Romans 8

Romans 8: Joint-Heirs with Christ

                Paul explains that those who walk according to the Spirit, rather than according to the flesh are not condemned. Paul points out that even the; “…Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:16-17) This means that we are literally Children; sons and daughters of a Heavenly Father. Because we are God’s offspring, we too are heirs and joint heirs with our Brother Jesus Christ. Paul explains that we all suffer, but that the; “…sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18), in other words our suffering now will be nothing compared to our eternal glory and reward.

Glory, Hope and the Holy Ghost

                “…we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” (Romans 8:24-25)

If we know the outcome of something, then we have no need for hope. However, if we don’t know the outcome of something, we must wait. Waiting helps to build patience and through patience we gain a testimony of hope and a growing love for God and our Savior, Jesus Christ. The Spirit [Holy Ghost] is our intercessor, and even during times of uncertainty the Holy Ghost will guide us when we know not what to say or what to pray for.

Wisdom from Paul

                Paul teaches some great words of wisdom;

                “…he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:27) In other words; he who has a clean heart will know the will and love of God.

                “…we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28) Anyone who truly loves God, will find that eventually in God’s timing, everything will work out.

                “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Romans 8:29-30) The Bible does not speak that often on the word “pre-destiny” or “predestination”. But, essentially those who follow the Lord have the opportunity to become like Him. We are predestined to conform to the image of Jesus and those who are predestined are called. God foreknows, predestines, calls, justifies and glorifies

                “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) If God was willing to let His own Son be tortured and killed for the Sins of all mankind… wouldn’t that mean that God would freely give us ALL things? YES.

                “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8: 35-39)

If God is with us, who can be against us? No one!

Acts 19

Acts 19: The Gift of the Holy Ghost

                While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the upper coasts of Epheus where he found certain Disciples of Christ who had not yet received the Holy Ghost;

“He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as head whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto the, Unto what then where ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came upon them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” (Acts 19:2-6)

                When Paul had asked them if they had received the Holy Ghost, they knew nothing of it. These people thought they had received a valid baptism with the proper authority. However, Paul, an Apostle of the Lord told them that they had been baptized without the actual Authority. So when the people heard and understood this, they were RE-BAPTIZED, because a baptism without the proper Authority is just getting wet, and serves no purpose. Paul then gave them the power and gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands, by the proper Authority. Thus, it is important to have proper Authority to get a proper baptism. This Authority was lost some time after Paul was an Apostle, but has been restored in these Latter-days.

While in Ephesus Paul has a mixed response, but performs miraculous healings. The seven sons of Sceva, Jewish exorcists, try to exorcise by the name of the Lord Jesus. However, the evil spirits do not recognize them or their proper Authority and are beaten by the evil spirits. Many in Ephesus renounce occult objects. Demetrius, a maker of idols, opposes Paul because his business has suffered. A riot starts, which is finally calmed by a city clerk.

Acts 8

Acts 8: Holy Ghost by Laying on of hands

After Stephen had been stoned to death, a great persecution against the church went throughout Jerusalem. A man named Saul came forth making “…havock of the church…” (Acts 8:3) by throwing believers in jail. Because of this great persecution Phillip had to scatter the believers abroad so that the church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ could be preserved. Phillip was successful in teaching the Gospel to the Samaritans, and even converted a man named Simon.

Simon was a man who used sorcery and witchcraft and claimed to have great power, however, after watching the great miracles of Phillip, the Samaritans said; “…This man [Phillip] is the great power of God.” (Acts 8:10) Simon also believed that Phillip had power from God and was baptized like most of the Samaritans. After hearing that Samaria had received the word of God, Peter and John came down from Jerusalem to give them the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

Baptism and the Holy Ghost

Why did the Apostles Peter and John come down to give the Samaritans the Holy Ghost? We read that the Holy Ghost had yet to fall upon any “…of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)” (Acts 8:16) This is something very important to know about Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost: First the believers had to have Faith in Jesus Christ, Second they had to Repent of their wrong-doings and organize their lives in a manner in which they could live by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Third they had to be Baptized by the Power and Authority of Jesus Christ. Fourth, after having received a Baptism by the proper Authority, they could be given the Gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands by someone who also has the Authority to do so.

  1. Faith in Jesus Christ
  2. Repentance
  3. Baptism by Immersion with the Proper Authority from Jesus Christ
  4. The Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, with the Proper Authority from Jesus Christ
  5. Enduring to the end, and continuing to live the Gospel, commandments and Repenting if necessary.

Peter and John arrived in Samaria where they gave the Gift of the Holy Ghost to the recent converts of the Church, they did this by laying “…their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 8:17) When Simon saw that they had this great power to give the Gift of the Holy Ghost, “…he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 8:18-19) Clearly, but unknown to Simon, the powers and authorities given from God cannot be bought nor sold for money. Peter responded to Simon by saying; “…Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast though that the gift of God may be purchased with money.” (Acts 8:20)

After Phillip had finished “correcting” Simon, he travels over to Jerusalem where he is told to go down to the desert of Gaza to meet an eunuch who had great Authority under the Queen of Ethiopia, Candace. This eunuch sat in a chariot reading the Book of Esaias [Isaiah] the Prophet; Phillip asked the man if he understood what he read, and the man deserved for him to teach from the book ,and read: “…He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:” (Acts 8:32) The man desired to know more of this prophet, so Phillip taught him of Jesus Christ. Along their journey the man points to a body of water and ask Phillip to be baptized, Phillip tells him that there is one major qualification to getting baptized, and that is: “…If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest…” (Acts 8:37) The man tells Phillip that he does believe and “…they went down both into the water… and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Phillip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.” (Acts 8:38-39)

Notice how they BOTH went down INTO the water? Notice also, that they came OUT of the Water? What does that mean? It means that the man had to be baptized with the Authority (which Phillip had) and the man had to be baptized like Jesus Christ was baptized… by immersion! (See Matthew 3:15-16)

John 16

John 16: The Mission of the Holy Ghost

Jesus continues His address from the last chapter, He explains that there will come a time when those who believe on Christ will be forced out of the Synagogues and “…that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” (John 16:2) This act was seen in ancient times and in modern times. Shortly after the death of Jesus Christ, the Apostles He had called were also killed, and done in the name of doing ‘service to God’, just like bombings that occur in our modern society in the ‘service or name of God’.

The Apostles were upset by all of what Jesus had told them, but He assured them that all this must come to pass, but that after He leaves the world, the Comforter or Holy Ghost will guide them. “…he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16:13)

Jesus then tells them; “A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.” (John 16:16) The Apostles all thought to themselves, how is this possible? They were confused by His statement, and Jesus perceived this in their hearts and asked them; “…Do ye enquire among youselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me?” (John 16:19) Jesus knew that they wanted to know, but were too afraid to ask, so He explains; “…ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world…. Ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” (John 16:20-22)

The Apostles did not ask to receive this answer, but Jesus tells them in the future they will need to ask, but that if they ask they shall receive. Jesus explains that He will no longer have to use Parables to explain, and will instead show them plainly; “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again I leave the world, and go to the Father.” (John 16:28) Jesus asks them if they now believe, seeing that He speaks plainly. The Apostles say they do believe.

Jesus reminds His Apostles and Followers, that; “…In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I [Jesus] have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) We need to remember that when we are sad, lonely, angry, upset, etc. that Jesus Christ overcame the world for us, and gave His life that we could be forgiven of our sins, if we use our agency to repent and longer commit those sins. Jesus Christ enabled us to return to live with the Father. Jesus Christ overcame the world, and we too can overcome the world.

Matthew 19

Matthew 19:

Marriage/Judgment of the 12 

                  After Jesus had ended his speaking, He departed from Galilee and came to the coasts of Judea, where multitudes followed him and came to be healed of Jesus. The Pharisees quickly joined him to criticize and tempt Jesus by asking Him seemingly difficult questions; “…Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” (Matthew 19:3) Jesus responded to their criticism; “…Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:4-6) Jesus makes it clear that marriage is not only a sacred communion, but also something done between man and woman. The Pharisees then asked Jesus why Moses was able to grant writings of divorcement. Jesus explains that because of the hardness of people’s hearts it had to be done. But He made it clear that this was not mean to be, and for anyone divorcing for anything other than adultery, will cause both to commit adultery

After Jesus had spoken these words, some little children were not permitted to come unto Jesus, of course after just speaking to the Apostles about little children in Matthew 18, Jesus said; “…Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14) After Jesus had blessed the little children, a man came unto Jesus asking him what he should do to enter into the kingdom of heaven. The man explained to Jesus that he had followed all the commandments. Jesus tells the man to sell all his possessions, give them to the needy and then follow Him. The man went away in sadness, because he had great riches. Jesus then explains to His disciples that it is difficult for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

So here is the important question: Does having money, or being rich, make you bad? Can you still enter into the kingdom of heaven with riches? Money, in of itself is not a bad thing. There are plenty of wealthy individuals throughout the world that do MUCH good. However, if one were to focus on nothing but money, being obsessed with it, then it is bad. So can a rich man enter into heaven? YES. Can he enter with his riches? NO. Therefore it is important to gain not only earthly treasures, but heavenly treasures that you can take with you into the next life.

Jesus ends his address in this chapter by telling the Twelve Apostles with Him, that they will become judges in the last days and that for anything a disciple of Christ loses in this life, it will be given; “…an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.” (Matthew 19:29-30) If we work to do good in this life, and we have to give up or lose things in this life, Jesus has given us a promise that we will receive it back in heaven 100 times.

Matthew 3

Matthew 3:

Jesus is baptized 

                “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:1-2)

John the Baptist was preaching about the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the wilderness of Judea. John wore raiment of camel’s hair and a leather girdle. He was a simple man, who ate only locusts and honey. Everyone who came unto him for baptism was baptized. What is Baptism? Baptism is a practice of having your sins washed away and today symbolizes the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the death and rebirth of the sinner.

Something very important to understand is that you must bring forth “…fruits meet for repentance.” (Matthew 3:8), meaning that you MUST be repented of your sins, before baptism in order to be cleansed of those sins. If you commit sin, you must first stop committing that sin; second you must ask forgiveness of that sin and make reparations. For example, if you stole something, you must return it. If you hurt someone, you need to say sorry…. Etc. After that you must make a commitment with God to never commit that sin again. Then you can be baptized and have those sins washed away.

John tells those who he baptizes that he baptizes with water, but “…he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” (Matthew 3:11) this ordinance is completed by the laying on of hands to give someone (after baptism) the gift of the Holy Ghost by the Authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Jesus Christ himself comes down to John the Baptist to be baptized by him. “…John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him,  Suffer it to be so no: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and lo the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:14-17)

In verses 14-17 we learn a few things. First we learn that Jesus had no need to be baptized, but was baptized anyways to “fulfill all righteousness”, therefore setting an example for us ALL. Second we learn that Jesus was baptized by IMMERSION, because he went straight up from the water. Third we learn that Jesus Christ and God the Eternal Father are two SEPARATE and INDIVIDUAL beings. Because God called from the heavens and told the world that Jesus, was HIS beloved SON.

 

Hosea 3-4

Hosea 3-4

Scripture Thought (What I Learned):

The general theme of these two chapters seems to be; follow the Lord and be blessed OR Don’t follow the Lord and be cursed! “…I will punish them for their ways, and reward them for their doings.” (Hosea 4:9)

Essentially we need to understand that there is good and evil, right and wrong, righteous and un-righteous. We will NOT be saved by faith alone, but also by our good works! Jesus Christ died for our sins, this is a fact. But it doesn’t mean that we get a free pass back to our Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ simply opened the door to salvation for us, through the shedding of His blood. He atoned for our sins, because we were incapable of paying the price of Salvation alone! The door is open, and that is FREE. We have to choose for ourselves whether or not we want make the appropriate decisions to make it to that doorway and then finally pass through. This part of the journey through life is OUR doing, we have power and control over our own lives to make it to and pass through that doorway. This is where our good works help us to make it there and then through Jesus Christ he grants us the ability to be saved.

Chapter 3: Israel shall seek God

The Lord commands Hosea to go back and love Gomer. Hosea buys Gomer with fifteen pieces of silver, and one and a half a homer of barley. The children of Israel will be deprived of their sacrifices and without their king, but then return to seek the Lord. Essentially the message here is that we can be deprived of the Lord in our own lives, but we need to return to Him. If we do return to the Lord we will be blessed in the Last Days.

Chapter 4: Israel loves all truth

Israel loses all truth, mercy and the knowledge of God. “…because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the Land.” (Hosea 4:1) The people of Israel have rejected knowledge and have forgotten the law of God; “…because thou hast rejected knowledge… seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” (Hosea 4:6. People of ancient Israel and the people of the last days and through all generations have forgotten the Lord and have gone away from His word. Why? Because they pass through periods known as Apostasy. Apostasy occurs when people forget, pervert or change the ways of God, His commandments and teachings!

In the last days the Lord has revealed new WORD, known simply as the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ! When presented the New Testament, the Old Testament does not lose favor or position in our eyes, both Old and New Testaments compliment each other, so does the Book of Mormon compliment the Bible.  Because of the evil in Israel… the land will mourn, and all who dwell there shall waste away. The priests are corrupt and ineffective. The Lord condemns idolatry and harlotry.  Israel is compared to a stubborn calf, which will be left to forage in open country. So will we be left in the last days if we do not accept his teachings and follow his commandments.

Ezekiel 19-20

Ezekiel 19-20

Chapter 19: Ezekiel laments for Israel

Jerusalem is compared to a lioness – the first of her young is Jehoahaz, removed from power by the king of Egypt; the second is Jehoiakim, brought in chains to Babylon. The Jewish nation is a vine that flourished, but was plucked up in fury and planted in the wilderness, in dry and thirsty ground. Ezekiel laments for Israel, because their fruitfulness is gone.

Chapter 20: Failing to keep the commandments

The Elders of Israel come to ask Ezekiel’s counsel. God commands Ezekiel to speak of them and their rebellion and idolatry, in Egypt, and in the wilderness and in Canaan. Ezekiel tells them of the importance of the Sabbath Day, he tells them that the Lord said; “…hallow my sabbaths; and they hall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.” (Ezekiel 20:20). This shows us that by going to church and keeping the Sabbath day holy, we are showing God that we know he is there and likewise the Lord will return that favor and help us in our lives. What does it mean to keep the Sabbath day holy? Well for starters church is very important, along with: reading scriptures, participating in family activities that are wholesome and refraining from doing work on that day. This also means that you shouldn’t make someone else have to work. Therefore, refraining from shopping is very important. However, Ezekiel reminds them that if they turn their faces towards the Lord, that they will be restored.  Jerusalem is represented as a forest doomed to be destroyed by fire.

Nehemiah 9-10

Nehemiah 9-10

Chapter 9: Jews Fast and Confess Sins

On the twenty-fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dust on their heads. Then those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners; and they stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. They stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day; and for another quarter they confessed and worshiped the Lord.

Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani stood on the stairs of the Levites and cried out with a loud voice to the Lord. The Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said:

“Stand up and bless the Lord your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.

Thou art the Lord the God, who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gavest him the name of Abraham; And foundest his heart faithful before thee, and madest a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Jebusites, and the Girgashites, to give it, I say, to his seed, and hast performed thy words; for thou art righteous: And didst see the affliction of our fathers in Egypt, and heardest their cry by the Red sea; And shewedst signs and wonders upon Pharaoh, and on all his servants, and on all the people of his land: for thou knewest that they dealt proudly against them. So didst thou get thee a name, as it is this day. And thou didst divide the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land; and their persecutors thou threwest into the deeps, as a stone into the mighty waters.

                Moreover thou leddest them in the day by a cloudy pillar; and in the night by a pillar of fire, to give them light in the way wherein they should go. Thou camest down also upon Mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments: And madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant: And gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them that they should go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them.

But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments;  And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage; but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not.

Yea, when they had made them a molten calf, and said, This is thy God that brought thee up out of Egypt, and had wrought great provocations; Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go. Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and with eldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.

Yea, forty years didst thou sustain them in the wilderness, so that they lacked nothing; their clothes waxed not old, and their feet swelled not. Moreover thou gavest them kingdoms and nations, and didst divide them into corners: so they possessed the land of Sihon, and the land of the king of Heshbon, and the land of Og king of Bashan.

Their children also multipliedst thou as the stars of heaven, and broughtest them into the land, concerning which thou hadst promised to their fathers, that they should go in to possess it. So the children went in and possessed the land, and thou subduedst before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gavest them into their hands, with their kings, and the people of the land, that they might do with them as they would.  And they took strong cities, and a fat land, and possessed houses full of all goods, wells digged, vineyards, and oliveyards, and fruit trees in abundance: so they did eat, and were filled, and became fat, and delighted themselves in thy great goodness.” (Nehemiah 9:5-25)

Anytime a nation forsakes the Lord and his prophets, being disobedient to the Laws of God… Nothing GOOD will ever come from it!

“Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs, and slew thy prophets which testified against them to turn them to thee, and they wrought great provocations. Therefore thou deliveredst them into the hand of their enemies, who vexed them: and in the time of their trouble, when they cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and according to thy manifold mercies thou gavest them saviours, who saved them out of the hand of their enemies.

But after they had rest, they did evil again before thee: therefore leftest thou them in the hand of their enemies, so that they had the dominion over them: yet when they returned, and cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and many times didst thou deliver them according to thy mercies; And testifiedst against them, that thou mightest bring them again unto thy law: yet they dealt proudly, and hearkened not unto thy commandments, but sinned against thy judgments, (which if a man do, he shall live in them;) and withdrew the shoulder, and hardened their neck, and would not hear.

Yet many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy spirit in thy prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands. Nevertheless for thy great mercies’ sake thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake them; for thou art a gracious and merciful God.” (Nehemiah 9:26-31)

Even after people have sinned and gone against the words of the Lord and his prophets, if they turn to the Lord again, they can always have a chance for redemption. The prayer continues…

“Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who keepest covenant and mercy, let not all the trouble seem little before thee, that hath come upon us, on our kings, on our princes, and on our priests, and on our prophets, and on our fathers, and on all thy people, since the time of the kings of Assyria unto this day. Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly. Neither have our kings, our princes, our priests, nor our fathers, kept thy law, nor hearkened unto thy commandments and thy testimonies, wherewith thou didst testify against them. For they have not served thee in their kingdom, and in thy great goodness that thou gavest them, and in the large and fat land which thou gavest before them, neither turned they from their wicked works.

Behold, we are servants this day, and for the land that thou gavest unto our fathers to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof, behold, we are servants in it: And it yieldeth much increase unto the kings whom thou hast set over us because of our sins: also they have dominion over our bodies, and over our cattle, at their pleasure, and we are in great distress. And because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it.” (Nehemiah 9:32-38)

This chapter is for the most part a prayer to God, where the Jews confess their sins and he Levites bless and praise the Lord.

Chapter 10: Sabbath Day and Tithes

Those who placed their seal on the document were: Nehemiah the governor, the son of Hacaliah, and Zedekiah, Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah, Pashhur, Amariah, Malchijah, Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch, Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah, Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch, Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin, Maaziah, Bilgai, and Shemaiah. These were the priests.

The Levites: Jeshua the son of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of Henadad, and Kadmiel. Their brethren: Shebaniah, Hodijah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan, Micha, Rehob, Hashabiah, Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah, Hodijah, Bani, and Beninu.

The leaders of the people: Parosh, Pahath-Moab, Elam, Zattu, Bani, Bunni, Azgad, Bebai, Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin, Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur, Hodijah, Hashum, Bezai, Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai, Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir, Meshezabel, Zadok, Jaddua, Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah, Hoshea, Hananiah, Hasshub, Hallohesh, Pilha, Shobek, Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah, Ahijah, Hanan, Anan, Malluch, Harim, and Baanah.

The rest of the people; the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the Nethinim, and all those who had separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the Law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, everyone who had knowledge and understanding; these joined with their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse and an oath to walk in God’s Law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord, and His ordinances and His statutes:

Those statutes, made by the above named individuals were as follows;

  • We would not give our daughters as wives to the peoples of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons;
  • If the peoples of the land brought wares or any grain to sell on the Sabbath day, we would not buy it from them on the Sabbath, or on a holy day; and we would forego the seventh year’s produce and the exacting of every debt. (Nehemiah 10:31)
  • Also we made ordinances for ourselves, to exact from ourselves yearly one-third of a shekel for the service of the house of our God: for the showbread, for the regular grain offering, for the regular burnt offering of the Sabbaths, the New Moons, and the set feasts; for the holy things, for the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and all the work of the house of our God.

They cast lots among the priests, the Levites, and the people, for bringing the wood offering into the house of our God, according to our fathers’ houses, at the appointed times year by year, to burn on the altar of the Lord. They made ordinances to bring the firstfruits of their ground and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, to the house of the Lord; to bring the firstborn of their sons and their cattle, as it is written in the Law, and the firstborn of their herds and their flocks, to the house of God, to the priests who minister in the house of our God; to bring the firstfruits of their dough, their offerings, the fruit from all kinds of trees, the new wine and oil, to the priests, to the storerooms of the house of our God; and to bring the tithes of their land to the Levites, for the Levites should receive the tithes in all the farming communities. And the priest, the descendant of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes; and the Levites shall bring up a tenth of the tithes to the house of God, to the rooms of the storehouse. For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the grain, of the new wine and the oil, to the storerooms where the articles of the sanctuary are, where the priests who minister and the gatekeepers and the singers are; and we will not neglect the house of our God.

In this chapter we learn a lot about the importance of tithing and keeping the Sabbath day holy, see Nehemiah 10:31 and 38.

1 Kings 19-20

1 Kings 19-20

Chapter 19: A Still Small Voice

Ahab comes in and tells Jezebel all that Elijah had done; how he had executed the prophets. So Jezebel sends a messenger to Elijah telling him; that if he were to expose the lie of worshiping Baal and expose the glory of God that he would be killed.

So, Elijah makes a run for it! Elijah heads off to Judah to get away and there is met by an angel of the Lord, who tells him to eat and drink for his strength… strength for a 40 day journey. The food and water here, basically appeared out of nowhere! Elijah eats and drinks and then travels for forty days and forty nights on that food, while he traveled to Mount Horeb (verse 8). Elijah gets to the mount and goes into lodge in a cave. There in the cave the Lord asks; “…what doest thou here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:9), and Elijah responds by saying “…I have been very jealous for the Lord God of Hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away” (1 Kings 19:10).

So the Lord tells him to go stand upon the mount and stand before him (the Lord) and a great wind passed by him which did rent the mountains breaking the pieces of rock, followed by an earthquake and a fire… but we learn that the Lord was not in any of those… but after all the power… there was a “still small voice” that the Lord was in. (see verse 12). Here we learn that the Spirit of the Lord can be felt in a quiet, reverant manner. We don’t need to scream to God… believe me, He can hear us! He also won’t scream down at us… if we want to hear him… we must be careful to listen, patiently and humbly and we WILL hear HIM!

The Lord then gives Elijah a mission, to anoint Hazael to be king over Syriaand Jehu to be anointed as king over Israel to replace the corrup Ahab and his wife Jezebel. Elisha is to be a friend and a succesor to Elijah.

Chapter 20: Ben-hadad makes War with Israel

Ben-hadad the King of Syria goes up tp war against Samaria. Ben-hadad also sends a message to Ahab in Israel that he will be coming to take everything he has. So Ahab gathered the elders of the land together and they all tell him to not listen or consent to the messages of Ben-hadad. But at the same time a prophet came to Israel and tells Ahab that he essentially cannot win against Ben-hadad, but makes him a promise that he would be able to deliver Ben-hadad into his hands if Ahab followed the Lord and allowed the Lord to show his great power.

So Ahab organizes his army and goes in on a surprise attack to Ben-hadad (who at the time was actually drunk), the Israelites pursue the Syrians until the king (Ben-hadad) has to escape with his leaders on horseback. The Israelites have a victory! But the King of Syria and his leaders are convinced that the God of the Israelites is the god of the hills, whereas their god is the god of the valley. They decide that they should have the battle again, and because it is in the valley they will win. They fight a second time and even though the Israelites were outnumbered… they still have a second victory against Syria! Ahab, probably out of fear of other threats around him makes a treaty with the now humble Ben-hadad and sends him on his way.