Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

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May 14 - Evening

"It was found recorded there that Mordecai had exposed Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to assassinate King Xerxes.
‘What honor and recognition has Mordecai received for this?’ the king asked.
‘Nothing has been done for him,’ his attendants answered.
The king said, ‘Who is in the court?’
Now
Haman had just entered the outer court of the palace to speak to the king about impaling Mordecai on the pole he had set up for him.
His attendants answered, ‘Haman is standing in the court.’
'Bring him in,’ the king ordered.
When Haman entered, the king asked him, ‘What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?’
Now Haman thought to himself, Who is there that the king would rather honor than me? So he answered the king, ‘For the man the king delights to honor, have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!” ’
 ‘Go at once,’ the king commanded Haman. ‘Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.’
So Haman got the robe and the horse. He robed Mordecai, and led him on horseback through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!’ ”

- Esther 6:2-11

Xerxes Rewards Mordecai


Persian kings are known in history for providing lavish rewards on people who had provided some kind of notable service. So, Xerxes was shocked to find that Mordecai had received no reward when the chronicles of Xerxes’ reign record that Mordecai had saved Xerxes life. (Xerxes would be assassinated in his bedchamber in 465, eight years after this event with Haman and Mordecai.)

By the time the account of Mordecai’s heroic unveiling of the conspiracy to assassinate King Xerxes was read it was early morning and Haman had arrived in the court with the hope of asking permission to execute Mordecai. The king asked for any advisor who happened to be in the court at that time to be brought in and to be asked advice concerning rewarding Mordecai.

Because, Haman had been thinking so highly of himself and his pride had lifted his thoughts to a level of being blind to reality, Haman thought the man the king wanted to honor was, of course, Haman himself. But, instead of honoring himself Haman described the reward that the king would be giving to Mordecai!

485
Xerxes
Ezra 4:6
  • Xerxes begins to reign.
  • Samaritans take this chance to file a complaint. (Ezra 4:6)

483
Xerxes displays his vast wealth and military power at a banquet in preparation for his invasion of Greece as seen in Esther 1

481
Battles of:
• Thermopylae
• Salamis
• Plataea

Daniel 11:2
Xerxes goes to war against Greece. Persia fights the battles of:
  1. Thermopylae – This battle is the basis of the movie “300” that features the Spartan king Leonidas and his 300 men who fight the invading King Xerxes and his Persian troops.
  2. Salamis – Persians occupy Athens and burn the temple.
    The Persians move their ships into a strait through a bottle neck thinking the beached Greek trireme ships are trapped. Xerxes watches from his ivory throne placed on a hill in disbelief as his ships are rammed, congested and unable to maneuver while Persians ships continue to sail into the bottle neck. Xerxes heads back to Persia, leaving behind 1/3 of his troops which then burn Athens to the ground.
  3. Plataea – In what looked like a rout of the Greeks, the Persians fail to stay organized and are driven from Greece.
These Greek battles fulfill Daniel 11:2: “a fourth Persian king, who will be far richer. . .will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece.” This sets the stage for the rise of Alexander the Great who will seek deliverance and revenge for the burning of Athens in 336 BC.

478
Esther goes to Xerxes and becomes Queen in Dec/Jan in Esther 2

474
Esther 3:7

Haman
Esther
Mordecai

  • Esther’s fifth year as queen.
  • April 17 is the date set to meet to determine fate of Jews.
Esther 3:7 - "In the twelfth year of King Xerxes, in the first month, the month of Nisan, the pur (that is, the lot) was cast in the presence of Haman to select a day and month. And the lot fell on[a] the twelfth month, the month of Adar."

473
  • According to Haman’s plans and Xerxes order, the Jews are to be killed in Persia on March 7
  • March 7, the Jews defend themselves. The Jews kill 500 men in Susa and 10 of Haman’s sons.

465
Artaxerxes
  • Xerxes is inside his bedchamber when he is assassinated by 3 conspirators. They convince Artaxerxes, Xerxes’s son, to slay his older brother. They then try to kill Artaxerxes who is only wounded but kills his attacker.
  • Artaxerxes becomes Persian Emperor and will reign for 41 years.
  • Esther would be about 38 years old if she became queen when she was 25.

464
  • Artaxerxes orders the rebuilding of the rebellious city, Jerusalem, to stop.
  • Samaritans send a letter to Artaxerxes to say Jerusalem is a rebellious city. (Ezra 4:7)
  • Artaxerxes replies: “this city will not be rebuilt until I so order.” (Ezra 4:21)

458
  • In Artaxeres’ seventh year he issues the decree to rebuild and restore Jerusalem.
  • Ezra leaves Babylon on April 8 and arrives in Jerusalem on 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 Baptists will introduce the Messiah to the Jewish nation.

457
Ezra committee ends their three month long investigation into intermarriage by Mar/Apr (Ezra 10:17)

446
Nehemiah 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

445
Nehemiah 2:1

Nehemiah 4

Nehemiah 6:15

Nehemiah 8:2

Nehemiah 8:13

Nehemiah 9

Esther is 58
  • 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 Jerusalem.
  • Opposition to building the walls. (Neh. 4, 6)
  • October 2, The walls of Jerusalem are completed in 52 days.
    (Neb. 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
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Episkeptomai (Gr) – Visit (Eng) – a Greek word used in Hebrews 2:6 as a visit from God to help and in Luke 7:16 as a visit from God when Jesus raised the widows son from the dead in Nain. Episkeptomai means a “to inspect.”
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Do I blind myself to reality by thinking more highly of myself than I should? Do I miss opportunities to learn and do God's will because I am focused on myself? I will evaluate myself without being self-promoting and arrogant. I will think of the needs of others and listen to their comments during conversations.



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Bible Reading Descriptions Here

Narrative

(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text




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Personal

Efficient at work

Church

Stand firm in face of opposition and persecution
Education
El Salvador



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The Springs of Elisha in Jericho. These are the waters from the natural spring that has always made Jericho an oasis known as the City of Palms.
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Herod's Family Tree (Genealogy)




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Someone to Quote

“Of all religions, Christianity is without a doubt the one that should inspire tolerance most, although, up to now, the Christians have been the most intolerant of all men” - Voltaire

Something to Ponder

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Paul refers to a letter he wrote to the Laodicean church in Colossians 4:16. This letter has never been found, but sometime before the 300’s AD someone felt the need to create this letter and forged a document that was rejected by the Eastern Greek Church, but accepted by the Western Latin Church for a while. This “Epistle to the Laodiceans” consists of statements taken from Philippians and Galatians. Scholars unanimously agree this letter is a pseudograph, but they are uncertain when it was written or who created it.
Fittingly, the forger of this 20 verse letter ends with this final verse in his Epistle to the Laodiceans: "And see that this epistle is read to the Colossians and that of the Colossians among you."
How clever!
Details 1, 2, 3.

Here’s a Fact

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The fact that songs/poems like the ones called “The Harper Songs” from the tomb of Neferhotep in Egypt and other laments from Egypt existed during the time of Solomon help reinforce the authenticity of Solomon’s authorship of Ecclesiastes. Solomon had very close relations with Egypt (married Pharaoh’s daughter, bought Egyptian chariots and horses, etc.) In fact, a song from a tomb in Egypt called the Intef Song calls people to enjoy life since the graves are silent. This is also a theme of Solomon’s in Ecclesiastes, but Solomon combines this with the concepts of:

1. enjoying life as a sign of gratitude to God (Ec.9:9);
2. enjoying life in a manner that is acceptable to the God who judges (Ec. 11:8-12:8)

Proverb

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"Each heart knows its own bitterness,
    and no one else can share its joy."

- Proverbs 14:10

Coach’s Corner

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Your part of a relationship involves having something to bring to the relationship and also knowing how much of it you want to give.

2 Kings 6
New International Version (NIV)
An Axhead Floats
The company of the prophets said to Elisha, “Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole; and let us build a place there for us to meet.”
And he said, “Go.”
Then one of them said, “Won’t you please come with your servants?”
“I will,” Elisha replied.
And he went with them.
They went to the Jordan and began to cut down trees.
As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron axhead fell into the water. “Oh no, my lord!” he cried out. “It was borrowed!”
The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. “Lift it out,” he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it.
Elisha Traps Blinded Arameans
Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.”
The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.” 10 So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.
11 This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”
12 “None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.”
13 “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” 14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.
15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.
16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike this army with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.
19 Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to Samaria.
20 After they entered the city, Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men so they can see.” Then the Lord opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria.
21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?”
22 “Do not kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill those you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.” 23 So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.
Famine in Besieged Samaria
24 Some time later, Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria. 25 There was a great famine in the city; the siege lasted so long that a donkey’s head sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a quarter of a cab of seed pods for five shekels.
26 As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, “Help me, my lord the king!”
27 The king replied, “If the Lord does not help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?” 28 Then he asked her, “What’s the matter?”
She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we’ll eat my son.’
29 So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him.”
30 When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his robes. As he went along the wall, the people looked, and they saw that, under his robes, he had sackcloth on his body. 31 He said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today!”
32 Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. The king sent a messenger ahead, but before he arrived, Elisha said to the elders, “Don’t you see how this murderer is sending someone to cut off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold it shut against him. Is not the sound of his master’s footsteps behind him?” 33 While he was still talking to them, the messenger came down to him.
The king said, “This disaster is from the Lord. Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”
Psalm 86
New International Version (NIV)
Psalm 86
A prayer of David.

Hear me, Lord, and answer me,     for I am poor and needy.

Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;     save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,     for I call to you all day long.

Bring joy to your servant, Lord,     for I put my trust in you.

You, Lord, are forgiving and good,     abounding in love to all who call to you.

Hear my prayer, Lord;     listen to my cry for mercy.

When I am in distress, I call to you,     because you answer me.

Among the gods there is none like you, Lord;     no deeds can compare with yours.

All the nations you have made     will come and worship before you, Lord;     they will bring glory to your name.
10 
For you are great and do marvelous deeds;     you alone are God.
11 
Teach me your way, Lord,     that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart,     that I may fear your name.
12 
I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;     I will glorify your name forever.
13 
For great is your love toward me;     you have delivered me from the depths,     from the realm of the dead.
14 
Arrogant foes are attacking me, O God;     ruthless people are trying to kill me—     they have no regard for you.
15 
But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,     slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
16 
Turn to me and have mercy on me;     show your strength in behalf of your servant; save me, because I serve you     just as my mother did.
17 
Give me a sign of your goodness,     that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,     for you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

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