Hey there friends! If you've been here before, you may or may not know that I have joined in with a community of women reading God's truth daily called She Reads Truth. Maybe you've heard me chat about it before, or maybe you're part of that community as well! Awesome! So today is devotional day, but I am combining devotional day with #SheSharesTruth day and linking up with SRT! It has actually been the driving force behind most of my friday devotionals and a super way for me to be intentional about studying the scriptures for myself and diving really deep and wrestling with them. Even if you aren't a blogger yourself, I would encourage you to link up in another way (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.)
Have you read the book of Nehemiah before? Well I hadn't. I can imagine that part of my reasoning behind that would be that it's full of names I just can't pronounce for the life of me-- seriously, reading took about nineteen times longer than usual. However, Nehemiah truly was more than just a book of names. There is beauty behind the story of a broken city brought to restoration, and I saw it. I sensed Nehemiah's burden for his city, I felt like I was with him as he journeyed to Jerusalem, as he rebuilt his wall with his people, as he pressed into God for strength, and even as he went back to Babylon, confident that what was restored was restored. But that's just not the way the book ended. Nehemiah gets word that Jerusalem has become complacent and that the holy city has fallen to corruption, so he has to journey back to put them back in their place before God.
Today's SRT challenge is to answer these two questions:
Why does the book of Nehemiah end the way it does?
What does God want us to see here about Himself and the Church?
Obviously, I am not God and I have no way of knowing exactly what He meant by all of this, and honestly, I'm feeling pretty ill-equipped to share my thoughts, but without further ado:
+ "Church camp" enthusiasm followed by complacency and corruption will continue to be a risk for the church. We are sinful. We forget. We mess up and sometimes we start to move on. Sometimes the world is offering us more than we think God can, or we get too busy, or too tired, or maybe even bored.
"Nevertheless, they were disobedient and rebelled against you and cast your law behind their back and killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you, and they committed great blasphemies." -Neh 9:26
+ Because of that, we actually need Nehemiah type people in our lives. We need the people that are going to stand up against wrong doing and fight for what's right. We need someone that's not afraid to throw furniture and pull hair! Without them, we end up slipping and sliding into the wrong direction.
"And I confronted them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair. And I made them take an oath in the name of God" -Neh 13:25 ESV
+ This is also a great reminder that God forgives. Time and time again, His mercies are made new (Lamentations 3:22-23). To the Israelites then and to us now.
"But after they had rest they did evil again before you, and you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they had dominion over them. Yet when they turned and cried to you, you heard from heaven, and many times you delivered them according to your mercies." -Neh 9:28 ESV
+ Ultimately, I think that God has included the great slip up to show us a great need for Jesus. We cannot do it on our own. We are fallen and we fail. We will continue to fail time and time again. Just when things seem perfect, something will happen and we'll have to rebuild our city; we're never going to be done. We need the Son's perfect work in our lives--we need Him to be able to do it on our behalf.
"...he said, 'It is finished,'..."-John 19:30