A Praying People

Thoughts About What We’re Reading!

This week, we turn our attention to the book of Nehemiah.

We only have a couple weeks left in our reading plan, so I thought it might be helpful to summarize where we are in our story.

Following the reign of Solomon, the kingdom of Jerusalem was split in two as a result of Solomon’s sin and the apostasy of the people – the Northern and Southern Kingdoms.

Both kingdoms continued to be characterized by idolatry and immorality.

God had forewarned His people through His prophets that judgment would surely fall upon them if they did not repent and turn from their ways – judgment finally came, the Nation is conquered, Jerusalem – God’s holy city and the temple are sacked and the people are taken into captivity.

Under the leadership of Ezra and Zerubbabel, some of the captives return to Jerusalem and re-build the temple. Through Ezra’s teaching, the majority of the returning exiles turn from their sins, and once again follow God’s will for their lives.

Nehemiah also returned during this time and God used him to guide the exiles in rebuilding the city walls, protecting the people from their enemies and restoring order to their social and economic lives.

The Book of Nehemiah is an incredible book on Christian leadership and stewardship. I have turned to it over the years as a model for my own life and ministry.

Nehemiah serves a great example of how through prayer and the work of the Holy Spirit, we can use our own skill mix, experiences, gifting, and resources to accomplish the tasks God has given us to do, once we have bathed the situation in prayer.

In Nehemiah, we see a person grieved at the situation in Jerusalem.  He prays in Chapter 1 and when the prayer starts coming to fruition in Chapter 2, Nehemiah is prepared to mobilize.  Opportunity was knocking and Nehemiah knew exactly what to do.

He uses everything at his disposal, his own intellectual capabilities, his past experiences, his accumulated wisdom, his role and position in life, and the people with whom he came in contact with – especially the king of Persia.

When you read through the book of Nehemiah, explore how Nehemiah went about his work. Use this time to think through how you can use your God-given resources and gifting to go about Kingdom work.

Keeping in mind that what matters most is the love of Christ in a shattered world – a redeemed and praying people, focused on His work and the willingness to go when called, or when opportunity presents itself.

It matters not if it is in your own neighborhood, community, city or the other side of the world.

And may we, God’s people, like Nehemiah, use prayer as a distinct and consistent approach to problem-solving for whatever situation or task we may face.

Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 3:8-9, “that neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers.”

Until next time… keep reading!

Jim

Sources used for this blog: The Bible Knowledge Commentary.

 

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