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NEHEMIAH

NOTE:
I really admire the life of Nehemiah: He is uncompromisingly righteous. The single focus of determination and loyalty to God and to the people of God is a wonderful example to follow.

The wall of a city was very important. The wall provided protection for a city. In modern society—because of the invention of missles and similar war technology—physical walls are no longer impregnable.

Yet, the wall also provided a sense of identity: “This is our city, and we are separate and distinct from all other cities. When you see our will, you will know we are a city.”

There is a very interesting passage in Zechariah where the Lord Himself promises that the safety, security, and identity of Israel will be restored.

Zechariah 2 (NKJV)
1
Then I raised my eyes and looked, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand.
2
So I said, “Where are you going?” And he said to me, “To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length.”
~~~

God is preparing the identity and shape of the city of Jerusalem. Normally, an ancient city would have to have a wall. Yet, note how God provides.

Zechariah 2 (NKJV)
3
And there was the angel who talked with me, going out; and another angel was coming out to meet him,
4
who said to him, “Run, speak to this young man, saying: ‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls, because of the multitude of men and livestock in it.
5
FOR I,’ SAYS THE LORD, ‘WILL BE A WALL OF FIRE ALL AROUND HER, AND I WILL BE THE GLORY IN HER MIDST.’”
~~~

We are the temple of God today, and God inhabits the praises of His people. May we be planted deeply into the clarity of the certain, guaranteed hope of God’s protection. May we reflect God’s glory today.

May we really seek the Lord and be filled continually to overflowing so His Presence of Glory will be revealed in and through us. As Andrew Murray said in “With Christ in the School of Prayer”:

“If we but yield ourselves entirely to the disposal of the Spirit, and let Him have His way with us, He will manifest the life of Christ within us. He will do this with a Divine power, maintaining the life of Christ in us in interrupted continuity.”

“Surely, if there is one prayer that should draw us to the Father’s throne and keep us there, it is this: for the Holy Spirit, whom we as children have received, to stream into us and out from us in greater fullness.”

Psalm 33 (NKJV)
1
Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful.

I really like this rendering of the same verse:

Psalm 33 (Amplified Bible)
1
REJOICE IN the Lord, O you [uncompromisingly] righteous [you upright in right standing with God]; for praise is becoming and appropriate for those who are upright [in heart].

NOTE:
Surely Nehemiah exhibits this kind of life. May we always spend quality time—and set aside a regularly scheduled quantity of time—to praise God. As such, we will be rooted and grounded in His Presence, Wisdom, Love, and His Spirit.

Why should be praise the Lord? The answer is provided in the following verses from Psalm 33 (NKJV):
4
For the word of the LORD is right, and all His work is done in truth.
5
He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.

10
The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.
11
The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.

I Corinthians 8 (NKJV)
12
But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.

NOTE:
May we really honor one another for who we are—the literal temples of the true and living God.

Note the riches of God’s grace in each Christian—and in His Body of Christ as a whole in Colossians 1 (Amplified Bible):

27
To whom God was pleased to make known how great for the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, WHICH IS CHRIST WITHIN AND AMONG YOU, THE HOPE OF [REALIZING THE] GLORY.

As Zechariah 2:5 (NKJV) reads: “…AND I WILL BE THE GLORY IN HER MIDST.”

2 Corinthians 4 (NKJV)
7
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

11
For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

Vance

Nehemiah

6:18
Intermarriage seems to not be completely done away with in Jerusalem. In this case, the intermarriages seemed to foster a relationship with the nobles? for Tobiah and family. Not only does Tobaih have access to nobles, but he exchanges information with them - often.

Today's readings:
Enemies offers -

1)Let's conference and iron out our differences, but on our "turf" not yours.
(rejected)

2)Disinformation - Make up a story about Nehemiah's quest for kingship and revolt of the Jews with a threat to tell king. Seems an open letter mught imply a public posting in Jerusalem. Come let us conference. (Disinformation with the intent to force a meeting).
(Rejected)

3)Hired an insider to lull Nehemiah into sin. Thus possibly giving enemies leverage over Nehemiah.
(Nehemiah turns down temple refuge offer)

The enemies of Jerusalem seemed to have originated the original "dirty playbook" for corporate and political manipulators.

1Cor8

Another question.

1) What about meat offered to an idol, some say it is ok to eat, others think it is a sin - what do we do?

Already covered in Romans.

An idol is nothing, therefore the sacrifice of meat is meaningless. If you know this and want to eat the meat - fine.

Apparently:
If the(pagan)priest didn’t want to eat his portion, he sold it at the temple restaurant or meat market ....The meat served and sold at the temple was generally cheaper; and then, as well as now, people loved a bargain (including Christians!). - David Guzik

But don't get superior about all this. Show love to a brother who is "convinced in his own mind" that eating the meat from an idol sacrifice is wrong. Do not eat it.

If the "weaker" brother sees you he may emulate you - thus violating his conscience.

Consicence - Gk."suneidesis" - the soul as distinguishing between what is morally good and bad, prompting to do the former and shun the latter, commending one, condemning the other.

Thus if you get him to go against his conscience, the weaker brother may not listen to promptings of Holy Spirit through his conscience in the future. You will have then provided a stumbling block to Spiritual (Christian) growth in the weaker brother. That is a sin against Christ.

NOTE: There is a fine line between a brother who is convinced in his own mind and one who is being "legalistic" in his approach to the matter.

"In Galatians 2, Paul rebuked Peter, who by his association and approval of Jewish legalists, was making Gentiles think they had to come under the Jewish customs and law to be saved. Even if the Jewish legalists would have said to the Gentiles, “Your lack of obedience to our customs stumbles us. We are stumbled brothers. You must do what we want.” Paul would have said, you are not stumbled, because you aren’t being tempted to sin through their actions. Your legalism is being offended. Out of love, I will never act in a way that might tempt you to sin, but I don’t care at all about offending your legalism. In fact, I’m happy to do it!” - David Guzik

Probably discernible by being a member of a legalistic group rather than an individual's convinced mind.

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