Disclaimer: In posting these thoughts, questions, and ramblings I feel it wise to give a disclaimer. There are many people that are far more knowledgeable and gifted in expositing the Word of God than I. These thoughts are not intended to be in-depth analysis of the text. They are thoughts. They are questions. They are ramblings. It will be a display of what God is teaching me through His Word. In depth study will be done at a different time. It is also good to know the author's goal. 1) To be accountable in reading through Scripture. 2) To share these thoughts with others. Possibly for someone else's edification; possibly for my own. 3) To glorify God through His Word. 4) To spur one another on in taking up Scripture and reading! So without further ado, here are today's readings:
What a day...1/4 of the day spent in confession and worship, another quarter spent reading the Word.
What are the stairs of the Levites?
This is such a great proclamation. Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. In other words we are going to bless you with everything that we have for all eternity and that will not put a dent into the amount of blessing and praise that you are worthy of. I wonder if I really believe this? Lord, give me more faith. Give me faith to believe and treasure your supreme worth.
It is amazing to see how Nehemiah sees God in every aspect of history. It is important for us to praise the Lord for all of his acts in history. It seems like many of the greatest doxologies come in response to reviewing all of God's mighty acts in history. Something about seeing that God is in control and glorious over all creation that causes us to abound in worship.
v.20..."you gave your good Spirit to instruct them" The Holy Spirit was active even in the OT.
"delighted themselves in your great goodness"...I wonder if they were delighting in God Himself or the goodness of his gifts?
This cycle that we see in the history of Israel breaks my heart and sickens me...because it all too often is a reflection of my own relationship with the Living God. He blesses, I enjoy, I rebel, He rescues, I enjoy, I rebel, He rescues...and on and on.
I love Nehemiah's heart in verse 32-33. He is praying that God not forget them in all their struggle yet he never accuses the Lord of injustice. "We've got what we deserved, therefore our only hope is your mercy".
You have to respect the dedication of these men, but knowing the history of mankind, they are signing their names to a curse. They will not be able to keep this covenant. Yet by faith many will be delivered because Jesus Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law.
You can see in this covenant, though good and pleasing to the Lord, seeds of the Pharisees.
What is the wood offering?
"We will not neglect the house of our God". Something about this statement catches my attention, but I am not sure what yet.
A huge list of names comprises this chapter. Two questions come to my mind. What is the significance of living in Jerusalem, and why are they praised for moving there? Is it because this is what communicated that they were faithful to rebuilding the temple and city of God? The other question is what are the diverse stories behind all of these people?
More people that I have no clue who they are.
I bet dedicating the wall was a very fun and significant thing for the people.
I wonder what songs they sang.
"...for God had made them rejoice with great joy...and the joy of Jerusalem was heard far away." Certainly when the Lord makes us rejoice it will spread far away. Lord, cause us in our day to rejoice with great joy!
v.3...the sounds incredibly racist, but we must remember that foreign people came with foreign gods. It is more a rejection of these gods than the people. Yet, we must understand that the Jewish people were often times very ethnocentric. Was this good or bad? It depends. Is it at the expense of evangelism? Then it is bad. Is it for the sake of holiness and purity? Then it is good.
v.8 This furniture throwing must have been something to behold.
It is refreshing to hear of someone that sees something going awfully wrong and quickly labors to make things right.
What was wrong about lodging outside the wall?
One thing that seems to be throughout this is the prayer of Nehemiah that God might remember his works and grant him mercy.