Old Habits and New Beginnings
What often happens after several successes in our lives? The Jewish people experienced God’s unique protection, His provision to help them rebuild Jerusalem and His guidance as they re-established proper worship. Yet they quickly forgot to follow their commitments. We often struggle to keep our promises to God and to follow His ways. Because of this, God brings individuals, like Nehemiah for the Jewish people, to call us to “Come Back to God!”
How can a person follow God? What does it mean to start again and try to follow God’s commands? This is what the Jewish people experienced after returning to their land. Yet, despite their best efforts and many good intentions, what they tried was ultimately not enough. As this part of their history is considered, it will become clear where they did well and where they fell short.
How can a person be made right with God? This is a vitally important question because the Bible teaches that all humans are naturally disconnected from God because of our sins and behaviour. But what can be done about such a situation? The Jewish people, in the book of Nehemiah, help us to see the answer to that question. In the process, they will experience both sorrow and joy, but the experience will allow them to be made right with…
The Bible is arguably the greatest treasure of God’s people, and yet we often take it for granted. The Israelites had been deprived of the word of God for a long time and they were hungry to hear from it. Their attitude and response has much to teach us about how we are to view the Scriptures.
What options does a follower of God have when faced with challenging circumstances? Nehemiah faced many such circumstances. These included attacks on his life, a kidnapping attempt, manipulation, character assassination and false accusations. Yet, he was able to remain strong through it all because of his God. By considering his example, we can learn how to do the same.
How does a group of people push forward with God’s work when they are exhausted, discouraged and under threat of violence? Nehemiah had just such a challenge to face as he sought to lead the people in continuing to build the wall around Jerusalem. Through observing how he led, we can learn many lessons about how to respond to the obstacles each of us faces individually as well as the opposition so many churches face today.
How does a person persevere under difficult circumstances? How can they face opposition while trying to undertake an enormous project? Nehemiah gives us insight into just such a situation as he seeks to lead the Jewish people in rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem despite opposition from within and without. Through this situation, we see teamwork, a common vision, determination and over it all, God’s clear direction and power displayed – sometimes in the unlikeliest of places.
What do you do when deeply discouraged or disheartened? Where do you turn? The Christian is able to turn to God through prayer, but it does not end there. Nehemiah gives an excellent example of someone who was presented with a challenging and disheartening situation and then responded like any child of God should. His example with encourage and inspire.