Daily Devotional

by Larry Stockstill

Many of David's prayers were encompassed in two words: Keep me!

The role of Protector is one of God's most glorious attributes. He promised Zechariah two forms of protection. First, He promised to be "a wall of fire around Jerusalem" (Zechariah 2:5). Even wild animals fear fire, and God said that He would erect around us a wall of flaming fire that no enemy could penetrate.

God also promised Zechariah that "he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of [my] eye" (v. 8 KJV). The apple may be interpreted as the "pupil" of the eye. It is the gate, the very center of the eyeball, through which all light must pass. The eyeball is fiercely protected by the eyelid, which instinctively closes the moment anything threatening comes near the eye. In effect, the Lord is saying, "I am not only watching over you, but you are in my eye!"

If you walk closely to the Lord, you will never stray outside His "wall of fire," and you will always be protected as the "pupil of His eye." Fear not, citizen of Zion. Your God has awesome keeping power!

Zechariah 2:1-3:10

A Man With a Measuring Line

In Hebrew texts 2:1-13 is numbered 2:5-17.Then I looked up, and there before me was a man with a measuring line in his hand.I asked, “Where are you going?”

He answered me, “To measure Jerusalem, to find out how wide and how long it is.”S Eze 40:3; S Zec 1:16; Rev 21:15

While the angel who was speaking to me was leaving, another angel came to meet himand said to him: “Run, tell that young man, ‘Jerusalem will be a city without wallsS Eze 38:11 because of the great numberS Isa 49:20; S Jer 30:19; S 33:22 of people and animals in it.Zec 14:11And I myself will be a wallS Isa 26:1; Eze 42:20 of fireS Isa 10:17 around it,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will be its gloryS Ps 85:9; S Isa 11:10; S 24:23; Rev 21:23 within.’S Ps 46:5; S Ps 125:2; S Eze 38:14

“Come! Come! Flee from the land of the north,” declares the Lord, “for I have scatteredS Ps 44:11 you to the four winds of heaven,”S Eze 17:21; S 37:9 declares the Lord.Mt 24:31; Mk 13:27

“Come, Zion! Escape,S Isa 42:7 you who live in Daughter Babylon!”S Isa 48:20; Jer 3:18For this is what the Lord Almighty says: “After the Glorious One has sent me against the nations that have plundered you—for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eyeS Dt 32:10I will surely raise my hand against them so that their slaves will plunder them.Or says after … eye: “I … plunder them.”S Isa 14:2; S Jer 12:14; S Hab 2:8 Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me.S Isa 48:16; Zec 4:9; 6:15

10 “ShoutS Zep 3:14 and be glad, Daughter Zion.S Isa 23:12; S Zep 3:14 For I am coming,Zec 9:9 and I will live among you,”S Ex 25:8; Lev 26:12; S Nu 23:21; Zec 8:3 declares the Lord.S Rev 21:311 “Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people.S Jer 24:7; S Mic 4:2; Zec 8:8, 20-22 I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.Zec 4:9; 6:1512 The Lord will inheritS Ex 34:9; Ps 33:12; Jer 10:16 JudahJer 40:5 as his portion in the holy land and will again chooseS Dt 12:5; S Isa 14:1 Jerusalem.13 Be stillS Ex 14:14; S Isa 41:1 before the Lord, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.S Dt 26:15

Clean Garments for the High Priest

Then he showed me JoshuaS Ezr 2:2; Zec 6:11 the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and SatanHebrew satan means adversary.S 2Sa 24:1; S 2Ch 18:21; S Ps 109:6; S Mt 4:10 standing at his right side to accuse him.The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you,Jude 1:9 Satan! The Lord, who has chosenS Isa 14:1 Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stickS Isa 7:4 snatched from the fire?”Jude 1:23

Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel.The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.”

Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin,S 2Sa 12:13; S Eze 36:25; S Mic 7:18 and I will put fine garmentsS Ge 41:42; S Ps 132:9; S Isa 52:1; Rev 19:8 on you.”

Then I said, “Put a clean turbanS Ex 29:6 on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by.

The angel of the Lord gave this charge to Joshua:“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in obedience to me and keep my requirements,S Lev 8:35 then you will govern my houseDt 17:8-11; S Eze 44:15-16 and have charge2Ch 23:6 of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.Jer 15:19; Zec 6:15

“‘Listen, High PriestHag 1:1 Joshua, you and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolicS Dt 28:46; S Eze 12:11 of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch.S Isa 4:2; S 49:3; S Eze 17:22See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua!S Ezr 2:2 There are seven eyesOr facetsS 2Ch 16:9 on that one stone,Isa 28:16 and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sinS 2Sa 12:13; S Jer 50:20 of this land in a single day.

10 “‘In that day each of you will invite your neighbor to sitS Job 11:18 under your vine and fig tree,S Nu 16:14; S 1Ki 4:25; Mic 4:4’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

Future Prosperity of Jerusalem

Verses 2:1-13 are numbered 2:5-17 in Hebrew text.When I looked again, I saw a man with a measuring line in his hand.“Where are you going?” I asked.

He replied, “I am going to measure Jerusalem, to see how wide and how long it is.”

Then the angel who was with me went to meet a second angel who was coming toward him.The other angel said, “Hurry, and say to that young man, ‘Jerusalem will someday be so full of people and livestock that there won’t be room enough for everyone! Many will live outside the city walls.Then I, myself, will be a protective wall of fire around Jerusalem, says the Lord. And I will be the glory inside the city!’”

The Exiles Are Called Home

The Lord says, “Come away! Flee from Babylon in the land of the north, for I have scattered you to the four winds.Come away, people of Zion, you who are exiled in Babylon!”

After a period of glory, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies sent meThe meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain. against the nations who plundered you. For he said, “Anyone who harms you harms my most precious possession.Hebrew Anyone who touches you touches the pupil of his eye.I will raise my fist to crush them, and their own slaves will plunder them.” Then you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sent me.

10 The Lord says, “Shout and rejoice, O beautiful Jerusalem,Hebrew O daughter of Zion. for I am coming to live among you.11 Many nations will join themselves to the Lord on that day, and they, too, will be my people. I will live among you, and you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies sent me to you.12 The land of Judah will be the Lord’s special possession in the holy land, and he will once again choose Jerusalem to be his own city.13 Be silent before the Lord, all humanity, for he is springing into action from his holy dwelling.”

Cleansing for the High Priest

Then the angel showed me JeshuaHebrew Joshua, a variant spelling of Jeshua; also in 3:3, 4, 6, 8, 9. the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord. The Accuser, Satan,Hebrew The satan; similarly in 3:2. was there at the angel’s right hand, making accusations against Jeshua.And the Lord said to Satan, “I, the Lord, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from the fire.”

Jeshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel.So the angel said to the others standing there, “Take off his filthy clothes.” And turning to Jeshua he said, “See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.”

Then I said, “They should also place a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean priestly turban on his head and dressed him in new clothes while the angel of the Lord stood by.

Then the angel of the Lord spoke very solemnly to Jeshua and said,“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: If you follow my ways and carefully serve me, then you will be given authority over my Temple and its courtyards. I will let you walk among these others standing here.

“Listen to me, O Jeshua the high priest, and all you other priests. You are symbols of things to come. Soon I am going to bring my servant, the Branch.Now look at the jewel I have set before Jeshua, a single stone with seven facets.Hebrew seven eyes. I will engrave an inscription on it, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and I will remove the sins of this land in a single day.

10 “And on that day, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, each of you will invite your neighbor to sit with you peacefully under your own grapevine and fig tree.”

I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand.

Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof.

And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him,

And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein:

For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.

Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the Lord: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the Lord.

Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon.

For thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.

For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me.

10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord.

11 And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee.

12 And the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.

13 Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.

And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.

And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?

Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.

And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.

And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by.

And the angel of the Lord protested unto Joshua, saying,

Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.

Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch.

For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.

10 In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.

Revelation 13:1-18

The Beast out of the Sea

13 The dragonSome manuscripts And I stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea.Da 7:1-6; Rev 15:2; 16:13 It had ten horns and seven heads,S Rev 12:3 with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.Da 11:36; Rev 17:3The beast I saw resembled a leopard,Da 7:6 but had feet like those of a bearDa 7:5 and a mouth like that of a lion.Da 7:4 The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority.Rev 2:13; 16:10One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed.ver 12, 14 The whole world was filled with wonderRev 17:8 and followed the beast.People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is likeEx 15:11 the beast? Who can wage war against it?”

The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemiesDa 7:8, 11, 20, 25; 11:36; 2Th 2:4 and to exercise its authority for forty-two months.S Rev 11:2It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven.Rev 12:12It was given power to wage warDa 7:21; Rev 11:7 against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation.Rev 5:9; 7:9; 10:11; 17:15All inhabitants of the earthver 12, 14; S Rev 3:10 will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life,S Rev 20:12 the LambS Jn 1:29 who was slain from the creation of the world.Or written from the creation of the world in the book of life belonging to the Lamb who was slainS Mt 25:34

Whoever has ears, let them hear.S Rev 2:7

10 “If anyone is to go into captivity,

into captivity they will go.

If anyone is to be killedSome manuscripts anyone kills with the sword,

with the sword they will be killed.”Jer. 15:2Jer 15:2; 43:11

This calls for patient endurance and faithfulnessS Heb 6:12 on the part of God’s people.Rev 14:12

The Beast out of the Earth

11 Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth.ver 1, 2 It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon.Rev 16:1312 It exercised all the authorityver 4 of the first beast on its behalf,ver 14; Rev 19:20 and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast,ver 15; Rev 14:9, 11; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4 whose fatal wound had been healed.ver 313 And it performed great signs,S Mt 24:24 even causing fire to come down from heaven1Ki 18:38; 2Ki 1:10; Lk 9:54; Rev 20:9 to the earth in full view of the people.14 Because of the signs2Th 2:9, 10 it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceivedRev 12:9 the inhabitants of the earth.S Rev 3:10 It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived.ver 3, 1215 The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worshipS ver 12 the image to be killed.Da 3:3-616 It also forced all people, great and small,S Rev 19:5 rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads,Rev 7:3; 14:9; 20:417 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark,Rev 14:9 which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.ver 18; Rev 14:11; 15:2

18 This calls for wisdom.Rev 17:9 Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man.Or is humanity’s numberRev 15:2; 21:17 That number is 666.

The Beast out of the Sea

13 Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns. And written on each head were names that blasphemed God.This beast looked like a leopard, but it had the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion! And the dragon gave the beast his own power and throne and great authority.

I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal wound was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast.They worshiped the dragon for giving the beast such power, and they also worshiped the beast. “Who is as great as the beast?” they exclaimed. “Who is able to fight against him?”

Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months.And he spoke terrible words of blasphemy against God, slandering his name and his dwelling—that is, those who dwell in heaven.Some manuscripts read and his dwelling and all who dwell in heaven.And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation.And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered before the world was made.Or not written in the Book of Life before the world was made—the Book that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered.

Anyone with ears to hear

should listen and understand.

10 Anyone who is destined for prison

will be taken to prison.

Anyone destined to die by the sword

will die by the sword.

This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently and remain faithful.

The Beast out of the Earth

11 Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth. He had two horns like those of a lamb, but he spoke with the voice of a dragon.12 He exercised all the authority of the first beast. And he required all the earth and its people to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed.13 He did astounding miracles, even making fire flash down to earth from the sky while everyone was watching.14 And with all the miracles he was allowed to perform on behalf of the first beast, he deceived all the people who belong to this world. He ordered the people to make a great statue of the first beast, who was fatally wounded and then came back to life.15 He was then permitted to give life to this statue so that it could speak. Then the statue of the beast commanded that anyone refusing to worship it must die.

16 He required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead.17 And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name.18 Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man.Or of humanity. His number is 666.Some manuscripts read 616.

13 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?

And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.

And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

If any man have an ear, let him hear.

10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

Psalm 141:1-10

Psalm 141

A psalm of David.

I call to you, Lord, come quicklyS Ps 22:19 to me;

hear meS Ps 4:1; 5:1-2; 27:7; 143:1 when I call to you.

May my prayer be set before you like incense;S Lk 1:9; Rev 5:8; 8:3

may the lifting up of my handsS Ps 28:2; 63:4; 1Ti 2:8 be like the evening sacrifice.S Ex 29:39, 41; 30:8

Set a guard over my mouth,S Ps 34:13; Jas 1:26; 3:8 Lord;

keep watch over the door of my lips.S Ps 12:2

Do not let my heartS Jos 24:23 be drawn to what is evil

so that I take part in wicked deedsS Ps 106:29

along with those who are evildoers;

do not let me eat their delicacies.Pr 23:1-3

Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness;

let him rebuke mePr 9:8; 19:25; 25:12; Ecc 7:5—that is oil on my head.S Ex 29:7; Ps 23:5

My head will not refuse it,

for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers.

Their rulers will be thrown down from the cliffs,S 2Ch 25:12

and the wicked will learn that my words were well spoken.

They will say, “As one plowsPs 129:3 and breaks up the earth,Nu 16:32-33

so our bones have been scattered at the mouthS Nu 16:30 of the grave.”

But my eyes are fixedPs 123:2 on you, Sovereign Lord;

in you I take refugePs 2:12; 11:1—do not give me over to death.

Keep me safePs 140:4 from the traps set by evildoers,S Ps 64:5

from the snaresS Ps 38:12 they have laid for me.

10 Let the wicked fallPs 7:15; 35:8; 57:6 into their own nets,

while I pass by in safety.Ps 124:7

Psalm 141

A psalm of David.

O Lord, I am calling to you. Please hurry!

Listen when I cry to you for help!

Accept my prayer as incense offered to you,

and my upraised hands as an evening offering.

Take control of what I say, O Lord,

and guard my lips.

Don’t let me drift toward evil

or take part in acts of wickedness.

Don’t let me share in the delicacies

of those who do wrong.

Let the godly strike me!

It will be a kindness!

If they correct me, it is soothing medicine.

Don’t let me refuse it.

But I pray constantly

against the wicked and their deeds.

When their leaders are thrown down from a cliff,

the wicked will listen to my words and find them true.

Like rocks brought up by a plow,

the bones of the wicked will lie scattered without burial.Hebrew our bones will be scattered at the mouth of Sheol.

I look to you for help, O Sovereign Lord.

You are my refuge; don’t let them kill me.

Keep me from the traps they have set for me,

from the snares of those who do wrong.

10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets,

but let me escape.

141 Lord, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee.

Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.

Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.

Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.

When their judges are overthrown in stony places, they shall hear my words; for they are sweet.

Our bones are scattered at the grave's mouth, as when one cutteth and cleaveth wood upon the earth.

But mine eyes are unto thee, O God the Lord: in thee is my trust; leave not my soul destitute.

Keep me from the snares which they have laid for me, and the gins of the workers of iniquity.

10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets, whilst that I withal escape.

Proverbs 30:18-20

18 “There are three things that are too amazing for me,

four that I do not understand:

19 the way of an eagle in the sky,

the way of a snake on a rock,

the way of a ship on the high seas,

and the way of a man with a young woman.

20 “This is the way of an adulterous woman:

She eats and wipes her mouth

and says, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong.’Pr 5:6

18 There are three things that amaze me—

no, four things that I don’t understand:

19 how an eagle glides through the sky,

how a snake slithers on a rock,

how a ship navigates the ocean,

how a man loves a woman.

20 An adulterous woman consumes a man,

then wipes her mouth and says, “What’s wrong with that?”

18 There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not:

19 The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.

20 Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.

Dec 21 Dec 23
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