Sept. 27, 2009
Read Zephaniah 1
Highlights In Today's Reading:
The Day of the Lord —when all nations willl worship God (2:11; 3:9). Rejoice, God is with you (3:14-20). Worship: Results of ignoring (Hag. 1:9-11). God's presence and blessing promised (1:13;2:4-5,19).
The Israelites who had left Persia started to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem with great enthusiasm. Their devotedness soon faded as they became involved in building their own homes and in two years they had only laid the foundation for the Temple. Added to this was the constant opposition by Samaritan enemies distracting them from their primary reason for being there. "Excuses" were made for not resuming work on the Temple.
Meanwhile, the people mentioned in the first paragraph developed their own businesses and rebuilding the Temple looked hopeless. About 14 years passed with nothing accomplished. We Christians know that Jesus said: Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or . . . Wherewithal shall we be clothed? . . . But seek ye first the Kingdom of God . . . and all these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:31-33).
Then God moved upon the prophet Haggai to proclaim: Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord's House should be built. Then came the Word of the Lord by Haggai . . . Is it time for you . . . to dwell in your cieled houses, and this House lie waste? (Hag. 1:2-4). Two months later, Zechariah also began proclaiming the Word of the Lord: Fear not, but let your hands be strong (Zech. 8:13; Ezra 5:1; Hag. 1:3-11).
Regardless of what their excuses were, the Lord explained the real reason for their problems: Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little . . . and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes (Hag. 1:5-6). Upon hearing the Word of the Lord, the people renewed their dedication to worship and serve Him. They ignored their enemies who had written to Darius to try and stop the Jews (Ezra 5:6-17). The elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered (6:14); and the Temple was completed in just four years.
Like in the days of Haggai, many Christians don't read through the Word of God. Without the Truth, they become victims of every wind of doctrine (Eph. 4:14). Many fall into sin because of not knowing what the Bible teaches (Acts 20:27). The Apostle Paul explained: By the Law is the knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20). I had not known sin, but by the Law: for I had not known lust, except the Law had said, Thou shalt not covet (Rom. 7:7).
Thought for Today:
The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times (Ps. 12:6).
As King of Israel, even the Lord (Zeph. 3:15; compare John 1:49).
Zephaniah 1:4 Chemarims = the idolatrous priests in charge; 1:9 leap on the threshold = push into houses to confiscate the property by extortion and deceit; 2:15 carelessly = securely, with no equal; Haggai 2:7 desire of all nations = the One desired by all people, the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Pray for Staff: Staff: Pam Pendergrast • Country: Dominica (65,000) in the British West Indies • Major languages: English and French patois • Religious freedom • 75% Roman Catholic; 12% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Pray not to be envious of others (Ps. 37:1).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 15:4