Sunday's message marked the last part of our twelve part series on Nehemiah, titled Rise Up and Build. Through the past twelve weeks we have studied the story of Nehemiah and how God used him to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. As we continue our commitments to the Nehemiah Project (np3) and 52 Day Small Groups, remember how and why God provided for the Israelites.
"God's work done God's way will never lack God's supply." Hudson Taylor
Sunday was also the first day we had the opportunity to give in our financial commitment to the Nehemiah Project (np3). Miles reminded everybody to not worry about giving more than you pledged, but only to fulfill your promise. Miles also forewarned the congregation that even though our financial commitment would end, our Spiritual commitment will never end.
From the Message
Having left Jerusalem, after completing the wall and seeing a revival in God's people, Nehemiah returned to find the house out of order. Among these problems in Jerusalem, were four mistakes that can also cause us to veer off course:
- Unacceptable partnerships,Nehemiah 13:4-9
Eliashib, the priest, had given Tobiah, the enemy who had previously criticized Nehemiah and provoked the people, a large room that had been used to store offerings and articles dedicated to God. The Bible tells us not to be unequally yoked.Deuteronomy 22:10 and 2 Corinthians 6:14
Are you partnering with somebody who isn't encouraging your walk with Christ? Allow God to direct your direct your relationships, and make every effort to be in the world, but not of the world.
- Unquestionable neglect,Nehemiah 13:10-14
Portions commited to be given to the Levites and singers, those responsible for being Spiritual leaders, were being neglected. This reminds us to be careful to do what we say/need to do. Don't make excuses, and don't worry about being uncomfortables or scared? Have you never been uncomfortable before in your life? God is more concerned about our growth through obedience than in our comfort. Remember Daniel in the lion's den.
- Unscriptural practice,Nehemiah 13:15-22
The people had allowed the Sabbath to be defiled, as it was turned into a swap meet. God gave us the Sabbath for a reason. He didn't intend for us to work every day. Are we honoring God by observing this, the fourth commandment? Are there other areas in our life we've let slip into a pattern a disobedience?
- Unsuitable compromise,Nehemiah 13:23-31
God's holy nation had become diluted as the people had begun marrying with other cultures of differing beliefs. Nehemiah reminded the people of Solomon who, as powerful and wise as he was, allowed himself to be led astray by his pagan wives. Be careful not to allow the things you enjoy on earth dictate/disrupt your relationship to God. Remember to be in constant worship of the Creator.
In order to help us stay on course and avoid the pitfalls Israel faced in Nehemiah 13, here are four things we must follow:
- God's Word must be our standard
Our beliefs and decision must be based on the Bible,Psalm 119:9. To help us more clearly understand God's Word, in 2004 the Rock will begin a complete study of the Word from beginning to end.
- God's Word must be our priority
God is more interested in our development than in our position in life. We have to read and understand God's Word if we want to know what He wants to teach us.
- God's ways must be our practice
No matter where we are, or what we're doing, we have the ability and opportunity to honor God by doing what He wants us to. Don't forget that God's ways are not our ways.Isaiah 55:8. God's resources and creativity are limitless. Check out the duck-billed platypus for example.
- God's will must be our will
Try waking up in the morning and having your first conscious thought be, "Good morning, God. What do you want me to do?" If you keep asking God, and are faithful to listen and obeying what He says, your life will be better.