GENESIS 13, MATTHEW 12, NEHEMIAH 2, ACTS 12

Matthew 12:3-5
“Have you not read what David did when he was hungry."  Matthew 12:3 

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus often uses the phrase "have you not read" to confront the Pharisees' view of scripture.  He uses it to challenge their thoughts on divorce (Matthew 19:4); who He is (Matthew 21:16, 42); and the resurrection (Matthew 22:31).  It seems Jesus not only expected these people to have read but to believe and apply the scripture to their lives.  In each instance, the Jewish authorities are questioning the authority of God's Word.  The question before all of us is "What is the authority in my life?  Upon what do I base my opinions and decisions?  Am I primarily influenced by what my parents did, or by my friends, or by the culture in which I live?"  The Bible makes it plain God and His Word are the ultimate authority. 

My God and Father, as I read and study Your Word, may I not only understand it, may my heart and will yearn to obey what I know.

Nehemiah 2:1-8
"So I prayed to the God of heaven."  Nehemiah 2:4 

Just as Nehemiah's prayer in Nehemiah 1 is an excellent example of an ACTS prayer, here in Chapter 2, Nehemiah gives an example of what I have always heard referred to as a "bullet prayer."  In Nehemiah 2:4, in the middle of the conversation Nehemiah "prayed to the God of heaven."  We have no details of what he prayed, but I suspect we have all done this when a stressful situation arises.  Nothing comes from our mouth, but our mind cries out "God help me now."  Matthew 6:8 says, "...your Father knows what you need before you ask him."  Even though He knows before we ask, Matthew 7:7 says we are to ask, seek, and knock.

The last statement of this passage "And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me." causes me to rejoice.  When I examine all the events that happened to bring this result, I rejoice in the Sovereign LORD.  Is it not amazing Nehemiah's brother Hanani informed him of the situation in Jerusalem when he did?  Isn't it fortunate as the King of Persia's cup-bearer, Nehemiah had found favor in the king's eyes?  What caused a busy king to notice the sadness in one of his servant's eyes?

Thank You, Father, for providentially working all things together for good for those who love You and are called according to Your purpose.

Acts 12:5-17
"So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church."  Acts 7:5  

WOW!  Talk about answered prayer!  I cannot imagine the sense of loss the church felt with the death of James and the expected death of Peter, yet they began to pray earnestly.  The same Sovereign LORD who orchestrated Nehemiah's answered prayer arranged the events that led to Peter's knock on the door where many were gathered praying for him. 

Oh Father, please forgive me for my prayerlessness.  Holy Spirit, stir within my heart a quick spirit of prayer.  Always remind me of the "orchestrating" God I worship and serve.  Jesus, You are the great and eternal High Priest.  Thank You that I can draw near to Your throne of grace with confidence, knowing I will receive mercy and find grace to help in my time of need.

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