Category: Nehemiah–BibleTrekToday

Trek through Nehemiah

Leaving a legacy!

Scripture reading for May 11th: Nehemiah 11-13

Would you like to be remembered by God for the good works you accomplish?  It would be a great honor to have God’s smiling approval recorded for all to read and know.  Nehemiah is one to have this honor and his prayers for God’s approval are examples of a godly leader and their legacy!

“Remember me for this, O my God, and do not blot out what I have so faithfully done for the house of my God and its services.” Nehemiah 13:14

Nehemiah was asking to be remembered for cleansing the temple.  Nehemiah threw out Tobiah the Ammonite and cleansed the room he had been given. (Nehemiah 13:1-2,7-9)  Nehemiah also found that the Levites had not received their portion of the tithes and therefore had neglected the temple.  He rebuked the officials who had allowed this and ordered the Levites back to work in the temple. He reminded the people to bring their tithes.   Nehemiah did this because he loved the Lord’s house.  

“Then I commanded the Levites to purify themselves and go and guard the gates in order to keep the Sabbath day holy.  Remember me for this also, O my God, and show mercy to me according to your great love.” Nehemiah 13:22

Nehemiah rebuked the people for doing business on the Sabbath, closed the gates, and warned those bringing goods to remove them on the Sabbath.  (Nehemiah 13:12-18)  He was concerned that God’s wrath would come upon the people for their disrespect of God’s commandment.   

“Remember them, O my God, because they defiled the priestly office and the covenant of the priesthood and of the Levites.” Nehemiah 13:29  “Remember me with favor, O my God.” Nehemiah 13:30b

The last recorded deed of Nehemiah was his dealing with mixed marriages in Judah and the priesthood.  This greatly disturbed this man of prayer and he rebuked the offenders strongly, even beating and pulling out the hair of some of them!  (Nehemiah 13:25)  He made them swear not to give their daughters or allow their sons to marry outside the nation of faith.  He reminded them of Solomon’s sin.  Wise leaders take action!  They are “remembered with favor” by the Lord!  Would that be your prayer today?

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The joy of the Lord is my strength!

Scripture reading for May 10th: Nehemiah 8:2-10:39

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared.  This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

After rebuilding the walls, Ezra and Nehemiah had a great church service.  They brought out the book of the Law of Moses and began reading it to all who had gathered inside the walls near a high wooden platform built for this sacred occasion.  Ezra the priest mounted the platform and those who would help with translation stood with him.   When he opened the Book, all the people stood in reverence.  (Nehemiah 8:4-5)  Ezra praised the Lord and the people responded with “Amen! Amen!” and bowed in worship.  As the word was read, the teachers instructed the people and made the meaning clear to them.  The people began to understand what God had said and how they had failed to follow God’s word.  This triggered emotions and conviction in the people and many began to weep and mourn in sorrow.

Why did Nehemiah tell the people not to grieve and weep before the Lord? Godly sorrow that leads to true change is commended in Scripture.  (2nd Corinthians 7:8-11)  Nehemiah actually sent the people away to enjoy choice food and sweet drinks and share with those who didn’t have any.  He told them that the joy of the Lord would be their strength!  (Nehemiah 8:9-10)

Joy always follows true understanding of the grace and mercy of God.  Joy is the result of God’s mercy being revealed to us as a gift to be received by faith.  As the people understood God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness for them, they could celebrate as people who were forgiven.  The Book of the Law revealed this mercy and love of God to them and their children.

How have you responded to God’s Word when it brings conviction of sin or neglect of God’s mercy? Is the ‘joy of the Lord’ a source of strength in your life?

 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.Romans 15:13

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Dealing with injustice

Scripture reading for May 09th: Nehemiah 5-8:1

Wise and godly leaders stand firmly against injustice!  Our sinful tendencies lead us relentlessly towards selfishness and taking advantage of those who are in need or in crisis or weak.  Slavery in America is an example of these selfish and sinful tendencies.  Slaves were bought and sold to build wealth for those they served.  Slaves did jobs that their owners did not want to do themselves.   Slaves were treated well by some and harshly and cruelly by others.  Injustice in this system led some leaders to take action and a civil war resulted that cost the lives of many Americans and many who named the name of Christ on both sides of this issue.

Nehemiah faced injustice in his day among his own people.  Taxes were high in Jerusalem and the Jews had to pay them to the Persian king.  Their brothers who had money were loaning to these Jews who had no money.  Mortgages were taken on the fields and vineyards and even their homes.  Even sons and daughters were being sold into slavery because of the usury that was going on among the Israelites.  An outcry because of this injustice reached Nehemiah and he pondered this problem. (Nehemiah 5:6-7)   Calling a meeting of all those involved,  he called out those charging unfair interest, commanded them to stop these practices. (Nehemiah 5:9-11)  They publicly agreed to do so.  He even shook out his own robe and prayed prophetically, “In this way may God shake out of His house and possessions every man who does not keep this promise.  So may such a man be shaken out and emptied!” Nehemiah 5:13

God’s people must beware of injustice, even in their own house!  Sin and selfishness can cause us to take advantage of others.  We can abuse or neglect the poor and the weak.  Spiritual leaders and pastors must guard their hearts in how they encourage giving, being careful not to manipulate.  A form of slavery results when our sons and daughters go into captivity and leave the church because of injustice in God’s house!  Righteous leaders are watchful and take direct action when they know about it!  Pray today for those in authority and let them know of any injustice among God’s people!

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Work and warfare!

Scripture reading for May 8th: Nehemiah 3-4

God’s people are wired for work!  When a vision is present, focus of energy and teamwork can result in a miraculous amount of work being done.  But it takes leadership and discipline to get people to work together.  There are many hindrances that try to hold up progress and destroy the vision.  The leader must assess the situation, cast the vision, organize the team of workers, and deal with the hindrances in a timely and effective manner.  God will work with him and through him to complete the work.

Nehemiah was an effective leader.  He was chosen by God as he prayed for the city of Jerusalem, burdened for it’s broken-down walls.  Nehemiah was given favor, authority, and materials from the king to go and rebuild the broken walls of his beloved city.   His plan of action was formulated as he assessed the situation for himself after arriving there. (Nehemiah 2:11-16)   He decided on putting families in charge of rebuilding the section of wall nearest their own homes.  (Nehemiah 3)  This brought personal responsibility to bear on how the job would be done and how fast they would work.  He knew they would work harder and smarter if their own family’s lives depended on it.

Nehemiah had to deal with opposition, both external and internal.  This is spiritual warfare that is ever-present in the life of a believer seeking to do God’s will.  He prayed first (Nehemiah 4:4-5) and then posted a guard.  He armed half the men while the others worked.  He kept a trumpeter by his side to sound the alarm if any family was attacked and needed help.  (Nehemiah 4:17-20)  Everyone worked together and kept ready to meet any opposition or force that might attack them.

This is a good plan for each person in God’s family.  We are each assigned work to do by the Lord according to our gifts and talents.  There will be opposition and it must be dealt with and watched closely to avoid setback and defeat.  The Holy Spirit is the trumpeter in our lives who lets us know when trouble is coming.  As we work and fight together the work gets done quickly.  We remember that we are fighting for our own protection and that of our family.  Personal responsibility and God’s grace insure the victory!

“Don’t be afraid of them.  Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” Nehemiah 4:14

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Pray and work!

Scripture reading for May 7th: Nehemiah 1-2

Sometimes prayer is used as an excuse for doing nothing.  “I’ll pray about it” is an easy answer when asked to serve in a ministry or do a project.   As we pray, God often moves on our heart and turns it to do His will and want what He wants!  (Psalm 37:4)  We have the choice of following His leading, or just continuing to pray and hope the prayer will be answered.  One choice leads to amazing journeys and seeing the desires of our heart (and God’s) fulfilled while the other produces little in the way of results.

Nehemiah was an Israelite who was cup bearer to the king of Persia.  He held a position of trust and would have been a close adviser and bodyguard for this king.  He heard a report from those who had returned to Jerusalem earlier to rebuild the temple.  They told how the work was at a standstill and the walls were broken down and gates were burned with fire.  This report disturbed him greatly.  He began to weep, fast, and pray before his God, the God of heaven.  (Nehemiah 1:4-11)  Nehemiah, in faith, prayed and confessed the sins of his own people.  He reminded God of His covenant with Moses to bring the people back if they would call on Him.  He asked for favor to approach the king. (Psalm 5:11-12)

As he was doing his job before the king, God opened the king’s heart to ask him about his sad countenance.  Nehemiah again prayed quietly and asked for help in rebuilding Jerusalem and it’s walls.  God granted him favor and his prayers were answered.  He, himself, had been used by the Lord because he fasted and prayed and allowed God to move him into place to do something to bring the answer!  (Nehemiah 2:7-9)  Note that Nehemiah continues to pray about everything along the way.  There are 10 recorded prayers of his in this book.

Is there something that really moves your heart with pity?  Is there a need that you see that is not being met or an injustice that is calling to you for help?  Why not begin praying and fasting and opening your heart to the Lord about that situation?  As you do, be open for action that you may be able to take to bring about change, healing, or a godly answer.  The Lord wants to move our hearts through prayer to godly work.  The result will be a joyous celebration when we realize what the Lord has accomplished as we prayed and worked!  In the end of this story, Nehemiah has rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem in 52 days!

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Prayers affect heaven and earth!

Scripture reading for December 12th: Nehemiah 10-13, Revelation 8

Revelation 8:1-4 “When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.”

Today’s reading gives us insight on what happens to our prayers in heaven. As the priest went before the altar of incense with prayers and incense in the earthly Jewish tabernacle, so an angel presents our prayers with incense as they are offered before God’s throne. The response to these prayers was the angel taking his censer and filling it with fire from the altar and hurling it on the earth. The result of this response brought thunder, lightning and an earthquake on the earth itself. God is powerful and answers prayers. He is holy and brings justice for those who depend on Him and call to Him. Prayers touch heaven and God shakes the earth in response! What amazing grace!

Revelation 8:12-13 “The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night. Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow.”

Prayer: Father God, I love You and depend on Your power and mercy through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Forgive me when I fail to pray about everything or doubt Your hearing or ability to answer. Lord God, remember Your children who are calling on You for help and deliverance from the evil and persecution here on earth. May I fulfill my calling as a priest before you and remember me for good.

Nehemiah 13:29-31 “”Remember them, O my God, because they have desecrated the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites. Thus I cleansed them from everything foreign, and I established the duties of the priests and Levites, each in his work; and I provided for the wood offering at appointed times, and for the firstfruits. Remember me, O my God for good.””

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Multitudes clothed in white!

Scripture reading for December 9th: Nehemiah 7-9, Psalm 140, Revelation 7

Revelation 7: 13-17 “Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple; and He Who sits on the throne will shelter them with His presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.””

In the heavenly vision given to John, he beheld a great multitude of people from every tribe of the earth standing before God’s throne. One of the elders around the throne asked John who they were. John wisely answered, “Sir, you know.” It was revealed that these were those who came out of the great tribulation of the last days. They had white robes because they had repented of sins and come to Jesus Christ for cleansing and His righteousness. They had been martyred and now stood in God’s presence cleansed and satisfied by the Good Shepherd who wiped away every tear and gave them living water! Praise His Name forever and ever!

Psalm 140:12-13 “I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and will execute justice for the needy. Surely the righteous shall give thanks to Your Name; the upright shall dwell in Your presence.”

Prayer: Father God, I thank You for Your mercy and for Your justice. Thank You for showing mercy in the great tribulation to those from all nations who will repent. I have given my body to you to use for Your purposes of reaching the nations and all lost with the Good News of salvation and righteousness in the kingdom of Heaven through Jesus Christ and His blood. May I worship You through obedience today.

Nehemiah 9:3 “And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day; for another quarter of it they made confession and worshiped the Lord their God.”

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Who can stand?

Scripture reading for December 8th: Nehemiah 4-6, Psalm 98, Revelation 6

Revelation 6: 12-17 “When he opened the sixth seal, I looked and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him Who is seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great Day of their Wrath has come, and who can stand?”

John is given a vision of the Lamb (Jesus Christ) opening the seven seals on the scroll He received from His Father. As the seals are opened, various judgments fall upon the earth and creation. As the sixth seal is opened, a great earthquake rocks the earth and causes such upheaval that the sun is darkened and the moon turns red like blood from all the shaking on earth. During this shaking, those on the earth from rich to poor hide themselves and call to the rocks to protect them from the wrath of the Lamb and God Almighty. This will be known as the great Day of Wrath. The question the earth-dwellers ask is “Who can stand?” Those so hiding have had opportunity to repent and turn to God for salvation but have refused and now rely on the rocks for protection. They cannot and will not stand on the Day of Wrath.

Psalm 98:2-3 “The Lord has made known His salvation; He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations. He has remembered His steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for revealing Your salvation and righteousness to me at the ends of the earth. Jesus Christ, Your Son and the Lamb of God is the last and complete revelation to all the earth. Help me today to fight for the souls of my brothers, my sons and daughters, my friends and my compatriots that none may be trusting in rocks but in The Rock, Jesus Christ. Thank You Lord!

Nehemiah 4:14 “And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, Who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.”

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Worship of the Worthy One

Scripture reading for December 7th: Nehemiah 1-3, Revelation 5

Revelation 5:6-10 “And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And He went and took the scroll from the right hand of Him Who was seated on the throne. And when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the scroll and to open its seals, for You were slain, and by Your blood You ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and You have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

John beheld the throne of God and One seated there holding a scroll sealed with seven seals. John began to weep because there was no one to open the scroll when a mighty angel proclaimed that the Lion of the tribe of Judah was worthy! John looked to see Him, and he beheld a Lamb, standing as if He had been slain! This ‘Lamb” had seven horns and seven eyes and He took the scroll. As He did, all the elders and living creatures around the throne fell down to worship in a new song this Worthy One. He was ‘worthy’ because He had been slain and His blood was the ransom for all the people of God. He ransomed them that they might have the kingdom of God and reign with Him on the earth! This new song brought worship from every creature in every place in the universe! Worthy is the Lamb to rule!

Revelation 5:13 “And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them saying, “To Him Who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

Prayer: Father God, Worthy are You and the Lamb, our Lord Jesus Christ, to receive all worship, honor, glory and praise now and forever and ever! You bought us with Your own Son’s blood and by grace and mercy gave us eternal life as priests and kings in Your eternal kingdom. You answer our prayers and grant us power and favor to witness to the lost of Your eternal plan of salvation and build Your church! Amen!

Nehemiah 1:11, 2:8 “O Lord, let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who delight to fear Your Name, and give success to Your servant today and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” . . .’And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me.”

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A diverse traveling mission

Scripture reading for March 12th: Luke 8

Key Scriptures: Luke 8:1-3 “Soon afterward He went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the Good News of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.”

Jesus Christ came to earth to reach lost people, beginning with those in Israel. He had been anointed by the Holy Spirit and was given instructions through prayer as to where to go and who to select as His disciples and followers. Great crowds of people gathered to receive His ministry of healing and deliverance and the Good News of the kingdom of God. We have names of several who had received healing and deliverance who traveled with Him and supported the ministry out of their personal finances. One was even a manager in Herod’s house! He acted in total obedience to His Father and His Word went forth and brought fruit for eternal life in the kingdom of God.

Luke 8:20-21 “And He was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.” But He answered them, “My mother and My brothers are those who hear the Word of God and do it.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I am thankful that You called me to follow You and further the Good News of the King and kingdom of God. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and knowledge of Your will for my daily work and witness that I might hear and obey.

Nehemiah 4:6 “So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.”

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