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terrorist September 11 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Ezra 4:1-5, 24; Haggai, Zechariah 1-6

Don't Be Intimidated!

September 11, 2001 will always be a date in American history that will be remembered - the day terrorists flew two planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and third into the Pentagon, and a fourth plane, which was foiled in its attempt due to the heroic efforts of some passengers. It crashed it into a Pennsylvania field. Altogether, almost 3,000 Americans lost their lives on that day. Many nations before and after that time have faced terrorism and have their own stories. Perhaps your present circumstances are not so dire, but they can be very threatening. Perhaps you or your Christian organizations are hated. Perhaps people threaten you or take malicious actions against you. Even if you knew it was God’s will for you to do something in the beginning, perhaps because of opposition you now think it is not God’s will. So, you stop the work. However, God gets glory triumphing over opposition. In fact, if it was easy, would God get any glory at all? Would anyone come to know God any better or see his works and say, “only God could do that”?

By God’s sovereign will and his grace, King Cyrus of Persia had signed a proclamation allowing any Israelites in captivity to return to their land and rebuild their temple. He even supplied the money and materials to do it. Zerubbabel became the governor of the area and Jeshua (Joshua) was the high priest. Only a remnant of Israel returned because they had grown comfortable in their captivity. Within a few months Israel started the project, but when they faced opposition from neighboring nations they stopped. God was displeased and sent the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to them with his messages.

Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai:

“Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house [meaning the temple] remains a ruin?" Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it." This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored," says the LORD (Haggai 1:3-8, NIV).

God sent famine to the Jews and took away their prosperity because they dishonored him and cared only for their own lives. When the people heard the message from God, they feared him and repented. God stirred up the governor of Jerusalem, Zerubbabel, and the high priest, Jeshua, and all the people, and once again they began the work of rebuilding the temple. God gave assuring words, “I am with you,” and, Do not be afraid; my Spirit is with you, and, Be strong and do the work, (Haggai 1:13; 2:4,5). Is God with you? He can give you forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life. He can give you his protection and favor (more...)

God even prophesied a future hope for Israel. Has God removed our blessings? Have things gone from bad to worse? We need to return to the work of the LORD and remember our Almighty God will also be with us. Let us not become self-absorbed in our own daily lives and neglect the work of God. Let us honor him and be busy about the work. God will be with us and help us through adversities. At times things may be a little rough in this life, but we have a bright future in heaven.

Zechariah’s message, which was written just about the same time as Haggai (compare Zechariah 1:1 and Haggai 2:10), also gives encouragement to Israel to return to God and rebuild the temple. The theme of Zechariah is: Return, Rise Up, and Rebuild. It is the same basic message of Haggai.

Why does Zechariah repeat Haggai’s message? Perhaps they were not listening, or perhaps they were fearful and needed another witness and encouragement from God’s Word.

This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the LORD Almighty.

The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me [Zechariah] to you, (Zechariah 4:6,9, NIV).

Zechariah is couched in symbolism and apocalyptic literature. Symbolism gets people’s attention; the more bizarre the images are the more we remember them. Perhaps, like Ezekiel, Zechariah was told to prophesy in symbols to get Israel’s attention.

Like most Bible prophecies, Zechariah’s prophecy was partially fulfilled in the present time and will be completely fulfilled in a future time (we discussed this in our last devotional, September 10). In Israel’s future there will be a time of great world-wide peace and prosperity when her enemies are destroyed and Christ rules and reigns on the earth. Today’s Bible study, however, gives encouragement to the Jewish people to repent, return, rise up, and build. For clues to interpreting prophetic literature and some interpretations of Zechariah’s night visions, see the more… page.

Lessons to live by:

  • Is God with you? He can give you forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life. He can give you his protection and favor (more...)
  • Do not be discouraged in the work of the LORD. Be strong and be encouraged because God is in your midst.
  • If you have quit the work of the LORD, repent, return, rise up, and get to work. Laziness, neglect or self-absorption dishonors God, and God’s blessing upon you will be removed. Obedience honors God and brings his blessings.

Today’s Bible memory verse: “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it,” (Philippians 1:6, NIV).

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