Peter Misselbrook's Blog
19/11/2019 - Zechariah 1 – Return to the Lord

This morning we begin our readings from Zechariah, the prophet who, along with Haggai, encouraged the Jews in Jerusalem to get on with the work of rebuilding the temple and to see it through to completion. The imagery found in the Book of Zechariah can appear rather odd to us and, at first glance, difficult to understand. But careful and prayerful reading sheds light on God's message to the returning exiles and on his message for us. With such books it is important to remember that they were part of the Bible that Jesus read and treasured and that, along with the better-known books, these also are "God-breathed and … useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." So we pray that the Lord would do us good through this ancient book of prophecy.

The chapter we read today falls into three sections. Verses 1-6 are a call for the returning exiles to return also to God and to worship him alone. The people are reminded that the exile was caused by their faithlessness and by their refusal to listen to the warnings of the prophets. If they repeat their faithlessness, they will again invite God's judgment. They need to learn from their history – and so also do we.

In verses 7-17, Zechariah describes a vision given him of a man on a red horse among myrtle trees, with further red, brown and white horses standing behind him – presumably also mounted with riders. The man on the red horse is also referred to as "the angel of the Lord" and is evidently the leader of this posse. The angel explains that these are riders whom the Lord has sent throughout the earth and who have discovered that the nations that conquered God's people are living at peace. But now the time has come for the Lord to take pity on his people after their 70 year exile. The Lord then delivers the following message to Zechariah through the angel:

Proclaim this word: this is what the Lord Almighty says: “I am very jealous for Jerusalem and Zion, and I am very angry with the nations that feel secure… Therefore this is what the Lord says: “I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt… Proclaim further: this is what the Lord Almighty says: “My towns will again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem.”’ (vv. 14-17)

Just as we read in Isaiah 40, the Lord declares that he will comfort and bless his people.

Verses 18-21 describe four horns and four craftsmen. The four horns describe the nations that have attacked and scattered God's people and destroyed Jerusalem. The picture of a horn is a picture of destructive power and aggression. These powers are now to be overthrown by four craftsmen. The picture here is one of weakness rather than aggression, but it also symbolises the power to build or rebuild rather than to destroy. God is pleased to work through weakness to establish his kingdom and bring the powers of this world to nothing.

We see this supremely in the Lord Jesus. Our salvation was not accomplished by brute power rivalling and defeating that of the Roman Empire. Jesus, the carpenter from Nazareth, was crucified in weakness. But he was raised by the power of God to the highest place in all the universe to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords; "the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength" (1 Corinthians 1:25).

Father God, we thank you that our Lord Jesus, the Lamb who was slain, is also the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Help us to learn from this Book of Zechariah, as well as from the life of our Lord Jesus that your kingdom is built "Not by might nor by power, but by [your] Spirit." Teach us what this means for us in our lives of daily discipleship as we pray and labour that your kingdom may come and your will be done on earth as in heaven.

18/11/2019 - Haggai 2 – The glory of the new house

Haggai is a short book. In chapter one we saw how Haggai's prophetic preaching, along with that of Zechariah, spurred the Israelites to get on with the task of rebuilding the temple. Today we read the second and concluding chapter of this prophetic book.

Haggai enquires if there is anyone who remembers the glory of Solomon's temple (v. 3). Anyone capable of remembering would have been in their 70s, for the temple had been destroyed some 66 years earlier. Haggai challenges them to compare the glory of the previous temple with the half-built house they now see before them. Many, no doubt, would feel discouraged at the thought of this comparison. How could they ever manage to restore these ruins to be like the glorious temple that once stood here? But Haggai brings them a word of encouragement:

“Be strong, Zerubbabel,” declares the Lord. “Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,” declares the Lord, “and work. For I am with you,” declares the Lord Almighty. “This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.” (vv. 4-5)

All those years before, when the Lord rescued his people from Egypt, he promised to be with them and to go before them. Because of their rebellion he had threatened at one point to abandon them, but Moses had pleaded with God for the people saying that if the Lord did not go with them they could not travel on to the land God had promised them. God's presence with his people was part of his covenant promise to them. They may often have been unfaithful to the covenant, but God remained faithful, and here through Haggai he reminds them that his Spirit is still with them and will provide them with the strength they need to do what he is now calling them to do.

But even so, the people must have doubted that the restored temple would ever be half as glorious as the one built by Solomon. In answer to their fears, the Lord promises:

“In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,” says the Lord Almighty. “The silver is mine and the gold is mine,” declares the Lord Almighty. “The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,” says the Lord Almighty. “And in this place I will grant peace.” (vv. 6-9)

Some of you may have heard part of Handel's Messiah ringing in your head here. The promise of future glory for this temple far outstrips anything realised by the Jews in the days of Haggai or at any other time in the Old Testament. This promise finds its fulfilment only in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the temple that was destroyed at the hands of God's enemies and to satisfy God's justice against his disobedient people. He is the one whose resurrection rebuilt or restored that temple as the "place" of our access to God. He is the one through whom we have peace with God.

The Spirit of God is now at work shaking the nations and bringing people of all backgrounds and languages to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord. And the day will come at last when he who has become the desire of the nations shall return to reign in glory for all eternity. Then all the glory of the nations, the very best of all that human beings can accomplish, will be devoted to him and become part of the glory of his everlasting and unshakable kingdom (see Revelation 21:26).

Father God, we thank you for the words of this prophecy of Haggai. We also feel fearful at times that the glories and accomplishments of your church in past generations cannot be matched in our time. Help us not to fear but to remember that our risen Saviour promised to be with us to the end of the age and that your Spirit remains among us to provide us with the strength we need to do the work to which you have called us.

17/11/2019 - Psalm 130 – Out of the depths

Here is another of the pilgrim psalms of the people of God, and what a wonderful psalm it is. This was Martin Luther's favourite psalm. In it, he said, we find all of the elements of the gospel.

The reality of universal sinfulness and condemnation: The psalmist asks the question, "If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?" (v. 3). It's not a question intended for discussion but one asked with the implication that no one is able to stand. If God were to examine the record of our lives with his all-seeing eye and all-knowing discernment it would not take him long to discover that "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God". As I write these thoughts many teenagers are receiving their A level results. Some will be delighted with the results and some will be disappointed but I very much doubt that any will have scored 100% in all their papers. And this is true also of us; we have failed to get everything right. We may feel fairly pleased with our lives or we may be disappointed and ashamed but even the best of us is far from perfect – we could have done better. And in the eyes of a holy God, left to ourselves, all of us stand condemned.

The free and full nature of God's mercy and forgiveness: But the good news is that there is mercy and forgiveness with God – "with you there is forgiveness" (v. 4). The psalmist discovered this for himself. He cried out to God from the depths – from the dark and miserable awareness of his own sin and failings. He cried out for God to have mercy on him. In other words, he knew that he had nothing to plead in his own character; he deserved for God to leave him to suffer condemnation. But he pleads God's mercy – his undeserved favour or grace. And he discovered that there is forgiveness with God. God, as it were, wiped away the record of his sins and refused to treat him as his sins deserved. And now he urges all of God's people to put their hope in the Lord, "for with the Lord is unfailing love" (v. 7). You also, he is saying, can find grace, mercy and forgiveness with God. You also can discover that the Lord will be attentive to your cry and will forgive you and enable you to stand before him.

Redemption is God's work from first to last: The Lord himself will redeem his people (v. 8). This wonderful word conjures up all sorts of pictures. The Israelites would have thought of how the Lord had rescued them from slavery in Egypt many years before. He had redeemed them and made them his own – like slaves purchased from a cruel master that they might belong now to one who would love them and provide for them. This would especially have sprung to mind if the pilgrims singing this psalm were travelling to Jerusalem for the Passover. And it would have reminded them of the cost of their redemption. A lamb had been put to death in every Israelite house that night to protect them from the avenging wrath of God. The Israelites were rebels against God as much as the Egyptians but the lamb had died for them and they were freed from slavery and condemnation.

And God has redeemed us through the shed blood of his own Son – the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Redemption is the work of our triune God from beginning to end: in love the Father planned it; the Son accomplished it; the Spirit applied it to our lives as he drew us to trust in Christ.

The Lord is the hope of his people: His goodness to us in times past provides us with a sure and certain hope for the future. The psalmist talks of his whole being waiting for the Lord "more than watchmen wait for the morning" (v. 6). If you have ever worked a night shift you will feel the longing expressed here by the psalmist. Knowing that God gave his Son for our redemption provides us with the unshakeable confidence that he will bring us at last to glory. Our hope is in him and in the promises of his word. We wait with longing for the dawn of Christ's appearing.

Father God, we thank you for this lovely psalm which speaks so powerfully to our own hearts – our experience and our hopes. We thank you that because of Jesus there is forgiveness with you and the knowledge that the work that your goodness began, the arm of your strength will complete. Help us to tell others of what you have done and to urge them to put their hope in you.

16/11/2019 - Haggai 1 – A call to rebuild the Lord's house

You may remember that we came across Haggai in the book of Ezra. There we learned how the building of the temple had come to a stop but had later been resumed after King Darius of Persia said that anyone hindering it should be put to death. We then read:

The elders of the Jews continued to build and prosper under the preaching of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah… They finished building the temple according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes, kings of Persia. (Ezra 6:14)

Haggai and Zechariah were both prophets whose words encouraged the rebuilding and completion of the temple under the project management of Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, and during the time of Joshua the high priest.

And it seems from Haggai chapter one that the people needed some encouragement to get back to work on the temple. They seemed to have taken the temporary stoppage in temple building as an opportunity to complete their own homes and to make them as comfortable as possible, complete with wood panelling. Haggai tells them that they should put the same, if not greater effort into building the temple that had remained a half-built ruin. Their lack of zeal for the Lord and for the temple where he was to be honoured and worshipped was the reason for their poor harvests and poor returns on their labour. It was as if they were working to "earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it" (v. 6). The Lord tells them that if they will only focus their attention on building his house and honouring him the Lord will bless them rather than afflicting them with drought and making the labour of their hands yield such poor results.

And the people listened to the word of the Lord delivered through Haggai:

So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God. (v. 14)

Haggai now assured them that the Lord was with them in their work.

There is nothing wrong with us wanting to make a comfortable home for ourselves and our families. The problem arises when we pursue these things at the expense of our devotion to God our loving heavenly Father who is the author of all of the good things we enjoy. The apostle Paul tells Timothy:

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

Did you notice that Paul says that God provides us with the things we possess that we might enjoy them? All the good things of this life are to be enjoyed with thanksgiving. But he also commands us to be generous with all we possess; to recognise that they are given us by God not solely for our own enjoyment, but also for the blessing of others who may be in need. Our focus is not to be primarily upon ourselves but upon God who has blessed us and given us a hope of glory to come. Our focus is then to be on others with whom we can share the good things God has given us and especially with whom we may share Christ, the very best and most precious of all God's gifts.

Lord, we know how easy it is to turn to you when we are in need, but neglect you when all seems well with our lives. Help us never to lose sight of the debt of love and thankfulness we owe to you. Teach us how that love may be displayed as we serve you through serving others.

15/11/2019 - Ezra 10:1-17 – Dealing with foreign marriages

Ezra's distress over the intermarriage between Jews and people from other nations was soon shared by many of the people – even those who had taken foreign wives. We read:

Then Shekaniah son of Jehiel, one of the descendants of Elam, said to Ezra, ‘We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us. But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel. Now let us make a covenant before our God to send away all these women and their children, in accordance with the counsel of my lord and of those who fear the commands of our God. Let it be done according to the Law. Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.’ (vv. 2-4)

Ezra summoned a meeting of all the exiles who had returned to Jerusalem and Judah and assembled them uncomfortably in the rain in the square before the temple. He commanded them each to separate from their foreign wives and families. And so it was done, with "only Jonathan son of Asahel and Jahzeiah son of Tikvah, supported by Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite" opposing this action (v. 15).

What are we to make of this chapter, which continues with a long list of those who had married foreign wives and been required to send them away? We need to be careful how we read the Scriptures. Just because we read of something happening in the Bible, that does not mean that it was the right and appropriate thing to do. This is quite obvious when we read of such incidents as David's adultery with Bathsheba and the arranged death of her husband, but it is equally true even in less obvious examples. Was it right for wives and children to be sent away without support even if those wives were devotees of another religion and engaged in idol worship – even if they were polygamous marriages? The apostle Paul, faced with marriages between believers and unbelievers in Corinth gives very different instructions (see 1 Corinthians 7:12-14).

Let me tell you a story concerning the famous explorer and missionary, David Livingstone. It seems that, in conventional terms, he was not very successful in leading the people of Africa to faith in Christ. He had only one African convert, Sechele, the chief of the Bakwena tribe in what is now Botswana. But Livingstone soon wrote off his convert as a backslider because he would not abandon his secondary wives. Sechele pleaded with Livingstone, "Do not give me up because of this. I shall never give up Jesus. You and I will stand before him together." His pleas did not move Livingstone, but after he left, Sechele led church services for his own people. He taught them to read and the Bible became popular. Gradually the Bakwena became Christians. Sechele then travelled hundreds of miles as a missionary to other tribes and many more were drawn to Christ through his ministry.

Was Livingstone right? Was Sechele right?

One thing is clear, the Lord looks for a people who are wholeheartedly devoted to him and who are careful to avoid anything that would lead them away from him. We are often faced with difficult decisions about what this means in practical terms in our daily lives. We want to be good witnesses to the world around us and so are concerned not to cut ourselves off from those who don't share our faith. We don't want to live in a Christian ghetto. We want to be like our Lord Jesus who was often found in dubious company and was criticised by the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders for this. We want to be those whose lives are a blessing to others, but we need to be careful that our friendship with others leads them towards Christ rather than leading us away from him.

Lord Jesus, help us by your Spirit to have the wisdom and discernment to know what you would have us do in the difficult decisions we need to make day-by-day. May we do what is pleasing to you and brings your presence and blessing to those around us.

14/11/2019 - Ezra 9 – Ezra's prayer

As we read this chapter, we need to remember why the people of Judah had been sent off into exile in Babylon. The people had adopted many of the practices of their non-Jewish neighbours and had been enticed away from devotion to the Lord into idolatry of various sorts. After years of sending warnings through the prophets, the Lord permitted Babylon to defeat and destroy Jerusalem. The leaders and key people from the Jews were then taken off into exile and people from other nations had been settled alongside the Jews who remained in the land. Only with Babylon's defeat by the Persians were the exiled Jews allowed to return. Ezra, the Bible scholar, was well aware of this history and, at his return, is intent on ensuring that the people of God are not again enticed away into idolatry.

So it comes as a great shock and source of distress to him when he learns that the Jewish people who had not been taken off into exile, and perhaps also some of those who had returned earlier, have intermarried with people from many other nations. Even the leaders of the people have "led the way in this unfaithfulness" (v. 2).

It's easy for us to misread Ezra's concern, especially when we read the accusation that these people "have mingled the holy race with the peoples around them" (v. 2). But Ezra's concern is not for racial purity. Remember how we read in chapter 6 that at the Passover celebrations with the dedication of the temple, those who had turned away from the idolatrous practices of their neighbours were welcomed at the Passover along with the Jewish people who had rebuilt the temple. The concern was not for racial purity but for spiritual purity. Ezra's concern was not to guard against racially mixed marriages but to guard against mixing the worship of the Lord God of Israel with devotion to foreign gods.

Ezra tore his clothes and pulled hair from his head and beard as a sign of his deep distress and poured out his heart to God in prayer. Note how he rehearses Israel's history, confessing the sin that had led to their exile. He gives thanks to God for his mercy in preserving his people even through the time of exile and bringing them back to this land and enabling them to rebuild the temple. He confesses that God has punished them less than their sins deserve but asks, "Shall we then break your commands again and intermarry with the peoples who commit such detestable practices? Would you not be angry enough with us to destroy us, leaving us no remnant or survivor?" (v. 14). How are they to stand before their God in worship and prayer when their lives are compromised in this way?

Do we show the same passion and concern we see in Ezra for spiritual purity both for ourselves and for the fellowship of God's people to which we belong? I must admit that I have never gone so far as to tear my clothes or to pluck out hair or my beard through deep distress for the state of the people of God. Are we conscious of the contemporary issues and trends which threaten to entice us and our fellow believers away from wholehearted devotion to the Lord? What are we going to do to keep ourselves and them faithful? How might a review of our own history and that of our church help us to be more aware of, and prayerful concerning, the dangers the contemporary church faces?

Father God, you did not spare your own Son but gave him up to the cross to be our Saviour. Lord Jesus, you have shown us the depth and extent of God's love for us. Holy Spirit, shed that love abroad in our hearts and give us a burning and single-hearted devotion to the one who has given himself for us. Help us to keep ourselves from idols and to encourage one another to turn away from anything that would lead us away from you. We pray that rather than being enticed away by the world around us we might attract others to leave their idols and to worship the living and true God.

13/11/2019 - Ezra 8:1, 15-36 – Ezra's return

Ezra chapters 7 and 8 may seem to be a bit back-to-front. In Ezra 7 we read of Ezra's arrival in Jerusalem with his letter from King Artaxerxes. In today's chapter, the story backtracks to provide the details of Ezra's journey from Persia.

In today's reading we have skipped over the list of family names in verses 2-14 along with the numbers returning with those family heads – a great number of people. We have picked up the story where they have gathered in a camp by the "canal that flows towards Ahava" in preparation for their journey. When Ezra checked out who had arrived he found that there were no Levites, so he sent for a great number more to join them (vv. 16-20). Then, when all had assembled in their transit-camp, Ezra proclaimed a day of fasting and prayer. The people were to humble themselves before God, asking forgiveness for the sins that had led to the exile and to pray for "a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions" (v. 21). Ezra had not asked the king of Persia for soldiers to guard the travellers because he had told the king that their God would protect them.

Ezra divided between twelve men the gold and silver given them by the king, entrusting it to their care during the journey and charging them to bring it safely "to the house of our God in Jerusalem" (vv. 24-30).

So they set out on their long trek to Jerusalem. And their prayers were answered; Ezra records, "The hand of our God was on us, and he protected us from enemies and bandits along the way. So we arrived in Jerusalem, where we rested three days" (vv. 31-32). After their rest, they offered sacrifices in the temple, giving thanks to God for a safe journey. "They also delivered the king’s orders to the royal satraps and to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, who then gave assistance to the people and to the house of God" (v. 36).

It is now that Ezra's work must really begin.

From this chapter I want us to take note of the way that trust in God and careful planning and organisation go hand-in-hand. Ezra's faith is seen in his confidence that the Lord his God would watch over him and protect him and his companions on their journey. It finds expression also in his insistence upon prayer, seeking God's blessing on their enterprise. But Ezra was also meticulous in his preparations. He set up the transit-camp for people to gather together before the journey and was careful to check who had arrived and to send for those who were missing before they set off. He was careful to distribute the gold and silver they were taking with them between twelve men so that if they were attacked, they were unlikely to lose everything. He was a careful planner.

This chapter reminds us of the need for us both to trust God in every part of our lives but also to plan and prepare carefully for the things that we do. It is said that Oliver Cromwell told his troops to "Trust in God and keep your powder [i.e. gunpowder] dry". Trusting in God was not to be a substitute for careful action and concern on the part of the troops. God wants a people whose lives are marked by both piety and practicality. What does this mean for the things that the Lord has laid on your heart to do for him? Do them in a humble spirit and with heartfelt prayer for the Lord's help in all you do. Do it also with careful consideration and attention to all that is required to bring it to a successful conclusion. And when you have managed to complete some work for God, don't forget to give thanks to him for enabling you to do it.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the way in which you equipped Ezra with the skills and character necessary for doing the work you had for him to do. Thank you that you watched over him and kept him and his companions safe on what could have proved a dangerous journey. Help us to know the work that you have for us to do and to do it both diligently and prayerfully. And may you get all the glory and praise.

12/11/2019 - Ezra 7 – Ezra

Only now, more than half way through the book that bears his name, does Ezra turns up in Jerusalem, arriving about 57 years after the temple had been completed and dedicated to the Lord.

Let me provide some historical background. King Darius, whose letter had ensured that the temple could be completed, was succeeded by his son Xerxes I, otherwise known as King Ahasuerus of the Book of Esther. But for the intervention of Esther, Haman would have succeeded in his plot to have all the Jews in the Persian Empire put to death and there would have been no Ezra, nor his book (a story we shall look at in a few weeks' time). Xerxes I was succeeded by Artaxerxes who had been king of Persia for seven years when Ezra returned to Jerusalem.

Ezra was a descendant of Aaron the chief priest to Israel and "had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel" (v. 10). His concern was to ensure that the returning Jews were obedient to the law which God had given them through Moses, especially the laws regarding the priests and the temple rituals.

Ezra arrived, accompanied by a number of priests and others who could serve in the temple, and with another letter from the King of Persia. The letter said that Ezra was to ensure that regular sacrifices were offered in the temple in accordance with "the Law of your God, which is in your hand" (v. 14). Ezra also brought gifts from Persia of silver and gold which were to be used to purchase "bulls, rams and male lambs, together with their grain offerings and drink offerings" (v. 17), necessary for the temple sacrifices. Any remaining money could be used as Ezra wished. When the money ran out, they might draw further funds from the royal treasury of Persia to maintain the temple sacrifices. The priests and temple officials were also to be exempt from all imperial taxes.

Ezra was also to appoint magistrates throughout the region of the ancient kingdom of Israel, to administer justice and to ensure obedience to the laws of "your God" (vv. 25-26).

Why should the king of Persia have been so concerned to maintain the temple in Jerusalem? Firstly we should note that this does not necessarily show any special favour by Persia towards the God of Israel. It had become the policy of the Persian Empire to allow exiled peoples, whoever they were, to return to their own lands and to worship their own gods in their own way. The motive behind all this is found in the letter which says, "Whatever the God of heaven has prescribed, let it be done with diligence for the temple of the God of heaven. Why should his wrath fall on the realm of the king and of his sons?" (v. 23). The King of Persia wants all peoples within his empire to pray to their gods for the king and his sons and so secure the peace and continued prosperity of the empire.

There is much interesting discussion to be had about the relationship between church and state today, but I shall leave that to one side. Let me remind you however of Paul's instruction to Timothy and the church under his care, living under the tyrannical rule of the Roman Empire:

I urge … that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness… This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all … to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. (1 Timothy 2:1-6)

We know that there is only one living God and only one Saviour. Since God's concern is for the salvation of all, we should pray for and bear witness to all – even, perhaps especially, ungodly and tyrannical rulers! Praying particularly for peace and for the freedom to speak of our God.

Father God, we pray today for all in positions of power and authority in our country and throughout the world. Give them the wisdom to govern justly and well. May your people enjoy the freedom to speak of Christ, the Saviour of the world, and may many come to bow the knee to him.

 

Peter Misselbrook