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. 


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?




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.”



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.’”



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.”



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!



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.

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



“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
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.



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!


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

2493.) Zechariah 3

November 21, 2018

“Is not this a brand, a burning stick, plucked from the fire?”                            — Zechariah 3:2

Zechariah 3 (NIV)

The Vision of Clean Garments for the High Priest

1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him.

The name Satan literally means adversary, opponent.

2The LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you!

Jude 1:9 (ESV)

But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”

Is not this man a burning stick (a brand) snatched from the fire?”

A brand is a burning, burnt, or smoldering piece of wood. Think of a campfire with a blackened, charred chunk of wood smoking in the ashes. It isn’t worth much at all and will be consumed completely if it isn’t plucked from the fire. Spurgeon writes, “So it is with the child of God. What is he at the best? Till he is taken up to heaven, he is nothing but a brand plucked out of the fire. It is his daily moan that he is a sinner; but Christ accepts him as he is: and he shuts the devil’s mouth by telling him, ‘Thou sayest this man is black — of course he is: what did I think he was but that? He is a brand plucked out of the fire. I plucked him out of it. He was burning when he was in it: he is black now he is out of it. He was what I knew he would be; he is not what I mean to make him, but he is what I knew he would be. I have chosen him as a brand plucked out of the fire. What hast thou to say to that?’ Do observe that this plea did not require a single word to be added to it from Joshua.”

When John Wesley was just six years old, he was trapped in a burning house and was only rescued when one neighbor climbed on another’s shoulders and pulled him out of window. A picture of the scene was drawn for Wesley and he kept the drawing until he died. Under the drawing he wrote Zechariah 3:2: Is this not a brand plucked from the burning?

–David Guzik

3 Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 4 The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.”

Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.”

The filthy clothes represent iniquity; the fine garments represent righteousness.

5 Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the LORD stood by.

6 The angel of the LORD gave this charge to Joshua: 7 “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in obedience to me and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.

These instructions sound a lot like the ones given to an earlier Joshua:

Joshua 1:7 (NLT)

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do.

8 “‘Listen, High Priest Joshua, you and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch.

A man cutting down a tree in Oregon found Jesus IN a branch. Here it is!

Branch” is used several times as a title for the Messiah (Isaiah 4:2 and 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5 and 33:15). The Branch is associated with fruitfulness and life. Jesus used the same image when He said that He was the vine and we are the branches (John 15:5). 

–David Guzik

9 See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.

10 “‘In that day each of you will invite your neighbor to sit under your vine and fig tree,’ declares the LORD Almighty.”



Recently it has been my privilege to spend time with wonderful “neighbors,” some whom I have known for a long time, and others who are new friends. I have been blessed by the interesting conversations and the laughter and the honesty as we sat together at table or while traveling . . . and just as Joshua the priest must have felt, I am so grateful for a Savior who would take away my dirtiness and give me cleanness instead, and then let me share life with others who know just what I am talking about! This song, from Vertical Worship, tells my story in other words.  HERE  is “Yes, I Will.”


New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
campfire.    http://180kitchen.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/campfire_4213.jpg
Wesley rescued from the burning house.   https://www.pinterest.com/pin/432908582911739299/
fine garments.   http://www.alphaconsultant.com/2013/12/zechariah-3-clothed-in-righteousness.html
Jesus in a branch.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/manseesjesuschristintreebranch.jpeg

2492.) Zechariah 2

November 20, 2018

God says, You are the apple of My eye!

Zechariah 2 (NIV)

The Vision of a Man With a Measuring Line

1 Then I looked up, and there before me was a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2I asked, “Where are you going?”   He answered me, “To measure Jerusalem, to find out how wide and how long it is.”

This is almost funny. Jerusalem is a wreck now, with a handful of returnees trying to put life back together. And the vision is of an angel measuring the city to see if it is large enough!  David Guzik says, “It is as if the man with a measuring line went into a huge old cathedral where only a few attended church and started to make sure it was large enough for the crowds God was sure to bring.”

3 While the angel who was speaking to me was leaving, another angel came to meet him 4 and said to him: “Run, tell that young man, ‘Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of people and animals in it.

Of course, Jerusalem is a city without walls now, modern armaments making walls useless. But when Christ comes to rule, He will be the city’s protection.

5 And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will be its glory within.’

Psalm 125:2 (ESV)

As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
   so the LORD surrounds his people,
   from this time forth and forevermore.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

(Amy Carmichael was a British missionary who arrived in India in 1895 and stayed there till her death in 1951. At first she worked in the villages of South India. Then in 1901 she began to make a home for children in need of protection and care. Others came to help her, and the Dohnavur Fellowship was born. For fifty years she was Mother to an ever-increasing family — over a thousand children! — and saw many of her children grow up to serve the Lord by serving others. 

An accident in 1931 led to illness which confined her almost entirely to her room for the remaining years of her life. During that time she continued to counsel and encourage all who came to see her and to write many books, devotionals, and letters.)


One night I was greatly discouraged because I felt so helpless. There was nothing I could do to protect you, and the burden was heavy. Suddenly it was as if a voice said, “Leave it to Me, child, leave it to Me.”

Near me were two pure white lilies, which had opened after the last thunderstorm. Perhaps it was they which gave the last line in this song:

Leave it to Me, child, leave it to Me,
Dearer thy garden to Me than to thee.
Lift up thy  heart, child, lift up thine eyes,
Nought can defeat Me, and nought can surprise.

Leave it to Me, child, leave it to Me,
Trust in the wall of fire, look up and see
Stars in their courses shine through the night.
Both are alike to Me — darkness and light.

Leave it to Me, child, leave it to Me.
Let slip the burden too heavy for thee.
That which I will, My Hand shall perform,
Fair are the lilies that weather the storm.

6 “Come! Come! Flee from the land of the north,” declares the LORD, “for I have scattered you to the four winds of heaven,” declares the LORD.

7 “Come, Zion! Escape, you who live in Daughter Babylon!” 8 For this is what the LORD Almighty says: “After the Glorious One has sent me against the nations that have plundered you—for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye

Deuteronomy 32:10 (NKJV)

He found him in a desert land
      And in the wasteland, a howling wilderness;
      He encircled him, He instructed him,
      He kept him as the apple of His eye.

9 I will surely raise my hand against them so that their slaves will plunder them. Then you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me.

God says all he has to do is raise his hand — and the balance of power will turn upside down; those who enslaved others will become slaves themselves.

10 “Shout and be glad, Daughter Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the LORD. 11 “Many nations will be joined with the LORD in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you. 12 The LORD will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem.

This is the only place in the Bible where the phrase “holy land” is used.

13 Be still before the LORD, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.”



Sister Marie Célestin Mikhail, who lived in Jerusalem, made hundreds of cards over the years decorated with dried and pressed flowers of the Holy Land. These she sent to friends and relatives all over the world. Ramzi Mikhail has photographed a small collection of them and has added his music to it  HERE  for others to enjoy.


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

Images courtesy of:
apple of my eye.   http://fc09.deviantart.net/fs46/f/2009/211/2/c/You__re_the_Apple_of_My_Eye_by_Fading_x_Roses.png
fire.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/fire1.jpg
Holy Land.   http://www.heavenlymatchedtravel.com/holy-land-tour-2017-with-rev-dr-d-z-cofield/

2491.) Zechariah 1

November 19, 2018

Michelangelo’s Zechariah, from the Sistine Chapel ceiling

If all we had was Haggai to go by, we might conclude that all God was really interested in was the temple. Zechariah gives the rest of the story, and shows how God is interested in lives, not only buildings.

The Prophecy of Zechariah is noted for its rich use of visions, pictures, and symbols. Seventeenth-century English Anglican Bible commentator John Trapp wrote, “Haggai lays down the mind of God to the people more plainly in direct and downright terms; Zechariah flies a higher pitch, abounding with types and visions; and is therefore worthily reckoned among the abstrusest and profoundest penmen of Holy Scripture . . . We pass from dark prophecies to that which is much more dark.”

Zechariah 1 (NIV)

A Call to Return to the LORD

Zechariah served the Lord in the years after the remnant returned from the 70-year Babylonian exile. His prophetic career is marked by the reign of Darius, the ruler of the Medes and Persians. His career is not marked by the reign of a king over Israel or Judah, because there was no king of Israel or Judah in this period after the exile.

The timing of Zechariah’s prophecy sets it two months after Haggai’s first prophecy (Haggai 1:1) and within a month after another prophecy of Haggai (Haggai 2:1). This was between October and November of 520 B.C.

–David Guzik

1In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo:

This Zechariah is one of some 27 mentioned in the Bible! His name means “The Lord Remembers.” We know just a bit about him from Ezra 6:14 —

So the elders of the Jews built, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they built and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the command of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.

2 “The LORD was very angry with your ancestors. 3 Therefore tell the people: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the LORD Almighty. 4 Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the earlier prophets proclaimed: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Turn from your evil ways and your evil practices.’ But they would not listen or pay attention to me, declares the LORD.

Zechariah began his prophecy with a call to repentance, and a call that remembered the poor spiritual heritage of Israel and Judah. The sin of their fathers doomed the nation to exile, and Zechariah warned the people to remember that the same could happen to them.

5 Where are your ancestors now? And the prophets, do they live forever? 6 But did not my words and my decrees, which I commanded my servants the prophets, overtake your ancestors?

Mark 13:31 (NLT)

Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.

“Then they repented and said, ‘The LORD Almighty has done to us what our ways and practices deserve, just as he determined to do.’”

Adverse circumstances discouraged God’s people, and they wondered why God seemed so far away.

  • The land was still desolate after 70 years of neglect
  • The work was hard to rebuild and restore
  • They didn’t have a lot of money (Haggai 1:6) or manpower
  • They suffered crop failures and drought (Haggai 1:10-11)
  • Hostile enemies resisted the work (Ezra 4:1-5)
  • They remembered easier times in Babylon

–David Guzik

The Vision of the Man Among the Myrtle Trees

7On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, the month of Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo. 8 During the night I had a vision, and there before me was a man mounted on a red horse. He was standing among the myrtle trees in a ravine. Behind him were red, brown and white horses.

9 I asked, “What are these, my lord?”

The angel who was talking with me answered, “I will show you what they are.”

10 Then the man standing among the myrtle trees explained, “They are the ones the LORD has sent to go throughout the earth.”

These are emissaries of the Lord, agents, if you will, sent to examine the work of God’s people regarding the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem and the temple. God knew exactly what was happening with his people, and he wanted to reassure them of that.

11 And they reported to the angel of the LORD who was standing among the myrtle trees, “We have gone throughout the earth and found the whole world at rest and in peace.”

The angel of the Lord may be the pre-incarnate Christ.

12 Then the angel of the LORD said, “LORD Almighty, how long will you withhold mercy from Jerusalem and from the towns of Judah, which you have been angry with these seventy years?” 13 So the LORD spoke kind and comforting words to the angel who talked with me.

14 Then the angel who was speaking to me said, “Proclaim this word: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I am very jealous for Jerusalem and Zion, 15 and I am very angry with the nations that feel secure. I was only a little angry, but they went too far with the punishment.’

16 “Therefore this is what the LORD says: ‘I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt. And the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem,’ declares the LORD Almighty.

17 “Proclaim further: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘My towns will again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem.’”

God promises that he will restore Jerusalem and the cities of Judah.

The Vision of the Four Horns and Four Craftsmen

18 Then I looked up, and there before me were four horns. 19I asked the angel who was speaking to me, “What are these?”   He answered me, “These are the horns that scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem.”

In Biblical times horns spoke of strength and authority, because the power of a bull or an ox is expressed through its horns.

–David Guzik

20 Then the LORD showed me four craftsmen. 21 I asked, “What are these coming to do?”

He answered, “These are the horns that scattered Judah so that no one could raise their head, but the craftsmen have come to terrify them and throw down these horns of the nations who lifted up their horns against the land of Judah to scatter its people.”

Psalm 75:4-5 (ESV)

I say to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’
   and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horn;
do not lift up your horn on high,
   or speak with haughty neck.’

from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw


The people of Israel had suffered badly. They had been carried into exile in Babylon. When they were finally permitted to return to their homeland, it was a shambles. Their capital and their temple had been destroyed. Though they were home, they were pawns of the empires that contended for supremacy in their world. They lived their lives in fear. Then Zechariah came with a vision to remind Israel that behind the surrounding forces was a power that was greater than them and was good.

Zechariah’s vision was of four horns representing the forces that had trampled Jerusalem and its people, the kingdoms Israel feared. But Zechariah also saw four carpenters, who cut down the four horns that had ravaged Israel. God used this vision to remind Israel that ultimate power is in the hands of God and that he would determine the rise and fall of all the forces that impinged upon them. None could get beyond his control. In the same way, outside forces touch us only with his permission; they have no power to destroy us.

There is a priceless scene in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. Christian and his companion are faced by two ferocious lions that block their way; the path lies right between the lions. The pilgrims are terrified until they notice that each lion is chained so he cannot quite reach the narrow path they must follow. The lions can roar at the travelers all they want, but they cannot touch them. The pilgrims tremble as they proceed, but they are safe. The lions in the believer’s path are never unchained. And the one who holds the chains is a carpenter from Nazareth.



As per verse 3 above (I admit it is a bit of a stretch!), “Return to Me,” sung  HERE  by the inimitable Dean Martin.


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

Images courtesy of:
Michelangelo.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/zechariah.jpg
open Bible.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/a15c6-bible2bon2bearth.jpg
man among the trees.   https://i.pinimg.com/originals/4b/65/34/4b6534ada1675741b37c4c83b0336b29.jpg
ox with big horns.  http://fc05.deviantart.net/fs49/i/2009/161/f/3/Stock___Ox_with_big_horns_by_ladykraut.jpg
chained lions (from Pilgrim’s Progress).   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/lionswerechained.jpg