Nov 20, 2022
Yesterday we heard how Ezra introduced himself. Note that he spoke of himself in the 3rd person, but finally resorted to ‘I’. King Artaxerxes was certainly impressed by Ezra! Ezra was given everything he could have wanted, guaranteeing full government support of the temple worship in every way. Note how methodical Ezra was, making sure that he took Levites and temple servants along. His total party must have been at least 1,000 men. So with women and children, it would have been quite a group. And evidently others were coming back separately as well.
Having eyes to see and ears to hear is a theme in Isaiah, and remember what Jesus always said, “You got ears, don’t ya? Well then use them!” (My translation.) So this part of yesterday’s reading bears repeating:
Is. 32:1 NLT Look, a righteous king
And honest princes will rule under him.
2 Each one will be like a shelter from the wind
and a refuge from the storm,
like streams of water in the desert
and the shadow of a great rock in a parched land.
3 Then everyone who has eyes will be able to see the truth,
and everyone who has ears will be able to hear it.
Remember how Paul in 2nd Corinthians showed clearly that he loved the Corinthian believers. Now in Philippians, written around the year 61 when Paul was under house arrest in Rome, we have a love letter to the Philippian church. However unlike 2nd Corinthians, in this letter there is no scolding. This is a prison letter. Paul has suffered so much! Yet there is such a tone of joy in this letter from beginning to end. One is reminded that it was in Philippi where Paul and Silas were unjustly beaten and put in the lowest dungeon, but were singing praises in the middle of the night.
This letter includes Paul’s wonderful poem of praise about the humility of Christ and the final outcome of his self-sacrifice. And Paul exhorts us to imitate Christ in his humility. This also means that we should forgive one another and strive for unity. Note the example of the Euodia and Syntyche in chapter 4. And this letter of Philippians holds some of the most precious promises in Scripture. Let’s find them and claim them!
NLT Translation notes:
Php. 1:7 [So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. [You are partners with me in the ministry that was given to me because of the grace of God. And you have shared with me//You share with me the special favor of God,] both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News.
//PET 7 It's proper for me to think like that about you, of course, because I feel that you have a place in my heart. That's because you've become my coworkers in the task that God has given me. That task was given to me only because of His kindness. My task is to defend and maintain the Good News from God, whether I'm in prison or not. And God Himself knows that I really long for all of you with the love that comes from Christ Jesus.]
25 Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your [fully believing in Christ//faith].
27 Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for [what we fully believe//the faith], which is the Good News.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.