He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse. — Malachi 4:6
Woohoo!!! We are on the LAST VERSE of the OLD TESTAMENT! It has NOT been easy to do these verses day by day until today, however, God has been SO FAITHFUL, he was with me all the way and encouraged with his words everyday.
Malachi was the last of the prophets, he confronted people with their neglect of the Temple and their false and profane worship. The book of Malachi forms a BRIDGE between the OLD TESTAMENT and the NEW TESTAMENT.
The bible OPENS with the creation of the world and the falls of humankind and CLOSES with God’s promise to restore the broken relationship of ‘Father and Children’. (see verse above) It is promise of the coming of “the prophet Elijah,” who will OFFER GOD’S FORGIVENESS TO ALL PEOPLE through REPENTANCE and FAITH.
GOD LOVES HIS PEOPLE even when they ignore or disobey him, He has great blessings to bestow on those who are faithful to him. HIS LOVE NEVER ENDS.
At the end of this page, I want to share with you one of my favourite songs – ‘God will make a way’ by Don Moen. God will make a way, where seems to be no way, he determines to hold us to his side with love and strength just as he has promised. HIS LOVE NEVER ENDS, NEVER!
God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me
He will be my guide
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength
For each new day
He will make a way
He will make a way
By a roadway in the wilderness
He’ll lead me
And rivers in the desert will I see
Heaven and earth will fade
But His Word will still remain
He will do something new today
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. — Joel 2:28
Joel’s name means “YAHWEH IS GOD”, he is the second of the twelve minor prophets and the author of the Book of Joel. However, very little is known about who he was or when he prophesied.
Today’s verse – Joel 2:28 is perhaps the most famous of his prophecies. Just as Isaiah, Ezekiel and some other prophets in the old testament, Joel prophesies a day when God will pour out his spirit. His prophecies here forms part of a promise that God, the father will bless his people with his visible, glorious presence and never again allow them to be put to shame.
Hundreds of years later, this prophecy was fulfilled in Jerusalem when the Holy Spirit falls upon the 120 disciples of Jesus on the Day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:1-21)
1And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven … (Act 2:1-5)
Then the long drought of the Holy spirit, lasting 400 years, will come to an end with a deluge of the Father’s love from heaven.
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” — Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV)
Nehemiah, means “Comforted of/is the LORD,” is the central figure of the Book of Nehemiah, which describes his work rebuilding Jerusalem and purifying the Jewish community.
After the temple was rebuilt in 516 BC by Zerubbabel and Joshua, It was the time for the city of Jerusalem to be restored as well. In 459 BC, Ezra, a Jewish priest brought the Jewish people back to the law and challenged them to be a Holy Nation.
In today’s verse, the people wept openly when they heard God’s laws and realised how far they were from obeying them. But Ezra told them they should be filled with joy because the day was holy. It was time to celebrate and to give gifts to those in need.
This is the story in a ‘easy to understand’ version (forgive me, this is the only version I can find)
So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” — Zechariah 4:6
In 538 BC, the Babylonians had been replaced by the Persians as the world’s superpower. The Persian King Cyrus released the Jewish remnant from their captivity in exile. Led by Zerubbabel and Joshua, 50,000 Jews returned from Babylon to the land and for two years worked on rebuilding the Temple.
Initially they worked with enthusiasm but opposition brought the work of rebuilding the Temple to a standstill. For over fifteen years the two leaders were discouraged at the inactivity of God’s people, until two prophets – Zechariah and Haggai – came and spoke words of encouragement.
Here Zechariah tells Zerubbabel that the new Temple will be built but that this will be achieved not by human power but by the Spirit of God. Thereafter God’s Spirit stirred the people to work and the Second Temple was completed in 516BC.
The Holy Spirit has mighty power. When people absolutely rely on the Spirit, it will lead them to do great things. In 1 Corinthians chapter 12, it says the gifts of the Spirit, a message of wisdom, a message of knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues. Jesus die for us so that we may have the Holy Spirit and we may do even greater things than Jesus.
So here when God told Zerubbabel that the temple would be rebuilt by the power of the same Spirit, isn’t this an encouragement which is big enough to cast out all the anxiety? I believe the answer is Yes. Today we have all the promises that given through Jesus. The encouragement which motivated the people of Israel to rebuild the temple is there with us everyday because we have the same spirit living inside of us. I am encouraged when I thought of this. Are you?
The King answered unto Dainel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and A Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret. —-Daniel 2:47 (KJV)
The verse we are looking at today didn’t come from any of God’s servants, but from a pagan King who was overwhelmed by the power of the Lord.
How did that happen? When the kingdom of Israel fell, Daniel was in captivity in Babylon along with the survivors of the people of Judah. The Babylon King, Nebuchadnezzar had a dream which troubled him. He summoned his court of astrologers to interpret it for him. However, for a certain reason, he didn’t even tell them anything about the dream. As a result, the court of astrologers could only shoot in blind and all come up with irrelevant human interpretation. On the other hand, Daniel prayed and God told Daniel what the King wanted to know. Daniel didn’t only tell the King what exactly the dream was, but also gave the interpretation. Therefore the King couldn’t deny that the LORD is the true God. Then the King answered Daniel with the verse we just came across earlier.
In the following video, you can get a general picture of what the King Nebuchadnezzar dreamed about.
Isn’t that amazing? Even a pagan King could be moved by the undeniable truth and acknowledged the true God. Let’s remember the fact that it was King Nebuchadnezzar who totally destroyed the temple of the LORD and took away everything inside of it. But yet he was overwhelmed by the power of God.
All of this started with a prayer, a prayer that made all the differences. God never change–he is the same today as he was 3000 years ago when this story happened. When we come to a difficult situation like Daniel did, a prayer can still make all the differences because God has promised us, his power of God is true and never change.
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
— Ezekiel 36:26 (KJV)
One of Ezekiel’s most important prophecies of hope is this — God will put a ‘new heart’ and ‘new spirit’ in his people in the future time, there is one day when the Lord will restore what had been broken and reunite his people back to the father’s house. There will be a spiritual renewal in which God will sprinkle clean water on his people, and he will give them a new heart and a new spirit. The Gift of the indwelling (Holy) Spirit was fulfilled as Christ establishes the new covenant through his death on the Cross.
25Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
26A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
27And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
— Ezekiel 36:25-26
At the time of Ezekiel, God promised to restore Israel not only in physically, but also spiritually. It is the same today, It is still God’s greatest desire to purify and restore our heart both physically and spiritually. No matter how impure your life is right now, God offers you a FRESH START. You can have your sins washed away, receive a new heart for God, and have his spirit within you – if you accept God’s promise.
Why try to patch up your old life when you can have a new one?
“Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear?” — Mark 8:17-18
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. ”
— 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifty day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. — Ezekiel 1:1 (KJV)
Today we are on the book of Ezekiel, here is a little background knowledge:
Ezekiel, known as the Visionary Prophet, his name means “God will Strengthen“, (a suitable one for his message.) He was born and raised in the land of Judah, was preparing to become a priest in God’s temple when the Babylonians attacked in 597BC and carried him away along with 10.000 other captives. The nation of Israel was on the brink of complete destruction. Four to Five years later, when Ezekiel was 30 (the normal age for becoming a priest), God called him to be a prophet. He served as a prophet to the exiles in Babylon from 593-571 B.C
Here in the first verse of his book, Ezekiel describes how the heavens were opened and he had visions of God in Babylon. Here is a video animated Ezekiel chapter 1 – The Glory of God: