Through The Bible Thursday 12-20-18 Devotions
A Call to Rebuild the Temple
1 On August 29[a] of the second year of King Darius’s reign, the Lord gave a message through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Jeshua[b] son of Jehozadak, the high priest.
2 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: The people are saying, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.’”
3 Then the Lord sent this message through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? 5 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! 6 You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!
7 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! 8 Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored, says the Lord. 9 You hoped for rich harvests, but they were poor. And when you brought your harvest home, I blew it away. Why? Because my house lies in ruins, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, while all of you are busy building your own fine houses. 10 It’s because of you that the heavens withhold the dew and the earth produces no crops. 11 I have called for a drought on your fields and hills—a drought to wither the grain and grapes and olive trees and all your other crops, a drought to starve you and your livestock and to ruin everything you have worked so hard to get.”
Obedience to God’s Call
12 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of God’s people began to obey the message from the Lord their God. When they heard the words of the prophet Haggai, whom the Lord their God had sent, the people feared the Lord. 13 Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave the people this message from the Lord: “I am with you, says the Lord!”
14 So the Lord sparked the enthusiasm of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the enthusiasm of Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the enthusiasm of the whole remnant of God’s people. They began to work on the house of their God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, 15 on September 21[c] of the second year of King Darius’s reign.
The New Temple’s Diminished Splendor
2 Then on October 17 of that same year,[d] the Lord sent another message through the prophet Haggai. 2 “Say this to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Jeshua[e] son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of God’s people there in the land: 3 ‘Does anyone remember this house—this Temple—in its former splendor? How, in comparison, does it look to you now? It must seem like nothing at all! 4 But now the Lord says: Be strong, Zerubbabel. Be strong, Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And now get to work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 5 My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid.’
6 “For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: In just a little while I will again shake the heavens and the earth, the oceans and the dry land. 7 I will shake all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations will be brought to this Temple. I will fill this place with glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 9 The future glory of this Temple will be greater than its past glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. And in this place I will bring peace. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”
Blessings Promised for Obedience
10 On December 18[f] of the second year of King Darius’s reign, the Lord sent this message to the prophet Haggai: 11 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says. Ask the priests this question about the law: 12 ‘If one of you is carrying some meat from a holy sacrifice in his robes and his robe happens to brush against some bread or stew, wine or olive oil, or any other kind of food, will it also become holy?’”
The priests replied, “No.”
13 Then Haggai asked, “If someone becomes ceremonially unclean by touching a dead person and then touches any of these foods, will the food be defiled?”
And the priests answered, “Yes.”
14 Then Haggai responded, “That is how it is with this people and this nation, says the Lord. Everything they do and everything they offer is defiled by their sin. 15 Look at what was happening to you before you began to lay the foundation of the Lord’s Temple. 16 When you hoped for a twenty-bushel crop, you harvested only ten. When you expected to draw fifty gallons from the winepress, you found only twenty. 17 I sent blight and mildew and hail to destroy everything you worked so hard to produce. Even so, you refused to return to me, says the Lord.
18 “Think about this eighteenth day of December, the day[g] when the foundation of the Lord’s Temple was laid. Think carefully. 19 I am giving you a promise now while the seed is still in the barn.[h] You have not yet harvested your grain, and your grapevines, fig trees, pomegranates, and olive trees have not yet produced their crops. But from this day onward I will bless you.”
Promises for Zerubbabel
20 On that same day, December 18,[i] the Lord sent this second message to Haggai: 21 “Tell Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, that I am about to shake the heavens and the earth. 22 I will overthrow royal thrones and destroy the power of foreign kingdoms. I will overturn their chariots and riders. The horses will fall, and their riders will kill each other.
23 “But when this happens, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, I will honor you, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, my servant. I will make you like a signet ring on my finger, says the Lord, for I have chosen you. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”
1:1a Hebrew On the first day of the sixth month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. A number of dates in Haggai can be cross-checked with dates in surviving Persian records and related accurately to our modern calendar. This event occurred on August 29, 520 B.c.
1:1b Hebrew Joshua, a variant spelling of Jeshua; also in 1:12, 14.
1:15 Hebrew on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. This event occurred on September 21, 520 B.c.; also see note on 1:1a.
2:1 Hebrew on the twenty-first day of the seventh month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. This event (in the second year of Darius’s reign) occurred on October 17, 520 B.c.; also see note on 1:1a.
2:2 Hebrew Joshua, a variant spelling of Jeshua; also in 2:4.
2:10 Hebrew On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar (similarly in 2:18). This event occurred on December 18, 520 B.c.; also see note on 1:1a.
2:18 Or On this eighteenth day of December, think about the day.
2:19 Hebrew Is the seed yet in the barn?
2:20 Hebrew On the twenty-fourth day of the [ninth] month; see note on 2:10.
19 Words alone will not discipline a servant;
the words may be understood, but they are not heeded.
20 There is more hope for a fool
than for someone who speaks without thinking.
21 A servant pampered from childhood
will become a rebel.
22 An angry person starts fights;
a hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sin.
23 Pride ends in humiliation,
while humility brings honor.
24 If you assist a thief, you only hurt yourself.
You are sworn to tell the truth, but you dare not testify.
25 Fearing people is a dangerous trap,
but trusting the Lord means safety.
26 Many seek the ruler’s favor,
but justice comes from the Lord.
27 The righteous despise the unjust;
the wicked despise the godly.
16 Then I heard a mighty voice from the Temple say to the seven angels, “Go your ways and pour out on the earth the seven bowls containing God’s wrath.”
2 So the first angel left the Temple and poured out his bowl on the earth, and horrible, malignant sores broke out on everyone who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his statue.
3 Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse. And everything in the sea died.
4 Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs, and they became blood. 5 And I heard the angel who had authority over all water saying,
“You are just, O Holy One, who is and who always was,
because you have sent these judgments.
6 Since they shed the blood
of your holy people and your prophets,
you have given them blood to drink.
It is their just reward.”
7 And I heard a voice from the altar,[a] saying,
“Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty,
your judgments are true and just.”
8 Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, causing it to scorch everyone with its fire. 9 Everyone was burned by this blast of heat, and they cursed the name of God, who had control over all these plagues. They did not repent of their sins and turn to God and give him glory.
10 Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. His subjects ground their teeth[b] in anguish, 11 and they cursed the God of heaven for their pains and sores. But they did not repent of their evil deeds and turn to God.
12 Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great Euphrates River, and it dried up so that the kings from the east could march their armies toward the west without hindrance. 13 And I saw three evil[c] spirits that looked like frogs leap from the mouths of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. 14 They are demonic spirits who work miracles and go out to all the rulers of the world to gather them for battle against the Lord on that great judgment day of God the Almighty.
15 “Look, I will come as unexpectedly as a thief! Blessed are all who are watching for me, who keep their clothing ready so they will not have to walk around naked and ashamed.”
16 And the demonic spirits gathered all the rulers and their armies to a place with the Hebrew name Armageddon.[d]
17 Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air. And a mighty shout came from the throne in the Temple, saying, “It is finished!” 18 Then the thunder crashed and rolled, and lightning flashed. And a great earthquake struck—the worst since people were placed on the earth. 19 The great city of Babylon split into three sections, and the cities of many nations fell into heaps of rubble. So God remembered all of Babylon’s sins, and he made her drink the cup that was filled with the wine of his fierce wrath. 20 And every island disappeared, and all the mountains were leveled. 21 There was a terrible hailstorm, and hailstones weighing as much as seventy-five pounds[e] fell from the sky onto the people below. They cursed God because of the terrible plague of the hailstorm.
16:7 Greek I heard the altar.
16:10 Greek gnawed their tongues.
16:13 Greek unclean.
16:16 Or Harmagedon.
16:21 Greek 1 talent [34 kilograms].
A psalm of David.
1 Praise the Lord, who is my rock.
He trains my hands for war
and gives my fingers skill for battle.
2 He is my loving ally and my fortress,
my tower of safety, my rescuer.
He is my shield, and I take refuge in him.
He makes the nations[a] submit to me.
3 O Lord, what are human beings that you should notice them,
mere mortals that you should think about them?
4 For they are like a breath of air;
their days are like a passing shadow.
5 Open the heavens, Lord, and come down.
Touch the mountains so they billow smoke.
6 Hurl your lightning bolts and scatter your enemies!
Shoot your arrows and confuse them!
7 Reach down from heaven and rescue me;
rescue me from deep waters,
from the power of my enemies.
8 Their mouths are full of lies;
they swear to tell the truth, but they lie instead.
9 I will sing a new song to you, O God!
I will sing your praises with a ten-stringed harp.
10 For you grant victory to kings!
You rescued your servant David from the fatal sword.
11 Save me!
Rescue me from the power of my enemies.
Their mouths are full of lies;
they swear to tell the truth, but they lie instead.
12 May our sons flourish in their youth
like well-nurtured plants.
May our daughters be like graceful pillars,
carved to beautify a palace.
13 May our barns be filled
with crops of every kind.
May the flocks in our fields multiply by the thousands,
even tens of thousands,
14 and may our oxen be loaded down with produce.
May there be no enemy breaking through our walls,
no going into captivity,
no cries of alarm in our town squares.
15 Yes, joyful are those who live like this!
Joyful indeed are those whose God is the Lord.
144:2 Some manuscripts read my people.
Friday, December 21, 2018