Category: Nehemiah–BibleTrekToday

Trek through Nehemiah

Thankful for a needed rebuke!

Scripture reading for May 11th:  Nehemiah 12-13, Esther 1-2

Key Scriptures:  Nehemiah 13:17-18  “I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this wicked thing you are doing–desecrating the Sabbath day?  Didn’t your forefathers do the same things, so that our God brought all this calamity upon us and upon this city? Now you are stirring up more wrath against Israel by desecrating the Sabbath.”

Nehemiah had gone back to Persia for a period of time and while he was away, God’s people began to slip away from their obedience to God.  They were working and doing business on the Sabbath, in rebellion to God’s law.  Nehemiah called them out with a public rebuke!  He reminded them of past consequences of such actions and called them to repentance!

Thankful for needed rebukes:  Godly leaders reprove and rebuke those who are in known sin and warn the congregation concerning sin’s consequences. “These then are the things you should teach.  Encourage and rebuke with all authority.  Do not let anyone despise you.”  (Titus 2:15)  “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.  So be earnest, and repent.”  (Revelation 3:19)

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Rejoicing in understanding!

Scripture reading for May 10th:  Nehemiah 7-11

Key Scriptures:  Nehemiah 8:10-12 “Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord.  Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  The Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for this is a sacred day.  Do not grieve.”  Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.”

Nehemiah had called all God’s people together and had the Word of God read aloud to them.  The people had listened attentively and God’s Word brought conviction and cleansing.  A great revival was stirred.  Nehemiah encouraged the people to celebrate their new-found understanding and to allow the joy of the Lord’s renewed presence to be their strength and confidence!

Rejoicing in understanding through Christ:  “For I (Jesus) gave them the words You gave Me and they accepted them.  They knew with certainty that I came from You and they believed that You sent Me.”   .   .”I am coming to You now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of My joy within them.”  (John 17:8, 13)

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Thankful for courage!

Scripture reading for May 9th:  Nehemiah 3-6

Key Scriptures: Nehemiah 4:13-14  “Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows.  After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them.  Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.””

Nehemiah was a wise leader who acted in faith and courage.  He surveyed the situation and stationed the people as needed and encouraged them not to live in fear but to work and fight in faith.  This faith was based in their Lord, who was great and awesome and who would fight for them!

Thankful for courage:  Jesus Christ has said, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:20) “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.”  (2nd Timothy 1:7)

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Thankful for men who weep!

Scripture reading for May 8th:  Ezra 8-10, Nehemiah 1-2

Key Scriptures:  Nehemiah 1:3-4  “They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace.  The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”  When I (Nehemiah) heard these things, I sat down and wept.  For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.”

Nehemiah was a servant (cup-bearer) to the king of Persia.  He heard a report from Jerusalem that the rebuilding of the city and its walls had stopped and the people there were demoralized and in trouble.  This caused him to weep and fast before the Lord.  He repented of sin and confessed wickedness. He poured out his heart in prayer and opened his life for God’s purposes.

Thankful for men who weep:  Jesus Christ, too, wept, over Jerusalem and then offered Himself as the One who would give His life to save His people!  “As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes.”  (Luke 19:41-42)

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A legacy to remember!

Scripture reading for May 13th: Nehemiah 11-13

“Remember me for this, O my God, and do not blot out what I have so faithfully done for the house of my God and its services.”  Nehemiah 13:14

It is a great honor to have God’s smile of approval for the deeds a person has done!  Others have had a record of their accomplishments but God called them “evil” and wrote them down as a bad examples!  Let’s look at Nehemiah’s last four prayers of petition to the Lord, see his heart,  and learn why God answered his prayers with favor!

Nehemiah asked to be remembered for cleansing the temple of Tobiah the Ammonite, who Eliashib the priest had given a room in the temple.  (Nehemiah 13:1-2,7-9)  Nehemiah also found out that the Levites had not received their portion of the tithes and therefore had to return to secular work.  He rebuked the officials who had allowed this and ordered the Levites back to work  in the temple. He reminded the people to bring their tithes into the storehouse and replenish the storerooms that had gone empty.  He knew that they needed to bring their tithes into the temple for their own worship and good!  Faithfulness to God’s house will always be rewarded!

“Then I commanded the Levites to purify themselves and go and guard the gates in order to keep the Sabbath day holy.  Remember me for this also, O my God, and show mercy to me according to your great love.” Nehemiah 13:22

Nehemiah rebuked the people for doing business on the Sabbath, closed the gates, and warned those bringing goods to remove them on the Sabbath.  (Nehemiah 13:12-18)  He was concerned that God’s wrath would come upon the people for their disrespect of God’s commandment.

“Remember them, O my God, because they defiled the priestly office and the covenant of the priesthood and of the Levites.” Nehemiah 13:29  “Remember me with favor, O my God.” Nehemiah 13:30b

The last recorded deed of Nehemiah was his dealing with mixed marriages in Judah and the priesthood.  (Nehemiah 13:25)  He made them swear not to give their daughters or allow their sons to marry outside the nation of faith.  Wise leaders take action!  In doing so, they are “remembered with favor” by the Lord!   Let Nehemiah’s example inspire your efforts today!

 

 

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The secret of great strength!

Scripture reading for May 12th: Nehemiah 8:2-10:39

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared.  This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

After rebuilding the walls, Ezra and Nehemiah had a great church service.  They brought out the book of the Law of Moses and began reading it to all who had gathered inside the walls to celebrate their completion.  Ezra the priest mounted the platform and those who would help with translation stood with him.   When he opened the Book, all the people stood in reverence.  (Nehemiah 8:4-5)  Ezra praised the Lord and the people responded with “Amen! Amen!” and bowed in worship.  As the Word was read, the teachers instructed the people and made the meaning clear to them.  The people began to understand what God had said and how they had failed to follow God’s Word.  This triggered emotions and conviction in the people and many began to weep and mourn.

Godly sorrow that leads to true change is commended in Scripture.  (2nd Corinthians 7:8-11)  Nehemiah actually sent the people away to enjoy choice food and sweet drinks and share with those who didn’t have any.  He told them that the joy of the Lord would be their strength!  (Nehemiah 8:9-10)  God had shown them mercy!

Joy always follows true understanding of the mercy of God.  As people understand God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness for them, they can celebrate as people who are forgiven.  The Book of the Law revealed this mercy and love of God in Nehemiah’s time.  Jesus Christ has sent God’s Spirit to bring us that joy today!

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit of God.  (Galatians 5:22)   New Testament believers can enjoy the Lord’s promise of joy as a fruit of abiding in Him and His word abiding in us.  “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.Romans 15:13

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Shake out the unfaithful!

Scripture reading for May 10th: Nehemiah 5-8:1

Wise and godly leaders stand firmly against injustice!  Our sinful tendencies lead us relentlessly towards selfishness and taking advantage of those who are in need, in crisis or weak.  Slavery in America is an example of these selfish and sinful tendencies.  Slaves were bought and sold to build wealth for those they served.  Slaves did jobs that their owners did not want to do themselves.   Slaves were treated well by some and harshly and cruelly by others.  Injustice in this system led some leaders to take action and a civil war resulted over this issue.

Nehemiah faced injustice among his own people.  Taxes were high in Jerusalem and the Jews had to pay them to the Persian king.  Their brothers who had money were loaning to the Jews who had no money.  Mortgages were taken on the fields and vineyards and even their homes.  Sons and daughters were being sold into slavery because of the usury among the Israelites.  An outcry because of this injustice reached Nehemiah. (Nehemiah 5:6-7)   Calling a meeting of all those involved,  he accused those with money of their sin, commanded them to stop these practices!  (Nehemiah 5:9-11)  They publicly agreed to do so.   He charged the priests and nobles to take an oath to do what they had promised in response to his accusation.  He even shook out his own robe and prayed, “In this way may God shake out of his house and possessions every man who does not keep this promise.  So may such a man be shaken out and emptied!” Nehemiah 5:13

God’s people must beware of injustice, even in their own house!  Sin and selfishness can cause us to take advantage of others.  We can abuse or neglect the poor and the weak.  We must not manipulate or enslave others by our selfishness.  Spiritual leaders and pastors must guard their hearts against manipulation and injustice caused by selfishness.  Slavery comes when our sons and daughters go into captivity because of injustice in God’s house among God’s people!  Righteous leaders are watchful and take direct action when they know about it!  Pray today for those in authority and let them know of any injustice among God’s people!

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Warfare as you work!

Scripture reading for May 9th: Nehemiah 3-4

God’s people are wired for work!  When a vision is present, focus of energy and teamwork can result in a miraculous amount of work being done and great accomplishments.  It takes leadership and discipline to get people to work together.  There are many hindrances that try to hold up progress and destroy the vision.  The leader must assess the situation, cast the vision, organize the team of workers, and deal with the hindrances in a timely and effective manner.  He can’t run a popularity contest or seek to appease those who would hinder or hold up the work.

Nehemiah was an effective leader.  He was chosen by God as he prayed for the city of Jerusalem, burdened for it’s broken-down walls.  Nehemiah was given favor, authority, and materials from the king to go and rebuild the broken walls of his beloved city. (Nehemiah 2:11-16)   He decided to put families in charge of rebuilding the section of wall nearest their own homes.  (Nehemiah 3)  This brought personal responsibility to bear on how the job would be done and how fast they would work.  You work harder and smarter if your own family’s lives depend on it!

Nehemiah had to deal with opposition, both external and internal.  Spiritual warfare is ever-present in the life of a believer seeking to do God’s will!  He prayed (Nehemiah 4:4-5) and then posted a guard.  He armed half the men while the others worked.  He kept a trumpeter by his side to sound the alarm if any family was attacked and needed help.  (Nehemiah 4:17-20)

We are each assigned work to do according to our gifts and talents.  There will be opposition that must be dealt with to avoid setback and defeat.  The Holy Spirit is the trumpeter in our lives who lets us know when trouble is coming.  He helps us prepare for attack and leads the resistance.  As we work and fight together the work gets done quickly.  We remember that we are fighting for our own protection and that of our family!

“Don’t be afraid of them.  Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” Nehemiah 4:14

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The prayer connection!

Scripture reading for May 8th: Nehemiah 1-2

Sometimes prayer is used as an excuse for doing nothing.  “I’ll pray about it” is an easy answer when asked to serve in a ministry or do a project.   I have used it myself!  But, as we pray, God moves on our heart and turns us to do His will!  (Psalm 37:4) This leads to exciting open doors and God’s provision!

Nehemiah was an Israelite who was cup bearer to the king of Persia.  He held a position of trust and was a close adviser and bodyguard for the king.  He heard a report from those who had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple.  They told  him how the work was at a standstill, the walls were broken down, and the gates were burned with fire.  He began to weep, fast, and pray before the God of heaven.  (Nehemiah 1:4-11)  Nehemiah prayed and confessed the sins of his own people.  He reminded God of His covenant with Moses to bring the people back if they would call on Him.  He asked for favor to approach the king. (Psalm 5:11-12)

As he was doing his job before the king, God opened the king’s heart to ask him about his sad countenance.  Nehemiah again prayed quietly and answered the king.  He asked for help in rebuilding Jerusalem and it’s walls.  God granted him favor and his prayers were answered. (Nehemiah 2:7-9)  Prayer often activates faith that brings action.  Note that Nehemiah continued to pray about everything and there are 10 recorded prayers in this short book!

Is there something that really moves your heart with pity?  Is there a need that you see or an injustice that is calling to you for help?  Why not begin praying and fasting and opening your heart to the Lord about that situation?  As you do, be open for action to bring about change, healing, or a godly answer.  The Lord wants to move our hearts through prayer to godly work.  The result will be a joyous celebration when we realize what the Lord has accomplished as we prayed and worked!  In the end, Nehemiah had rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem in 52 days!

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Remember me O God!

Scripture reading for May 12th: Nehemiah 11-13

Would you like to be remembered by God for the good works?  Nehemiah had the great honor of God’s approval recorded for all to read.  Let’s look at Nehemiah’s last four prayers of petition to the Lord, see his heart,  and learn why God answered his prayers with favor!

“Remember me for this, O my God, and do not blot out what I have so faithfully done for the house of my God and its services.” Nehemiah 13:14

Nehemiah was asking to be remembered for removing Tobiah the Ammonite from the temple.  Nehemiah threw out all his things and cleansed the room where he was staying. (Nehemiah 13:1-2,7-9)  Nehemiah also found out that the Levites had not received their portion of the tithes and therefore had to return to work, neglecting the work in the temple.  He rebuked the officials who had allowed this and ordered the Levites back to work  in the temple.  He reminded the people to bring their tithes into the storehouse and replenish the storerooms.  Nehemiah did this because he loved the Lord’s house and knew what would bless God and His people.  Faithfulness to God’s house is always remembered and rewarded!

“Then I commanded the Levites to purify themselves and go and guard the gates in order to keep the Sabbath day holy.  Remember me for this also, O my God, and show mercy to me according to your great love.” Nehemiah 13:22

Nehemiah rebuked the people for doing business on the Sabbath, closed the gates, and warned those bringing goods to remove them on the Sabbath.  (Nehemiah 13:12-18)  He was concerned that God’s wrath would come upon the people for their disrespect of God’s commandment.  He was looking out for their welfare and God remembered him for it!

“Remember them, O my God, because they defiled the priestly office and the covenant of the priesthood and of the Levites.” Nehemiah 13:29  “Remember me with favor, O my God.” Nehemiah 13:30b

The last recorded deed of Nehemiah was his dealing with mixed marriages in Judah and the priesthood.  He rebuked the offenders strongly, even beating and pulling out the hair of some of them!  (Nehemiah 13:25)  He made them swear not to give their daughters or allow their sons to marry outside the faith.  Sin requires decisive action or it brings God’s wrath.  Nehemiah was “remembered with favor” by the Lord!

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