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Bible Pathways 06/08/2003

June 8

Read Nehemiah 7 -- 8

In Today's Reading:

Nehemiah's appointment of leaders; genealogy of returned exiles; Scriptures read and explained; the Festival of Tabernacles (Booths) observed

The ultimate purpose of God for His people was more than the restoration of His Temple and the walls of Jerusalem. These man-made structures were powerless to protect the Israelites from their enemies unless the people knew and obeyed the Word of God. The Hebrew language in which the Book of the Law (Nehemiah 8:3) was written was no longer the common language of the people. During their captivity, they spoke Aramaic, which was the international trade language used by the Aramaeans (Syrians), Persians, and Babylonians at that time.

After the wall was completed under Nehemiah's supervision, thousands of Jews assembled in Jerusalem day after day from sunrise until noon to hear Ezra and the Levites read and explain the Book of the Law. This resulted in a renewal of the covenant relationship of the Israelites with God and the restoration of worship as described in the Law. When the people heard the words of the Law, they wept and a revival took place (8:9).

The most pressing need today is for Christians to become seriously concerned about reading all of God's Word. Because it is the living Book, God speaks to and examines us through His Word (Hebrews 4:12). As we read it, our various acts of disobedience, whether by ignorance, omission, or commission, are brought to mind. This will lead to our conviction and the confession of our sins. And then God forgives and cleanses us of all our sins (I John 1:9). Relieved of the burden of our sins and thankful for God's love and mercy, we should become obedient to the Word and put it into practice (James 1:22).

The guilt which results from sins we have committed should no longer remain after we have confessed and repented of them. We dare not dig up past confessed-and-forgiven sins of our own nor those of others. Instead, we should rejoice in the merciful, forgiving love of God through Christ our Savior and forgive others as well. In one of Jesus' solemn parables, the unforgiving servant was delivered to the tormentor. The awesome fact is that our Lord forgives us in the same way that we forgive those who offend us (Matthew 18:35). In His model prayer, Jesus taught us to ask for forgiveness from God in the same manner in which we give it to others. In this parable, He declared that God will not forgive us if we do not forgive others. Surely, knowing these solemn admonitions from our Lord, our forgiveness must be sincere (Matthew 6:12; Luke 11:4).

Christ Revealed:

Through the names required to be registered for priestly service (Nehemiah 7:64). Christ, our Great High Priest (Hebrews 3:1), will soon return wearing His Name, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16).

Word Studies:

7:2 feared = revered; 7:3 by = on guard; watches = guards; 7:61 seed = genealogical descent; 7:65 Urim and Thummim = two objects kept in the high priest's breastplate and used to tell the Lord's will (Exodus 28:30); 8:14 booths = temporary shelters.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Adam Lock and the Bible Pathway International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts on WWCR, Nashville, TN · Government Official: Rep. Kenneth Calvert (CA) · Country: Equatorial Guinea (466,000) in western Africa · Major language: Spanish · Freedom for churches at this time · 71% Roman Catholic; 19% ancestral spirit worship and medicine men; 6% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Thank the Lord that you have no need to fear. Trust Him one day at a time (Matthew 6:33-34).

Optional Reading: II Corinthians 10

Memory Verse for the Week: II Timothy 3:16

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