Thru the Bible – Day 204

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Day 204 – Thru the Bible

Today we continue in Nehemiah.

Nehemiah 4God’s people were “despised”, even as God’s Son would be despised and rejected (Isaiah 53:3; 1 Peter 2:23). Surrounding peoples “all plotted together”, even as earthly kings have always (vainly) plotted against the Lord’s anointed (Psalm 2:1–2). The contours of the story remain, and the weapons of God’s people remain: prayer and obedient action. But it is all founded on the bedrock of trust in the Lord: “Our God will fight for us” (Exodus 14:14; Deuteronomy 1:30).

The exhortation not to fear applies to us today, as does the dynamic example of trust and obedience: they prayed and set a guard. Nehemiah sums it up: “remember the Lord” and “fight”. Our God has fought for us, in Jesus, and has won the victory. As we battle on as His people to the end, often despised and rejected, we must always remember our great and awesome Lord and make every effort to guard and strengthen the household of God.

How are you reminded to pray and take action as you face every day issues?

 

Nehemiah 5These people obviously hadn’t read 1 John 3–4, about showing God’s love by loving one another! They had not seen Jesus lay down His life for us, showing us how to lay down our lives for our brothers (1 John 3:16). Yet when Nehemiah confronts their mistreatment of the poor, they respond willingly, reflecting the character of the God on whose grace they (and we) depend.

Throughout history, God has given His Word and called His people to follow Him by faith, according to that Word. The call is not just to good behavior, but to walk in “the fear of God”, to live in relationship with our “great and awesome” God. Nehemiah shows the fruit of this relationship not only in his refusal to lord it over those he governs but also in his personal communion with God. Nehemiah understood the great commands: “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” and “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:35–40). Nehemiah’s leadership would one day be filled out and perfected in Jesus, who supremely refused to lord it over others, despite His right to do so as Lord of the cosmos (Mark 10:42–45).

Out of the overflow of God’s love for you, as revealed perfectly in Jesus, do you love those around you?

 

Nehemiah 6Sanballat’s charge about Nehemiah planning to rebel is false. But the charge that Israelite prophets had proclaimed a king in Judah was essentially true, according to God’s covenant with David, wherein God promised that from David would come a king whose throne God would establish forever (2 Samuel 7:12–17). God’s redemptive purposes are always greater than the world can grasp. Sanballat spoke more truth than he intended. It would not be the last time unbelieving leaders would do so (see John 11:49–52).

Fear is our enemies’ great weapon. Nehemiah recognizes their aim to frighten him. His words from 4:14 echo here in chapter 6, calling God’s people not to fear but to remember their God.

One of the key strategies of faith is to tackle fear not by belittling the fear or wishing it away but by taking our eyes off of that which makes us afraid and looking to God.

For us today, Jesus’ words echo: “Do not fear, only believe” (Mark 5:36). The Father’s wise ordering of all things in the world and in our own lives is of great comfort. We can bank on God’s goodness, for we have seen Him send His only Son to die on our behalf. He has done the hard thing; He will surely care for us in the little things (Romans 5:9–10).

Ironically, when the wall is finished despite the opponents’ plots, the surrounding nations are afraid, seeing God’s help for His people. Encouragement not to fear comes all the more powerfully through Nehemiah’s own narrative, continually interspersed with his “live” prayers to the Lord, whom he always remembers. Living without fear means living in personal relationship with a God who loves His people so much that He has made a way for us to come confidently to Him—now not dependent on priests or temple rituals but through Jesus Christ our Savior (Hebrews 10:19–22).

It’s so easy for us to give into fear–how does this truth remind you that you do not need to fear?

 

What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?

 

Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.

Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.

All links you need to be a part of this are here – Thru the Bible in 2018.

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