Friday, October 4, 2013

Doing Great Works of God

Research says the wall was about 4.5 miles long.  It took 52 days!
Surely a great work of God!
Back on track with Nehemiah this morning!  In the midst of this great work for God, there were struggles from within and without.  External enemies sought to derail the project and internally, greed threatened to destroy unity.  We can all relate to those danger; they are the stuff of life.  Nehemiah's story, though, reminds us both are deliberate plots to stop progress for God.  We do not have to allow the derailment.

The scriptures tell us that unrest bubbled up among God's people when some began 'exacting usury.'  In other words, the rich became richer and the poor became poorer--and resentments built.  All of the people were paying tribute to Persia; some had to borrow it and even enslave their children to make payments.   While we obviously don't 'enslave' people in the physical sense, an attitude of 'you owe me' still exacts usury.  Nehemiah stepped in and said 'This is not acceptable.  Live with reverence for God; others are watching."  The message is the same for us.  We give nothing that we have not received.  God blesses us that we might bless others; He gives what we do not deserve and does not keep count.  We are to live the same.

Even the external threats (Sanballat and Tobiah) had internal allies.  Nehemiah never points that out directly, but the inferences are there.  I take from that that we are not to focus on those who are not 'wholly' with us.  Our Holy God has it all in hand.  The tactics of the enemies reflect the Enemy.  Spreading lies and instilling fears began in the Garden of Eden--and remain a primary tool.  In Nehemiah's case, it was the same.  God gave him discernment and his reaction is to be ours:  Nehemiah prayed, "Lord, strengthen my hands."  There is nothing that comes our way that can derail the purposes of God.  We are to focus on Him, rejoice in Him and obey Him. 


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