God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, . . .
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts. . . .
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress Psalm 46:1-2, 5-6, 10-11
But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and that the breaches were beginning to be closed, they were very angry. And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it. And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.
. . . At that time the Jews who lived near them came from all directions and said to us ten times, “You must return to us.” So in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in open places, I stationed the people by their clans, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.”
When our enemies heard that it was known to us and that God had frustrated their plan, we all returned to the wall, each to his work.From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. And the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah, who were building on the wall.
So we labored at the work, and half of them held the spears from the break of dawn until the stars came out. I also said to the people at that time, “Let every man and his servant pass the night within Jerusalem, that they may be a guard for us by night and may labor by day.” So neither I nor my brothers nor my servants nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us took off our clothes; each kept his weapon at his right hand. Nehemiah 4:7-9, 15-17, 21-23
The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. . . .
I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory. 1 Timothy 3:1-7, 14-16
Now, as often happens, those who covet preeminence, seeking support for their own cupidity, take advantage of the Apostle’s statement when he says: “If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.” Yet, while praising the desire, the Apostle forthwith qualifies his praise by adding a reason for fear, promptly adding, as he does: “But it behoveth a bishop to be blameless.” When he proceeds with an enumeration of the necessary virtues, he explains what this blamelessness is. He, therefore, approves the desire, but warns these people by his precept, as though he plainly said: “I praise what you seek, but acquaint yourselves first with what you are seeking, lest be neglecting to take the measure of your own fitness, you become the more blameworthy and detestable, in that you hasten to be seen by all on the pinnacle of honour.” The great master in the art of ruling urges subjects by approving of their desire, but deters them by fear, in order that he may restrain his hearers from pride, and by praising the office sought, may dispose them for the kind of life required. . . .
DAILY PRAYER for TUESDAY
Almighty God, heavenly Father; we praise Your fathomless mercy, with which You take pity on sinful men. All the prophets and apostles preach this to us in Your Holy Word.
Let our hope not be put to shame when we pray to You for all who suffer at this time. For behold, the evil foe has become mighty, and the great ones of this world rule often with unrighteousness. O God, who in former times caused Your saints to overcome injustice, strengthen also today all who stand in need of Your help. Grant that all prisoners of war—held as slaves and sacrifices of earthly wrath—may return to their homes. Stand by all refugees and homeless people, and be their justice. Be a father to the widows and orphans with Your strong protection.
Go through bars and fences to those who are imprisoned for the sake of Your name; strengthen them for a good witness, and let them not waver in the confession of Your name. Teach us through their example, and the example of so many holy martyrs, to be ever watchful of the confession of Your Son’s name. Let us not be put to shame when the evil foe lays his hand on us. But if it is Your will that we be persecuted for confessing Jesus as our Lord and only Savior, then support us in Your grace that we may withstand all trials, and grant us peaceful rest; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.