Nehemiah 1:1-3:14 ~ 1 Corinthians 7:1-24 ~ Psalm 31:19-24 ~ Proverbs 21:4
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Old Testament - Today we begin the book of Nehemiah!
Date: Fifth century B.C.
Content: The book of Nehemiah continues the story begun by Ezra and deals with life in the restored community. The major point of Ezra is the rededication of the Temple. The major point of Nehemiah is the rebuilding of the city walls of Jerusalem. The book begins by explaining the need Jerusalem had for protection that walls would give. This is followed by a discussion of how the walls were build in spite of numerous problems both in the community and outside of it. A national day of repentance was called for and the project was completed.
Theme: The main theme of this book is the sad fact that people are slow to learn the lessons God wants to teach them. The Israelites had been carried into captivity because of their sin, but now the very same problems rose again. The people were neglecting worship, prayer, and Bible study, not to mention the fact that they were treating each other unjustly. But God in his patience continued to send his messengers to them to offer salvation and pardon. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” pp. 8-9) More commentary on the book of Nehemiah is at this link: http://bible.org/article/introduction-books-ezra-nehemiah
Below is an image from today's readings from Nehemiah chapter 1 verses 3 & 4 - ""Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been burned." When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven."
Today in Nehemiah chapter 2 verse 17 we read “Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” I am fascinated by the rebuilding of the Temple that we read about in Ezra and now the rebuilding of the Walls of Jerusalem in Nehemiah. The thought of rebuilding is something that I think each of us needs to meditate upon at times. I believe that over time in our lives we unfortunately can tear things down. Things that need rebuilding. Perhaps we have torn down our faith in some way. Perhaps our love for God. Perhaps our connection to a church community. Perhaps our relationship with a family member. Perhaps our service to the poor. Is there an area of your life that is in need of rebuilding? Will you meditate upon your life and begin to rebuild in that area? Will you pray to God for strength in rebuilding in that area and will you allow his Spirit to lead you? I pray you will be encouraged by our readings this week in Nehemiah as you read about the Israelites rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. And I pray you will begin rebuilding the things in your life that have perhaps tumbled down over time!
New Testament - Today we read 1 Corinthians Chapter 7. This has been a very powerful chapter of the Bible for much of my spiritual journey. For a period of about 7 years I felt the call to "singleness" through this chapter through much prayer and reflection. I think the call to singleness for some of us may be just for a season, or it could be for many seasons. At the same time, just as valuable is the call to marriage and family life for many of us in this chapter as well. These are some powerful verses. Some say it is best just to consider these verses in "context" of the Corinthian church two thousand years ago. However, I do believe there is value in this chapter's verses for our lives as well. How does First Corinthians chapter 7 speak to you and your life today?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in First Corinthians titled "Sex and the Spiritual Christian" is at this link, "The Relationship Between Spirituality and Sexuality" is at this link, and "Spirituality and the Status Quo" is at this link.
Psalms - This is a wonderful look at God's goodness in Psalm 31 verse 19: "Your goodness is so great! You have stored up great blessings for those who honor you. You have done so much for those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world." Do you believe that God's goodness is indeed great? Are you honoring God with your life and your actions and your thoughts each day? Do you believe that God is storing up blessings for you? Do you believe that God will bless you if you go to him for protection?
Proverbs - Proverbs 21 verse 4 couldn't be much more straightforward! "Haughty eyes, a proud heart, and evil actions are all sin." I actually needed a little help for what the word haughty really means. Here's what I found in the dictionary for haughty - disdainful: having or showing arrogant superiority to and disdain of those one views as unworthy; "some economists are disdainful of their colleagues in other social disciplines"; "haughty aristocrats"; "his lordly manners were offensive"; "walked with a prideful swagger"; "very sniffy about breaches of etiquette"; "his mother eyed my clothes with a supercilious air"; "shaggy supercilious camels"; "a more swaggering mood than usual"- W.L.Shirer Have you ever been haughty? Can you see how being haughty is a sin? I did a google image search on the word haughty, and this is one of the images it served up, which I thought was a bit amusing.... :) (I think this little guy is far more cute than haughty!)
YouTube: First Corinthians Chapter 7 seems an appropriate point to share with you this phenomenal song by Rebecca St. James that she wrote for her future husband called "Wait for Me":
Are you waiting on God's timing in your life? Click here and wait for Him no longer!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on two verses of Scripture today: "Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion." 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 TNIV
Prayer Point: Pray for God's perfect will to be done in your life in regards to being married or being single. Pray a prayer of praise and contentment for whichever calling is upon your life. Pray that you don't live a life burning with sexual passion. Pray you live a life of passion for God's glory.
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!