July 23, 2015

Ezekiel 29-31
In the tenth year, in the tenth month on the twelfth day, the word of the Lord came to me:  “Son of man, set your face against Pharaoh king of Egypt and prophesy against him and against all Egypt. Speak to him and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “‘I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt,...  Egypt will become a desolate wasteland. Then they will know that I am the Lord.“‘Because you said, “The Nile is mine; I made it,”  therefore I am against you and against your streams, and I will make the land of Egypt a ruin and a desolate waste...

“‘Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says: At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians from the nations where they were scattered. I will bring them back from captivity and return them to Upper Egypt, the land of their ancestry. There they will be a lowly kingdom.  It will be the lowliest of kingdoms and will never again exalt itself above the other nations. I will make it so weak that it will never again rule over the nations.  Egypt will no longer be a source of confidence for the people of Israel but will be a reminder of their sin in turning to her for help. Then they will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.’”...

In the twenty-seventh year, in the first month on the first day, the word of the Lord came to me:  “Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon drove his army in a hard campaign against Tyre; every head was rubbed bare and every shoulder made raw. Yet he and his army got no reward from the campaign he led against Tyre. Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am going to give Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will carry off its wealth. He will loot and plunder the land as pay for his army.  I have given him Egypt as a reward for his efforts because he and his army did it for me, declares the Sovereign Lord....

 In the eleventh year, in the first month on the seventh day, the word of the Lord came to me:  “Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt. It has not been bound up to be healed or put in a splint so that it may become strong enough to hold a sword. Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against Pharaoh king of Egypt. I will break both his arms, the good arm as well as the broken one, and make the sword fall from his hand.  I will disperse the Egyptians among the nations and scatter them through the countries.  I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon and put my sword in his hand, but I will break the arms of Pharaoh, and he will groan before him like a mortally wounded man...

God then uses the illustration of a tree when informing the Pharaoh that his country will be cut down like that of Assyria: “Consider Assyria, once a cedar in Lebanon, with beautiful branches overshadowing the forest; it towered on high, its top above the thick foliage. The waters nourished it, deep springs made it grow tall; their streams flowed all around its base and sent their channels to all the trees of the field.  So it towered higher than all the trees of the field; its boughs increased and its branches grew long, spreading because of abundant waters....The cedars in the garden of God could not rival it, nor could the junipers equal its boughs, nor could the plane trees compare with its branches— no tree in the garden of God could match its beauty.  I made it beautiful with abundant branches, the envy of all the trees of Eden in the garden of God.

 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because the great cedar towered over the thick foliage, and because it was proud of its height, I gave it into the hands of the ruler of the nations, for him to deal with according to its wickedness. I cast it aside, and the most ruthless of foreign nations cut it down and left it. Its boughs fell on the mountains and in all the valleys; its branches lay broken in all the ravines of the land. All the nations of the earth came out from under its shade and left it.... Therefore no other trees by the waters are ever to tower proudly on high, lifting their tops above the thick foliage. No other trees so well-watered are ever to reach such a height; they are all destined for death, for the earth below, among mortals who go down to the realm of the dead....

 “‘Which of the trees of Eden can be compared with you in splendor and majesty? Yet you, too, will be brought down with the trees of Eden to the earth below; you will lie among the uncircumcised, with those killed by the sword.

“‘This is Pharaoh and all his hordes, declares the Sovereign Lord”                                

Acts 18
Paul went to Corinth and moved in with Aquila and Pricilla while working as a tentmaker though every Sabbath went to the meeting place to do his best to convince both Jews and Greeks about Jesus 

Once Timothy and Silas arrived, Paul was able to give all his time to preaching and teaching... but to no luck - all they did was argue contentiously and contradict him at every turn.  Totally exasperated, Paul had finally had it with them & gave it up as a bad job.  He walked out and went to the home of Titius Justus, a God-fearing man who lived right next to the meeting place.  But Paul’s efforts with the Jews were not a total loss for Crispus, president of the meeting place, put his trust in the Master & his entire family believed with him. In the course of listening to Paul, a great many Corinthians believed and were baptized. 

One night the master spoke to Paul in a dream to keep it up and don’t let anyone intimidate or silence you.  No matter what happens, I am with you and no one is going to be able to hurt you.  You have no idea how many people I have on my side in this city.  That is all he needed to stick it out.  He stayed another year & a half, faithfully teaching the Word of God to the Corinthians.
                                        
Paul later sailed to Syria with Aquila and Pricilla who stayed in Ephesus where they met Apollos, a terrific speaker, eloquent & powerful in his preaching, well educated in the way of the Master and fiery in his enthusiasm.  He was accurate in everything he taught about Jesus up to a point but only went as far as the baptism of John.  So Aquila and Pricilla took him aside & told him the rest of the story prior to him moving on with the recommendation of the Ephesians for those he came in contact with to be welcoming.  This welcoming paid off as Apollos became a great help to those who had become believers as he was particularly effective in public debate with the Jews as he used proof from the Scripture that Jesus was in fact the Messiah.