1 John 5; Ezra 3; Ezra 4; Psalm 92

1 John 5

1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Messiah has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent also loves his child. 2 This is how we know that we love God's children when we love God and obey His commands. 3 For this is what love for God is: to keep His commands. Now His commands are not a burden, 4 because whatever has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. 5 And who is the one who conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

The Sureness of God's Testimony

6 Jesus Christ-He is the One who came by water and blood; not by water only, but by water and by blood. And the Spirit is the One who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood-and these three are in agreement. 9 If we accept the testimony of men, God's testimony is greater, because it is God's testimony that He has given about His Son. 10 (The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. The one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given about His Son.) 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 The one who has the Son has life. The one who doesn't have the Son of God does not have life. 13 I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

Effective Prayer

14 Now this is the confidence we have before Him: whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for. 16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin that does not bring death, he should ask, and God will give life to him-to those who commit sin that doesn't bring death. There is sin that brings death. I am not saying he should pray about that. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin that does not bring death.

Conclusion

18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not sin, but the One who is born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. 19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world is under the sway of the evil one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know the true One. We are in the true One-that is, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, guard yourselves from idols.

Ezra 3

Sacrifice Restored

1 By the seventh month, the Israelites had settled in their towns, and the people gathered together in Jerusalem. 2 Jeshua son of Jozadak and his brothers the priests along with Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his brothers began to build the altar of Israel's God in order to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God. 3 They set up the altar on its foundation and offered burnt offerings for the morning and evening on it to the Lord even though they feared the surrounding peoples. 4 They celebrated the Festival of Booths as prescribed, and [offered] burnt offerings each day, based on the number specified by ordinance for each festival day. 5 After that, [they offered] the regular burnt offering and the offerings for the beginning of each monthand for all the Lord's appointed holy occasions, as well as the freewill offerings brought to the Lord. 6 On the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord, even though the foundation of the Lord's temple had not [yet] been laid. 7 They gave money to the stonecutters and artisans, and [gave] food, drink, and oil to the people of Sidon and Tyre, so they could bring cedar wood from Lebanon to Joppa by sea, according to the authorization [given] them by King Cyrus of Persia.

Rebuilding the Temple

8 In the second month of the second year after they arrived at God's house in Jerusalem, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Jeshua son of Jozadak, and the rest of their brothers, including the priests, the Levites, and all who had returned to Jerusalem from the captivity, began [to build]. They appointed the Levites who were 20 years old or more to supervise the work on the Lord's house. 9 Jeshua with his sons and brothers, Kadmiel with his sons, and the sons of Judah and of Henadad, with their sons and brothers, the Levites, joined together to supervise those working on the house of God.

Temple Foundation Completed

10 When the builders had laid the foundation of the Lord's temple, the priests, dressed in their robes and holding trumpets, and the Levites descended from Asaph, holding cymbals, took their positions to praise the Lord, as King David of Israel had instructed. 11 They sang with praise and thanksgiving to the Lord: "For He is good; His faithful love to Israel endures forever." Then all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord because the foundation of the Lord's house had been laid. 12 But many of the older priests, Levites, and family leaders, who had seen the first temple, wept loudly when they saw the foundation of this house, but many [others] shouted joyfully. 13 The people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shouting from that of the weeping, because the people were shouting so loudly. And the sound was heard far away.

Ezra 4

Opposition to Rebuilding the Temple

1 When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the returned exiles were building a temple for the Lord, the God of Israel, 2 they approached Zerubbabel and the leaders of the families and said to them, "Let us build with you, for we also worship your God and have been sacrificing to Him since the time King Esar-haddon of Assyria; 2 Kg 19:37 ; Isa 37:38 brought us here." 3 But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the other leaders of Israel's families answered them, "You may have no part with us in building a house for our God, since we alone must build [it] for the Lord, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the king of Persia has commanded us." 4 Then the people who were already in the land discouraged the people of Judah and made them afraid to build. 5 They also bribed officials [to act] against them to frustrate their plans throughout the reign of King Cyrus of Persia and until the reign of King Darius of Persia.

Opposition to Rebuilding the City

6 At the beginning of the reign of Ahasuerus, the people who were already in the land wrote an accusation against the residents of Judah and Jerusalem. 7 During the time of [King] Artaxerxes of Persia, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel and the rest of his colleagues wrote to King Artaxerxes. The letter was written in Aramaic and translated. 8 Rehum the chief deputy and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter to King Artaxerxes concerning Jerusalem as follows: 9 [From] Rehum the chief deputy, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their colleagues-the judges and magistrates from Tripolis, Persia, Erech, Babylon, Susa (that is, the people of Elam), 10 and the rest of the peoples whom the great and illustrious Ashurbanipal deported and settled in the cities of Samaria and the region west of the Euphrates River. 11 This is the text of the letter they sent to him: To King Artaxerxes from your servants, the men from the region west of the Euphrates River: 12 Let it be known to the king that the Jews who came from you have returned to us at Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that rebellious and evil city, finishing its walls, and repairing its foundations. 13 Let it now be known to the king that if that city is rebuilt and its walls are finished, they will not pay tribute, duty, or land tax, and the royal revenue will suffer. 14 Since we have taken an oath of loyalty to the king, and it is not right for us to witness his dishonor, we have sent to inform the king 15 that a search should be made in your fathers' record books. In these record books you will discover and verify that the city is a rebellious city, harmful to kings and provinces. There have been revolts in it since ancient times. That is why this city was destroyed. 16 We advise the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are finished, you will not have any possession west of the Euphrates.

Artaxerxes' Reply

17 The king sent a reply to his chief deputy Rehum, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their colleagues living in Samaria and elsewhere in the region west of the Euphrates River: Greetings. 18 The letter you sent us has been translated and read in my presence. 19 I issued a decree and a search was conducted. It was discovered that this city has had uprisings against kings since ancient times, and there have been rebellions and revolts in it. 20 Powerful kings have also ruled over Jerusalem and exercised authority over the whole region, and tribute, duty, and land tax were paid to them. 21 Therefore, issue an order for these men to stop, so that this city will not be rebuilt until a [further] decree has been pronounced by me. 22 See that you not neglect this matter. Otherwise, the damage will increase and the royal interests will suffer. 23 As soon as the text of King Artaxerxes' letter was read to Rehum, Shimshai the scribe, and their colleagues, they immediately went to the Jews in Jerusalem and forcibly stopped them.

Rebuilding of the Temple Resumed

24 Now the construction of God's house in Jerusalem had stopped and remained at a standstill until the second year of the reign of King Darius of Persia.

Psalm 92

God's Love and Faithfulness

A psalm. A song for the Sabbath day.

1 It is good to praise the Lord, to sing praise to Your name, Most High, 2 to declare Your faithful love in the morning and Your faithfulness at night, 3 with a ten-stringed harp and the music of a lyre. 4 For You have made me rejoice, Lord, by what You have done; I will shout for joy because of the works of Your hands. 5 How magnificent are Your works, Lord, how profound Your thoughts! 6 A stupid person does not know, a fool does not understand this: 7 though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be eternally destroyed. 8 But You, Lord, are exalted forever. 9 For indeed, Lord, Your enemies- indeed, Your enemies will perish; all evildoers will be scattered. 10 You have lifted up my horn like that of a wild ox; I have been anointed with oil. 11 My eyes look down on my enemies; my ears hear evildoers when they attack me. 12 The righteous thrive like a palm tree and grow like a cedar tree in Lebanon. 13 Planted in the house of the Lord, they thrive in the courtyards of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, healthy and green, 15 to declare: "The Lord is just; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him."
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