Bible Pathways Daily Bible Reading Devotional

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Bible Pathways 06/07/2003

June 7

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

When Nehemiah saw the deplorable spiritual condition in Jerusalem, he could have said: "I wish I were a priest, or a prophet, but I'm only a layman, so I guess there's nothing much for me to do but just pray about it." Although Nehemiah was inexperienced as a wall builder, he was determined to put God first in his life and to do the best he could. This meant forsaking the plush amenities of being an official in the king's palace. In order for Nehemiah to be used of God, he had to move out of his comfort zone and live in Jerusalem with the Jews who had decided to live for God.

Nehemiah had determined to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem even though there was fierce opposition from the Samaritans and even from the prominent Jewish leaders there. He placed armed guards near the unfinished wall and told the people they need not to be afraid since the Lord would protect them (Nehemiah 4:13-14,20-21; compare Numbers 14:9; Exodus 14:13-14). The Israelites' faith was strengthened by the promise of God's Word. They worked about 12 hours a day, which left little time for anything else.

Rebuilders are people who start and never give up. They have learned that quitters never win and winners never quit. When we are in the process of rebuilding our spiritual lives, there are habits that need to be removed so the walls of separation from secular activities can be restored.

Sanballat again attempted to stop the rebuilding of the wall by suggesting that Nehemiah discuss their differences in a village about 28 miles north of Jerusalem. But, Nehemiah realized that Sanballat was no friend of God, nor of His people, and refused the invitation to be distracted from what God had called him to do (Nehemiah 6:2-3).

After Sanballat made five attempts to meet with Nehemiah, Sanballat 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.

Eleven times it is recorded that Nehemiah prayed (1:4-11; 2:4; 4:4-5,9; 5:19; 6:9,14; 13:14,22,29,31). He encouraged his workers, assuring them that God would protect and prosper them. Consequently, the people had a desire to work. In just 52 days the wall was completed (4:6; 6:15).

It should be no surprise that, when you attempt to rebuild the walls of your life, just as Nehemiah faced ridicule, you too may face ridicule — but he kept building. When he faced threatenings, he kept rebuilding. His enemies may have discouraged him, but he never quit building, he just kept doing what he knew was right. We too can discover that it's never too late for a new beginning, and we can repair past relationships and resolve old problems.

Once we recognize that God is in control (I Samuel 17:47) and is the One who allows the opposition, we will refuse to be distracted or become discouraged. Instead, we will seek to learn what the Lord expects of us in order to have our prayers answered. People of faith, though a minority, will always find a way to accomplish God's will, while the majority will find excuses to wait for a more convenient time.

In our work for the Lord, the greatest problem is not our opposition nor our inabilities; it is whether or not we will be determined to give the Lord's work priority in our lives (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 lifeblood of Jesus when we accepted Him as our Lord and Savior (Romans 7:14; I 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:

Pray for Joe Brashier and the Bible Pathway International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts on WHRI, South Bend, IN · The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Daniel & Kathleen Johnston · Government Official: Rep. Mike Pence (IN) · Country: El Salvador (6 million) in Central America · Major language: Spanish · Some intolerance of Protestants by government officials · 96% Roman Catholic; 3% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Trust that God will provide for your needs when you put His will first in your life (Matthew 6:31-33).

Optional Reading: II Corinthians 9

Memory Verse for the Week: II Timothy 2:15

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