And they offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and children also rejoiced. And the joy of Jerusalem was heard far away. Nehemiah 12:43
Just three messages left to go in our study of Nehemiah. And while you might think they all “lived happily ever after” following that grand worship service we saw on display at the end of chapter 12 and the dedication of the wall; the truth is, that kind of thing only happens in fairy tales. And the Bible is no fairy tale. It deals with real life and, unfortunately, real life is messy!
As we jump back into the story in chapter 13, Nehemiah has been called away from Jerusalem for several years. Upon his return, he finds that the people have fallen back into the same old sins he thought had been dealt with! (Don’t you hate it when that happens?) So they (and we) will have to go back to God’s word (again!) and re-learn what faithfulness means in three crucial areas: (1) This week in Neh 13:1-14, the danger of compromising with the world; (2) Next week, our need to keep God and His worship a priority (13:15-22); and finally, (3) A reminder that establishing and maintaining God-centered homes really does matters (13:23-31). My prayer is that the Lord will honor the time we take to study His word and draw each of us closer to Him!
Then, Lord willing after we finish Nehemiah, we’ll begin a new study in the Gospel of John. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. I’ve kept putting it off because I know that John, though very simply in many ways, is also a book that is deep beyond measure! Here we see the beauty of Christ displayed in it’s most vibrant, eternal colors! I can’t wait to get started.
So let me encourage you to do a couple of things. First, take some time this week to look back over Ezra and Nehemiah and remember what you’ve learned. Then, when you’ve done that, pick up the Gospel of John and begin to read through it, asking God to show you Jesus more clearly.
Thank God for His Wonderful Word!