Author Archives: nborger2017

Nehemiah 4-6; Psalm 98; Revelation 6

Nehemiah 3-4 chronicle the ardent opposition from outside forces, forces that did not want Israel to finish the wall or repair the temple. However, in chapter 5, Nehemiah reveals that not only were they facing an outside threat, but also trouble inside their own city. Many of the people were upset with their brethren due to high interest rates that forced them to live in poverty and sell their children as slaves. Nehemiah was very angry when he heard of this and demanded a meeting.

So I [Nehemiah] said, “The thing you are doing is not good. Ought you not to walk in the fear of our God to prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies? Moreover, I and my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain. Let us abandon this exacting of interest” Nehemiah 5:9-10 ESV

Nehemiah closely follows God’s command to care for your brother or neighbor as yourself, telling the loaners that they were not treating their brothers fairly. There are many injustices in this world, and while it may seem futile to even attempt to fix a problem, I can always help by love those around me and doing my best to assist them.

His [God’s] right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The LORD has made known his salvation he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. And the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Psalm 98:2-3 ESV

Not only has did God send Jesus to die for my sins, but also for the sins of all those around me. Every human being has worth in the eyes of God and He wants the news of Christ’s death and resurrection spread to the ends of the earth.

Dear God, Please help me care for others and have compassion on them. Help me spread Your Good News to others and live my life as an example of servanthood. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for my sins. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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Zechariah 2-5; Psalm 93; 1 John 3

See what kind of love the Father has given to us that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. 1 John 3:1-3 ESV

To often I forget that God has made me pure. Jesus’ death paid the price for my sin and I am free from eternal torment. Oh what wonderful love this is! While I am free from sins penalties, I should strive to live a righteous life for the LORD.

By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 1 John 3:10-11 ESV

It is important for me not just to love God, but also to love my brother and my neighbor as myself. In fact, these are the two greatest commandments I have been given. I am to love others, even when I don’t feel like it, because it is what God wants me to do. When I walk in God’s righteous ways and am saved by Christ, I no longer wear the filthy rags of my sin, but am instead clothed in Christ’s righteousness.

And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” Zechariah 3:4 ESV

Zechariah 3 tells the famous vision of Joshua’s dirty robes. Just as Joshua’s dirty robes were taken away and Satan’s accusations were silenced, so mine dirty robes were removed and the accusations against me silence. Christ’s sacrifice removed even the dirties fabrics of the clothes and put me in shining, clean robes, fit for His service,

Dear God, thank You for send Jesus so I could be clothed in His righteousness. Please help me love my brother and neighbor as myself, just as I have been called to do. Thank You for Your Grace. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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Ezekiel 43-45; Psalm 135; John 15

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:12-14 ESV

John 15 contains one of the most recognizable verses about love in the Bible. This statement is not just a command to His followers, but also a foreshadowing of the death He would die in order to save His friends. Jesus commands that those who follow Him follow His call to love others.

“You shall have just balances, a just ephah, and a just bath.” Ezekiel 45:10 ESV

God’s command to love others is a constant theme in the Bible as a whole. Dishonest scales and false measurements led to unjust gain by sellers and hurt buyers. Throughout Scripture God emphasizes the importance of justice and treating others fairly. As a Christian, it is important that I show Christ’s love to others throughout my day-to-day life. It is easy to do the right thing when everyone is watching and you get praised for it. It is harder when you have to sacrifice your pride and what you want for the sake of others.

You did not choose me, but I choose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another. John 15:16-17 ESV

A motif that runs through John 15 is that imagery of a vine, it’s branches, and their fruit. Jesus Himself is that vine and I am one of His branches. If I stray from the Vine, then I will not produce Spiritual Fruit, for a branch is useless without the Vine.

“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.” John 15:26 ESV

Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit to strength me and bear witness. I am weak and need Christ’s forgiveness for sinning against Him. I can draw near to Him, however, due to His sacrifice.

Your name, O LORD, endures forever, your renown, O LORD, throughout all ages. For the LORD will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants. Psalm 135:13-14 ESV

Dear God, Thank You for being compassionate not just to me, but to all humanity by sending Jesus to die for the sins of the world. Please help me follow Your command to love others as you have loved me. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit to strength and guide me. In your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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Ezekiel 13-15; Psalm 136; John 5

John 5 begins with one of Jesus’ first healings, the healing of the sick man by the pool on the Sabbath. Jesus encounters a man by Bethseda who had been an invalid for 38 years. Jesus goes over and talks to him, and, after the man explains that no one is there to put him in the water, Jesus heals him.

Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” John 5:8-10 ESV

This is one of many passages where Jesus’ commands and actions conflict with the Pharisees’ laws. While Jesus came to fulfill the Old Testaments laws, he disapproved of the many laws and regulations the Pharisees heaped upon the people. The Pharisees didn’t teach the people the reason for the law or why they followed it, they just made sure everyone followed every rule, even the ones they made up.

And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. John 5:17-18 ESV

Only 5 chapters in to John, the Pharisees are already planning to kill Jesus because of what He teaches. Instead of turning to Him, those who thought they had an excellent knowledge of the Law and Prophets reject Him.

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” John 5:39-40 ESV

Too often I turn to other things for “life” instead of Jesus. It is easy to believe good deeds and following the rules will get you into heaven, but Jesus makes it clear: He is the Only Way. Only Jesus can give true life, something those who humble themselves and turn to Him will receive.

Dear God, Thank You for Scripture, please help me understand it so I can learn more about You. Thank you for Your Perfect Son, the fulfillment of Scripture, and help me turn to You for “life” not lesser things that cannot provide it. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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2 Kings 24-25; 2 Chronicles 36; Psalm 126; 1 Peter 3

And in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon came with all his army against Jerusalem and laid siege to it. And they built siegeworks all around it. 2 Kings 25:1 ESV

After many years of warning, God finally had enough and sent the Babylonians to punish Judah for their sin. Neuchadnezzar besieged and defeated Jerusalem, captured and blinded Zedekiah the king, carried the people into exile, pillaged, and burned the temple. All that remained were of the poorest of the land and the destroyed houses and temple. However, due to fear of the Chaldeans, even they fled Judah, leaving the land barren and empty.

He [Nebuchadnezzar] took into exile in Babylon those who had escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and to his sons until the establishment of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its Sabbaths. All the days that it lay desolate it kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years. 2 Chronicles 36:20-21 ESV

Jeremiah’s prophecies were fulfilled and the people went into exile for refusing to listen to God’s commands. But that wasn’t the end of Israel’s story. After their seventy year punishment, God stirred up Cyrus, king of Persia’s, spirit to make a proclamation.

“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the LORD his God be with him. Let him go up.’” 2 Chronicles 36:23 ESV

I imagine the people of Judah were overjoyed to hear Cyrus decree that they could return to their land and build the LORD’s a new temple. They were perhaps sorrowful as well, knowing that in their state they could never build a temple as magnificent as Solomon’s was. Maybe they thought upon Psalm 126 and rejoiced in the LORD’s mercy and love.

When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad. Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negeb! Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. Psalm 126 ESV

I, too, an filled with joy due to God’s goodness.

Dear God, Thank You for Your mercy. Please help me obey Your ways and follow You. Thank You for doing great things for me. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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Jeremiah 25, 35-36, 45; Psalm 133; James 3

“Go to the house of the Rechabites and speak with them and bring them to the house of the LORD, into one of the chambers; then offer them wine to drink.” Jeremiah 35:2 ESV

This command of the LORD to Jeremiah is at the beginning of Jeremiah 35. While it may seem like an odd request, the LORD was setting up a test to show Jeremiah and the people of Judah what true obedience looks like. God knew the Rechabites founder had commanded them to not drink wine, build houses, or plant seeds. When brought before into the house of the LORD and given wine, the Rechabites refuse to drink it, citing their forefather’s commandments. The Rechabites had only been told once to obey, but they followed wholeheartedly and won’t turn aside from their precepts.

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father and kept all his precepts and done all that he commanded you, therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Jonadab the son of Rechab shall never lack a man to stand before me.” Jeremiah 35:18b-19 ESV

The LORD celebrates the Rechabites convictions and their strict observance of their founder’s precepts. As a result of their dedication, He blesses them. The Rechabites obedience is contrasted with Judah’s repeated refusal to listen to God. While the Rechabites were told once and sincerely followed, the people of Judah would not listen to God’s instructions.

The command that Jonadab the son of Rechab gave to his sons, to drink no wine, has been kept, and they drink no wine to this day, for they have obeyed their father’s command. I have spoken to you [Judah] persistently, but you have not listened to me. The sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have kept the command that their father gave them, but this people has not obeyed me. Jeremiah 35:14,16 ESV

Judah’s refusal to obey the commands of God are put on display in Jeremiah 36. The LORD tells Jeremiah to write all the prophecies he had given against Judah on a scroll. The scroll made it’s way to the palace and to Judah’s king, Jehoiakim.

As Jehudi read three or four columns, the king would cut them off with a knife and throw them into the fire in the fire pot, until the entire scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the fire pot. Jeremiah 36:23 ESV

Jehoiakim’s reaction to a command is in stark contrast to the Rechabites. God brought the Rechabites to Jeremiah to show him what true and humble obedience looks like. While the Rechabites dutifully followed the commandments of their forefather, Jehoiakim shredded up the commandments and warnings he was given.

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:13, 16-17 ESV

James points to our conduct as an indicator of where our heart is and who we serve. Who we follow and serve can be discovered if our actions are watched. Like the Rechabites, I should be sincere and obedient to God, or anyone God has put over me. Let your good conduct point others to Christ and His love.

Dear God, Thank You for the example of the Rechabites obedience. Thank You for James’ practical wisdom. Please help me be obedient to those over me as You have called me to be. Help me to serve You wholeheartedly and fully. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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2 Chronicles 34-35; 2 Corinthians 6

Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father; and he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. 2 Chronicles 34:1-2 ESV

2 Chronicles 34-35 tells the story of Josiah, the young king who trusted God. In the eighth year of his reign he started seeking God, and by the twelfth year he started to rid his land of idols. After he had cleaned the land of idols, he sent workers to repair the LORD’s temple. While they where repairing it, the High Priest discovered the Book of the Law of the LORD and brought it to Josiah.

And when the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his clothes. 2 Chronicles 34:19 ESV

Josiah expresses immense grief upon discovering that the extent at which Judah had departed from God. Because he humbled himself before the LORD, God promises him that the disaster upon Judah would not come during his lifetime. Josiah’s humbleness and sorrow showed that he was truly sorry about how far Judah had departed from the LORD, and God clearly treasured that. After hearing the Word of the LORD, Josiah gathering the people together and to read the Book of the Covenant. Josiah then held the greatest Passover celebration in Israel since the days of Samuel.

Josiah’s faith and humility is a model I look up too. It is clear that Josiah loved God and was brokenhearted when he discovered how far Judah true had wandered from God. I pray God makes me more like Josiah, heartbroken when God’s Word isn’t kept but an ardent celebrator of His Truth.

We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labor, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 2 Corinthians 6:4-7 ESV

Dear God, please make me like Josiah, with a humble and contrite spirit towards Your Words. Please help me persevere through afflictions and follow You and Your ways. Thank You for sending Jesus, because I could never be good enough to please You on my own. Thank You for Your Word. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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