|Today I finished up Ezra, read Nehemiah, and got into Esther. All of these books are among my favorite with Nehemiah being my favorite in the Old Testament. Each has so many biblical principles and fascinating history of the Jews as a people in and coming out of captivity. Here are a few highlights:|
1) EZRA THE PRIEST-Ezra 7:10 "For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments." When it came to the law of the LORD, Ezra had decided to Know it, Show it, and Teach it! We too should KNOW it, then SHOW it through our daily living, and then TEACH it to others who would learn. Thanks for that example Ezra!
2) WHAT IS YOUR REQUEST... LET ME PRAY ABOUT THAT. In Nehemiah 2:4, the king Artaxerxes, asked Nehemiah: "For what doest thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven." Before Nehemiah answered, he wanted to check with God to see what God would lay upon his heart to ask for. Maybe we find ourselves "asking amiss" because we do not check in with God first. Let us be mindful to do so in our prayer life.
3) THE FEW- Nehemiah 3, is a chapter about people working together to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. The challenge was given and well received in chapter two, and now in chapter has God's people working together. Two phrases dominate this chapter. One is "next unto him". This shows us God's people working side by side. All along the wall the people worked side by side and it names the familes that were working "next unto" each other. The next phrase is: "After him". This shows us that some work was done, and then another came and built upon that work. It is like a roofer getting to work after the framer is finished. One man's work compliments anothers. "After him" is how Sunday School teachers work... They teach the children someone taught last year. We build on each others work. Here again, it names the good people who worked "after him". But, in Nehemiah 3:5 it says: "but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their LORD." No matter how many good people are working for the success of God's church, you will always find a few who don't lift a finger. What is our attitude to be about the few? This chapter gives us two insights: 1) mention the names of the workers (this we see all throughout the chapter); 2) don't mention the names of those who do not work, and give little attention to them (Nehemiah gave half a sentence to the nobles and didn't name them.) Do not draw attention to the non-workers, give attention to the workers! The non-workers want to make a statement about the work by their non involvement. Nehemiah teaches us to not let that happen! Don't think about the few, rejoice in the many good people!
4) GOVERNOR- Having read Nehemiah scores and scores of times, I forgot that he was made governor of Judah by king Artaxerxes. Nehemiah 5:14, not only tells us that, but also: "I and my brethren have not eaten the bread of the governor." And in verse 16: "Yea, also I continued in the work of this wall, neither bought we any land: and all my servants were gathered thither unto the work." He didn't ask to be treated royally like the governor, and he worked side by side with the people in the work of rebuilding the walls. So much about leadership can be learned by Nehemiah! He never used the position for self promotion, or self enriching. So, what was the blessing of the job? Verse 19 says: "Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people." He decided to let God bless him, not his people!! We can do the same.
Well, much more I could write, but time has gone! Have a blessed day in the LORD!... Pastor Mike Mutchler