Even though God had promised Abraham the land (Genesis 15:18) from the river Nile to the great river Euphrates, he purchased the first piece believing God would fulfill His promise. That parcel of land became the family burial plot for Sarah (Genesis 23:19), Abraham (Genesis 25:9), Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Leah (Genesis 49:29-31). Hebrews 11:8–10 tells us Abraham lived by faith in this land, but he was looking forward to a city designed and built by God.
Father, please strengthen me to live faithfully in the place You have me, trusting Your promises and always remembering I live as a foreigner here, keeping my eyes fixed on my ultimate destination.
Thinking of the city built by God, I love this description. Jesus describes the kingdom of heaven as a feast but not just any feast, a wedding feast for the King's son. A wedding is supposed to be one of the happiest times of life, and this is the event Jesus chose to describe eternity in His kingdom. The original invitees declined the invitation because they thought what they had was better than anything they would receive at the wedding feast. They remind me of the third type of person in Mark 4:18–19 whose care for the things of the world and the deceitfulness of earthly riches choke out what they have heard about the kingdom of heaven. Revelation 19:7–9 gives a great picture of this wedding feast.
It is easy while reading this chapter to let all the names overwhelm me, but the fact that all these people gathered to dedicate the Wall of Jerusalem impresses me. It seems rare for anything to be dedicated today, much less a wall. Let's examine the content of this dedication: Music was an integral component. Verse 8 provides the names of those in charge of the songs of thanksgiving. In verse 27 the dedication was with gladness, thanksgiving, singing, with symbols, harps, and lyres. There are also two great choirs.
Gracious and good God, thank You for the gift of musicians and song. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for bringing a song of praise into my mind. Please stir within me a new song of dedication to glorify my God.
"'What shall I do, Lord?', I asked. 'Get up,' the Lord said, and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.'"
If envy weren't a sin, I would be envious of Paul. It seems it would be so much easier if God would just tell me what I had been assigned to do. Ephesians 2:10 reminds me, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." I want to do all those things prepared (assigned) to me by God. However, knowing Roy as I do, if God told me beforehand His assignments for me, I would attempt to accomplish them on my own. Instead, what He wants me to do is to trust Him and walk faithfully in what He shows me. I am to walk according to the Spirit and not my fleshly ideas and perceptions.
Father, I want to complete all You would call me to do. Please continue to prepare, strengthen and encourage me in Your work. Holy Spirit convict me quickly when I am walking anywhere other than where You are leading.