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9/5/2017
2 Kings 12-13
2 Chronicles 24
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The Temple Repaired (2 Chr 24.1—14)

2 Kings 12:1     In the seventh year of Jehu, Jehoash began to reign; he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah of Beer-sheba. 2 Jehoash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all his days, because the priest Jehoiada instructed him. 3 Nevertheless the high places were not taken away; the people continued to sacrifice and make offerings on the high places.

     4 Jehoash said to the priests, “All the money offered as sacred donations that is brought into the house of the Lord, the money for which each person is assessed—the money from the assessment of persons—and the money from the voluntary offerings brought into the house of the Lord, 5 let the priests receive from each of the donors; and let them repair the house wherever any need of repairs is discovered.” 6 But by the twenty-third year of King Jehoash the priests had made no repairs on the house. 7 Therefore King Jehoash summoned the priest Jehoiada with the other priests and said to them, “Why are you not repairing the house? Now therefore do not accept any more money from your donors but hand it over for the repair of the house.” 8 So the priests agreed that they would neither accept more money from the people nor repair the house.

     9 Then the priest Jehoiada took a chest, made a hole in its lid, and set it beside the altar on the right side as one entered the house of the Lord; the priests who guarded the threshold put in it all the money that was brought into the house of the Lord. 10 Whenever they saw that there was a great deal of money in the chest, the king’s secretary and the high priest went up, counted the money that was found in the house of the Lord, and tied it up in bags. 11 They would give the money that was weighed out into the hands of the workers who had the oversight of the house of the Lord; then they paid it out to the carpenters and the builders who worked on the house of the Lord, 12 to the masons and the stonecutters, as well as to buy timber and quarried stone for making repairs on the house of the Lord, as well as for any outlay for repairs of the house. 13 But for the house of the Lord no basins of silver, snuffers, bowls, trumpets, or any vessels of gold, or of silver, were made from the money that was brought into the house of the Lord, 14 for that was given to the workers who were repairing the house of the Lord with it. 15 They did not ask an accounting from those into whose hand they delivered the money to pay out to the workers, for they dealt honestly. 16 The money from the guilt offerings and the money from the sin offerings was not brought into the house of the Lord; it belonged to the priests.

Hazael Threatens Jerusalem

     17 At that time King Hazael of Aram went up, fought against Gath, and took it. But when Hazael set his face to go up against Jerusalem, 18 King Jehoash of Judah took all the votive gifts that Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, and Ahaziah, his ancestors, the kings of Judah, had dedicated, as well as his own votive gifts, all the gold that was found in the treasuries of the house of the Lord and of the king’s house, and sent these to King Hazael of Aram. Then Hazael withdrew from Jerusalem.

Death of Joash (2 Chr 24.23—27)

     19 Now the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? 20 His servants arose, devised a conspiracy, and killed Joash in the house of Millo, on the way that goes down to Silla. 21 It was Jozacar son of Shimeath and Jehozabad son of Shomer, his servants, who struck him down, so that he died. He was buried with his ancestors in the city of David; then his son Amaziah succeeded him.


Jehoahaz Reigns over Israel

2 Kings 13:1     In the twenty-third year of King Joash son of Ahaziah of Judah, Jehoahaz son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria; he reigned seventeen years. 2 He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and followed the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to sin; he did not depart from them. 3 The anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, so that he gave them repeatedly into the hand of King Hazael of Aram, then into the hand of Ben-hadad son of Hazael. 4 But Jehoahaz entreated the Lord, and the Lord heeded him; for he saw the oppression of Israel, how the king of Aram oppressed them. 5 Therefore the Lord gave Israel a savior, so that they escaped from the hand of the Arameans; and the people of Israel lived in their homes as formerly. 6 Nevertheless they did not depart from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, which he caused Israel to sin, but walked in them; the sacred pole also remained in Samaria. 7 So Jehoahaz was left with an army of not more than fifty horsemen, ten chariots and ten thousand footmen; for the king of Aram had destroyed them and made them like the dust at threshing. 8 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoahaz and all that he did, including his might, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel? 9 So Jehoahaz slept with his ancestors, and they buried him in Samaria; then his son Joash succeeded him.

Jehoash Reigns over Israel

     10 In the thirty-seventh year of King Joash of Judah, Jehoash son of Jehoahaz began to reign over Israel in Samaria; he reigned sixteen years. 11 He also did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to sin, but he walked in them. 12 Now the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, as well as the might with which he fought against King Amaziah of Judah, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel? 13 So Joash slept with his ancestors, and Jeroboam sat upon his throne; Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel.

Death of Elisha

     14 Now when Elisha had fallen sick with the illness of which he was to die, King Joash of Israel went down to him, and wept before him, crying, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” 15 Elisha said to him, “Take a bow and arrows”; so he took a bow and arrows. 16 Then he said to the king of Israel, “Draw the bow”; and he drew it. Elisha laid his hands on the king’s hands. 17 Then he said, “Open the window eastward”; and he opened it. Elisha said, “Shoot”; and he shot. Then he said, “The Lord’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram! For you shall fight the Arameans in Aphek until you have made an end of them.” 18 He continued, “Take the arrows”; and he took them. He said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground with them”; he struck three times, and stopped. 19 Then the man of God was angry with him, and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Aram until you had made an end of it, but now you will strike down Aram only three times.”

     20 So Elisha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. 21 As a man was being buried, a marauding band was seen and the man was thrown into the grave of Elisha; as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he came to life and stood on his feet.

Israel Recaptures Cities from Aram

     22 Now King Hazael of Aram oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz. 23 But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion on them; he turned toward them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them; nor has he banished them from his presence until now.

     24 When King Hazael of Aram died, his son Ben-hadad succeeded him. 25 Then Jehoash son of Jehoahaz took again from Ben-hadad son of Hazael the towns that he had taken from his father Jehoahaz in war. Three times Joash defeated him and recovered the towns of Israel.


Joash Repairs the Temple (2 Kings 11.21—12.16)

2 Chronicles 24:1     Joash was seven years old when he began to reign; he reigned forty years in Jerusalem; his mother’s name was Zibiah of Beer-sheba. 2 Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of the priest Jehoiada. 3 Jehoiada got two wives for him, and he became the father of sons and daughters.

     4 Some time afterward Joash decided to restore the house of the Lord. 5 He assembled the priests and the Levites and said to them, “Go out to the cities of Judah and gather money from all Israel to repair the house of your God, year by year; and see that you act quickly.” But the Levites did not act quickly. 6 So the king summoned Jehoiada the chief, and said to him, “Why have you not required the Levites to bring in from Judah and Jerusalem the tax levied by Moses, the servant of the Lord, on the congregation of Israel for the tent of the covenant?” 7 For the children of Athaliah, that wicked woman, had broken into the house of God, and had even used all the dedicated things of the house of the Lord for the Baals.

     8 So the king gave command, and they made a chest, and set it outside the gate of the house of the Lord. 9 A proclamation was made throughout Judah and Jerusalem to bring in for the Lord the tax that Moses the servant of God laid on Israel in the wilderness. 10 All the leaders and all the people rejoiced and brought their tax and dropped it into the chest until it was full.

     11 Whenever the chest was brought to the king’s officers by the Levites, when they saw that there was a large amount of money in it, the king’s secretary and the officer of the chief priest would come and empty the chest and take it and return it to its place. So they did day after day, and collected money in abundance. 12 The king and Jehoiada gave it to those who had charge of the work of the house of the Lord, and they hired masons and carpenters to restore the house of the Lord, and also workers in iron and bronze to repair the house of the Lord. 13 So those who were engaged in the work labored, and the repairing went forward at their hands, and they restored the house of God to its proper condition and strengthened it. 14 When they had finished, they brought the rest of the money to the king and Jehoiada, and with it were made utensils for the house of the Lord, utensils for the service and for the burnt offerings, and ladles, and vessels of gold and silver. They offered burnt offerings in the house of the Lord regularly all the days of Jehoiada.

Apostasy of Joash

     15 But Jehoiada grew old and full of days, and died; he was one hundred thirty years old at his death. 16 And they buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, and for God and his house.

     17 Now after the death of Jehoiada the officials of Judah came and did obeisance to the king; then the king listened to them.

     18 They abandoned the house of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and served the sacred poles and the idols. And wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this guilt of theirs. 19 Yet he sent prophets among them to bring them back to the Lord; they testified against them, but they would not listen.

     20 Then the spirit of God took possession of Zechariah son of the priest Jehoiada; he stood above the people and said to them, “Thus says God: Why do you transgress the commandments of the Lord, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has also forsaken you.” 21 But they conspired against him, and by command of the king they stoned him to death in the court of the house of the Lord. 22 King Joash did not remember the kindness that Jehoiada, Zechariah’s father, had shown him, but killed his son. As he was dying, he said, “May the Lord see and avenge!”

Death of Joash (2 Kings 12.19—21)

     23 At the end of the year the army of Aram came up against Joash. They came to Judah and Jerusalem, and destroyed all the officials of the people from among them, and sent all the booty they took to the king of Damascus. 24 Although the army of Aram had come with few men, the Lord delivered into their hand a very great army, because they had abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors. Thus they executed judgment on Joash.

     25 When they had withdrawn, leaving him severely wounded, his servants conspired against him because of the blood of the son of the priest Jehoiada, and they killed him on his bed. So he died; and they buried him in the city of David, but they did not bury him in the tombs of the kings. 26 Those who conspired against him were Zabad son of Shimeath the Ammonite, and Jehozabad son of Shimrith the Moabite. 27 Accounts of his sons, and of the many oracles against him, and of the rebuilding of the house of God are written in the Commentary on the Book of the Kings. And his son Amaziah succeeded him.

The Holy Bible: containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books [New Revised Standard Version]



What I'm Reading

Unbelievable? Four Simple Principles to Determine Ancient Historical Reliability

By J. Warner Wallace 8/27/2017

     Are you prepared to answer every challenge that might be offered about the historicity of the Gospels? Do you even know every challenge that might be offered? How do you respond when someone offers a challenge for which you don’t have immediate access to the all the pertinent data? There’s an important principle for all of us as Christian Case Makers: Historical challenges are often complicated, nuanced and detailed, and while it is nearly impossible to remember all the data related to every objection, there are four overarching principles of witness reliability appropriate to the task. These are the same four principles I’ve offered as a template in Cold Case Christianity. I used this template to evaluate the Gospels when I was an unbelieving skeptic, and these four principles will help you assess any challenge offered against the Gospel accounts:

     Principle One: Make Sure the Witnesses Were Present in the First Place

     There are times in cold case investigations when a witness emerges with a story, even though he or she was not involved in the case when it occurred. Sometimes a person such as this is motivated by a desire to become “famous”, sometimes by a desire to harm the defendant or help the victim. It’s my job as an investigator to make sure the witness was truly present (and in a position to see anything) before the witness takes the stand in front of a jury. When it comes to the Gospel accounts, we have to ask a similar question: Were the gospels written early enough to have been written by true eyewitnesses? If the accounts were written and circulated early, the possibility of an errant or deceptive inclusion is greatly reduced. Early authorship allows the accounts to be fact-checked by those who were present and could expose the accounts as a lie. The gospels are the earliest ancient accounts describing the life of Jesus and the historical events surrounding His life. This must be considered when evaluating the gospels against any ancient account that follows them.

     Principle Two: Try to Find Some Corroboration for the Claims of the Witnesses

     Jurors are encouraged to evaluate witnesses in a trial on the basis of any evidence offered to verify or corroborate their testimony. Sometimes witness testimony can be corroborated with physical evidence, sometimes with the direct testimony of another witness. In either case, the witness becomes more reliable as different lines of corroborative evidence begin to support his or her testimony. In a similar way, the Gospel accounts can be evaluated on the basis of their corroboration. I wrote an entire chapter in Cold Case Christianity examining the “external” corroboration of archaeology and ancient non-Christian sources, and the “internal” corroboration between Gospel accounts (what I call, “unintentional eyewitness support”), the accurate referencing of regional 1st Century proper names, the correct description of governmental structure, the familiar description of geography and location, and the reasonable use of language.

Click here to read all of the article

J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of:

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Passive Christianity Is Dead Christianity

By Jon Bloom 7/21/2017

     What do you want? What do you desire? What is your ambition?

     Do you really want to know? Look at your behavior. You do what you want.

     This is a devastatingly simple psychology of motivation. But it’s what the Bible teaches:

     James: Faith without works is dead. Don’t tell me you have faith if the way you live doesn’t back up what you say. (James 2:17–18)

     John: Love without deeds is dead. Don’t tell me you love if the way you live doesn’t back up what you say. (1 John 3:17–18)

Click here to read all of the article

     Jon Bloom serves as author, board chair, and co-founder of Desiring God. He and his wife live in the Twin Cities with their five children.

Jon Bloom Books:


Will You Cleave and Leave Your Man? Letter To A Would-Be Adulteress

By Noel Piper 7/17/2017

     Dear Wife,

     Cleave is a strange word. It’s a contranym — a word that can have opposite meanings.

     In an upper story of a concrete apartment block in a small Chinese city, I watched Rene wield her cleaver like a top chef, preparing vegetables for her family’s dinner. I was impressed how she positioned her fingers so they didn’t get chopped with the carrots. “Wow! I want some of those knives to take home as gifts,” I said. Rene pointed out the window toward a shop across the busy street. “You should be able to find them there.”

     The name of one brand was Family Cleaver. It was easy to see how the difficulty of grasping a double meaning in English must have tripped up a Chinese translator. I was glad to discover a different brand with a happier name (that wouldn’t have implications of splitting a family apart).

     On the opposite side of the word, there’s the other meaning of cleave, as it’s used in a time-honored wedding text: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24 KJV). Or as the ESV translates the same word, the husband shall “hold fast” to his wife.

Click here to read all of the article

     Noël Piper is wife of John Piper, mother of five, and grandmother of twelve. Noel Piper Books:

  • 1     ISBN-13: 978-1581348330
  • 2     ISBN-13: 978-1433531118
  • 3     ASIN: B003BW7LUG
  • 4     ISBN-13: 978-1581345087

Job: Reverent in Suffering

By John Piper 7/7/1985

     One of my duties as your pastor is to preach and pray in such a way that you are prepared in mind and heart not to curse God in the day of your calamity. But even more: That instead of cursing, you might worship God and bless him as your free and sovereign Father no matter how intense the grief or deep the pain he brings into your life.

     So for the next five Sundays I would like for us to try to understand the message of the book of Job, and be changed by it.

     Baffling and Unexpected Grief | Virtually everyone in this room will experience a bitter calamity sooner or later. And you can mark it down ahead of time: It will almost certainly seem absurd and meaningless and undeserved when it comes.

     You may be sitting in a restaurant in El Salvador or walking along a street in Paris or making a flight connection in Athens. You may be shaving and singing a hymn when you feel the lump on your neck. You may be buying supper for the family at the Country Club when all of a sudden you realize your two-year-old is gone.

     It will seem very absurd, and you will cry out, “Why?” a hundred times before the cloud passes over. Most of our grief and pain does not come as a clear punishment for sins. Most of it comes out of nowhere and baffles our sense of justice.

Click here to read all of the article

     John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.

John Piper Books:

The Real Root of Sexual Sin

By Jon Bloom 5/26/2017

     The most powerful weapon against sexual impurity is humility. Patterns of sinful thought and behavior are fruits of a deeper root. If we want to stop bearing bad fruit, we must aim our primary attack against the root. And the root of sexual sin is not our sex drive; it’s pride.

     We live in an age dominated by Darwinian explanations of biology and psychology. So we easily absorb certain naturalistic assumptions. One such assumption is that our sexual drives and impulses are remnants of our primordial, bestial ancestors, and therefore we deal with them with cages of external personal and social restraints.

     This is a very conflicted perspective. It views us as both victims and monsters. On one hand, we’re victims of our ancient past, and on the other hand, we’re sexual monsters if we express our primal impulses in ways not sanctioned by the prevailing level of social tolerance.

     t’s also a wholly inadequate explanation in view of our consuming sexual problem. The degrees of human sexual depravity, distortion, and destruction are of such a nature that nearly everyone thinks things and many do things that we have no other word for than evil.

     Sex Is Not the Problem | It’s shocking how little our inner evil bestial impulses have to do with our primal genetic intent: procreation. No other human instinct has so many deviations in its expressions. Our culture can’t keep up with the expanding sexual definitions. LGBTQ is now just shorthand for LGBTTQQIAAPPK (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, pansexual, polygamous, kinkiness). And this is likely obsolete already. It’s getting tragically ridiculous.

Click here to read all of the article

     Jon Bloom serves as author, board chair, and co-founder of Desiring God. He and his wife live in the Twin Cities with their five children.

Jon Bloom Books:

The Nashville Statement

By Albert Mohler 9/3/2017

     This past week I was part of an effort that put America’s theological and moral fault lines fully in view. I was a signer of something called the Nashville Statement, a document adopted by a group of evangelical Christians seeking to reaffirm traditional Christian values on sexuality.

     Within hours, the vitriol in response to our document showed why such clarification is necessary.

     One of the most intense lines of criticism was that we, signers of the document, dismiss the pain and suffering of those who live outside those historic Biblical sexual norms. That we weren’t acknowledging the rejection they feel in the church and were making their sins appear more significant than our own.

     To be clear: Christians understand the brokenness of the world. We signers know ourselves, like all humanity, to be broken by sin. We have no right to face the world from a claim of moral superiority. We know and confess that Christians have often failed to speak the truth in love.

     In releasing the Nashville Statement, we in fact are acting out of love and concern for people who are increasingly confused about what God has clarified in Holy Scripture.

Click here to read all of the article

Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. serves as president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary – the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.

Albert Mohler Books:

Why the Rejection of the Nashville Statement on Sexuality Is a Rejection of the Bible

By Michael Brown 9/3/2017

     If a group of astronomers issued a major document stating that the earth revolves around the sun and the moon revolves around the earth, it would be greeted with a shrug of the shoulders. Who didn’t know that? Why, then, has a recent statement by Christian leaders affirming the basics of biblical sexuality been greeted with such protest from other professing Christian leaders? It is because these other “Christian” leaders have rejected the authority of the Word of God.

     For those who haven’t read the Nashville Statement, the Babylon Bee, a Christian satirical website, actually sums things up well, and with some well-placed sarcasm:

     It says some really controversial stuff for Bible-believing Christians, like that God made Adam and Eve as (trigger warning) male and female, that marriage was created by God to be the union between one man and one woman, that He loves people with gender dysphoria and same-sex attraction even if He doesn’t approve of all of their actions, and that He offers His grace and mercy to sinners of all stripes.

     Yes, just the most basic of the basics, reaffirming what the Church (and Synagogue) have believed about marriage and sexuality for two millennia and offering grace and mercy to all. That’s why, when I was asked to be one of the initial signatories, I signed on without hesitation. What was there to disagree with?

     LGBT Activists Attack the Nashville Statement | Yet in response to the Nashville Statement a headline on the Huffington Post declared, “Hundreds Of Christian Leaders Denounce Anti-LGBTQ ‘Nashville Statement.’” The Post called the statement “divisive and bizarrely-timed.” It noted that it “drew harsh criticism from many other Christians, members of the LGBTQ community and even the mayor of Nashville.”

Click here to read all of the article

     Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is a Senior Contributor to The Stream, and the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Breaking the Stronghold of Food. Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

     He became a believer in Jesus 1971 as a sixteen year-old, heroin-shooting, LSD-using Jewish rock drummer. Since then, he has preached throughout America and around the world, bringing a message of repentance, revival, reformation, and cultural revolution. He holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a visiting or adjunct professor at Southern Evangelical Seminary, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (Charlotte), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Fuller Theological Seminary, Denver Theological Seminary, the King’s Seminary, and Regent University School of Divinity, and he has contributed numerous articles to scholarly publications, including the Oxford Dictionary of Jewish Religion and the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament.

     Dr. Brown is a national and international speaker on themes of spiritual renewal and cultural reformation, and he has debated Jewish rabbis, agnostic professors, and gay activists on radio, TV, and college campuses. He is widely considered to be the world’s foremost Messianic Jewish apologist. He and his wife Nancy, who is also a Jewish believer in Jesus, have been married since 1976. They have two daughters and four grandchildren.

     Dr. Michael Brown Books:




  • Secrets & Light
  • Spirituality and Mental Health I
  • Part II

#1 Greg Carmer  
Gordon College


 

#2 Heather Lobe   
Gordon College


 

#3 David Lovelace   
Gordon College


 


  Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     The world was shocked as just five days after Princess Diana was killed, Mother Teresa died this day, September 5, 1997. The daughter of an Albanian grocer, she joined an order at age 18 and began working in the slums of Calcutta. She started the Missionaries of Charity, caring for the blind, aged, lepers, crippled, and the dying. A Nobel Prize recipient, she spoke at a National Prayer Breakfast, attended by the Clintons and Al Gore, saying: “Please don’t kill the child… I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child and be loved by the child.”

American Minute

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams


Suffering is permanent,
obscure and dark,
And shares the nature of infinity.
--- William Wordsworth


Night is a time of rigor,
but also of mercy.
There are truths which one can see only when it’s dark.
--- Isaac Bashevis Singer   Teibele and her demon


Life is God’s novel. Let him write it.
--- Isaac Bashevis Singer


Let the past sleep,
but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ.
--- Oswald Chambers

... from here, there and everywhere

History of the Destruction of Jerusalem
     Thanks to Meir Yona

     6. Now the opinion of the Idumeans and of the citizens was one and the same. The Idumeans thought that God was angry at their taking arms, and that they would not escape punishment for their making war upon their metropolis. Ananus and his party thought that they had conquered without fighting, and that God acted as a general for them; but truly they proved both ill conjectures at what was to come, and made those events to be ominous to their enemies, while they were themselves to undergo the ill effects of them; for the Idumeans fenced one another by uniting their bodies into one band, and thereby kept themselves warm, and connecting their shields over their heads, were not so much hurt by the rain. But the zealots were more deeply concerned for the danger these men were in than they were for themselves, and got together, and looked about them to see whether they could devise any means of assisting them. The hotter sort of them thought it best to force their guards with their arms, and after that to fall into the midst of the city, and publicly open the gates to those that came to their assistance; as supposing the guards would be in disorder, and give way at such an unexpected attempt of theirs, especially as the greater part of them were unarmed and unskilled in the affairs of war; and that besides the multitude of the citizens would not be easily gathered together, but confined to their houses by the storm: and that if there were any hazard in their undertaking, it became them to suffer any thing whatsoever themselves, rather than to overlook so great a multitude as were miserably perishing on their account. But the more prudent part of them disapproved of this forcible method, because they saw not only the guards about them very numerous, but the walls of the city itself carefully watched, by reason of the Idumeans. They also supposed that Ananus would be every where, and visit the guards every hour; which indeed was done upon other nights, but was omitted that night, not by reason of any slothfulness of Ananus, but by the overbearing appointment of fate, that so both he might himself perish, and the multitude of the guards might perish with him; for truly, as the night was far gone, and the storm very terrible, Ananus gave the guards in the cloisters leave to go to sleep; while it came into the heads of the zealots to make use of the saws belonging to the temple, and to cut the bars of the gates to pieces. The noise of the wind, and that not inferior sound of the thunder, did here also conspire with their designs, that the noise of the saws was not heard by the others.

     7. So they secretly went out of the temple to the wall of the city, and made use of their saws, and opened that gate which was over against the Idumeans. Now at first there came a fear upon the Idumeans themselves, which disturbed them, as imagining that Ananus and his party were coming to attack them, so that every one of them had his right hand upon his sword, in order to defend himself; but they soon came to know who they were that came to them, and were entered the city. And had the Idumeans then fallen upon the city, nothing could have hindered them from destroying the people every man of them, such was the rage they were in at that time; but as they first of all made haste to get the zealots out of custody, which those that brought them in earnestly desired them to do, and not to overlook those for whose sakes they were come, in the midst of their distresses, nor to bring them into a still greater danger; for that when they had once seized upon the guards, it would be easy for them to fall upon the city; but that if the city were once alarmed, they would not then be able to overcome those guards, because as soon as they should perceive they were there, they would put themselves in order to fight them, and would hinder their coming into the temple.

     The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Wars of the Jews or History of the Destruction of Jerusalem, by Flavius Josephus Translator: William Whiston

The War of the Jews: The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem (complete edition, 7 books)

Proverbs 24:8
     by D.H. Stern

My Utmost For The Highest
     A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers


                The missionary watching

     Watch with Me. --- Matthew 26:40.

      “Watch with Me”—with no private point of view of your own at all, but watch entirely with Me. In the early stages we do not watch with Jesus, we watch for Him. We do not watch with Him through the revelation of the Bible; in the circumstances of our lives. Our Lord is trying to introduce us to identification with Himself in a particular Gethsemane, and we will not go; we say—‘No, Lord, I cannot see the meaning of this, it is bitter.’ How can we possibly watch with Someone Who is inscrutable? How are we going to understand Jesus sufficiently to watch with Him in His Gethsemane, when we do not know even what His suffering is for? We do not know how to watch with Him; we are only used to the idea of Jesus watching with us.

     The disciples loved Jesus Christ to the limit of their natural capacity, but they did not understand what He was after. In the Garden of Gethsemane they slept for their own sorrow, and at the end of three years of the closest intimacy they “all forsook Him and fled.”

     “They were all filled with the Holy Ghost”—the same “they,” but something wonderful has happened in between, viz., Our Lord’s Death and Resurrection and Ascension, and the disciples have been invaded by the Holy Spirit. Our Lord had said—“Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you,” and this meant that they learned to watch with Him all the rest of their lives.


My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

Bread (Poetry for Supper)
     the Poetry of RS Thomas


                Bread (Poetry for Supper)

Hunger was loneliness, betrayed
  By the pitiless candour of the stars'
  Talk, in an old byre he prayed

Not for food; to pray was to know
  Waking from a dark dream to find
  The white loaf on the white snow;

Not for warmth, warmth brought the rain's
  Blurring of the essential point
  Of ice probing his raw pain.

He prayed for love, love that would share
  His rags' secret; rising he broke
  Like sun crumbling the gold air

The live bread for the starved folk.


Selected poems, 1946-1968

Searching For Meaning In Midrash
     D’RASH


     Bob: Excuse me, Mr. Jones, could I talk to you for a minute?

     Boss: Sure, Bob. Come on in and have a seat. What’s up?

     Bob: Is that a new tie, Mr. Jones? It looks great with that suit.

     Boss: Oh, thanks. My wife picked it up for me for Father’s Day.

     Bob: Well, she’s got exquisite taste in ties, and exquisite taste in husbands.

     Boss: You’re very kind, Bob. What can I do for you?

     Bob: About the Smith account … I just had to tell you that I was so impressed by your leadership on this project.

     Boss: Thanks, Bob.

     Bob: You handled things in an incredibly professional manner.

     Boss: I appreciate your sharing that.

     Bob: You were visionary, imaginative, and creative.

     Boss [to himself]: Hmmm, a “visionary.” Go on, Bob, flattery will get you everywhere!

     Bob: You came in well organized.

     Boss [to himself]: Yes, I did, didn’t I!

     Bob: You were thoroughly prepared, down to the tiniest detail.

     Boss [to himself]: Well, I’m good at what I do!

     Bob: You inspired us, and motivated us to work to our utmost capabilities.

     Boss [to himself]: I guess I’m just a natural-born leader!

     Bob: You were tough when you had to be strong.

     Boss [to himself]: You’re beginning to embarrass me.

     Bob: And you were flexible and willing to compromise at just the right moments.

     Boss [to himself]: All right, enough.

     Bob: You demonstrated great people skills; you were equally good with the bank president in the boardroom and with the receptionist over the phone.

     Boss [to himself]: I’m getting a little uncomfortable now.

     Bob: And you demonstrated an expertise of the field that left us all in awe.

     Boss [to himself]: You’re starting to annoy me.

     Bob: You stayed cool during the crises and taught us how best to deal with stress.

     Boss [to himself]: You’re really “kissing up” now.

     Bob: I know I speak for everyone here, sir, when I tell you that we are so proud to work for you.

     Boss [to himself]: What is it you want from me? A raise? A corner office?

     Bob: And if I may add a personal note, Mr. Jones: I consider myself blessed to be working for a man of your substance and stature.

     Boss [to himself]: You’re making me sick, damn it! I hate you!! Get out of my sight!!!

     Bob: So, again, thank you for being the best boss that a person could ever hope for!

     Boss [to himself]: One more word and you’re fired!

     Bob: That really is a great tie, sir.

     ANOTHER D’RASH

     hould we be worried that people might get swelled heads? That there might be too much praise? Overdoing compliments is not our problem today! Halevai—if only people showed appreciation to others to the degree they deserve it.

     Our problem today is that we hardly give praise at all. We live in a world filled with criticism—drama critics, food critics, theater critics. We rate each other’s performance on a scale of one to ten, as if Mom’s dinner or an e-mail from a friend is a Hollywood movie. We give the “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” to almost everything. College professors lose bids for tenure not because their credentials or scholarship are in any way lacking but rather because online reviews of their courses have been negative.

     While some of these disapproving reviews may be deserved, it is questionable that the majority are. Whether it’s toward our children, fellow workers, or friends—we are very quick to point out faults and criticisms. In most cases, we would do better, as they would, if we were to offer them a little praise. In the words of the well-known axiom, “Honey works better than vinegar.” Or as the poet Edgar A. Guest once wrote:

     Let me be a little kinder,
     Let me be a little blinder
     To the faults of those around me,
     Let me praise a little more.


Searching for Meaning in Midrash: Lessons for Everyday Living

Take Heart
     September 5


     In my Father’s house are many rooms. --- John 14:2.

     Heaven is God’s house. (Selected Sermons of Jonathan Edwards) When the disciples perceived that Christ was going away, they expressed a desire to go with him. Peter asked him where he went, that he might follow. Christ told him that he could not follow him now, but that he would follow him afterwards. But Peter said, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now?” (John 13:37).

     A house of public worship is a house where God’s people meet and is called God’s house. The temple of Solomon was called God’s house. God was represented as dwelling there. There he had his throne in the holy of holies.

     Sometimes the whole universe is represented in Scripture as God’s house, built one story above another. But the highest heaven is represented in Scripture as the house of God, reserved for himself for his own dwelling. The heavens are the Lord’s, [thus], though he is everywhere present, God is represented both in Old Testament and New as being in heaven in a special and peculiar manner. Heaven is the temple of God. Solomon’s temple was a foreshadow of heaven. The epistle to the Hebrews calls heaven the holy of holies, the place of God’s most immediate residence. Houses where assemblies of Christians worship God are in some respects figures of this house of God above. When God is worshipped in them in spirit and truth, they become the outworks of heaven and, as it were, its gates.

     Heaven is represented in Scripture as God’s dwelling: “I lift up my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in heaven”
(Ps. 123:1). Heaven is God’s palace. ’Tis the house of the great King of the universe; there he has his throne, which is therefore represented as his house or temple: “The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD is on his heavenly throne” (Ps. 11:4).

     God is represented as a householder or head of a family, and heaven is his house. The saints, being the children of God, are said to be of the household of God (Eph. 2:19). Heaven is the place that God has built for himself and his children. And though some of this family are now on earth, all are going home. God has many children, and the place designed for them is heaven.

     Heaven is the house not only where God has his throne, but also where he keeps his table, where his children sit down with him and where they are feasted in a royal manner becoming the children of so great a King (Luke 22:30).

     God is the King of Kings, and heaven is the place where he keeps his court. There are his angels and archangels that, as the nobles of his court, attend him.
--- Jonathan Edwards


Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers

On This Day
     No Stone Unturned  September 5

     Allen Francis Gardiner grew up in a Christian home, took to the sea, and achieved a successful British naval career with little thought for God. But in 1822 he fell ill and reevaluated his life. He scribbled in his journal: After years of ingratitude, unbelief, blasphemy and rebellion, have I at last been melted? Alas, how slow, how reluctant I have been to admit the heavenly guest who stood knocking without!

     Traveling around the world had given Captain Gardiner a glimpse of the need for missionaries, and he gave himself for the task. Leaving England for South America, he hoped to minister among the Araucanian or Mapuche Indians of southern Chile. Government interference and intertribal fighting forced him back to England. Three years later he was at it again, visiting the Falklands and investigating the possibility of taking the Gospel to the islands of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. Sensing opportunity at hand, Gardiner returned to England and on July 4, 1844, established a small organization called the Patagonian Missionary Society. He wrote, I have made up my mind to go back to South America and leave no stone unturned, no effort untried, to establish a mission among the aboriginal tribes. While God gives me strength, failure will not daunt me.

     Gardiner visited South America a third time, but his efforts were again thwarted by intertribal fighting and governmental interference, the land being strongly Catholic, intolerant of Protestant missions. He returned to England, recruited six missionaries, and set sail for Tierra del Fuego. But all seven men died of disease, starvation, and exposure on Picton Island. Gardiner, the last to die, dated his final journal entry September 5, 1851: Good and marvelous are the loving kindnesses of my gracious God unto me. He has preserved me hitherto and for four days, although without bodily food, without any feelings of hunger or thirst.

     Captain Allen Gardiner died without seeing a single soul saved among those for whom he was most burdened. But he lit a fire which has never gone out. His South American Missionary Society (as it came to be called) has been sending missionaries and saving souls for over 150 years.

     My dear friends, stand firm and don’t be shaken. Always keep busy working for the Lord. You know that everything you do for him is worthwhile.
    1 Corinthians 15:58


On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - September 5

     "Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar."
--- Psalm 120:5.

     As a Christian you have to live in the midst of an ungodly world, and it is of little use for you to cry “Woe is me.” Jesus did not pray that you should be taken out of the world, and what he did not pray for, you need not desire. Better far in the Lord’s strength to meet the difficulty, and glorify him in it. The enemy is ever on the watch to detect inconsistency in your conduct; be therefore very holy. Remember that the eyes of all are upon you, and that more is expected from you than from other men. Strive to give no occasion for blame. Let your goodness be the only fault they can discover in you. Like Daniel, compel them to say of you, “We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.” Seek to be useful as well as consistent. Perhaps you think, “If I were in a more favourable position I might serve the Lord’s cause, but I cannot do any good where I am”; but the worse the people are among whom you live, the more need have they of your exertions; if they be crooked, the more necessity that you should set them straight; and if they be perverse, the more need have you to turn their proud hearts to the truth. Where should the physician be but where there are many sick? Where is honour to be won by the soldier but in the hottest fire of the battle? And when weary of the strife and sin that meets you on every hand, consider that all the saints have endured the same trial. They were not carried on beds of down to heaven, and you must not expect to travel more easily than they. They had to hazard their lives unto the death in the high places of the field, and you will not be crowned till you also have endured hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Therefore, “stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”


          Evening - September 5

     “Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea?”
--- Job 38:16.

     Some things in nature must remain a mystery to the most intelligent and enterprising investigators. Human knowledge has bounds beyond which it cannot pass. Universal knowledge is for God alone. If this be so in the things which are seen and temporal, I may rest assured that it is even more so in matters spiritual and eternal. Why, then, have I been torturing my brain with speculations as to destiny and will, fixed fate, and human responsibility? These deep and dark truths I am no more able to comprehend than to find out the depth which coucheth beneath, from which old ocean draws her watery stores. Why am I so curious to know the reason of my Lord’s providences, the motive of his actions, the design of his visitations? Shall I ever be able to clasp the sun in my fist, and hold the universe in my palm? yet these are as a drop of a bucket compared with the Lord my God. Let me not strive to understand the infinite, but spend my strength in love. What I cannot gain by intellect I can possess by affection, and let that suffice me. I cannot penetrate the heart of the sea, but I can enjoy the healthful breezes which sweep over its bosom, and I can sail over its blue waves with propitious winds. If I could enter the springs of the sea, the feat would serve no useful purpose either to myself or to others, it would not save the sinking bark, or give back the drowned mariner to his weeping wife and children; neither would my solving deep mysteries avail me a single whit, for the least love to God, and the simplest act of obedience to him, are better than the profoundest knowledge. My Lord, I leave the infinite to thee, and pray thee to put far from me such a love for the tree of knowledge as might keep me from the tree of life.

Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version

Amazing Grace
     September 5

          O DAY OF REST AND GLADNESS

     Christopher Wordsworth, 1807–1885

     There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest … Hebrews 4:9, 10, 11

     Christopher Wordsworth, a nephew of the renowned English poet, William Wordsworth, reminds us in this hymn that since God rested after His acts of creation, we who are made in His image also need a day of rest and spiritual renewal. We need the encouragement and fellowship of other believers to keep our lives aglow for God. The way we use the Lord’s Day reflects our true devotion to God. Very early in the Christian era, the first day of the week replaced the Jewish Sabbath as the day of worship because it was on Sunday that the resurrection took place. Although we do not observe it according to the many set rules such as the Jews had for their Sabbath, Sunday should always be a special day of refreshment and of giving honor and worship to our God.

     Christopher Wordsworth was an Anglican bishop, a noted scholar, and a distinguished writer. He composed 127 hymn texts that were intended to teach the truths of Scripture and encourage worship. “O Day of Rest and Gladness,” his only hymn widely used today, focuses on the doctrine of the Trinity. In the second stanza, the triune Godhead is compared to three important events or a “triple light” that occurred on the first day of the week: The creation of light (Genesis 1:1), the resurrection of Christ, and the advent of the Holy Spirit. In the final stanza, Wordsworth addresses each member of the Godhead by name, as the church raises its perpetual voice to “Thee, blest Three in One.”

     O day of rest and gladness, O day of joy and light, O balm of care and sadness, most beautiful, most bright: On thee, the high and lowly, thru ages joined in tune, sing “Holy, Holy, Holy,” to the great God Triune.
     On thee, at the creation, the light first had its birth; on thee, for our salvation, Christ rose from depths of earth; on thee, our Lord, victorious, the Spirit sent from heav’n; and thus on thee, most glorious, a triple light was giv’n.
     New graces ever gaining from this our day of rest, we reach the rest remaining to spirits of the blest. To Holy Ghost be praises, to Father, and to Son; the Church her voice upraises to Thee, blest Three in One.


     For Today: Genesis 1:3–5; Psalm 118:24; Isaiah 58:13, 14; Revelation 14:13

     Do you anticipate with joy the Lord’s Day, when you can worship God in your local church? How can Sunday become a more meaningful time of renewal and refreshment for you and your family? Reflect on this hymn as you go ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Pray for Jerusalem
      Psalm 122:6

          “May those who love you be secure.”

     NOTE: This prayer may be prayed in one hour, or it may be prayed section by section over a longer period of time. Although it is patterned after Daniel 9, it is my personal prayer. It comes from deep within my heart, because I believe the rapture of the church may be imminent. When that moment comes, and every born again believer is caught up to be with Jesus, along with the Holy Spirit who indwells them and presently restrains evil, Israel will be more alone in the family of nations than she ever has been since her rebirth in 1948. And I wonder…is it at that moment that God will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication? Is it at that moment that they will look on the One they have pierced, and recognize Him as their Messiah?[1] I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I am utterly convinced it’s time to pray for Jerusalem.

     Our Father in Heaven. God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. You are the Eternal I AM. The One who is age to age the same. There is no shadow of turning with You. You are fully present in every generation—past, present, and future. You are the All-Mighty. Your power has not been deleted or depleted over the millennia of human history. We know that You so loved the world that You gave us Heaven’s treasure when You sent Your only Son to die, so that anyone and everyone who places their faith in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. Yet we also know that Your great heart of love still longs to pour out Your blessing on the City and the people that You have uniquely chosen as Your own. Jerusalem. The House of Israel. The Jews.

     In this present worldwide climate of unbridled evil, we are desperate! Nations are unraveling. Wars are raging. There are rumors of more wars breaking out. Kingdom is rising against kingdom. Our spirits feel the turmoil and agitation that surely is a reflection of the warfare being waged in the invisible realms. We need You! For everything! But our hearts are now burdened for the Epicenter of the world. For Jerusalem and all that she represents at this critical, strategic last hour.

     So we humbly turn to You now. For one hour we turn away from our responsibilities and routines, our busyness and our business, our own problems and pressures. We turn away from focusing on our own nation and the needs of the church. We turn away from any self-reliance or self-interests, and we look to You. We run to You. We join together with one heart and one voice to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. You alone are the One who makes us to dwell in safety. You alone are the One who makes us secure. You alone are God. And You alone are our God. We turn to You, deeply aware we do not deserve in ourselves to address You, yet boldly confident of access into Your most holy presence through the blood of Your Son and our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. And so…

     We pray with confidence, because You are the God of Creation, Lord of the Universe. Elohim. The Strong One. You alone are The LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship You.[2] We sing Your praises, for You are highly exalted. No one is higher than You. You are our strength and our song. Again and again, You have been the salvation of Your people: from bondage in Egypt, from Pharoh’s pursuing army, from Midianites and Amorites and Edomites and Moabites and Canaanites and Perizzites and Philistines; from captivity in Babylon, from the four corners of the earth, from the Nazi death camps, and now from Hamas and Hezbollah and ISIS and the Taliban and Al Queda and the Muslim Brotherhood and Boko Haram, You alone are able to shatter Israel’s enemies.

     Your right hand, O Lord, is majestic in power. And in the greatness of Your excellence You overthrow those who rise up again You; You send forth Your burning anger, and it consumes them as chaff.

     Who is like You among the gods, O Lord? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders? In Your lovingkindness You have led the people whom You have redeemed; in Your strength You have guided them to Your holy habitation.

     You will reign forever and ever. We long for the day when our faith becomes sight and the whole world is filled with the glory of who You are. Our highest joy will be to see You face to face; to gather around Your throne with multitudes from every tribe, language, people, and nation that you have purchased with the blood of Your own Son, and worship You.[3]

     We pray with compulsion for the peace of Jerusalem, and for the whole House of Israel. Your people and the city that bear Your name are surrounded by a vast multitude of hostile, evil men seeking to kill and destroy. Men who behead those who refuse to embrace their evil dogma, who bury alive those who refuse to submit to their will, who crucify those who are identified with Your Son. Your people are under the incessant barrage of enemy missiles and mortars that are destroying farms and families, communities and children. While one ceasefire after another promises peace, peace there is no peace. Are You not the God who rules over all the nations? Power and might are in Your hand, and no one can withstand You.

     We are compelled to pray for Your people because they are facing their enemies without the strength, wisdom, peace, comfort, security and hope that You reserve for those who are indwelt by Your Spirit through faith in Your Son, Jesus. They have no deep, blessed assurance that their sins are forgiven, that eternal life is theirs, and that a heavenly Home is waiting to welcome them.

     We are compelled to pray because…

     •     You have promised that You will give Your people a new heart and put a new spirit within them; that You will remove their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
     •     You have promised that in the very last days, You will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication.
     •     You have promised that You will open the eyes of the spiritually blind, and they would look on You, the One they have pierced.
     •     You have promised that all of Israel, tribe by tribe, clan by clan, family by family, will mourn for their sin of rebellion and rejection of their Messiah.
     •     You have promised that on that day of national mourning and repentance, all of Israel will be saved. That the deliverer will come from Zion; that You will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
     •     You have promised that You will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and You will cleanse them.
     •     You have promised that they will be Your people, and You will be their God.
     •     You have promised that You will make an everlasting covenant of peace with them.
     •     You have promised that one day, and we believe soon, You will set aside 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel who have been redeemed and on whose foreheads You write Your name, to be proclaimers of the Gospel to the whole world.

     O Abba Father! We do not ask for what we want or what we hope. We are asking You to do what You have said! You are a great covenant-keeping God. You do not mock Your children. You keep Your word. We are therefore compelled at this moment when faced with problems that have no human solution to pray and hold You to Your promises.[4]

     We pray with a contrite spirit. We are ashamed and embarrassed to lift up our faces to You, for our iniquities have risen above our heads and our guilt has grown even to the heavens.[5] So now, our God, what shall we say?

          We have sinned and done wrong.
          We have been wicked and have rebelled.
          We have turned away from Your commands and Your Word.[6]
          We have not listened to Your servants the prophets…like Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah…who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers, and to all Your people.
          We have not obeyed or kept the laws You have given us.
          We have rationalized and explained away the evidence of Your greatness that we see in Creation around us.
          We have suppressed the truth that we were created by You and for You, and have exchanged it for the lie that we are masters of our own fate.
          We do not glorify You as God, nor give thanks to You, but live our lives as though we have no accountability to You.[7]
          We have looked to our own strength for salvation and have forgotten Your mighty acts of deliverance in the past. As though the God of Abraham, Moses, David, and Elijah no longer exists. Or if You do, You no longer involve Yourself in the affairs of Your people.
          We confess that our faith in You and Your strength is weak, as though what we face today is beyond Your ability to overcome. Or beneath Your interest to intervene.
          We confess to pride and arrogance that have determined we must face our enemies in our own strength. That this present darkness will pass without Your intervention.
          We confess to religious intolerance that condemns those who are not like us.
          We confess to religious indifference that gives lip service to You, but lacks sincere faith so that our lives are lived and our decisions are made as practical atheists—as though You do not exist.
          You are merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against You. But this day we are covered with shame.

     We pray with clarity. We ask, great Creator God, that You give sight to those born spiritually blind. Open the eyes of Your people to see You for who You truly are. Don’t let their sight be dimmed or distorted by centuries of religiosity and rejection of the Truth. Open their eyes to Jesus as their Messiah. Then show up in great power, giving Your people supernatural strength to withhold vengeance, to execute justice, to remember mercy, to walk humbly as they acknowledge that victory will be won not by their might nor by their own power, but by Your Spirit.[8] Yet we do ask You for victory over the enemy…

     We pray for the enemies who are coming against Jerusalem to be convicted of their sin, for them to repent and turn from it and ask You for forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ. But if they do not, we ask that this day, You defeat and destroy them.

     We ask that You strip Jerusalem’s enemies of peace and cooperation among themselves, so that they are divided and turn on each other.

     We ask that their evil plans would be exposed or fall back on their own heads.

     We ask that the face of every man, woman or child that they have slaughtered, beheaded, buried, or crucified be indelibly imprinted on their mind’s eye, filling them with turmoil and robbing them of clear thinking.[9]

     We ask that for every man, woman or child who is martyred for their faith in You, ten others would rise up to take their place, so that the persecution would fan revival fires throughout the Muslim world. Please, dear Jesus, keep showing up in dreams and visions and in any form You choose in order to change hearts and minds, melting generations of prejudice and hatred with Your love and peace.

     We ask that the fear of the One, True, Living God would fall on Israel’s neighbors…and on Israel.[10]

     We ask that the ancient prince of the Persian kingdom and every other demonic force coming against Your City be bound and rendered powerless in the face of the hosts of Heaven.[11]

     We ask that the Iron Dome would be 100% effective, and that You would continue to anoint Israel’s engineers and physicists with ability to design systems that would provide a protective shield for The Beautiful Land.

     We ask for supernatural wisdom for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his Cabinet, his counselors, and all government officials, so that they make decisions in line with Your perfect will. Draw the Prime Minister into Your Word; and when he opens and reads it, speak to him through it.

     We ask that You turn the heart of The Honorable Nir Barkat, Jerusalem’s mayor, toward You; that he would acknowledge his need of You and issue a city-wide call to prayer.

     We ask that You comfort the mothers, fathers, and children living in the farming communities near the Gaza border. Give them an overwhelming sense of Your presence and love for each of them. As they turn to You, give them peace…and a good night’s sleep.

     We ask that You woo Your people to Yourself. Draw them to put their trust in You, so that You are their refuge and their fortress. Save them. Cover them. Be with them in trouble. Command Your angels to guard them and keep them in all their ways.[12]

     You are a great prayer-hearing, prayer-answering, covenant-keeping, miracle-working God. Hear our prayer! Listen to Your children as we pray for the peace of the city on which You have placed Your name. Rise up, great Lion of Judah, and defend Your people. Deliver Jerusalem from her enemies so that all the nations of the earth may know that You alone are God. Answer us! For the glory of Your great name!

     We will pray until our prayers are confirmed, because we believe in You. We believe that Jerusalem’s God is God. We believe You are as strong today on her behalf as You were in the beginning, and always have been, and always will be. We believe that since the first day we set our minds to gain understanding and to humble ourselves before our God, our words have been heard.[13] We believe that we have asked according to Your will, in the name of Your dear Son, and for His glory alone. Therefore we expect to receive answers.[14]

     Now we await Your confirmation. We have prayed for the peace of Jerusalem. We don’t know what else to do. But our eyes are fixed expectantly on You.[15]

     For the Glory of Yeshua / Jesus Christ. AMEN

[1] Zechariah 12:10
[2] Nehemiah 9:6
[3] Based on the Song of Moses, Exodus 15
[4] The promises above were taken from Ezekiel 36:26; Zechariah 12:10-12; Romans 11:26-27; Ezekiel 37:23; Ezekiel 37:26, Revelation 7:1-4, 14:1-5
[5] Paraphrased from Ezra 9, Daniel 9, and Romans 1
[6] Israel has the most liberal abortion laws in the world. Tel Aviv is marketed as the gay capital of the Middle East. Alcohol consumption among Israeli children is surging to the extent that Prime Minister Netanyahu has called it “an epidemic.”
[7] Paraphrased from Romans 1; 42% of Israelis are secular.
[8] Zechariah 4:6
[9] Romans 2:9
[10] 2 Chronicles 20:29
[11] Daniel 10:12-13
[12] Psalm 91
[13] Daniel 10:12
[14] John 14:13-14
[15] 2 Chronicles 20:12

Anne Graham Lotz

Book Of Common Prayer
     Tuesday, September 5, 2017 | After Pentecost

Proper 17, Tuesday
Year 1

Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 26, 28
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 36, 39
Old Testament     1 Kings 8:65–9:9
New Testament     James 2:14–26
Gospel     Mark 14:66–72

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Psalm 26, 28

Of David.

1 Vindicate me, O LORD,
for I have walked in my integrity,
and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
2 Prove me, O LORD, and try me;
test my heart and mind.
3 For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in faithfulness to you.

4 I do not sit with the worthless,
nor do I consort with hypocrites;
5 I hate the company of evildoers,
and will not sit with the wicked.

6 I wash my hands in innocence,
and go around your altar, O LORD,
7 singing aloud a song of thanksgiving,
and telling all your wondrous deeds.

8 O LORD, I love the house in which you dwell,
and the place where your glory abides.
9 Do not sweep me away with sinners,
nor my life with the bloodthirsty,
10 those in whose hands are evil devices,
and whose right hands are full of bribes.

11 But as for me, I walk in my integrity;
redeem me, and be gracious to me.
12 My foot stands on level ground;
in the great congregation I will bless the LORD.

Of David.

1 To you, O LORD, I call;
my rock, do not refuse to hear me,
for if you are silent to me,
I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.
2 Hear the voice of my supplication,
as I cry to you for help,
as I lift up my hands
toward your most holy sanctuary.

3 Do not drag me away with the wicked,
with those who are workers of evil,
who speak peace with their neighbors,
while mischief is in their hearts.
4 Repay them according to their work,
and according to the evil of their deeds;
repay them according to the work of their hands;
render them their due reward.
5 Because they do not regard the works of the LORD,
or the work of his hands,
he will break them down and build them up no more.

6 Blessed be the LORD,
for he has heard the sound of my pleadings.
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts;
so I am helped, and my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.

8 The LORD is the strength of his people;
he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
9 O save your people, and bless your heritage;
be their shepherd, and carry them forever.

Psalms (EVENING)
Psalm 36, 39

To the leader. Of David, the servant of the LORD.

1 Transgression speaks to the wicked
deep in their hearts;
there is no fear of God
before their eyes.
2 For they flatter themselves in their own eyes
that their iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
3 The words of their mouths are mischief and deceit;
they have ceased to act wisely and do good.
4 They plot mischief while on their beds;
they are set on a way that is not good;
they do not reject evil.

5 Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your judgments are like the great deep;
you save humans and animals alike, O LORD.

7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.

10 O continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
and your salvation to the upright of heart!
11 Do not let the foot of the arrogant tread on me,
or the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12 There the evildoers lie prostrate;
they are thrust down, unable to rise.

To the leader: to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.

1 I said, “I will guard my ways
that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will keep a muzzle on my mouth
as long as the wicked are in my presence.”
2 I was silent and still;
I held my peace to no avail;
my distress grew worse,
3 my heart became hot within me.
While I mused, the fire burned;
then I spoke with my tongue:

4 “LORD, let me know my end,
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight.
Surely everyone stands as a mere breath.     Selah
6 Surely everyone goes about like a shadow.
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;
they heap up, and do not know who will gather.

7 “And now, O Lord, what do I wait for?
My hope is in you.
8 Deliver me from all my transgressions.
Do not make me the scorn of the fool.
9 I am silent; I do not open my mouth,
for it is you who have done it.
10 Remove your stroke from me;
I am worn down by the blows of your hand.

11 “You chastise mortals
in punishment for sin,
consuming like a moth what is dear to them;
surely everyone is a mere breath.     Selah

12 “Hear my prayer, O LORD,
and give ear to my cry;
do not hold your peace at my tears.
For I am your passing guest,
an alien, like all my forebears.
13 Turn your gaze away from me, that I may smile again,
before I depart and am no more.”

Old Testament
1 Kings 8:65–9:9

65 So Solomon held the festival at that time, and all Israel with him—a great assembly, people from Lebo-hamath to the Wadi of Egypt—before the LORD our God, seven days. 66 On the eighth day he sent the people away; and they blessed the king, and went to their tents, joyful and in good spirits because of all the goodness that the LORD had shown to his servant David and to his people Israel.

9 When Solomon had finished building the house of the LORD and the king’s house and all that Solomon desired to build, 2 the LORD appeared to Solomon a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. 3 The LORD said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you made before me; I have consecrated this house that you have built, and put my name there forever; my eyes and my heart will be there for all time. 4 As for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and my ordinances, 5 then I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised your father David, saying, ‘There shall not fail you a successor on the throne of Israel.’

6 “If you turn aside from following me, you or your children, and do not keep my commandments and my statutes that I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, 7 then I will cut Israel off from the land that I have given them; and the house that I have consecrated for my name I will cast out of my sight; and Israel will become a proverb and a taunt among all peoples. 8 This house will become a heap of ruins; everyone passing by it will be astonished, and will hiss; and they will say, ‘Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this house?’ 9 Then they will say, ‘Because they have forsaken the LORD their God, who brought their ancestors out of the land of Egypt, and embraced other gods, worshiping them and serving them; therefore the LORD has brought this disaster upon them.’ ”

New Testament
James 2:14–26

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder. 20 Do you want to be shown, you senseless person, that faith apart from works is barren? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works. 23 Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 Likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another road? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.

Gospel
Mark 14:66–72

66 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by. 67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she stared at him and said, “You also were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.” 68 But he denied it, saying, “I do not know or understand what you are talking about.” And he went out into the forecourt. Then the cock crowed. 69 And the servant-girl, on seeing him, began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” 70 But again he denied it. Then after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Galilean.” 71 But he began to curse, and he swore an oath, “I do not know this man you are talking about.” 72 At that moment the cock crowed for the second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.


The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church



Cultural World of NT L6 1 Peter and Kinship
David A. deSilva, Ph.D.





How Jesus and Apostles Would have Learned
Rabbi David Gordis   Gordon College




Community & Spiritual Authority Late Antiquity
Jennifer Hevelone-Harper   Boston College





Cultural World of NT L7 Purity and Pollution
David A. deSilva, Ph.D.






Christian Concept of Self
Ann Blackwill   Gordon College



Cultural World of NT L8 Hebrews--Purity and Pollution
David A. deSilva, Ph.D.






The Beautiful Dilemna    
Stan Gaede   Gordon College





Community Reflections of the Light
Mark Sargent   Gordon College






Apocrypha Witness Between the Testaments L1 General Intro
David A. deSilva, Ph.D.





Apocrypha L2 2, 1 Esdras, Ben Sira, 1-2 Mac
David A. deSilva, Ph.D.






Apocrypha Witness Between the Testaments L3 1-2 Macc, Judith
David A. deSilva, Ph.D.