Thoughts on Nehemiah…

Jared’s been teaching a series on the book of Nehemiah over the past few weeks at the River and God has given me some fresh revelation too. The book is jam packed with awesome truths and promises of the Lord. If you aren’t familiar with the book let me catch you up to speed.

The Nation of Israel – God’s chosen people – was the domineering, superpower kingdom in the ancient Bible times. King David and his son Solomon played key roles in fueling Israel’s flight to great prominence. But after David and Solomon died, Israel begins to stray away from God and return to its evil practice of pagan idol worshipping. Therefore God allowed the Nation of Babylon to conquer the Israelites, destroy their temple and its walls, and haul them off to captivity in Babylon. Eventually Babylon was overthrown by the Persians and King Artaxerxes. King Artaxerxes showed kindness towards the Jews and allowed them to return to Jerusalem to rebuild their city. Nehemiah knew that God wanted him to motivate the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls and he knew God could use his talents to get the job done. But when Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem he found more than just a destroyed city with broken walls; he found broken lives and broken hearts. He found a nation who had lost their identity. A people who had once flourished under God’s hand and favor now meandered around without truly knowing the God of their ancestors.

But this is the part I love. Most of us would look at the situation God put Nehemiah in and say “Can’t do it Lord, these people are too far stuck into worldly things. They’re broken, depressed, and lacking confidence in their God…give me some passionate, zealous warriors of God and I’ll get ‘er done no problem…but these losers – Impossible!”

Nehemiah, though he may have been a little discouraged, refused to be defeated. In response, he gathered the people together to read God’s law, in hopes of returning them to their first love.  The people repent and promise to change their lives by obeying God’s word. Check this out! I love it –

                8:1 all the people assembled with a unified purpose at the square just inside the Water Gate. They asked Ezra the scribe to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had given for Israel to obey.

 2 So on October 8[a] Ezra the priest brought the Book of the Law before the assembly, which included the men and women and all the children old enough to understand. 3 He faced the square just inside the Water Gate from early morning until noon and read aloud to everyone who could understand. All the people listened closely to the Book of the Law…

6 …Then Ezra praised the Lord, the great God, and all the people chanted, “Amen! Amen!” as they lifted their hands. Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground…

9 ….Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were interpreting for the people said to them, “Don’t mourn or weep on such a day as this! For today is a sacred day before the Lord your God.” For the people had all been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law….

Nehemiah 9

5 …Then the leaders of the Levites—Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah—called out to the people: “Stand up and praise the Lord your God, for he lives from everlasting to everlasting!” Then they prayed:

   “May your glorious name be praised! May it be exalted above all blessing and praise!
 6 “You alone are the Lord. You made the skies and the heavens and all the stars. You made the earth and the seas and everything in them. You preserve them all, and the angels of heaven worship you.

I am so encouraged by Nehemiah and his unwavering faith in the Lord. Instead of complaining to the Lord about Israel’s back-sliding into sin and pagan worship he remained faithful, steady, and obedient to God in the tough times.  Be and Overcomer!  

 

JI

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