Bible Reading and Commentary for the week December 18-23, 2017

Bible Reading and Commentary for the week
December 18-23, 2017
Monday, December 18,  Ezra 7
v. 10 — Ezra was a priest and spiritual leader in Judah.  With the temple completed, Ezra was a leader in spiritual reform.  Faithlessness to God’s Word led to their captivity.  Ezra sought to prevent that from happening again, leading God’s people back to God’s Word.  What the Christian Church needs today are many more men like Ezra.
Vv. 15-16 — Can we take money in support of our church from unbelieving people?  Here is an example from the Old Testament showing that God permitted it.  Notice that there were no strings attached.  It was an outright gift without the request that you do this for me since I’ve done this for you.
Tuesday, December 19, Ezra 8
v. 22 — As the Middle East is very dangerous today, so was it also in Ezra’s day.  To ask for an escort would have made him blush with shame.  That’s because he made it known publicly that he believed God could protect him through thick and thin.  Would He?  When we ask God, as Ezra did, for a safe journey, (v. 23) we don’t have to be afraid. God promises to send His angels, who have fantastic power, to protect us.  Read Ps. 91:11, 12 and II Kings 19:32-36.
Wednesday, December 20, Ezra 9
v. 8 — “Giving us a firm place in his sanctuary” (NIV) or “To give us a peg (tent peg) in his Holy Place” (NKJV) meant that the faithful remnant who returned were back on solid ground.  They were on the solid ground of God’s Word.
v. 12 — In the Old Testament, God forbade the Israelites to marry heathen women.  (Read Deut. 7:1-4)  The reason was that such women would lead the Israelite men to turn away from God.  In the New Testament, the same warning stands.  Intermarriage with unbelievers can lead the Christian away from Christ.  While God doesn’t forbid such a marriage in New Testament times, He encourages the Christian in such a marriage by a faithful example, to lead the unbeliever to Jesus, our Savior.  (I Cor. 7:10-14 and I Peter 3:1,2)
Thursday, December 21, Ezra 10
v. 1 — Like Ezra, we should feel grief, not smugness, when fellow Christians fall into sin.  Our Christ-centered words, actions, and prayers should lead to their repentance.
v. 44 — In the NIV there is a footnote to this passage that reads, “They sent them away with their children.”  This very likely was not an easy thing to do.  Yet this is what we are to do with all sin.  We are not to permit it to live within our midst.  If we permit it to be our companion, it eventually will master us and we’ll lose the great prize of eternal life.  Read Rom. 6:11-14.
Friday and Saturday, December 22-23
Psalm 34 — The verses in the hymn book on page 80 chosen for Psalm 34 are beautiful and uplifting.  Read 3 verses for Friday and three for Saturday.  Ask your children how they apply to their lives.
These are good verses to memorize!

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