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May 3, 2007

The Original Plan

Background:The Israelites after the completion of the wall are now getting ready to settle down in Jerusalem. Walls are done, but the houses within the walls are still in abandonment, no one has rebuilt the houses yet. The Israelites realise they'll have to rebuild the houses before they begin their stay in Jerusalem. Jerusalem has been their own city their own place forever as given by their Living God. This chapter from Nehemiah 8 talks to us about their preparation in heart and mind before they rebuild and resettle their possession.

Lessons I learnt from Nehemiah 8

  1. Begin at the Word- v1 all the people assembled as one man in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the scribe to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded for Israel. The Israelites had been living without the full and dedicated knowledge of God since the time after Solomon(837 BCE) and now its nearly 400 yrs of captivity, selfish rulers and now serving under the Persian kings. They begin at the beginning of the first document they received from God, the Law of Moses.
  2. Understanding the Word-v2 So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. This Word of the Law was read before ALL who could understand. There is nothing tricky about the Word, nothing so difficult about it, nothing so confusing about it. For e.g. if one could understand this from Exodus 20:2-3 2 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 "You shall have no other gods before [a] me." the message/document was for them.
  3. Repentance -9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, "This day is sacred to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep." For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. The Israelites had not known how far away from God they had gone, how far from the Law of God they had been and as it was read they realised their sin and it was ugly. They mourned.
  4. Rejoicing -"10 Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." 11 The Levites calmed all the people, saying, "Be still, for this is a sacred day. Do not grieve." 12 Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them. " I find this verse very strange in the midst of a serious and life changing time in the life of the Israelites and God directs them through Ezra and Nehemiah that this day is sacred to the Lord and they should rejoice. Then again, of course it is a sacred day of rejoicing, God's people have returned to Him. It is a great day of rejoicing, the prodigal son has come home. The son might feel a little awkward to receive such a warm welcome, after all the grievous acts he had done, but his father's heart is rejoicing just to see his son return and he wanted his son to rejoice with him as well. Isn't that so with our Lord.

Conclusion: It is a time of great rejoicing, Israel has taken its first step in returning to their Living God, returning to that purpose of being an example before all the earth of their wonderful Living God. For us, Luke 15:10 "In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

Israelites were returning to God, to their land to the life God had planned for them to have a life with blessings that overflowed from them out into all the nations of the world. Israelites had been in darkness thinking they were ok, it was ok as long as they were alive, even if it be under slavery to a Persian king, but that wasn't God's original plan for them and they realised this.

Our life is the most important possesion God has given us, for it is His very own breath. It is so precious to Him, that God willed and gave up His own life so that we might live in possesion of the life that God has given us. We are stewards of our own life and everything that God adds to our life, our husband, our wife, our children, our homes, our church, our jobs..... It is not for us to do our own living, thinking we're still ok even if we're addicted to some lust of the eyes or the lust of the flesh or the pride of living, but the real face of it is, we're slaves to it. Only Jesus Christ and God's document to us, His Word can truly set us free and show us the original plan for our lives. Lets return and work at our lives as a service to our Living God and be blessed so it overflows into the lives of people around us.

There are a lot of faulty duplicates pretending to have and enjoy life, in the midst of it all, lets live out God's original plan for our lives.

1 comment :

Sista Cala said...

Building a house requires time, resources, and committment. To build the walls was one thing, to rebuild their homes required them to be settled in their minds that Jerusalem would forever be theirs to inhabit. Had they been fearful of being uprooted or the city being destroyed they might as well have lived in temporary shelters. So, they could build houses because their faith had been bolstered by the hearing of the Word of God.