Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Nehemiah 1


Prairie Chick said...

I just LOVE the book introductions in my Max Lucado Devotional Bible, they just BRING the characters to life for me. Always feel I have to share;

"You are about to meet the Abraham Lincoln of the Old Testament. A respected leader with a tender heart. You will see his tears in the oval office as he weeps for people opressed and vulnerable.

You are about to meet the General George Patton of the Old Testament. A rugged leader. Intolerant of compromise. Relentless in demanding perfection. He punished those who were soft by pushing them down and cursing their names.

You are about to meet the Winston Churchill of the Old Testament. A statesman. Tested and tried. Resisting the enemies who seek to lure him away from the task. Rising above squabbling factions who could distract him.

The tenderness of Lincoln. The fire of Patton. The savvy of Churchill. All found in the same man.


When we meet him he is wearing the robe of royalty. He is the king's cupbearer. But though he was in a position of power, his heart beat for people in Israel. He was a Hebrew in Persia. When word reached him that the temple was being reconstructed, he grew anxious. He knew there was no wall to protect it.

Nehemiah invited God to use him to save the city. He exchanged the royal robe for coveralls and got to work. The project took twelve years and was uphill all the way. He was accused of everything from allowing faulty construction to being power hungry. In spite of grumpy workers and lurking enemies, he made it. With the wall built and the enemy silent, Nehemiah went back to Persia.

After twelve years he returned. The walls were strong, but the people had gone to pot. Faith was forgotten adn discipline was a bad word. So Nehemiah got busy again.

He went to his closet, hung up his royal robe, bypassed his coveralls, adn dusted off his frock adn set about the task of teaching the people a few things about morality. He didn't mince words. "I argued with those people, put curses on them, hit some of them and pulled out their hair." 13:25

Not what you'd call a typical Bible class.

But Nehemiah wasn't what you would call a typical fellow."


Totally looking forward to this.

Prairie Chick said...

"I was the one who served wine to the king." v10

For some reason those last words sent a shiver up my spine. It reminded me of Esther, and Joseph. Placed in a certain place at a certain time, "for such a time as this" as Mordecai told Esther. Sovreignty mysteriously and beautifully at play in the every day courses and comings and goings of our life. Every moment, leading us to another moment, every circumstance, preparing us for a future circumstance, every struggle, fortifying us for a future challenge.

God is good. All the time. All the time, God is good.

Jude said...

I was struck by Nehemiah's prayer from start to finish (v5-11). I was touched by his heart. He recognized the sin in his life and in the lives of others, he had concern for others, his faith is so evident, his delight is in the Lord, his plea is full of belief and humility. No wonder God chose to send him!

I was pondering at first why it would be important to rebuild Jerusalem. Why not just rebuild elsewhere? But as I pondered I realizeed that this was the land that God sent them to and the destruction of Jerusalem was their punishment for disobedience. In many ways, by restoring the Lord's city, they were making amends to the Lord and trying to rebuild what they had destroyed with sin...and most importantly, they were doing it WITH God, not pushing against him.

Chris said...

I love all your comments and intro's. I thought I was more behind than this, and I read all the way to the 3rd chapter- oops. NM's inclusion of himself in the sins of his people shows his humility. His language shows beauty and deep respect, likely cultivated in the palace?

Mac an Rothaich said...

Stuck by his understanding of God's promises to heal his people and gather them back to his land if they will return their hearts to him... this prayer intro made me feel blessed that I am going to read about this man.

Mac an Rothaich said...