"Then they said, 'Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.'"
How easy and quick it is to forget God’s instruction. God had instructed both Adam and Noah (Genesis 1:28, 9:1) to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, yet here these men have decided to make a name for themselves and not fill the earth. Why do I so quickly forget God’s instruction? God’s plan and purpose for man are not thwarted. He uses willful and prideful men to accomplish His objectives.
Lord God, creator of heaven and earth, I know the temptation to make a name for myself. I also know You oppose the proud but give grace to the humble. May I be quick to submit to You and Your ways. May I see You as the Sovereign One and humble myself before You.
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves." Matthew 10:16
Life as a believer often does seem like living as sheep among wolves.
Father, teach me to be shrewd as a snake, yet as innocent as a dove. This mindset appears to be an impossible mix, but I believe "with God all things are possible." Please give me the discernment to know when to shake the dust off my feet, confidence in stressful situations to trust Your Spirit to provide the proper things to say, and contentment and lack of fear in being received as my Teacher/Master was received. May my life be an acknowledgment of Jesus and my love for Him be the priority. I desire the reward that would only come from the King of the Kingdom of Heaven. May I be one who endures to the end.
"All the people sat in the open square before the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of the heavy rain." Ezra 10:9
This passage convicts me of how lightly I treat sin compared to the people who returned to Jerusalem from Babylon. They understood the consequences of their nation's rebellion against God. The result of their sin was real and intense having lost everything in the exile. Ezra was not the only one mourning over their faithlessness. All the men of Judah and Jerusalem gathered in December, in heavy rain, and trembled because of this matter.
Almighty God, forgive me for treating so lightly my rebellion against You. May I have the same attitude as Ezra toward the sin of my nation. Please cause us to mourn for our faithlessness to You.
"As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all)."
I love this definition of the Gospel. The New Living Translation says, "This is the message of the Good News...There is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all." John Piper defines the Gospel as "a message of the promises of God offered to people who will stop hoping in the promises of the world and start hoping in the promises of God."
Jesus, I thank You for the promise of peace with God. May I see rebellion against You as You do. Please use me as one who proclaims the desperate need man has for Your promised peace.