Highlights In Today's Reading:
Benjamin's descendants, as recorded in chapter 8, include the lineage of King Saul. The exiles returning from captivity are listed in chapter 9. There is no "small" task in the House of God. Each necessary job is clearly outlined. Sadly, it takes only two verses to describe the life and death of Saul and his sons (10:13-14).
The people of God were carried away to Babylon for their transgression (9:1) — their neglect of keeping the Word of God. Captive, downtrodden, and degraded, they were forced into a strange land. After the Israelites' 70-year captivity, which had been foretold by Jeremiah (Jer. 25:11-12), King Cyrus offered freedom to their descendants to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple.
However, by this time most of them had been born in Babylon and had never seen Jerusalem. In Babylon they were no longer suppressed and were free to pursue financial opportunities. Added to that, the dangerous journey of 600-900 miles would take at least 4 months (Ezra 7:8-0) and, at the end of the long journey, they faced an uncertain means of survival. Once back in Jerusalem, there would be much hard, physical labor rebuilding the Temple out of the rubble left from the Babylonian destruction.
Because of this, when the Medo-Persians set the Israelites free, only a few were willing to leave Persia, the former Babylon, and fulfill the will of God. However, all who did respond to the call became very able men for the work of the service of the House of God (I Chr. 9:13). Their loyalty to their Heavenly King made them willing to serve wherever needed.
In the ministry of the Lord nothing is unimportant to God: There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. . . . dividing to every man severally as He will (I Cor. 12:4,11). Everyone on earth has at least one talent (Matt. 25:24-28) that could be used to draw others to Christ. Any thing we do for the Lord is a sacred trust from God and is important in His master plan. Although some among us are given higher positions than others, the Lord does not expect the person who is given one talent to fulfill the responsibility of the person who has been given five talents. By the same token, the person who is given five is expected to be faithful with all five. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required (Luke 12:48). Sad to say, some have chosen to use their abilities in secular opportunities to become famous and wealthy rather than in being a faithful Christian with the privilege of opportunities to influence others to become followers of Christ. Those who bury their opportunities in worldly ambitions will hear on Judgment Day: Thou wicked and slothful servant (Matt. 25:26).
All Christians are to pray for those who minister the Word of God (II Thess. 3:1-2) and to tithe for their support (Matt. 23:23; I Cor. 9:3-14). Our Lord Jesus Christ reminded us that the labourers are few (Matt. 9:37) and made a very specific prayer request: Pray . . . the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest (Matt. 9:38).
Thought for Today:
We must guard against becoming so comfortable in our worldly surroundings that we forget what the Word of God has taught us (I John 2:16).
By Jerusalem, which means "foundation of peace" (I Chr. 9:3). Christ is the only Foundation of Peace upon which man can stand before God. Jesus said: My peace I give unto you (John 14:27; II Cor. 5:18; Eph. 2:14).
8:31 Zacher =b> Zechariah (not the prophet); 9:21 porter =b> gatekeeper of the entrance way; 9:22 set office =b> trustworthy position; 9:23 by wards =b> as guards; 9:28 bring them in and out by tale =b> count them when they bring them in and take them out; 10:2 followed hard after =b> closely pursued and overtook; 10:3 went sore =b> was fierce; 10:4 uncircumcised =b> those without a covenant relationship with God.
Pray for Arabic, English, & Spanish International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Jack Schatz, Jr. • Radio Sri Lanka Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Linda Plett • Staff: Clarence Rathbone • Government Officials: Sen. Byron Dorgan (ND), Rep. Alan Mollohan (WV), Rep. Erik Paulsen (MN), and Rep. Jackie Speier (CA) • Country: Malaysia (22.7 million) in Southeast Asia • Major languages: Malay and English • All Christian witness to Muslims is illegal • 58% Muslim; 23% Buddhist/Taoist/Chinese; 8% Christian; 6% Hindu; 5% Sikh/Animist/Other • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to give you boldness and opportunities to share the Gospel with others (Col. 4:3-4).
Optional Reading: 1 Corinthians 1
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6:20