When Jerusalem was rebuilt by the Jews after the Babylonian captivity, Nehemiah represented the organization and construction side and Ezra was the priestly side.
Ezra was so greatly burdened by the sin and backsliding of the Jews that he sought the Lord in fasting and prayer and great humility. God heard him and moved upon the people to rededicate themselves to His law by forsaking the many forms of sin they had adopted.
One man’s prayer and burden affected the entire movement. All God needs is one.
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, stir us to all be singular advocates for a fresh move of Your Spirit. As we enter a new year, we commit ourselves to a fresh dedication to holiness and evangelism for the sake of the Gospel.
READING: Exra 7-10
The way Darius, King of Persia, supported the rebuilding of God’s temple was amazing. He reinforced the ruling made by Cyrus emphatically. He even imposed dreadful penalties if anyone deterred the Jews.
God can meet our needs in the most unusual ways. It is our job to trust and obey. When we do that, we operate in a mode of miracles.
“With God, all things are possible.”Matt. 19:26
PRAYER: Father, forgive us for limiting You. Increase our faith to constantly be looking to You for Your miraculous provision. It’s Your good pleasure to give the Kingdom to Your children.
READING: Ezra 5,6
Cyrus, King of Persia, was NOT a saint. Yet, God moved upon his heart to let Ezra and many Jews who were burdened for the rebuilding of Jerusalem to return and start the project. Amazingly, he made provision to fund it and fully supported their mission.
We often think because a leader may be rough around the edges that God won’t use him. Not true. God can accomplish His purposes through whomever He chooses. He acts sovereignly. We think carnally.
PRAYER: Father, as our nation enters an era of new leadership, we ask that You use them to fulfill Your purposes and Your will. You are the ALL IN ALL.
READING: Ezra 1-4
God kept sending His messengers, the prophets, to His people and their leaders, even though they were in rebellion. Per chance they would repent and humble themselves before Him. God always maintained control of the nations who affected them and seemed to meter out punishment to His people for their sins while always being faithful to any corrective words He had given them.
Amazingly, Manasseh was a king who began his reign with evil intentions yet heeded God’s faithful counsel. His grandson, Josiah, would bring one of Israel’s greatest revivals into being. It’s never too late to turn to God.
PRAYER: Lord, forgive us our backslidings. Give us another chance according to Your unfailing grace and mercy. We will trust You through whatever befalls us. You have the control of our lives in Your hands.
READING: 2 Chron. 33-36
King Hezekiah had reigned in righteousness and tore down altars of idol worship. Yet, Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, put Jerusalem under siege and began taunting its inhabitants saying, “Your God will let you die. No other gods have been able to prevent me … why do you think your God will?”
Hezekiah and Isaiah, the prophet, cried out to God to save them. God heard their prayer and sent one angel who slaughtered the entire army of Sennacherib.
As New Testament Christians, we often hear the taunts of Satan, but God is MUCH greater, and will respond to the cries of His people for deliverance.
PRAYER: Hear my cry, O God, attend unto my prayer. From the ends of the earth will I cry out to Thee. When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. I trust in the name of Jesus.
READING: 2 Chron. 31,32
When God’s people sacrificed to idols, their fortunes grossly reflected God’s displeasure. War battles were lost, crops failed, plans failed. Devotion to God was such a simple choice, yet His people constantly rejected Him, reaping destructive consequences.
God’s mercy surely exempts us from much tragedy, yet we continually place other life distractions ahead of our devotion to God.
Now is a great time to change that. The new year is coming.
PRAYER: Father, grant me the grace to make quality decisions about my dedication to cultivating a devotional life that feeds my soul with Heaven’s blessings and charts a course pleasing to You.
READING: 2 Chron. 28-30
A brilliant king who amassed a great army, invented weapons for war, and was a master farmer, Uzziah sadly became lifted up with pride. He presumed against the Lord by arrogantly entering the Temple to usurp the authority of priest by offering a sacrifice. They warned him, but his great pride drove him on. Suddenly, God smote him with leprosy right there on the spot, thereby enforcing the warnings of the priests. His pride led to his downfall.
Beware of pride. Daily devotion to the Lord and fellowship with His Spirit is the best way to guard against pride.
PRAYER: Lord, You are the source of our blessing. Everything we have that’s good comes from You.
READING: 2 Chron. 26-28