Daily Devotional

by Larry Stockstill

The writer of Proverbs describes four creatures that are tiny, but smart. These creatures can be understood in the context of the four aspects of evangelism.

The ant has tremendous drive to gather food during the harvest season. In the same way, we must have an urgency, or purpose, as we sense the shortness of time left for reaping the souls of humanity.

The rock badger finds its strength in the rocks in which it lives. We also will find greater evangelistic productivity when we are in partnership with other stronger believers.

Net fishing with others is better than hook fishing alone! The locust flies together with other locusts, ruling the air and even blacking out the sun. No evangelism would be fruitful without concerted prayer with others that takes control of the heavenlies.

Finally, the lizard has a real knack of penetration. It can make its way into all kinds of places, even a king's palace. We must be unafraid to go through any open door and prepared to crawl through any evangelism "crack" the Lord opens before us.

Proverbs 11:30 (KJV) says, "He that winneth souls is wise." Rescuing eternal souls requires great wisdom, and that wisdom involves purpose, partnership, prayer, and penetration. Ask the Lord today for this wisdom, and start fulfilling your eternal destiny!

Zechariah 6:1-7:14

Four Chariots

I looked up again, and there before me were four chariotsver 5; S 2Ki 2:11 coming out from between two mountains—mountains of bronze.The first chariot had red horses, the second black,Rev 6:5the third white,Rev 6:2 and the fourth dappled—all of them powerful.I asked the angel who was speaking to me, “What are these, my lord?”

The angel answered me, “These are the four spiritsOr windsS Eze 37:9; Mt 24:31; Rev 7:1 of heaven, going out from standing in the presence of the Lord of the whole world.S Jos 3:11The one with the black horses is going toward the north country, the one with the white horses toward the west,Or horses after them and the one with the dappled horses toward the south.”

When the powerful horses went out, they were straining to go throughout the earth.Isa 43:6; Zec 1:8 And he said, “Go throughout the earth!” So they went throughout the earth.

Then he called to me, “Look, those going toward the north country have given my SpiritOr spirit restS Eze 5:13; S 24:13 in the land of the north.”S Zec 1:10

A Crown for Joshua

The word of the Lord came to me:10 “Take silver and gold from the exiles Heldai, Tobijah and Jedaiah, who have arrived from Babylon.Ezr 7:14-16; Jer 28:6 Go the same day to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah.11 Take the silver and gold and make a crown,Ps 21:3 and set it on the head of the high priest, JoshuaS Ezr 2:2; S Zec 3:1 son of Jozadak.Hebrew Jehozadak, a variant of JozadakS 1Ch 6:15; S Ezr 3:212 Tell him this is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Here is the man whose name is the Branch,S Isa 4:2; S Eze 17:22 and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the Lord.Ezr 3:8-10; Zec 4:6-913 It is he who will build the temple of the Lord, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And heOr there will be a priestS Ps 110:4 on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.’14 The crown will be given to Heldai,Syriac; Hebrew Helem Tobijah, Jedaiah and HenOr and the gracious one, the son of Zephaniah as a memorialS Ex 28:12 in the temple of the Lord.15 Those who are far away will come and help to build the temple of the Lord,Isa 60:10 and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.Zec 2:9-11 This will happen if you diligently obeyIsa 58:12; Jer 7:23; S Zec 3:7 the Lord your God.”

Justice and Mercy, Not Fasting

In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the Lord came to ZechariahS Ezr 5:1 on the fourth day of the ninth month, the month of Kislev.Ne 1:1The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-Melek, together with their men, to entreatJer 26:19; Zec 8:21 the LordHag 2:10-14by asking the priests of the house of the Lord Almighty and the prophets, “Should I mournZec 12:12-14 and fast in the fifth2Ki 25:9; Jer 52:12-14 month, as I have done for so many years?”

Then the word of the Lord Almighty came to me:“Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fastedIsa 58:5 and mourned in the fifth and seventh2Ki 25:25 months for the past seventy years,S Da 9:2 was it really for me that you fasted?And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves?S Isa 43:23Are these not the words the Lord proclaimed through the earlier prophetsIsa 1:11-20; Zec 1:4 when Jerusalem and its surrounding towns were at restJer 22:21 and prosperous, and the Negev and the western foothillsS Jer 17:26 were settled?’”Jer 44:4-5

And the word of the Lord came again to Zechariah:“This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice;S Jer 22:3; 42:5; Zec 8:16 show mercy and compassion to one another.S Dt 22:110 Do not oppress the widowJer 49:11 or the fatherless, the foreignerS Ex 22:21 or the poor.S Lev 25:17; Isa 1:23 Do not plot evil against each other.’S Ex 22:22; S Job 35:8; S Isa 1:17; S Eze 45:9; S Mic 6:8

11 “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornlyS Isa 9:9 they turned their backsS Jer 32:33 and covered their ears.S Jer 5:3; 8:5; 11:10; S 17:23; S Eze 5:612 They made their hearts as hard as flintS Jer 5:3; 17:1; S Eze 11:19 and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets.S Ne 9:29 So the Lord Almighty was very angry.S Jer 42:21; S Da 9:12

13 “‘When I called, they did not listen;S Jer 7:27 so when they called, I would not listen,’Isa 1:15; S Jer 11:11; 14:12; S Mic 3:4 says the Lord Almighty.S Pr 1:28; S La 3:44; S Eze 20:3114 ‘I scatteredS Lev 26:33; Dt 4:27; 28:64-67; S Ps 44:11 them with a whirlwindJer 23:19 among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land they left behind them was so desolate that no one traveled through it.S Isa 33:8 This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.S Jer 7:34; S 44:6; S Eze 12:19’”

Four Chariots

Then I looked up again and saw four chariots coming from between two bronze mountains.The first chariot was pulled by red horses, the second by black horses,the third by white horses, and the fourth by powerful dappled-gray horses.“And what are these, my lord?” I asked the angel who was talking with me.

The angel replied, “These are the four spiritsOr the four winds. of heaven who stand before the Lord of all the earth. They are going out to do his work.The chariot with black horses is going north, the chariot with white horses is going west,Hebrew is going after them. and the chariot with dappled-gray horses is going south.”

The powerful horses were eager to set out to patrol the earth. And the Lord said, “Go and patrol the earth!” So they left at once on their patrol.

Then the Lord summoned me and said, “Look, those who went north have vented the anger of my SpiritHebrew have given my Spirit rest. there in the land of the north.”

The Crowning of Jeshua

Then I received another message from the Lord:10 “Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah will bring gifts of silver and gold from the Jews exiled in Babylon. As soon as they arrive, meet them at the home of Josiah son of Zephaniah.11 Accept their gifts, and make a crown from the silver and gold. Then put the crown on the head of JeshuaHebrew Joshua, a variant spelling of Jeshua. son of Jehozadak, the high priest.12 Tell him, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Here is the man called the Branch. He will branch out from where he is and build the Temple of the Lord.13 Yes, he will build the Temple of the Lord. Then he will receive royal honor and will rule as king from his throne. He will also serve as priest from his throne,Or There will be a priest by his throne. and there will be perfect harmony between his two roles.’

14 “The crown will be a memorial in the Temple of the Lord to honor those who gave it—Heldai,As in Syriac version (compare 6:10); Hebrew reads Helem. Tobijah, Jedaiah, and JosiahAs in Syriac version (compare 6:10); Hebrew reads Hen. son of Zephaniah.”

15 People will come from distant lands to rebuild the Temple of the Lord. And when this happens, you will know that my messages have been from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. All this will happen if you carefully obey what the Lord your God says.

A Call to Justice and Mercy

On December 7Hebrew On the fourth day of the ninth month, the month of Kislev, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. This event occurred on December 7, 518 B.c.; also see note on 1:1. of the fourth year of King Darius’s reign, another message came to Zechariah from the Lord.The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regemmelech,Or Bethel-sharezer had sent Regemmelech. along with their attendants, to seek the Lord’s favor.They were to ask this question of the prophets and the priests at the Temple of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: “Should we continue to mourn and fast each summer on the anniversary of the Temple’s destruction,Hebrew mourn and fast in the fifth month. The Temple had been destroyed in the fifth month of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar (August 586 B.c.); see 2 Kgs 25:8. as we have done for so many years?”

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies sent me this message in reply:“Say to all your people and your priests, ‘During these seventy years of exile, when you fasted and mourned in the summer and in early autumn,Hebrew fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months. The fifth month of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar usually occurs within the months of July and August. The seventh month usually occurs within the months of September and October; both the Day of Atonement and the Festival of Shelters were celebrated in the seventh month. was it really for me that you were fasting?And even now in your holy festivals, aren’t you eating and drinking just to please yourselves?Isn’t this the same message the Lord proclaimed through the prophets in years past when Jerusalem and the towns of Judah were bustling with people, and the Negev and the foothills of JudahHebrew the Shephelah. were well populated?’”

Then this message came to Zechariah from the Lord:“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another.10 Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other.

11 “Your ancestors refused to listen to this message. They stubbornly turned away and put their fingers in their ears to keep from hearing.12 They made their hearts as hard as stone, so they could not hear the instructions or the messages that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies had sent them by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. That is why the Lord of Heaven’s Armies was so angry with them.

13 “Since they refused to listen when I called to them, I would not listen when they called to me, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.14 As with a whirlwind, I scattered them among the distant nations, where they lived as strangers. Their land became so desolate that no one even traveled through it. They turned their pleasant land into a desert.”

And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass.

In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses;

And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses.

Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord?

And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.

The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country.

And the bay went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and he said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth.

Then cried he upon me, and spake unto me, saying, Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country.

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

10 Take of them of the captivity, even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah;

11 Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest;

12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord:

13 Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.

14 And the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the Lord.

15 And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the Lord, and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.

And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Darius, that the word of the Lord came unto Zechariah in the fourth day of the ninth month, even in Chisleu;

When they had sent unto the house of God Sherezer and Regemmelech, and their men, to pray before the Lord,

And to speak unto the priests which were in the house of the Lord of hosts, and to the prophets, saying, Should I weep in the fifth month, separating myself, as I have done these so many years?

Then came the word of the Lord of hosts unto me, saying,

Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me?

And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves?

Should ye not hear the words which the Lord hath cried by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and the cities thereof round about her, when men inhabited the south and the plain?

And the word of the Lord came unto Zechariah, saying,

Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother:

10 And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.

11 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.

12 Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts.

13 Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the Lord of hosts:

14 But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate after them, that no man passed through nor returned: for they laid the pleasant land desolate.

Revelation 15:1-8

Seven Angels With Seven Plagues

15 I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign:Rev 12:1, 3 seven angelsver 6-8; Rev 16:1; 17:1; 21:9 with the seven last plaguesLev 26:21; Rev 9:20—last, because with them God’s wrath is completed.And I saw what looked like a sea of glassRev 4:6 glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victoriousRev 12:11 over the beastRev 13:1 and its imageRev 13:14 and over the number of its name.Rev 13:17 They held harpsRev 5:8; 14:2 given them by Godand sang the song of God’s servantJos 1:1 MosesEx 15:1 and of the Lamb:S Rev 5:9

“Great and marvelous are your deeds,Ps 111:2

Lord God Almighty.S Rev 1:8

Just and true are your ways,Ps 145:17

King of the nations.Some manuscripts ages

Who will not fear you, Lord,Jer 10:7

and bring glory to your name?Ps 86:9

For you alone are holy.

All nations will come

and worship before you,Isa 66:23

for your righteous actsRev 19:8 have been revealed.”Phrases in this song are drawn from Psalm 111:2,3; Deut. 32:4; Jer. 10:7; Psalms 86:9; 98:2.

After this I looked, and I saw in heaven the templeRev 11:19—that is, the tabernacle of the covenant lawEx 38:21; Nu 1:50—and it was opened.S Mt 3:16Out of the templeRev 14:15 came the seven angels with the seven plagues.S ver 1 They were dressed in clean, shining linenEze 9:2; Da 10:5 and wore golden sashes around their chests.Rev 1:13Then one of the four living creaturesS Rev 4:6 gave to the seven angelsS ver 1 seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever.S Rev 1:18And the temple was filled with smokeIsa 6:4 from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the templeEx 40:34, 35; 1Ki 8:10, 11; 2Ch 5:13, 14 until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.

The Song of Moses and of the Lamb

15 Then I saw in heaven another marvelous event of great significance. Seven angels were holding the seven last plagues, which would bring God’s wrath to completion.I saw before me what seemed to be a glass sea mixed with fire. And on it stood all the people who had been victorious over the beast and his statue and the number representing his name. They were all holding harps that God had given them.And they were singing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:

“Great and marvelous are your works,

O Lord God, the Almighty.

Just and true are your ways,

O King of the nations.Some manuscripts read King of the ages.

Who will not fear you, Lord,

and glorify your name?

For you alone are holy.

All nations will come and worship before you,

for your righteous deeds have been revealed.”

The Seven Bowls of the Seven Plagues

Then I looked and saw that the Temple in heaven, God’s Tabernacle, was thrown wide open.The seven angels who were holding the seven plagues came out of the Temple. They were clothed in spotless white linenOther manuscripts read white stone; still others read white [garments] made of linen. with gold sashes across their chests.Then one of the four living beings handed each of the seven angels a gold bowl filled with the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever.The Temple was filled with smoke from God’s glory and power. No one could enter the Temple until the seven angels had completed pouring out the seven plagues.

15 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.

And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.

And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:

And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.

And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.

And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.

Psalm 143:1-12

Psalm 143

A psalm of David.

Lord, hear my prayer,S Ps 141:1

listen to my cry for mercy;S Ps 28:2; 130:2

in your faithfulnessS Ex 34:6; Ps 89:1-2 and righteousnessPs 71:2

come to my relief.

Do not bring your servant into judgment,

for no one living is righteousS Ps 14:3; Ro 3:10 before you.

The enemy pursues me,

he crushes me to the ground;

he makes me dwell in the darknessS Ps 107:10

like those long dead.La 3:6

So my spirit grows faint within me;

my heart within me is dismayed.Ps 30:7

I rememberPs 77:6 the days of long ago;

I meditateS Ge 24:63 on all your works

and consider what your hands have done.

I spread out my handsS Ex 9:29; S Job 11:13 to you;

I thirst for you like a parched land.The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here.

Answer me quickly,S Ps 69:17 Lord;

my spirit fails.S Ps 142:3

Do not hide your faceS Ps 22:24; 27:9; 30:7 from me

or I will be like those who go down to the pit.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,Ps 6:4; 90:14

for I have put my trust in you.

Show me the wayS Ex 33:13; S Job 34:32; Ps 27:11; 32:8 I should go,

for to you I entrust my life.Ps 25:1-2; S 86:4

Rescue meS Ps 140:1 from my enemies,S Ps 18:17; 31:15 Lord,

for I hide myself in you.

10 Teach meS Ps 119:12 to do your will,

for you are my God;Ps 31:14

may your good Spirit

leadS Ne 9:20; Ps 25:4-5 me on level ground.Ps 26:12

11 For your name’s sake,Ps 25:11 Lord, preserve my life;S Ps 41:2

in your righteousness,Ps 31:1; 71:2 bring me out of trouble.

12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;Ps 8:2

destroy all my foes,Ps 54:5

for I am your servant.S Ps 116:16

Psalm 143

A psalm of David.

Hear my prayer, O Lord;

listen to my plea!

Answer me because you are faithful and righteous.

Don’t put your servant on trial,

for no one is innocent before you.

My enemy has chased me.

He has knocked me to the ground

and forces me to live in darkness like those in the grave.

I am losing all hope;

I am paralyzed with fear.

I remember the days of old.

I ponder all your great works

and think about what you have done.

I lift my hands to you in prayer.

I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain. Interlude

Come quickly, Lord, and answer me,

for my depression deepens.

Don’t turn away from me,

or I will die.

Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,

for I am trusting you.

Show me where to walk,

for I give myself to you.

Rescue me from my enemies, Lord;

I run to you to hide me.

10 Teach me to do your will,

for you are my God.

May your gracious Spirit lead me forward

on a firm footing.

11 For the glory of your name, O Lord, preserve my life.

Because of your faithfulness, bring me out of this distress.

12 In your unfailing love, silence all my enemies

and destroy all my foes,

for I am your servant.

143 Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness.

And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.

For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead.

Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.

I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.

Hear me speedily, O Lord: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.

Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.

Deliver me, O Lord, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me.

10 Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.

11 Quicken me, O Lord, for thy name's sake: for thy righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble.

12 And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.

Proverbs 30:24-28

24 “Four things on earth are small,

yet they are extremely wise:

25 Ants are creatures of little strength,

yet they store up their food in the summer;Pr 6:6-8

26 hyraxesS Ps 104:18 are creatures of little power,

yet they make their home in the crags;

27 locustsS Ex 10:4 have no king,

yet they advance together in ranks;

28 a lizard can be caught with the hand,

yet it is found in kings’ palaces.

24 There are four things on earth that are small but unusually wise:

25 Ants—they aren’t strong,

but they store up food all summer.

26 HyraxesOr Coneys, or Rock badgers.—they aren’t powerful,

but they make their homes among the rocks.

27 Locusts—they have no king,

but they march in formation.

28 Lizards—they are easy to catch,

but they are found even in kings’ palaces.

24 There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:

25 The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;

26 The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks;

27 The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands;

28 The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces.

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