Suggested Reading: Ezra 7-8
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Key Verses: Ezra 8:21, 23
Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions…so we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer.
Let us learn once again today that there is a personal God who hears and answers prayer. Fasting won’t gain any special favour, but it does emphasize the high level of our fervency. James, known as the brother of our Lord, wrote that, “The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man (or woman) avails much” (James 5:18b). The word “river” is repeated 4 times in our reading. Prayer is like a river. There is a source, found in the rains and springs God provides. The river flows, picking up other little streams as it goes. Like the Jordan River or the Nile, without these life-giving waters, much of the land would be swallowed up by the desert.
Yesterday, our key verse told us that the people “prospered through the prophesying of Haggai, the prophet, and Zechariah.” We considered a sample of the preaching of Haggai yesterday. Today let’s read from the other preacher…Zechariah 1:14-17 and Zechariah 9:9-10. Here is a repeated promise from Psalm 72:8 which is the motto that the founders of Canada chose to describe our country and to proclaim that God is Lord of Canada. Consider Zechariah 4:6b “Not by might [corporate strength] or by power [personal strength] but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” Is it any wonder that the people prospered? They made a firm decision to believe the Word of God spoken to them by these two Holy Spirit-filled men. We too can decide to believe!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Father God, as is recorded in Mark 9:24, “Immediately the man cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord I believe; help my unbelief!'” Dear Lord, I am encouraged by reading this story and praying the same prayer. Thank You! Amen!!! (Mark 9:14-29).
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
Haggai and Zechariah had influence on the people of God. Esther, the young Jewish girl who became the bride of the King of the Persian Empire, had a profound influence. No doubt it was her presence in the palace that brought about the letter which we have in today’s reading. Everyone of us have a sphere of influence. I mentioned in my first commentary on the book of Ezra a Jewish Canadian named Ezra Levant, who broadcasts on the Sun TV Network every evening. He has an increasing influence on Canadian life and politics. Like those who spoke out against the prevailing conditions in Israel, Levant has been persecuted but refuses to be “politically correct.” Check him out. Whether I agree with him or not, I find him fascinating (his website is here).
I turn 77 in less than a month, but I’m still determined to speak out. I’m looking just now at a statue presented to me in Hollywood. No, it’s not an Oscar; it’s called the “Crystal Teddy Award.” It’s a teddy bear of glass mounted on a base, and it reads, “David Mainse for his impact on redeeming the Values of the Entertainment Media. MOVIEGUIDE AWARDS 2005” (for a list of the other award winners that year click here – mine is listed at the end). You can check out the Movieguide awards website here and their movie review site here. I think I see some improvement in the content of movies and TV shows. Those who decided to give me this special lifetime achievment award thought 100 Huntley Street and our other productions through the years were of some benefit in influencing culture. Thanks to all who read this who have made this influence possible by your support through the years.
Yours for all who use whatever opportunities we have to speak out on issues about which we care,