Tag: Babylon

Oct 27 Yours is the power

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“You made the earth by Your power; You founded the world by Your wisdom and stretched out the heavens by Your understanding.

 When You thunder, the waters in the heavens roar; You make clouds rise from the ends of the earth. You send lightning with the rain and bring out the wind from Your storehouses.”

“You are the Maker of all things, including the people of Your inheritance – the Lord Almighty is Your name.”

Father, You are the One.  The Only.  You are forever my Creator and Savior.  And no one and no thing can stand against You.  No power, ruler, or authority.  Nothing in heaven, on the earth or below it.  What You purpose will come to pass.

“The Lord reigns!  “Let the nations tremble.”  Father, I believe one day soon, You will reign on earth.  Nothing will be able to stand against You.  And the nations will tremble.

Your people looked for You to deliver them out of the hand of Babylon.  And You delivered.  But You had an even greater deliverance in mind.  “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.”

When You walked this earth and sacrificed Yourself on the cross, that bought salvation and offered it to all.  And now, the world waits for “the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.”

Father, You purified me with Your blood.  You gave me Your Word to teach me how to live.  Help me live as Yours.  Amen

Jeremiah 51:1-19; Psalm 99:1-3; Titus 2:11-14

 

 

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Oct 26 You control

Father, at the time Babylon captured Your people Judah, she was just a tool in Your hand.  Not the end-all power she believed she was.  And she will be judged and punished, even as she was used as the tool to punish Israel.  All the kingdoms You sent prophecies about fell as You said they would.

You sent Jeremiah carefully chosen words to describe the coming destruction of other kingdoms, and they all came true:

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”Concerning Damascus…troubled like the restless sea.” 

“Concerning Kedar and Hazor…scatter to the winds.” 

“I will bring against Elam the four winds from the four corners of heaven.”  

“Concerning Babylon…I will kindle a fire…that will consume all…a drought on her waters.”  It reminds me that You are in total control of Your creation!

You control the winds, fire, drought and seas. They responded at Creation when You made them and set their limits over the earth.  When You walked the earth, You stood in a boat and spoke to a storm, commanding the winds and rain: “Peace, be still.”   And today’s Psalms speak of the earth being glad and rejoicing.

What a picture! “Clouds and thick darkness surround You…fire goes before You…Your lightening lights up the world.”  All at Your command.

You are still in control, holding authority over all the earth.  The earth responds to You:  “the earth sees and trembles…mountains melt like wax…heavens proclaim Your righteousness…seas resound…rivers clap their hands, mountains sing together for joy.”

If this is the response of the earth, how can I do less?

Father, I shout for joy!  I burst into jubilant song.  I make music with whatever instrument I can – all to glorify my God.  You are the only god who is the real God.  I exalt You over all things, all people, all powers.

I rejoice because You are a righteous and just God.  Because You carry out Your judgments in righteousness.  Because You are loving and faithful.  Because You have saved me.  You are the One True Almighty God, and there is no other!  Amen

Jeremiah 49:23-50:46; Psalm 97:1-98:9

 

Oct 18 Promise fulfilled

Father, part of Jeremiah’s prophecy has already come true.  You did indeed send Your people “into the hand of the king of Babylon.”  And seventy years later, You did “gather them from the lands where You banished them.”  They once again bought and sold fields in the land.  Jerusalem was rebuilt.

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I love the words of Jeremiah’s prayer, and have sung them before: “Ah Lord God, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power – Ah Lord God You have made the heavens and the earth by Your outstretched arm.  Nothing is too difficult for You…Great and Mighty God, Your name is the Lord Almighty”.

The earth is Your creation.  All power and honor and sovereignty is due You, and only You.  It is truly the work of Your hand and arm.  And there is literally, nothing that is beyond Your ability and power.  Nothing is too hard or difficult for You.

And we haven’t even seen all You can do!  For part of Jeremiah’s words are yet to be fulfilled.  You declared “The days are coming when this city will be rebuilt…will never again be uprooted or demolished”.  And although the city was rebuilt when the king of Persia sent the Israelites back, it has been destroyed again and again.  And rebuilt.

Also, they were to “live in safety.”  But the Israelites have been under the rule of many conquerors since then.  Even today, as a formal nation, their neighbors are not on peaceful terms with them, and war is an ever-present concern.  So those “days” have not arrived yet.

But Your fulfillment of Your promises in the past assures me that Your promises for the future are true.  And that the prophecies You have given will all come true.

One day, “All will know the Lord, from the least …to the greatest.”  So in the meantime, I desire to live a life guided by Your instruction.  It seems the list of qualities Paul gives is a good place to start.

Father, help me be “temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunk or violent or quarrelsome or a lover of money.”  If I am drawn away from or drift away from these qualities, rein me back in so I will not be an embarrassment to You.

Thank You, that You, the Creator, Almighty God, King of the Universe, cares enough to let me know, through Your Word, of Your faithfulness to keep all the promises You have made.  And for showing me what is to come.

I thank You for showing me how to live until that time: in great hope and in humble obedience.   Amen

Jeremiah 31:27-38; I Timothy 3:1-13

 

Aug 8 Help me be like…

BelieversHeritage TreeHeavenly Father, what a rich heritage Ezra had. Usually I just skim over the names listed in genealogies, but somehow this time, these names seemed familiar.

I know Hilkiah – during Josiah’s reign, he was the priest who found the Book of the Law that had been lost in the Temple. He brought Your Word back to the people so they could hear Your Word and have their hearts respond with humility. They returned to worship You. In last week’s prayer I prayed that I would hear all Your Word has to tell me, and that my heart would be responsive and humble too.

I remember Zadok. He was the priest who remained loyal to David when David’s son Absalom was chasing him out of Jerusalem. Zadok prayed for David, offered sacrifices, and escorted him with the Arc of the Covenant. Then at David’s request, he stayed behind in Jerusalem to be his spy. And I prayed that I would have the loyalty and support of my friends, and be a loyal support to them.

Phinehas, Aaron’s grandson, stands out as a man who was so zealous for Your Word that he drove a spear through a Midianite woman and her Israelite lover who were flagrantly breaking Your Law. This turned back Your wrath from the people and stopped a plague. You gave Phinehas a covenant of peace and perpetual priesthood for he and his descendants. Father, I desire to have that zeal for Your Word.

And Aaron, Moses brother, who You spoke through when You freed Your people from Egypt’s Pharaoh. He became the first High Priest, entrusted with carrying out Your Law. You separated him from the other tribes to be Your representative in intercession for all Israel. Only the High Priest could approach You.

O Father, what a rich heritage for Ezra, who is now the one taking a copy of Your Word back from the Babylonian exile to the people. He will be Your representative in the land, reading and teaching Your Law once again to Your people.

Father, let me be like Ezra and all those in his line. Like Aaron, I can now approach You personally and come boldly before Your throne of grace because of Your redemptive work on the cross.

Give me a desire to obey You like Phinehas, and help me be loyal and an intercessor like Zadok. Make my heart humble to Your Word revealed by Hilkiah and returned to Your people by Ezra.

Thank You Father for each one in this line, who zealously guarded and revealed Your Word to others. Let me do the same. Amen

Ezra 7:1-7

Aug 7 Watching, Protecting, Directing

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Father, I pray You would protect me as You protected those who “set to work to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem.”   They returned to the land You had given their people after living in exile in Babylon for seventy years.

When they returned, they were faced with opposition from the ones who had taken over their land. Also from bureaucrats and officials who tried to stop the work of rebuilding the temple. They tried intimidation and challenged the authority the people had to do this work.

The evil officials even wrote a letter to King Darius, with the intention of stopping the work altogether. But Your Word says “the eye of their God was watching over the elders of the Jews and they were not stopped…”

The response to the letter backfired on the officials. A search was made in the records, and it was found that indeed, King Cyrus had decreed that the temple in Jerusalem be rebuilt. Also, the costs were to be paid by the by the royal treasury.

This meant that the very people who had hoped to stop the project, and even schemed to do so; now not only had to support the Jews in their rebuilding efforts, but pay them as well! And not just supplies for the temple, but for the offerings too, on pain of death!

Lord, I do not hear You telling me to build You a temple. I do not even see a great plan unfolding whereby I will have a significant impact on others. But, I seek to do all You have shown me:

walk in the power of Your Spirit,

worship You,

pray, sing, make music,

write down the wisdom You share with me,

treat people with Your love,

be obedient to do what You show me,

align my attitudes and behaviors with Your teachings,

share my faith,

and make time to listen to Your voice.

Grant me what You provided for these Jews in their task. As You sent them prophets, let me hear Your voice, encouraging and guiding me. Allow Your “eye” to watch over me so I am not stopped in being obedient to You.

Turn any opposition, intimidation or forces that come against me, back on themselves, and cause their plans against me to backfire. And even change them from enemies into co-workers that assist me in Your work.

Father, as You did for them, “give me strength and bless me with peace.” Amen

Ezra 5:1-6:22; Psalm29:11

Aug 5 Prophecies and Promises

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Lord God, from today’s scriptures it is clear that you have moved armies, governments, civilizations to accomplish Your will. You told Your prophets, who told the people, exactly what would happen if they did not keep their covenant with You.

Their choices were clear. In obedience they would receive Your blessings. Disobedience would bring Your curses and they would be removed from the land You gave them as an inheritance. Even knowing this, and being reminded by the prophets, their hearts were hard and they chose curses by their behavior.

You even told Your prophet Jeremiah that their captivity would last seventy years. And the prophet Isaiah gave the name of the king who would return them to their land one hundred and fifty years before it happened!

Sure enough, because of their continued disobedience, they were captured and taken away into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon. Then the Persians came to power and overtook Babylon. Their King Cyrus announced he would build a temple in Jerusalem for the Lord, the God of heaven. Any of Your people in captivity would be free to go!

This happened seventy years after captivity began as predicted! And the man who released them as promised by prophecy was not even born when he was named by the prophet!

So I can believe with assurance in the prophecies You have given about the coming days.   All You revealed to John on the island of Patmos, and more about the end times. Of course, I do not pretend to know Your exact time table, but I know I need to be ready.

I need to be living like You have shown me, and being obedient to receive Your blessings. I need to be watching so I am not misled.   My faith must not rest on man’s wisdom, but on Your power.

I believe that I must “wait for You”. For Your wisdom, perspective, for Your perfect timing in my life. Help me be patient while I am waiting. Help me to “be strong and take heart”.

You will move things in Your timing: armies, governments, civilizations. You hold the hearts of men and kings in Your hand. And I believe I will see Your goodness, in my life, while I live.

Thank You for Your blessings. For Your promises. For Your prophecies. And for answering me when I seek Your face. Amen

Ezra 1:1-11; Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10; 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5; Psalm 27:13-14

 

Oct 26 You control…

personwaterarmsup.jpegFather, at the time Babylon captured Your people Judah, she was just a tool in Your hand. Not the end-all power she believed she was. And she will be judged and punished, even as she was used as the tool to punish Israel. All the kingdoms You sent prophecies about fell as You said they would.

You sent Jeremiah carefully chosen words to describe the coming destruction of other kingdoms, and they all came true: ”Concerning Damascus…troubled like the restless sea”. “Concerning Kedar and Hazor…scatter to the winds”. “I will bring against Elam the four winds from the four corners of heaven”.   “Concerning Babylon…I will kindle a fire…that will consume all…a drought on her waters”. They remind me that You are in total control of Your creation! You control the winds, fire, drought and seas.

They responded at Creation when You made them and set their limits over the earth. When You walked the earth, You stood in a boat and spoke to a storm, commanding the winds and rain: “Peace, be still”.   And today’s Psalms speak of the earth being glad and rejoicing!

What a picture! “Clouds and thick darkness surround You…fire goes before You…Your lightening lights up the world.” All at Your command. You are still in control, holding authority over all the earth! The earth responds to You: “the earth sees and trembles…mountains melt like wax…heavens proclaim Your righteousness…seas resound…rivers clap their hands, mountains sing together for joy.”

If this is the response of the earth, how can I do less? Father, I shout for joy! I burst into jubilant song. I make music with whatever instrument I can – all to glorify my God! You are the only god who is the real God! I exalt You over all things, all people, all powers. I rejoice because You are a righteous and just God. Because You carry out Your judgments in righteousness. Because You are loving and faithful. Because You have saved me! You are the One True Almighty God. And there is no other! Amen

Jeremiah 49:23-50:46; Psalm 97:1-98:9