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A Sufficient Call

Original Watercolor, "Poinsettias" © by Terri L. Stricker

December 26, 2023

Psalm 147:12-20 continues with a call for Jerusalem to “extol the LORD” and for Zion “to praise God” (verse12). Once again, we see how the Word of God informs us about and reveals the central truth that praising God is all-important. Based on the Psalmist’s further examples of evidence that is found all around us – God’s provision of strength; blessing; peace; the satisfaction of our hunger, etc., (cf., verses 13-18) - the Psalmist writes that our lives ought to be continually filled with praise to God. He designed us to know Him and praise Him. In verse 19, the Psalmist says, “He has revealed His Word … to Israel” and has done this “for no other nation.” God’s unique revelation – that His truth should come to all nations through the Law of Moses (i.e., Israel) – is in itself, a sufficient call to “praise the LORD” (verse 20). To the extent that God has blessed us so fully, to that same extent our lives ought to be filled with praises to Him.

In Revelation 17, John indicates that one of the seven bowl angels came to him “to show him the punishment of the great prostitute” (verse 1) and “the mystery of her and the beast she rides” (verse 7). This prostitute is identified for us – “Babylon the Great” (verse 5). The woman is described as having seduced the nations “from the creation of the world” (verse 8). She represents the false religious system (i.e., all unbiblical beliefs and religious practices). This system finds its roots in antiquity going back to the ancient city of Babylon which distracted and diverted people’s attention away from God. The woman is a consort with Satan, the Antichrist, and the false prophet, and together, their united purpose is to create the ultimate system of godless government, economics, and religion, and to deceive all mankind into supporting it. Notice: “They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because He is Lord of lords and King of kings” (verse 14). Satan, the Antichrist, and the false prophet will use her to set themselves up for worship, and then they will suddenly turn against her “and bring her to ruin” (cf., verses 16-17). This action is later described in Revelation 18.

In Nehemiah 3-4, we see Nehemiah’s journal of the reconstruction process of the wall at Jerusalem. As he goes around from gate to gate to inspect and evaluate the progress, Nehemiah identifies those who participated with him in each section of repairs and wall-building. Most of the participants were not professional masons – they included “goldsmiths, perfume-makers, civil-servants, Levites, and merchants” (cf., chapter 3). These ordinary “citizens” became involved in the affairs of their local community and in the work of the Lord (cf., Nehemiah 2:11). Although, sometimes in Scripture, we find reading a list of names to be tedious, nevertheless, each of those involved was important to God, and He honored their work by including them in the record. In chapter 4, we see, as always, opposition to God’s work. Nehemiah identifies “Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the people of Ashdod,” who made sport of the Jews (verses 1-3), and “plotted together” to bring them harm (verse 8). However, Nehemiah challenged the people, developed an action plan, and God “frustrated” their enemies (verse 15). Later, we will see that, under Nehemiah’s sound leadership, the people will complete the wall in 52 days (cf., Nehemiah 6:15). Our passages today clearly show us that no opposition can hinder the work of God – He will frustrate the opposition and bring it to nothing.

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