Ezra 5:1-5 – Questioning Your Motives

Read Ezra 5:1-5

I’ve reflected on the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah before in the book of the 12 Prophets. These prophets of God spoke encouragement to those charged with rebuilding the temple of the Lord. Haggai, especially, is a hidden gem filled with all sorts of encouragement we can apply today.

We’re seeing how this rebuilding project is getting a lot of attention from the enemies of God. But God ordained this work, so I’m confident he won’t let it fail.  In today’s reading, Tattenai, governor of the province Jerusalem is part of, attempts to distract the people so they question their motives. We can be thankful the people had prophets like Haggai and Zechariah to keep them grounded and devoted to God’s purpose.

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Mark 15:33-41 – Jesus Died for You

Read Mark 15:33-41

Sit with this text for a while today. Jesus has died. While we weren’t there, there were plenty of bystanders and Roman soldiers looking on. What did they see?

Our last reading gave us the time stamp of 9:00 a.m. for when Jesus was nailed to the cross. Three hours pass full of mocking and taunts. Then darkness falls for three more hours. That just doesn’t happen every day! “In that day,” says the Sovereign Lord, ‘I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth while it is still day.’” (Amos 8:9)

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Malachi 1:1-5 – God Loves You

Read Malachi 1:1-5

The word “malachi” means “my messenger,” and may or may not be a proper name. Malachi, along with Zechariah and Haggai, shared God’s messages in the early 5th century B.C. The theme of this book continues to be “turn to God–he wants a restored relationship with you!

The temple had been rebuilt now for some years, and the people were starting to do what people tend to do—drift away from God. They were losing their enthusiasm for worship. Have you ever felt that way? What helped with your apathy and disillusionment?

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Obadiah 15-16 – The Day is Coming

Read Obadiah 15-16

What a way to start out this reading! “The day is near when I, the Lord, will judge all godless nations!” Obadiah has focused up to now on Edom, the long-time rival of Israel. But Edom was not the only nation to rejoice at Judah’s fall. All nations will be judged for the way they have treated God’s people. Has the “day,” referred to here, happened yet?

We know Edom ceased to exist as a nation. That land is now divided between present-day southern Israel and Jordan. This part of Obadiah’s prophecy, then, points toward other nations being judged and destroyed. “Yes, all you nations will drink and stagger and disappear from history.”

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Jeremiah 31:15-30 – Divine Love

Read Jeremiah 31:15-30

big red heart with the word God inside

Did you recognize part of today’s reading from the New Testament? Rachel’s lament is quoted in Chapter 2 of Matthew’s gospel. In the New Testament, such wailing took place as King Herod killed all young boys who might be the promised king from on high. Such a horrible moment in history!

It’s a powerful connection, especially when we remember that Rachel was Israel’s (Jacob’s) wife, and her children would be part of the twelve tribes of Israel currently in exile. How fitting the matriarch would be weeping to see how her children had turned from the LORD and been punished. As parents, we always want the best for our children.

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