Wouldn't that be a great kids name? Ok, probably not, but it would have to be better than having a third Gary Britt. Ok, maybe not.
Pardon for the order of things on the blog spot. I really am going to be getting back to all the sermons from this past weekend, but I would really like to share Bro. Buddy's Wednesday night sermon with you all.
First he gave us a little bit of an overview so that we could place Nehemiah in the right time frame. God made the earth in 7 days about 6,000 years ago. The world was destroyed in a flood about 2,000 years after that, and only Noah and his family were saved. Then came Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. Joseph (Jacob's son) was sold into bondage, and eventually God placed him in a position where he could provide for his family when famine came. Jacob and his family went down into Egypt where they stayed for 400 years in bondage. Moses led the people out and after 40 years of disobedience in the wilderness Joshua led them into the Promise Land. During this time they never conquered all of the land that God was to give them, and they never obeyed him in destroying the other peoples and not intermarrying. First, they were ruled by judges, and then they got to wanting kings like everyone else. They have a few good kings, but mostly bad ones rule. Then because they have disobeyed God for so long, they are carried away to captivity and spend 70 years in Babylon. Only a few will return in three waves: first, 42,000 under Zerubbabel, 1,700 under Ezra, and finally some under Nehemiah.
The lesson last night was about rebuilding. As a Primitive Baptist, I have long heard of how great things once were in Zion. I grew up on stories where there were so many at meetings that windows were open and people sat outside just to hear the preaching. We pray for a reviving in spirit and in numbers in Spiritual Isreal. If there was ever a chance for Isreal as a nation to turn over a new leaf and seek God once again, it was here in the rebuilding after Babylonian exile. However, you can read Ezra 9 to see that the people have returned back to the sins that lead to exile to start with. In chapter 10, Ezra prays to the Lord, and the people turn back to God, preventing further punishment.
However when you start in Nehemiah (1:1-3) you find out that the walls are still down and the gates burned with fire. This was about as low as it could get, with out strong walls and gates the city could never be safe. So Nehemiah, hearing this report prays and desires to be used by God to be part of the solution. Skip on over to 4:10, and once Nehemiah gets there the people are simple overwhelmed. They are not only discouraged, but they are too tired to build, and they can't build until the rubbish is removed. Likewise today we need strong walls to protect us from the influence of the world. In verse 11 it goes on to tell us not only is there a bunch of rubbish in the way, and everyone is tired, but there enemies have plans to over run them and kill them all. So how then do they manage to build 2 1/2 miles of wall in 2 months?
First, in verse 14, Nehemiah tells them to not be afraid of men, but to remember that they have a great and terrible God. They have a God that is greater than their enemies. A God that is on their side. So they are instructed to fight for their breathren. We need to stand up, even when we are discouraged, tired, and feel at a complete loss to do anything else and fight for our those we hold dear, because their welfare is at stake, instead of thinking about ourselves. There is a time to fight for what's important to keep from losing those we love to a life that will only end in misery.
Later on in Nehemiah 8:1-8, the people as one person (in one mind, in one accord) return back to the Lord. They stand when the scriptures are read, and have a new respect and a new understanding of God's word as their only guide for how to live. We need to be like that.
These two things, being willing to sacrifice themselves for others and put God's way/word first enable them to build the wall. In Nehemiah 12:43, they build the wall and give great sacrifices. They worship the Lord in joy of what he will do. We have it much easier, we can look back, and say that the Lord did it all. That he came, and did what he meant to do, and all that is left for us is to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, not because we need to do something to get to heaven, but because we are greatful that the Lord did it all. Their joy was so great that many heard them afar off.
I want that. What about you?