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22 December - Job 29; 30; Zechariah 6; 7; Revelation 3; 4


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Posted 22 December 2007 - 10:29 AM

First Portion

Job 29; 30


29:1 Job again took up his parable, and said,

29:2 "Oh that I were as in the months of old,
as in the days when God watched over me;
29:3 when his lamp shone on my head,
and by his light I walked through darkness,
29:4 as I was in the ripeness of my days,
when the friendship of God was in my tent,
29:5 when the Almighty was yet with me,
and my children were around me,
29:6 when my steps were washed with butter,
and the rock poured out streams of oil for me,
29:7 when I went forth to the city gate,
when I prepared my seat in the street.
29:8 The young men saw me and hid themselves.
The aged rose up and stood.
29:9 The princes refrained from talking,
and laid their hand on their mouth.
29:10 The voice of the nobles was hushed,
and their tongue stuck to the roof of their mouth.
29:11 For when the ear heard me, then it blessed me;
and when the eye saw me, it commended me:
29:12 Because I delivered the poor who cried,
and the fatherless also, who had none to help him,
29:13 the blessing of him who was ready to perish came on me,
and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.
29:14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me.
My justice was as a robe and a diadem.
29:15 I was eyes to the blind,
and feet to the lame.
29:16 I was a father to the needy.
The cause of him who I didn't know, I searched out.
29:17 I broke the jaws of the unrighteous,
and plucked the prey out of his teeth.
29:18 Then I said, 'I shall die in my own house,
I shall number my days as the sand.
29:19 My root is spread out to the waters.
The dew lies all night on my branch.
29:20 My glory is fresh in me.
My bow is renewed in my hand.'
29:21 "Men listened to me, waited,
and kept silence for my counsel.
29:22 After my words they didn't speak again.
My speech fell on them.
29:23 They waited for me as for the rain.
Their mouths drank as with the spring rain.
29:24 I smiled on them when they had no confidence.
They didn't reject the light of my face.
29:25 I chose out their way, and sat as chief.
I lived as a king in the army,
as one who comforts the mourners.

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 10:30 AM

30:1 “But now those who are younger than I have me in derision,
whose fathers I would have disdained to put with my sheep dogs.
30:2 Of what use is the strength of their hands to me,
men in whom ripe age has perished?
30:3 They are gaunt from lack and famine.
They gnaw the dry ground, in the gloom of waste and desolation.
30:4 They pluck salt herbs by the bushes.
The roots of the broom are their food.
30:5 They are driven out from the midst of men.
They cry after them as after a thief;
30:6 So that they dwell in frightful valleys,
and in holes of the earth and of the rocks.
30:7 Among the bushes they bray;
and under the nettles they are gathered together.
30:8 They are children of fools, yes, children of base men.
They were flogged out of the land.
30:9 “Now I have become their song.
Yes, I am a byword to them.
30:10 They abhor me, they stand aloof from me,
and don’t hesitate to spit in my face.
30:11 For he has untied his cord, and afflicted me;
and they have thrown off restraint before me.
30:12 On my right hand rise the rabble.
They thrust aside my feet,
They cast up against me their ways of destruction.
30:13 They mar my path,
They set forward my calamity,
without anyone’s help.
30:14 As through a wide breach they come,
in the midst of the ruin they roll themselves in.
30:15 Terrors have turned on me.
They chase my honor as the wind.
My welfare has passed away as a cloud.
30:16 “Now my soul is poured out within me.
Days of affliction have taken hold on me.
30:17 In the night season my bones are pierced in me,
and the pains that gnaw me take no rest.
30:18 By great force is my garment disfigured.
It binds me about as the collar of my coat.
30:19 He has cast me into the mire.
I have become like dust and ashes.
30:20 I cry to you, and you do not answer me.
I stand up, and you gaze at me.
30:21 You have turned to be cruel to me.
With the might of your hand you persecute me.
30:22 You lift me up to the wind, and drive me with it.
You dissolve me in the storm.
30:23 For I know that you will bring me to death,
To the house appointed for all living.
30:24 “However doesn’t one stretch out a hand in his fall?
Or in his calamity therefore cry for help?
30:25 Didn’t I weep for him who was in trouble?
Wasn’t my soul grieved for the needy?
30:26 When I looked for good, then evil came;
When I waited for light, there came darkness.
30:27 My heart is troubled, and doesn’t rest.
Days of affliction have come on me.
30:28 I go mourning without the sun.
I stand up in the assembly, and cry for help.
30:29 I am a brother to jackals,
and a companion to ostriches.
30:30 My skin grows black and peels from me.
My bones are burned with heat.
30:31 Therefore my harp has turned to mourning,
and my pipe into the voice of those who weep.

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 10:31 AM

Second Portion

Zechariah 6; 7


6:1 Again I lifted up my eyes, and saw, and behold, four chariots came out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass. 6:2 In the first chariot were red horses; in the second chariot black horses; 6:3 in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot dappled horses, all of them powerful. 6:4 Then I asked the angel who talked with me, "What are these, my lord?"

6:5 The angel answered me, "These are the four winds of the sky, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth. 6:6 The one with the black horses goes out toward the north country; and the white went out after them; and the dappled went forth toward the south country." 6:7 The strong went out, and sought to go that they might walk back and forth through the earth: and he said, "Go around and through the earth!" So they walked back and forth through the earth.

6:8 Then he called to me, and spoke to me, saying, "Behold, those who go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country."

6:9 The word of Yahweh came to me, saying, 6:10 "Take of them of the captivity, even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah; and come the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah, where they have come from Babylon. 6:11 Yes, take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them on the head of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest; 6:12 and speak to him, saying, 'Thus says Yahweh of Armies, "Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: and he shall grow up out of his place; and he shall build the temple of Yahweh; 6:13 even he shall build the temple of Yahweh; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule on his throne; and he shall be a priest on his throne; and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. 6:14 The crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of Yahweh. 6:15 Those who are far off shall come and build in the temple of Yahweh; and you shall know that Yahweh of Armies has sent me to you. This will happen, if you will diligently obey the voice of Yahweh your God."'"

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 10:31 AM

7:1 It happened in the fourth year of king Darius that the word of Yahweh came to Zechariah in the fourth day of the ninth month, the month of Chislev. 7:2 The people of Bethel sent Sharezer and Regem Melech, and their men, to entreat Yahweh’s favor, 7:3 and to speak to the priests of the house of Yahweh of Armies, and to the prophets, saying, “Should I weep in the fifth month, separating myself, as I have done these so many years?”

7:4 Then the word of Yahweh of Armies came to me, saying, 7:5 “Speak to all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and in the seventh month for these seventy years, did you at all fast to me, really to me? 7:6 When you eat, and when you drink, don’t you eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves? 7:7 Aren’t these the words which Yahweh proclaimed by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and its cities around her, and the South and the lowland were inhabited?’”

7:8 The word of Yahweh came to Zechariah, saying, 7:9 “Thus has Yahweh of Armies spoken, saying, ‘Execute true judgment, and show kindness and compassion every man to his brother. 7:10 Don’t oppress the widow, nor the fatherless, the foreigner, nor the poor; and let none of you devise evil against his brother in your heart.’ 7:11 But they refused to listen, and turned their backs, and stopped their ears, that they might not hear. 7:12 Yes, they made their hearts as hard as flint, lest they might hear the law, and the words which Yahweh of Armies had sent by his Spirit by the former prophets. Therefore great wrath came from Yahweh of Armies. 7:13 It has come to pass that, as he called, and they refused to listen, so they will call, and I will not listen,” said Yahweh of Armies; 7:14 “but I will scatter them with a whirlwind among all the nations which they have not known. Thus the land was desolate after them, so that no man passed through nor returned: for they made the pleasant land desolate.”

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 10:33 AM

Third Portion

Revelation 3; 4


3:1 "And to the angel of the assembly in Sardis write:

"He who has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars says these things:

"I know your works, that you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 3:2 Wake up, and keep the things that remain, which you were about to throw away, for I have found no works of yours perfected before my God. 3:3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If therefore you won't watch, I will come as a thief, and you won't know what hour I will come upon you. 3:4 Nevertheless you have a few names in Sardis that did not defile their garments. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 3:5 He who overcomes will be arrayed in white garments, and I will in no way blot his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. 3:6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.

3:7 "To the angel of the assembly in Philadelphia write:

"He who is holy, he who is true, he who has the key of David, he who opens and no one can shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says these things:

3:8 "I know your works (behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one can shut), that you have a little power, and kept my word, and didn't deny my name. 3:9 Behold, I give of the synagogue of Satan, of those who say they are Jews, and they are not, but lie. Behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 3:10 Because you kept my command to endure, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, which is to come on the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 3:11 I am coming quickly! Hold firmly that which you have, so that no one takes your crown. 3:12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will go out from there no more. I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God, and my own new name. 3:13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.

3:14 "To the angel of the assembly in Laodicea write:

"The Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Head of God's creation, says these things:

3:15 "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth. 3:17 Because you say, 'I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing;' and don't know that you are the wretched one, miserable, poor, blind, and naked; 3:18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich; and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. 3:19 As many as I love, I reprove and chasten. Be zealous therefore, and repent. 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with me. 3:21 He who overcomes, I will give to him to sit down with me on my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father on his throne. 3:22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies."

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 10:34 AM

4:1 After these things I looked and saw a door opened in heaven, and the first voice that I heard, like a trumpet speaking with me, was one saying, “Come up here, and I will show you the things which must happen after this.”

4:2 Immediately I was in the Spirit. Behold, there was a throne set in heaven, and one sitting on the throne 4:3 that looked like a jasper stone and a sardius. There was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald to look at. 4:4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones. On the thrones were twenty-four elders sitting, dressed in white garments, with crowns of gold on their heads. 4:5 Out of the throne proceed lightnings, sounds, and thunders. There were seven lamps of fire burning before his throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. 4:6 Before the throne was something like a sea of glass, similar to crystal. In the midst of the throne, and around the throne were four living creatures full of eyes before and behind. 4:7 The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like a man, and the fourth was like a flying eagle. 4:8 The four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within. They have no rest day and night, saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come!”

4:9 When the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to him who sits on the throne, to him who lives forever and ever, 4:10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives forever and ever, and throw their crowns before the throne, saying, 4:11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, the Holy One, to receive the glory, the honor, and the power, for you created all things, and because of your desire they existed, and were created!”

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Posted 22 December 2008 - 12:38 PM

22 December 2008

Job 29; 30
Zechariah 6; 7
Revelation 3; 4


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Posted 22 December 2009 - 08:37 AM

22 December 2009

Job 29; 30
Zechariah 6; 7
Revelation 3; 4


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Posted 07 March 2011 - 01:20 PM

22 December 2010

Job 29; 30
Zechariah 6; 7
Revelation 3; 4


"I KNOW YOUR WORKS"

Today we complete reading the seven letters that are sent to 7 churches. These are contained in chapters 2 and 3 of the book of Revelation. Each letter begins with the words, "I know thy works," that is, our deeds. The letters are dictated by Jesus [Revelation 1:7,18). The churches are described as "Lampstands" [Revelation 1:20]. Their responsibility is to illuminate the darkness in the world, to set the example because their members know that "your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path." [Psalm 119:105]

Some are effective in doing this, some are not. The latter fail to realize that Jesus knows their works – and these must be works done in genuine faith. Some think they are working well and are blind to the fact that Jesus does not think so – indeed, he sees them as "dead." The church at Sardis is a case in point! (Remember, church means the congregation – not the building).

Jesus says, "I know your works. You have a reputation (name) for being alive, but you are dead." [Revelation 3:1] They were not seeing what they were doing in the spotlight of God's word. However he says, "yet you have a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy." [Revelation 3:4] These are the "garments of salvation … the robe of righteousness" [Isaiah 61:10] we received when our sins were washed away and we committed our lives to Christ in baptism. [Romans 6:4-19]

Revelation describes this as "fine linen, bright and pure" [Revelation 19:8]. So there are a few in Sardis who really know that their Lord sees all and knows all. With his help they stay spiritually alive. Of such Jesus says, "The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments and I will never blot his (or her) name out of the book of life. I will confess his name (reputation) before my father …" [Revelation 3:5]. What will be confess of us? These 7 letters contain a tremendous range of food for spiritual thought making us reflect on the fact that Jesus knows our works.
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Posted 22 December 2011 - 10:26 AM

22 December 2011

Job 29; 30
Zechariah 6; 7
Revelation 3; 4

"THOSE WHOM I LOVE I REPROVE AND DISCIPLINE"

The 7 letters to the 7 different assemblies of believers that we read in Revelation 2 and 3 always challenge our thinking. They are representative of all the different types of congregations that have existed over time and each of us should be able to see in one or more of them, a “picture” of the congregation to which we belong. However, if a community is only believing in God in a nominal sense, especially the humanistic minded churches of this century, that is probably not the case.

The words that particularly jumped out as we read were – “Those whom I love I reprove and discipline” [Revelation 3:19] followed by the words, “so be zealous and repent.” This message was addressed to the “lukewarm” [Revelation 3:16] believers at Laodicea. In our present overwhelmingly godless environment we believe the warnings in this letter probably have a very wide application.

Jesus hears these believers at Laodicea saying, at least in their hearts, “I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing”- and then observes, “not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked” [Revelation 3:17]. To be spiritually naked is a frightful tragedy, especially when you are blind to the fact as most if not all would be; the religious leaders who despised Jesus are a ‘worse case’ example.

We thought about that phrase, “those whom I love I reprove and discipline.” Jesus wishes to love all those who genuinely seek him and is always looking for lost sheep or the prodigal man (or woman) who suddenly realize they are “naked.” Job was loved by his God and was disciplined to make him an even better and wiser “upright man” – as we will shortly read and more clearly recognise the purpose behind his tribulations.

The Laodicean letter concludes, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him … ” [Revelation 3:20]. We hear his voice by reading his word and really taking into our minds and hearts what we read.
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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:46 AM

22 December 2012

Job 29; 30
Zechariah 6; 7
Revelation 3; 4

"NOT REALISING THAT YOU ARE ..."

Our world is full of people who have no comprehension of what God is – many are convinced there is no God – allegedly wise men and women keep telling them this. Sadly most churches have little to say in protest at this state of things. We are now reading the book of Revelation and today in chapter 3 we completed the message Jesus sent through his angel (see Revelation 1:1) to 7 selected churches. We see these as representative of all the different types of churches, that is – congregations – that have existed through the ages.

Each message starts with the words, “I know your works.” God’s all seeing power knows everything that is happening and Scripture employs various imagery of language to indicate this. We saw an example of this today in Zechariah 6 with 4 chariots who “go to patrol the earth” [Zechariah 6:7]

The message in Revelation to the believers at Laodicea is ominous! It is a message that fits the condition of spiritual life today. It pictures a self-satisfied community who “are lukewarm, and who are neither hot or cold” and because of this “I will spit you out of my mouth” [Revelation 3:16] They say of themselves, that they “… have prospered and need nothing, not realising that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked” [Revelation 3:17] – in a spiritual sense.

They need to “buy from me” says Jesus “white garments so that you may cloth yourself …” [Revelation 3:18] This takes our thoughts back to Revelation 3:4 and the message to the believers in Sardis where there were still “a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white … and I will never blot his (or her) name out of the book of life …” [Revelation 3:5]

What are these garments? God’s message through Isaiah is frequently relevant to the messages in Revelation. Look at Isaiah 61:10 “I will greatly rejoice … for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness” to happen when “the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.” [Isaiah 61:11]

How essential it is to realize what we really are – from the perspective of our Lord. Jesus knows we are not perfect, but he said to those at Laodicea, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him … ” [Revelation 3:20] Opening God’s word and reading it prayerfully every day surely means we are opening the door of our hearts to welcome our Lord into our minds.
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Posted 23 December 2013 - 02:59 AM

22 December 2013

Job 29; 30
Zechariah 6; 7
Revelation 3; 4

“I SCATTERED THEM … AMONG THE NATIONS”

Our readings today created a wide mix of thoughts. In the first one, Job continues to lament his situation and that is very understandable; he had held a position of the greatest respect, but now he is in the opposite situation – but we remember how Paul told the Corinthians that “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted (or tested) beyond your ability … to endure it.” [1 Corinthians 10:13] Job’s ability to endure was great, God knew the inner strength of his character formed from his total commitment to him, Job had said, “he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” [Job 23:10].

Zechariah, was a prophet God sent when Israel returned from exile under the leadership of Ezra – God revealed to him that an even greater scattering was coming. The people around him were not heeding “the words that the LORD of hosts had sent by his Spirit though the former prophets …. I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations that they had not known. Thus the land they left was (became) desolate …” [Zechariah 7:12-14] A prophecy that had its complete fulfillment after they rejected God’s prophet, his son, our Lord. But as we read on in Zechariah in the next few days we will see some awesome words that are now in the process of fulfillment.

Then in Revelation we read the ultimate personal promise of Jesus to “the one who conquers, I will grant him (her) to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.” [Revelation 3:21] Then in Revelation 4 we read the ultimate climax of total praise to the Creator “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” [Revelation 4:11]

The parts of God’s word that contain such word pictures are the ultimate challenge to us – to believe! Then to show the heart felt nature of our belief by living lives that show the conviction we have developed in our hearts. Have you accepted that challenge? Are you living in a way that proves that you have?
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