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“And the people blessed all the men who willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem” (Nehemiah 11:2 NKJV).

August 16, 2017

Those who willingly volunteered to live in Jerusalem were praised by the Jewish people who had returned from exile to rebuild the city. Rebuilding the wall and the temple in Jerusalem had made the city a focus of controversy among the surrounding peoples who lived there. So, anyone who chose to live in Jerusalem was taking a risk and making a personal sacrifice in order to reestablish the city’s existence. It would have been much easier and more profitable to live in the surrounding country where there was more land to cultivate and less possibility of violence. Yet, these faithful few “willingly offered themselves” to live in the inner city of Jerusalem in order to rebuild and secure it.
Today, there are believers who “willingly” move to inner cities with the express purpose of living out the gospel and establishing a gospel presence there. They move their families to places around the world, “willingly offering themselves” to dwell wherever the Great Commission carries them. Such are to be blessed by the Lord and the people of God.

“Remember the word that you commanded…” (Nehemiah 1:8a ESV)

August 11, 2016

When Nehemiah heard the report about the broken down condition of Jerusalem’s walls, he fasted and prayed with weeping. As he poured out his heart to God, he reminded God to “remember” His Word. This seems a little strange doesn’t it? Asking the omniscient God to “remember” His own Word? Yet, many biblical prayers contain similar language. Like a child who goes to his father saying, “You promised I could have a cookie if I ate all my broccoli.” Nehemiah called on the Lord to remember His promise that if they returned to Him, He would “gather them and bring them” back to Jerusalem and make His Name “dwell there” again. Nehemiah called on God to remember His promise. The truth is, God loves it when His people repeat His Word back to Him in prayer. Of course, this implies that we know His promises, so that we are able to pray them back to Him. What promises are you asking God to remember?

“…we will not neglect the house of our God” (Nehemiah 10:39 NKJV)

August 15, 2015

After the rebuilding of the wall surrounding Jerusalem there was great enthusiasm for God’s Word and for the giving of tithes and offerings. The people willingly and joyfully entered into a covenant to be faithful in these things. Yet, before the walls were rebuilt, the people were filled with doubt and fear, resulting in neglect of God’s house. What was it about the broken down wall that caused their neglect? And what was it about the rebuilt wall that helped them refocus their priorities, putting God first?

“I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” (Nehemiah 6:3 NKJV)

August 13, 2015

A leader learns when to say “Yes” and when to say “No.” In fact, learning when to say “No” may be one of the most important leadership traits, as many leaders struggle with being people-pleasers. Great leaders let their God-given vision determine when to say “Yes” or “No.” This guards them against being stopped or slowed by their detractors, no matter how influential the naysayers may be. Nehemiah knew that he was “doing a great work” that was given to him by God. He didn’t have time for critics who weren’t helping with the work. Especially since he knew that they were against the work itself. Saying “No” to those things that don’t contribute to God’s calling on your life makes room in your life for saying “Yes” to those things that truly matter.

“Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses” (Nehemiah 4:14 NKJV)

August 12, 2015

Nehemiah led a volunteer workforce to rebuild the wall surrounding Jerusalem, while at the same time facing dissension from within and opposition from without. Yet, he challenged the people to remember two things: 1) Remember the awesome greatness of the God upon Whom you depend and 2) Realize that you will have to be ready to fight for your families according to His strength. This is a good two-part reminder for us today. Remember the Lord and fearlessly fight for your families!

“For the dedication of the new wall of Jerusalem, the Levites throughout the land were asked to come to Jerusalem to assist in the ceremonies. They were to take part in the joyous occasion with their songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps, and lyres” (Nehemiah 12:27 NLT)

August 17, 2014

Nehemiah organized the Levite singers and musicians into two groups and had them march along the top of the newly restored wall, singing and playing as they went. After circling the entire city of Jerusalem, the two choirs converged onto the Temple courts still singing and playing loudly. The sound of their joyous celebration could be heard from far away. Can you imagine being among that happy throng as they filled the air with praise? When a work is finished, celebration is in order. For us, Christ has finished the work of salvation and our entire lives should be marked by worship and praise. Let our celebration of God’s Son be heard among the nations!

“Ezra stood on the platform in full view of all the people. When they saw him open the book, they all rose to their feet. Then Ezra praised the Lord, the great God, and all the people chanted, “Amen! Amen!” as they lifted their hands. Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground” (Nehemiah 8:5-6 NLT)

August 14, 2014

This is how the people of God responded to the Word of God being opened after they had rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. How we respond to the Book reveals much about our hearts. For some, the Bible is just a collection of myths and human sayings. For others, it is a good book, yet still not to be taken too literally. Yet, for others, it is the very Word of God, worthy of study, meditation, memorization and application to their lives. Does your heart stand up to hear the Word? Does your tongue utter, “Amen,” at its reading. Does your will bow down to follow its instruction?

“Ezra stood on the platform in full view of all the people. When they saw him open the book, they all rose to their feet.” (Nehemiah 8:5)

August 14, 2012

The Jews had been exiled in Babylon for 70 years. Being back in Jerusalem, gathered together for a public reading of God’s Word, they were overcome with emotion. They stood as one man with tears pouring down their faces to hear the Word. They no longer took for granted the freedom to worship their God. I suppose it’s human nature not to appreciate such freedom until it’s lost. Of all people in human history, our generation has had more access to the Bible than any other. I wonder, do we “rise to our feet” to hear it?