Nehemiah 1 - 3
Just in case the events in Ezra didn’t convince you that “God works sovereignly through responsible human agents to accomplish His redemptive purposes” (from the Reformation Study Bible, Introduction to Nehemiah), here comes Nehemiah, with much the same story as Ezra. Yet another unlikely king is not only sending leadership back to Judea to rebuild Jerusalem (this time the walls), but he’s again funding it from royal revenues. So, Nehemiah, deeply troubled by the physical and spiritual condition of God’s people, and burdened in prayer, returns and gets to work. Much like in Ezra, not all were happy about this, as we read in 2:10 that “it displeased [Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite] greatly that someone had come to seek the welfare of the people of Israel.” But in the face of this opposition, Nehemiah proclaimed “the God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build… (2:20).” God having declared victory through Nehemiah’s words, God’s people followed the proclamation by faith, as they accomplished the work He gave them to do.
Reflect: Do you often doubt that God is still in the business of working through often unlikely leaders to accomplish His holy will? Might the story of Nehemiah’s burden for God’s people lead you to be more prayerful, that God will work for His glory and our good, and that you’ll trust He’s doing so, even when you can’t see it?
Connect: God has indeed declared victory for His people, by virtue of our union with the Victorious One, the Lord Jesus Christ! Although it doesn’t often come according to our preferred timeline, rest assured, God is building His house, and if you are in Christ, and Christ in you, then you are part of that house!
"As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."
1 Peter 2:4-5
- Rev. John McCombs
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This blog is part of the ministry of City Reformed Presbyterian Church. Unless otherwise noted, the entries are written by Matt Koerber. This is part of a project that our church is doing as we read through the narrative sections of Scripture between early January and Easter 2020. New entries will be scheduled to drop automatically at 5:00 am on the scheduled day.