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Drinking Living Water-Day 19 April 4, 2011

Posted by michaelnjohns in Uncategorized.
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Drinking Living Water From a Fire Hose- Day 19: Nehemiah 1-Job 5, Psalm 90 – 95, Proverb 19, I Corinthians 1-II Corinthians 13

Nehemiah- I love that it lists some of the trades the people who rebuilt did in their day job (until they took the “break” to rebuild. The temple was rebuilt in Ezra but the walls were in disrepair. Nehemiah went back to encourage everyone to work on rebuilding. He faced some discouragers and everyone worked in spite of them. King Artaxerxes sends him back with encouragement, and letters to the different provinces to insure his safe transit, and permission to harvest trees to build the gates and a house for himself. (1-2) The gates and walls are rebuilt. The gates all have names: The Sheep Gate was first, next the Fish Gate. Then the Jeshanah Gate (Jeshanah=”Old City”- see II Chron. 13:19), and next the Valley Gate, then the Dung Gate. Then the Fountain Gate (and the pool of Siloam), the Water Gate and finally, the Horse Gate.(3) The people were verbally abused by Sanballat and Tobiah. Nehemiah prays, the people are tired and feel threatened. They are encouraged and defended at the word of Nehemiah.(4) The poor laborers and citizens are being charged usury (unfair interest) on their loans, Nehemiah goes to the lenders (fellow citizens) and calls them to repent. Nehemiah is generous with his fortunes.(5) Sanballat conspires to kill Nehemiah, accuses him of treason against the king who sent him to do the job, Nehemiah is courageous and stands his ground and the walls are finished in less than 2 months (52 days!). (6) The returning people who knew their geneologies were numbered. The priests who couldn’t prove their lineage were set aside until a priest could figure it out, guided by the Urim and Thummim.(7) Ezra reads the Law, tells the people not to grieve (yet) but to celebrate. They feast.(8) THEN they repent with fasting. Levites recite the history of the people and offer confession and praise. (9) v33- God is just and the people have been faithless, they confess. They sign a covenant to obey God’s Law. (10) 11:17 Asaph a Levite music director, mentioned in a geneology of Mattaniah. The people cast lots to see who (1 out of 10) would live in Jerusalem. Recall that the outcome of lots (gambling?) are mentioned in Proverbs as controlled by God (Proverbs 16:33) (11) Mattaniah and his associates were placed in charge of songs of thanksgiving. v24 The Levites led antiphonal praise, that is, one section responded to the other, in their worship. Coincedentally, just today in church we sang this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCuaQCr0hws Awesome. Of course Michael W. wasn’t there to lead us, but Greg B. did very well. The wall is dedicated with a “sing-in,” 2 choirs with trumpets to accompany them (12). The temple is purified, Tobiah’s evil is finally recompensed as his stuff is thrown out of the large room that was dedicated and supposed to be used to store the priests’ things- incense, oil, grain, wine and consecrated “temple articles.” Men whose children don’t speak the language are rebuked for failing to teach them correctly and also for intermarrying, including Sanballat’s son-in-law, the high-priest’s grandson. He is driven away for intermarrying (the enemy’s own daughter!) as they were commanded not to do. Solomon’s weakness and idolatry is brought to mind. Sabbath rest is restored. Tribute of wood and firstfruits are restored, the priests are given their tasks.(13)

Esther (see Ezra 4:4) The Orphan girl becomes queen and saves her people from Haman, under the wisdom of Mordecai. Esther (= “Star”) was a nickname. Her given name was Hadassah (2:7= “Myrtle,” an evergreen with purple flowers that was used to make perfumes). The rural Israelites celebrated on the 14th of the Month of Adar (9:19) as their day of rescue fom Haman. See http://www.inner.org/times/adar/index.php- a day of joy and feasting and giving presents to each other. According to the link here, this year (2011) there are 2 Months of Adar. The second month of Adar ends tomorrow (April 4). Timing. I didn’t plan this out. I just happened to look it up today as a curiousity. I’m reading as my time and exhaustion allow. The way the texts line up together and the way they fit together, and the way this journey is going, is fascinating me. God is awesome. Purim, the feast day, is named for pur, a word that means lots- the lot had been cast to Haman but it had been turned to their favor because of the obedience of Esther. God’s Nme does not appear in this book anywhere. Just His Hand.

Job. satan is a thief and a copycat, even to the point of sending fire 1:16 “from heaven” to kill all of Job’s sheep, and blame God for it. The oxen and donkeys and camels are stolen, the kids are murdered by satan, and Job responds by worshipping God. 2 Health taken, less praise but still honor to God. Job’s friends show up to comfort him, they sit with him quietly for 7 days. That’s as comforting as they got. As soon as they opened their mouths, the accuser’s words came out. No more comfort. Job laments his birth (3) and then Eliphaz starts in on him (4). Eliphaz claimed to have had a nightmare (4:13) about a spirit that indirectly accused Job but directly accused the fallen angels (18). That part was right. It’s true the wicked come to judgement, but it’s also true that the innocent suffer for the sins of the guilty, and also for no reason at the hand of the accuser. Think of orphans (for whom God has a special place in His heart) and sick babies and powerless victims of war, poverty and natural disaster. Have they done wrong? No, but to hear the “friends” of Job tell it, by logical process, they must be just as evil as men who deserve punishment at God’s hand.

Ha, my Bible reading schedule has another error in it!~ It leaves out I Cor 1-14. I’ll be picking that up now. We NEED I Cor 13. I Cor. 1: 18 “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” But I pray they wake up from their blindness to spiritual realities and see Jesus somehow. 1:31 Ohhhh, I so WANT to, NEED to PREACH!!!!! !
My awareness of this, and my own inadequacies scare me to death. But if God so allows, my answer is YES, YES, YES. 2: And it’s not about me, it’s HIM. 3: Paul hands them to Christ, to God, and takes their pride away from himself, from Peter (Cephas) from Apollos, from themselves, or anyone or anything else they could claim. 5: ick. 6: v9, by the mercy of God we are all sinners saved by grace. Where is the pride in that? Only by God’s grace can we enter, without it we are just sinners. Paul says this to my shame, to my humbling. I can’t forget what I was, or else I am useless to share what I am in Christ. 7:33 “But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife.” Don’t I know it! And indeed I am concerned with how to please her. 8: Paul, and other preachers, have the right to earn a living from their ministry, as did the Levites in the Old Testament. The tithes and offerings are to take care of them. I would rather be independently wealthy, or figure out a way to make enough and still have enough time for sermon preparation, but I am not there quite yet. And of course, if possible, I would love to be a good shepherd caring for a flock that cares for me and my family. I Cor 11. The vanity of a man with long hair (see also Absalom?) is contrasted with the modesty of a woman with long hair. Go figure. I figure, it’s her hair and she can do what she wants with it. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free, so I wouldn’t want to make a woman a slave to long hair or anything else. At the same time, I think I’ll get mine cut. 12: Christ followers, quit fighting each other and killing off your own wounded, we need each other. 13: The “Love” chapter, so called. It’s beautiful in many ways, like poetry. Some say v8 implies that this list of manifestations of the Holy Spirit are already gone. I say that “Perfection” (v 10) hasn’t come yet, so why shouldn’t we see these and other manifestations of God’s Spirit? 14: Worship should be orderly and not confusing or full of needless interruptions. Tongues for tongues’ sake and for personal edification are best left in a prayer closet, not brought out to be a clanging cymbal (It’s not supposed to be a dog and pony show). Tongues are a sign to unbelievers (who speak that language). So do we really need them in public worship if we all speak the same language? I don’t think so. But if someone comes who needs to hear God speak through someone in their language, who am I to say that God can’t use me or someone else to deliver that message? It is to be done with interpretation though, so God would, to keep things orderly, provide someone who can offer that. 15: The resurrection. WOO HOO!!!!! and 16 Marana tha!

II Cor. 1:20 “…no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” Amen, already, then! Let God be glorified. II Cor 2:6-8: To the sinner who comes back, grace and forgiveness. 3:16 “But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” Even so, Lord Jesus, please turn sinner’s hearts to you and take away their veil, for it is the same accuser of Job that (4:4) blinds men’s spirits and leads them blindly to worship dead people, dead things, and things made by human hands. 6: We are to love them, and we live among them, but we ought to live differently. 7: Worldly sorrow only brings death, Godly sorrow brings repentence that leads to salvation. 9:7 “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion.” I Cor 10: “4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God”. 11- a few words of caution about cults- “3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, …14 …satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. ” 13:11 Aim high!

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