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Psalm 29 (NKJV)
4
The voice of the LORD is powerful;
5
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars, yes, the LORD splinters the cedars of Lebanon.

NOTE:
I note that God's Word "breaks" and "splinters".

This makes me think of two verses.

One verse is from Psalm 25 on which I am still meditating. The other verse is from Jeremiah 23.

Psalm 25 (NKJV)
12
Who is the man that fears the LORD? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.

Jeremiah 23 (NKJV)
29
“ Is not My word like a fire?” says the LORD, “ And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?

~~~

Only God can teach us His way; we only find our joy in Him.

God's Word breaks through human sin and indifference-- as we meditate on, fear, and worship the Lord.

Vance

All of the excitement and drama in Ezra about rebuilding the temple really sets the scene for these verses in the first letter to the Corinthians about building up the body of believers. We are the temple!:

10By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

16Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? 17If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple.

I really like the comparison between the temple of God (building built by men at God's direction) and we are the temple.

The only way we can glorify God and properly honor the Lord Himself, Who is the Spirit, is to live for God's glory.

God "shall He teach in the way He chooses". (Psalm 25).

This makes me think of the following verses:

Psalm 115 (NKJV)
1
Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but to Your name give glory, because of Your mercy, because of Your truth.

Philippians 2 (NKJV)
12
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
13
for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Vance

I am really struck by what means the Jews were able to convince Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes, kings of Persia, to not only send them back to rebuild the temple, but the provide the articles Nebuchadnezzar had removed and to remove any obstacles (threats?) to them as they rebuilt the temple. I think the Jews had to be pretty wonderful witnesses of God's providence, love, glory, mercy, and justice.

How I hope I too can be that kind of witness to Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Ezra

1)By going back to work on the temple, another round of letters was initiated. And once it was found that Cyrus did in fact authorize the rebuilding of the temple - Darius was bound to let them continue, as a decree from a Persian king could not be rescinded. Perhaps his "extra" commands were to make up for previous stoppage, inspired by God, admiration of Jewish perseverance, to counter the perceived devious nature of Israel's neighbors, or some combination of all the above.

2)In verse Ezra6:21 the Israelites celebrated passover with "all" who had separated themselves from the unclean practices of their Gentile(Samarians?)neighbors. So the Israelites had rejected the help earlier of Samarians, but when some truly sought God they allowed them to worship at Passover.

3)Was a little troubled by the term "King of Assyria" in verse 22, as I thought Ezra author was referring to Cyrus the Great. Did some checking. Turns out King of Assyria was one of Cyrus' titles as his grandfather had completed conquering of Assyria. Cyrus inherited the title and went on to build the Persian Empire.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrus_the_Great

1Cor3

[Note: The 200 or so Christians are surrounded by some 400,000 to 650,000 (varying estimates on record) Corinthians, who to a large degree still hold up the Greek tradition of wisdom (seeking of truth by man). Although Greece has been in decline - the Corinthian would still like to use human logic to figure things out.]

The Corinthian brethern are Christians, but they are still influenced by their surroundings being babes in Christ.

Paul calling them "wordly" Gk. "sarkikos",when used of a person, means “characterized by the flesh.” It speaks of the one who can and should do differently but does not. - David Guzik

The Corinthians are making the mistake of ascribing the gospel to man (Paul, Apollos, Peter) when it is God's Word - God's message. This glorifies man, and not the source - GOD.
======================================================
Two Metaphors

Plants
Paul plants the seed (Gospel), Apollos waters(encourages and exhorts), but it is God who will make you grow (unsaid - through the Holy Spirit in you). This is God's thing, not mans.

Building - temple
Now when you grow by God the acts you do are like building on the foundation - which is Christ. You are one in Christ so you are in that foundation, but the building is what you do with your life as a Christian.

gold, silver, costly stones: created things

wood, hay or straw: things that grow naturally.

So do the things that God creates in you through the Holy Spirit, and not the things that come from the world (naturally).

Because in the end "fire" will test your workmanship. Note: fire will not purify you, but test your work. Remember this is a metaphor.

"Notice that the amount of the work isn’t going to be evaluated (though it does have some relevance). Paul says the work will be tested to see what sort it is. If one did a lot of the wrong sort of work, it will be as if he did nothing. His work will be burned and will vanish in eternity. D.L. Moody wisely said that converts ought to be weighed as well as counted." - David Guzik

If it stands you will receive rewards in heaven (2Cor5:10). If it all burns up you are still saved, but you will suffer the loss of rewards. Your building may burn up, but the foundation will survive through the flames. Remember - again a metaphor. (and of course there is some middle ground of some part of building surviving and other parts burned up.)

So cut out the ways of the world and figuring out things through man's wisdom. Get to basics - Salvation is from God (Jesus - "Jehova is Salvation"), growth is from God, and if you center on God your building will be built with worthy materials.

This is the message of Paul, Apollos, and Peter, no matter the presentation style. You are of Christ, and Christ is of God.

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