Nehemiah 12:27-13:6; Nehemiah 5:14-19; Nehemiah 13:7-31; Malachi 1:1-2:9
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We finish up the book of Nehemiah today! Today in Nehemiah chapter 12 we read about the dedication of Jerusalem's Wall, which is awesome to read about. Verses 27 & 28 tell us - "During the dedication of the new wall of Jerusalem, the Levites throughout the land were asked to come to Jerusalem to assist in the ceremonies. They were to take part in the joyous occasion with their songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, lyres, and harps. The singers were brought together from Jerusalem and its surrounding villages and from the villages of the Netophathites."
Below is a great image for Nehemiah chapter 12 verse 30 today:
Today we start the book of Malachi! There is some great stuff in this short book... particularly when we get to tomorrow's readings. The name Malachi means "my messenger." Malachi was written in approximately 430 B.C. and he was likely a contemporary of Nehemiah. Malachi was written to the returned exiles in Jerusalem well after the temple had been rebuilt under governor Zerubbabel in 516 B.C. By 430 B.C. there was a spiritual malaise in the land. It is speculated that this is in part because Jerusalem was then just a small province in the large Persian empire. But, the big reason is probably because the glorious future of God sending his Messiah, Jesus - as pronounced by Isaiah, Haggai and Zechariah and other prophets - had not yet come to fruition. A good overview of Malachi is online at bible.org at this link. Below is an icon from the Orthodox church of the prophet Malachi:
Chapter 1 verse 2 stood out to me in today's readings: "I have loved you deeply," says the LORD." I guess this really resonated with me since we are now reading the last book of the Old Testament. As I look back on our readings earlier this year - all of the books of the Old Testament that we have read and all of the interaction between God and his covenant people, I have to absolutely nod my head in agreement with these words from God in verse 2. God loved deeply in the Old Testament. And God loved deeply the New Testament. And God loves us deeply today. Do you believe that God loves you deeply? And do you believe that he always will? Do you in turn love God deeply? Today will you reach out and jump in to the deep end of the pool of God's love?
Verse 7 also stood out to me: "You have despised my name by offering defiled sacrifices on my altar." The chapter goes on to describe how blind, crippled, and diseased animals were sacrificed to God - which were unacceptable holy sacrifices to God per his laws in Leviticus 1:3 and Deuteronomy 15:21. We are no longer under the law of these sacrifices, as Jesus was the final sacrifice once and for all on the cross. However - I wondered to myself as I read this verse, do we still offer "defiled sacrifices" to God in some ways today in our lives? Do we give God maybe the left-overs of our life? Our left-over time, finances, energy, prayers, love, etc.? Should we instead be giving God our best sacrifices - our firstfruits, our early morning energy, our constant prayers, our deepest love? Indeed, as Oswald Chambers puts it, are we giving God our very Utmost for His Highest? Are you giving God the very best of who you are? Every day? Or is God typically just getting your leftovers?
Worship God: Today's readings reminded me of the Jars of Clay song "Flood" that put them on the map many years ago! Lift Me Up!
Per Ephesians 1:18, has your heart been flooded by light? Click here for God's holy flood!
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!