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18 November - Nehemiah 5; 6; Joel 1; 1 Thessalonians 5


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Posted 18 November 2007 - 09:21 AM

First Portion

Nehemiah 5; 6


5:1 Then there arose a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brothers the Jews. 5:2 For there were that said, “We, our sons and our daughters, are many. Let us get grain, that we may eat and live.” 5:3 Some also there were that said, “We are mortgaging our fields, and our vineyards, and our houses. Let us get grain, because of the famine.” 5:4 There were also some who said, “We have borrowed money for the king’s tribute using our fields and our vineyards as collateral. 5:5 Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brothers, our children as their children. Behold, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters have been brought into bondage. Neither is it in our power to help it; for other men have our fields and our vineyards.”

5:6 I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words. 5:7 Then I consulted with myself, and contended with the nobles and the rulers, and said to them, “You exact usury, everyone of his brother.” I held a great assembly against them. 5:8 I said to them, “We, after our ability, have redeemed our brothers the Jews that were sold to the nations; and would you even sell your brothers, and should they be sold to us?” Then they held their peace, and found never a word. 5:9 Also I said, “The thing that you do is not good. Ought you not to walk in the fear of our God, because of the reproach of the nations our enemies? 5:10 I likewise, my brothers and my servants, lend them money and grain. Please let us stop this usury. 5:11 Please restore to them, even this day, their fields, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money, and of the grain, the new wine, and the oil, that you are charging them.”

5:12 Then they said, “We will restore them, and will require nothing of them; so will we do, even as you say.”

Then I called the priests, and took an oath of them, that they would do according to this promise. 5:13 Also I shook out my lap, and said, “So may God shake out every man from his house, and from his labor, that doesn’t perform this promise; even thus be he shaken out, and emptied.”

All the assembly said, “Amen,” and praised Yahweh. The people did according to this promise.

5:14 Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even to the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that is, twelve years, I and my brothers have not eaten the bread of the governor. 5:15 But the former governors who were before me were supported by the people, and took bread and wine from them, besides forty shekels of silver; yes, even their servants ruled over the people: but I didn’t do so, because of the fear of God. 5:16 Yes, also I continued in the work of this wall, neither bought we any land: and all my servants were gathered there to the work. 5:17 Moreover there were at my table, of the Jews and the rulers, one hundred fifty men, besides those who came to us from among the nations that were around us. 5:18 Now that which was prepared for one day was one ox and six choice sheep; also fowls were prepared for me, and once in ten days store of all sorts of wine: yet for all this I didn’t demand the bread of the governor, because the bondage was heavy on this people. 5:19 Remember to me, my God, for good, all that I have done for this people.

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 09:22 AM

6:1 Now it happened, when it was reported to Sanballat and Tobiah, and to Geshem the Arabian, and to the rest of our enemies, that I had built the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though even to that time I had not set up the doors in the gates;) 6:2 that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together in the villages in the plain of Ono.” But they intended to harm me.

6:3 I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I can’t come down. Why should the work cease, while I leave it, and come down to you?” 6:4 They sent to me four times after this sort; and I answered them the same way. 6:5 Then Sanballat sent his servant to me the same way the fifth time with an open letter in his hand, 6:6 in which was written, “It is reported among the nations, and Gashmu says it, that you and the Jews intend to rebel. Because of that, you are building the wall. You would be their king, according to these words. 6:7 You have also appointed prophets to preach of you at Jerusalem, saying, ‘There is a king in Judah!’ Now it will be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together.”

6:8 Then I sent to him, saying, “There are no such things done as you say, but you imagine them out of your own heart.” 6:9 For they all would have made us afraid, saying, “Their hands will be weakened from the work, that it not be done. But now, strengthen my hands.”

6:10 I went to the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabel, who was shut in at his home; and he said, “Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple; for they will come to kill you; yes, in the night will they come to kill you.”

6:11 I said, “Should such a man as I flee? Who is there that, being such as I, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in.” 6:12 I discerned, and behold, God had not sent him; but he pronounced this prophecy against me. Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 6:13 He hired so that I would be afraid, do so, and sin, and that they might have material for an evil report, that they might reproach me. 6:14 “Remember, my God, Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and also the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear.”

6:15 So the wall was finished in the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days. 6:16 It happened, when all our enemies heard of it, that all the nations that were about us were afraid, and were much cast down in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was worked of our God. 6:17 Moreover in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and Tobiah’s letters came to them. 6:18 For there were many in Judah sworn to him, because he was the son-in-law of Shecaniah the son of Arah; and his son Jehohanan had taken the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah as wife. 6:19 Also they spoke of his good deeds before me, and reported my words to him. Tobiah sent letters to put me in fear.

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 09:23 AM

Second Portion

Joel 1


1:1 The Word of Yahweh that came to Joel, the son of Pethuel.

1:2 Hear this, you elders,
And listen, all you inhabitants of the land.
Has this ever happened in your days,
or in the days of your fathers?
1:3 Tell your children about it,
and have your children tell their children,
and their children, another generation.
1:4 What the swarming locust has left, the great locust has eaten.
What the great locust has left, the grasshopper has eaten.
What the grasshopper has left, the caterpillar has eaten.
1:5 Wake up, you drunkards, and weep!
Wail, all you drinkers of wine, because of the sweet wine;
for it is cut off from your mouth.
1:6 For a nation has come up on my land, strong, and without number.
His teeth are the teeth of a lion,
and he has the fangs of a lioness.
1:7 He has laid my vine waste,
and stripped my fig tree.
He has stripped its bark, and thrown it away.
Its branches are made white.
1:8 Mourn like a virgin dressed in sackcloth for the husband of her youth! 1:9 The meal offering and the drink offering are cut off from Yahweh’s house.
The priests, Yahweh’s ministers, mourn.
1:10 The field is laid waste.
The land mourns, for the grain is destroyed,
The new wine has dried up,
and the oil languishes.
1:11 Be confounded, you farmers!
Wail, you vineyard keepers;
for the wheat and for the barley;
for the harvest of the field has perished.
1:12 The vine has dried up, and the fig tree withered;
the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree,
even all of the trees of the field are withered;
for joy has withered away from the sons of men.
1:13 Put on sackcloth and mourn, you priests!
Wail, you ministers of the altar.
Come, lie all night in sackcloth, you ministers of my God,
for the meal offering and the drink offering are withheld from your God’s house.
1:14 Sanctify a fast.
Call a solemn assembly.
Gather the elders,
and all the inhabitants of the land, to the house of Yahweh, your God,
and cry to Yahweh.
1:15 Alas for the day!
For the day of Yahweh is at hand,
and it will come as destruction from the Almighty.
1:16 Isn’t the food cut off before our eyes;
joy and gladness from the house of our God?
1:17 The seeds rot under their clods.
The granaries are laid desolate.
The barns are broken down, for the grain has withered.
1:18 How the animals groan!
The herds of livestock are perplexed, because they have no pasture.
Yes, the flocks of sheep are made desolate.
1:19 Yahweh, I cry to you,
For the fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness,
and the flame has burned all the trees of the field.
1:20 Yes, the animals of the field pant to you,
for the water brooks have dried up,
And the fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness.

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 09:24 AM

Third Portion

1 Thessalonians 5


5:1 But concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need that anything be written to you. 5:2 For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night. 5:3 For when they are saying, “Peace and safety,” then sudden destruction will come on them, like birth pains on a pregnant woman; and they will in no way escape. 5:4 But you, brothers, aren’t in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief. 5:5 You are all children of light, and children of the day. We don’t belong to the night, nor to darkness, 5:6 so then let’s not sleep, as the rest do, but let’s watch and be sober. 5:7 For those who sleep, sleep in the night, and those who are drunk are drunk in the night. 5:8 But let us, since we belong to the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and, for a helmet, the hope of salvation. 5:9 For God didn’t appoint us to wrath, but to the obtaining of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 5:10 who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 5:11 Therefore exhort one another, and build each other up, even as you also do. 5:12 But we beg you, brothers, to know those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you, 5:13 and to respect and honor them in love for their work’s sake.

Be at peace among yourselves. 5:14 We exhort you, brothers, admonish the disorderly, encourage the fainthearted, support the weak, be patient toward all. 5:15 See that no one returns evil for evil to anyone, but always follow after that which is good, for one another, and for all.

5:16 Rejoice always. 5:17 Pray without ceasing. 5:18 In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you. 5:19 Don’t quench the Spirit. 5:20 Don’t despise prophesies. 5:21 Test all things, and hold firmly that which is good. 5:22 Abstain from every form of evil.

5:23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

5:24 He who calls you is faithful, who will also do it. 5:25 Brothers, pray for us. 5:26 Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. 5:27 I solemnly command you by the Lord that this letter be read to all the holy brothers.

5:28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

World English Bible - (WEB) - Public Domain

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 10:02 AM

18 November 2008

Nehemiah 5; 6
Joel 1
1 Thessalonians 5

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 11:12 AM

18 November 2009

Nehemiah 5; 6
Joel 1
1 Thessalonians 5

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 02:15 PM

18 November 2010

Nehemiah 5; 6
Joel 1
1 Thessalonians 5

"THEN SUDDEN DESTRUCTION WILL COME"

Today we completed reading Paul’s First letter to the Thessalonians. On several occasions the opening verses of 1 Thessalonians 5 have been applied to situations in my lifetime. “You yourselves are fully aware”, writes Paul, “that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night; when people are saying ‘there is peace and security’ then sudden destruction will come …” [1 Thessalonians 5:2,3]

A big example of this occurred when I was just a child. The British PM returned from an urgent meeting with the German leader Adolf Hitler. They had made a peace treaty and he returned waving the treaty and saying ‘It is peace in our time.” Within months Hitler broke the agreement and there was all out war in Europe for the next 6 years and something like 12 million died – and probably as many or more that were injured, maimed for life!

Our focus of attention since then has been the Middle East with the establishment of the nation of Israel in 1948. War has repeatedly broken out; “Peace” agreements of a sort have been made but do not last. Today world leaders are more than ever believe there just has to be peace, but they are unable to make any real progress toward it. Notice that the verses are not saying when there IS peace, but when they are saying “Peace” and there is a promise of safety and the threat of destruction ceasing; but it does not cease.

Paul is pointing forward to a particular event, an ultimate “day of the Lord” the climax of the ages of human rule on this earth! Many of the Old Testament prophets write about this climax and Paul writes more about this in his second letter to the Thessalonians and the utterly awesome climax “when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.” [2 Thessalonians 1:7,8] .

The key verse in today’s chapter for believers is 1 Thessalonians 5:4, “But you are not in darkness brothers for that day to surprise you like a thief”. 1 Thessalonians 5:8-10 are ones we should memorise. We must all ask ourselves whether we have really “put on the breastplate of faith.”
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Posted 18 November 2011 - 09:52 AM

18 November 2011

Nehemiah 5; 6
Joel 1
1 Thessalonians 5

"FOR GOD HAS NOT DESTINED US TO WRATH"

Can anyone be in any doubt that our world is facing a bleak future? No! Man made problems are piling up! The leaders of the nations are on edge and most people do not trust their leaders. Added to this we have seen how God has caused fearsome weather events and, most of all, powerful earthquakes.

Our reading today of the last chapter of 1 Thessalonians tells us that “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” [1 Thessalonians 5:2]. This has its real application to our days. The last verses of yesterday’s chapter were about the resurrection and the incredible dramas at the return of Christ. Now we read, “while people are saying ‘There is peace and security, then sudden destruction will come … ” [1 Thessalonians 5:3]. The United Nations is a centre for talking, for saying what the majority of nations would like to see happen, but there is no cohesion and they have no ability to make it happen – whether it is good for the world or not.

Next we noted Paul’s words to genuine believers, “you are not in darkness brothers (and sisters), for that day to surprise you like a thief in the night. For you are all children of light, children of the day.” Let us make sure we are living, believing that “we belong to the day” [1 Thessalonians 5:8]. Paul continues; “put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us to wrath, but to obtain salvation …” [1 Thessalonians 5:8,9]

Paul’s further advice is, “pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” [1 Thessalonians 5:17, 18] We noted that phrase, “in all circumstances.” It is easy to give thanks and show love when everything is going well – but the future facing the world is the opposite! So let us make sure our “breastplate of faith” is firmly in place and “the hope of salvation” is vivid and real as a “helmet” to both protect and inspire our thinking, giving us a clear vision of the divinely ordained future and our part in it.
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Posted 18 November 2012 - 10:47 AM

18 November 2012

Nehemiah 5; 6
Joel 1
1 Thessalonians 5

“YOU … ARE FULLY AWARE”

Today we complete reading Paul’s First letter to the Thessalonians. The opening verses of 1 Thessalonians 5 have been quoted many times in my lifetime, especially when crises’ erupt in the Middle East involving Israel. “You yourselves are fully aware”, writes Paul, “that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night; when people are saying ‘there is peace and security’ sudden destruction will come … ” [1 Thessalonians 5:2-3]

A big example of this occurred when I was a young child. The British PM returned from an urgent meeting with the German leader Adolf Hitler. They had made a peace treaty and he returned waving the treaty and saying ‘It is peace in our time.’ Within months Hitler broke the agreement and there was all out war in Europe for the next 6 years and multi-millions died – not to mention the millions injured and maimed for life!

“A thief in the night” is always unexpected although, perhaps less so, when there is a complete breakdown of law and order. Today, the greater part of the world prides itself on its laws and keeping order, but the Middle East has all too often been an exception. War has suddenly broken out several times; “Peace” agreements of a sort have been made and in recent years they have been maintained fairly well.. However, since what is called the ‘Arab Spring’ occurred, the whole area has become far more volatile and uncertain. It is hard to foresee what will happen next.

Notice that the opening verses of 1 Thessalonians 5 are not saying when there IS peace, but when they are saying “Peace” – a saying that is always made by others in an effort to maintain or regain peace when faced with much destruction. Many are calling for Peace at the moment but there is presently no obvious way forward..

Paul is pointing forward to a one particular event, a ‘day of the Lord’ a time of ultimate crisis. Several Old Testament prophets are caused by God to also write of this. Today’s reading in Joel 1 has a telling verse. “Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is near, as destruction from the Almighty it comes” [Joel 1:15] – and the chapters for the next 2 days are awesome in their portrayal of this ultimate “day of the Lord”

But we need a personal message, and Paul gives us one, and it is far more valuable to us than watching pictures of rockets and destruction on our TV screens. The key message for us is from 1 Thessalonians 5:4, “We are not of the night or of the darkness brothers for that day to surprise you like a thief … since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath but to obtain salvation”. The Bible’s picture is awesome of the “wrath” of the Almighty our world is facing. Let us make sure we “are fully aware” and awake and our “breastplate of faith and love” is firmly in place.
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Posted 18 November 2013 - 10:31 AM

18 November 2013

Nehemiah 5; 6
Joel 1
1 Thessalonians 5

“CHILDREN OF THE DAY”

In the sight of God we all have the opportunity to be his children. Paul, in completing his first letter to the Thessalonians makes the point, “you are not in darkness brothers … for you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night …” [1 Thessalonians 5:4-5] There is a simple but profound lesson here. It is essential for our spiritual eyes to be wide open (recall Ephesians 1:18) – day after day – week after week – month after month – year after year!

Paul presses the point, “We are not of the night, nor of the darkness.” There can be no spiritual night-time for genuine committed believers. He continues, “So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night ... we belong to the day, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation” [1 Thessalonians 5:6-8]

We shudder at Paul’s words in the next verse, “For God has not destined us to wrath but to obtain salvation …” [1 Thessalonians 5:9] But let us not spend any time thinking of the destiny of those who are not of the day. There is no middle path, only broad and narrow ones! In a way the seemingly never ending turmoil of the nations around Israel at the moment can be seen as a foretaste of the wrath for those who have no knowledge at all of the one true God.

As those who have on – or should have on – “the breastplate of faith” we have a tremendous example to follow as we read more of the dedication of Nehemiah [Nehemiah 5; 6] as he pushed to one side all those who tried to hinder and stop the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. Let us all work at building up the walls of our faith – and create secure “gates” that only allow in that which is good and profitable.
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