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Nehemiah 9:22-10:39
36"So now today we are slaves here in the land of plenty that you gave to our ancestors! We are slaves among all this abundance! 37The lush produce of this land piles up in the hands of the kings whom you have set over us because of our sins. They have power over us and our cattle. We serve them at their pleasure, and we are in great misery.

I kept reading the above verses over and over again, they literarily stopped me in my tracks. Sin caused Israel to be in want, and in slavery, in the midst of plenty. Freedom was all around them; however, they had enslaved themselves, a consequence of rejecting the God who had made them His people. Sin, by itself, enslaves us because sin is its own reward; however, sin also ties us to another master that is not God. The writer of Proverbs, in the fifth chapter, tells us that our iniquity binds us to our sin,

Proverbs 5:22 AMP His own iniquities shall ensnare the wicked man, and he shall be held with the cords of his sin.

The prophet Isaiah also repeats this idea or principal,

Isaiah 5:18 AMP Woe to those who draw [calamity] with cords of iniquity and falsehood, who bring punishment to themselves with a cart rope of wickedness,

I had already understood that our sins, my sin binds us and keeps us in slavery, but I had never seen the 36 & 37th verses of Nehemiah showing how our sin will enslave us to rulers who belong to the enemy.

I Corinthians 9:19-10:13

“Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen, nobody knows but Jesus”. That is part of a song, A Negro Spiritual, but that concept is wrong! So often we try to excuse our “sin” by trying to convince others (Or are we really trying to convince ourselves) that our experience is unique and worse then any other. We crow about how no one in times past and in the time to come, has been through what, “I’ve been through.” We play the one-up game to see who has the worse story to tell. We become experts in throwing “Pity Parties” and Organ Recitials (My liver, your heart, etc) Yet the thirteenth verse of the 10th chapter of first Corinthians states otherwise.

Possibly, if we cry enough, whine enough hang our head down to the ground far enough we will convince others and ourselves that we are an anomaly of God’s Word, His Promises and God’s Mercy.

The thirteenth verse reads as follows in the Amplified translation:
For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently. (1 Corinthians 10:13 AMP)

The excuse, “I just couldn’t help myself just flew out the window. Each and every temptation, test and trial we face as we walk and breath the air on this earth, is not harder or easier than anyone else’s’ temptation, trial or test. The person who “falls down” cannot cry out that he had it tougher because the one who remained standing in the midst of the trail, test and temptation is the only one who knows the true extent of the trial because they faced the “storm” standing up, not lying down.

Psalm 34:1-10
The mercies of God are so generous towards us. Even when we have been faithless, God is faithful, so was God toward David even in the midst of his deceit. Saul is after David and David runs to the enemy and pretends to be crazy. It wasn’t David’s feigned madness that saved David from Saul, and the king of Gath, but it was the mercy of God and David recognizes that fact.

God, in the midst of our foolishness, in the midst of our contrived schemes to get us out of the trouble we wondered into, shows us His Mercy and extracts us from danger, like the Good Shepherd He is using the hooked staff to extricate us out of our mess. David recognized that truth when he wrote this Psalm.

Proverbs 21:13
The one who shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and will not be answered. (Proverbs 21:13 NET.)

When one hears the cry of the poor one must not just hear one must listen. The cry of the poor may be begging for money, but the truly listening ear may hear, “They need to go to school and get an education.” They cry of the poor may say, “I can’t pay my rent, I need help,” but the hearing listening ear may discern, “This person needs to learn financial responsibility.”

Twenty years ago, a nice Jewish women heard my cry and knew that this woman, me, needed to get an education not only because she needed to get out of her poverty, but she needed to set an example for her children. Discernment is essential when we are exposed to “many voices” because the cry of the poor may not always be calmed with money. In fact, money may push them deeper into poverty because their true need is not being met.

Grace and peace,

Nehemiah Builing the Wall and Sabbath. I can certainly identify with this situation today. In the same style of living that consumed the Israelites with the rebuilding of Jerusalem, our family was overwrought with renovating our house for several months. We let Sunday slip into an obligation for 2 hours of church and then continued work the rest of the day. There was little satisfaction, delight, pleasure or joy. In fact, we found we were receiving the opposite of these.
The lesson for me was found in the Devine Law of Romans 2:12-16. We need to remember the nature of this law has already been created in us. The Sabbath is not imposed but already built into our makeup. It is a return to pre-sin where the law was written on our hearts. So when God commands it, it is a recapitulation of what is naturally, created and ordained, for his purpose and when we obey this command God showers us with blessings.

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