Spiritual Training

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May 10 - Morning

“In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I (Nehemiah) was in the citadel of Susa,  Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.

They said to me, ‘Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.’

When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.”

- Nehemiah 1:1-4

446 BC, Nehemiah Is Distressed Due to Jerusalem's Lack of Defensive Walls and Gates

Nehemiah was in the citadel of Susa working in the presence of Artaxerxes in 446 BC. This was Artaxerxes' 20th year as the Emperor over the Persian Empire (he would reign 41 total years, 465-424). Nehemiah served as a cupbearer or as an attendant (Hebrew masqeh) in the royal palace. But, Nehemiah was more than a butler. Other sources from this time describe the position of a masqeh as being the "keeper of the signet" ring used to provide the kings official stamp or signature to a document. A masqeh was also "in charge of administration of the accounts" which meant he kept track of where and who spent the money and what was purchased. In other words, it is possible that Nehemiah signed documents for Artaxerxes and oversaw the Persian Empire's budget. This description helps us understand why Artaxerxes wanted Nehemiah to return and resume his responsibilities for the Empire once he had resolved the issue of Jerusalem's lack of a defensive wall. (Nehemiah 2:6)

Nehemiah's brother returned to Susa from Jerusalem (Map) and Nehemiah asked him how things were going with the plan to repopulate and rebuild the Jewish people's capital city. Hanani answers with bad news from Jerusalem: They "are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire." Without the wall and gates for protection the city of Jerusalem was nothing more than a village that could be raided and oppressed by the Samaritans who did not want Jerusalem and the Temple rebuilt. The progress of the returning exiles attempting to fulfill God's plan as promised by the prophets who spoke of the restoration was at a complete stop. Because of this Nehemiah became very emotional and wept, and he followed these feelings with several days of mourning, fasting and praying before God because of the distress of the people who had returned to fulfill God's promise of the restoration of the Jewish people.

Ezra 4:7-23
Ezra 4:21
Daniel 9:25
  • Artaxerxes orders the rebuilding of the rebellious city, Jerusalem, to stop.
  • Samaritans send a letter to Artaxerxes to say Jerusalem is a rebellioius city. (Ezra 4:7)
  • Artaxerxes replies: “this city will not be rebuilt until I so
    order.” (Ezra 4:21)

Decree to Rebuild


Ezra 7: 8-9, 12-26

Daniel 9:25

Ezra 10:9-16
  • In Artaxeres’ seventh year he issues the decree to rebuild and restore Jerusalem.
  • Ezra leaves Babylon on April 8 and arrives in Jerusalem in August.
  • December 19 the people assemble and the investigation of intermarriage begins.
  • The 70 weeks (or, 490 years) of Daniels prophecy in Daniel 9:25 begins with Artaxerxes’ decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem in 458 BC. The decree is found in Ezra 7:12-26.
    The 70 weeks (490 years) are interrupted after 69 weeks (483 years) with the coming of the Messiah. 458 BC minus 483 years equals 25/26 AD which is when John the Baptist will introduce the Messiah to the Jewish nation

Ezra 10:17
Ezra committee ends their three month long investigation into intermarriage by Mar/Apr


Nehemiah 1
Nov/Dec, Nehemiah is in Susa and hears a report from a Jew from Jerusalem that the walls of Jerusalem have not been rebuilt

Nehemiah 2:1

Nehemiah 4

Nehemiah 6:15

Nehemiah 8:2

Nehemiah 8:13

Nehemiah 9
  • Artaxerxes 20th year
  • Mar/Apr, Nehemiah, Artaxerxes cup bearer, speaks to
    Artaxerxes about Jerusalem’s ruined wall system. (Neh. 2:1)
  • August 10, Nehemiah begins to rebuild the walls of
  • Opposition to building the walls. (Neh. 4, 6)
  • October 2, The walls of Jerusalem are completed in 52 days. (Neh. 6:15)
  • October 8, Ezra reads the law to public for first time in
    thirteen years. (8:2)
  • October 9, the people of Jerusalem celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. (8:13)
  • October 30, Israel confesses their sin. (Neh. 9)
  • If Esther were 25 when she married Xerxes she is now 58

Nehemiah 5:14

Nehemiah 13:6
  • Nehemiah is recalled to Artaxerxes after a 12 year absence.
  • Artaxerxes is in his 32 year as the king of the Persian

  • The book of Malachi is written.
  • Malachi accuses:
    1. the priest of not honoring God
    2. the people of unlawful marriages
    3. the people of having given up on the Lord’s return
    4. the people of failing to give properly to God
  • Malachi ends with a promise in 3:1, “See, I will send my
Kana (Hb) – Humble (Eng) – The Hebrew word translated “to be humble” or “to subdue is kana. In 2 Samuel 8:1 and Psalms 81:14 kana refers to subduing enemies. Kana is also used in reference to humble repentance before the Lord in Leviticus 26:41; 2 Chronicles 7:14 and 12:6-7.
Am I waiting expectantly for God's promises and his will to be done? Am I distraught and moved to both tears and action because of things that prevent God's will from being accomplished? I will respond with emotion and action in order to accomplish those things I believe need to be done.

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


Complete Text

General Text


Greater desire to know God


Be a light in the darkness
Secretary of Education

Inside the 2000-1300 BC Canaanite gate of the Philistine city Ashkelon.
(details 1, 2)
Caesarea Philippi and the pagan shrines to Pan and the Gates of Hades

Someone to Quote

“The purpose of the historian is not to construct a history from preconceived notions and to adjust it to his own liking, but to reproduce it from the best evidence and to let it speak for itself.” – Philip Schaff

Something to Ponder

In the earliest book of the Bible Job speaks of physical resurrection from the dead and talks of standing with his Redeemer/God on earth in the future after his natural death. It seems this information was lost from the earliest days of human history and recovered with the resurrection of Jesus and the teaching of the New Testament.

Here’s a Fact

Isaiah mentions Rezin, king of Aram, in Isaiah 7:1, 4, 8 in a prophecy to Judah’s king Ahaz in 733 BC. Rezin, or Rezon, is also identified as the king of Damascus, Aram’s capital city, in Assyrian records inscribed on slabs found at Calah. These Assyrian inscriptions say:

“I received tribute from Kushtashpi of Commagene, Rezon of Damascus, Menahem of Samaria, Hiram of Tyre, Sibittibi’li of Byblos…gold, silver, tin, iron, elephant-hides, ivory, linen garments with multicolored trimmings, blue-dyed wool, purple-dyed wool, ebony-wood, boxwood-wood, whatever was precious…”


"Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
    but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out."

- Proverbs 10:9

Coach’s Corner

Sometimes you don’t need a break, you just need to start working on something else.

Nehemiah 2:5-6
New International Version (NIV)
and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.”
Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.
Judges 13
New International Version (NIV)
The Birth of Samson
13 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, so the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.
A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth. The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”
Then the woman went to her husband and told him, “A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel of God, very awesome. I didn’t ask him where he came from, and he didn’t tell me his name. But he said to me, ‘You will become pregnant and have a son. Now then, drink no wine or other fermented drink and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite of God from the womb until the day of his death.’”
Then Manoah prayed to the Lord: “Pardon your servant, Lord. I beg you to let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.”
God heard Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman while she was out in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her. 10 The woman hurried to tell her husband, “He’s here! The man who appeared to me the other day!”
11 Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, “Are you the man who talked to my wife?”
“I am,” he said.
12 So Manoah asked him, “When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule that governs the boy’s life and work?”
13 The angel of the Lord answered, “Your wife must do all that I have told her. 14 She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, nor drink any wine or other fermented drink nor eat anything unclean. She must do everything I have commanded her.”
15 Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat for you.”
16 The angel of the Lord replied, “Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the Lord.” (Manoah did not realize that it was the angel of the Lord.)
17 Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?”
18 He replied, “Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding.” 19 Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the Lord. And the Lord did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched: 20 As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground. 21 When the angel of the Lord did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord.
22 “We are doomed to die!” he said to his wife. “We have seen God!”
23 But his wife answered, “If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this.”
24 The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the Lord blessed him, 25 and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.
1 Kings 19
New International Version (NIV)
Elijah Flees to Horeb
19 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.”
He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.
The Lord Appears to Elijah
And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.
12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”
The Call of Elisha
19 So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. 20 Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.”
“Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?”
21 So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.
Psalm 50
New International Version (NIV)
Psalm 50
A psalm of Asaph.

The Mighty One, God, the Lord,     speaks and summons the earth     from the rising of the sun to where it sets.

From Zion, perfect in beauty,     God shines forth.

Our God comes     and will not be silent; a fire devours before him,     and around him a tempest rages.

He summons the heavens above,     and the earth, that he may judge his people:

“Gather to me this consecrated people,     who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”

And the heavens proclaim his righteousness,     for he is a God of justice.

“Listen, my people, and I will speak;     I will testify against you, Israel:     I am God, your God.

I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices     or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.

I have no need of a bull from your stall     or of goats from your pens,
for every animal of the forest is mine,     and the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know every bird in the mountains,     and the insects in the fields are mine.
If I were hungry I would not tell you,     for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls     or drink the blood of goats?
“Sacrifice thank offerings to God,     fulfill your vows to the Most High,
and call on me in the day of trouble;     I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
16 But to the wicked person, God says:
“What right have you to recite my laws     or take my covenant on your lips?
You hate my instruction     and cast my words behind you.
When you see a thief, you join with him;     you throw in your lot with adulterers.
You use your mouth for evil     and harness your tongue to deceit.
You sit and testify against your brother     and slander your own mother’s son.
When you did these things and I kept silent,     you thought I was exactly like you. But I now arraign you     and set my accusations before you.
“Consider this, you who forget God,     or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you:
Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me,     and to the blameless I will show my salvation.”
Job 25-26
New International Version (NIV)
25 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:

“Dominion and awe belong to God;     he establishes order in the heights of heaven.

Can his forces be numbered?     On whom does his light not rise?

How then can a mortal be righteous before God?     How can one born of woman be pure?

If even the moon is not bright     and the stars are not pure in his eyes,

how much less a mortal, who is but a maggot—     a human being, who is only a worm!”
26 Then Job replied:

“How you have helped the powerless!     How you have saved the arm that is feeble!

What advice you have offered to one without wisdom!     And what great insight you have displayed!

Who has helped you utter these words?     And whose spirit spoke from your mouth?

“The dead are in deep anguish,     those beneath the waters and all that live in them.

The realm of the dead is naked before God;     Destruction lies uncovered.

He spreads out the northern skies over empty space;     he suspends the earth over nothing.

He wraps up the waters in his clouds,     yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.

He covers the face of the full moon,     spreading his clouds over it.
He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters     for a boundary between light and darkness.
The pillars of the heavens quake,     aghast at his rebuke.
By his power he churned up the sea;     by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces.
By his breath the skies became fair;     his hand pierced the gliding serpent.
And these are but the outer fringe of his works;     how faint the whisper we hear of him!     Who then can understand the thunder of his power?”

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