TODAY’S SPECIAL: Nehemiah 4:1-15
TO CHEW ON: "After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, 'Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.' ” Nehemiah 4:14
The people eagerly set to work rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. Each family was responsible to fix the section closest to their home. Everyone helped.Illustration by Annie Vallotton from the Good News Bible © American Bible Society 1976, 1992
But as the piles of rubbish became a strong, thick wall again, there were rumors of trouble. Rulers from the neighboring Samaria and Ammon didn’t want Jerusalem to be strong. They were angry about Nehemiah’s project and made fun of it....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Nehemiah 4:16-23
TO CHEW ON: "From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officials posted themselves behind all the people of Judah who were building the wall." Nehemiah 4:16
The threats against the workers were real. But still Nehemiah didn’t stop work on the wall. “Now we really need to work together,” he told the people.
He organized workers in shifts. While one half worked on construction, the other half stood guard. Because everyone was spread out on the wall, he made an alarm system. When people heard a trumpet blast, they should all go to where the trumpet was.
The way Nehemiah organized the people to stay safe while they worked is a great example of teamwork. We too can get more done when we work as a team. If you are part of a sports team, you know how important it is for each person to play their position and do their part. The same is true in the things we do for God....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Nehemiah 2:11-20
TO CHEW ON: “The God of heaven will give us success . . .” Nehemiah 2:20a
When Nehemiah got to Jerusalem he took a few days to rest. Then he gathered some men and went to look at the wall. As they circled the city, Nehemiah saw that it was every bit as bad as Hanani had described.
What had once been sturdy walls were now piles of boulders and bricks. Where thick wooden gates had once protected the city, there were now only charred posts and empty spaces. He realized this would be a huge project. But he came back from exploring more determined than ever. With God’s help he would rebuild the wall!...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: I Peter 4:12-19
TO CHEW ON: "If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you." I Peter 4:14
Which of these things has happened to you because you are a Christian?- called names- left out- teased- made fun of
It’s not fun going through things like that. But it shouldn’t surprise us. People in the past were insulted and persecuted because they trusted in God:"Goliath" - Artist unknown
David’s older brother made fun of him when David came to the battlefield and started asking questions about why no one was challenging Goliath when he insulted God. (1 Samuel 17:28)"David" - Artist Unknown
Nehemiah was teased by Sanballat and Tobiah when he began rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. They made fun of his work, joking, “..if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones.” (Nehemiah 2:19; 4:3).
Jesus said that his followers would be arrested, persecuted, even killed (John 15:20)....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Nehemiah 8:1-18
TO CHEW ON: "Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it the people stood up. Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted up their hands and responded, 'Amen! Amen!' Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground." Nehemiah 8:5,6
The wall was finished. It was time to celebrate! But instead of a lively party, the people gathered in the square at the Water Gate and asked Ezra to read the law.
They had just been part of an amazing project. They had seen how God had helped and protected them. Now they wanted to know how to keep pleasing Him.
Ezra stood on a high platform with the people all around. As soon as he opened the book, everyone stood up. After he praised God, the people raised their hands and said, “Amen! Amen!” and bowed to the ground in worship.
Then Ezra began reading. Nehemiah and the priests and Levites joined him on stage. From time to time they explained what the reading meant. Soon there was a sound of sobbing from the crowd, then weeping,...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Nehemiah 6:1-16
TO CHEW ON: "So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God." Nehemiah 6:15,16
The wall was nearly done. There were no more broken gaps and only the gates were missing. But instead of the opposition getting less, it got worse. One day Nehemiah got another message from Sanballat and Geshem. “Come to a meeting in a nearby village,” it said.
Nehemiah smelled trouble. He was sure these men were planning to harm him. He sent back word, “I’m busy on a big project.”\
They didn’t give up easily. Three more times they called him to a meeting. Finally on the fifth try, the messenger showed Nehemiah another letter from Sanballat. It said, “We know that you and the Jews are plotting a revolution. You’re planning to become king. If you don’t want this reported back to Artaxerxes, you’d better meet with us.”
Still Nehemiah refused to be distracted. “These are all lies,” he wrote back. “You’re making this up out of your head.”
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Nehemiah 2:1-10
TO CHEW ON: "The king said to me, 'What is it you want?' Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, 'If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it.' ... And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my request." Nehemiah 2:4&8
“Jerusalem is a mess,” Hanani said. “Its walls are broken down and the gates are just charred rubbish.”
Nehemiah was shocked and sad to hear this news from his brother Hanani. Though Nehemiah had lived in Persia all his life, his heart was with his people in Jerusalem. He wished there was something he could do.
He thought of going to Jerusalem and getting to work on that wall. But that could never happen because King Artaxerxes had said that Jerusalem should not be rebuilt. And Artaxerxes was his boss. He would never let him leave his job for such a reason.
Yet over the next four months, Nehemiah couldn’t forget his dream of returning to Jerusalem. Every day he imagined...
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