Monthly Archives: April 2013

Nehemiah 9 — God’s grace in the midst of our unfaithfulness

In this passage, we see the people coming before God to confess their sins.  And in this prayer, we see two things.  The unfaithfulness of the Jews and God’s grace. The prayer starts with how God created everything, and then … Continue reading

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Nehemiah 8 – Joy

After the wall was built, the Jews came to celebrate the Feast of Trumpets as commanded by God in Leviticus 23. And on this day, Ezra the priest read the law of God to the people.  Several things strike me … Continue reading

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Nehemiah 7 — Remaining vigilant

The walls of Jerusalem were now completed.  But even so, Nehemiah refused to let his guard down.  He put two men he knew he could trust, his brother Hanani (who had told him of the troubles of Jerusalem in chapter … Continue reading

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Nehemiah 6 — Lies, discernment, and strength

With the walls near completion, the enemies of the Jews made one last attempt to stop the work. First, they tried to lure Nehemiah out of the city where they could ambush and kill him.  Four times they tried to … Continue reading

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Nehemiah 5 — Division

Satan wasn’t having any success trying to stop the Jews’ work on Jerusalem’s walls through outside attacks.  So he tried another tactic.  He brought division between the Jews themselves, namely between the rich and the poor. Essentially, the poor among … Continue reading

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Nehemiah 4 — Rebuilding in the face of opposition

Under Nehemiah, work on the walls of Jerusalem began.  But it wasn’t long before the opposition started.  We see this at the end of chapter 2 when the Jews’ enemies tried to accuse them of rebellion.  That accusation no longer … Continue reading

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Nehemiah 2-3 — Rebuilding the walls

Nehemiah had a massive task ahead of him as he looked to repair the walls around Jerusalem. But it was an important one.  As long as the walls were down, the Jews were defenseless against their enemies.  And so after … Continue reading

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Ezra 4:7-23; Nehemiah 1-2 — The power to change hearts

As I’ve mentioned earlier, the book of Ezra, at least by the interpretation I’ve been going by (namely that Xerxes and Artaxerxes are Xerxes I and Artaxerxes I respectively), is not chronological.  And chapter 4 of Ezra gives us the … Continue reading

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Ezra 9-10 — Marrying ourselves to the world

This is one of the more difficult passages for me to deal with in the sense that God says that he hates divorce, and yet basically Ezra commands those who had taken foreign wives to divorce them.  In some cases, … Continue reading

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Ezra 7-8 — The gracious hand of God

We now return to the book of Ezra.  Xerxes is now dead (he was assassinated by the commander of his own royal bodyguard), and his son Artaxerxes is now on the throne.  At that time, Ezra, a priest of God … Continue reading

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Esther 10 — Working for the good of the people

The book of Esther finishes with a brief passage talking about Xerxes’ greatness and of Mordecai’s. What strikes me here is the last verse where it says,  Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Xerxes, preeminent among the … Continue reading

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Esther 9 — Celebrating God’s goodness

Feasting.  Joy.  Celebration.  These are words you see again and again in this chapter.  After the Jews succeeded in defending themselves against their enemies, they celebrated their salvation. Not only that, but Mordecai and Esther started the first annual celebration … Continue reading

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Esther 7-9 — The God who defends us

Now we come to the dramatic scene in which Esther reveals her identity and makes her plea for her people before Xerxes.  I’m guessing that by this time, most of her fears are gone, as Xerxes has by this point … Continue reading

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Esther 5-6 — The God who controls chance

Haman threw his lot to determine the day that he would destroy the Jews.  Then God threw his own lot into the picture. After Haman returned from his banquet with Xerxes and the queen, he was on top of the … Continue reading

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Esther 4-5 — Courage

If there was one quality that both Mordecai and Esther had, it was courage.  Whether you agree or not with Mordecai’s decision not to bow to Haman, it did require courage not to do so, especially in the face of … Continue reading

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Esther 3 — Two proud men

It’s very interesting to me that one chapter after I praise Mordecai for honoring the king, I have to criticize him for his pride and stubbornness in not doing so for Haman. The Bible is silent on why Mordecai refused … Continue reading

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Esther 2:21-23 — Honoring those in authority

Having said what I did about Esther and Mordecai yesterday, some of you may think that I have little respect for them. Nothing could be further from the truth.  While I’m not sure I can agree with all of their … Continue reading

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Esther 2 — Working because of us or in spite of us?

As I was looking through one of my commentaries getting background for the book of Esther, one of them mentioned some of the moral issues people have had as they studied this book. It also noted that the name of … Continue reading

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Esther 1 – Honoring your wife

We are now hitting the book of Esther.  I must admit it took me by surprise that assuming, as many people do, that the Xerxes mentioned in Esther is Xerxes I, that these events happened during the time Ezra.  Somehow, … Continue reading

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Zechariah 14 — The bringer of victory, life, and light

As we come to the conclusion of Zechariah, we see the second coming of Christ and the time of the Millenium. It starts once again with the nations rising up against Jerusalem to crush it, and in so doing, half … Continue reading

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Zechariah 13 — Purified

In this passage, it continues talking about the repentance of the Jews.  That during the last days, by God’s grace and the blood of the one they had pierced 2000 years ago, they will be purified and cleansed from their … Continue reading

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Zechariah 12 — That we may see

In this passage, we see a glimpse of Israel’s future.  Sometimes people think that God has abandoned Israel, and that God’s promises to them have all been transferred to the church.  But that’s not true.  As Paul said concerning Israel, … Continue reading

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Zechariah 11 — When we reject the Savior

God loves word pictures.  Jesus showed this through his parables.  You see this throughout the prophets.  And in this chapter, we see yet another example of this. It starts with a picture of the devastation of Israel represented by the … Continue reading

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Zechariah 10 — All of God

In this passage, Zechariah talks further about the salvation of Israel.  But the thing that I notice here more than anything else are these words… It is the Lord who…  The Lord Almighty will… I (the Lord) will… In his … Continue reading

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Zechariah 9:9-17 — The Prince of Peace

In this passage, we see more prophesies of Jesus, some of which were fulfilled in his first coming, while others yet to come. It says in verses 9, Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!  Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!  See, your king comes to … Continue reading

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Zechariah 9:1-8 — The God who watches over all

This passage starts with the people’s eyes upon the Lord, looking to see what he would do.  And here we see how God would bring Alexander the Great to bring judgment upon Syria, Tyre and Sidon, and the Philistia. The … Continue reading

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Zechariah 8 — Saved to be a blessing

The book of Zechariah is full of warnings and admonitions.  But as we have seen, it also has words of encouragement as well. And in this passage we see a bit of both.  God starts with words of encouragement, telling … Continue reading

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Zechariah 7 — False piety

Many people criticize Christians for hypocrisy, warranted or not.  But to God, it is a serious issue. In this passage, we see the returnees who had been exiled to Babylon coming before Zechariah and asking if they should continue fasting … Continue reading

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Zechariah 6 — He who will come again

One of my favorite Easter songs is “Rise Again,” by Dallas Holm.  In the last verse of the song, it says, Go ahead Say I’m dead and gone. But you will see that you were wrong. Go ahead, Try to … Continue reading

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Zechariah 5 — The purging of all evil

Happy Easter for those of you across the international date line.  I celebrated Easter yesterday in what turned out to be a very long (but great) day, so I didn’t get around to doing this blog. Anyway, the visions kept … Continue reading

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