Nehemiah 12:27-13:31, 1 Corinthians 11:1-16, Psalms 35:1-16, Proverbs 21:17-18
Today is the 17th day of August welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I am Brian and it is a joy to be here with you today as we come in out of whatever and just settle ourselves around the Global Campfire and continue our journey forward through the Scriptures this year. So, we’ve been working our way through the book of Nehemiah and we’re…we’re actually going to conclude the book of Nehemiah in today’s reading. So, we’ll conclude that story before continuing forward tomorrow. And we’re also continuing to work our way through first Corinthians which is what we’ll continue to do until we finish. So, we’re reading from the Expanded Bible this week. Nehemiah chapter 12 verse 27 through 13 verse 31.
Okay. So, today we concluded the book of Nehemiah and we’ve been paying attention to the stories found in the book of Nehemiah because they really overlay with…with our own lives in really remarkable ways when we are feeling a sense of calling, a sense to…to lead something, a sense to move in a certain direction. So, we just kind of watched Nehemiah’s story and how he prepared and how he planned and how he behaved and conducted his affairs the whole way. And, so, we reached the conclusion today and the wall is built around Jerusalem and that was Nehemiah’s dream. We remember that the exiles were allowed to return to Jerusalem and begin rebuilding God’s temple, which they did. But there’s nothing to protect it and that really, really, that was a horrible thing for Nehemiah to think about while in exile even though he was the…the cupbearer of the king, the high…obviously a high ranking position, access to the king on almost a daily basis. But he’s thinking of God’s temple, the place where God has set His name, the place where God interacts with mankind just sitting there in Jerusalem and nothing to protect it. So, he’s got this passion to build the wall and it is built. Like he accomplishes this goal. And, so, we see the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem today with two different choirs climbing up on the wall and moving in opposite directions to kind of like circle the city and sing and praise and worship. And, so, you can imagine the satisfaction that Nehemiah must’ve felt…felt being able to complete his mission, right? To see this vision through even though it…there was nothing about it that was easy. Everything was hard. Everything challenged him - discouragement, intimidation, politics. You name it, they faced it and endured it. God’s faithful and now they’re walking on top of the wall worshiping. And as we read Nehemiah returned to Babylon to serve the King, King Artaxerxes, but then he was given permission to go back to Jerusalem. And he comes back to Jerusalem and he realizes how quickly everything was falling apart. All of the vows that they had vowed before God were like going by the wayside. So, like Tobiah, which is one of the names we should remember because he’s like one of the chief instigators of all the intimidation and politics and threats. He happen to be related to the…the keeper of the storerooms in the temple. And, so, in Nehemiah’s absence Tobiah was given like a special room in the temple of God. And, yes, it was a storeroom, but he had been given this room to use how he pleased in the temple of God. One of the chief instigators of trouble as they’re rebuilding the wall. And in the time that Nehemiah was gone the Levites who were continuing to prepare and worship and lead people in worship and remind people of their story and lead them forward in the worship of God, they…they…the offerings were not coming in so they were not being resourced. So, they had to go to their own lands and farm. And, so, the daily worship was falling apart. And then there was the abuse of the Sabbath day to the point that Nehemiah like to shut the doors, the gates of Jerusalem and go, like, “yeah, you’re not coming in here. There’s no commerce happening on the Sabbath day.” People are sleeping outside and he’s threatening like, “arrest them” because the Sabbath day of rest was…was being ignored and the people had begun to intermarry again with the peoples around them and they felt like this was…these were the very things that led them into exile. This is…these are the very things that disintegrated their culture in the first place and…and led them to be carried off eventually. So, we kind of go from this moment where worship is happening on top of the walls as people march around…around the city and it’s a beautiful moment then Nehemiah has to leave, and he comes back and it’s all falling apart. Like his vision his mission his calling, it’s like disintegrating. The walls there, the missions accomplished, but the people like, they got a strong wall and weak…weakness inside them, which gives us kind of the last glimpse as the story of Nehemiah ends in the Scriptures into our own leadership in situations because not everybody gets on board. And if you’ve ever led anything at all, like you can look at the story of Nehemiah and just hear the naysayers, you can just see through Nehemiah’s story into…into your own and it can be frustrating because you’re called by God to do this thing and you are leading this thing but it’s so much opposition. And then…and then even those who were on board they just jump…jump ship or whatever. And what do you do with that? It feels like defeat. It feels like…“ahh…this wasn’t sustainable.” “Ahh…did I waste my time? Ahh.” And it can be so discouraging that you just throw your hands in the air, walk away, and feel like, “I’ll never do that again” or whatever. And, so, we gotta look back to Nehemiah because Nehemiah facing significant discouragement. In fact, he’s is more than discouraged, horrified. He’s horrified at some of the things that are happening. And what does he do? He kinda has to boil it back down to, “did I obey God? Did I fulfill the mission? Did I do? because I can’t be responsible for what everybody else does. And I can’t feel like I failed when I didn’t, when I obeyed.” And that’s kind of where Nehemiah is and that’s why we see him in the final long paragraph’s saying, “remember what I did Lord.” Like, “count this to my favor.” “I’m” basically, “I’m sorry that this isn’t all perfect, maybe how it’s supposed to be but it’s not all in my control. Remember me for my faithfulness. Remember what I did. I was true. Let what I did stand. Let it matter. Remember this.”
Father as we close the books on Nehemiah for this year and continue our journey forward that's…that’s where we leave things today. And, so, help us to be faithful. Help us to be true. In spite of all of the opposition and difficulties, in spite of our inability to hold it together, or to manage things in a way that we would’ve prescribed, in a way that we would’ve liked to see things. Help us understand that we are only responsible to steward what we have authority to steward and what we…what we can manage. And remember that and hold that in our favor and may we not be discouraged because discouragement comes when things didn’t work out the way we thought or the way that we planned. But if were true, if we obeyed, if we followed Your leadership and Your leading then that is what we have control over. That’s what we can do. And if we release the rest, then we find that we did what we were supposed to do. We didn’t fail we succeeded. So, come Holy Spirit into that in the name of Jesus we ask. Amen.
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