Posted by: robert0199 | January 15, 2021

The Letter to King Artaxerxes

The Letter to King Artaxerxes

In the days of Artaxerxes, Bishlam and Mithredath and Tabeel and the rest of their associates wrote to  Artaxerxes king of Persia. The letter was written in Aramaic and translated. Rehum the commander and  Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king as follows: Rehum the commander, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their associates, the judges, the governors, the officials, the Persians,  the men of Erech, the Babylonians, the men of Susa, that is, the Elamites, 10 and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Osnappar deported and settled in the cities of Samaria and in the rest of the province  Beyond the River. 11 (This is a copy of the letter that they sent.) “To Artaxerxes, the king: Your servants, the men of the province Beyond the River, send greeting. And now 12 be it known to the king that the Jews who came up from you to us have gone to Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city. They are finishing the walls and repairing the foundations. 13 Now be it known to the king that if this city is rebuilt and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, custom, or toll, and the royal revenue will be impaired. 14 Now because we eat the salt of the palace and it is not fitting for us to witness the king’s dishonor, therefore we send and inform the king, 15 in order that search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers. You will find in the book of the records and learn that this city is a rebellious city, hurtful to kings and provinces, and that sedition was stirred up in it from of old. That was why this city was laid waste. 16 We make known to the king that if this city is rebuilt  and its walls finished, you will then have no possession in the province Beyond the River.” (Ezra 4:7-16 ESV)

Bishlam, Mithredath, and Tabeel wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia complaining about the Jews rebuilding the city of Jerusalem. They said they were a rebellious people who would stop paying taxes impairing the royal revenue. They encouraged the king to search the records to find that the city was rebellious and that sedition was stirred up in it which was why it was destroyed.

At this time we are finding that men are making accusations against the current president accusing him of inciting a seditious riot, and calling for his immediate removal from office. Yet there is evidence that those calling for his removal set up what happened so they could do just that. We need to remember that God is in control and his will, will prevail in our day as it did in Ezra’s day.

Heavenly Father, We know that you are in control of all times and all places, and that your plan is being worked out for our benefit and ultimate entrance into your kingdom. May we have peace that you are with us and answering our prayers. I ask this in Jesus name. Amen.

Please worship with this song:

Posted by: robert0199 | January 14, 2021

Then the People

Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah and made them afraid to build and bribed counselors against them to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.

And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the  inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem. (Ezra 4:4-6 ESV)

The people in Israel who lived there tried to frustrate and stop the building of the temple because they were not included. They caused the people of Judah to be afraid to build and bribed counselors against them during all of King Cyrus’s reign. When Ahasuerus reigned they sent a letter accusing the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.

In many countries in our day the inhabitants do all that they can do to frustrate the growth of the Church of God and persecute those who follow the Lord. It behooves us to pray for those who are being persecuted that they will have strong faith and a bold proclamation of the truth of God’s word especially the word of the Gospel.

Heavenly Father, Give the Christians in the lands where they are being persecuted strong faith and the peace that passes all understanding. May they boldly proclaim that your Son Jesus will provide the persecutors with forgiveness and salvation if only they will repent and turn from their violence and wickedness. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Pleas worship with this song:

Posted by: robert0199 | January 13, 2021

Now When

Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the returned exiles were building a temple to  the LORD, the God of Israel, they approached Zerubbabel and the heads of fathers’ houses and said to them, “Let us build with you, for we worship your God as you do, and we have been sacrificing to him ever since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assyria who brought us here.” But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the rest of the heads of fathers’ houses in Israel said to them, “You have nothing to do with us in building a house to our God; but we alone will build to the LORD, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us.” (Ezra 4:1-3 ESV)

There were adversaries of the Houses of Judah and Benjamin who heard that the returned exiles were building a temple to the Lord. They came to Zerubbabel and the heads of the house and ask to join the project because they had been worshiping the Lord and sacrificing to him since the king of Assyria had brought them here. But they were told that they had nothing to do with the building of the house to the Lord, the houses of Judah and Benjamin would built the the Lord’s house without their help as they were commanded by Cyrus the king of Persia.

In our time when we are building churches in which we are to worship it is well to be sure that those with whom we contract to do the building are members of out faith that no division arise between us and the builders.

Heavenly Father, As we continue to plant and build new parishes lead us to those who are of our faith that we may build without a division between us and those who serve the world. I ask this in Jesus name. Amen.

Please worship with this song:

Posted by: robert0199 | January 11, 2021

But Many

12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first house,  wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, though many shouted aloud for joy, 13 so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people shouted with a great shout, and the sound was heard far away. (Ezra 3:12-13 ESV)

As the foundation of the temple was laid many of the priests and Levites who had seen the first temple wept grieving for what had been. Others shouted allowed for joy to see that a new temple was being raised. The weeping and shouting was so loud that the people could not distinguish between the two. There can be the mixture of emotions when the new replaces the old as there was here. But, God is in control carrying out his plan for the future total restoration of the world and he will succeed. Praise him.

Heavenly Father, We give you praise when we are in the midst of the restoration of your word during our time. It has been difficult for many to see the backing way from your standard to that of the culture and we work to restore your standard. Help us as we continue to attempt to restore your word and standards to the church and the world. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Please worship with this song:

Posted by: robert0199 | January 9, 2021

Rebuilding the Temple

Now in the second year after their coming to the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month,  Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak made a beginning, together with the rest of their kinsmen, the priests and the Levites and all who had come to Jerusalem from the captivity. They appointed the Levites,  from twenty years old and upward, to supervise the work of the house of the LORD. And Jeshua with his sons and his brothers, and Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together supervised the workmen in the house of God, along with the sons of Henadad and the Levites, their sons and brothers.

10 And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests in their vestments came  forward with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the LORD, according to the directions of David king of Israel. 11 And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD,

“For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.”

And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.  (Ezra 3:8-11 ESV)

Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak when they had been in Jerusalem for a year made a beginning in the second month of the second year. They and the rest of the kin, the priests and the Levites and all who had come with them from captivity. They appointed the twenty-year-old and upward Levites to supervise the work on the house of the Lord. Jeshua with his sons and brothers, and Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah supervised the workmen in the house of God, along with the sons of Henadad. Once the foundation was laid the priests in their vestments came forward with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the Lord, according to the instructions of King David of Israel. They sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord,

“For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.”

And, all the people shouted praising the Lord because the foundation of the temple was laid.

It must have been quite a site on the day the foundation was finished to see the people gathered and shouting to praise the Lord as the priests played their instruments and sang. Would that in our day when we complete the laying of the foundation of a new church building we would gather with our church musicians and sing praises and shout to the Lord about his faithfully providing the provisions to do the work.

Heavenly Father, As we make plans to plant new churches may we seek your guidance to find the resources to build a new worship center and when each phase is completed may we gather together to praise you for your goodness and faithfulness in providing for us as we build. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Please worship with this song:

Posted by: robert0199 | January 8, 2021

Rebuilding the Altar

When the seventh month came, and the children of Israel were in the towns, the people gathered as one man to Jerusalem. 2 Then arose Jeshua the son of Jozadak, with his fellow priests, and Zerubbabel the son of  Shealtiel with his kinsmen, and they 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. 3 They set the altar in its place, for fear was on them because of the peoples of the lands, and they offered burnt offerings on it to the LORD, burnt offerings morning and evening. 4 And they kept the Feast of Booths, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number according to the rule, as each day required, 5 and after that the regular burnt offerings, the offerings at the new moon and at all the appointed feasts of the LORD, and the offerings of everyone who made a freewill offering to the LORD. From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the  LORD. But the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not yet laid. So they gave money to the masons and the carpenters, and food, drink, and oil to the Sidonians and the Tyrians to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea, to Joppa, according to the grant that they had from Cyrus king of Persia. (Ezra 3:1-7 ESV)

As the seventh month arrived the people of Israel were in their towns. They gathered and went to Jerusalem. Jeshua the son of Jozadak, with his fellow priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel with his kinsmen built the altar of the Lord. They burnt offerings on it as commanded by Moses after they set it in its place. From that day they offered burnt offerings to the Lord in both the morning and the evening because they feared the people in the land. They kept the feast of booths with its offerings and the offerings of all of the feasts of the Lord. They started of the first day of the seventh month, but the foundation of the Lord’s temple was not yet laid. So, they gave money to the mason and the carpenters, and food, drink, and oil to the Sidonians and the Tyrians to bring Cedar Trees from Lebanon to Joppa, according to the grant given them by Cyrus the King of Persia.

Heavenly Father, In our day may we build churches where we come to worship your Son Jesus, and to hold the Eucharist which he commanded we do in memory of his life, death, and resurrection. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Please worship with this song:

Posted by: robert0199 | January 7, 2021

Now These Were

Now these were the people of the province who came up out of the captivity of those exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried captive to Babylonia. They returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his own town. They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah. (Ezra 2:1-2 ESV)

This chapter contains long lists of the people who returned to Jerusalem to work on the restoration of the Lord’s temple. It includes their goods, services, and the offerings that were made toward the restoration. It can be boring to go through all of this so I will just comment that the people came to Jerusalem and to their own towns led by the their leaders.

In our day it is not too hard to imagine what it would be like to go to the restoration of a place of worship. There is the example of the fire that nearly destroyed the Cathedral on Notre Dame in Paris that is just now starting to be restored after the building was determined to be safe. There are places around the world where persecutors have destroyed church buildings and their congregations determined to rebuild. The worship of the Lord by his people will continue whether they have a building to do it in or not, as the church is the people not the building.

Heavenly Father, As we encounter stories of church buildings being destroyed around the world we come to you asking that you would give the believers all over the world strong faith that they will boldly proclaim your word to all with whom they meet causing an increase of faithful believers all over the world. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Please worship with this song:

Posted by: robert0199 | January 6, 2021

Then Rose Up

5 Then rose up the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up to rebuild the house of the LORD that is in Jerusalem. 6 And all who were about them aided them with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, with beasts, and with costly wares, besides all that was freely offered. 7 Cyrus the king also brought out the vessels of the house of the LORD that Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and placed in the house of his gods. 8 Cyrus king of Persia brought these out in the charge of Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. 9 And this was the number of them: 30 basins of gold, 1,000 basins of silver, 29 censers, 10 30 bowls of gold, 410 bowls of silver, and 1,000 other vessels; 11 all the vessels of gold and of silver were 5,400. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up, when the exiles were brought up from Babylonia to Jerusalem.
(Ezra 1:5-11 ESV)

The heads of the houses of Judah and Benjamin, the priests and the Levites and all whose spirit God stirred up to go rebuild the house of the Lord made ready to go to Jerusalem. They were aided with gifts of vessels of silver and gold, with goods, with beasts, and with costly wares all of which were freely given. Cyrus brought out the vessels of the house of the Lord that Nebuchadnezzar had removed from Jerusalem and put into the treasury of the house of his gods. He had Mithredath the treasurer count them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. The number of all of the vessels of gold and silver was 5400. All these were brought by Sheshbazzar to Jerusalem from Babylonia. Thus did the tribes of Judah and Benjamin prepare for and move to Jerusalem to begin the work of restoring the temple of the Lord and the city.

Heavenly Father, In our day give us leaders who will restore the faith to that which you originally designed. May we proclaim the faith to all those have yet to come to know the plan of salvation through the life and death of your Son Jesus. I ask this in Jesus name. Amen.

Please worship with this song:

Posted by: robert0199 | January 5, 2021

In the First Year

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: “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth,  and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever 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 rebuild the house of  the LORD, the God of Israel—he is the God who is in Jerusalem. And let each survivor, in whatever place he sojourns, be assisted by the  men of his place with silver and gold, with goods and with beasts, besides freewill offerings for the house of  God that is in Jerusalem.” (Ezra 1:1-2 ESV)

The first point that needs to be understood is that Cyrus is not a Jew he is a gentile yet the Lord came to him and stirred up his heart to proclaim that the Lord charged him to build him a house for him in Jerusalem. Cyrus then charged those who were among the Lord’s people to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the house of the Lord the God of Israel – he is the God who is in Jerusalem. Cyrus charged the men of the survivors to assist the effort by providing gold and silver, goods and beasts, and free will offerings for the Lord’s house in Jerusalem. This proclamation was given seventy years after the people of Israel were taken to Babylon in captivity, and it was not expected by the people, but the Lord moved and the restoration of Jerusalem began.

Heavenly Father, We give you thanks that as you did in the time of Cyrus you can move on non-believer’s hearts to restore our nation and the places that have been ravaged around the world by extremists. Help us we pray to promote this restoration, and to follow your way all of our days. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Please worship with this song:

Posted by: robert0199 | December 17, 2020

Praise the Lord 5

1 Praise the LORD!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens!
2 Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his excellent greatness!
(Psalm 150:1-2 ESV)

In this last psalm we are again encouraged to praise the Lord in his sanctuary and in his heavens. We are to praise him for his deeds and according to his greatness, for it is true that the Lord is a great God and a king over all the earth.

Heavenly Father, We come again to your sanctuary to praise you. We extol your mighty deeds and proclaim your excellent greatness. May our praise waft up as sweet incense before your throne. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Please worship with this song:

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