Monday, March 31, 2008

Day 88/90: Neh 8-13, Zech 5-9, Rev 11-14

Today's reading highlights:
  • As I said yesterday, the book of Nehemiah is a master's degree in spiritual leadership. The end of the book takes us through the reading of God's law by Ezra (which contains amazing insight into teaching and preaching) to the prayers of the people of Israel in repentance to the dedication of the completed construction of the wall. In all this, I think the prayer of the Israelites in chapter 9 is amazing...it recognizes the truths that I have seen throughout the OT - the graciousness and mercy of God and the hardheartedness of his people. Reading through Revelation 1-3 two days ago reminds me that this has not changed much even though we have the gospel and the Spirit in a new way today - God is still gracious and His people are still slow to respond to Him. I appreciate the transparency and authenticity of Nehemiah 9 - expressing the truth about their condition and their God. We need more of that.
  • Quote of the day: Zechariah 7:8: "And the word of the Lord came again to Zechariah: 'This is what the Lord Almighty says: 'Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.''"
  • This section of Zechariah combines the two elements that all of the prophets wrote about: the future day of the Lord and the coming King. The two were obvious connected in their minds as they waited for the Lord to bring justice and peace to his people and establish his righteousness on the earth. Causes me to stop and meditate on how they lived in anticipation of that day. We, of course, have seen the fulfillment of part of these prophecies - the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, has come. But, we too live in anticipation of that great and awesome day of the Lord. It is surely coming.
  • These great chapters in the book of Revelation include powerful images of the end-times - the faithful witnesses, the evil one, the beast, and all those who are unfaithful to Christ. In all, the teaching is clear: Jesus Christ, the Risen Lamb, will conquer all those who have opposed Him and gone their own way. He will one day bring all His people to Himself and establish His kingdom on the earth. I should meditate on this truth more often.

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