Daily Devotional

by Larry Stockstill

What a stewardship we have! Paul said that he was Christ's servant, entrusted with the secret things of God. Similarly, Ezra and his men were told to deliver unto the God of Jerusalem those things that were entrusted to them for worship in God's temple (Ezra 7:19).

Just as the precious gold and silver articles of the temple were entrusted to Ezra, so we have been entrusted with the deep secrets of the doctrines of God: justification, sanctification, and glorification.

"Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful" (1 Corinthians 4:2), and we are to treasure the truths we have been given by the Holy Spirit.

No careless hands touched the precious temple articles, but they were carefully preserved and protected until they reached Jerusalem. We must reverently carry the truths of the Christian faith, viewing them as more precious than gold, silver, or diamonds.

Let us hold the gifts, doctrines, and ministries we have received with faithful hands, and one day we will deliver them safely to the New Jerusalem and present them to the One who entrusted us with them.

Ezra 7:1-8:20

Ezra Comes to Jerusalem

After these things, during the reign of ArtaxerxesS Ezr 4:7; S 6:14 king of Persia, Ezra son of Seraiah,S 2Ki 25:18 the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah,2Ki 22:4the son of Shallum, the son of Zadok,1Ki 1:8; 2:35; 1Ch 6:8; Eze 40:46; 43:19; 44:15 the son of Ahitub,Ne 11:11the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth,the son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki,the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas,1Ch 6:4 the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest—this EzraNe 12:36 came up from Babylon. He was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given. The king had grantedS 2Ki 25:28 him everything he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him.S Ezr 5:5; S Isa 41:20Some of the Israelites, including priests, Levites, musicians, gatekeepers and temple servants, also came up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes.Ezr 8:1

Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in the fifth month of the seventh year of the king.He had begun his journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month, and he arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, for the gracious hand of his God was on him.ver 610 For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teachingS Dt 33:10 its decrees and laws in Israel.

King Artaxerxes’ Letter to Ezra

11 This is a copy of the letter King Artaxerxes had given to Ezra the priest, a teacher of the Law, a man learned in matters concerning the commands and decrees of the Lord for Israel:

12 Artaxerxes, king of kings,Eze 26:7; Da 2:37

To Ezra the priest, teacher of the Law of the God of heaven:

Greetings.

13 Now I decree that any of the Israelites in my kingdom, including priests and Levites, who volunteer to go to Jerusalem with you, may go.14 You are sent by the king and his seven advisersEst 1:14 to inquire about Judah and Jerusalem with regard to the Law of your God, which is in your hand.15 Moreover, you are to take with you the silver and gold that the king and his advisers have freely givenS 1Ch 29:6 to the God of Israel, whose dwellingS Dt 12:5; S 2Ch 6:2 is in Jerusalem,16 together with all the silver and goldS Ex 3:22 you may obtain from the province of Babylon, as well as the freewill offerings of the people and priests for the temple of their God in Jerusalem.Zec 6:1017 With this money be sure to buy bulls, rams and male lambs,S 2Ki 3:4 together with their grain offerings and drink offerings,Nu 15:5-12 and sacrificeDt 12:5-11 them on the altar of the temple of your God in Jerusalem.

18 You and your fellow Israelites may then do whatever seems best with the rest of the silver and gold, in accordance with the will of your God.19 DeliverEzr 5:14; Jer 27:22 to the God of Jerusalem all the articles entrusted to you for worship in the temple of your God.20 And anything else needed for the temple of your God that you are responsible to supply, you may provide from the royal treasury.S Ezr 6:4

21 Now I, King Artaxerxes, decree that all the treasurers of Trans-Euphrates are to provide with diligence whatever Ezra the priest, the teacher of the Law of the God of heaven, may ask of you—22 up to a hundred talentsThat is, about 3 3/4 tons or about 3.4 metric tons of silver, a hundred corsThat is, probably about 18 tons or about 16 metric tons of wheat, a hundred bathsThat is, about 600 gallons or about 2,200 liters of wine, a hundred bathsThat is, about 600 gallons or about 2,200 liters of olive oil, and salt without limit.23 Whatever the God of heaven has prescribed, let it be done with diligence for the temple of the God of heaven. Why should his wrath fall on the realm of the king and of his sons?S Ezr 6:1024 You are also to know that you have no authority to impose taxes, tribute or dutyS Ezr 4:13 on any of the priests, Levites, musicians, gatekeepers, temple servants or other workers at this house of God.Ezr 8:36

25 And you, Ezra, in accordance with the wisdom of your God, which you possess, appointS Ex 18:21, 26 magistrates and judges to administer justice to all the people of Trans-Euphrates—all who know the laws of your God. And you are to teachS Lev 10:11 any who do not know them.26 Whoever does not obey the law of your God and the law of the king must surely be punished by death, banishment, confiscation of property, or imprisonment.The text of 7:12-26 is in Aramaic.S Ezr 6:11

27 Praise be to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, who has put it into the king’s heartS Ezr 1:1 to bring honorS 1Ch 29:12 to the house of the Lord in Jerusalem in this way28 and who has extended his good favorS 2Ki 25:28 to me before the king and his advisers and all the king’s powerful officials. Because the hand of the Lord my God was on me,S Ezr 5:5 I took courage and gathered leaders from Israel to go up with me.

List of the Family Heads Returning With Ezra

These are the family heads and those registered with them who came up with me from Babylon during the reign of King Artaxerxes:Ezr 7:7

of the descendants of Phinehas, Gershom;

of the descendants of Ithamar, Daniel;

of the descendants of David, Hattushof the descendants of Shekaniah;1Ch 3:22

of the descendants of Parosh,S Ezr 2:3 Zechariah, and with him were registered 150 men;

of the descendants of Pahath-Moab,Ezr 2:6 Eliehoenai son of Zerahiah, and with him 200 men;

of the descendants of Zattu,Some Septuagint manuscripts (also 1 Esdras 8:32); Hebrew does not have Zattu. Shekaniah son of Jahaziel, and with him 300 men;

of the descendants of Adin,Ezr 2:15; Ne 7:20; 10:16 Ebed son of Jonathan, and with him 50 men;

of the descendants of Elam, Jeshaiah son of Athaliah, and with him 70 men;

of the descendants of Shephatiah, Zebadiah son of Michael, and with him 80 men;

of the descendants of Joab, Obadiah son of Jehiel, and with him 218 men;

10 of the descendants of Bani,Some Septuagint manuscripts (also 1 Esdras 8:36); Hebrew does not have Bani. Shelomith son of Josiphiah, and with him 160 men;

11 of the descendants of Bebai, Zechariah son of Bebai, and with him 28 men;

12 of the descendants of Azgad, Johanan son of Hakkatan, and with him 110 men;

13 of the descendants of Adonikam,Ezr 2:13 the last ones, whose names were Eliphelet, Jeuel and Shemaiah, and with them 60 men;

14 of the descendants of Bigvai, Uthai and Zakkur, and with them 70 men.

The Return to Jerusalem

15 I assembled them at the canal that flows toward Ahava,ver 21, 31 and we camped there three days. When I checked among the people and the priests, I found no LevitesS Ezr 2:40 there.16 So I summoned Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah and Meshullam, who were leaders, and Joiarib and Elnathan, who were men of learning,17 and I ordered them to go to Iddo, the leader in Kasiphia. I told them what to say to Iddo and his fellow Levites, the temple servantsEzr 2:43 in Kasiphia, so that they might bring attendants to us for the house of our God.18 Because the gracious hand of our God was on us,S Ezr 5:5 they brought us Sherebiah,ver 24 a capable man, from the descendants of Mahli son of Levi, the son of Israel, and Sherebiah’s sons and brothers, 18 in all;19 and Hashabiah, together with Jeshaiah from the descendants of Merari, and his brothers and nephews, 20 in all.20 They also brought 220 of the temple servantsS 1Ch 9:2—a body that David and the officials had established to assist the Levites. All were registered by name.

Ezra Arrives in Jerusalem

Many years later, during the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia,Artaxerxes reigned 465–424 B.c. there was a man named Ezra. He was the sonOr descendant; see 1 Chr 6:14. of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah,son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub,son of Amariah, son of Azariah, sonOr descendant; see 1 Chr 6:6-10. of Meraioth,son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki,son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the high priest.Or the first priest.This Ezra was a scribe who was well versed in the Law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given to the people of Israel. He came up to Jerusalem from Babylon, and the king gave him everything he asked for, because the gracious hand of the Lord his God was on him.Some of the people of Israel, as well as some of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, and Temple servants, traveled up to Jerusalem with him in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes’ reign.

Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in AugustHebrew in the fifth month. This month in the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar occurred within the months of August and September 458 B.c. of that year.He had arranged to leave Babylon on April 8, the first day of the new year,Hebrew on the first day of the first month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. This day was April 8, 458 B.c.; also see note on 6:15. and he arrived at Jerusalem on August 4,Hebrew on the first day of the fifth month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. This day was August 4, 458 B.c.; also see note on 6:15. for the gracious hand of his God was on him.10 This was because Ezra had determined to study and obey the Law of the Lord and to teach those decrees and regulations to the people of Israel.

Artaxerxes’ Letter to Ezra

11 King Artaxerxes had given a copy of the following letter to Ezra, the priest and scribe who studied and taught the commands and decrees of the Lord to Israel:

12 The original text of 7:12-26 is in Aramaic.“From Artaxerxes, the king of kings, to Ezra the priest, the teacher of the law of the God of heaven. Greetings.

13 “I decree that any of the people of Israel in my kingdom, including the priests and Levites, may volunteer to return to Jerusalem with you.14 I and my council of seven hereby instruct you to conduct an inquiry into the situation in Judah and Jerusalem, based on your God’s law, which is in your hand.15 We also commission you to take with you silver and gold, which we are freely presenting as an offering to the God of Israel who lives in Jerusalem.

16 “Furthermore, you are to take any silver and gold that you may obtain from the province of Babylon, as well as the voluntary offerings of the people and the priests that are presented for the Temple of their God in Jerusalem.17 These donations are to be used specifically for the purchase of bulls, rams, male lambs, and the appropriate grain offerings and liquid offerings, all of which will be offered on the altar of the Temple of your God in Jerusalem.18 Any silver and gold that is left over may be used in whatever way you and your colleagues feel is the will of your God.

19 “But as for the cups we are entrusting to you for the service of the Temple of your God, deliver them all to the God of Jerusalem.20 If you need anything else for your God’s Temple or for any similar needs, you may take it from the royal treasury.

21 “I, Artaxerxes the king, hereby send this decree to all the treasurers in the province west of the Euphrates RiverAramaic the province beyond the river; also in 7:25.: ‘You are to give Ezra, the priest and teacher of the law of the God of heaven, whatever he requests of you.22 You are to give him up to 7,500 poundsAramaic 100 talents [3,400 kilograms]. of silver, 500 bushelsAramaic 100 cors [22 kiloliters]. of wheat, 550 gallons of wine, 550 gallons of olive oil,Aramaic 100 baths [2.1 kiloliters] of wine, 100 baths of olive oil. and an unlimited supply of salt.23 Be careful to provide whatever the God of heaven demands for his Temple, for why should we risk bringing God’s anger against the realm of the king and his sons?24 I also decree that no priest, Levite, singer, gatekeeper, Temple servant, or other worker in this Temple of God will be required to pay tribute, customs, or tolls of any kind.’

25 “And you, Ezra, are to use the wisdom your God has given you to appoint magistrates and judges who know your God’s laws to govern all the people in the province west of the Euphrates River. Teach the law to anyone who does not know it.26 Anyone who refuses to obey the law of your God and the law of the king will be punished immediately, either by death, banishment, confiscation of goods, or imprisonment.”

Ezra Praises the Lord

27 Praise the Lord, the God of our ancestors, who made the king want to beautify the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem!28 And praise him for demonstrating such unfailing love to me by honoring me before the king, his council, and all his mighty nobles! I felt encouraged because the gracious hand of the Lord my God was on me. And I gathered some of the leaders of Israel to return with me to Jerusalem.

Exiles Who Returned with Ezra

Here is a list of the family leaders and the genealogies of those who came with me from Babylon during the reign of King Artaxerxes:

From the family of Phinehas: Gershom.

From the family of Ithamar: Daniel.

From the family of David: Hattush,a descendant of Shecaniah.

From the family of Parosh: Zechariah and 150 other men were registered.

From the family of Pahath-moab: Eliehoenai son of Zerahiah and 200 other men.

From the family of ZattuAs in some Greek manuscripts (see also 1 Esdras 8:32); Hebrew lacks Zattu.: Shecaniah son of Jahaziel and 300 other men.

From the family of Adin: Ebed son of Jonathan and 50 other men.

From the family of Elam: Jeshaiah son of Athaliah and 70 other men.

From the family of Shephatiah: Zebadiah son of Michael and 80 other men.

From the family of Joab: Obadiah son of Jehiel and 218 other men.

10 From the family of BaniAs in some Greek manuscripts (see also 1 Esdras 8:36); Hebrew lacks Bani.: Shelomith son of Josiphiah and 160 other men.

11 From the family of Bebai: Zechariah son of Bebai and 28 other men.

12 From the family of Azgad: Johanan son of Hakkatan and 110 other men.

13 From the family of Adonikam, who came laterOr who were the last of his family.: Eliphelet, Jeuel, Shemaiah, and 60 other men.

14 From the family of Bigvai: Uthai, Zaccur,As in Greek and Syriac versions and an alternate reading of the Masoretic Text; the other alternate reads Zabbud. and 70 other men.

Ezra’s Journey to Jerusalem

15 I assembled the exiles at the Ahava Canal, and we camped there for three days while I went over the lists of the people and the priests who had arrived. I found that not one Levite had volunteered to come along.16 So I sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, who were leaders of the people. I also sent for Joiarib and Elnathan, who were men of discernment.17 I sent them to Iddo, the leader of the Levites at Casiphia, to ask him and his relatives and the Temple servants to send us ministers for the Temple of God at Jerusalem.

18 Since the gracious hand of our God was on us, they sent us a man named Sherebiah, along with eighteen of his sons and brothers. He was a very astute man and a descendant of Mahli, who was a descendant of Levi son of Israel.Israel is the name that God gave to Jacob.19 They also sent Hashabiah, together with Jeshaiah from the descendants of Merari, and twenty of his sons and brothers,20 and 220 Temple servants. The Temple servants were assistants to the Levites—a group of Temple workers first instituted by King David and his officials. They were all listed by name.

Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah,

The son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub,

The son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth,

The son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki,

The son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest:

This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him.

And there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king.

And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.

For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.

10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.

11 Now this is the copy of the letter that the king Artaxerxes gave unto Ezra the priest, the scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the Lord, and of his statutes to Israel.

12 Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time.

13 I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee.

14 Forasmuch as thou art sent of the king, and of his seven counsellors, to enquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of thy God which is in thine hand;

15 And to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counsellors have freely offered unto the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem,

16 And all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem:

17 That thou mayest buy speedily with this money bullocks, rams, lambs, with their meat offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them upon the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem.

18 And whatsoever shall seem good to thee, and to thy brethren, to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, that do after the will of your God.

19 The vessels also that are given thee for the service of the house of thy God, those deliver thou before the God of Jerusalem.

20 And whatsoever more shall be needful for the house of thy God, which thou shalt have occasion to bestow, bestow it out of the king's treasure house.

21 And I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily,

22 Unto an hundred talents of silver, and to an hundred measures of wheat, and to an hundred baths of wine, and to an hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much.

23 Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?

24 Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them.

25 And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not.

26 And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.

27 Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem:

28 And hath extended mercy unto me before the king, and his counsellors, and before all the king's mighty princes. And I was strengthened as the hand of the Lord my God was upon me, and I gathered together out of Israel chief men to go up with me.

These are now the chief of their fathers, and this is the genealogy of them that went up with me from Babylon, in the reign of Artaxerxes the king.

Of the sons of Phinehas; Gershom: of the sons of Ithamar; Daniel: of the sons of David; Hattush.

Of the sons of Shechaniah, of the sons of Pharosh; Zechariah: and with him were reckoned by genealogy of the males an hundred and fifty.

Of the sons of Pahathmoab; Elihoenai the son of Zerahiah, and with him two hundred males.

Of the sons of Shechaniah; the son of Jahaziel, and with him three hundred males.

Of the sons also of Adin; Ebed the son of Jonathan, and with him fifty males.

And of the sons of Elam; Jeshaiah the son of Athaliah, and with him seventy males.

And of the sons of Shephatiah; Zebadiah the son of Michael, and with him fourscore males.

Of the sons of Joab; Obadiah the son of Jehiel, and with him two hundred and eighteen males.

10 And of the sons of Shelomith; the son of Josiphiah, and with him an hundred and threescore males.

11 And of the sons of Bebai; Zechariah the son of Bebai, and with him twenty and eight males.

12 And of the sons of Azgad; Johanan the son of Hakkatan, and with him an hundred and ten males.

13 And of the last sons of Adonikam, whose names are these, Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shemaiah, and with them threescore males.

14 Of the sons also of Bigvai; Uthai, and Zabbud, and with them seventy males.

15 And I gathered them together to the river that runneth to Ahava; and there abode we in tents three days: and I viewed the people, and the priests, and found there none of the sons of Levi.

16 Then sent I for Eliezer, for Ariel, for Shemaiah, and for Elnathan, and for Jarib, and for Elnathan, and for Nathan, and for Zechariah, and for Meshullam, chief men; also for Joiarib, and for Elnathan, men of understanding.

17 And I sent them with commandment unto Iddo the chief at the place Casiphia, and I told them what they should say unto Iddo, and to his brethren the Nethinims, at the place Casiphia, that they should bring unto us ministers for the house of our God.

18 And by the good hand of our God upon us they brought us a man of understanding, of the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel; and Sherebiah, with his sons and his brethren, eighteen;

19 And Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, his brethren and their sons, twenty;

20 Also of the Nethinims, whom David and the princes had appointed for the service of the Levites, two hundred and twenty Nethinims: all of them were expressed by name.

1 Corinthians 4:1-21

The Nature of True Apostleship

This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servantsS 1Co 3:5 of Christ and as those entrusted1Co 9:17; Tit 1:7 with the mysteriesS Ro 16:25 God has revealed.Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.My conscienceS Ac 23:1 is clear, but that does not make me innocent.Ro 2:13 It is the Lord who judges me.2Co 10:18Therefore judge nothingS Mt 7:1, 2 before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes.S 1Th 2:19 He will bring to lightJob 12:22; Ps 90:8; 1Co 3:13 what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.S Ro 2:29

Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.”1Co 1:19, 31; 3:19, 20 Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other.1Co 1:12; 3:4For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive?Jn 3:27; Ro 12:3, 6 And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich!Rev 3:17, 18 You have begun to reign—and that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you!For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to dieS Ro 8:36 in the arena. We have been made a spectaclePs 71:7; Heb 10:33 to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings.10 We are fools for Christ,S 1Co 1:18; Ac 17:18; 26:24 but you are so wise in Christ!1Co 3:18; 2Co 11:19 We are weak, but you are strong!S 1Co 2:3 You are honored, we are dishonored!11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless.Ro 8:35; 2Co 11:23-2712 We work hard with our own hands.S Ac 18:3 When we are cursed, we bless;Ro 12:14; 1Pe 3:9 when we are persecuted,S Mt 5:44 we endure it;13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbageJer 20:18; La 3:45 of the world—right up to this moment.

Paul’s Appeal and Warning

14 I am writing this not to shame you1Co 6:5; 15:34; 2Th 3:14 but to warn you as my dear children.S 1Th 2:1115 Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your fatherS ver 14 through the gospel.1Co 9:12, 14, 18, 23; 15:116 Therefore I urge you to imitate me.1Co 11:1; Php 3:17; 4:9; 1Th 1:6; 2Th 3:7, 917 For this reason I have sent to you1Co 16:10 Timothy,S Ac 16:1 my sonS 1Ti 1:2 whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.S 1Co 7:17

18 Some of you have become arrogant,Jer 43:2 as if I were not coming to you.ver 2119 But I will come to you very soon,1Co 16:5, 6; 2Co 1:15, 16 if the Lord is willing,S Ac 18:21 and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have.20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter ofRo 14:17 talk but of power.S Ro 15:1321 What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline,2Co 1:23; 2:1; 13:2, 10 or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?

Paul’s Relationship with the Corinthians

So look at Apollos and me as mere servants of Christ who have been put in charge of explaining God’s mysteries.Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful.As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point.My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.

So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.

Dear brothers and sisters,Greek Brothers. I have used Apollos and myself to illustrate what I’ve been saying. If you pay attention to what I have quoted from the Scriptures,Or If you learn not to go beyond “what is written.” you won’t be proud of one of your leaders at the expense of another.For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?

You think you already have everything you need. You think you are already rich. You have begun to reign in God’s kingdom without us! I wish you really were reigning already, for then we would be reigning with you.Instead, I sometimes think God has put us apostles on display, like prisoners of war at the end of a victor’s parade, condemned to die. We have become a spectacle to the entire world—to people and angels alike.

10 Our dedication to Christ makes us look like fools, but you claim to be so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are so powerful! You are honored, but we are ridiculed.11 Even now we go hungry and thirsty, and we don’t have enough clothes to keep warm. We are often beaten and have no home.12 We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us.13 We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash—right up to the present moment.

14 I am not writing these things to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children.15 For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you.16 So I urge you to imitate me.

17 That’s why I have sent Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of how I follow Christ Jesus, just as I teach in all the churches wherever I go.

18 Some of you have become arrogant, thinking I will not visit you again.19 But I will come—and soon—if the Lord lets me, and then I’ll find out whether these arrogant people just give pretentious speeches or whether they really have God’s power.20 For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.21 Which do you choose? Should I come with a rod to punish you, or should I come with love and a gentle spirit?

Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.

Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.

For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.

For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.

11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;

12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:

13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.

14 I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.

15 For though ye have ten thousand instructers in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.

16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.

17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.

18 Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you.

19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.

20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.

21 What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?

Psalm 30:1-12

Psalm 30In Hebrew texts 30:1-12 is numbered 30:2-13.

A psalm. A song. For the dedication of the temple.Title: Or palace Of David.

I will exaltS Ex 15:2 you, Lord,

for you lifted me out of the depthsJob 11:8; Ps 63:9; 107:26; Pr 9:18; Isa 14:15

and did not let my enemies gloat over me.S Ps 22:17

Lord my God, I called to you for help,Ps 5:2; 88:13

and you healed me.S Nu 12:13

You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;S Ps 16:10; S 56:13

you spared me from going down to the pit.Ps 28:1; 55:23; 69:15; 86:13; 143:7; Pr 1:12; Isa 38:17; Jnh 2:6

SingPs 33:1; 47:7; 68:4 the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;S Ps 16:3

praise his holy name.Ex 3:15; Ps 33:21; 103:1; 145:21

For his angerPs 103:9 lasts only a moment,S Job 14:13

but his favor lasts a lifetime;S Ezr 3:11

weeping2Sa 15:30; Ps 6:6; 126:6; Jer 31:16 may stay for the night,

but rejoicing comes in the morning.2Co 4:17

When I felt secure, I said,

“I will never be shaken.”S Job 29:18

Lord, when you favored me,

you made my royal mountainThat is, Mount Zion stand firm;

but when you hid your face,S Dt 31:17

I was dismayed.

To you, Lord, I called;

to the Lord I cried for mercy:

“What is gained if I am silenced,

if I go down to the pit?S Job 33:18; Isa 38:18

Will the dust praise you?

Will it proclaim your faithfulness?S Ps 6:5; 88:11

10 Hear,S Ps 17:1 Lord, and be merciful to me;Ps 4:1

Lord, be my help.S Ps 20:2

11 You turned my wailingS Est 4:1 into dancing;S Ex 15:20

you removed my sackclothS 2Sa 3:31; S Ps 35:13 and clothed me with joy,S Dt 16:15; S Ps 16:9

12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.

Lord my God, I will praisePs 35:18; 75:1; 118:21; Rev 11:17 you forever.Ps 44:8; 52:9

Psalm 30

A psalm of David. A song for the dedication of the Temple.

I will exalt you, Lord, for you rescued me.

You refused to let my enemies triumph over me.

O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,

and you restored my health.

You brought me up from the grave,Hebrew from Sheol. O Lord.

You kept me from falling into the pit of death.

Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones!

Praise his holy name.

For his anger lasts only a moment,

but his favor lasts a lifetime!

Weeping may last through the night,

but joy comes with the morning.

When I was prosperous, I said,

“Nothing can stop me now!”

Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain.

Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered.

I cried out to you, O Lord.

I begged the Lord for mercy, saying,

“What will you gain if I die,

if I sink into the grave?

Can my dust praise you?

Can it tell of your faithfulness?

10 Hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me.

Help me, O Lord.”

11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.

You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,

12 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.

O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!

30 I will extol thee, O Lord; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.

O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.

O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.

Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.

Lord, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled.

I cried to thee, O Lord; and unto the Lord I made supplication.

What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth?

10 Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me: Lord, be thou my helper.

11 Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;

12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

Proverbs 20:28-30

28 Love and faithfulness keep a king safe;

through lovePs 40:11 his throne is made secure.S Pr 16:12; Isa 16:5

29 The glory of young men is their strength,

gray hair the splendor of the old.Pr 16:31

30 Blows and wounds scrubS Ps 51:2; Pr 22:15 away evil,

and beatingsIsa 1:5 purge the inmost being.

28 Unfailing love and faithfulness protect the king;

his throne is made secure through love.

29 The glory of the young is their strength;

the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old.

30 Physical punishment cleanses away evil;The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.

such discipline purifies the heart.

28 Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy.

29 The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the grey head.

30 The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.

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