We continue to read the various names of those who made repairs to the walls of Jerusalem. There were many construction contributors. As each of us answers the calling of God upon our lives, we will build “walls” of protection around our families and congregations, it brings God glory. Whatever you do, don’t underestimate your part!
I’m blessed by the statements we read of those who made repairs -opposite, by, and in front of his house. Ministry always begins at home.
Nehemiah 3:23 (NKJV) “After him Benjamin and Hasshub made repairs opposite their house. After them Azariah the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ananiah, made repairs by his house.
Nehemiah 3:28 (NKJV) “Beyond the Horse Gate the priests made repairs, each in front of his own house.”
Nehemiah 3:30 (NKJV) “After him Meshullam the son of Berechiah made repairs in front of his dwelling.
Again, opposition arises from Sanballat and Tobiah. He spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria. He spoke words of intimidation; he made sure that Nehemiah and the builders heard. Nehemiah prayed (Nehemiah 4:4-5) and got back to work. They were beginning to see the fruit of their labor:
Nehemiah 4:6 (NKJV) “So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.”
What a beautiful blessing it is, when the people have a mind to work for God.
The “war” now escalates to a different level. Judah’s enemies are furious. They join forces and threaten to attack and create confusion. Again we read of Nehemiah taking it to God in prayer (Nehemiah 4:9) and from that point on they were always ready for war. The mindset was now one of work and war for God.
Sometimes I think Christians forget the “war” part of life and ministry. We might work vigorously, but do we war readily? Do we fight in the spiritual realm? Do we pray? Do we recognize the tactics of the enemy? We need to always be ready for the attacks of our adversaries – and at the same time never let him cause us to cease working for God. The enemy is crafty, beware of the way he frustrates, manipulates, and intimidates. We must fight for the glory of God and the good of His people, especially our families.
Nehemiah issued that great word of encouragement:
Nehemiah 4:14 (NKJV) “And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, ‘Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.’”
We will experience opposition from the “outside,” as well as heartache from the “inside.” Apparently the rich had exploited the poor in Judah, to the point that many in the land not only lost their houses and vineyards, they lost their children to slavery – and this was amongst the Jews.
“After serious thought,” Nehemiah rebuked the nobles and rulers, for their outrageous interest charges which the people could not possibly pay. This was against the law of God. We read in:
Exodus 22:25 (NKJV) “If you lend money to any of My people who are poor among you, you shall not be like a moneylender to him; you shall not charge him interest.”
Nehemiah had earned the respect and authority to command the nobles and leaders to restore to the poor their lands, vineyards, olive groves, houses, grain, new wine, olive groves and even a hundredth of the money they had charged them. Amazingly, the nobles and leaders agreed. Nehemiah was wise in requiring an oath from them (making it official) and putting a bit of fear into their hearts – if they didn’t follow through with the their word, God would deal with them accordingly.
Nehemiah was a TCOB kind of guy. He’s a great person to study if we want to glean leadership principles.
Imagine the joy and confidence a country would have with Nehemiah as their leader.
Proverbs 29:2 (NKJV) “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan.”
1 Corinthians 7:25-40
Back in 1 Corinthians 7:17-24 Paul talks about the overall concept of God’s calling on our lives. God can use us wherever we are in life, married, single, circumcised, uncircumcised, slave or free, doesn’t matter. His point is to seek the Lord, to put Him first, and not get distracted with any of this – if God wants to change something in our lives that’s fine, but don’t be obsessed with anything or anyone but God.
Paul didn’t have a passage to quote from the lips of Jesus on this whole matter, but he was an Apostle (capital A) and the book of 1 Corinthians was inspired by the Holy Spirit so we can take his words authoritatively.
Paul reminds the Corinthians that life is short, the time is short, Jesus’ return is at hand so we should be living with a heavenly perspective. In heaven there is no marriage amongst us, in heaven there is no weeping, no emotional ups and downs. Now that doesn’t mean we neglect our spouses, (as a matter of fact we will given an account to God on the kind of spouse we were) it simply means we set our mind and heart on things above (Colossians 3:2).
Paul’s personal opinion is to stay single, solely devoted to God – but – earlier he had already acknowledged the fact that not everyone has that gift as he had (1 Corinthians 7:7).
In 1 Corinthians 7:36-38 Paul may be speaking of a father and his daughter; he may also be speaking of a fiancé who chooses to marry or not to marry. Being married is good Paul says, but personally, he believes that being single is better. When you get to the heart of this chapter, what you find is that God’s will is best. If God wants you married that will be the best thing for you – just wait on Him for His timing. If we get married we will have troubles because marriage is not easy (1 Corinthians 7:28b) but we will also have joys with the one that God has custom-made to complete us in such an intimate way.
This Psalm was no doubt written after David confessed his sin of adultery with Bathsheba, and the murder of Uriah. Nathan confronted him (2 Samuel 12) and finally, in honest humility David came clean. He had languished in his misery, “separated” from God, for close to a year.
In my many days as a pastor I’ve seen people deny it till their blue in the face, even when they’re full-on guilty and the evidence is right there in front of them. If we refuse to confess our sin, it will eat away at our soul, and destroy us from within.
Proverbs 28:13 (NKJV) ”He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”
Psalm 32:8-9 reminds me that God wants to draw me close and guide me through the instruction of His Word. I shouldn’t be like a stubborn mule, who refuses God’s voice and therefore requires circumstantial discipline to draw me near to hear the Lord.
Will I learn the easy way, or the hard way? And then there are those who never learn.
Proverbs 21:5 (NKJV) “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.”
We’ve heard it a million times, “If we fail to plan, we plan to fail.”
But, we need to be more than just prudent, we need to be diligent, to plan hard and then work hard. There’s a word here that’s repeated, which we need to take into consideration, it’s the word “surely.” It’s not maybe, it’s not a possibility, it’s surely a certainty.
…surely to plenty
…surely to poverty
Let’s pray, let’s plan, let’s work for God, let’s wait on Him, and we’ll be blessed with “plenty” as opposed to “poverty,” – spiritually speaking.
Proverbs 21:6 (NKJV) “Getting treasures by a lying tongue is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death.”
I like the way the NLT puts it:
Proverbs 21:6 (NLT) “Wealth created by a lying tongue is a vanishing mist and a deadly trap.”
There are many corrupt companies, and bad business men, but even worse, how about those health, wealth, and prosperity teachers? They’ve gotten filthy rich off the people. The truth is, God has a hot spot for them, if they don’t repent.
2 Peter 2:3 (NKJV) “By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.”
Proverbs 21:7 (NKJV) “The violence of the wicked will destroy them, because they refuse to do justice.”
I know more than a handful of Christians that were violent before they were saved. Always looking for a fight, gang members always in that nation of retaliation; but they changed, they were saved.
And that’s the key in this verse…because they refuse to change, they refuse to do justice, they will be destroyed.
NET Notes, “They are not passive victims of their circumstances or their crimes. They choose to persist in their violence and so it destroys them.”
It’s time to lay down the “gloves,” the guns, the knives, the violence, the vengeance in our hearts. Give it to God, follow Him, He will spare your life.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.