Wednesday, September 26, 2012

September 26, 2012 … A Job Well Done!

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 270

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Nehemiah, Chapters 6-7 To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage: Nehemiah 6: 1-3; 9; 10-12; 15 : [NLT] … {Nehemiah’s enemies became desperate as the walls were almost rebuilt.} … 1 When Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies found out that I had finished rebuilding the wall and that no gaps remained—though we had not yet hung the doors in the gates — 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me a message asking me to meet them at one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But I realized they were plotting to harm me, 3 so I replied by sending this message to them: “I am doing a great work! I cannot stop to come and meet with you.” …  
{Note again that Nehemiah’s first-line battle strategy was to pray!} … 9 They were just trying to intimidate us, imagining that they could break our resolve and stop the work. So I prayed for strength to continue the work. …  
{The Jewish opposition tried to set up Nehemiah; but the setup was foolish, asking Nehemiah to go into the Temple, which Nehemiah, well trained in God’s OT ways, would not do because he was not a Priest.} … 10 Later I went to visit Shemaiah son of Delaiah and grandson of Mehetabel, who was confined to his home. He said, “Let us meet together inside the Temple of God and bolt the doors shut. Your enemies are coming to kill you tonight.” 11 But I replied, “Should someone in my position run away from danger? Should someone in my position enter the Temple to save his life? No, I won’t do it!” 12 I realized that God had not spoken to him, but that he had uttered this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 They were hoping to intimidate me and make me sin by following his suggestion. Then they would be able to accuse and discredit me. …  
{Note the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophesy – see Dan. 9: 25, copied below.} … 15 So on October 2 the wall was finally finished — just fifty-two days after we had begun. 16 When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized that this work had been done with the help of our God. 
Highlight Passage: Nehemiah 7: 1-3: 4-5 : [NLT] … {Just because the walls were built didn’t mean that God’s people could rest easy; and Nehemiah recognized the need for vigilance, 24/7.}  ...
1 After the wall was finished and I had hung the doors in the gates, the gatekeepers, singers, and Levites were appointed. 2 I gave the responsibility of governing Jerusalem to my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah, the commander of the fortress, for he was a faithful man who feared God more than most. 3 I said to them, “Do not leave the gates open during the hottest part of the day. And while the gatekeepers are still on duty, have them shut and bar the doors. Appoint the residents of Jerusalem to act as guards, everyone on a regular watch. Some will serve at their regular posts and some in front of their own homes.” … 
 {The remainder of this chapter is a genealogical record of the people in Jerusalem at the time, very similar to the chronicle compiled and recorded in Ezra 2; and it’s quite possible that Ezra being the scribe for this book, helped Nehemiah contribute this listing of the people.} … 4 At that time the city was large and spacious, but the population was small. And only a few houses were scattered throughout the city. 5 So my God gave me the idea to call together all the leaders of the city, along with the ordinary citizens, for registration. I had found the genealogical record of those who had first returned to Judah. 

Cross Reference Passage: 2nd Timothy 1: 7 : [NLT] …  For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.  
Cross Reference Passage: Daniel 9: 25 : [NLT] … Now listen and understand! Seven sets of seven plus sixty-two sets of seven will pass from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One comes. Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and strong defenses, despite the perilous times. 

My Journal for Today: Perhaps you had a father, grandfather, or mentor in your life, as did I, who might have taught you about life by saying, “If you’re going to do a job, you might as well do it well.”

Well, in the two chapters I was led to read in my chronological study from the book of Nehemiah today, the title of my journal comments today, Job Well Done!, certainly fit the content of Chapters 6-7 of this book. In just 52 days, just a little short of two months, Nehemiah led a handful of Jews, against a devilish degree of opposition, to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. And when you think about how city walls were built in those days … very high and very thick … this was a job very well done.

In Chapter 6 of my study today, my life lesson was a reinforcement of a symbol I often use to encourage others … “ <’KOKO>< “ … which means “Keep on keeping on in Christ!” As the wall-building project moved into its later stages, where the opposition could see the very real possibility of success, the opposing forces got more and more desperate. Sanballat and the boys really tuned up the heat of opposition and intimidation; but, as you read in the summary I have copied above, Nehemiah would not be deterred, discouraged, or defeated.

And as I was studying this chapter, one of my scriptural strength verses popped into my head, … 2nd Timothy 1: 7, which I’ve copied above. And, in this NT interaction, we read of Paul as he was mentoring Timothy, the young pastor of the church in Ephesus. And in this passage, Paul reminds Timothy (and us) of a faithful God who wants to show us His love and power, giving us the clear-minded purpose of His will to guide us, rather than letting a spirit of fear dictate our steps in life. And similarly, Nehemiah’s faith would not be deterred by external or internal pressures and ploys. With a sound mind, as indicated in the 2Timothy passage, Nehemiah ignored any fears, KNOWING that God’s love and strength were his.

And the task was completed to/for God’s glory; and it was such a magnificent project that all who saw it completed, especially the opposition, knew that ONLY GOD could have engineered the completion of such a project. And as I reread that in Nehemiah 6: 16, I couldn’t help but speculate what would happen if all of God’s people today, led by a capable Godly leader, would come together with God’s plan to rebuild the walls of God’s kingdom in our culture and world?

And the walls of God’s kingdom, most certainly in our culture, are down and we are vulnerable to the very real attacks of enemies like the abortion industry, the XXX conglomerate, and the unGodly spiritual forces of so many non-Christian and anti-Christian sects in our world. But if God’s people came together, following a modern-day Nehemiah, we could rebuild the walls of God’s kingdom to resist evil enemies like these. But no matter what is not being done in this regard in the world, the least I can do is to rebuild the walls around God’s temple in my own heart; and brick-by-brick, with such bricks as compassion, forgiveness, purity, availability, vulnerability, accountability, sensitivity, determination, and many others, I can build a wall of protection around God’s temple in my own life. And God’s temple, of course, in my own personna, is my own heart, mind, and body.

 And just as Chapter 7 of Nehemiah exhorts, even when the walls are built to protect God’s Temple, I must remain vigilant on the walls to insure that no enemy of God can penetrate those walls and invade to disrupt or disturb God’s Temple where I worship our Lord by living my life for Him [see Romans 12: 1-2]. I’ll leave it to you to decide which bricks you need to replace in the walls around your heart and just which strategies of vigilance you need to set in motion to protect and preserve God’s Temple of worship in your life.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, You have led me to build the wall high and strong against attack around my own heart; and I pray that I can help others to remain vigilant in doing all we must to protect Your Temple of living sacrifice and worship. Amen

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