Highlights In Today's Reading:
Three lessons: 1) Expect attacks designed to keep us from building walls of protection against the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (I John 2:15-17); 2) A righteous leader defends the oppressed (Neh. 5); and 3) Stay alert and stand firm against the lies, threats, and schemes of the enemy. It takes 52 days but they win (chap. 6)!
For almost 100 years, the Jews had excused their failure to rebuild Jerusalem's walls by blaming it on opposition from their enemies. But Nehemiah assured them: The God of heaven (the One True God of Israel), He will prosper us (2:20). So built we the wall . . . for the people had a mind to work (4:6). Opposition continued, and Nehemiah utilized military strategy and quickly and decisively armed his workers, reassuring them: Our God shall fight for us. So we laboured in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared (4:20-21). Working twelve hours or more a day left little time for leisure. But they were committed to put the Lord first in their lives. So the wall was finished (6:15).
Sanballat had done all he could to sidetrack Nehemiah through ridicule (2:19; 4:1-2) and, eventually through threats (4:7-11). He made every effort to intimidate Nehemiah to "discuss" the situation (6:1-4). But Nehemiah recorded: They thought to do me mischief. And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you? (6:2-3). Sandballat even resorted to openly accusing the Jews of rebelling against the king of Persia (6:6-7). After all these years, in just 52 days the walls were restored (6:15).
Nehemiah's unreserved adherence to the Word of God and his realization of the vital importance of the destiny of the people of God inspired him to continue to work. 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) and God answered Nehemiah's prayers.
Nehemiah's faith reminds us of David's witness to Goliath: The battle is the Lord's (I Sam. 17:47). The commitment of Christ to the Father should be our example and the desire of all believers. I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent Me (John 5:30).
Thought for Today:
With God all things are possible. . . . And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My Name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life (Matt. 19:26,29).
By Nehemiah and other Jews who had bought back (redeemed) some Jews who had been sold to the heathen as slaves while in Persia (Neh. 5:8). We, which He hath purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28), were redeemed when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
4:7 breaches = broken places; 4:10 strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed = strength of the workmen is failing; 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.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by M. Ora Anderson • Government Officials: Rep. Ben Ray Luján (NM) and Rep. Mike Pence (IN) • Country: Pakistan (146.5 million) in southern Asia • Major languages: Urdu and English • There is no freedom to convert Muslims to Christ. Pakistan is an Islamic republic • 73% Sunni Muslim; 19% Shi'a Muslim; 3% Ahmadiya; 2% Christian; 2% Hindu; .1% Other (Baha'i, Animist, Farsi, Buddhist) • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to work in your life in whatever way pleases Him (Heb. 13:21).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 9
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6:33