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July 7 - Morning

"The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,     but the Lord tests the heart."
- Proverbs 17:3

The Lord Refines and We Repent


Ancient metal workers would remove the pure silver and gold from their impurities by heating the metal until it was in liquid form (gold melts at 1,945 degrees F and silver at 1,761 degrees F). Often the metal workers would use a clay oven with 2 small openings in the bottom (one for blowing/fanning/bellowing the flame, and the other for pouring out the metal). This refining process made it possible to identify and remove the impurities from the gold and silver. The Word of the Lord is pure like metal refined in these ways (see Psalm 12:6).

Proverbs 17:3 speaks of the “crucible” (Heb. masrep) being used to test the purity of silver and a melting oven (Heb. sarap) for testing the genuineness of gold with the process of cupellation.  In the second half of the Proverbs 17:3, God is the one who tests the human heart. The Lord testing the heart is also seen in Proverbs 21:2 and 24:12 and Psalm 17:3; 66:10).

The good news is that the Lord is not merely testing us and finding the weaknesses in our character and the flaws in our nature so he can judge us. The use of the crucible and the furnace as illustrations of the Lord’s work indicates God is also interested in helping us get rid of these weaknesses and flaws just like the metal worker does with gold and silver. The Lord is not just in the process of judging us, but is in the process of purifying us.  

This is seen in these verses using the refining of metal as an illustration:

Besides the Lord testing us and refining us one of the most important steps in this process is our participation. We have to be willing to remove the impurities or the dross. As the Lord says to Jeremiah, we must be willing to repent for the process to be completed.

“Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman. Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them.’ ” - Jeremiah 15:19

In Psalm 139:23-24 David asks to know his imperfections, because he can only remove the impurities and the flaws that he can see.

If we do not repent and willingly remove the impurities then the Lord will be bellowing (fanning the flame) and refining us in vain as is described in Jeremiah 6:29-30:

"The bellows blow fiercely to burn away the lead with fire, but the refining goes on in vain; the wicked are not purged out. They are called rejected silver, because the Lord has rejected them.”

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Nekar (Hb) - Stranger (Eng) - The Hebrew word nekar (nkr) means “stranger” or “foreign land.” As a verb nekar appears in:

Genesis 42:7 - "As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger."

Proverbs 26:24 as “Enemies disguise themselves with their lips,     but in their hearts they harbor deceit.”

Jeremiah 19:4 as “to make strange” in, "For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned incense in it to gods that neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent."

Deuteronomy 32:27 as "misunderstand" in, "Had I not feared provocation by the enemy,     lest their adversaries should misunderstand, lest they should say, 'Our hand is triumphant,     it was not the Lord who did all this.' ”
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I will not resist the Lord's refining in my life.
I will identify, repent and remove the impurities that are exposed when I am tested.


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Bible Reading Descriptions Here

Narrative

Complete Text

General Text



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Personal

Ask for Godly counsel and friends

Church

Love and selflessness

World

Indonesia

Nation

Local community groups


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The south wall of the Jerusalem Temple Mount as it looks today compared with a model of the way it looked in 66 AD. (Details)
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Details of Ezekiel's prophecy in Ezekiel 38 and 39 on a map.
2 Samuel 15
New International Version (NIV)
Absalom’s Conspiracy
15 In the course of time, Absalom provided himself with a chariot and horses and with fifty men to run ahead of him. He would get up early and stand by the side of the road leading to the city gate. Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed before the king for a decision, Absalom would call out to him, “What town are you from?” He would answer, “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.” Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to hear you.” And Absalom would add, “If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that they receive justice.”
Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him. Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the people of Israel.
At the end of four years, Absalom said to the king, “Let me go to Hebron and fulfill a vow I made to the Lord. While your servant was living at Geshur in Aram, I made this vow: ‘If the Lord takes me back to Jerusalem, I will worship the Lord in Hebron.’”
The king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he went to Hebron.
10 Then Absalom sent secret messengers throughout the tribes of Israel to say, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpets, then say, ‘Absalom is king in Hebron.’” 11 Two hundred men from Jerusalem had accompanied Absalom. They had been invited as guests and went quite innocently, knowing nothing about the matter. 12 While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he also sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, to come from Giloh, his hometown. And so the conspiracy gained strength, and Absalom’s following kept on increasing.
David Flees
13 A messenger came and told David, “The hearts of the people of Israel are with Absalom.”
14 Then David said to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, “Come! We must flee, or none of us will escape from Absalom. We must leave immediately, or he will move quickly to overtake us and bring ruin on us and put the city to the sword.”
15 The king’s officials answered him, “Your servants are ready to do whatever our lord the king chooses.”
16 The king set out, with his entire household following him; but he left ten concubines to take care of the palace. 17 So the king set out, with all the people following him, and they halted at the edge of the city. 18 All his men marched past him, along with all the Kerethites and Pelethites; and all the six hundred Gittites who had accompanied him from Gath marched before the king.
19 The king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why should you come along with us? Go back and stay with King Absalom. You are a foreigner, an exile from your homeland. 20 You came only yesterday. And today shall I make you wander about with us, when I do not know where I am going? Go back, and take your people with you. May the Lord show you kindness and faithfulness.”
21 But Ittai replied to the king, “As surely as the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether it means life or death, there will your servant be.”
22 David said to Ittai, “Go ahead, march on.” So Ittai the Gittite marched on with all his men and the families that were with him.
23 The whole countryside wept aloud as all the people passed by. The king also crossed the Kidron Valley, and all the people moved on toward the wilderness.
24 Zadok was there, too, and all the Levites who were with him were carrying the ark of the covenant of God. They set down the ark of God, and Abiathar offered sacrifices until all the people had finished leaving the city.
25 Then the king said to Zadok, “Take the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the Lord’s eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his dwelling place again. 26 But if he says, ‘I am not pleased with you,’ then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him.”
27 The king also said to Zadok the priest, “Do you understand? Go back to the city with my blessing. Take your son Ahimaaz with you, and also Abiathar’s son Jonathan. You and Abiathar return with your two sons. 28 I will wait at the fords in the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.” 29 So Zadok and Abiathar took the ark of God back to Jerusalem and stayed there.
30 But David continued up the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went; his head was covered and he was barefoot. All the people with him covered their heads too and were weeping as they went up. 31 Now David had been told, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” So David prayed, “Lord, turn Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness.”
32 When David arrived at the summit, where people used to worship God, Hushai the Arkite was there to meet him, his robe torn and dust on his head. 33 David said to him, “If you go with me, you will be a burden to me. 34 But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, ‘Your Majesty, I will be your servant; I was your father’s servant in the past, but now I will be your servant,’ then you can help me by frustrating Ahithophel’s advice. 35 Won’t the priests Zadok and Abiathar be there with you? Tell them anything you hear in the king’s palace. 36 Their two sons, Ahimaaz son of Zadok and Jonathan son of Abiathar, are there with them. Send them to me with anything you hear.”
37 So Hushai, David’s confidant, arrived at Jerusalem as Absalom was entering the city.
Jeremiah 29
New International Version (NIV)
A Letter to the Exiles
29 This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. (This was after King Jehoiachin and the queen mother, the court officials and the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the skilled workers and the artisans had gone into exile from Jerusalem.) He entrusted the letter to Elasah son of Shaphan and to Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. It said:
This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord.
10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
15 You may say, “The Lord has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,” 16 but this is what the Lord says about the king who sits on David’s throne and all the people who remain in this city, your fellow citizens who did not go with you into exile— 17 yes, this is what the Lord Almighty says: “I will send the sword, famine and plague against them and I will make them like figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten. 18 I will pursue them with the sword, famine and plague and will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth, a curse and an object of horror, of scorn and reproach, among all the nations where I drive them. 19 For they have not listened to my words,” declares the Lord, “words that I sent to them again and again by my servants the prophets. And you exiles have not listened either,” declares the Lord.
20 Therefore, hear the word of the Lord, all you exiles whom I have sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon. 21 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says about Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah, who are prophesying lies to you in my name: “I will deliver them into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will put them to death before your very eyes. 22 Because of them, all the exiles from Judah who are in Babylon will use this curse: ‘May the Lord treat you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon burned in the fire.’ 23 For they have done outrageous things in Israel; they have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives, and in my name they have uttered lies—which I did not authorize. I know it and am a witness to it,” declares the Lord.
Message to Shemaiah
24 Tell Shemaiah the Nehelamite, 25 “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: You sent letters in your own name to all the people in Jerusalem, to the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, and to all the other priests. You said to Zephaniah, 26 ‘The Lord has appointed you priest in place of Jehoiada to be in charge of the house of the Lord; you should put any maniac who acts like a prophet into the stocks and neck-irons. 27 So why have you not reprimanded Jeremiah from Anathoth, who poses as a prophet among you? 28 He has sent this message to us in Babylon: It will be a long time. Therefore build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.’”
29 Zephaniah the priest, however, read the letter to Jeremiah the prophet. 30 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 31 “Send this message to all the exiles: ‘This is what the Lord says about Shemaiah the Nehelamite: Because Shemaiah has prophesied to you, even though I did not send him, and has persuaded you to trust in lies, 32 this is what the Lord says: I will surely punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his descendants. He will have no one left among this people, nor will he see the good things I will do for my people, declares the Lord, because he has preached rebellion against me.’”
Jonah 1-2
New International Version (NIV)
Jonah Flees From the Lord
The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.
Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.
But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep.
The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.”
Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”
He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”
10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.)
11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”
12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”
13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.
Jonah’s Prayer
17 Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said:
“In my distress I called to the Lord,     and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,     and you listened to my cry.

You hurled me into the depths,     into the very heart of the seas,     and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers     swept over me.

I said, ‘I have been banished     from your sight; yet I will look again     toward your holy temple.’

The engulfing waters threatened me,     the deep surrounded me;     seaweed was wrapped around my head.

To the roots of the mountains I sank down;     the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, Lord my God,     brought my life up from the pit.

“When my life was ebbing away,     I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you,     to your holy temple.

“Those who cling to worthless idols     turn away from God’s love for them.

But I, with shouts of grateful praise,     will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good.     I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”
10 And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
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"Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less."
- C. S. Lewis


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The Hebrew word Messiah means “to smear, or anoint” and is simply called the “Anointed One” by Daniel. The Greek word for “the anointed one” is christos or, in English, “Christ”. The word Christ means “the anointed one”, or the Messiah.


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(PART ONE OF FOUR) Leen Ritmeyer has possibly identified the location of the temple, the Most Holy Place and the place in the bedrock on Mount Moriah where the Ark of the Covenant was set. The foundation bedrock that protrudes out of Mount Moriah that is today under the Dome of the Rock has been examined by Leen Ritmeyer. Ritmeyer’s research has made four conclusions:

#1 of 4 - 1 Kings 6:20 describes Solomon’s inner sanctuary for the Holy of Holies in the Temple as 20 royal cuits long by 20 royal cubits wide and 20 royal cubits high. Ritmeyer found the trench used for the foundation of the southern wall to be 34 feet 5 inches (exactly 20 royal cubits) from a rock scarp on the north side projecting above the level surface which would have been the north wall. (Image 1, 2) (Details 1, 2)


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"My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment,
do not let them out of your sight...when you lie down,
you will not be afraid;
when you lie down,
your sleep will be sweet."

- Proverbs 3:21, 24


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