- Job 42:5-6
- Job 40:2
- Job 38:7
- Job 2:6
- Job 1:12
- Esther 9:28
- Esther 7:10
- Esther 4:14
- Esther 3:6
- Esther 1:5
- Nehemiah 10:39
- Nehemiah 8:8
- Nehemiah 6:16
- Nehemiah 4:17
- Nehemiah 2:6
- Ezra 8:35
- Ezra 7:10
- Ezra 6:15
- Ezra 2:1
- Ezra 1:2
- II Chronicles 36:21
- II Chronicles 35:3
- II Chronicles 7:14
- lI Chronicles 6:6
- II Chronicles 5:14
- II Chronicles 3:1
- I Chronicles 23:25
- I Chronicles 21:24
- I Chronicles 17:9
- I Chronicles 12:32
- I Chronicles 1:1-4, 34 and 2:1-2
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Monday, October 31, 2016
I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: But now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
When you look at the extended reading you will notice that I have given you four chapters in Job plus the first six verses in chapter 42. I understand that this is a lot of reading for one day, however, I can assure you that when you read the whole passage in the extended reading it will be a blessing to you.
Job realized how insignificant he was in light of all that God had created. After seeing who God is, in the Creation, Job repented of his sins. Job was able to humble himself when the Lord reminded Job that He was the "Creator", Job the "creation".
Throughout these four chapters are many examples in God's creation of that which will make manifest the Lord's Glory in His creative acts. I'll only be able to bring some of His Creation to your attention as you will notice when you eventually read through these passages.
Let me list some of the Lord's creative acts that I've chosen as "highlights" of God's Creation.
Chapter 38:8, Who is able to shut up the sea with doors?
Chapter 38:12, Who can cause the morning to begin?
Chapter 38:16, Hast thou entered into the spring of the sea?
Chapter 38:22, Has thou entered into the treasures of the snow?
Chapter 38:31, Can thou shut out the light of the stars and constellations?
Chapter 38:34, Can you with your voice start, or stop the rain?
Chapter 39:13, Gavest thou the goodly wings to the peacocks?
Chapter 39:29, Doth the eagle mount up at your command?
Chapter 40:15-24, God speaks of the dinosaur, the behemoth?
Chapter 41:1, Can you catch the sea monster, the leviathan, with a fishing pole and hook?
These are only a few of the examples of the Lord's creative acts that Job was able to think through during his conversation with the Lord. It was after Job had studied God's creation that Job saw the "Glory of the Lord" with his own eyes, Chapter 42:5, and was made to see how sinful he was before the Lord.
Job, after seeing the "glory of the Lord", repented and got his heart right with God. When we see the "glory of the Lord", we will also be ready to trust and obey the Lord. Psalm 19 reveals to us that we can see the "glory of the Lord" in the "heavens", and in His "handy work" that is evident in all of Creation.
The Lord allowed all that happened in the life of Job so that He might make known His "glory". That same "glory" will be made manifest in Jesus Christ, when He comes back to earth. Then all of us will be able to see the true "glory" of the Lord.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for evidence of Your glory in Your creation.
Sunday, October 30, 2016
Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? He that reproveth God, let him answer it.
This portion chosen for our devotional reading today is a continuation of the conversation between God and Job. Back in Job 38, the Lord responded to Job's concerns of how he was being treated with "where were you, Job, when I created the world especially the earth?" The Lord was reminding Job that He created all things and could take care of him. Again, Job 40 is simply a continuation of that conversation.
As we eavesdrop on the talk between God and Job, we can learn some very valuable information about the Lord's Creation that will prepare us for the onslaught of questions from the so-called "educational community" of our present-day world.
Let me remind you that Peter warned that there would be those who would deny the Second Coming of the Lord and do so based upon their misunderstanding of how "man" and all of creation came into existence, II Peter 3:3-8.
The writer of this book, Job, records the Lord's words that introduced to the world this "colossal beast", the "dinosaur". Notice the detailed description of this massive animal that ate grass, as an ox would, verse 15. This creature had a tail like a cedar log, verse 17, his bones like bars of iron, verse 18.
The writer of Job places this massive animal near Jericho lying in the Jordan River and seemingly drinking all the water of the river, verse 23. In the animal world, Job is told that the "dinosaur is the chief of all animals" and that which the Lord wants to show off to mankind. Let me remind you that the Lord created dinosaurs on the sixth day of creation before He created man, Genesis 1:24.
Though many of the dinosaurs had disappeared from the earth, soon after the Flood, 4500 years ago, there are still some around today. They are mostly found in Florida and are called alligators.
The "Creator" thus then can tell the "creation" of the future He has planned for them. Our Lord knows the "beginning from the end" and has a plan that will unfold in the last days. The next event on His agenda is the Rapture and that could happen today, keep looking up.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you, Lord, for the assurances we have as we acknowledge Your creative acts and Your plans for the future as revealed to us in Bible prophecy.
Saturday, October 29, 2016
When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
The 38th chapter of Job comes at a time in the life of Job when he is very depressed and considering the suggestions of his so called friends to just curse God and die. The Lord comes to Job and confronts him with a number of questions about his creation... When the Lord had brought the heavens and earth into place and everything else in creation into existence.
God brought forth angels on the "first day of creation" after the time He created the heavens, and before He created the earth, Genesis 1:1. I say that because God created all things in the 6 - 24 hour days of creation, Exodus 20:11. Job 38:4 and 7 says when the earth was created the angels shouted for joy. The "angels" had to be there at that time.
The subject of angels, both good and bad angels, has a close connection to Bible prophecy, both in the first coming of Jesus Christ, and the Second Coming. In fact, the most used word in the book of Revelation, other than "and, the, etc.", is "angel" or its plural, "angels", used 81 times.
An "angel" delivers the message of "Revelation" to the Apostle John who recorded its prophecies for us to read, Revelation 1. The "letters" to the Seven Churches, Revelation 2 and 3, are presented to the "Angels" of the Churches. Angels deliver all of the seven "Trumpet Judgments", Revelation 8, 9 and 11, and all of the "Vial Judgments", Revelation 16.
Angels are our fellow servants, Revelation 19:10 and 22:9. Angels will accompany Jesus Christ as He returns to the earth at His Second Coming, Matthew 24:31. Angels are real and will play key rolls in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the period leading up to the Lord's return.
This angelic activity includes both good and bad angels. (See my study on "Angels" for much more information on "angels") As at the 1st coming of Christ...... at His 2nd coming "angels", both good and evil, will participate. I'm convinced that even now angels are preparing for their role in the soon coming of Jesus Christ, which could be today.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for the "protection" that Angels provide for me and for the reality of their "partnership" with me in ministry, as well.
Friday, October 28, 2016
And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.
In a future reading for our daily devotions from the book of Job, we will discuss the creation of "angels" that took place on the first day of Creation, between the time the Lord created the "heavens" and then the "earth", Job 38:4-7. In today’s extended reading, we eavesdrop on a conversation between God and Satan.
They are discussing Job, and the Lord speaks of Job as one like none other on the earth. Job is an "upright man", one "who feareth God and escheweth evil". He is a man who "holdeth fast his integrity". All of the above characteristics could be found in Job.
Satan responds that God is protecting His servant Job. The Lord then allows Satan to test Job to the point of death saying to Satan, "he is in thine hand; but save his life", verse 6. Satan went from the Lord to Job and began to severely test God's servant.
Notice that in the testing, even Job's wife told her husband to "curse God and die", verse 9. I love the last 10 words of our reading, found in verse 10, "in all this did not Job sin with his lips". What a testimony, which has echoed down through the centuries of time, all the way to us today. In this present-day world, we need that same kind of integrity.
Please notice before we leave this devotional reading the pattern that Satan follows which will be his "trademark" throughout his time as the "ruler of this world". Satan will attack and test the believers in an effort to turn them against the "Most High God".
Paul warns us that in the last days we will not wrestle against flesh and blood, Ephesians 6:12, "but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies".
Paul, in this passage, defines all that is a part of Satan's "kingdom of darkness". He describes the same attack by Satan today as Job described over 4,000 years ago. As we get closer to the Lord's return the more intense will be the Satanic attacks. As then, so now also, the Lord is our "protector" from Satan.
The exhortation from Paul to "put on the whole armor of God" in these the "last days" is an absolute must do activity that we cannot fail to do as soon as possible. The Devil, and his evil angels, will be very active as the time draws closer to the Lord’s return.
In order to be prepared for the life we will live leading up to the Rapture, at least seven years before the Lord’s return, we must be "dressed" properly, with the "whole armor of God" so that we can withstand all the wiles of the Devil and his evil angels.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord, help me to pattern my life after Job, a life of integrity. And at the same time, thank you, Lord, for the "armor" that I can put on to fight the "wiles of the devil".
Thursday, October 27, 2016
And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
The narrative that we read today is from the record of a "man" that the Lord would allow Satan to test to the point of death. The book of Job was written some 500 years before Moses wrote the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament. This makes Job the oldest book in the Bible. It also places Job as a Biblical personality that dates back before Moses.
Most likely Job would have been a contemporary of the patriarchal age and most likely alive at a time before Moses. The main character of the book, Job, was known as a man who "feared God" with a reverential fear, a fear that is actually the beginning of real wisdom. The truth of the matter is that Job was a man greatly respected in his home region and known as a great man, one who detested evil.
In a later devotional we shall learn more about Job, but suffice to say Job was a man that God had a special relationship with and a man the Lord would allow to be put to the test of faithfulness to the God of creation. I mention creation because in a future look at Job in another devotional God will ask him where his servant was when the Lord brought the worlds into existence, Job 38:4-7.
Our extended reading reveals that the devil has access to God and even the "good angels". The "sons of God", verse 6, would witness a meeting between God and Satan. This is of interest because since the fall of the angels, the ones who followed Lucifer in rebellion against the Lord of Heaven, the "evil angels" have not had access to the presence of God. Only Satan has daily access to God for a period of time that he spends accusing the brethren, Revelation 12:10.
Several things to notice about what God does with Satan. God allows Satan to be the instrument of affliction and to apply all the affliction he wanted on Job, short of taking his life, verse 12. This narrative also tells us that though Satan is the "king of this present world", God still has the controlling power over him.
Job was a righteous man, but notice affliction came upon him, allowed by God. Many today get into this philosophy that God makes us healthy, wealthy and happy. In the end Job loses his health, wealth and happiness, but is still a righteous man who is in the perfect will of God. This truth is "in the face" of much of the preaching today.
A true study of Job will bring about a sobering understanding of the ways of God in our lives. By the way, Satan will have his power until Jesus Christ returns to defeat him and cast him into the Lake of Fire, Revelation 20:7-10.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to love and obey You dear Lord, as Job did, even in the face of either physical, economic or spiritual troubles.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed.
Our reading today is the record of the institution of the Jewish feast of Purim. This is a Jewish "holiday" when Jews around the world stop to remember how God continued His protection of His "chosen people", the Jewish people, some twenty-five hundred years ago.
The book of Esther records the events that led up to what could have been the complete annihilation of the Jewish people. As you may already know, Esther had come into the "kingdom" for such a time as the time the Lord would use her to save her people, the Jews.
Haman was killed on the gallows that he prepared for Mordecai and this brought an end to the wicked ways of the number two in the kingdom. But remember, the word had gone out across the world to have all the Jews killed.
Then King Ahasuerus had a letter sent throughout the one hundred and twenty-seven provinces of his kingdom to save the Jews from death. This is recorded in Esther 8. The King’s letter was followed by a letter from Mordecai, verse 20 of our extended reading, where the Jewish leader would call for all the Jews to celebrate the Jewish "feast of Purim".
In fact, this would be a two-day feast that the Jews were told to observe on an annual bases. It would be a time to remember how God had intervened to protect His people and it would be, as such, a prophecy of how He would do so in the future.
There are men in history that have followed the lead of Haman and tried to destroy the Jews. During World War II Hitler and his Nazi Army killed one third of the then living Jews, six million of them.
Today the wicked leaders of Iran have called a number of times for the nation of Israel to be "wiped off the face of the earth". This is an end times scenario that fits the prophetic passages that reveal a coalition of nations will move to destroy the Jews and Israel during the Tribulation Period, Ezekiel 38, and verse 5 where the Biblical name "Persia" is the nation of Iran today.
Each year as the Jews celebrate Purim they recall the days of Esther, but they also look to the future and realize that as their enemies come to destroy them the Lord will once again intervene to protect His people, the Jews.
This scenario for the future, found in Bible Prophecy, also tells us that the next event on God’s calendar of events prophetically is the Rapture, which could happen at any moment. There is not one prophecy to be fulfilled before the Rapture. We must keep looking up for this "any moment" event.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for the record of your protection of the Jews and the reality that you will do so in the future. This is confirmation that you keep your promises, not only to the Jews but to me as a Christian as well.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king's wrath pacified.
I remind you again that the name of God is never used in the book of Esther; however, the "sovereign hand of God" is very evident throughout the entire book.
King Ahasuerus, the leader of the Medo-Persian Empire at the time of the book of Esther, had dethroned his first queen, Vashti, because she failed to obey his order.
By the way, King Ahasuerus took advise from the number two in his kingdom, Haman, on replacing Queen Vashti.
If you are familiar with the story of Esther, you remember that King Ahasuerus selected Esther to be his Queen without knowing that she was a Jewish woman.
Haman had plotted to have all the Jews in the Medo-Persian Empire killed because Mordecai had failed to bow to him. Esther decided that she had to approach the King on behalf of her people, the Jewish people.
She went into the king realizing that he could have her put to death also, along with all the Jewish people that Haman was about to have killed. She said, "If I perish, I perish".
In Esther 6, King Ahasuerus, unable to sleep one night, spent time listening to "the book of the records of the Chronicles" as they were read to him. In the course of listening, he heard how Mordecai, Queen Esther's cousin, had befriended the King and, in fact, had saved the life of the King, Esther 6:1-2.
The King then decided to honor Mordecai. Haman thought he was the one who was to be honored and when the Queen invited Haman to the banquet he realized that Esther had requested of the King that he would spare her life and the lives of her people, the Jewish people.
Now, read our extended reading for today to see how Haman ended up being hanged on the gallows he had prepared for the Queen's Jewish cousin, Mordecai.
This is such a beautiful story of how the Lord puts the right people in the right place for "such a time as He needs them to be there". This story is also evidence of how the Lord protects and sustains His people, the Jewish people, and has done so for 4,000 years.
Bible prophecy tells us the Lord will continue to protect the Jews because He has a special plan for them and plus He made promises to the Jews through the covenants that He must keep. The Lord is not finished with the Jewish people, He has an "eternal plan" for them that will be played put.
This plan includes the events recorded in Bible prophecy. The next event is the Rapture, when Jesus calls us to be with Him in the heavenlies. There is no prophecy that must be fulfilled before the Rapture, and it could happen today, keep looking up.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for Your faithfulness to the Jewish people, it gives me the assurance that You will do the same for me.
Monday, October 24, 2016
For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father' house shall be destroyed: And who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
Though the name of God is not mentioned in this book of Esther, His presence and protection of the Jewish people is repeatedly implied. As we read through the first three chapters of Esther, we can see the hand of God in what happens. The scripture reveals the desire of Haman to eliminate all the Jewish people of the world and we see God's intervention.
Early in the story, Queen Vashti refuses to entertain King Ahasuerus' provincial leaders as they met together at the palace. The removal of Vashti and the entrance of Esther onto the "stage of the kingdom" was setting in motion a very significant drama that was played out some 2,500 years ago.
The fact that Esther was a Jewish woman had gone unnoticed by the King and his court. With the naming of Esther as the new Queen, God had a plan He set in place for the protection of all the Jews of the world.
I love the two phrases associated with Queen Esther's rescue operation. The first is "for such a time as this". The other being "if I perish, I perish". These two thoughts illustrate how God, though not mentioned, is implied.
The fact that a Jewish girl could become the queen to a Gentile world leader had to be of God. Esther's willingness to die for her people displays the love that only God can give someone. God's hand is definitely involved in all that takes place in this drama.
This record of God's protection of His people is only a chapter in the Bible, which gives an account of a long list of times that God interceded on behalf of His people. The reason that this is significant is the promise that God made Adam and Eve. God said from a woman would someday come a Messiah, Genesis 3:15. God also made promises, or covenants, with the Jewish people that are eternal and cannot be broken.
The entire book of Esther is a record of God's intervention in the affairs of men who try to eliminate the Jewish people. God will keep His promises to the Jews and protect them until these "promises" are fulfilled. This is the essence of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord, please give me the strength to do Your will no matter what the circumstances, even if it means I will perish.
Sunday, October 23, 2016
And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.
Haman, the number two man in the Persian Kingdom under King Ahasuerus, was furious when Mordecai did not bow to him as he entered the gates to the city. Haman then convinced the King that all the Jews throughout all of the Kingdom must be killed. King Ahasuerus accepted Haman's plan and signed the "law of the Medes and Persians" to set in motion the total destruction of the Jewish people.
The rest of the book of Esther is the story of how the Persian Queen Esther had come into the kingdom for "such a time as this". Unbeknown to the king, his Queen was Jewish and her cousin Mordecai had told her not to reveal her Jewishness. However, it was God's timing for Esther to approach the King for her people, and "if she perish, she would perish".
The book of Esther is a record of God's intervention to protect His chosen people, even though the name of God is not mentioned in the book. In fact, the Jewish people celebrate annually the feast of Purim in honor of Esther intervening and the saving of the Jewish people.
Take time to read Esther 3, and please notice verse one. It reveals the family background of the villain of the book of Esther, Haman. The number two leader in the Persian Kingdom is an Agagite, the son of Hammedatha. The Agagites are the descendants of Agag, the King of the Amalekites, I Samuel 15:8. Remember, the Amalekites are descendants of Amalek, the grandson of Esau, Genesis 36:12.
This line of Esau's descendants has been, and are all involved today in trying to kill all the Jews in the world. Remember, this was the "blessing" that Esau's father Isaac had bestowed upon him, Genesis 27:40-41.
These descendants can be traced through Herod the Great all the way to the Palestinians of today (see my study on Esau and the Palestinians). These are a people who will meet their end at the return of Jesus Christ to the earth, Obadiah 15-18.
But before that prophecy is fulfilled, seven years before, Jesus Christ will call Christians to join Him in the air, at the Rapture of the Church, which could happen today. Keep looking up.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for revealing the future in Your Word so that I may be able to understand the times I’m living in so that I live eagerly awaiting Your shout to join You in the air, at the Rapture.
Saturday, October 22, 2016
And when these days were expired, the king made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king's palace;
Our reading today is not only setting the stage for the flow of prophetic truth to be revealed, and in fact to keep this flow moving toward fulfillment, it is also the record of Bible prophecy being fulfilled.
After you have read the extended reading for today, you will be aware of the history of King Ahasuerus, the Persian king, who is the fourth of the Persian Kings after the rise of the Medo-Persian Empire.
The Babylonian Empire had fallen and the Medo-Persian Empire had become a very powerful empire with King Ahasuerus controlling all the land, from India in the east, and all the way west to the African continent and the country of Ethiopia. The text tells us of 127 provinces in all.
King Ahasuerus was a very wealthy man, verse 4, in fact, richer than the three previous Persian kings together. The King brought all of his provincial leaders into his palace for a six month-long feast so that all the people could honor his riches and glorious kingdom.
This narrative in Esther 1 is a record of Bible prophecy being fulfilled. The ancient Jewish prophet Daniel had written a very detailed prophecy about King Ahasuerus, Daniel 11:1-2, without mentioning his name, but his riches and power. Daniel wrote his prophecy a number of years before Ahasuerus came to power thus this account is the record of prophecy fulfilled.
In a future reading, we will write more about Vashti's replacement, Esther. Then we will see the hand of God as the "Protector" of all the Jewish people. This portion of our reading today is setting the stage for things to come.
We will see the villain of Esther, Haman, come to power and move to destroy the Jewish people. Once again as we journey through the Bible for our devotions, we will see prophecy, the fulfillment of prophecy, and the stage being set for future prophecies to be fulfilled.
The story in the book of Esther is of God using Gentile leaders to protect His "chosen people" so that He can fulfill the promises made to His people. As you read through all 10 chapters of Esther, you will notice that "God" is never mentioned in the book. However, His presence and protection is evident as He uses world leaders to fulfill His will, Revelation 17:17.
God, will in the last days, use "world leaders" to set the stage for the last drama to be played out on the world stage, as He did in the days of Esther.
The record in the book of Esther of prophecy being fulfilled is the basis upon which we can believe that prophecy yet to be fulfilled, will be fulfilled.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you for your presence, your provision, and your protection for me on a daily basis.
Friday, October 21, 2016
For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto the chambers, where are the vessels of the sanctuary, and the priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers: and we will not forsake the house of our God.
As we come to our devotional reading for today we must be reminded of some background information before we look at our passage for our extended reading.
Nehemiah had traveled back to Jerusalem to rebuild the streets of the city and the walls around the city. That job completed, the scribe, Ezra comes into the Temple with the "Torah", the five books of Moses, the first five books of the Old Testament, Nehemiah 8:1.
The day Ezra arrived at the Temple, Nehemiah 8:2, the first day of the seventh month on the Jewish calendar, was the Jewish Holy Day of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, also known as the "feast of trumpets".
As Ezra stood behind a "wooden pulpit" , Nehemiah 8:4, the people stood up for the reading of the Word, Nehemiah 8:5. Then Ezra gave the people an understanding of the portion read to the congregation. As a result of the reading of the Word and a response to the Word there was "revival" among the Jewish worshipers.
In Nehemiah 9:3 we see that the Jewish worshipers would spend one-fourth of their day reading the Word of God and one-fourth of their day confessing their sins and worshiping the Lord their God.
It was because of what was happening among the Jewish people that leads us to the point in time of our reading for today. The last verse in Nehemiah 9, verse 38, states that they made a promise, a vow in writing, and sealed it.
Walking in the law of the Lord was made manifest in their giving of their wealth to the service of the Temple, verse 32. Verse 35 also reveals that those who had come under the influence of this revival also gave the "first fruits" of the farm products they were harvesting for the activities at the Temple.
Then, in our key verse, verse 39, we see that they did all that was reported of them, and made a vow to forsake not the "house of their God". This last statement reminds me of the exhortation Paul wrote in the book of Hebrews, 10:25, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another: and so much the more as we see the day approaching".
The "day approaching" is the day of the coming of the Lord at the Rapture of the Church. That day could be today, the day that Jesus shouts to have us join Him in the air. This behooves us to let the Word of God be that by which we live everyday of our life as we await His seemingly soon return to gather us to Him.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord help me to join others as we assemble ourselves together to hear Your Word in preparation for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
This chapter in Nehemiah is an exhortation for each of us to read the Word of God, come to an understanding of the Word, and then to obey the Word. Nehemiah 8:8 tells us how this can happen.
The verse explains the process that Ezra, the scribe, used in order for God's Word to be understood and obeyed.
When someone tells me, based upon Nehemiah 8:4 that I must stand behind a pulpit to preach, I remind them that they must then stand while I preach based on the next verse.
Notice after the Word was read, Nehemiah 8:8, that Ezra would "give the sense" of the Word. In other words, he would do a Bible study with the people so that they would understand what was being read.
It is interesting to note that the people had a respect for God's Word, as indicated by the fact that they stood as the Word was read. We must first respect God's Word before we can really understand what God is saying to us through it. When we respect and understand His Word, then we will obey His Word, as we see happening in this passage, Nehemiah 8:9-18.
Did you notice the time of the year that the passage takes place? It is in the fall of the year, Nehemiah 8:2, the first day of the seventh month. That is the day that the Jewish people celebrate the Feast of Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
Notice also that as the people read and understood God's Word, they realized that they were to observe the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles, Nehemiah 8:14-18. The seven-day Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated by reading the Word each day, Nehemiah 8:18, in addition to living in their "thatched huts" for the seven days of the feast.
This chapter gives us an understanding of how we are to relate to God's Word. It also looks into the future with the mention of the two Jewish feast days, Trumpets and Tabernacles.
The first of these two Jewish Feasts foretell of the time of the return of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, to the Earth. Christ will come back to the Mount of Olives on the Feast of Trumpets. This is not the Rapture, but the Second Coming. Jesus tells the angel to blow the trumpet and gather His elect from the four winds and from one end of heaven to the other, Matthew 24:31 .
The Millennial Kingdom will begin on the Feast of Tabernacles, the last of the fall feast, fulfilling the prophecy of the Jewish feast day, as will be the case in all seven of the Jewish Feast days. That is what Peter was talking about when he wanted to set up three tabernacles in Matthew 17 on the Mount of transfiguration.
Nehemiah 8 is a great chapter that reminds us of the importance of "reading", "understanding", and "obeying" God's Word. But also it reminds us of things to come, Bible prophecy that will be fulfilled.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me Lord to read Your Word, understand it and obey it.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God.
What a stamp of approval, the "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval", when the world, in fact the enemy of the Jewish people, realized that "the work was wrought of our God". The work Nehemiah wrote about, of course, was the rebuilding of the "walls and the streets" of the city of Jerusalem.
God had worked in the heart of the King of Persia to allow Nehemiah, the King's cupbearer, to return to Jerusalem to reconstruct the walls around the city and repair the streets of the "holy city".
As the "foreman" on the job, Nehemiah had led the workers, as a man of God, with a purpose focused on service for the Lord and His chosen city. It was a matter of "focus" with Nehemiah.
Verses 2-4 indicate that the enemies of the Jewish city and its people wanted to stop the work of the Lord. They tried to divert Nehemiah away from his work. Notice Nehemiah's response to the invitation to walk away from his God-given mission, verse 3.
The focus, according to Nehemiah was, "I'm doing a great work, so that I can not come down". When doing a great work for the Lord, we must stay focused on the mission that God has given us and let nothing distract us from His will for our lives. It may be hard to focus but we must do so to get His work done.
As one reads through all of Nehemiah's account of this rebuilding of the walls and repairing the streets of Jerusalem we can find example after example of how God's man under God's leadership and provision, can do God's will much faster than previously thought.
This project was done as a testimony to the "heathen" around Jerusalem who were doing everything they could to cause Nehemiah and his team to fail. This event is one of the "milestones" along the way, in Jewish history.
The fact is that the Persian king Artaxerxes would make a decree that would mark the time in history to start the count that would lead up to the time when Jesus Christ would be hailed as the King of Kings, on the day of the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem, Daniel 9:25-26.
The exactness of this pronouncement by the King sets in place the point of reference by which Jews, Gentiles and Christians can begin to count 173,880 days until Messiah Jesus Christ would show up in Jerusalem, Luke 19:40-45.
According to Jesus, in the Luke passage, He showed up in Jerusalem on the exact day He was to be there, not a day late or a day early, the exact day He was to be there. Jesus then told those there and the ones who would read this passage later that by reading the Word of God, and understanding what it's saying, we can know what time it is in His plan for the future.
The practical and the prophetic come together in this passage of scripture, our devotional reading for today.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me, dear Lord, to focus on the mission you have given me to complete for you as I await your call for me to join you in heaven.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
They which build on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon.
For further study - Nehemiah 4:10-23
What a great book is, Nehemiah, the one containing our reading for today. Nehemiah was still among the Jews that had not returned to the land of Israel. When he got word of the deplorable conditions of his beloved city of Jerusalem he immediately sought permission from the king to return to Jerusalem and to rebuild the "walls" of the city and repair its "streets".
He would face much opposition to the task God had given him. In fact, there would be those who wanted the building stopped. Those who opposed the Jews would even resort to killing the workers. Nehemiah prepared his workers to both rebuild the walls and streets of the city and to protect themselves from the attacks.
As I read through the extended passage for today, I was impressed with what happened about 2,500 years ago and what has been going on in the modern-day Jewish state of Israel. Nehemiah's helpers would work with one hand and hold their weapon with the other as they worked.
That principle extended to the other workers with a portion of them at the work of refurbishing Jerusalem and the other portion of the Jews with shields and spears to protect the workers.
I almost feel like I am reading out of the local Israeli newspaper reporting on a normal life in the Middle East. Today, the Jewish nation of just over six million people is building a nation with one hand working to build this Jewish nation and the other half of the nation protecting all Jews from total destruction.
A great statement is used as an exhortation to the Jewish people then - and now. "Our God shall fight for us", found in verse 20, is a reminder to the Jewish people of who they are and what the God of heaven will do for them. They are the "Sons of Jacob", the one who had his name changed to "Israel" which literally means, "my God will fight for you".
These six million Jews today have living around them at least 350 million Arabs and Muslims. They all claim to despise the Jews and want to rid the world of all of them. So what's new?
The only way the Jews will sustain existence is by God fighting for them, which He has done for about 4,000 years. That in and of itself is proof of the reality of a true, all- powerful, holy God who will indeed continue to fight for His "chosen people", the Jewish people.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for taking care of the Jewish people, which gives me comfort that You will also take care of me, fighting for me, as a member of Your body.