered me, “These are the [f]horns that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.”

20 Then the Lord showed me four craftsmen. 21 And I said, “What are these coming to do?”

So he said, “These are the horns that scattered Judah, so that no one could lift up his head; but [g]the craftsmen are coming to terrify them, to cast out the horns of the nations that lifted up their horn against the land of Judah to scatter it.”

Vision of the Measuring Line

Then I raised my eyes and looked, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand. So I said, “Where are you going?”

And he said to me, “To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length.”

And there was the angel who talked with me, going out; and another angel was coming out to meet him, who said to him, “Run, speak to this young man, saying: ‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls, because of the multitude of men and livestock in it. For I,’ says the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.’ ”

Future Joy of Zion and Many Nations

“Up, up! Flee from the land of the north,” says the Lord; “for I have spread you abroad like the four winds of heaven,” says the Lord. “Up, Zion! Escape, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon.”

For thus says the Lord of hosts: “He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the [h]apple of His eye. For surely I will shake My hand against them, and they shall become [i]spoil for their servants. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me.

10 “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” says the Lord. 11 “Many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. 12 And the Lord will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem. 13 Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for He is aroused from His holy habitation!”

Vision of the High Priest

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan[j] standing at his right hand to oppose him. And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”

Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel.

Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.”

And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.”

So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the Lord stood by.

The Coming Branch

Then the Angel of the Lord admonished Joshua, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts:

‘If you will walk in My ways,
And if you will keep My command,
Then you shall also judge My house,
And likewise have charge of My courts;
I will give you places to walk
Among these who stand here.

‘Hear, O Joshua, the high priest,
You and your companions who sit before you,
For they are a[k] wondrous sign;
For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH.
For behold, the stone
That I have laid before Joshua:
Upon the stone are seven eyes.
Behold, I will engrave its inscription,’
Says the Lord of hosts,
‘And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
10 In that day,’ says the Lord of hosts,
‘Everyone will invite his neighbor
Under his vine and under his fig tree.’ ”

Vision of the Lampstand and Olive Trees

Now the angel who talked with me came back and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of his sleep. And he said to me, “What do you see?”

So I said, “I am looking, and there is a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps. Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left.” So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, “What are these, my lord?”

Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?”

And I said, “No, my lord.”

So he answered and said to me:

“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:
‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts.
‘Who are you, O great mountain?
Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain!
And he shall bring forth the capstone
With shouts of “Grace, grace to it!” ’ ”

Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying:

“The hands of Zerubbabel
Have laid the foundation of this [l]temple;
His hands shall also finish it.
Then you will know
That the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you.
10 For who has despised the day of small things?
For these seven rejoice to see
The [m]plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.
They are the eyes of the Lord,
Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.”

11 Then I answered and said to him, “What are these two olive trees—at the right of the lampstand and at its left?” 12 And I further answered and said to him, “What are these two olive branches that drip [n]into the receptacles of the two gold pipes from which the golden oil drains?”

13 Then he answered me and said, “Do you not know what these are?

And I said, “No, my lord.”

14 So he said, “These are the two [o]anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth.”

Vision of the Flying Scroll

Then I turned and raised my eyes, and saw there a flying scroll.

And he said to me, “What do you see?”

So I answered, “I see a flying scroll. Its length is twenty cubits and its width ten cubits.”

Then he said to me, “This is the curse that goes out over the face of the whole earth: ‘Every thief shall be expelled,’ according to this side of the scroll; and, ‘Every perjurer shall be expelled,’ according to that side of it.”

“I will send out the curse,” says the Lord of hosts;
“It shall enter the house of the thief
And the house of the one who swears falsely by My name.
It shall remain in the midst of his house
And consume it, with its timber and stones.”

Vision of the Woman in a Basket

Then the angel who talked with me came out and said to me, “Lift your eyes now, and see what this is that goes forth.”

So I asked, “What is it?” And he said, “It is a [p]basket that is going forth.”

He also said, “This is their resemblance throughout the earth: Here is a lead disc lifted up, and this is a woman sitting inside the basket”; then he said, “This is Wickedness!” And he thrust her down into the basket, and threw the lead [q]cover over its mouth. Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there were two women, coming with the wind in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between earth and heaven.

10 So I said to the angel who talked with me, “Where are they carrying the basket?”

11 And he said to me, “To build a house for it in the land of [r]Shinar; when it is ready, the basket will be set there on its base.”

Vision of the Four Chariots

Then I turned and raised my eyes and looked, and behold, four chariots were coming from between two mountains, and the mountains were mountains of bronze. With the first chariot were red horses, with the second chariot black horses, with the third chariot white horses, and with the fourth chariot dappled horses—strong steeds. Then I answered and said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?”

And the angel answered and said to me, “These are four spirits of heaven, who go out from their station before the Lord of all the earth. [s]The one with the black horses is going to the north country, the white are going after them, and the dappled are going toward the south country.” Then the strong steeds went out, eager to go, that they might walk to and fro throughout the earth. And He said, “Go, walk to and fro throughout the earth.” So they walked to and fro throughout the earth. And He called to me, and spoke to me, saying, “See, those who go toward the north country have given rest to My Spirit in the north country.”

The Command to Crown Joshua

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 10 “Receive the gift from the captives—from Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, who have come from Babylon—and go the same day and enter the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah. 11 Take the silver and gold, make an[t] elaborate crown, and set it on the head of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest. 12 Then speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, saying:

“Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH!
From His place He shall [u]branch out,
And He shall build the temple of the Lord;
13 Yes, He shall build the temple of the Lord.
He shall bear the glory,
And shall sit and rule on His throne;
So He shall be a priest on His throne,
And the counsel of peace shall be between [v]them both.” ’

14 “Now the [w]elaborate crown shall be for a memorial in the temple of the Lord [x]for Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Hen the son of Zephaniah. 15 Even those from afar shall come and build the temple of the Lord. Then you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. And this shall come to pass if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.”

Obedience Better than Fasting

Now in the fourth year of King Darius it came to pass that the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, on the fourth day of the ninth month, Chislev, when [y]the people sent [z]Sherezer, with Regem-Melech and his men, to [aa]the house of God, [ab]to pray before the Lord, and to ask the priests who were in the house of the Lord of hosts, and the prophets, saying, “Should I weep in the fifth month and [ac]fast as I have done for so many years?”

Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying, “Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me—for Me? When you eat and when you drink, do you not eat and drink for yourselves? Should you not have obeyed the words which the Lord proclaimed through the former prophets when Jerusalem and the cities around it were inhabited and prosperous, and the [ad]South and the Lowland were inhabited?’ ”

Disobedience Resulted in Captivity

Then the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts:

‘Execute true justice,
Show [ae]mercy and compassion
Everyone to his brother.
10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless,
The alien or the poor.
Let none of you plan evil in his heart
Against his brother.’

11 “But they refused to heed, shrugged[af] their shoulders, and stopped[ag] their ears so that they could not hear. 12 Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the Lord of hosts. 13 Therefore it happened, that just as He proclaimed and they would not hear, so they called out and I would not listen,” says the Lord of hosts. 14 “But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations which they had not known. Thus the land became desolate after them, so that no one passed through or returned; for they made the pleasant land desolate.”

Footnotes

  1. Zechariah 1:11 Lit. sitting and quiet
  2. Zechariah 1:14 Lit. Cry out
  3. Zechariah 1:14 Or jealous
  4. Zechariah 1:14 Or jealousy
  5. Zechariah 1:17 Or overflow with good
  6. Zechariah 1:19 Kingdoms or powers
  7. Zechariah 1:21 Lit. these
  8. Zechariah 2:8 Lit. pupil
  9. Zechariah 2:9 booty or plunder
  10. Zechariah 3:1 Lit. the Adversary
  11. Zechariah 3:8 Lit. men of a sign or wonder
  12. Zechariah 4:9 Lit. house
  13. Zechariah 4:10 Lit. plummet stone
  14. Zechariah 4:12 Lit. into the hands of
  15. Zechariah 4:14 Lit. sons of fresh oil
  16. Zechariah 5:6 Heb. ephah, a measuring container, and so elsewhere
  17. Zechariah 5:8 Lit. stone
  18. Zechariah 5:11 Babylon
  19. Zechariah 6:6 The chariot
  20. Zechariah 6:11 Lit. crowns
  21. Zechariah 6:12 Lit. sprout up
  22. Zechariah 6:13 Both offices
  23. Zechariah 6:14 Lit. crowns
  24. Zechariah 6:14 So with MT, Tg., Vg.; Syr. for Heldai (cf. v. 10); LXX for the patient ones
  25. Zechariah 7:2 Lit. they, cf. v. 5
  26. Zechariah 7:2 Or Sar-Ezer
  27. Zechariah 7:2 Heb. Bethel
  28. Zechariah 7:2 Or to entreat the favor of
  29. Zechariah 7:3 Lit. consecrate myself
  30. Zechariah 7:7 Heb. Negev
  31. Zechariah 7:9 Or lovingkindness
  32. Zechariah 7:11 Lit. gave a stubborn or rebellious shoulder
  33. Zechariah 7:11 Lit. made their ears heavy

The Book of Haggai

“Is the seed still in the barn? As yet the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have not yielded fruit. But from this day I will bless you.’ ” Haggai 2:19 NKJV

This book is such a sweet blessing for me in this time and this verse, as my business has not yet yielded the kinds of fruit I expected – I am still in the provider’s hands and He will bless me and provide for me. And it is incredibly poignant for the world we live in. We are in a season of humility and repentance and yet so many are complacently asleep in the church – apathetic to what is about to go down if we do not repent.
I know, we all hoped I would stop crying “REPENT AND GET HUMBLE FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND!” But I just can’t stop. It’s not too late yet (at least I hope when it is no longer time, God will change the message).

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is from the book of Haggai, chapters 1-2 (embedded below the image below for your convenience).  Apathy, our choices matter, how sins contaminates, and response of humility and action.

This book also has dates – most people pass over them not realizing any significance beside historical value.  The decree to leave Babylon and rebuild the temple was 16 years before the first date in this book, which was actually the 29th day of August, in the year 520 bc! This book is built around dates so we know exactly when it happened as well as understanding the time periods. Haggai calls for humility, repentance – and a call to action – to act in obedience.  We also see through the dates that when they did take action and repent, God changed the situation in 3 weeks.
Was this “3 weeks to transformation” just for the years in the Five-Hundreds BC? Or does it also apply today? If God could change nations and people in 3 weeks – can he give us the grace and transformation in our current environment? Or is it too late? Can we hold back evil? Or are we the evil we are praying to hold back?  

Oof – yeah, I said that. It’s called apathy. It is not that you have a cold, hardened or uncaring heart – you just got lost in the dark, your eyes adjusted – so you never turned on the light. In the people of Haggai’s time – they had a hold (or a pause) in the building project (remember from Ezra) and then became apathetic and had not returned to the project.  You set out to do the work of the Lord, but the cares of this world choked it out. You still pray – quickly in the car on the way to work. But you miss the point of the relationship.  Sunday’s message was good – the blog devotional you read was good, the Social Media sermon was good – but you sit in apathy unaware of your dire condition!! (Referring of course to the universal “you”.)
God is clearing saying ‘get humble’ – and I watch the apathetic stand tall proclaiming proudly their salvation. But their pride is their very undoing. Be humble and confident in Him. Your salvation declaration should be meek bathed in His power and authority (not our own) – and the power behind that will make every demon and flesh mad.  It is a form of godliness without denying the power thereof!!

Chapter 2 begins with describing the frustration and discouragement – God made a change in them.  A three week change. And now 7 weeks since they started and they expected to be 17 years along on the project – but they were only 7 weeks along.  There expectations did not match reality – did reality match God’s will?  They lived in fear because the physical world and spiritual world did not mirror each other. (Reminds me of our modern world!)

This is reminiscent of every single work of the Lord – Moses who was discouraged because he doesn’t speak well. Joshua who needed to be more courageous, like he was in his youth (do not lose the zeal)!
God WANTS to do a work through us and for us – God doesn’t need us. Be honored by the call even if it is to clean the bathroom in a smaller than expected ministry. Be honored, humble, and obedient.

So God calls them out on their apathy, they repent and get discouraged, and God is building them back up!! God is SO GOOD!

God is having them rebuild the temple – let us think about how we are the temple! In this we are participating in the act with them – Let God encourage us with these same scriptures.

For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts.” Haggai 2:6-9

In Him we are greater than our former selves. In Him we are trust fund babies – because He has all the funds! In Him we have peace! Glory to God!! Stay humble my friend – just like you will not give abundance to the haughty child who claims it as his own, neither will God – it will go to the thankful and humble one.

Chapter 3 needs its own day – but we are not allotted that.  Light will shine in darkness. But light is not contagious. Sin, corruptions and darkness spread and rub off on everything it touches – a bad apple really will ruin the whole.  You see – evil corrupts good and not the other way around. Light exposes sins and evil. Then GOD must step in with the transforming power of grace to clean it and give it light. So you walk into an evil situation accidentally and not called into it, to be the force to overthrow it – be careful because the God in you is not going to interrupt what the evil is doing – that is not how this works. We do not rub off on them. There needs to be intention. And evil doesn’t sleep and its intention is to spread.  Pulling us into captivity because we acted out of a kind heart in a situation of evil which we did not understand. Grace teaches us this lesson – and grace draws us back into repentance when found in this situation.

God has chapter 3 here just for teach us about which way things spread. And only HE can make a bad apple new.  It is a dynamic lesson in spiritual warfare and associations, contact and interaction.  Now, before some wise guy wants to email me saying that Jesus hung out with sinners – Let me give a quick lesson. You are right. And if we do not have contact with sinners who are we going to share the gospel with?! We will interact with intension and prayed up – and in obedience! If God did not send you then you labor in vain; so get out of there! This topic really needs a whole day to itself. Thankfully, you can read the chapter and God can minister to you and give you what you need.

Everything we need is given by God, including, needing a deeper relationship with Him. Yes, every day I call us to go deeper and for anyone, new here, who doesn’t have a relationship with God…

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: This month we have another great verse to pick up and swing when you need a sword in your hand!

1 John 4:4

NKJV – “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
NAS – “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
ESV – “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
AMP – “Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind].”
NIV – “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Haggai 1-2  NKJV

The Command to Build God’s House

In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying, “Thus speaks the Lord of hosts, saying: ‘This people says, “The time has not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built.” ’ ”

Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this [a]temple to lie in ruins?” Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways!

“You have sown much, and bring in little;
You eat, but do not have enough;
You drink, but you are not filled with drink;
You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm;
And he who earns wages,
Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”

Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways! Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the [b]temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the Lord. You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?” says the Lord of hosts. “Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house. 10 Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. 11 For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”

The People’s Obedience

12 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him; and the people feared the presence of the Lord. 13 Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, spoke the Lord’s message to the people, saying, “I am with you, says the Lord.” 14 So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of King Darius.

The Coming Glory of God’s House

In the seventh month, on the twenty-first of the month, the word of the Lord came [c]by Haggai the prophet, saying: “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, saying: ‘Who is left among you who saw this [d]temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing? Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ says the Lord; ‘and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,’ says the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ says the Lord of hosts. According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’

“For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the [e]Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this [f]temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The glory of this latter [g]temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts.”

The People Are Defiled

10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 11 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Now, ask the priests concerning the law, saying, 12 “If one carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and with the edge he touches bread or stew, wine or oil, or any food, will it become holy?” ’ ”

Then the priests answered and said, “No.”

13 And Haggai said, “If one who is unclean because of a dead body touches any of these, will it be unclean?”

So the priests answered and said, “It shall be unclean.”

14 Then Haggai answered and said, “ ‘So is this people, and so is this nation before Me,’ says the Lord, ‘and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean.

Promised Blessing

15 ‘And now, carefully consider from this day forward: from before stone was laid upon stone in the temple of the Lord— 16 since those days, when one came to a heap of twenty ephahs, there were but ten; when one came to the wine vat to draw out fifty baths from the press, there were but twenty. 17 I struck you with blight and mildew and hail in all the labors of your hands; yet you did not turn to Me,’ says the Lord. 18 ‘Consider now from this day forward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, from the day that the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid—consider it: 19 Is the seed still in the barn? As yet the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have not yielded fruit. But from this day I will bless you.’ ”

Zerubbabel Chosen as a Signet

20 And again the word of the Lord came to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, saying, 21 “Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying:

‘I will shake heaven and earth.
22 I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms;
I will destroy the strength of the Gentile kingdoms.
I will overthrow the chariots
And those who ride in them;
The horses and their riders shall come down,
Every one by the sword of his brother.

23 ‘In that day,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘I will take you, Zerubbabel My servant, the son of Shealtiel,’ says the Lord, ‘and will make you like a signet ring; for I have chosen you,’ says the Lord of hosts.”

Footnotes

  1. Haggai 1:4 Lit. house
  2. Haggai 1:8 Lit. house
  3. Haggai 2:1 Lit. by the hand of
  4. Haggai 2:3 Lit. house
  5. Haggai 2:7 Or desire of all nations
  6. Haggai 2:7 Lit. house
  7. Haggai 2:9 Lit. house

Weekend Reading (September 19)

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: This month we have another great verse to pick up and swing when you need a sword in your hand!

1 John 4:4

NKJV – “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
NAS – “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
ESV – “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
AMP – “Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind].”
NIV – “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Ezra 4-6 and Psalm 137 NKJV

Ezra 4-6

Resistance to Rebuilding the Temple

Now when the [a]adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the descendants of the captivity were building the temple of the Lord God of Israel, they came to Zerubbabel and the heads of the fathers’ houses, and said to them, “Let us build with you, for we seek your God as you do; and we have sacrificed to Him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us here.” But Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the rest of the heads of the fathers’ houses of Israel said to them, “You may do nothing with us to build a [b]house for our God; but we alone will build to the Lord God of Israel, as King Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us.” Then the people of the land tried to discourage the people of Judah. They troubled them in building, and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Rebuilding of Jerusalem Opposed

In the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.

In the days of Artaxerxes also, [c]Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabel, and the rest of their companions wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the letter was written in Aramaic script, and translated into the Aramaic language. [d]Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to King Artaxerxes in this fashion:

[e]From Rehum the commander, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions—representatives of the Dinaites, the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the people of Persia and Erech and Babylon and [f]Shushan, the Dehavites, the Elamites, 10 and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Osnapper took captive and settled in the cities of Samaria and the remainder beyond [g]the River—and[h] so forth.

11 (This is a copy of the letter that they sent him.)

To King Artaxerxes from your servants, the men of the region beyond the River, [i]and so forth:

12 Let it be known to the king that the Jews who came up from you have come to us at Jerusalem, and are building the rebellious and evil city, and are finishing its walls and repairing the foundations. 13 Let it now be known to the king that, if this city is built and the walls completed, they will not pay tax, tribute, or custom, and the king’s treasury will be diminished. 14 Now because we receive support from the palace, it was not proper for us to see the king’s dishonor; therefore we have sent and informed the king, 15 that search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers. And you will find in the book of the records and know that this city is a rebellious city, harmful to kings and provinces, and that they have incited sedition within the city in former times, for which cause this city was destroyed.

16 We inform the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, the result will be that you will have no dominion beyond the River.

17 The king sent an answer:

To Rehum the commander, to Shimshai the scribe, to the rest of their companions who dwell in Samaria, and to the remainder beyond the River:

Peace, [j]and so forth.

18 The letter which you sent to us has been clearly read before me. 19 And [k]I gave the command, and a search has been made, and it was found that this city in former times has revolted against kings, and rebellion and sedition have been fostered in it. 20 There have also been mighty kings over Jerusalem, who have ruled over all the region beyond the River; and tax, tribute, and custom were paid to them. 21 Now [l]give the command to make these men cease, that this city may not be built until the command is given by me.

22 Take heed now that you do not fail to do this. Why should damage increase to the hurt of the kings?

23 Now when the copy of King Artaxerxes’ letter was read before Rehum, Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem against the Jews, and by force of arms made them cease. 24 Thus the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem ceased, and it was discontinued until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Restoration of the Temple Resumed

Then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophets, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. So Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of [m]Jozadak rose up and began to build the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them, helping them.

At the same time Tattenai the governor of the region beyond [n]the River and Shethar-Boznai and their companions came to them and spoke thus to them: “Who has commanded you to build this [o]temple and finish this wall?” Then, accordingly, we told them the names of the men who were constructing this building. But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, so that they could not make them cease till a report could go to Darius. Then a written answer was returned concerning this matter. This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai sent:

The governor of the region beyond the River, and Shethar-Boznai, and his companions, the Persians who were in the region beyond the River, to Darius the king.

(They sent a letter to him, in which was written thus.)

To Darius the king:

All peace.

Let it be known to the king that we went into the province of Judea, to the [p]temple of the great God, which is being built with [q]heavy stones, and timber is being laid in the walls; and this work goes on diligently and prospers in their hands.

Then we asked those elders, and spoke thus to them: “Who commanded you to build this temple and to finish these walls?” 10 We also asked them their names to inform you, that we might write the names of the men who were chief among them.

11 And thus they returned us an answer, saying: “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the [r]temple that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and completed. 12 But because our fathers provoked the God of heaven to wrath, He gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this temple and carried the people away to Babylon. 13 However, in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, King Cyrus issued a decree to build this [s]house of God. 14 Also, the gold and silver articles of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple that was in Jerusalem and carried into the temple of Babylon—those King Cyrus took from the temple of Babylon, and they were given to one named Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor. 15 And he said to him, ‘Take these articles; go, carry them to the temple site that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be rebuilt on its former site.’ 16 Then the same Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundation of the house of God which is in Jerusalem; but from that time even until now it has been under construction, and it is not finished.”

17 Now therefore, if it seems good to the king, let a search be made in the king’s treasure house, which is there in Babylon, whether it is so that a decree was issued by King Cyrus to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send us his pleasure concerning this matter.

The Decree of Darius

Then King Darius issued a decree, and a search was made in the [t]archives, where the treasures were stored in Babylon. And at [u]Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of Media, a scroll was found, and in it a record was written thus:

In the first year of King Cyrus, King Cyrus issued a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem: “Let the house be rebuilt, the place where they offered sacrifices; and let the foundations of it be firmly laid, its height sixty cubits and its width sixty cubits, with three rows of heavy stones and one row of new timber. Let the expenses be paid from the king’s treasury. Also let the gold and silver articles of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple which is in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be restored and taken back to the temple which is in Jerusalem, each to its place; and deposit them in the house of God”—

Now therefore, Tattenai, governor of the region beyond the River, and Shethar-Boznai, and your companions the Persians who are beyond the River, keep yourselves far from there. Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God on its site.

Moreover I issue a decree as to what you shall do for the elders of these Jews, for the building of this [v]house of God: Let the cost be paid at the king’s expense from taxes on the region beyond the River; this is to be given immediately to these men, so that they are not hindered. And whatever they need—young bulls, rams, and lambs for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the request of the priests who are in Jerusalem—let it be given them day by day without fail, 10 that they may offer sacrifices of sweet aroma to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king and his sons.

11 Also I issue a decree that whoever alters this edict, let a timber be pulled from his house and erected, and let him be hanged on it; and let his house be made a refuse heap because of this. 12 And may the God who causes His name to dwell there destroy any king or people who put their hand to alter it, or to destroy this [w]house of God which is in Jerusalem. I Darius issue a decree; let it be done diligently.

The Temple Completed and Dedicated

13 Then Tattenai, governor of the region beyond the River, Shethar-Boznai, and their companions diligently did according to what King Darius had sent. 14 So the elders of the Jews built, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they built and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the [x]command of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. 15 Now the temple was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius. 16 Then the children of Israel, the priests and the Levites and the rest of the descendants of the captivity, celebrated the dedication of this [y]house of God with joy. 17 And they offered sacrifices at the dedication of this house of God, one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and as a sin offering for all Israel twelve male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. 18 They assigned the priests to their divisions and the Levites to their divisions, over the service of God in Jerusalem, as it is written in the Book of Moses.

The Passover Celebrated

19 [z]And the descendants of the captivity kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. 20 For the priests and the Levites had purified themselves; all of them were ritually clean. And they slaughtered the Passover lambs for all the descendants of the captivity, for their brethren the priests, and for themselves. 21 Then the children of Israel who had returned from the captivity ate together with all who had separated themselves from the filth[aa] of the nations of the land in order to seek the Lord God of Israel. 22 And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy; for the Lord made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.

Footnotes

  1. Ezra 4:1 enemies
  2. Ezra 4:3 Temple
  3. Ezra 4:7 Or in peace
  4. Ezra 4:8 The original language of Ezra 4:8 through 6:18 is Aramaic.
  5. Ezra 4:9 Lit. Then
  6. Ezra 4:9 Or Susa
  7. Ezra 4:10 The Euphrates
  8. Ezra 4:10 Lit. and now
  9. Ezra 4:11 Lit. and now
  10. Ezra 4:17 Lit. and now
  11. Ezra 4:19 Lit. by me a decree has been put forth
  12. Ezra 4:21 put forth a decree
  13. Ezra 5:2 Jehozadak, 1 Chr. 6:14
  14. Ezra 5:3 The Euphrates
  15. Ezra 5:3 Lit. house
  16. Ezra 5:8 Lit. house
  17. Ezra 5:8 Lit. stones of rolling, stones too heavy to be carried
  18. Ezra 5:11 Lit. house
  19. Ezra 5:13 Temple
  20. Ezra 6:1 Lit. house of the scrolls
  21. Ezra 6:2 Probably Ecbatana, the ancient capital of Media
  22. Ezra 6:8 Temple
  23. Ezra 6:12 Temple
  24. Ezra 6:14 decree
  25. Ezra 6:16 Temple
  26. Ezra 6:19 The Hebrew language resumes in Ezra 6:19 and continues through 7:11.
  27. Ezra 6:21 uncleanness

Psalm 137

Longing for Zion in a Foreign Land

137 By the rivers of Babylon,
There we sat down, yea, we wept
When we remembered Zion.
We hung our harps
Upon the willows in the midst of it.
For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song,
And those who plundered us requested mirth,
Saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How shall we sing the Lord’s song
In a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
Let my right hand forget its skill!
If I do not remember you,
Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth—
If I do not exalt Jerusalem
Above my chief joy.

Remember, O Lord, against the sons of Edom
The day of Jerusalem,
Who said, [a]“Raze it, raze it,
To its very foundation!”

O daughter of Babylon, who are to be destroyed,
Happy the one who repays you as you have served us!
Happy the one who takes and dashes
Your little ones against the rock!

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 137:7 Lit. Make bare

Weekend Reading (September 18)

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: This month we have another great verse to pick up and swing when you need a sword in your hand!

1 John 4:4

NKJV – “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
NAS – “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
ESV – “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
AMP – “Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind].”
NIV – “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Ezra 1-3 NKJV

End of the Babylonian Captivity

Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying,

Thus says Cyrus king of Persia:

All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a [a]house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem. And whoever is left in any place where he dwells, let the men of his place help him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for the house of God which is in Jerusalem.

Then the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, with all whose spirits God [b]had moved, arose to go up and build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem. And all those who were around them [c]encouraged them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with precious things, besides all that was willingly offered.

King Cyrus also brought out the articles of the house of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem and put in the [d]temple of his gods; and Cyrus king of Persia brought them out by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. This is the number of them: thirty gold platters, one thousand silver platters, twenty-nine knives, 10 thirty gold basins, four hundred and ten silver basins of a similar kind, and one thousand other articles. 11 All the articles of gold and silver were five thousand four hundred. All these Sheshbazzar took with the captives who were brought from Babylon to Jerusalem.

The Captives Who Returned to Jerusalem

Now these are the people of the province who came back from the captivity, of those who had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away to Babylon, and who returned to Jerusalem and Judah, everyone to his own city.

Those who came with Zerubbabel were Jeshua, Nehemiah, [e]Seraiah, [f]Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, [g]Mispar, Bigvai, [h]Rehum, and Baanah. The number of the men of the people of Israel: the people of Parosh, two thousand one hundred and seventy-two; the people of Shephatiah, three hundred and seventy-two; the people of Arah, seven hundred and seventy-five; the people of Pahath-Moab, of the people of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and twelve; the people of Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four; the people of Zattu, nine hundred and forty-five; the people of Zaccai, seven hundred and sixty; 10 the people of [i]Bani, six hundred and forty-two; 11 the people of Bebai, six hundred and twenty-three; 12 the people of Azgad, one thousand two hundred and twenty-two; 13 the people of Adonikam, six hundred and sixty-six; 14 the people of Bigvai, two thousand and fifty-six; 15 the people of Adin, four hundred and fifty-four; 16 the people of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety-eight; 17 the people of Bezai, three hundred and twenty-three; 18 the people of [j]Jorah, one hundred and twelve; 19 the people of Hashum, two hundred and twenty-three; 20 the people of [k]Gibbar, ninety-five; 21 the people of Bethlehem, one hundred and twenty-three; 22 the men of Netophah, fifty-six; 23 the men of Anathoth, one hundred and twenty-eight; 24 the people of [l]Azmaveth, forty-two; 25 the people of [m]Kirjath Arim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred and forty-three; 26 the people of Ramah and Geba, six hundred and twenty-one; 27 the men of Michmas, one hundred and twenty-two; 28 the men of Bethel and Ai, two hundred and twenty-three; 29 the people of Nebo, fifty-two; 30 the people of Magbish, one hundred and fifty-six; 31 the people of the other Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four; 32 the people of Harim, three hundred and twenty; 33 the people of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred and twenty-five; 34 the people of Jericho, three hundred and forty-five; 35 the people of Senaah, three thousand six hundred and thirty.

36 The priests: the sons of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred and seventy-three; 37 the sons of Immer, one thousand and fifty-two; 38 the sons of Pashhur, one thousand two hundred and forty-seven; 39 the sons of Harim, one thousand and seventeen.

40 The Levites: the sons of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the sons of [n]Hodaviah, seventy-four.

41 The singers: the sons of Asaph, one hundred and twenty-eight.

42 The sons of the gatekeepers: the sons of Shallum, the sons of Ater, the sons of Talmon, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hatita, and the sons of Shobai, one hundred and thirty-nine in all.

43 The Nethinim: the sons of Ziha, the sons of Hasupha, the sons of Tabbaoth, 44 the sons of Keros, the sons of [o]Siaha, the sons of Padon, 45 the sons of Lebanah, the sons of Hagabah, the sons of Akkub, 46 the sons of Hagab, the sons of Shalmai, the sons of Hanan, 47 the sons of Giddel, the sons of Gahar, the sons of Reaiah, 48 the sons of Rezin, the sons of Nekoda, the sons of Gazzam, 49 the sons of Uzza, the sons of Paseah, the sons of Besai, 50 the sons of Asnah, the sons of Meunim, the sons of [p]Nephusim, 51 the sons of Bakbuk, the sons of Hakupha, the sons of Harhur, 52 the sons of [q]Bazluth, the sons of Mehida, the sons of Harsha, 53 the sons of Barkos, the sons of Sisera, the sons of Tamah, 54 the sons of Neziah, and the sons of Hatipha.

55 The sons of Solomon’s servants: the sons of Sotai, the sons of Sophereth, the sons of [r]Peruda, 56 the sons of Jaala, the sons of Darkon, the sons of Giddel, 57 the sons of Shephatiah, the sons of Hattil, the sons of Pochereth of Zebaim, and the sons of [s]Ami. 58 All the Nethinim and the children of Solomon’s servants were three hundred and ninety-two.

59 And these were the ones who came up from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Cherub, [t]Addan, and Immer; but they could not [u]identify their father’s house or their [v]genealogy, whether they were of Israel: 60 the sons of Delaiah, the sons of Tobiah, and the sons of Nekoda, six hundred and fifty-two; 61 and of the sons of the priests: the sons of Habaiah, the sons of [w]Koz, and the sons of Barzillai, who took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called by their name. 62 These sought their listing among those who were registered by genealogy, but they were not found; therefore they were excluded from the priesthood as defiled. 63 And the [x]governor said to them that they should not eat of the most holy things till a priest could consult with the Urim and Thummim.

64 The whole assembly together was forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty, 65 besides their male and female servants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred and thirty-seven; and they had two hundred men and women singers. 66 Their horses were seven hundred and thirty-six, their mules two hundred and forty-five, 67 their camels four hundred and thirty-five, and their donkeys six thousand seven hundred and twenty.

68 Some of the heads of the fathers’ houses, when they came to the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem, offered freely for the house of God, to erect it in its place: 69 According to their ability, they gave to the treasury for the work sixty-one thousand gold drachmas, five thousand minas of silver, and one hundred priestly garments.

70 So the priests and the Levites, some of the people, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the Nethinim, dwelt in their cities, and all Israel in their cities.

Worship Restored at Jerusalem

And when the seventh month had come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered together as one man to Jerusalem. Then [y]Jeshua the son of Jozadak[z] and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and his brethren, arose and built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the Law of Moses the man of God. Though fear had come upon them because of the people of those countries, they set the altar on its [aa]bases; and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening burnt offerings. They also kept the Feast of Tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings in the number required by ordinance for each day. Afterwards they offered the regular burnt offering, and those for New Moons and for all the appointed feasts of the Lord that were consecrated, and those of everyone who willingly offered a freewill offering to the Lord. From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord, although the foundation of the temple of the Lord had not been laid. They also gave money to the masons and the carpenters, and food, drink, and oil to the people of Sidon and Tyre to bring cedar logs from Lebanon to the sea, to Joppa, according to the permission which they had from Cyrus king of Persia.

Restoration of the Temple Begins

Now in the second month of the second year of their coming to the house of God at Jerusalem, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, Jeshua the son of [ab]Jozadak, and the rest of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all those who had come out of the captivity to Jerusalem, began work and appointed the Levites from twenty years old and above to oversee the work of the house of the Lord. Then Jeshua with his sons and brothers, Kadmiel with his sons, and the sons of [ac]Judah, arose as one to oversee those working on the house of God: the sons of Henadad with their sons and their brethren the Levites.

10 When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the[ad] priests stood in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the Lord, according to the ordinance[ae] of David king of Israel. 11 And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord:

“For He is good,
For His mercy endures forever toward Israel.”

Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.

12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes. Yet many shouted aloud for joy, 13 so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard afar off.

Footnotes

  1. Ezra 1:2 Temple
  2. Ezra 1:5 stirred up
  3. Ezra 1:6 Lit. strengthened their hands
  4. Ezra 1:7 Lit. house
  5. Ezra 2:2 Azariah, Neh. 7:7
  6. Ezra 2:2 Raamiah, Neh. 7:7
  7. Ezra 2:2 Mispereth, Neh. 7:7
  8. Ezra 2:2 Nehum, Neh. 7:7
  9. Ezra 2:10 Binnui, Neh. 7:15
  10. Ezra 2:18 Hariph, Neh. 7:24
  11. Ezra 2:20 Gibeon, Neh. 7:25
  12. Ezra 2:24 Beth Azmaveth, Neh. 7:28
  13. Ezra 2:25 Kirjath Jearim, Neh. 7:29
  14. Ezra 2:40 Judah, Ezra 3:9, or Hodevah, Neh. 7:43
  15. Ezra 2:44 Sia, Neh. 7:47
  16. Ezra 2:50 Nephishesim, Neh. 7:52
  17. Ezra 2:52 Bazlith, Neh. 7:54
  18. Ezra 2:55 Perida, Neh. 7:57
  19. Ezra 2:57 Amon, Neh. 7:59
  20. Ezra 2:59 Or Addon, Neh. 7:61
  21. Ezra 2:59 Lit. tell
  22. Ezra 2:59 Lit. seed
  23. Ezra 2:61 Or Hakkoz
  24. Ezra 2:63 Heb. Tirshatha
  25. Ezra 3:2 Or Joshua
  26. Ezra 3:2 Jehozadak, 1 Chr. 6:14
  27. Ezra 3:3 foundations
  28. Ezra 3:8 Jehozadak, 1 Chr. 6:14
  29. Ezra 3:9 Hodaviah, Ezra 2:40
  30. Ezra 3:10 So with LXX, Syr., Vg.; MT they stationed the priests
  31. Ezra 3:10 Lit. hands