Ezra 4:24-6:22 ~ 1 Corinthians 3:5-23 ~ Psalm 29:1-11 ~ Proverbs 20:26-27
Today is the 7th day of August. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian. It is a pleasure and an honor to be here with you today as we take the next step forward in the scriptures this year. And we’re kind of getting into the thick of the story in the book of Ezra now. So, we listed all of the people who came out of exile back to Jerusalem to rebuild and we’ve begun to see that, even though there was the decree of the emperor to allow this, there were people back in the land that had no interest whatsoever in the Hebrew people being able to come back to their homeland and rebuild anything. And, so, there is some political intrigue and we’ll continue with the story. Ezra chapter 4 verse 24 through chapter 6 verse 22 today. And we’re reading from the Good News translation this week.
Alright, as we continue with Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth, also known as First Corinthians we kind of run into this issue that is a bit of an issue for the early church. And that’s basically the exaltation of the messenger. So, the one speaking the word, their kind of thrown up on this pedestal. And honoring the person in that position, that’s not the issue. It’s that they were trying to own this person, own this person’s a message and say, we are the right ones and everything else is nuanced or wrong. And this kind of began with the issue of whether or not gentiles were allowed into the Kingdom of God. Because that was a new and big thought, especially for the Hebrew believers. And so, there are people in this time of the early church, definitely speaking the gospel of Jesus, but nuancing how you arrive there. And, so, people would be, like, I am of Apollos, which is essentially saying, whatever Apollo’s is saying that’s what I believe. Or I am of Paul, which is saying, whatever Paul says, that’s what I believe or Peter or whoever. Paul is basically disavowing that notion by saying, who is a Apollos, who is Paul. We’re simply servants. We just happened to be the ones that were there and led you to believe. But we’re part of a larger story, a greater whole, and each person needs to be doing the work that the Lord gave them to do. And, so, it doesn’t really matter your name or your status. In my case, Paul is saying, I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plant, but it was God that made this whole thing grow. And, so, without that component none of this matters at all. This all comes back to God. And we are all collaborating. Or as Paul would say. We are partners working together for God and you were God’s field that we working in. But God is the foundation of it all. And, so, what Paul continues to do is invite us to own our lives, our actions, our faith, everything, instead of simply saying, this person’s my pastor, this person’s my leader, this person’s, like, a spiritual influence in my life, whatever they say, that’s what I believe. So, the way Paul puts this is, you are God’s building. And using the gift that God gave me, I laid the foundation. Someone else is building on that foundation. But each of you must be careful how you build because Jesus, and this is me paraphrasing Paul, because Jesus is the only true foundation. There can be no other foundation laid. But what gets built on that foundation, that’s where you come in. Some are going to use gold or silver or precious stones in building on the foundation. Others will use wood or grass or straw. And the quality of each person’s work will be seen when the day that Christ exposes it. So, like, what Paul is saying is, there is a foundation, it is sure, it is true. We are all building upon that foundation. We are all built upon that foundation. And we have to own our actions and faith and lives and relationships as we build upon the foundation because at the end of it all when I go be able to say, well, I was just following so-and-so and whatever they said, I believed that. I’m of Apollos, I’m of Paul, I’m of whoever. Paul’s saying, hey, look, fine but there is one foundation and you are building something upon that foundation in your faith and in the end you won’t be able to say, I was just following so-and-so. You will have to answer, individually, to God for what you built. And if what was built, and I’m quoting from First Corinthians now, if what was built on the foundation survives the fire, the fire of exposure before God, then the builder will receive a reward. But if your work is burned all up, well then, not so much. But you, yourself, will be saved. You’re on the foundation but it does matter what you build. And then Paul returns to this example that was all through Romans, this idea of how backward we look at things, how the world’s wisdom, the most wisdom that we have is, actually, nonsense to God, and then how the gospel seems like nonsense to the world. He returns to that theme in this context by saying, you should not fool yourself. If any of you think that you’re wise by this world’s standard you should become a fool in order to be really wise, which is simply echoes of what Jesus had been saying throughout all of His ministry. What this world considers to be wisdom is nonsense in God’s sight. So, nobody should be boasting about what man can do, what their leader said, and what they believe in. There should be no boasting in that. And there’s a reason though. It’s not really humility that Paul’s talking about. It’s bigger than that. It’s a lot bigger than that. Paul is saying, look, these are kind of like small arguments - I follow so-and-so, I do this this way, this is my custom, this is my ritual, it is right and you are wrong - this is all beside the point. The point is, and I’m quoting from First Corinthians again, actually, everything belongs to you - Paul does, Apollos does, Peter does. This world belongs to you - life and death, the present in the future - all these are yours. And you belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God. So, Paul is saying, this kind of jostling for identity and who you’re following or what you’re doing to build upon the foundation, this search for yourself, you’re going about this the wrong way. It all already belongs to you because of the foundation, Jesus, you are a joint heir in God’s Kingdom. It’s all already yours. So, you don’t have to be following this one person and he’s the only person and whatever he says or whatever she says, that’s what you do and that’s what you believe. You’ve got to own this but in owning this and in building upon this foundation you should be aware that it’s all already yours. In other words, we already have what we need. We are all heirs to this Kingdom that we are a part of and it’s all already ours because we belong to Christ and Christ belongs God, which means we belong to God through Christ.
It’s pretty huge stuff. We need to slow down and examine our motives in our faith. What are we after here? What are we going for? What are we trying to reach for? What are we trying to build? Who are we trying to follow? Why are we trying to follow them? Is it because we’re too afraid to own our own faith and enter into a first person relationship in collaboration with God? What are the motives here? Because at the end of it all what we’re going to discover is, it was all already ours. We don’t have to be jostling for this identity in someone else, only in Christ, the foundation, which allows us to pursue God with all of our heart, mind, and strength, personally, and walk in collaboration in this life with him and not need to find some sort of substitute that we follow instead in order to get an identity. Our identity can be found in Christ and Christ alone.
Father, we give up then. If that’s what you’re saying, then we throw up our hands and surrender. And what we’re surrendering is our identity to You so that we are truly in pursuit of ‘it no longer being we who live but you who lives within us’. And, so, it is only You who can give us an identity. And we’ve been following the foolishness of the world, the wisdom of the world that is nonsense in your site, and trying to get an identity some other way. So, we invite You into the deepest parts of ourselves because when we’re talking about identity, we certainly have the layer of personality, the things that we present, but underneath that there is our identity. We’re inviting You into that place, the truest most guarded, most fragile, most true place within us. We invite You there to give us our true identity, sons and daughters of the most-high God. And you have already invited us and grafted us into your family. It’s all already ours. Come Holy Spirit and awaken this within us because if we believe this was true, if we believe this were true down in the deepest parts of our identity, at the truest place inside of us, so many of the constructs that we have built upon this foundation to arrive at an identity, they fall down. They’re like straw. They’re like hay. Because they’re not going anywhere. It’s all already ours. So, come Holy Spirit, dismantle what You must, rearrange what You will, order us properly, bestow upon us an identity that is unshakable because it comes from You and You alone. We submit ourselves to You and we walk with You away from the things that don’t matter and into a life of collaboration. Come Holy Spirit we pray. In Jesus’ name, we ask. Amen.
dailyaudiobible.com is the website. It’s home base. It’s where you find out what’s going on around here. So, be sure to check it out. Check out the Daily Audio Bible shop for resources that are available. Check out the Prayer Wall. Pray for someone while you’re there. Plant seeds. Build something beautiful on this foundation of Christ and Christ alone through prayer at the prayer wall. It’s a great place to connect. And you can find out everywhere we are on social media. And we are likely wherever you are. So, let’s connect and let’s stay connected. That’s what we are as a community. So, check that out.
If you want to partner with the Daily Audio Bible, in the mission that we share, this global camp fire that warms and illuminates our path every day. We do this together. That’s how it’s always been done. If you want to partner with the Daily Audio Bible, you can do that at dailyaudiobible.com. There’s a link on the homepage. If you’re using the Daily Audio Bible app, you can press the More button in the lower right hand corner or if you prefer, the mailing address is PO Box 1996 Spring Hill TN 37174.
And of course, as always, if you have a prayer request or comment, there are a number of numbers you can use depending on where you are in the world. If you are in the Americas 877-942-4253 is the number to call. If you are in the UK or Europe 44-20-3608-8078. If you are in Australia, that part of the world, 61-3-8820-5459 is the number to dial.
And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayers and Praise Reports:
Hello Daily Audio Bible listeners, this is Diane Allice B. from Newburgh, Indiana. I’ve been watching and listening and just gaining so much out of my Daily Audio Bible readings. And lately I’ve been listening to the community prayer requests and I want you to know I’m praying over you, especially those who are wanting children. I have a good praise report, that me and my prayer partners, and our prayer groups have been praying for many, many, many years for grandchildren. And in December of 2014 my daughter had a grandbaby. And, also, she got married, then she got pregnant, and then she moved from her place in San Antonio Texas to Evansville Indiana, 3 blocks from the University of Indiana, where my husband is chair of the physics department. So, don’t ever give up. Don’t ever give up. Keep your prayers going. If you’re looking for a husband or a wife or a child, I have been there. My sister, my little sister had miscarriages and our prayer team prayed through two girls for her that have now graduated from college. So, nothing, nothing, nothing, is impossible to God. You just keep it up keep it. Keep it up. Keep after your heart. Your heart desires a husband or a wife or a child? God’s got that for you. Shalom, Shalom.
Hi, good morning. This is Carey from California. Today I would like to lift up my baby brother to all of you for prayer. I lift him up to Christ because he doesn’t believe that prayer works. He just is always going through so many trials because he’s an alcoholic and he can’t handle it. And last night he wrecked the work truck and he’ll probably lose his job, again. And blames everybody but himself. I just pray that he would find complete healing and grow close to God again because that’s where he will be saved. I just need healing for my baby brother so I can have him back, have the brother that I love back. I thank you everybody for your prayers.
Hi DABbers. This is His little Sherri from Canada and there have been a couple of ladies who called in recently who really grabbed my heart - Karen in St. Louis and another lady in Houston, I think, who talked about their overwhelming longing for a mate. O, I feel like there’s so much I could say but I think the Lord just wants me to remind you today of something you already know. He understands. He really does. And not in some ‘I’m God so I know everything’ abstract way. He actually knows how you feel. I mean, imagine Jesus, a 30-year-old man, still single, watching another one of his brothers or sisters get married. His nieces and nephews running around the wedding, squealing and climbing up on their grandmother Mary’s lap. I can’t imagine that in moments like that, Jesus didn’t feel twinges of longing. Don’t you think? I mean, the fully human Jesus must have felt lonely at times but, ultimately, he chose to trust that his dreams would come true in God’s time and in God’s way and they did and they will. Right? And you’re a part of that. You’re a part of His bride. So, I am praying that God would give you a human husband and a family but to be honest my more, sincere, prayer is that you and I and women especially would experience the reality of Hosea 2:16, in that day declares the Lord, you will no longer call me your master, you will call me my husband. So, I carry you in my heart ladies. I’m praying and I’ll keep praying. God bless you today.
Morning everyone. This is ___ Jill and the family. ___ I’ve only been listening for about a year but it’s still amazing, even how on my bad days how it can be really difficult to get going. But you’ve been doing this for over 10 years, apparently, and that’s just amazing. So, thank you for your ministry and thank you for your family. I pray blessings over all of you in the name of Jesus. I hope that you continue to keep going with this ministry and feel strengthened each day and I pray God will ___ and that you continue to be loyal. Thank you for your loyalty again and your reading. Bye-bye.
Good morning DAB family. This is Shirley from south eastern Washington. I just got through listening to the DAB and reading it along with Brian. Brain and Jill, thank you so much for this ministry. It reaches so many and I look forward to it in the mornings. I want to say thank you to Drew in the Bay area for that word of encouragement. It helped me. I’ve been praying for healing for a while now and I’m believing that God is healing me. And for those who are praying and feel discouraged, don’t, because God is there. He’s always listening. He’s always there. Never give up. He never gives up on us. Thank you again, Drew from the bay area. God bless you all. Have a great day and a great weekend. Bye.