Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode 603 · 5 months ago

Command to Build

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Haggai 1

Come to know you and that through you you would, you would save us from the world, from ourselves, from the power of the evil one who would seek to separate us from you. Lord, you have bound US close to you and such a way that nothing can ever separate us from you. We ask even now that you would draw near to us in your word, that we might be comforted, assured and strengthened in the confession of our faith in you. We pray this in Jesus name. A men, brothers and sisters, if you're able to remain standing, please do so and let's try our attention to Hagi, chapter one. Hagi, Chapter One HIG I is a small book. Yet the very end of the Old Testament. There's only two other books after it, I believe, yes, so you'll find it right at the end in my Bible. It's only on one page, front and back, so it's really easy to miss. So I'll give you a second to turn there. We're going to read Hagi one this morning and focus on the first eleven verses in the sermon this morning. In the next week we'll look at twelve through fifteen, or, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. We're going to focus on chapter one. In the next week will look at chapter two. So let's give our attention to God's word. It is good for us. Let's hear it. In the second year of King of Darius, the king, and the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the hand of Hagi the Prophet to zero Babel, the son of Shale Teal, governor of Judah, and to Joshua, the son of Jeosedak, the high priest. Thus says the Lord of hosts. These people say the time is not yet come to rebuild the house of Lord. Then the word of the Lord came by the hand of Hagi the Prophet. Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your says while this house lies in ruins? Thus says the Lord of hosts. Consider your ways. You have sown much and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough. You drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm, and he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes. Thus says the Lord of hosts. Consider your ways, go up to the hills and bring wood and build the House that I may take pleasure in it, glorified, says the Lord. You looked for much and behold, it came to little, and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why, declares the Lord of hosts? Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. Therefore, the heavens above you have withheld the D and the earth has withheld its produce, and I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast and on all their labors. Then Ze Rebeb all, the son of Shelti, all in Joshua, the son of Jeosedak, the high priest, with all the remnants of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord, their God, and the words of Haggi, the Prophet, as the Lord, their God, had sent him, and the people feared the Lord. Then Hagi, the Messenger of the Lord, spoke to the people with the Lord's message. I am with you, declares the Lord, and the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerebebel, the son of...

Shealtiol, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua, the son of Jeosdak, the high priest and the spirit of all the remnant of the people, and they came and worked on the House of the Lord of God, the Lord of hosts, their God, on the twenty four day of the month, in the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king, you may be seated. Right from the very first verse we get a sense that this book and the events that are happening at this book are happening in a very particular time and place in history, in the second year of Darius the king, the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the hat, by the hand of Hagi, the Prophet. What is what is the context of these verses? Who is Darius the king? WHO IS HAGI? It's helpful to know a little bit of background before we get in to the text. In five hundred and eighty seven, nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple of God. Nebuchadnezzar, not named here because it's happening earlier, Great King of Babylon. He destroyed the Temple of God and then, about fifty years later, another king, a King of another country, the country of Persia. Cyrus captured Babylon. Right, so one king took over another, and that man Cyrus, the King of Persia, by the command of God, amazingly commanded the people who were in exile because Nebuchadnezzar had taken them out of their country. Commanded the people of God to return back to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. An amazing thing, right, the King of Persia commanding that the Temple of God be rebuilt. Not only that, he gave them wealth from the temple that Nebuchadnezzar had taken out and sent it back with them. Now we know from the book of Ezra, another book in the Old Testament, that among those people who came out of first battle and then Persia, came out of Persia and went back, were Hagi and rebebel and Joshua. These people who are mentioned here in the book, Hagi, the Prophet, is a Rebebel, the governor of Judah, and Joshua the high priest. We also know from the book of Ezra that the first thing that they did when they came back was they rebuilt the altar. They rebuilt the altar to God so that sacrifices could be offered, and sacrifices were offered. After that they build the foundation of the temple, but then the project kind of hit some snags. There were enemies around them who didn't want this to continue on. They didn't want the work project, the building of the temple, to happen. They opposed God and his people and there was sort of some hiccups at first and then eventually it just stopped. And then for about forty years after the people had returned, the temple lay in complete undone. And do you remember? Some of you may remember when the housing bubble collapsed in two thousand and eight a lot of building just stopped right. Remember this? You could drive around and there would be neighborhoods right houses that there would be maybe a foundation and some frame and that...

...was it. You know, maybe even bags of cement and other things lying around. But where are the workers? And you drive back the next there's no workers that you drive by next said nothing's happening these houses, these they're just sitting there undone. That work had had stopped and the project lay unfinished. What was like that with the House of God started and then just stopped almost for a whole generation, forty years. However, not all the building projects stopped in the land of Israel. God's house lay unfinished. But as he has, Hag I says, is through. The Lord says to Hagi. You, however, he says, the people are in paneled houses. It's not. We're not exactly sure what paneled means, whether it's a roofing thing or something having to do with the walls, but nevertheless, there's this sense of finishing right. There's a sense in which the house is weren't just constructed, but they were really finished right. They were brought to a completion, and even in a nice way. These aren't near just sort of tents and that people are living in there. They're wimming and built solid houses. Meanwhile, the House of the Lord was remained unfinished. So as they looked around them, perhaps for quite some time, you know, people are talking about, Oh, where did you grow up? All over there is my childhood home. You know, you could bike around in your neighborhood or whatever. There was a sense of completeness in the people's lives, but all was not well in the land. Scriptures tell us that there was this prosperity they were all expecting. Cyrus had commanded them to come back. God had commanded to the comeback. The project got started on the temple. The sacrifices were there, the neighborhoods were all built out, the people were living there, and yet things weren't quite going right. There was a drought. The Earth withheld its produce. The description of this in verse six is sounds like this. You've so much and harvested little, like, where's your work going? You eat, but you're not full. You'd never have enough to drink your you clothe yourself, but you're never warm. Your own money, it's just you put it in bags with holes. It's right, it's it's not working. The prosperity in the productivity and all that is expected, especially with the Lord's blessing on his people, is not happening. And so we can buy the dates that are given. We can know that on September nine, five hundred and twenty BC, God spoke through the Prophet Hagi and called them to consider their ways. Look around you, look in your hearts, pay attention. Something is going on here. There is a problem here, and God wants to explain to them and show them what it is. He calls them to consider their ways twice in this chapter and then a slightly different form, twice in the next chapter, so four times in a two chapter book. It's a big theme and it's significant one. In Hagi he calls them to examine their heart. Self examination. Have you ever felt there was necessaries necessary to do some self examination in your own life? Maybe it's sprung up in your own heart, maybe it was an external sense or a request or command someone. Maybe you're in the middle of a job transition and you're wondering, am I really doing what I'm supposed to be doing? Maybe you're at a...

...doctor's appointment and they're asking questions about the doctors asking questions about your health. Maybe you're reading scripture and a quiet time with the Lord and you're reading things that the Lord is bringing to your mind, into your heart. Self examination is an important part of the Christian life. We are called, as the people were here, to consider our ways. Like anything, of course, self examination can be abused, but that doesn't mean it's not important. Self examination is important and we see God calling his people to it here in our passage. Consider your ways, the Lord says consider your ways. And it's partly for lack of self examination that God's people have been backsliding. But how, in particular? Let's look at the passage and and think about that. So God addresses the exiles and their two leaders. God tells them to consider their ways. He asked them to consider how they are sinning. And they have sinned, as we have said, in building their own houses first and giving priority to themselves and to this world over the Lord. That comes in verse four. It's comes in the form of a question. Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house, my house, lies in ruins? We hear the justification for that in verse two, from the minds of the people. Thus, as the Lord of hosts, these people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the House of the Lord. So that's their justification right there, saying the time has not yet come on your one or whatever. The time is not yet come to the time is not yet come. The time is not yet come. This is how they're justifying it, and the Lord says really, as the time really not yet come, look at the Times, look at what you're experiencing. You are experiencing my wrath, you are experiencing my curse. And if they would remember what they had been told under Moses back in Deuteronomy Twenty eight, when the Lord under the Mosaic Covenant found his people to be serving him and honoring him, he would bless them with prosperity, with rain, with fertility, with wealth, with all kinds of long life, all kinds of good things. But he tells them very explicitly, when you don't obey, you will experience curse, you will experience drought and poverty and infertility and all kinds of ways in your own lives and plants and animals. It won't work, society won't work, the land won't work, the beasts won't work, everything won't work. It will be frustrated, just like it was in the curse that God gave to Adam. Consider your ways, look around you, he says. Remember my word, remember the curse that you prod, that that I promised if you did not obey. This is why they are suffering. And so in verse seven and in Verse Five, God says consider your ways, which is and that's and as set is essentially a call to repentance. He doesn't want them to just look at their situation, look at his providence, understand his curse, see their disobedience and the problem of their priorities and go okay, considered right. The implication is that you're supposed to do something with that consideration. Once you examine your heart and you see that things are wrong, when you see things are messed up, when you see that there's sin in there, there's a reaction that's supposed to happen to that and obedience that's supposed to follow, a repentance that's supposed to follow. And most wonderfully,...

...that's exactly what happens in verses twelve through that end of that chapter, thirteen, fourteen and fifteen. We read starting verse twelve, that is Rebeil and Joshua, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord, their God, and the words of Hagi, the Prophet, as the Lord, their God had sent him. Notice how obedience is tied to the fear of the Lord, and the people feared the Lord. And then what came? Well, in verse thirteen, Haguy speaks, the Messenger of the Lord, a very short prophecy, very wonderful one. The Lord says I am with you. I am with you, declares the Lord. Those are the words that you want to hear all of the time. I am with you, I am with you, because when the Lord is on our side, what else do we need? When the Lord is on our side, even the most terrible circumstances of life are a little thing. And consider the example of job or or many other things that tonight, when we consider God's word in Ezekiel, will hear about how the Lord is not with a Pharaoh of Egypt. The Lord says, I will break both of your arms, you will separate himself, he will pour. It will be with him, but only in an act of curse. And in that situation you can't do anything when the Lord is not with you, when the Lord is against you, you can't do anything. You are prohibited, you are restrained, you are cut off. But here, in their obedience, he says, I am with you. God responds with an announcement of his nearness. But there's more, and it's more complicated than that too. Notice what happens in verses fourteen and fifteen. The Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerebebel, the son of Shelti old governor of Judah and the spirit of Joshua, the son of Jeosetak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnants of the people. And they came and they worked on the House of the Lord, their hosts. So what is it that God wants them to understand? God wants them to recognize that, after being mercifully brought back to the land, brought back from exile, brought back from under the hand of their enemies and now commanding them to rebuild the temple at the he wants them to understand that they've been slowing down and that for about forty years, this temple project has become a low priority. In this is not good. He calls them to examine their hearts, consider their ways, consider their priorities and turn to the Lord in Repentance. They must recognize their sins and turn towards obedience, but they also must recognize that that obedience happens because of God's working in them. Their obedience is empowered by the spirit of God himself. How is it that these people turn? How is it that they begin to do what they were formerly not doing? First, the word of the Lord comes to them. Second, the spirit who gives that word, accompanies that word and changes their hearts. He enables them to understand the word, to hear the word, to obey the word and to trust the Lord that he will forgive them, that he will repent. They come and they hear the work of...

God in His Prophet, and they trust in him and his spirit working in them. This is, of course, a good opportunity for us to consider our own ways, our own lives. Are there ways in which we let our priority slip? Are there ways in which we are ignoring things that we know we've been called to do and yet we put off for another day? We say, well, it's not yet time, when we know it is time. This passage teaches us that self examination and considering our ways involves two things. The first is hearing and comparing our lives with the word of the Lord in due fear. That's a first part of self examination, hearing God's word, hearing the stander, and then comparing our lives with that. And the second is trusting in the faithfulness of the Lord, again with do fear. Let's think about those briefly. On both of those parts, the first one hearing and hearing and considering our lives and comparing them with the Lord of the Lord. Our problem often is that we examine ourselves in the light of our own standards or the world standards. There's some thing that is convenient for us at the time. This is not how to judge things. If you're trying to build something right and you you take out you take out a ruler and you find that it's been warped for some reason. Maybe it got wet and then sat in the sun and you know it's all like this. You should not use that ruler to work on your project, but the very first thing you should do is just throw it away and go get yourself a proper ruler. Right. It would be a foolish thing to do that. And yet we do that with our own lives all the time, our own priorities. We say, we come up with our own warped, twisted guidelines, the standards of the world that come to us in all kinds of ways, and we say, Oh, measure my life by this. Now we ought not to do that. Instead, we measure our lives, we examine and consider our hearts by the standard of God's word. They were in trouble because they were not doing what God had said. It's really that simple. God had commanded them through Cyrus to build the temple. He had sent them back, he had supplied them, had given them good leaders, he had given them wealth, he had given them strength, and they all rejoice. And they started and then they stopped. Now I am happy to raise my hand among the people who have started good things and stopped. I know what that feels like and it's hard and it's frustrating. But what can we do right? Suppose we could despair and fall into ourselves and just give up and say, well, I guess they're just never is going to happen. Or you can repent. When we consider these things and we recognize them and we see that we've got off course, we see that we've gone away from the standard. We repent and repentings repentance has, of course, turning back to the Lord in his word, but doing so trusting that he will forgive, trusting that he will empower new obedience, trusting that he loves US and wants to be near to us. They stopped because it was hard. Honestly, they stopped because they feared the opposition that they were really facing. They stopped because they decided other things were easier to pursue or more worth pursuing. They were busy with their own lives and their own households and they neglected God's. The world says that the worship of God is not practical. Why would you build the House of God and you need a shelter to live in? And of...

...course we need a shelter. God never said don't build a house, but he did say build mine, right. But the world comes to as it says. I don't worry about the worship of God. There's another day, another time. You're busy, you have things to do. The world says there's more urgent things. The world says there's better things to spend time and money on. The world sometimes says that it's not just better, but you better not spend your money, in your time and your energy on the things of the Lord, because to do so is an attack on the world, as how it is sometimes taken, and so there can be sometimes fierce opposition against the against the things that we do when we make the Lord, our life with him, a priority. But, brothers and sisters, it's not about the world, it's about the word. The word of God. God says, seek first the Kingdom of Righteousness and his righteousness, and everything else will be added. Unto you, the Word is how we must set us set our standards, and so that means we must listen to it and know it and pursue it. But the second part is that we must trust in the faithfulness of God, as I mentioned before, to forgive us. We can't simply dig deeper into our own strengths and go off of our own power and resources, because those are the things that were failing us in the first place. The word of the Lord not only comes to us in the law, but it comes to us in the Gospel and tells us that God will give to us what the law is unable to do. The law sets the standard, the law commands, the law tells us how we go right and how we go left and what's wrong and all of that, but the law is not capable of empowering us to do the right think they knew what they were supposed to do before. It was the good news of God's being with them, of desiring to be with them. It was the God's spirit and his promises to work. Even apart from their disobedience and to keep them near himself, that all of this works and that he that he brought brings them back to himself. Notice it happens even in the message of Prophet Hag I right. God, in His grace, came to them, he came to them and revealed himself to them. He woke them up in a way. Again, I raised my hand and thinking about repentance and say, and I will say, that turning around is sometimes a very hard thing to do and honestly, it's even impossible to do. It is impossible to repent in such a way that is faithful enough to the Lord when you are under a curse, when everything in your heart and in your life is is being ruled by a bet and twisted ruler. You cannot obey the Lord. You can't. It just doesn't work. It's not enough to see that we're wrong and understand that we're weak, but we need to be saved by the grace of God's spirit working in us. We must come to trust and believe in that salvation. We have to come to an end in ourselves and say there's nothing I can do more here and trust entirely in the Lord to be at work in us, whether it's hard external circumstances, as Israel, looks out at our enemies and say, these people are impossible. We're trying, Lord, we're...

...trying to build, we're trying to do the work, and they keep fighting US and they keep stopping us. We can't control them, we can't manage them, we can't overpower them. In that moment when they look at those external stay or circumstances that are keeping them from obeying or making it difficult anyway, what do you do? You look to the Lord God and you say, Lord, it is you who wants me to do this, so help me for Vibe, for me, help me to be faithful, even when there is external opposition. What I'm going to say to you now is that it works no differently at an internal level, when your heart like the enemies and the opposition outside, when your own heart seems to be working against you, when your own flesh seems to be working against you and you're like, I can't do this, this is so hard, these temptations are so strong, I keep failing over and over. Here's what you do. You Stop Trusting in yourself and you stop trusting in your own heart and you say, Lord, I can't seem to control this, I can't seem to overpower this, I can't seem to do this. I need you, I need you to work for me, I need you to fight for me, I need you to strengthen me, I need you to win this battle. That's faith. Whether we're looking at our outside opposition or our inside opposition, we we look to the Lord and we trust him and we believe that he will do what he says he will do, and then we get to work. We get to work, we start laying the bricks, we start fighting the sin, we do whatever needs to be done with our hands and with our heart to serve him, but we do so believing that he is at work in US and has forgiven us for when we have fallen. It's not enough to just see that you are wrong and you're weak. We must trust the Lord with everything, and the good news that's revealed in the scriptures and even here in our passage, is that you can trust God and he will answer your prayers. He calls them to obedience and then He provides the strength for obedience. The very spirit of God stirs in their spirits, moves their hands and moves their hearts, empowering them to do what they were for forty years not doing, and notice something else. It's easy to skip, but go back to verse eight. God says, go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified. Okay, you hear the command in that, probably, but ask yourself this question. Why in the world is it God's pleasure to have a house for himself? Why is God commanding this obedience? He doesn't need a house, he doesn't need anything. He doesn't need a house of bricks and wood. Even find jewels and nice and Gravy, he doesn't need that. God is eternally self sufficient, forever, always has been, always will be, full of glory beyond anything that we can imagine. Why does he need a house? Why does he take pleasure in a house being built in this little city, this little part of the world? It's not because God means it, but it's because we need it. God takes pleasure in...

...it because he has already taken pleasure in us. God takes pleasure in building a house and being near a people because he loves us, because he loved them even while they are still being disobedient, even while they were rebelling, God wants to be near them, love them, change their hearts and have communion with them. This point about the closeness of God, the nearness of God and his pleasure and his love and his communion with his people becomes even more clear in the life of Jesus, and the son of God comes into this world, whose named Emmanuel, which means God with us. Jesus comes into the world to be the new temple. One, this temple that we're talking about in hearing about it Hagi, eventually gets built and then destroyed again, this house of the Lord. It pleases the Lord for a time, but he has also it's pointing forward to something else, something that he wants to do, in which he will establish a union that is forever with his people, the he will dwell with his people forever, and their own sin can never even break that apart. He is going to do something in the world, and he does it through Jesus that covers that sin, forgives it perfectly and completely, so that God can take pleasure in being with his people and dwelling with them forever with no risk of separation forever. In the Gospels, Jesus tells people tear down this temple and I will rebuild it, or it will rise again in three days. Like, what are you talking about? You know how long it took to build this temple. Are you going to raise it up in three days? The scriptures tell us he was talking about himself. He calls himself the temple. Why? Because it is in him that the fullness of Deity dwells and it's in him that God draws near to his people. It's in him that, as the temple complex was, this point of access and communion and closeness and forgiveness. All that gets gets, you know, sort of swallowed up and and super charged in Jesus. He becomes that place for us. In the book of Hebrews A, Chapter Nine, you can read this with me if you like, or or just listen, and Hebrews nine, verse eleven, Their Author says this when Christ appeared as a high priest, of the good things that have come then through the greater and more perfect tent. This is referring to the Tabernacle and temple ideas. This tent, this Tabernacle, this temple, not made with hands that is not of this creation. He entered into that temple once for all, into the holy places. Now listen to this. Not by means of the blood of goats and calves, but by means of his own blood. God provided his own lamb, a sacrifice for all of our sins, all of our sins, they would perfectly forgive us forever. So, based on that sacrifice, the sacrifice of the blood of the son of God, he does this me. Read then a verse twelve. There again I'm in Hebrews nine, by the means of his own blood, thus securing and eat turnal...

...redemption, not a redemption that lasts for a little while until you sin again, but at eternal redemption through the blood of Jesus. For if the blood of goats and bowls and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a Heifer, all old testament mosaic economy stuff, if those sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who threw the eternal spirit, offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God, to eternally redeem us? And then strengthen US and empower us for O for obedience forever. That's what the blood of Jesus does for us. Amazing. Now, skipping down to verse twenty three. Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things. He's talking about, the temple, which is I can't explain it here, but it was a copy of a heavenly pattern, that heavenly Jerusalem and all of that. It was necessary for the copies of heavenly things to be purified with these rights, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than knees. For Christ has entered not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the truth things, but into heaven itself now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the whole place every year, with blood not his own, for then he would have to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment. So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Amazing. This is why God says in verse a of Hagi, go up to the hills, bring the wood, build the house, that I may take pleasure in it, that I may be glorified. He is doing something at this moment in history with the copies of the heavenly things, because he desires this closeness with us, a communion with us, an eternal redemption for us, and one that will be completed and perfected in Jesus, as he is a high priest, as he is the sacrifice, and is he as he establishes in himself this temple, not made with human hands, that God might dwell with us forever according to his pleasure. It's God's pleasure to dwell with us. This is how God removes the curse from us through the forgiveness of our sins in the sacrifice of Jesus. The curse ultimately is removed, the the vinyl curse, the big one, the final judgment. It's removed not by our righteousness, it's not even removed by our God helped righteousness, which is great, but that's not what does it. What ultimately does it is God's own righteousness in Jesus, who is a perfect sacrifice without blemish, empowered and anointed by the eternal spirit,...

...and in him a new temple is raised. In Him we have access to God and in him the pleasure of God to save us and be with us forever is brought into fulfillment. So when we come and look at this first chapter of Hagi we see that self examination the leads to condemnation. It leads to the revelation of the curse that is rightfully on us, and there's nothing wrong with that. That is a good thing, but it is not a sufficient thing for our salvation. We must not only examine our hearts according to the law, but we must also believe the Gospel promises, according to God's grace. We must believe that God, route by his spirit, can and does change our hearts, can and has removed the curse and forgiven us our sins and has built a temple in which we can dwell with him forever, a temple that we enjoy and we hear and experience him and his salvation and know his nearness with us. So let us also learn to consider our ways, to look to the Lord and all that he says and to trust him to be at work in us, for the forgiveness of our sins, our sanctification and, one day, our glorification as well. Let's pray our father in heaven. We thank you for your word to us. Please help us to consider our hearts and to do so wisely and truly. And when we come to see the weakness in ourselves, the sin in ourselves, the the lack of obedience, oh Lord, we ask that you would help us to turn not again to ourselves but to you, to strive after new obedience through faith, to walk in the ways of Christ through faith, trusting and believing of your work that began even before we were made Lord, we thank you for doing that work here, and it's a rebable and in Joshua's lives. Why did they forget? Why did they slow down? They were afraid of the wrong things. They lost sight of their priorities, they lost sight of what they were called to do, just as we do. And so, Lord, as you did for them, we asked that you would do for us call us again to our first love, call us again to proper priorities, call us to praise you and worship you and glorify you in all things. Show US your way and empower us by your spirit to do these things, to serve you now and forever. We ask, O Lord, that as we face the enemy is in our own hearts, as we face the enemies of the evil one and the the spiritual powers that are arrayed against us, as we face enemies in this world, that you would help us to wear the armor of God. We would put on those things that you have freely given to us, an armor that is strong and can put out all the flaming darts of the evil one. Thank you, Lord, for your grace to us. Thank you for wanting to be near to us. We praise you for your the glorious things that you have done and the salvation that we have and experienced in you. Bless us in all these things through...

Jesus Christ alone. We pray this in his name. Amen.

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