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Bible Pathways 6/7/2001

June 7

Read Nehemiah 4 -- 6

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). He encouraged them: Be not afraid of them: remember the Lord, who 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 until the stars appeared (4:14,20-21; compare Numbers 14:9; Exodus 14:13-14).

Working about 12 hours a day left little time for anything else. The Israelites' faith had been strengthened through the reading of God's Word, and 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 (Nehemiah 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 distract 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 as he assured the Israelites: Fear not . . . The Lord your God is He that goes with you (Deuteronomy 20:3-4), and of Jahaziel's words to Jehoshaphat's soldiers: Fear not . . . for the Lord will be with you (II Chronicles 20:17), and of David's assertion to Goliath: The battle is the Lord's (I Samuel 17:47).

Once we recognize that the battle is the Lord's, and God is the One who allows the opposition, we will not panic when it appears that we are pawns in the hands of men. Knowing that God controls everything will make us patient and long-suffering 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.

The greatest problems in serving the Lord successfully is unwillingness to do the best we can with what we have. We 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). Christ redeemed us when we were enslaved by sin (Rom. 7:14; I Pet. 1:18-19; see also Leviticus 25:42).

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


Government Official: Rep. Mike Pence (IN) · BPM Staff: Linda Kennon · Pray for Bible Pathway Faith Promise Supporters · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast sponsored by Two of the Lord's Bible Missionaries · Country: Liberia (3 million) in West Africa · Major languages: English and more than 20 local languages of the Niger-Congo language group · Religious freedom · 41% ancestor worship and witchcraft; 21% Muslim; 13% Protestant; 2% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Pour out your heart in prayer to the Lord for your children (Lamentations 2:19).

Optional Reading: II Corinthians 9

Memory Verse for the Week: II Timothy 2:15

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