TEXT: Nehemiah 3:14, "But the dung gate repaired Malchiah ..."

The men in chapter 3 were rebuilding a wall; each had a different assignment. Some worked on the sheep gate; others the fish gate; some the water gate; and others the east gate. But in verse 14, we met a man named Malchiah with an unwanted assignment: his was the dung gate.

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Text: Isaiah 8:11-14

Isaiah 8 is set in a period of spiritual and physical calamity. Israel, the northern Kingdom, has forsaken the Lord and is on an irreversible path to ruin. Judah, the southern Kingdom, is in spiritual blight under the reign of wicked King Ahaz. Both nations are being threatened by the dominant world power Assyria, a country known for its cruelty and ruthlessness. Having carried into captivity Israel's tribes east of the Jordan, Assyria is threatening the remainder of Israel and her sister kingdom, Judah. Israel has established a confederacy with Damascus to oppose the Assyrian threat and is pressuring Judah to join them. Neither nation is seeking their God, The LORD of Hosts Himself, at a time when they need Him most!

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In November of 2004, my brother went home to be with the Lord. This was totally unexpected for our family. Reflecting back on the events after his death, I recall one of the harder times in dealing with his death happened at dinner time during the holidays when he was not at the table. An empty seat caused great sorrow in my heart.

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A great deal of my personal devotion time this past winter was spent in the Old Testament. At one point, I spent weeks studying the life of David. God reaffirmed a great truth to me while reading chapter 25 of 1 Samuel.

You might recall that this passage finds David and his mighty men in the wilderness of Paran. This chapter relays David's dealings with the wicked rich man Nabal. David's request for compensation for protecting this man's servants and sheep is met with insolence and disdain. Nabal flatly refuses to reward David and David immediately gives the order: "... Gird ye on every man his sword. ..." (verse 13).

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I was studying and reading in 2 Samuel when I came upon the account of David and Bathsheba. As I read on, my heart hurt - knowing what was ahead and the inescapable outcome of this familiar passage of Scripture. My thoughts moved from David's involvement to how God used Nathan to confront David. I contemplated how God must have felt through the series of events in which David had allowed himself to participate.

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