Saturday, January 30, 2016

Esther-News About the King and Queen

By Mary Vee
Esther 1

From Esther's Journal


Photo Courtesy
My name is Hadassah. I live with my uncle Mordecai in a place called Susa and have ever since my parents died. We are Jews and are from the tribe of Benjamin.

My uncle had been among those taken as slaves from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. We still live in the Babylon area.

I call Mordecai my uncle, but he is also my cousin. Now that I am telling the whole story, some people also call me Esther.

We lived a simple life. One that I enjoyed. My uncle was a good dad to me and always loved me. He told me so many times what a lovely girl I was. I didn't feel that way, but I was happy he thought so.

News traveled rather quickly in our city, especially if something happened to the king or queen. When I fetched water this morning I heard the king and queen had a problem. A huge problem.

The king's name was Xerxes. He was not a king of Jerusalem, a Hebrew like us. He was the king in this Babylonian area. Xerxes ruled over 127 provinces that reached as far east as India and as far southwest as Cush in Egypt. The king lived here in Susa.

During the third year of his reign, Xerxes gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. Even the military leaders of Persia and Media, the princes, and the nobles of the provinces came.

This banquet lasted 180 days! Really! Xerxes showed off his wealth and power to all who were there. Then when the 180 days ended he held another banquet in his private garden on the palace grounds. This one lasted seven days and everyone from the least to the greatest was invited.

The gardens had white and blue linen hanging and fastened with cords of white linen and purple material to silver rings on marble pillars. There were couches of gold an silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pear and other costly stones. Wine was served in goblets of gold, each one different from the other, and the royal wine never ran out, which the king had ordered. They say it was a spectacular sight.

The king commanded each guest to be allowed to drink whatever he wanted.

At the same time, Queen Vashti gave a banquet for the women in the royal palace of King Xerxes.

On the seventh day, Xerxes was in high spirits from the wine. He commanded the seven men who served him to bring Queen Vashti to his banquet. She was to wear her crown. He wanted everyone to see his beautiful wife. 

But when the servants delivered King Xerxes command, Queen Vashti refused to come.

...come back next time to read what happened next.

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sources: New International Version  


1. Who was Hadassah?
2. Who was Esther?
3. Why did Hadassah live with her uncle?
4. Why did they live in Babylon?
5. Who was the king?
6. Who was the queen?
7. Why did the king have a party that lasted 180 days?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Zechariah-On That Day There Will be One Lord.

By Mary Vee
Zechariah 9-11

From Zechariah's Journal


Photo Courtesy
My name is Zechariah. I am a prophet, which means God trusts me to give His message to His people.

The last words I left with you told of the coming Messiah. In my time, we looked forward to His coming. But in your time, you will already know that the Messiah came. You can match the words of the One who came with the words the Almighty told me to write.

The Almighty gave me more to tell you. This is of a different time.

"Then the Lord will go out and fight against the nations who have attacked Jerusalem. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. The Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. 

"Those who run away will go through my mountain valley, for it will take them to Azel. They will run as they ran away from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah. Then the Lord will come to them, and all the holy ones with him.

"On that day there will be no light, no cold or frost. It will be a unique day, without daytime or nighttime--a day known to the Lord. When evening comes, there will be light.

"On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter..

"The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.

"Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. Anyone who does not come will have no rain.

"On that day Holy to the Lord will be inscribed on the bells of the horses. Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the Lord Almighty."


From Mary Vee- This passage is telling us about the days to come. God recorded this information here in Zechariah, Revelation, and in other books. Many Bible scholars have studied these passages and have shared what they have learned. These days have not come yet. But like the people living during the Old Testament time who had to believe and trust that the Messiah would come (and he later did), so also we need to believe and trust that these days described by Zechariah will come--because they will. God said so.

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sources: New International Version  
Wasn't this amazing?? In this prophet's books in the Old Testament we see news of the coming end times.

1. What news about the coming end times did you find?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Amy Carmichael-Monsoons, Forests, and Lazy Workers

By Mary Vee
Year: January, 1919 
Amy Carmichael: 49 years old


From Amy's Journal


Photo Courtesy
My name is Amy Carmichael. I am a missionary in India.

With the long days and the care of the one hundred and fifty children who are protected and cared for at the mission, there are times when I need to rest. A two-week rest.

I'd never fully recovered from a reoccurring physical problem that started back when I served as a missionary in Japan. 

The heat and humidity here in India aggravate pain, fever, and weaken my system. Mr. Walker, the leader of our mission, used to take us to a retreat in the mountains during the hottest days of summer. The forests and altitude made for cool and dry temperatures. I used the two weeks every year to catch up on letters, write a book, and rest.

When Mr. Walker died, leaving me in charge, I didn't have the funds to go to the retreat anymore. Without the rest, I would end up bedridden. There simply was too much work to do to care for all the precious jewels God had put in our care. We needed to find a retreat that was closer and affordable.

One day I took one of the lady workers with me for a walk into the woods. We walked up the mountain a ways, searching for a place to rest. After several attempts, we found a small retreat which worked for us--a short time. I enjoyed taking some of the children with me.The littlest ones would stay at the mission, but the older ones were able to go.

We used that retreat for two years or so then decided we needed something bigger. I took the children for a walk to search for property where we could build a retreat of our own. 

We found the perfect land, raised the money to purchase it, and hired a construction crew to build our retreat.

This was an exciting time. Everyday children hiked with me to the new property wanting to see the progress. Everyday we found the workers napping or standing around talking. The rainy season was due to come soon.

Photo Courtesy
The rainy season brings strong rains that we call monsoons. These forceful rains come everyday from July to September. Yea, that long!! The land floods. 

We are use to this flooding, though. We've learned to plant the right crops that need this kind of rain.

But, if our retreat building isn't finished by the start of the monsoons, it will be destroyed by the rains, and the construction workers will have to start over.  That will cost money we don't have.

No matter what I said, the workers wouldn't work to get the job done.

I didn't know what to do.

Finally, I asked the other missionaries. They were Indian and understood the culture much better than I did.

How would you get the men to finish the work? 

I'll tell you the amazing idea that worked...next week. Come back to read the rest of this story.


Resources used for this series:. 
Benge, Janet, and Geoff Benge. Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems. Seattle, WA: YWAM Pub., 1998. Print.
Davis, Rebecca Henry. With Daring Faith: A Biography of Amy Carmichael. Greenville, SC: Bob Jones UP, 1987. Print.
Dick, Lois Hoadley. Amy Carmichael: Let the Children Come. Chicago: Moody, 1984. Print.
Meloche, Renee Taft., and Bryan Pollard. Amy Carmichael: Rescuing the Children. Seattle, WA: YWAM Pub., 2002. Print.
Wellman, Sam. Amy Carmichael: A Life Abandoned to God. Uhrichville, OH: Barbour Pub., 1998. Print.



Don't forget to comment! 
Let Amy hear from you!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Zechariah-News of the Coming Messiah

By Mary Vee
Zechariah 9-11


From Zechariah's Journal


Photo Courtesy

My name is Zechariah. I am a prophet, which means God trusts me to give His message to His people.

The Almighty has given me this message to share with His people.

I'll share with you the portions that talk about the coming Messiah.

The Lord has promised a coming Messiah for a time. I am excited, but don't know that He will come in my lifetime or not. Although there are words from the Lord that tell of the coming Messiah, I'm not sure when.

The Almighty said, "See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

"He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth.

"I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit....even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.

"Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime. It is the Lord who makes the storm clouds. He gives showers of rain to men, and plants of the field to everyone. The idols speak deceit, diviners see visions that lie. They tell dreams that are false, they give comfort in vain. The people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd.

"From Judah will come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every rule. Together they will be like mighty men trampling the muddy streets in battle. Because the Lord is with them, they will fight and overthrow.

"I will strengthen the house of Judah. I will restore them because I have compassion on them.

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sources: New International Version  
Wasn't this amazing?? In this prophet's books in the Old Testament we see news of the coming Messiah.

1. What news about the coming Messiah did you find?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Even When We Don't Believe, God Gives and Loves

By Mary Vee
Psalm 78


From The Song Book
Selected Pieces

Photo Courtesy


They did not believe God
or trust him to care for them.

But he commanded the skies to open;
he opened the doors of heaven.
He rained down manna for them to eat;
he gave them bread from heaven.
They ate the food of angels!
God gave them all they could hold.

He released the east wind in the heavens
and guided the south wind by his mighty power.
He rained down meat as thick as dust—
birds as plentiful as the sand on the seashore!
He caused the birds to fall within their camp
and all around their tents.
The people ate till they had more than enough,
For he had given them what they craved.
Even while the food was in their mouths
God’s anger rose against them.
And He punished them.

In spite of all of this they kept sinning.
In spite of his wonders, they did not believe.
When He punished them they would seek him,
Eager to turn to him again.
But they flattered him with their mouths
Lying to him with their tongues.
Their hearts were not loyal to him
They were not faithful to his laws.

Yet he was merciful.
He forgave their sins
And did not destroy them
Time after time he restrained his anger
And did not stir up his full wrath.
He remembered that they wre but flesh
A passing breeze that does not return.

The Lord built his sanctuary lie the heights
Like the earth that he established forever.
He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens
To be the shepherd of his people, his inheritance.
And David shepherded them with integrity of heart
With skillful hands he led them.


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sources:  New Living Bible translation and New International Version translation

1.  Why did the people complain?
2.  What did God do for them?
3.  Were the people grateful?
4.  What did God do?
5.  Why is God patient with us?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Amy Carmichael-The Special Day for Each Rescued Girl

By Mary Vee
Year: January, 1913 
Amy Carmichael: 46 years old


From Amy's Journal


Photo Courtesy
My name is Amy Carmichael. I am a missionary in India.

Many years had passed before I realized what the main work of my life would be. I was sent to save little girls from being sold into Hindu temple worship and teach them about the living God.

Seventy girls of various ages now live here on the mission compound. Many never even knew their birthdate.

In December of 1913, a new girl came to the mission wanting to be rescued. Her name was Kohila. When I asked her how old she was she said she didn't know. I asked, "Okay, when is your birthday?" She said she didn't know.

That is when a God gave me a brilliant idea. To help show the girls God's love and to teach them to love each other, we decided to celebrate each girl's Coming Day. Kohila was the first girl to receive this celebration since this was the day she came to live at the mission.

On a girl's Coming Day, she was treated like a princess. She wore a special dress, pretty ribbons in her hair, beautiful flowers decorated her room, and she was given a gift--a scented bar of soap. 

Tears of happiness tumbled down Kohila face, she was so touched by the celebration and love shown to her. 
I made a calendar recording the day each girl should have her Coming Day Celebration. The girls were so excite!

At night I visited with each girl, one by one, and tucked them into bed, listened to whatever they wanted to tell me, kissed them good night, and gave each a hug. These little girls needed to see and feel God's love for them.

Even with all the love we shared, this didn't mean we didn't have problems, sickness, and death. Some of the babies came for help too late. Their injuries had simply overtaken their lives.

Arulai, the little girl I've shared so much about was now a young woman. She returned from work in one of the villages with a terrible disease called "Bright." I suffered this long ago and had to return to England for medical care. The tropical weather makes the disease worse.

Arulai couldn't leave. She had no where to go. She grew sicker and sicker. One night as sweat dampened her face she said she saw bright lights and some of the dear missionaries who had gone to heaven standing beside her. 

I prayed. All night and day I prayed. God, must she be taken, too? I knew most men and women who had Bright disease die, but that didn't mean I couldn't ask God to spare her life.

A friend from another village rushed to visit her after hearing of Arulai's illness. On December 7 he arrived. God chose that night to be the turning point in her illness. From that moment on she became healthier and continued her work here at the mission.

Thank you God for healing Arulai.

Sometimes God takes his child home to be with Him, sometimes, God allows the child to stay longer. After seeing my mother, a few friends, and the director of this mission leave to go to heaven, I am extra grateful to have Arulai stay with me longer. Thank you, thank you, God.


Resources used for this series:. 
Benge, Janet, and Geoff Benge. Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems. Seattle, WA: YWAM Pub., 1998. Print.
Davis, Rebecca Henry. With Daring Faith: A Biography of Amy Carmichael. Greenville, SC: Bob Jones UP, 1987. Print.
Dick, Lois Hoadley. Amy Carmichael: Let the Children Come. Chicago: Moody, 1984. Print.
Meloche, Renee Taft., and Bryan Pollard. Amy Carmichael: Rescuing the Children. Seattle, WA: YWAM Pub., 2002. Print.
Wellman, Sam. Amy Carmichael: A Life Abandoned to God. Uhrichville, OH: Barbour Pub., 1998. Print.



Don't forget to comment! 
Let Amy hear from you!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Teach the Children - A Hebrew Song

By Mary Vee
Psalm 78


From The Hebrew Song Book


Photo Courtesy Teach the Children

"O my people listen to my instructions.
Open your ears to what I am saying,
For I will speak to you in a parable.

I will teach you hidden lessons from our past--
stories we have heard and known,
stories our ancestors handed down to us.

We will not hide these truths from our children;
we will tell the next generation
about the glorious deeds of the Lord,
about his power and mighty wonders.

For he issued his laws to Jacob;
he gave his instructions to Israel.
He commanded our ancestors
to teach them to their children,
so the next generation might know them --
even the children not yet born --
and they in turn will teach their own children.

So each generation will set its hope anew on God,
not forgetting his glorious miracles
and obeying his commands.

Then they will not be like their ancestors--
stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful,
refusing to give their hearts to God.

So we did.




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sources: Matthew Henry's Commentary volume 4, Hendrickson Publishers. 2000,  New Living Bible translations

1.  What did God want the people to do?
2.  What were the older people to teach?
3.  Why were they to teach them? (how would this help them?)
4.  These instructions came at a time when what was built (see the last post)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Ezra- The Temple is Finished!!!

By Mary Vee
Ezra 6

From Ezra's Journal


Photo Courtesy

My name is Ezra. I am a prophet, which means God trusts me to give His message to His people.

Six years have passed since we have returned to the city of Jerusalem.

The good news is THE TEMPLE IS FINISHED!! 

We had a difficult time getting started. So many bullies came and threatened us if we built the temple. But, as you read in the last post from Zechariah, God gave us a message of encouragement. He told us to go ahead and build. That He would protect us and show His power.

So we did.

And now the temple is finished. 

This building is nowhere as magnificent as Solomon's temple. That temple was magnificent, so big, so...well, let's just say that anyone walking in Solomon's temple couldn't help but be silent and look. The evil Nebuchadnezzar burned Solomon's temple the very one that had once stood on these very grounds.

The Almighty told us this temple may not look as glorious as Solomon's, but it would have greater importance. We didn't fully understand what that meant, and may never, but we can  celebrate our new temple. A place to worship the living God.

The priests, Levites and the rest of the exiles celebrated the dedication of the house of God with joy. The offerings given by the people were great. The priests were installed in each division and the Levites given their jobs in the temple according to what was written in the Book of Moses.

Then, on the fourteenth day of the first month we celebrated the Passover. The priests and Levites did their ceremonial cleaning for the event. Offerings were given by the people.

We ate together and gave up all the wrong habits we had been doing. This was a time to celebrate and praise God.

For seven days we celebrated with joy the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because the Lord had filled us with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria. This change of mind caused him to to help us in the work on the house of God. The God of Israel.

Wow. Join us! You can celebrate, too! Take time to thank God for what He has done for you and given to you.


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sources: Matthew Henry's Commentary volume 4, Hendrickson Publishers. 2000,  

1.  How long did it take for the people to finish the Temple?
2.  What made them take so long?
3.  Who helped them, encouraged them, protected them?
4.  What did the people do when they finished?
5.  What did the people stop doing?
6.  How did the people feel.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Amy Carmichael-Little Arulai Finds the Courage to Tell Her Father about the Living God

By Mary Vee
Year: January, 1904-1906 
Amy Carmichael: 36 years old


From Amy's Journal

Photo Courtesy

My name is Amy Carmichael. I am a missionary in India.

Ten-year-old Arulai finishes telling her story today. 

Arulai's father came to her uncle's home and said, "Arulai, you will come home with me."

The ten-year-old girl was frightened of her father. She knew he loved the Hindu gods and wanted her to worship them, too. He said he would marry her to a Hindu man which meant she would have to obey him and worship the gods.

Arulai ran to her room and prayed. "Please living God. Please help me. I don't want to go with him."

She felt the urge to say, "Father, I cannot go with you. I want to worship the living God." She stood back and waited for him to yell at her. To her surprise his anger turned to a puzzled look.

"Read to me from the words of the living God." 

Arulai was surprised, but ran to get her Bible. She read stories from the Bible to him then waited to see what he would say.

"I don't believe in this living God, but I am afraid of Him. I've changed my mind. You may stay." And with that her father left. 

Arulai wasn't surprised, in a way. She honestly knew the living God would answer her prayer. Still, she'd didn't expect her father to give her permission to be a Christian.

Arulai helped me with the younger girls who came to the mission. She played with them and hugged them. She even told them the Bible stories she knew. 

Arulai eventually left her uncle's home and came to live at the mission. What a jewel. She helped in every way she could.

I found that we were running out of space to house all the little girls who needed rescuing. So many girls were given to the temple as a way for the parents to earn money. I spoke with Mr. Walker and we decided to by land and build a bigger mission.

Buying land isn't as easy as it seems. If a man has four sons. He will divide the land in four pieces. If any of those sons have sons, they will divide their piece among their sons. 

The problem is that each little piece must be bought separately, and no building can go on any piece until all the pieces have been paid for. See? This was difficult and took a long time. BUT, God blessed and help us buy the land and build a bigger mission.

The next problem: convincing parents who wanted to force their little daughters to live at the temple to let us give the girls a home at the mission. At the temple the girls would be harmed for life. And once they went into the temple they could never leave. 

If only we could rescue more girls like Arulai by giving them a loving home where they could safely learn about the living God who loves them, teach them their schoolwork, and give them the food they need.

You are reading this story after it happened, I know, but you could still pray for the little girls in India that they could learn about the living God who loves them.


Resources used for this series:. 
Benge, Janet, and Geoff Benge. Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems. Seattle, WA: YWAM Pub., 1998. Print.
Davis, Rebecca Henry. With Daring Faith: A Biography of Amy Carmichael. Greenville, SC: Bob Jones UP, 1987. Print.
Dick, Lois Hoadley. Amy Carmichael: Let the Children Come. Chicago: Moody, 1984. Print.
Meloche, Renee Taft., and Bryan Pollard. Amy Carmichael: Rescuing the Children. Seattle, WA: YWAM Pub., 2002. Print.
Wellman, Sam. Amy Carmichael: A Life Abandoned to God. Uhrichville, OH: Barbour Pub., 1998. Print.



Don't forget to comment! 
Let Amy hear from you!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Zechariah-God Loves Us-A Time of Joy

By Mary Vee
Zechariah 8

From Zechariah's Journal


Photo Courtesy

My name is Zechariah. I am a prophet, which means God trusts me to give His message to His people.

Four years have passed since we have returned to the city of Jerusalem.

No the city isn't restored yet. The main problem is the outsiders who come and say things to discourage us. 

Some men from the city came, wanting me to ask the Lord a question. 

Not only did the Lord answer their question but the Almighty clearly saw that these men needed encouragement. Here is what the Lord said, "I am very committed to Jerusalem. I am burning with a desire to protect her.

"I will return to Jerusalem and dwell in Zion. The city will be called the city of Truth, ad the mountain of the Lord will be called the Holy Mountain.

Old men and women will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with a cane in hand. Boys and girls will play in the streets and everyone will be happy. 

"I will save my people from the countries of the east and west. I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem. They will be my people, and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God.

"You who are here, let your hands be strong so that the temple may be built. There was a time when your enemy kept you from receiving wages. No one was safe. 

"The crops will grow and the rain will fall. I will give all these things as an inheritance to you. I know you have been bullied by other nations, so will I save you and will be a blessing.

"Do not be afraid. Be strong and finish the work. This is what you are to do: Speak the truth to each other and give fair judgment in your courts. Do not plot evil against your neighbor and don't lie. I despise all of these things.

"The fasting celebrations that you asked about will now become a time of joy. I want you to love truth and peace.

"The result will be that other people and other nations will hear how I have blessed you. They will look for you and want to go with you to the temple to worship the Almighty God of Jerusalem. So go forth. Be strong. Finish the temple and have the celebrations. This is a time of joy."

The men left, very happy.

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sources: Matthew Henry's Commentary volume 4, Hendrickson Publishers. 2000,  

1.  Where did God say He will go?
2.  What will the mountain be called?
3.  Who will God save His people from?
4.  What did God ask the people to do?
5. This will be a time of ______________

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Zechariah-What We Should Celebrate

By Mary Vee
Zechariah 7


From Zechariah's Journal


Photo Courtesy

My name is Zechariah. I am a prophet, which means God trusts me to give His message to His people.

Four years have passed since we have returned to the city of Jerusalem.

Life hasn't turned out the way I had expected. What had I hoped for? Well, that the rebuilding had been underway and the people excited to restore the city. 

I wasn't with the first group that returned to our homes after 70 years of captivity in Babylon. I wasn't even born in Jerusalem. The prophet Haggai took me under his wings and taught me what the Lord wanted. He was like a father to me.

The temple rebuilding had moved at a snail's pace. The walls around the city haven't been started. In truth, the city and surrounding land looked about as bad as it did when we first returned. Four years of missed opportunity. This is sad.

In the ninth month and fourth day of this year, I received a message from the Lord. Days before some people from Bethel sent Sharezer and Regem-Melech and some guards with a request for the Lord. They wanted to know if they should fast in the fifth month as they had done for many years. This fasting was a form of celebration, a memorial.

This is the message God gave me to tell them. "Ask all the people of the land and the priests, 'When you fasted in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, did you really do it for me? 

"And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves? Didn't I tell you then through the earlier prophets, you remember, when Jerusalem and all the land around the city had prosperity? Remember at that same time the Negev and the western foothills were settled?"

God then gave me a second message for the people. "This is what the Lord Almighty says we should celebrate and remember: "Show true justice. Show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not hurt the widow or the orphans, the foreigner or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.

"Sadly," the Lord said, "Your fathers before didn't pay attention to me. They stubbornly turned their backs and stopped listening to the words or laws that I, the Lord Almighty had sent by My Spirit to the earlier prophets. So I, the Lord Almighty, was very angry.

"When I called, they didn't listen, so when they called to Me, I would not listen. I scattered them with a whirlwind to nations far away where they would be strangers. Jerusalem, your home was left desolate as it is today."

BUT....
The Lord's message will continue next time.

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sources: Matthew Henry's Commentary volume 4, Hendrickson Publishers. 2000,  

1.  What is a prophet trusted to do?
2.  What did the people ask God through Zechariah?
3.  In God's answer was he happy with what they had done every fifth month for the last seventy years? Why or why not?
4.  What did the Lord ask the people to do?
5.  What had their fathers from long ago failed to do?