To the Work!

| 0

Jerusalem was in disrepair, lowly and humiliated. Nehemiah had a heart to restore its standing. God would support and sustain them; the people needed to work; they needed to be encouraged. And they needed each other.

To the Work!

But it came to pass that, when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews.
And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, “What are these feeble Jews doing? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, seeing they are burned?”
Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, “Even that which they are building, if a fox go up, he shall break down their stone wall.”
Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn back their reproach upon their own head, and give them up for a spoil in a land of captivity; and cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee; for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders.

So we built the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto half the height thereof: for the people had a mind to work.
But it came to pass that, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem went forward, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth; and they conspired all of them together to come and fight against Jerusalem, and to cause confusion therein. But we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.
And Judah said, “The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall.”
And our adversaries said, “They shall not know, neither see, till we come into the midst of them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease.”
And it came to pass that, when the Jews that dwelt by them came, they said unto us ten times from all places, Ye must return unto us. Therefore set I in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in the open places, I set there the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows.

And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, “Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, who is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.”
And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work. And it came to pass from that time forth, that half of my servants wrought in the work, and half of them held the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the coats of mail; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah. They all builded the wall and they that bare burdens laded themselves; every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other held his weapon; and the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me.
And I said unto the nobles, and to the rulers and to the rest of the people, “The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another: in what place soever ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us; our God will fight for us.”
So we wrought in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared. Likewise at the same time said I unto the people, Let every one with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that in the night they may be a guard to us, and may labor in the day. So neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard that followed me, none of us put off our clothes, every one went with his weapon to the water (Nehemiah 4:1-23).

To the Work!
Experiences of God's People

 
 
00:00 /
 
1X
 

Daniel in the Lion’s Den

| 0

A deceived king; a blasphemous decree. Daniel proved faithful; Daniel was vindicated. But what is the story of Daniel and the lion’s den all about? What ought the people of God learn from the experience?

Daniel in the Lion’s Den

It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom a hundred and twenty satraps, who should be throughout the whole kingdom; and over them three presidents, of whom Daniel was one; that these satraps might give account unto them, and that the king should have no damage. Then this Daniel was distinguished above the presidents and the satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. Then the presidents and the satraps sought to find occasion against Daniel as touching the kingdom; but they could find no occasion nor fault, forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. Then these presidents and satraps assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. All the presidents of the kingdom, the deputies and the satraps, the counsellors and the governors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a strong interdict, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any god or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the interdict, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the interdict. And when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house (now his windows were open in his chamber toward Jerusalem); and he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. Then these men assembled together, and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God. Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king’s interdict: Hast thou not signed an interdict, that every man that shall make petition unto any god or man within thirty days, save unto thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, who is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the interdict that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day. Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored till the going down of the sun to rescue him. Then these men assembled together unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians, that no interdict nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed. Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting; neither were instruments of music brought before him: and his sleep fled from him. Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. And when he came near unto the den to Daniel, he cried with a lamentable voice; the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not hurt me; forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. Then was the king exceeding glad, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he had trusted in his God. And the king commanded, and they brought those men that had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces, before they came to the bottom of the den. Then king Darius wrote unto all the peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, that in all the dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel; for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, And his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed; and his dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian (Daniel 6:1-28).

Daniel in the Lion’s Den
Experiences of God's People

 
 
00:00 /
 
1X
 

The Old Testament Text

| 0

The Old Testament represents the majority of our Bibles. Where did it come from? Can we have confidence that it accurately reflects God’s words and work among the Israelites?

The Old Testament Text

The Old Testament Text
The Bible

 
 
00:00 /
 
1X
 

Follow YHWH or Baal

| 0

Israel had followed the customs of the nations. To Elijah, they limped between two opinions. Israel could not waver; they had to choose whom they would serve.

Follow YHWH or Baal

So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel.
And Elijah came near unto all the people, and said, “How long go ye limping between the two sides? if YHWH be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.”
And the people answered him not a word.
Then said Elijah unto the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of YHWH; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, and put no fire under; and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on the wood, and put no fire under. And call ye on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of YHWH; and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God.”
And all the people answered and said, “It is well spoken.”

And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, “Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under.”
And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us.”
But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped about the altar which was made.
And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, “Cry aloud; for he is a god: either he is musing, or he is gone aside, or he is on a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth and must be awaked.”
And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lances, till the blood gushed out upon them. And it was so, when midday was past, that they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening oblation; but there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.

And Elijah said unto all the people, “Come near unto me;” and all the people came near unto him.
And he repaired the altar of YHWH that was thrown down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of YHWH came, saying, “Israel shall be thy name.”
And with the stones he built an altar in the name of YHWH; and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed. And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid it on the wood.
And he said, “Fill four jars with water, and pour it on the burnt-offering, and on the wood.”
And he said, “Do it the second time;” and they did it the second time.
And he said, “Do it the third time;” and they did it the third time.
And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.
And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening oblation, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, “O YHWH, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O YHWH, hear me, that this people may know that thou, YHWH, art God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.”
Then the fire of YHWH fell, and consumed the burnt-offering, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, “YHWH, he is God; YHWH, he is God.”

And Elijah said unto them, “Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.”
And they took them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there (1 Kings 18:20-40).

Follow YHWH or Baal
Experiences of God's People

 
 
00:00 /
 
1X
 

Jacob to Israel: Wrestling With God

| 0

In the middle of many anxieties and trials, Jacob was called upon to wrestle all night. He would be then known as Israel, for he strove with man and God and prevailed. Ever since the people of God have been known as those who wrestle with God.

Jacob to Israel: Wrestling With God

And [Jacob] rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two handmaids, and his eleven children, and passed over the ford of the Jabbok. And he took them, and sent them over the stream, and sent over that which he had.

And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was strained, as he wrestled with him.
And he said, “Let me go, for the day breaketh.”
And he said, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.”
And he said unto him, “What is thy name?”
And he said, “Jacob.”
And he said, “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for thou hast striven with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”
And Jacob asked him, and said, “Tell me, I pray thee, thy name.”
And he said, “Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name?” And he blessed him there.

And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for, said he, “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”

And the sun rose upon him as he passed over Penuel, and he limped upon his thigh. Therefore the children of Israel eat not the sinew of the hip which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew of the hip (Genesis 32:22-32).

Jacob to Israel: Wrestling With God
Experiences of God's People

 
 
00:00 /
 
1X
 

The New Testament Text

| 0

Our understanding of what God has done in Jesus of Nazareth derives from what is made known in the New Testament. Many would cast aspersions on the quality and accuracy of the New Testament we have in English translations today. What shall we say to these things? Can we have confidence in the New Testament as the full, complete revelation of what God has made known in Jesus, and that our New Testaments accurately reflect the texts as written so long ago?

The New Testament Text

The New Testament Text
The Bible

 
 
00:00 /
 
1X
 

Abuse, Assault, and Harassment

| 0

We are hearing all sorts of news about abuse, assault, and harassment allegations now brought to light. #MeToo and #ChurchToo movements have exposed the prevalence of such behaviors, even unfortunately among those who would profess the Lord Jesus. What do the Scriptures teach about abuse, assault, and harassment, and how should Christians respond to such claims and behaviors?

Abuse, Assault, and Harassment

Abuse, Assault, and Harassment

 
 
00:00 /
 
1X
 

Walking in Wisdom

| 0

Paul would have the Colossian Christians follow the higher way of Jesus in the household and among outsiders, walking in wisdom, glorifying Jesus in all they did. We do well to learn and do likewise.

Walking in Wisdom

Wives, be in subjection to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing in the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children, that they be not discouraged. Servants, obey in all things them that are your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord: whatsoever ye do, work heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that from the Lord ye shall receive the recompense of the inheritance: ye serve the Lord Christ. For he that doeth wrong shall receive again for the wrong that he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. Masters, render unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.

Continue stedfastly in prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving; withal praying for us also, that God may open unto us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds; that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer each one.

All my affairs shall Tychicus make known unto you, the beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow-servant in the Lord: whom I have sent unto you for this very purpose, that ye may know our state, and that he may comfort your hearts; together with Onesimus, the faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things that are done here.

Aristarchus my fellow-prisoner saluteth you, and Mark, the cousin of Barnabas (touching whom ye received commandments; if he come unto you, receive him), and Jesus that is called Justus, who are of the circumcision: these only are my fellow-workers unto the kingdom of God, men that have been a comfort unto me. Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, saluteth you, always striving for you in his prayers, that ye may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. For I bear him witness, that he hath much labor for you, and for them in Laodicea, and for them in Hierapolis. Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas salute you.

Salute the brethren that are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church that is in their house. And when this epistle hath been read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye also read the epistle from Laodicea. And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.

The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you (Colossians 3:18-4:18).

Walking in Wisdom
Paul's Letter to the Colossians

 
 
00:00 /
 
1X
 

The Higher Way

| 0

Paul has encouraged the Colossian Christians to root themselves in Jesus, the image of the invisible God, the treasury of all wisdom and knowledge. If they want to be alive in Christ, they must follow His higher way, taking off the worldly lusts and sins which lead to death, and to put on righteousness and its fruit.

The Higher Way

If then ye were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth. For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall be manifested, then shall ye also with him be manifested in glory.

Put to death therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry; for which things’ sake cometh the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience: wherein ye also once walked, when ye lived in these things; but now do ye also put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, railing, shameful speaking out of your mouth: lie not one to another; seeing that ye have put off the old man with his doings, and have put on the new man, that is being renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that created him: where there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freeman; but Christ is all, and in all.

Put on therefore, as God’s elect, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving each other, if any man have a complaint against any; even as the Lord forgave you, so also do ye: and above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to the which also ye were called in one body; and be ye thankful.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts unto God. And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:1-17).

The Higher Way
Paul's Letter to the Colossians

 
 
00:00 /
 
1X
 

The Bible: Our Spiritual Standard

| 0

The world is full of all sorts of religious claims. Christians still insist on using the Bible as their spiritual standard. How can that be?

The Bible: Our Spiritual Standard

The Bible: Our Spiritual Standard
The Bible

 
 
00:00 /
 
1X