I thought my life was set in 1989, when I returned to working in my church office after a long maternity leave. I thought I would work there until my death, but God had other plans.
The years before I stepped down from my position were painful, but had I not, you would not be reading these words today.
Daniel’s removal from Jerusalem’s court was also painful, but God had a plan for him.
Daniel 1:21, “And Daniel continued there even to the first year of King Cyrus [at the close of the seventy years’ exile of Judah in Babylon, which Jeremiah had foretold].”
“As Joseph rose in Egypt by interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams, so Daniel, by interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s was promoted to be governor of Babylonia, and president of the Magian priest-caste…But Daniel and John were not in immediate contact with the congregation, but isolated and alone with God, the one in a heathen court, the other on a lonely isle (Revelation 1:9).” Critical and Explanatory Commentary, Vol. I
Isolated and alone with God is a good place to be.
“Dying saints are justly to be envied whilst living sinners are to be pitied.” Critical and Explanatory Commentary, Vol. I
This is the first time I read the commentary and then looked up the verse. Usually one verse seems to stand out.
When I read this line, I thought of those who have passed on to eternity. From the great cloud of witnesses, (Hebrews 12:1), they see our suffering and know from experience it only lasts a short time compared to eternity.
Their time of suffering is over, forever. Their race is run. As believers in Jesus Christ they have only joy in heaven.
Those to be pitied are sinners, anyone who rejects Christ, because they have more suffering in store for them in eternity.
Jeremiah 22:10, “Weep not for him who is dead nor bemoan him; but weep bitterly for him who goes away [into captivity], for he shall return no more nor see his native country [again].”
Jeremiah 19:1, “Thus says the Lord: Go and get a potter’s earthen bottle, and take some of the old people and some of the elderly priests…”
Why did he ask for the elderly? Was this a special word just for them?
“Ancients – elderly. As witnesses of the symbolic action (v. 10; Isaiah 8:1, 2), that the Jews might not afterwards plead ignorance of the prophecy. The seventy-two elders, composing the Sanhedrin, or Great Council, were partly taken from “the priests,” partly from the other tribes, i.e. “the people,” the former presiding over spiritual matters, the later over the civil. The seventy-two represented the whole people.”
God wanted the leadership to know what He was going to do.
“I just wish we had peace,” she said.
My reply came from a recent study of the book of Revelations.
I said, “It’s going to get worse.”
Later, God reminded me that He is the Prince of Peace and that we can have peace no matter what we are facing.
Even in the middle of this book of prophecy, telling of terrible things that would soon take place, God offered peace.
Isaiah 40:1, “Comfort, Comfort, My people, says your God.”
Sunday, the first day of the week, is a new beginning. Today is Pentecost Sunday, celebrating the day the Holy Spirit was poured out on the 120 in the upper room.
We take a break from reading about ancient prophecies and ancient kings to read about the birth of the first church.
I feel like it is a new beginning for me since I spent the last week fighting a virus. My husband thinks I have fought it for three weeks because that’s how long it has been since I’ve made him breakfast!
Today’s verse speaks of another beginning.
Acts 2:16, “But [instead] this is [the beginning of] what was spoken through the prophet Joel.”
This was the beginning of…
- The Holy Spirit being poured out.
- Desegregation – All mankind without distinction of sex, age, rank, or race. Before it was limited to the seed of Abraham.
- Our sons and daughters will prophecy.
- Our young men will see vision.
- Our old men will dream dreams.
- He poured out His Spirit on the servants and slaves.
- The servants and slaves prophesied.
Hebrews 13:8 tells us Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. The Spirit He sent to the disciples is available to us, our children and grandchildren. No one is excluded.
Are you ready for a new beginning?
Is there sarcasm in the Bible? There was in today’s chapter.
1 Kings 22:16, “And the king said to him, How many times must I charge you to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?”
“On being asked by the king, ‘Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I forbear?’ the prophet gave precisely the same answer as the previous oracles that had been consulted; but it must have been given in a sarcastic tone and in ironic mockery of their way of speaking.” Critical and Explanatory Commentary, Vol. I
We cannot quote a phrase or one verse. The verse may be only a portion of a sentence. To truly understand, we need to read the entire chapter, and if it is at the end of a chapter, we should read the next one, too.
In the sermon yesterday, I learned there were 333 predictive prophecies with 456 details about the birth, life and death of Jesus Christ. Today’s verse is a prophecy that was fulfilled.
1 King’s 16:34, “In his days, Hiel the Bethelite built Jericho. He laid its foundations at the cost of the life of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates with the loss of his youngest son Segub, according to the Word of the Lord which He spoke through Joshua the son of Nun.”
Joshua 6:26, “Then Joshua laid this oath on them, Cursed is the man before the Lord who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho. With the loss of his firstborn shall he lay its foundations; with the loss of his youngest son shall he set up its gates.”
“But the curse was fulfilled more than 500 years after it was uttered…” Critical and Explanatory Commentary, Vol. I
The prophecies in the Bible are true. There are three times as many prophecies about the second coming of Jesus Christ. Are you ready?
Whenever I hear the phrase, “God told me to tell you…” I am leery. I think of the “prophet” in today’s verse.
1 Kings 13:18, “He answered, I am a prophet also, as you are. And an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied to him.”
When someone approaches us with a “message from God” we are to judge it.
Does it agree with the Bible?
Does it agree with the things God has been saying to me?
We need to listen intently to know God’s voice. Our very lives depend on it.
The verse I chose today was thought to describe the shape of the land…until 1935.
Deuteronomy 33:24, “Of Asher he said: Blessed above sons is Asher; let him be acceptable to his brothers, and let him dip his foot in oil.”
Amplified Bible Notes: “The maps of the territory of Asher sometimes suggest the shape of the sole of a foot, sometimes that of a leg and foot; but in either case the Great International Iraq-Petroleum Enterprise, opened in 1935, crossed the area just at the toe of Asher’s “foot”. Oil brought nearly 1000 miles across the sands from Mesopotamia began pouring through pipes into the Haifa harbor, a million gallons of oil a day. Jacob had prophesied about Asher, “…his bread shall be fat” (Genesis 49:20), and here Moses says of Asher, “Let him dip his foot in oil”!
Three verses stood out to me today.
1) Isaiah 45:21, “…who announced this [the rise of Cyrus and his conquests] beforehand (long ago)? [What god] declared it of old? Was it not I, the Lord?”
2) Isaiah 45:1, “Thus says the Lord to His anointed, to Cyrus…”
3) Ezra 6:1, 3, “Then King Darius decreed, and a search was made…in the treasured record…In the first year of King Cyrus, [he] made a decree…let the house…where they offer sacrifices, be built.”
God announced that Cyrus would rise and conquer. God anointed Cyrus, a heathen king, to do His will to rebuild the temple. Cyrus’s decree was carried out after his death.
It reminded me of the book by Max Lucado called “Outlive Your Life”. God anointed us for an assignment. We need to do it in such a way for it to continue after our death.