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Bible Pathways 06/07/2002

June 07

Read Nehemiah 4 -- 6

In Today's Reading:

Builders opposed and ridiculed; Nehemiah's prayer; weapons for the workers; evils corrected; plots of adversaries; walls completed.

Verse for Today:

Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, Which is great. . . . our God shall fight for us. So we labored in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared (4:14,20-21; compare Numbers 14:9; Exodus 14:13-14).

For almost 100 years after the Jews returned to Jerusalem from Babylonian exile, the walls around the city and the gates remained in ruins (Nehemiah 1:3). The Israelites excused their failure to rebuild them by blaming the fierce opposition from surrounding nations. Refusing to accept these excuses, Nehemiah took quick action as he armed workers with their swords, their spears, and their bows (4:13).

Working about 12 hours a day left little time for anything else. The Israelites' faith had been strengthened because of reading God's Word, and, as a result, they put the Lord first in their lives.

As in the past, Sanballat attempted to stop their work through ridicule and threats. He then sent word to Nehemiah, saying: Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono (6:2), about 28 miles northwest of Jerusalem. Nehemiah replied, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: Why should the work cease, [while] I . . . come down to you? (6:3).

After Sanballat made five attempts to meet with Nehemiah, he then accused him of rebelling against the king of Persia (6:5-7). When this failed, Sanballat hired a prophet to foretell Nehemiah's death.

Nehemiah would not be intimidated and would not allow his enemies' threats and accusations to discourage him. Eleven times it is recorded that he prayed (1:4-11; 2:4; 4:4-5,9; 5:19; 6:9,14; 13:14,22,29,31).

Nehemiah had faith that the God of Heaven . . . will prosper us. . . . So the wall was finished . . . in fifty-two days . . . for the people had a mind to work (2:20; 4:6; 6:15).

Nehemiah's faith reminds us of Moses when he assured the Israelites: Fear not . . . The Lord your God is He that goes with you (Deuteronomy 20:3-4), of Jahaziel's words to Jehoshaphat's soldiers: Fear not . . . for the Lord will be with you (2 Chronicles 20:17), and of David's assertion to Goliath: The battle is the Lord's (1 Samuel 17:47).

Once we recognize that the battle is the Lord's and that God has allowed the opposition, we will not panic when it appears that we are helpless and overpowered by opposition. Knowing that God controls everything will make us patient and long suffering even with those who aggravate us.

If our Father permits a trial to come, it is the best thing that could happen to us, whether it be prosperity, poverty, suffering, or sorrow.

The people of faith will always be a minority, but they will find a way to accomplish God's will while the majority will find an excuse to wait for a more convenient time.

Our greatest problem in serving the Lord successfully is our unwillingness to do the best we can with what we have regardless of circumstances. I must work . . . while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work (John 9:4).

Christ Portrayed:

By Nehemiah and other Jews who had bought back (redeemed) some Jews who had been sold to the heathen as slaves while in Persia (Nehemiah 5:8). When we were enslaved by sin, we were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ (Romans 7:14; 1 Peter 1:18-19; see also Leviticus 25:42).

Word Studies:

4:7 breaches = gaps; 4:10 decayed = giving way; 4:20 resort ye thither = assemble there; 5:3 dearth = famine; 5:7 usury = interest; 5:10 exact of them = require; 6:8 feignest = made up the story.

Prayer Needs:

Government Official: Rep. Mike Pence (IN) · Pray for the President · Country: Honduras (6 million) in Central America · Major languages: Spanish and Indian dialects · Religious freedom · 86% Roman Catholic; 10% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Glory in the Lord. He is Victor over Satan (Zechariah 3:2).

Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 9

Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Timothy 2:15

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