Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 12 February 2023:
Ezra 5:2 – Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak arose and began to rebuild the house of God that is in Jerusalem, and the prophets of God were with them, supporting them.
Zerubbabel defied the king’s edict to renew work on the temple.
Prophets work too.
Ezra 5:8 – Be it known to the king that we went to the province of Judah, to the house of the great God. It is being built with huge stones, and timber is laid in the walls. This work goes on diligently and prospers in their hands.
God’s people worked with great diligence in order to make rapid progress. How hard are you working to advance the Kingdom?
Ezra 5:11 – And this was their reply to us: “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the house that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished.”
God’s people used challenges against them as opportunities to witness, and they did not back down. Their justification and defense always started with the authority of God over man.
Psalm 17:1 – Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!
You must approach God honestly. Be totally open, honest, and transparent in your prayers.
Psalm 17:3 — I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.
Psalm 17:4 – With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent.
Carefully obeying God’s word will keep you from the deceitfulness of men.
- Psalm 17:10 – They close their hearts to pity; with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
Humility breeds compassion; pride and arrogance foster callousness.
Psalm 18:2 – The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge….
Do you feel completely safe and strong in the Lord? Do you take refuge in Him?
Psalm 18:22 — For all his rules were before me, and his statutes I did not put away from me.
Jesus says in Matthew 28 that His disciples obey ALL the He commands.
Psalm 18:25 — With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless.
The Bible says time and time again that God will treat you the way you treat others.
Psalm 18:28 — For it is you who light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness.
Light to see can only come from God. The more you deviate from God’s path, the worse your vision, the worse you’re your decisions will be.
Psalm 18:31 — For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?
How you respond to this question defines your life. It is your true perspective on God (not just what you verbalize about God) that defines your entire outlook on life and how you will respond to circumstances and to others. Does your life reveal that God is LORD? This is the heart of faith – “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) This is the foundation of all knowledge and wisdom (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7). This is our confidence (Proverbs 14:26, 27) The Fear of the Lord is proof of the Spirit of the LORD within us. It is our delight. (Isaiah 11:2, 3) Honoring God as LORD is our very purpose. (Ecclesiastes 12:13) Yet too often we say, “Yes, God is LORD,” but then we forsake God in our thoughts, words, and deeds. Why? Because we have lost proper Fear of the LORD. (Jeremiah 2:19) Too often we honor God with our lips while our hearts are far from God. Too often we fear the world because, in our hearts, we have made God small. In the lesson of the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus begins by pointing out that the foundation of everything we do rests on our acknowledgment and glorification of God as LORD – “hallowed be your name.” (Matthew 6:9) Jesus then continues to teach that it is our Fear of the LORD that drives us to obey God, trust Him one day at a time, and forgive others unconditionally. We lack obedience, trust, and forgiveness when we lose proper perspective of God as LORD, when we have trouble seeing Christ crucified on our behalf, when we have trouble seeing an empty cross in our hearts. Perhaps the most important question we should meditate upon this today is this: “For who is God, but the LORD?” (see also 2 Samuel 22:32)
- 2 Corinthians 7:1 -- Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God. - 1 Peter 2:17 -- Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
Psalm 18:34 — He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
God doesn’t just educate — He trains.
Psalm 18:46 — The LORD lives.
We do not live by a philosophy or a theory of God, but rather by a real relationship with a living, personal God.
Psalm 18:49 — For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations, and sing to your name.
When you are in real fellowship with God, you cannot help but sing His praises to the world.
Today’s proverbs speak of the wise person’s approach to building economic security: First, a wise person does not make deceptive wages and does not get rich taking advantage of others (Proverbs 12:2). A wise person’s integrity produces stability in all areas of life. (Proverbs 12:3) I wise person marries well. (Proverbs 12:4) The wise don’t just jump from one thing to the next, they do long-range planning and follow their plan without distraction (Proverbs 12:5). The wise man is guided by sound thinking that comes from years of Spirit-led character development, and because of his outstanding character, he gains a great reputation. (Proverbs 12:8) The wise person does not spend money to impress others or pretend to be wealthy; rather, the wise person uses money to provide for self and others and to build. (Proverbs 12:9) The wise person has a giving heart and uses growing resources to further provide for others. (Proverbs 12:10) The wise do not pursue get rich quick schemes and are not driven by the need for instant gratification. Rather, the wise work diligently day by day to build wealth little by little over time. His wealth is built the old fashioned way – with his hands. (Proverbs 12:11, 12) The wise man learns to work well with others, deals patiently and honestly in all relationships, and accepts the counsel of other wise Christians. (Proverbs 12:13-19) The wise pursue peace knowing that conflicts destroy. (Proverbs 12:20) The wise mind their own business and do not get entangled in worthless arguments (Proverbs 12:23) A wise person works hard, does not worry, and avoids friendships with the ungodly (Proverbs 12:24-27). The wise person stays on the path of life.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 12 February 2023: Get alone with God today, and have true fellowship with Him. Meditate deeply upon God as LORD and what that means to your life. Dedicate some serious time this Sunday to this special time with God. Consider making the commitment to keep the Sabbath and to tithe your time.