August 7, 2017
Introduction to Nehemiah
The survivors in the province, who returned from the exile, are in great trouble and disgrace. Jerusalem's wall has been broken down, and is gates have been burned down. Nehemiah 1:3
LET IT GLOW
As I wrote this, I happened to look down on the floor and saw a tiny lizard staring at me. What in the world are you doing here? How did you get into my house? Your place is outside. Guess I shouldn't leave the door open while I pet and feed my cats on the porch in the morning. Okay, there is a little space under the glass outside door, in which it scooted under. If I had not left the wooden door open, it would not have come in. I tried scooping it up with a magazine, but no it wasn't that simple of a solution. The unusual visitor got scared and went under the furniture. I could see its tail, so I went back to typing, patiently waiting for its showing itself. It did. Quietly I left the room to tell my husband about our uninvited guest. He got gloves on and the hunt was on, but to no avail. Later, the lizard was seen in the restroom, scampering to hide. Guess it will either find its way out or it will surprise me some night, causing me to scream.
What does this visiting lizard have to do with today's lesson? Well, if we open the door of our heart a little to impure thought, immorality and sin, our life becomes shambles, eventually. The Jews had done this. The walls around Jerusalem were broken, allowing the enemies to enter. But God was still on His throne and had a solution. Let's prepare to learn from this man.
After 70 years in Babylonian captivity had passed, the first group of Jews returned home to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem under Zerubbabel's leadership. They had to rebuild everything, from a worship center, houses, businesses, to government. With opposition strong, it took them 20 years to complete the task of rebuilding the Temple of God.
Then after 75 years, Ezra lead the second group of Jews back to Jerusalem. His purpose was to establish a religious education. Ezra found the Jews deep in sin. They had intermarried with the pagans, forsook the worship of God, turned to worshiping idols, and deep in immorality. Through his preaching and praying, repentance and revival came to the Jews.
Now some 12 years later, Nehemiah hears about his Jewish family's fear of their enemies and discouragement in Jerusalem. This came because the walls around the city of Jerusalem had not been repaired. (They had been broken for some 150 years.) Unrepaired walls would allow the enemy easy access into the city. Such a condition left the people defenseless and vulnerable.They needed hope and faith in God renewed and evident. Jerusalem needed a strong city wall.
Our lives are like walls. They are continually before God. (Isaiah 49:15,16) He inscribed our life on His hands. What the walls were to Jerusalem, our lives are before God. When we neglect our spiritual life, we head toward ruin, like Jerusalem's walls.
Anyone in need of hope? Do you know of folks who have broken lives? Continue reading to find out how the Jews obtained it and how we can too.
LET IT GROW
Gene Getz, in his book, Hope Under Construction, explains:
Nehemiah faced an impossible task on an impossible deadline...opposition, false accusations and ridicule from his enemies...betrayal...person and team discouragement... and even conflict and sinful rebellion among his own people. Nehemiah's balance been wholeheartedly trusting God and fiercely exerting his own initiative provides us all with a model of how to demolish discouragement and emerge victorious no matter what we're facing! There are some individuals who have special place in God's scheme of things-people Go chooses to use in unique ways to achieve His purposes. Nehemiah is one of those special people.
With God's help, our efforts honoring Him and done in unity, can accomplish impossible tasks. He gives us purpose, faith, and encouragement we need. Are you one of those special people? Does God want you to be an inspirational leader?
LET IT GO
Watch out for compromises, immorality, procrastination, no time for God, lack of disciple.
Repair the cracks in faith before it becomes a large hole.