Day 34 & 35 devotion – through the Bible in 90 days

Saturday, October 13th – Day 34 – 2nd Chronicles 35:16 – Ezra 10:44

With Ezra we enter the period of time, 70 years after they were sent into exile, to now the time God’s people are returning. One thing to note in all this, it is a foreign king whom God has told to let his people rebuild the temple. King Cyrus of Persia, ruler of many nations, is the one whom God will begin the work of rebuilding the temple. God uses whom he wishes to accomplish his purpose.

What struck me is that the problem which has been, taking foreign wives, still is now even more prevalent for they have been living in a foreign land. The sons of Israel have taken foreign wives and given birth to children who are ½ Israelite and ½ foreign. Recall way back where God said this would be a problem for them, for it would lead to their worshiping other gods. This happened to King Solomon and many of the kings of Israel and Judah.

The opening lines of Ezra’s prayer of confession, is great opening lines for any of us, for all of us have broken many of God’s laws.

“O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens.” (Ezra 9:6)

Friends our sin is also so great before God that we could feel as Ezra felt. Yet, God loved them and was bringing a remnant of his people back into the Holy Land and his temple would once again be with them. Our God loves us so much, that he’ll provide for our salvation and dwell with us. Reading through the scriptures is reading the salvation history of God. It is sensing God’s great love for his people and God’s desire that we be holy.

The part about the sending back the foreign wives and the children born to them bothers me, but it was an act meant to purify the people and open the door to true worship of God. God: who had covenanted with Abraham to give his many descendants the Holy Land. God: who had delivered their ancestors from Egypt, and covenanted with King David that one of his sons would always be on the throne.

God calls us to turn from our sin and turn unto Him. At times this means giving up things we enjoy and some things we believe we love. Would we give these things up, if called upon God to do so? I hope we would, for giving them up would help us love God more deeply and follow God more closely.

O God, reveal to me my sins and guide me to repent of them and turn to following thy ways and thy will. Amen.

Sunday, October 14th, 2012 – Day 35 – Nehemiah 1:1 – 13:14 (finish out by reading all of Nehemiah)

We continue to learn of the rebuilding and resettling of Jerusalem; this time from the viewpoint of Nehemiah, the governor of Jerusalem.  Ezra was from the viewpoint of one of the priests who had returned.

A couple of times in Nehemiah we’re reminded that God’s nature is to forgive and give new chances to his people.

In Nehemiah 9:17b we hear; “But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.” And then later we hear; “But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.” (Nehemiah 9:31)

Nehemiah 9 is also a great place to go to review the history of God with his people.

Reviewing history can help us hopefully not make the mistakes of the past and then also see God’s hand in what happened and then hopefully what is happening. Problem with God’s people as pointed out at the end of Nehemiah is that they don’t learn from past mistakes, they seem to keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

Seems to be a lot like many people I know, especially me, myself and I.

Hold on to the fact that our God is a God of forgiveness and love, yet one who calls his people over and over and over again to be holy, as God is holy.

When you review your genealogical history, what mistakes do you see your ancestors making. What can you learn from your own past, to help you with your present and future?

O God, why do your people, including yours truly, continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. You’ve showed us your holy ways and revealed your deep and abiding love for us. I give thanks for your forgiving ways, yet help us to truly repent of our sinful ways and learn to keep thy holy ways. Amen.

Monday, October 15th, 2012 – Day 36 – Nehemiah 13:15 – Job 7:21

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