Saturday, June 22, 2024

June 22, 2024

Jerusalem was ready to inhabit after repairing the wall and the temple. Jerusalem was a holy city, and most preferred to live where they would not face scrutiny for their behavior. They also didn’t want to live there because not much was happening, so it was harder to make a living there. So, to fill it with people and get the city up and running, they appointed one in every ten people to live there, with the rest living in the countryside. They needed city dwellers and country people to get Judah and Jerusalem going; both played an essential role in fulfilling everyone’s needs. The rest of Nehemiah 11 names the families living in Jerusalem and those living in the villages outside the city. 

Imagine being the one-tenth required to live in an empty city. We know it worked because Jerusalem is now a thriving metropolis, and people worldwide desire to visit and walk where Jesus walked and sit where he taught. Sometimes, God assigns us to work and dwell in places less desirable, but it’s for our good. Eventually, you will see that His hand placed you there because you will prosper spiritually and possibly even physically. The things that happen to you are not coincidences, good or bad; God can use them to train us for kingdom uses, just as he did the people assigned to live in the city of Jerusalem.

And the rulers of the people dwelt at Jerusalem: the rest of the people also cast lots, to bring one of ten to dwell in Jerusalem the holy city, and nine parts to dwell in other cities. And the people blessed all the men, that willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem. Nehemiah 11:1-2

Friday, June 21, 2024

June 21, 2024

The Israelites that came out of the captivity committed to following God’s law by renewing their covenant with Him, and the princes, Levites, and priests sealed it. The Bible lists the names of those who signed it. Notably, Ezra’s name was missing. He was there, so I’m sure there was a valid reason, but it’s not mentioned. They also added other commitments, including not marrying their sons or daughters to the people of the land, taking them for spouses, and not buying food from vendors on the Sabbath. Those two sins caused them the most trouble. It was like starting a new church; all the essential issues had to be addressed, and the daily provisions had to be in place, including the tithe, the sacrifices, the wood for the fire on the altar, and all the other necessities for the temple to work correctly. 

The people were obligated to pour their tithes and offerings into the temple like we are to our own church. Not only the tithes and offerings, but we must commit to doing our part to help wherever necessary. It’s better to have too much help than not enough. Your preacher cannot do everything. Help him out by volunteering for weekly duties or special assignments. We all need to pitch in to help facilitate the great commission. For that reason, God gave you unique gifts and talents; make sure you use them for kingdom work.

For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto the chambers, where are the vessels of the sanctuary, and the priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers: and we will not forsake the house of our God. Nehemiah 10:39

Thursday, June 20, 2024

June 20, 2024

At the end of the spring feasts, the returning captives of Babylon separated themselves from strangers and began a fast, repented of their sins and the sins of their fathers. They read the book of the law, confessed their sins, and worshipped God, giving Him glory and thanking him for his mercy. They recounted the times God had delivered them from their oppressors, realizing the only way they survived was because of Him and that their captivity was brought on by their unbelief, worship of idols, and their rebellion against Him. As a sign of gratefulness, they renewed their covenant, and the princes, Levites, and priests signed and sealed it on behalf of the people.

And because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it. Nehemiah 9:38

If you haven’t started a journal and begun writing down how God has blessed you, it’s high time you did. Sometimes, our memory fails us, so it’s good to have our blessings in writing so we can refer back to them when we are feeling thankful or when we are feeling down and need a reminder that God is with us and that He is merciful. Our trials are training in obedience; if you recognize that, it will make it more bearable. Write down the trial and how God delivered you; it will memorialize how great our God is. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

June 19, 2024

Ezra, now mentioned in the book of Nehemiah, brought out the book of the law to read to the men, women, and children who could understand. The people had built a platform for him to stand on so they could see him above the people. Other men were standing with him; it may have been to validate them as teachers. There were many people, so they would need other teachers to help explain what they were hearing. When he began to read, the people stood up in reverence for the word of God. If your preacher requests that you stand for the reading of the scriptures, this portion of scripture is why. As he read the law, the people became sorrowful of the sins they had committed. However, Ezra reminded them that at this time, they were to be joyful during this feast. It was the first time since Joshua that the people of Israel had celebrated the appointed feast in such solemnity. As Ezra, the priest, read the scripture, the people stood, raised their hands, and said amen and amen. Nehemiah and the others taught the people that day. 

On the second day they read in the law that they were to dwell in booths, so the people gathered branches and other material to build temporary dwellings in the street, on roofs, and anywhere they could find a spot. They read the book of the law everyday for seven days. On the last day they had a solemn assembly. 

I have yet to understand why we, as Christians, are not taught to keep God’s holy feasts. It would be better for us to erase all the other holidays and begin celebrating what God has designed for us. I believe our blessings would multiply, and our understanding of their point would increase. Jesus kept them. Adopted children follow the traditions of the family. Because we believe in Jesus, we are grafted into the family, adopted, and should, therefore, do as our family does. We are missing a blessing. How do we start? It may need to begin individually. Pay attention to the seasons and the holy feast. At the very least, acknowledge them to glorify God. How do you know when they are? Follow a Messianic Jewish calendar. 

Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner. Nehemiah 8:18

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

June 18, 2024

The wall around Jerusalem was finished, and the gates were set in place. God put it in Nehemiah's heart to check the genealogy of the people returning from Babylon. They must have needed proof because some of them were put out of the priesthood and not allowed to eat the holy things until a priest was appointed with the Urim and Thummim. Chapter seven of Nehemiah is quite long because he lists the families that returned to Jerusalem. However, there was an interesting verse that shouldn't be dismissed: 

And my God put into mine heart to gather together the nobles, and the rulers, and the people, that they might be reckoned by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of them which came up at the first, and found written therein, Nehemiah 7:5

Nehemiah credited God for putting it in his heart to check the people's genealogy. They needed to keep an account of the lineage because they were still expecting the Messiah, and the records would prove He was who He said he was. Even though Jesus fulfilled the prophecy written about him and his lineage proved his deity, to this day, most of the Jewish people do not believe Jesus was the Messiah. Significantly, it was God who put the good in Nehemiah's heart. Whatever good you do, God should be given the credit and the praise for him spurring you on. Always give glory to God for the good you do because it's only because of Him that we have any good in us at all. 

Monday, June 17, 2024

June 17, 2024

Today's message in Nehemiah was timely for me. My posts have been throttled lately, and it's very discouraging when it seems that no one is reading them. I expect that it's because of their similarities to the issues of the United States. Without fear, I post them anyway. The encouragement was to keep going. 

Nehemiah was finished with the wall but hadn't hung the gates. Sanballat and the rest of Judah's enemies noticed how quickly they had shored up the wall, so they sought to stop the work by trying to call Nehemiah away and accusing him of trying to become king. Sanballat sent him several letters speaking kindly to him, trying to resolve the matter of his accusation, even going as far as to have an old prophet talk to him to encourage a meeting in the temple. Nehemiah used his discernment, knew it was wrong, and didn't fall for the lies but kept working. They finished the wall in fifty-two days! 

When God assigns you a task, cast aside fear and push through the negativity sown by the enemy. Remember, if you're not facing some form of challenge, you might not be making a significant impact. So, fear not, but persist in your God-given mission; He will pave the way even when it feels like you're treading water. Above all, remain obedient and work for the glory of God; He's the sole authority and will supply the strength for you to persevere in your service to Him. 

And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me. Nehemiah 6:12-13

Sunday, June 16, 2024

June 16, 2024

Though we are not quite the same as Judah and Jerusalem back in the day of Nehemiah, there are still some similarities. Nehemiah was rebuilding the wall to protect Jerusalem. Similarly, the American people want a wall to protect the United States from the invasion of foreign adversaries. Not only that, but our government has allowed inflation to rise, causing hardship for the average American, who are mortgaging their homes and borrowing money just to be able to eat; that was also happening in Nehemiah’s day. He was a good governor and became angry at the plight of his people, who were crying out because of the oppression by their fellow Israelites, who were taking the land and using the children as servants as repayment for food. He encouraged the oppressors to forgive the debt, and they agreed. Their oppression may have been punishment because they neglected to tithe to the temple, as mentioned in Haggai and Malachi. Some of what was happening to them was probably because of greed, but it could also be because they neglected to pay their dues to God. Does God hold us accountable if we do not help build up the church by paying our tithe? I believe He does because I can testify that when our tithes were supposed to be taken out monthly by the church, there was a glitch in the automatic system, and things began to go wrong without my knowledge, which affected us financially. Once we figured it out and caught up on our tithe, it plugged the financial hole. We have a healthy fear that keeps us giving to the church; it benefits the church and us. 

Never think that God doesn’t see what you do and what you fail to do. However, God gives back to you more than you can ever give to Him; you can count on it. You can never out-give God.

Then said they, We will restore them, and will require nothing of them; so will we do as thou sayest. Then I called the priests, and took an oath of them, that they should do according to this promise. Nehemiah 5:12