Daily Devotional

by Larry Stockstill

How easy it is to despise our efforts in the Lord! Of course, Satan is always there to point out that what we are doing is insignificant. We react by trying harder to bring our plans to perfection. Ultimately, however, our energy will lag, and we will have to admit that we can do nothing in our own strength. It takes the Spirit of the Lord to accomplish anything of value.

Why should we labor alone in our own strength when God's Spirit will work alongside us? We must learn to rely on the supernatural. "Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel's way; it will flatten out before him! Then Zerubbabel will set the final stone of the Temple in place, and the people will shout: ‘May God bless it! May God bless it!' " (Zechariah 4:7).

Who would have thought that a mountain could come down just by shouting at it? The walls of Jericho, like Zerubbabel's mountain, did not come down by man's reasoning, but by God's power. Satan may belittle our praises, but he knows that praise is our mightiest weapon in the arsenal of faith. Keep shouting at your mountain-the Holy Spirit will bring it down!

Zechariah 4:1-5:11

The Gold Lampstand and the Two Olive Trees

Then the angel who talked with me returned and wokeS Da 8:18 me up, like someone awakened from sleep.Jer 31:26He asked me, “What do you see?”S Jer 1:13

I answered, “I see a solid gold lampstandS Ex 25:31; Rev 1:12 with a bowl at the top and seven lampsRev 4:5 on it, with seven channels to the lamps.Also there are two olive treesver 11; S Ps 1:3; S Rev 11:4 by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.”

I asked the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?”

He answered, “Do you not know what these are?”

“No, my lord,” I replied.S Zec 1:9

So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:S 1Ch 3:19; S Ezr 5:2 ‘NotS 1Sa 13:22; S 1Ki 19:12 by might nor by power,S 1Sa 2:9 but by my Spirit,’S Ne 9:20; Isa 11:2-4; S Da 2:34; Hos 1:7 says the Lord Almighty.

“What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground.S Ps 26:12; Jer 51:25 Then he will bring out the capstoneS Ps 118:22 to shoutsS 1Ch 15:28 of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’”

Then the word of the Lord came to me:“The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundationS Ezr 3:11 of this temple; his hands will also complete it.Ezr 3:8; S 6:15; Zec 6:12 Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent meS Zec 2:9 to you.

10 “Who dares despise the dayS Hag 2:23 of small things,Hag 2:3 since the seven eyesS 2Ch 16:9; Rev 5:6 of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstoneOr the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel?”S Ezr 5:1; S Ne 12:1; S Job 38:5

11 Then I asked the angel, “What are these two olive treesS ver 3; S Rev 11:4 on the right and the left of the lampstand?”

12 Again I asked him, “What are these two olive branches beside the two gold pipes that pour out golden oil?”

13 He replied, “Do you not know what these are?”

“No, my lord,” I said.

14 So he said, “These are the two who are anointedEx 29:7; 40:15; S Ps 45:7; S Isa 20:3; S Da 9:24-26 toOr two who bring oil and serve the Lord of all the earth.”

The Flying Scroll

I looked again, and there before me was a flying scroll.S Ps 40:7; S Jer 36:4; Rev 5:1

He asked me, “What do you see?”S Jer 1:13

I answered, “I see a flying scroll, twenty cubits long and ten cubits wide.That is, about 30 feet long and 15 feet wide or about 9 meters long and 4.5 meters wide

And he said to me, “This is the curseIsa 24:6; 34:2; 43:28; Mal 3:9; 4:6 that is going out over the whole land; for according to what it says on one side, every thiefEx 20:15; Mal 3:8 will be banished, and according to what it says on the other, everyone who swears falselyEx 20:7; Isa 48:1 will be banished.The Lord Almighty declares, ‘I will send it out, and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of anyone who swears falselyZec 8:17 by my name. It will remain in that house and destroy it completely, both its timbers and its stones.Lev 14:34-45; S Pr 3:33; S Hab 2:9-11; Mal 3:5’”

The Woman in a Basket

Then the angel who was speaking to me came forward and said to me, “Look up and see what is appearing.”

I asked, “What is it?”

He replied, “It is a basket.Mic 6:10” And he added, “This is the iniquityOr appearance of the people throughout the land.”

Then the cover of lead was raised, and there in the basket sat a woman!He said, “This is wickedness,” and he pushed her back into the basket and pushed its lead cover down on it.Mic 6:11

Then I looked up—and there before me were two women, with the wind in their wings! They had wings like those of a stork,Lev 11:19 and they lifted up the basket between heaven and earth.

10 “Where are they taking the basket?” I asked the angel who was speaking to me.

11 He replied, “To the country of BabyloniaHebrew ShinarS Ge 10:10 to build a houseJer 29:5, 28 for it. When the house is ready, the basket will be set there in its place.”S Da 1:2

A Lampstand and Two Olive Trees

Then the angel who had been talking with me returned and woke me, as though I had been asleep.“What do you see now?” he asked.

I answered, “I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl of oil on top of it. Around the bowl are seven lamps, each having seven spouts with wicks.And I see two olive trees, one on each side of the bowl.”Then I asked the angel, “What are these, my lord? What do they mean?”

“Don’t you know?” the angel asked.

“No, my lord,” I replied.

Then he said to me, “This is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel’s way; it will become a level plain before him! And when Zerubbabel sets the final stone of the Temple in place, the people will shout: ‘May God bless it! May God bless it!’Hebrew ‘Grace, grace to it.’

Then another message came to me from the Lord:“Zerubbabel is the one who laid the foundation of this Temple, and he will complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sent me.10 Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”

(The seven lampsOr The seven facets (see 3:9); Hebrew reads These seven. represent the eyes of the Lord that search all around the world.)

11 Then I asked the angel, “What are these two olive trees on each side of the lampstand,12 and what are the two olive branches that pour out golden oil through two gold tubes?”

13 “Don’t you know?” he asked.

“No, my lord,” I replied.

14 Then he said to me, “They represent the two anointed onesOr two heavenly beings; Hebrew reads two sons of fresh oil. who stand in the court of the Lord of all the earth.”

A Flying Scroll

I looked up again and saw a scroll flying through the air.

“What do you see?” the angel asked.

“I see a flying scroll,” I replied. “It appears to be about 30 feet long and 15 feet wide.Hebrew 20 cubits [9.2 meters] long and 10 cubits [4.6 meters] wide.

Then he said to me, “This scroll contains the curse that is going out over the entire land. One side of the scroll says that those who steal will be banished from the land; the other side says that those who swear falsely will be banished from the land.And this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: I am sending this curse into the house of every thief and into the house of everyone who swears falsely using my name. And my curse will remain in that house and completely destroy it—even its timbers and stones.”

A Woman in a Basket

Then the angel who was talking with me came forward and said, “Look up and see what’s coming.”

“What is it?” I asked.

He replied, “It is a basket for measuring grain,Hebrew an ephah [20 quarts or 22 liters]; also in 5:7, 8, 9, 10, 11. and it’s filled with the sinsAs in Greek version; Hebrew reads the appearance. of everyone throughout the land.”

Then the heavy lead cover was lifted off the basket, and there was a woman sitting inside it.The angel said, “The woman’s name is Wickedness,” and he pushed her back into the basket and closed the heavy lid again.

Then I looked up and saw two women flying toward us, gliding on the wind. They had wings like a stork, and they picked up the basket and flew into the sky.

10 “Where are they taking the basket?” I asked the angel.

11 He replied, “To the land of Babylonia,Hebrew the land of Shinar. where they will build a temple for the basket. And when the temple is ready, they will set the basket there on its pedestal.”

And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep.

And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof:

And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.

So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord?

Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord.

Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.

Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.

Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,

The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you.

10 For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth.

11 Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof?

12 And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves?

13 And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord.

14 Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.

Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll.

And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits.

Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it.

I will bring it forth, saith the Lord of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof.

Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth.

And I said, What is it? And he said, This is an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth.

And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah.

And he said, This is wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof.

Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven.

10 Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah?

11 And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.

Revelation 14:1-20

The Lamb and the 144,000

14 Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb,S Rev 5:6 standing on Mount Zion,Ps 2:6; Heb 12:22 and with him 144,000ver 3; Rev 7:4 who had his name and his Father’s nameRev 3:12; 22:4 written on their foreheads.S Rev 7:3And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing watersS Rev 1:15 and like a loud peal of thunder.Rev 6:1 The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps.Rev 5:8; 15:2And they sang a new songS Rev 5:9 before the throne and before the four living creaturesS Rev 4:6 and the elders.S Rev 4:4 No one could learn the song except the 144,000ver 1 who had been redeemed from the earth.These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins.2Co 11:2; Rev 3:4 They follow the Lamb wherever he goes.Rev 7:17 They were purchased from among mankindRev 5:9 and offered as firstfruitsJer 2:3; Jas 1:18 to God and the Lamb.No lie was found in their mouths;Ps 32:2; Zep 3:13; Jn 1:47; 1Pe 2:22 they are blameless.Eph 5:27

The Three Angels

Then I saw another angel flying in midair,Rev 8:13; 19:17 and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earthS Rev 3:10—to every nation, tribe, language and people.S Rev 13:7He said in a loud voice, “Fear GodPs 34:9; Rev 15:4 and give him glory,S Rev 11:13 because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who madeS Rev 10:6 the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”Rev 8:10; 16:4

A second angel followed and said, “‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great,’Isaiah 21:9Isa 21:9; Jer 51:8; Rev 16:19; 17:5; 18:2, 10 which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.”Rev 17:2, 4; 18:3, 9

A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beastS Rev 13:12 and its imageRev 13:14 and receives its mark on their foreheadS Rev 13:16 or on their hand,10 they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury,Isa 51:17; Jer 25:15 which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath.Jer 51:7; Rev 18:6 They will be tormented with burning sulfurS Rev 9:17 in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.11 And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever.Isa 34:10; Rev 19:3 There will be no rest day or nightRev 4:8 for those who worship the beast and its image,ver 9; S Rev 13:12 or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.”Rev 13:1712 This calls for patient enduranceS Heb 6:12 on the part of the people of GodRev 13:10 who keep his commandsS Jn 14:15 and remain faithful to Jesus.

13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord1Co 15:18; 1Th 4:16 from now on.”

“Yes,” says the Spirit,Rev 2:7; 22:17 “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”

Harvesting the Earth and Trampling the Winepress

14 I looked, and there before me was a white cloud,Mt 17:5 and seated on the cloud was one like a son of manSee Daniel 7:13.Da 7:13; S Rev 1:13 with a crownS Rev 6:2 of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.15 Then another angel came out of the templever 17; Rev 11:19 and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sicklever 18; Joel 3:13; Mk 4:29 and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvestJer 51:33 of the earth is ripe.”16 So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.

17 Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle.S ver 1518 Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altarRev 6:9; 8:5; 16:7 and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Take your sharp sickleS ver 15 and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe.”19 The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath.Rev 19:1520 They were trampled in the winepressver 19; Isa 63:3; Joel 3:13; Rev 19:15 outside the city,Heb 13:12; Rev 11:8 and bloodGe 49:11; Dt 32:14 flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia.That is, about 180 miles or about 300 kilometers

The Lamb and the 144,000

14 Then I saw the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him were 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of mighty ocean waves or the rolling of loud thunder. It was like the sound of many harpists playing together.

This great choir sang a wonderful new song in front of the throne of God and before the four living beings and the twenty-four elders. No one could learn this song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.They have kept themselves as pure as virgins,Greek They are virgins who have not defiled themselves with women. following the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been purchased from among the people on the earth as a special offeringGreek as firstfruits. to God and to the Lamb.They have told no lies; they are without blame.

The Three Angels

And I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to this world—to every nation, tribe, language, and people.“Fear God,” he shouted. “Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water.”

Then another angel followed him through the sky, shouting, “Babylon is fallen—that great city is fallen—because she made all the nations of the world drink the wine of her passionate immorality.”

Then a third angel followed them, shouting, “Anyone who worships the beast and his statue or who accepts his mark on the forehead or on the hand10 must drink the wine of God’s anger. It has been poured full strength into God’s cup of wrath. And they will be tormented with fire and burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb.11 The smoke of their torment will rise forever and ever, and they will have no relief day or night, for they have worshiped the beast and his statue and have accepted the mark of his name.”

12 This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus.

13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this down: Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!”

The Harvest of the Earth

14 Then I saw a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was someone like the Son of Man.Or like a son of man. See Dan 7:13. “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself. He had a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.

15 Then another angel came from the Temple and shouted to the one sitting on the cloud, “Swing the sickle, for the time of harvest has come; the crop on earth is ripe.”16 So the one sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the whole earth was harvested.

17 After that, another angel came from the Temple in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle.18 Then another angel, who had power to destroy with fire, came from the altar. He shouted to the angel with the sharp sickle, “Swing your sickle now to gather the clusters of grapes from the vines of the earth, for they are ripe for judgment.”19 So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and loaded the grapes into the great winepress of God’s wrath.20 The grapes were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress in a stream about 180 milesGreek 1,600 stadia [300 kilometers]. long and as high as a horse’s bridle.

14 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.

And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:

And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,

10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.

15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.

16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.

17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.

18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.

19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.

20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

Psalm 142:1-7

Psalm 142In Hebrew texts 142:1-7 is numbered 142:2-8.

A maskilTitle: Probably a literary or musical term of David. When he was in the cave.1Sa 22:1; 24:3; Ps 57 Title A prayer.

I cry aloudS 1Ki 8:52; Ps 3:4 to the Lord;

I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.Ps 30:8

I pour out before him my complaint;Ps 64:1

before him I tell my trouble.S Ps 50:15

When my spirit grows faintPs 6:2; 77:3; 84:2; 88:4; 143:4, 7; Jer 8:18; La 1:22 within me,

it is you who watch over my way.

In the path where I walk

people have hidden a snare for me.

Look and see, there is no one at my right hand;

no one is concerned for me.

I have no refuge;Jer 25:35

no one caresJer 30:17 for my life.

I cry to you, Lord;

I say, “You are my refuge,S Ps 46:1

my portionS Dt 32:9; Ps 16:5 in the land of the living.”S Job 28:13; Ps 27:13

Listen to my cry,S Ps 17:1

for I am in desperate need;S Ps 79:8

rescue meS Ps 25:20 from those who pursue me,

for they are too strongJer 31:11 for me.

Set me free from my prison,S Ps 66:11

that I may praise your name.Ps 7:17; 9:2

Then the righteous will gather about me

because of your goodness to me.S 2Ch 6:41

Psalm 142

A psalmHebrew maskil. This may be a literary or musical term. of David, regarding his experience in the cave. A prayer.

I cry out to the Lord;

I plead for the Lord’s mercy.

I pour out my complaints before him

and tell him all my troubles.

When I am overwhelmed,

you alone know the way I should turn.

Wherever I go,

my enemies have set traps for me.

I look for someone to come and help me,

but no one gives me a passing thought!

No one will help me;

no one cares a bit what happens to me.

Then I pray to you, O Lord.

I say, “You are my place of refuge.

You are all I really want in life.

Hear my cry,

for I am very low.

Rescue me from my persecutors,

for they are too strong for me.

Bring me out of prison

so I can thank you.

The godly will crowd around me,

for you are good to me.”

142 I cried unto the Lord with my voice; with my voice unto the Lord did I make my supplication.

I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble.

When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me.

I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.

I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.

Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I.

Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.

Proverbs 30:21-23

21 “Under three things the earth trembles,

under four it cannot bear up:

22 a servant who becomes king,S Pr 19:10; S 29:2

a godless fool who gets plenty to eat,

23 a contemptible woman who gets married,

and a servant who displaces her mistress.

21 There are three things that make the earth tremble—

no, four it cannot endure:

22 a slave who becomes a king,

an overbearing fool who prospers,

23 a bitter woman who finally gets a husband,

a servant girl who supplants her mistress.

21 For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear:

22 For a servant when he reigneth; and a fool when he is filled with meat;

23 For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress.

Dec 22 Dec 24
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