Reading #1 – Acts 3
Reading #2 – Psalms 116
Reading #3 – Proverbs 19
Reading #4 – Jeremiah 28
Reading #5 – Ezra 6
Ezra 6 – Darius Finds the Decree. So a search was made in the archives and a memorandum from Xerxes (Cyrus) was found in the fortress at Ecbatana proving the claim made by the elders at Jerusalem (2). The money to rebuild the temple was provided from the royal treasury and the taxes from the outposts of the kingdom (8). “Now therefore, Tattenai, governor of the province west of the [Euphrates] River, Shethar-Bozenai and your associates, the officials who are west of the River, keep far away from there. Leave the work on this house of G_D alone; let the governor of the Jews and the Jewish elders rebuild this house of G_D on its site (6-7). Scripture is not clear why Xerxes ordered the temple to be rebuilt or what compelled him to write this edict; however, the people who remained true to the Lord G_d such as Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, and her uncle gave credible evidence by their actions and their integrity that G_d exists and the idols of the world were simply “dead weight”. Whatever is needed, including young bulls, rams, and lambs for the burnt offerings to the G_D of heaven, and wheat, salt, wine, and anointing oil, according to the request of the priests at Jerusalem, let it all be given to them daily without fail, so that they may offer pleasing (sweet-smelling) sacrifices to the G_D of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons (9-10). The decree while made by goyim was a G_dly decree that went beyond “build me a temple” and it answers the question “why did Jesus turn the care of his mother over to the Apostle John” (John 19:26-27)? I have also issued a decree that if there is any man who violates this edict, a beam of the timber shall be pulled from his house [and set up]; then he shall be impaled on it, and his house shall be turned into a refuse heap for this [violation] (11). Rome under the wicked Emporer destroyed the 2nd Temple about AD 70 and Rome was decimated in AD410. By following through with the edict to the dedication, the people of Jerusalem honored the King and his generous edict. hey observed the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with joy, for the LORD had caused them to rejoice and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them so that he encouraged them and strengthened their hands in the work of the house of G_D, the G_D of Israel (27).
Psalms 116 – Thanksgiving for Rescue from Death. The writer, possibly Hezekiah (Isaiah Isaiah 38), was very ill and had been given a “death sentence”. Illness, just like destruction, will bring people to their knees like the woman who was healed of a blood issue (Mark 5:21-34). When we seek G_d’s face in that time, He will be found and healing will occur sometimes ending in death to heal those who follow. Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I will call on Him as long as I live (2). Faith is the most important part of the healing equation (Luke 17:11-19 as an example). Faithfulness and thankfulness go hand in hand. I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving And will call on the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows to the LORD, Yes, in the presence of all His people, In the courts of the LORD’S house (temple)— In the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD! (Hallelujah!) (17-19).
Proverbs 19 – On Life and Conduct. How we order our life will either bring credit or discredit depending on the direction we take. Also, it is not good for a person to be without knowledge, And he who hurries with his feet [acting impulsively and proceeding without caution or analyzing the consequences] sins (misses the mark) (2). Many people start on the road to the Kingdom of G_D but somewhere along the way get lost; these are not wicked people, they are good people who made bad decisions. Consider how wealth changes the picture or throws a monkey wrench into the engine causing it to break down. When David came from a poor family whose occupation was “sheep herding” and nobody knew who he was or even considered him. When David became a wealthy king, nations thronged to be part of his kingdom (6). Good sense and discretion make a man slow to anger, And it is his honor and glory to overlook a transgression or an offense [without seeking revenge and harboring resentment] (11). We live and we die by our decisions (Mike Krier). Half to 3 quarters of the problems in our world are due to the decisions of those who preceded us, ourselves, and those who follow. Discipline and teach your son while there is hope, And do not [indulge your anger or resentment by imposing inappropriate punishment nor] desire his destruction (18).
Jeremiah 28 – Hananiah’s False Prophecy. Hananiah was from Gibeah in the territory belonging to Benjamin. As you might remember, Gibeah was engrafted to Benjamin after Joshua and the elders agreed with the envoy from Gibeah based on false information or, “a lie” (Joshua 9). Within two years I am going to bring back to this place all the articles of the LORD’S house, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place and carried to Babylon. And I will also bring back to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, along with all the exiles from Judah who went to Babylon,’ says the LORD, ‘for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon (3-4).'” Jeremiah’s responded sarcastically “Amen! May the Lord so and confirm your words (5-6). The prophets before Jeremiah all warned the nation about turning away from the Lord G_d and the dire consequences that would be incurred (8). False prophecy, as Israel/Judah would find out, gives people false hopes sort of like selling “snake oil”. The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah [some time] after Hananiah the prophet had broken the yoke off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “Go and tell Hananiah, ‘The LORD says this, “You have broken yokes of wood, but you have made in their place bars of iron.” For thus says the LORD of hosts, the G_D of Israel, “I have put the iron yoke [of servitude] on the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they will serve him. And I have even given him the beasts of the field (12-14). The last message Hananiah would hear would be that he would die because he spoke against the counsel of the Lord and he died two months later (16-17).
Acts 3 – Healing the Lame Beggar. The man begging for coins was lame so he relied on the generosity of the people coming to the temple. ut Peter, along with John, stared at him intently and said, “Look at us!” And the man began to pay attention to them, eagerly expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have; but what I do have I give to you: In the name (authority, power) of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—[begin now to] walk and go on walking (4-6)!” This caught the attention of the people who wondered “who is this man and how did he heal the beggar”? Peter, knowing what the people thought, used it as a springboard to tell them about the risen Christ Jesus. And based on faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health and complete wholeness in your presence (11). Peter wanted the people to know that G_d didn’t hold Jesus’ death on the cross against them when they rallied with the Sanhedrin to crucify Jesus. This part of the message opens the door for the people to be healed and forgiven by the same power that healed the lame man. And so G_D has fulfilled what He foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ (Messiah, Anointed) would suffer. So repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret past sins] and return [to G_D—seek His purpose for your life], so that your sins may be wiped away [blotted out, completely erased], so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord [restoring you like a cool wind on a hot day]; and that He may send [to you] Jesus, the Christ, who has been appointed for you, whom heaven must keep until the time for the [complete] restoration of all things about which G_D promised through the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time (18-21).