2500.) Psalm 116

November 30, 2018

Psalm 116   (NIV)

Paying the Vow of Gratitude

I have much to be thankful for! I was raised in a secure home by believing parents. I attended church regularly and learned to love Jesus and the Word of God. I graduated from Wheaton College. I have lived in interesting places in the USA, Europe, the Near East (Jerusalem!), and the Far East. I have three wonderful children and three even more wonderful grandchildren, plus dear ones on my husband’s side. I am happier in my marriage with David than I can express. I am part of a church that takes God seriously, on a beautiful island in the Atlantic Ocean. I have beloved friends around the world.

But today I must say there is another great thing for which I am thankful:  early in 2009 Sue Awes asked me to consider writing a Bible reading blog, a chapter of the Bible a day, named “DWELLING in the Word.” The idea was very appealing! My first post was Genesis 1 on May 4, 2009. Little did I think that nine and a half years later I would be putting up post number 2,500!

How can I begin to say what it has meant to my heart and my mind to be DWELLING in God’s Word every day? The joy of finding the right commentary, the best pictures, helpful accompanying material to round out our understanding of each passage, good songs! The joy of being reminded each day of God’s power, God’s love, God’s mercy, God’s patience, God’s forgiveness, God’s majesty, God’s faithfulness, God’s goodness.

Thank you, Sue! Thank you, readers! Thank you, my dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.

“My resolve is to trust God exclusively and worship him explicitly.”

–Derek Kidner (British OT scholar, 1913-2008)

The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me;
I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Lord, save me!”

The Lord does not stand at a distance when his people suffer. His salvation is close at hand.

The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the unwary;
when I was brought low, he saved me.

“Not only is God gracious, he is also gracious to the little people, to the plain, to commoners, to the everyday person on the bus or in the shop—to people like the psalmist. That is one of the great glories of our God. When Jesus called his disciples, he called fishermen and tax collectors. When the angels announced the birth of Jesus, they appeared to shepherds.”

–James Montgomery Boice (author and pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia for more than 30 years, 1938-2000)

Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.

For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.

Psalm 27:13-14  (NIV)

I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

10 I trusted in the Lord when I said,
“I am greatly afflicted”;
11 in my alarm I said,
“Everyone is a liar.”

12 What shall I return to the Lord
for all his goodness to me?

13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord.
14 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.

15 Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his faithful servants.

“They shall not die prematurely; they shall be immortal till their work is done; and when their time shall come to die, then their deaths shall be precious. The Lord watches over their dying beds, smooths their pillows, sustains their hearts, and receives their souls.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon (English author and the “Prince of Preachers” from London, 1834-1892)

16 Truly I am your servant, Lord;
I serve you just as my mother did;
you have freed me from my chains.

17I will sacrifice a thank offering to you
and call on the name of the Lord.

P116 loosed

 

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

(missionary to India who served 55 years without a furlough, 1867-1951)

Psalm 116:15-17  —  Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. O Lord, truly I am Thy servant . . . Thou hast loosed my bonds. I will offer to Thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving.

Sometimes even Christians write of death in a sad way. “We regret to announce,” they say. The Salvation Army people are right in the way they put it:  “Promoted to Glory.”

Just after “Precious in the sight of the Lord” comes “Thou hast loosed my bonds.” Think what a loosening that loosening is! No wonder the next words are, “I will offer to Thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving.”

But those words first refer to the loosening of all bonds of sin. If anyone is conscious of any such bond, ask for it to be loosened now. Live as God’s loosed ones.

18 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of the house of the Lord—
in your midst, Jerusalem.

Praise the Lord.

Psalms 113-118 are known as “Egyptian Hallel” psalms (Hallel simply means “Praise Yahweh!”), thus they were written as praises that were sung in connection with the Passover meal and other Hebrew festivals and reflect upon God’s redemption of his people, particularly from their bondage in Egypt. In the context of the Passover celebration, Psalms 113 and 114 typically would have been sung before the Passover meal and Psalms 115-118 would have been sung afterward. It is most likely these were the psalms that Jesus and his disciples sang after the Last Supper. 

–wikipedia

Every Christian should read this Psalm with the atonement of Jesus in mind. Christians cannot help but praise God for such a wonderful gift—the gift of eternal life through His Son Jesus. Will you look upon the Psalmist and emulate His cry: “I love you LORD”? Are you willing to commit yourself to Him without reservations?

–freedominchrist.net

_________________________

Music:

Paying the vow of gratitude — “How can I say thanks / For the things You have done for me?”  HERE  is “My Tribute,” written by Andrae Crouch and sung here by the Norwegian soprano Sissel Kyrkjebo.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
I love the Lord.   http://www.freedominchrist.net/BIBLICAL%20STUDIES/Old%20Testament/Psalms/sermons–psalms–psalm%20116–i%20love%20the%20lord-htlm.htm
verse 6, from Jeanette’s Ozpix.   https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeanetteb1/17820504665
from the hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”   https://smoodock45.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/what-does-jesus-mean-by-mammon/
verse 15.   http://jacobcherians.blogspot.com/2013/11/psalm-116.html
loosed chain.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/chains2.jpg

2499.) Zechariah 8

November 29, 2018

Jerusalem Psalms by Irv Davis, 2000.

Zechariah 8 (NIV)

The LORD Promises to Bless Jerusalem

1The word of the LORD Almighty came to me. 2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “I am very jealous for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her.”

3 This is what the LORD says: “I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem.

When the Lord comes to Jerusalem, both the city and the people will be transformed. 

In 2 Corinthians 3:18 Paul describes this process of transformation: But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City, and the mountain of the LORD Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain.”

4 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each of them with cane in hand because of their age. 5 The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there.”

6 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “It may seem marvelous to the remnant of this people at that time, but will it seem marvelous to me?” declares the LORD Almighty.


7 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “I will save my people from the countries of the east and the west. 8 I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem; they will be my people, and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God.”

World Jewish Population Statistics

The world’s core Jewish population was estimated at 14,511,000 in April 2018. Demographer Sergio DellaPergola proposes an “extended” Jewish population, including people identifying as partly Jewish and non-Jews with Jewish parents, numbering 17.3 million globally, and an “enlarged” Jewish population figure that also includes non-Jewish members of Jewish households totaling 20.2 million. Additionally, the total number of people who hold or are eligible for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return — defined as anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent, and who does not profess any other religion — is estimated at around 23 million, of which 6.6 million were living in Israel as of 2015.

While dozens of countries host at least a small Jewish population, the community is concentrated in a handful:  Israel and the United States account for 83% of the Jewish population, while a total of 98 countries host the other 17%.

Metropolitan Tel Aviv, with 3.4 million Jews, is the world’s largest Jewish city. It is followed by New York, with 2.1 million,

The total world Jewish population, however, is difficult to measure. In addition to issues with census methodology, there are disputes regarding who is a Jew according to biblical law, talmudic and rabbinic law, and traditions and customs.  In addition, secular, political, and ancestral identification factors may affect the figure considerably.

9 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Now hear these words, ‘Let your hands be strong so that the temple may be built.’ This is also what the prophets said who were present when the foundation was laid for the house of the LORD Almighty. 10 Before that time there were no wages for people or hire for animals. No one could go about their business safely because of their enemies, since I had turned everyone against their neighbor. 11 But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as I did in the past,” declares the LORD Almighty.

12 “The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit,

the ground will produce its crops, and the heavens will drop their dew. I will give all these things as an inheritance to the remnant of this people.

13 Just as you, Judah and Israel, have been a curse among the nations, so I will save you, and you will be a blessing. Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong.”

14 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Just as I had determined to bring disaster on you and showed no pity when your ancestors angered me,” says the LORD Almighty, 15 “so now I have determined to do good again to Jerusalem and Judah. Do not be afraid.

The main point of verses 13-15 is: Fear not, for I purpose to do you good, says the Lord. The whole book of Zechariah is made up of visions and prophecies of how God is going to save Israel and make her a blessing to others. And these promises are intended to fill the Jews with hope in God and make them fearless and strong. And since through believing in Christ we, too, are part of God’s family, these promises also apply to us. Fear not, for I purpose to do you good, says the Lord.

16 These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; 17 do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the LORD.

Proverbs 6:16-19 (ESV)

There are six things that the LORD hates,
   seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
   and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
    feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies,
   and one who sows discord among brothers.

18 The word of the LORD Almighty came to me.

19 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “The fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.”

20 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Many peoples and the inhabitants of many cities will yet come, 21 and the inhabitants of one city will go to another and say, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the LORD and seek the LORD Almighty. I myself am going.’ 22 And many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the LORD Almighty and to entreat him.”

23 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’”

And that “one Jew” is Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, dwelling among us!

“Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to thy cross I cling.”

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is Hillsong United in concert with “The Time Has Come.” We know that God is working all things together for good for all who are called according to his purposes, and that everything is leading to God’s fulfillment of his promises! That right there is worth lifting our hands in praise and thanksgiving! (This is the kind of music I turn up real loud as I clean my house!)

Today, today, I live for one thing,
To give you praise in everything I do.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Davis.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/irvdavisjerusalempsalms2000.gif
butterfly.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/cc2corinthians3.jpg
Psalm 118:23.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/psalm11823.jpg
Jewish father and son.   http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100603/images/news.2010.277.jewish.ancestry.jpg
grapes on the vine.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/grapes_on_vine1.jpg
“Simply to thy cross I cling.”  From New Cathedral Cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland.    http://th00.deviantart.net/fs45/PRE/i/2009/149/1/0/Simply_to_Thy_Cross_I_Cling_by_touch_the_flame.jpg

2498.) Zechariah 7

November 28, 2018

Zechariah 7 (NIV)

Justice and Mercy, Not Fasting

1 In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, the month of Kislev (December 7, 518 B.C.). 2 The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-Melek, together with their men, to entreat the LORD 3by asking the priests of the house of the LORD Almighty and the prophets, “Should I mourn and fast in the fifth month, as I have done for so many years?”

from Psalm 137 (ESV)

How Shall We Sing the LORD’s Song?

By the waters of Babylon,  
there we sat down and wept,  
when we remembered Zion.

On the willows there  
we hung up our lyres.
For there our captors  
required of us songs,
and our tormentors, mirth, saying,  
“Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How shall we sing the LORD’s song
in a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
let my right hand forget its skill!
Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth,
if I do not remember you,
if I do not set Jerusalem
above my highest joy!

The matter brings up an issue relevant today: How long should we remember and mourn over our past? Should we do things to remember either our sin or the tragedies of the past? For example — I live in Georgia, where many towns have statues to heroes of the Confederacy . . . sincere and thoughtful people have very differing opinions about how to best deal with the past.

4 Then the word of the LORD Almighty came to me: 5 “Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? 6 And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves? 7 Are these not the words the LORD proclaimed through the earlier prophets when Jerusalem and its surrounding towns were at rest and prosperous, and the Negev and the western foothills were settled?’”

God rebukes hypocrisy and self indulgence, of course.

“There is no need to observe the sad anniversaries of our sins and their accompanying punishment, if once we are assured of God’s free forgiveness. When He forgives and restores, the need for dwelling on the bitter past is over … Too many of us are always dwelling beside the graves of the dead past.”

–F. B. Meyer

8 And the word of the LORD came again to Zechariah: 9 “This is what the LORD Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’

Micah 6:6-8 (NLT)

What can we bring to the Lord?
      What kind of offerings should we give him?
   Should we bow before God
      with offerings of yearling calves?
Should we offer him thousands of rams
      and ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
   Should we sacrifice our firstborn children
      to pay for our sins?

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
      and this is what he requires of you:
   to do what is right, to love mercy,
      and to walk humbly with your God.

11 “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. 12 They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the LORD Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the LORD Almighty was very angry.

Verses 11 and 12 give us a vivid description of how to disobey the Lord.

13 “‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the LORD Almighty. 14 ‘I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land they left behind them was so desolate that no one traveled through it. This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.’”

_________________________

Music:

Well, let’s not make the same mistake the Israelites did! Let’s “Listen to the Lord,” sung  HERE  by Neworldson, a Canadian Christian pop/soul group. Note:  NOT your mother’s music! This is quite fun!

Long before that I was bonafide
Demons walkin’ ‘round the streets outside
Come-a-knockin’ always at my door
Now I know what they were comin’ for
Scratch and claw, scream and yell
Call my name and ring my bell
But the Holy Ghost sent me a sword
All because that day…

I listened to the Lord
Listened to the Lord
I listened to the Lord
Listened to the Lord

What ain’t Truth, you know, is counterfeit
Words ain’t nothin’ but the half of it
They got idols up at City Hall
They want Righteousness to take the fall
But the writing’s up there on the wall
My Messiah’s gonna judge us all
So I’m signin’ up to join the war
And when my General calls…

I’ll listen to the Lord
Gonna listen to the Lord
Listen to the Lord
Listen to the Lord

David dusty in a desert land
Hidin’ away from a tyrant’s hand
He sang the blues and strummed that chord
And God said: play on Dave

He listened to the Lord
Listened to the Lord
He listened to the Lord
Listened to the Lord
I’m gonna listen to the Lord
Listen to the Lord
I’m gonna listen to the Lord
Listen to the Lord

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Zechariah 7:9-10.   http://oneyearbibleimages.com/zechariah7_9-10.jpg
weeping under the willows.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/psalm137-400.jpg
show mercy and compassion.   https://wiirocku.tumblr.com/post/171729108987/zechariah-79-niv-this-is-what-the-lord

2497.) Zechariah 6

November 27, 2018

“Four Chariots Zechariah 6” by Texas artist Donna Johnson

Zechariah 6 (NIV)

The Vision of the Four Chariots

1 I looked up again, and there before me were four chariots coming out from between two mountains—mountains of bronze. 2 The first chariot had red horses, the second black, 3 the third white, and the fourth dappled—all of them powerful.

The horsemen of Zechariah 1 were observers on reconnaissance. These four chariots and their horses seem to be hostile agents of God’s judgment, emissaries of His war against the earth.
–David Guzik
4I asked the angel who was speaking to me, “What are these, my lord?”

5 The angel answered me, “These are the four spirits of heaven, going out from standing in the presence of the Lord of the whole world. 6 The one with the black horses is going toward the north country, the one with the white horses toward the west, and the one with the dappled horses toward the south.”

7 When the powerful horses went out, they were straining to go throughout the earth. And he said, “Go throughout the earth!” So they went throughout the earth.

8 Then he called to me, “Look, those going toward the north country have given my Spirit rest in the land of the north.”

A Crown for Joshua

9 The word of the LORD came to me: 10 “Take silver and gold from the exiles Heldai, Tobijah and Jedaiah, who have arrived from Babylon.

Taking the meaning of the names (Heldai means robust, Tobijah means God’s goodness, and Jedaiah means God knows), McGee sees the intention that God knows that through His goodness, He will put His king on the throne, and He will do it in a robust manner.
–David Guzik

Go the same day to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah. 11 Take the silver and gold and make a crown, and set it on the head of the high priest, Joshua son of Jozadak.

There already was a strong, godly civil leader in Jerusalem named Zerubbabel. It seems like it would have made a lot more sense to crown Zerubbabel instead of Joshua . . . the high priest. But Joshua was crowned because the next descendant of David to rule would be Jesus, prefigured by the high priest Joshua;  this crowning of Joshua prophesies the King-Priest Jesus.
–David Guzik

12 Tell him this is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the LORD.

Ecce Homo (“Behold the Man”), Antonio Ciseri’s depiction of Pontius Pilate presenting a scourged Jesus to the people of Jerusalem.

Zechariah 6:12 (ESV)

And say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch:

“Behold the man” — the same words Pilate uses (John 19:5) to present Christ, bloody from his beating at the hands of the Roman soldiers, to the people of Jerusalem.  But Zechariah presents us a picture of a triumphant and victorious Christ.

13 It is he who will build the temple of the LORD, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.’

from Morning and Evening,
by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“He shall build the temple of the Lord, and He shall bear the glory.”

Christ Himself is the builder of His spiritual temple, and He has built it on the mountains of His unchangeable affection, His omnipotent grace, and His infallible truthfulness. But as it was in Solomon’s temple, so in this: The materials need to be prepared. There are the cedars of Lebanon, but they are not framed for the building; they are not cut down and shaped and made into those planks of cedar whose fragrant beauty will make glad the courts of the Lord’s house in paradise. There are also the rough stones still in the quarry, which must be hewn out and squared.

All this is Christ’s own work. Each individual believer is being prepared and polished and made ready for his place in the temple; but Christ’s own hand performs the preparation-work. Afflictions cannot sanctify, except when they are used by Him to fulfill His purpose. Our prayers and efforts cannot make us ready for heaven, apart from the hand of Jesus, who fashions our hearts correctly.

As in the building of Solomon’s temple, where “neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron was heard” because it all arrived perfectly ready for the exact spot it was to occupy, so is it with the temple that Jesus builds; the preparation is all done on earth. When we reach heaven, there will be no sanctifying us there, no squaring us with affliction, no maturing us with suffering.

No, we must be made ready here–and all that Christ will do He will do now; and when He has done it, we will be ferried by a loving hand across the stream of death and brought to the heavenly Jerusalem, to live as eternal pillars in the temple of our Lord.

Beneath His eye and care,
The edifice shall rise,
Majestic, strong, and fair,
And shine above the skies.

14 The crown will be given to Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah and Hen son of Zephaniah as a memorial in the temple of the LORD. 15Those who are far away will come and help to build the temple of the LORD, and you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you. This will happen if you diligently obey the LORD your God.”

_________________________

Music:

A song about what Jesus has done for us:  Behold the Man upon the cross!  “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” was written by Stuart Townend and is sung  HERE  by Phillips, Craig and Dean. I particularly like this video with its accompanying Scripture verses.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Johnson.   http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium/four-chariots-zechariah-6-donna-johnson.jpg
crown.    http://x97.xanga.com/79ff407670332250569246/b198880420.jpg
Ciseri.   http://unamsanctamcatholicam.blogspot.com/2018/02/on-christians-offending-people.html
church roof being built.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/church-roof-being-built.jpg

2496.) Zechariah 5

November 26, 2018

This scroll is the Torah, the first five books of the Bible.

Zechariah 5 (NIV)

The Vision of the Flying Scroll

1I looked again, and there before me was a flying scroll.

2 He asked me, “What do you see?”

I answered, “I see a flying scroll, twenty cubits long and ten cubits wide.”

The scroll was approximately 15 by 30 feet. These were the dimensions of the holy place in the tabernacle and of the porch of Solomon’s temple.

3 And he said to me, “This is the curse that is going out over the whole land; for according to what it says on one side, every thief will be banished, and according to what it says on the other, everyone who swears falsely will be banished. 4 The LORD Almighty declares, ‘I will send it out, and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of anyone who swears falsely by my name. It will remain in that house and destroy it completely, both its timbers and its stones.’”

God’s Word and Spirit will judge every person. Oh, Lord, that I may see the TRUTH in your Word and live my life according to it!

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is an old favorite, by Amy Grant — “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet.”

_________________________

The Vision of the Woman in a Basket

5Then the angel who was speaking to me came forward and said to me, “Look up and see what is appearing.”

6 I asked, “What is it?”

He replied, “It is a basket.” And he added, “This is the iniquity of the people throughout the land.”

7 Then the cover of lead was raised, and there in the basket sat a woman! 8 He said, “This is wickedness,” and he pushed her back into the basket and pushed its lead cover down on it.

The Hebrew word for Wickedness is feminine. This is probably why a woman personifies evil in this vision.

–David Guzik

9 Then I looked up—and there before me were two women, with the wind in their wings! They had wings like those of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between heaven and earth.

10 “Where are they taking the basket?” I asked the angel who was speaking to me.

11 He replied, “To the country of Babylonia to build a house for it. When the house is ready, the basket will be set there in its place.”

In the previous vision, sins of the individual were judged. In this vision, the sins of the society as a whole are judged and removed.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
men holding Torah scroll.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/torah-scroll-3.jpg
flying scroll.    http://followtheart.info/kareff-Thu_25_21.html
two women with basket.   http://nabiy4america.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/image028ephah1.jpg

2495.) Zechariah 4

November 23, 2018

This vision symbolizes the fullness of God’s power through his Spirit!  From the Jewish Cervera Bible, Spain, around 1299.

Zechariah 4 (NIV)

The Vision of the Gold Lampstand and the Two Olive Trees

1 Then the angel who talked with me returned and woke me up, like someone awakened from sleep. 2He asked me, “What do you see?”   I answered, “I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lamps on it, with seven channels to the lamps. 3 Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.”

4 I asked the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?”

5 He answered, “Do you not know what these are?”

“No, my lord,” I replied.

6 So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.

calligraphy by Steve Husting, 2011

7 “What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’”

8 Then the word of the LORD came to me: 9 “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you.

10Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the LORD that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel?”

All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning. Great works are often born on a street corner or in a restaurant’s revolving door.
~Albert Camus

Even though the future seems far away, it is actually beginning right now.
~Mattie Stepanek

A  journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
~Lao-tzu

11 Then I asked the angel, “What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?”

12 Again I asked him, “What are these two olive branches beside the two gold pipes that pour out golden oil?”

13 He replied, “Do you not know what these are?”

“No, my lord,” I said.

14 So he said, “These are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth.”

In Zechariah’s day, the two anointed ones were Zerubbabel and Joshua. The trees themselves may represent the kingly and priestly offices in Israel. God had a special work for these two, uniquely anointed to work together and to accomplish the work of God. God often calls two men to work together:

  • Moses and Aaron
  • Joshua and Caleb
  • Elijah and Elisha
  • Peter and John
  • Paul and Barnabas
  • Calvin and Luther
  • Whitefield and Wesley
  • Moody and Sankey
  • Graham and Barrows

 God promises to raise up two more witnesses, anointed ones to preach the gospel to the world immediately before Jesus’ return (Revelation 11:3-13). Revelation 11:4 specifically says of these witnesses: These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth.

–David Guzik

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Music:

“Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord.” Now there is something to consider carefully! The words and music of this meditative song were written by Leslie Phillips in 1984; it is sung  HERE  by Eden’s Bridge.

Not by might Not by power
But by my spirit says the Lord
   (Repeat)
Sometimes fears can hide your vision
The loss of purpose chains you down
You think I’ve forgotten all you’re dreaming of
But how could I forget the one I love?
   Not by might . . .
These mountains shall be removed
I’ll build My temple in you
And what I’ve promised shall be done
   Not by might . . .
I can see your heart is tired
And your courage has worn thin
You wonder how long you will have to hang on
But when My love comes in, you’ll be strong again
   Not by might . . .

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
olive trees and lampstand.    http://endtimepilgrim.org/2olivtrees.jpg
Husting.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/zec4-6_calligraphy-by-steve.jpg
new beginnings.    http://rickhill.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/newbeginnings-itunes.png
two by two.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/twobytwo.jpg

2494.) Psalm 117

November 22, 2018

Psalm 117   (NIV)

The shortest chapter in the Bible invites all the earth to praise God!

“Martin Luther devoted thirty-six pages to this psalm, expounding it in four important categories:
1) prophecy (the Gentiles will participate in gospel blessings),
2) revelation (the kingdom of Christ is not earthly and temporal but rather heavenly and eternal),
3) instruction (we are saved by faith alone and not by works, wisdom, or holiness), and
4) admonition (we should praise God for such a great salvation).”

–James Montgomery Boice

Praise the Lord, all you nations;
extol him, all you peoples.

Paul quotes this verse in Romans 15:11 to show that all the nations and peoples of the world share in the promises to the patriarchs.

For great is his love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.

“Here then is a true Christian universalism, not that all people will be saved regardless of the god they believe in, but rather that all people may be saved through Jesus Christ.” 

–James Montgomery Boice

Praise the Lord.

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Music:

Let us offer praise and thanks to God on this Thanksgiving Day — and every day! Isaac Watts wrote a hymn based on Psalm 117 — “From All that Dwell Below the Skies.”  HERE  is a lovely multicultural presentation of this familiar piece!

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New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
Psalm 117.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/psalm117.gif
Thanksgiving table cartoon.   https://morningcoffee.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/thanksgiving.gif