Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Nehemiah 1

   It may seem a little strange to begin the Bible Study blog with Nehemiah, but hey- that's where I'm reading in the Bible right now, so thats where we start. haha

   To start off with Nehemiah, it takes place in the same city as Esther, the Citadel of Susa.  Which means that Nehemiah was probably a small child during the events of Esther OR at the very least heard about the events that happened from the very people that experienced it.

Verse 4: It strikes me how concerned Nehemiah is for Judah and its people.  He had (more than likely) never been there because it was a 4 months walk from Babylonia to Judah- Susa was even farther.  Also, he was well established and high ranking in the Persian society so there were no physical discomforts or emotional trails that would naturally lead him to care or long for the city of Jerusalem.
   Most of us may have been concerned enough to ask about the people in Judah- how they are doing, what their struggles were, how we could pray for them, etc- but not only was Nehemiah concerned about them- he mourned, wept, fasted and prayed for FOUR months!  He prayed and fasted for four months before he approached the king in chapter 2.
     > the month of Kislev was mid-November to mid-December, the month of Nisan began mid-March

Verse 5: I'm always humbled by prayers in the Bible.  They are usually so forthcoming and blunt, telling or asking God to remember what He said or remember what He promised.  I'm not like that when I pray- I forget that I can approach His throne confidently as His child.  I forget that He wants me to remember His truths and promises even in my prayers to Him.

Verses 6-7: At first glance, it seems strange that Nehemiah confesses the sins of other people.  But then I think about how Moses interceding for His people and even Jesus's prayer- "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."(Luke 23:34) And then I'm humbled.  I don't think I have ever prayed for The Lord to have mercy and forgive someone else's sin.  Sure, I've prayed for people.  I've prayed for our country and the rampant sin, other countries and the rampant sin, my family and friends- but always asking for the sin to be taken away, for Him to bless us and get us back on the right path, that He would change our hearts and we would follow him diligently.  But I can't recall ever asking for forgiveness of the people.  I'm thankful He showed this to me.  I pray my heart changes and I become more concerned over the corporate sins against our Lord.
   Nehemiah also starts off his prayer by worshipping God.  Much like the way Jesus told us to pray in Matthew 6:9-13.  This is important to note, because I know 90% of the time my prayers do not start off like this.

Verses 8-9: The words of the Lord Nehemiah is referencing can be found in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 30.
     >Leviticus 26:18- "If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over."
     >Leviticus 26:33- "I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins."
     >Deuteronomy 30:2-4- "And when you and your children return to The Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where He scattered you.  Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the Heavens, from there The Lord your God will gather you and bring you back."
If you have anything to add or any questions about Nehemiah 1 then please feel free to leave a comment.  I'll get back with any questions as soon as I ask someone wiser than me;) Have a wonderful day! Love, Devon

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