August 16

Nehemiah 11:1–12:26

In order for Jerusalem to thrive, it would have to have a healthy amount of inhabitants. Up to this point the people were scattered throughout Judah. They needed more citizens in Jerusalem. Some of the people willingly offered to move into the city, which was a blessing, and then lots were cast to bring one-tenth of the population into the city of Jerusalem, besides the leaders who were already there.

We have the lists of names of people who live in Jerusalem, including the heads of the province, the children of Judah, the sons of Benjamin, the priests, the Levites, the singers, and the gatekeepers.

The rest of Israel were in all the cities of Judah, everyone in his inheritance (Nehemiah 11:20).

Nehemiah goes on to mention the different overseers in the nation as well as the different villages throughout the land, from Beersheba to the Valley of Hinnom.

Nehemiah then list the priests and Levites who came up with Zerubbabel along with the various leaders at different times…in the days of Jeshua, in the days f Joiakim, and in the days of Nehemiah the governor and Ezra the priest, the scribe.

Nehemiah wanted to make it clear to all that the priestly records were kept, even during the time of their captivity

It’s all for the glory of God. All for the good of His people, especially the city of Jerusalem, we have all these names mentioned who served and sang, who led and loved, who made a difference in difficult times. Prayerfully our names will be somewhere on God’s list of servants. Not to be famous, but just showing we were faithful, a part of God’s work!

1 Corinthians 10:14-33

Continuing his teaching on meat offered to idols, Paul reminds us that demons are behind every form of idolatry, so I must flee idols.  They’re not harmless, they’re harmful. There may even have been some type of practice where the Corinthians were mingling meat offered to idols into their love feasts with the Lord. How sad and sinful when saints think they can serve God with a divided heart!

Tragically I see it in today’s church – Christians cuss, or Christian pastors post sexual innuendos that cross the lines of decency, they mix with the world, they look like the world, they sound like the world, to the point that there’s no doubt about it – they’re worldly (Romans 12:2; Titus 2:12; James 1:27; 4:4 1 John 2:15). In Paul’s day they were flaunting their freedom to eat meat offered to idols, even if it meant that other Christians who didn’t have that liberty, stumbled. There was no heart, holiness, or genuine love. We need to consider, not only our own conscience, but the conscience of others.

So, we close with a few principles in what some might consider “gray” areas – is it okay to do this? Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is what I’m doing helpful to my walk? Does it build me up spiritually? Is it a wing or a weight? (1 Corinthians 10:23)
  2. Is what I’m doing helpful to my brother or sister’s walk? Does it help them spiritually? (1 Corinthians 10:24, 32-33)
  3. Can I do this to the glory of God? (we should ask that about everything we do) 

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NKJV) “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Psalm 34:11-22

What a beautiful Psalm – every verse is of infinite value!

Peter quotes Psalms 34:12-16 in 1 Peter 3:10-12. If we want to love life, we must learn to tame our tongue (by the power of the Holy Spirit), depart from evil, seek good, and do good.

I’ve always loved Psalm 34:18:

Psalm 34:18 (NKJV) “The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.”

Blessed are those who mourn over their sins, they shall be comforted with the closeness of God and salvation…by simply placing their faith in Jesus Christ.

I wish I could say it’ll be “one and done,” if you love the LORD, but that’s not the case on this side of time. We will go through tons of trials.

Psalm 34:19 (NKJV) “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.

Did catch those words? “Many” are the afflictions of the righteous. If you long to be righteous, not just in position, but also practice you will experience “many” afflictions.

Did you catch that other word though? “All” – but the LORD delivers him out of them “all.” 

All means all, that’s all all means. God is sovereign, omnipotent, and perfectly loving…you can trust Him my friend – come what may, God will save the day.

Proverbs 21:14-16

Proverbs 21:14 (NKJV) “A gift in secret pacifies anger, and a bribe behind the back, strong wrath.”

The Message puts it this way, “A quietly given gift soothes an irritable person; a heartfelt present cools a hot temper.”

A tough situation might be mended with flowers and a little note of apology. I think one of the things we’ve learned in the Proverbs is to think creatively with our gift-giving.

Proverbs 21:15 (NKJV) “It is a joy for the just to do justice, but destruction will come to the workers of iniquity.”

We will be rewarded for our justice, even overjoyed, but the workers of iniquity will be destroyed.

Proverbs 21:16 (NKJV) “A man who wanders from the way of understanding will rest in the assembly of the dead.”

We all have a tendency to wander (Isaiah 53:6). No everyone seems to stay on the straight and narrow path.

Here we see that that wandering left unchecked, has an absolutely horrible ending…such people will rest in the assembly of the dead.

We read some interesting words in:

John 6:66 (NKJV) “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.” 

We have many warnings in Scripture.

Hebrews 10:38 (NKJV) “Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”

This passage teaches us that the key, it just to keep on believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, until you see Him face to face. May we never “draw back”

Not only are we NOT to wander, may we alos reach out to those whom we know have wandered.

James 5:19-20 (NKJV) “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”

If you’re out there and you’ve been wandering from God, I pray, you’d come back to Him today, He loves you, and is just waiting for you to return; if you take one step in His direction, He will run to you (see Luke 15).

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.

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