The Lord is the strength of his people. He is a stronghold of salvation to his anointed. Psalm 28:8

Ezra 3-4

Ezra 3

Altar and Sacrifices Restored

1 By the seventh month, when the Israelites were living in the cities, the people gathered together as one man to Jerusalem.

2 Then Jeshua the son of Jozadak stood up with his brothers the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and his brothers, and built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God. 3 In spite of their fear because of the peoples of the surrounding lands, they set the altar on its base, and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, burnt offerings morning and evening.

4 They kept the feast of booths, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the ordinance, as the duty of every day required, 5 and afterward the continual burnt offering, the offerings of the new moons, of all the set feasts of the Lord that were consecrated and of everyone who willingly offered a free will offering to the Lord.

6 From the first day of the seventh month, they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord, but the foundation of the temple of the Lord was not yet laid. 7 They also gave money to the masons and to the carpenters. They also gave food, drink, and oil to the people of Sidon and Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea, to Joppa, according to the grant that they had from Cyrus King of Persia.

Temple Restoration Begins

8 Now in the second year of their coming to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, in the second month, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the rest of their brothers the priests and the Levites, and all those who had come from captivity to Jerusalem, began the work and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and up, to oversee the work of the house of the Lord. 9 Then Jeshua stood with his sons and his brothers, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to oversee the workmen in the house of the Lord; the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brothers the Levites.

10 When the builders laid the foundation of the Lord’s temple, they set the priests in their clothing with trumpets, with the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the Lord, according to the directions of David king of Israel. 11 They sang to one another in praising and giving thanks to the Lord,

“For he is good,
for his loving kindness
endures forever toward Israel.”

All the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord had been laid.

12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of families; the old men who had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice. Many also shouted aloud for joy 13 so that the people could not discern the sound of the shout of joy from the sound of the people weeping, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard far away.

Ezra 4

Adversaries Hinder the Work

1 Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the returned exiles were building a temple to the Lord, the God of Israel, 2 they came near to Zerubbabel and to the family leaders and said to them, “Let us build with you, for we seek your God as you do, and we have been sacrificing to him since the days of Esar Haddon king of Assyria, who brought us up here.”

3 But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the family leaders of Israel said to them, “You have nothing to do with us in building a house to our God, but we ourselves together will build to the Lord, the God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us.”

4 Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah and frightened them from building. 5 They hired counselors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, until the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Opposition under Xerxes and Artaxerxes

6 During the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.

7 In the days of Artaxerxes, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of his companions, wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia, and the language of the letter was written in Syrian and delivered in the Syrian language.

8 Rehum the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king as follows,

9 From Rehum the chancellor, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions, the Dinaites, and the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Shushanchites, the Dehaites, the Elamites, 10 and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Osnappar brought over, and set in the city of Samaria, and in the rest of the country beyond the River, and so forth, wrote.

11 This is the copy of the letter that they sent:

“To King Artaxerxes,
From your servants the men beyond the River.

12 Be it known to the king that the Jews who came up from you have come to us to Jerusalem. They are building the rebellious and evil city and have finished the walls and repaired the foundations.

13 Be it known now to the king that if this city is built and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, custom, or toll, and in the end it will be harmful to the kings.

14 Now because we eat the salt of the palace, and it is not appropriate for us to see the king’s dishonor, therefore we have sent and informed the king, 15 that search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers. You will see in the book of the records and know that this city is a rebellious city and harmful to kings and provinces, and that they have started rebellions within it in the past. That is why this city was destroyed.

16 We inform the king that, if this city is built and the walls finished, then you will have no possession beyond the River.”

The Decree of Artaxerxes

17 Then the king sent an answer to Rehum the chancellor and to Shimshai the scribe and to the rest of their companions who live in Samaria and in the rest of the country beyond the River:


18 The letter which you sent to us has been plainly read before me. 19 I decreed, and search has been made, and it was found that this city has made insurrection against kings in the past and that rebellion and revolts have been made in it. 20 There have also been mighty kings over Jerusalem, who have ruled over all the country beyond the River, and tribute, custom, and toll, was paid to them.

21 Make a decree now to cause these men to cease and that this city not be built, until a decree is made by me. 22 Be careful that you not be slack in doing so. Why should damage grow to the harm of the kings?

23 Then when the copy of king Artaxerxes’ letter was read before Rehum, Shimshai the scribe and their companions, they went in haste to Jerusalem to the Jews and made them cease by force of arms.

24 Then work stopped on the house of the Lord which is at Jerusalem. It stopped until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

1 Corinthians 2

Paul’s Message, the Spirit’s Power

1 When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God, 2 for I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 My speech and my preaching were not in persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith would not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

Wisdom from the Spirit of God

6 We speak wisdom, however, among those who are full grown, yet a wisdom not of this world, nor of the rulers of this world who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the wisdom that has been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this world has known. For had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

9 But as it is written,

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, what God has prepared for those who love him.” a

10 But to us, God revealed them through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For who among men knows the things of a man, except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Just the same, no one knows the things of God, except the Spirit of God.

12 But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might know the things that were freely given to us by God. 13 We also speak these things, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things.

14 Now the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual discerns all things, and he himself is judged by no one.

16 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct him?” b

But we have Christ’s mind.

a Isaiah 64:4
b Isaiah 40:13

Psalm 28:1-9

By David.

1 To you, Lord, I call.
My rock, do not be deaf to me,
lest, if you are silent to me,
I would become like those who go down into the pit.
2 Hear the voice of my petitions, when I cry to you,
when I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place.

3 Do not draw me away with the wicked,
with the workers of iniquity who speak peace with their neighbors,
but mischief is in their hearts.
4 Give them according to their work, and according to the wickedness of their actions.
Give them according to the operation of their hands.
Bring back on them what they deserve.
5 Because they do not respect the works of the Lord,
nor the operation of his hands,
he will break them down and not build them up.

6 Blessed be the Lord,
because he has heard the cry of my petitions.
7 The Lord is my strength and my shield.
My heart has trusted in him, and I am helped.
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices.
With my song I will thank him.
8 The Lord is the strength of his people.
He is a stronghold of salvation to his anointed.
9 Save your people,
and bless your inheritance.
Be their shepherd also,
and bear them up forever.

Proverbs 20:24-25

24 A man’s steps are determined by the Lord.
How then can man understand his own way?
25 It is a snare to a man to make a rash dedication,
then later to consider his vows.

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