Battle · Stand · The Journey

The Journey Readings: Week 135… and… it’s a battle…

This last week… finishing up the book of Nehemiah…
reminded me… it’s a battle…

Nehemiah temporarily left his position as cup-bearer to the king of Babylon to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem…

Exiles had already returned to Jerusalem…
just as God promised…
they rebuilt the temple…
reestablished worship… and feasts…
but the wall was a pile of rubble… and burned gates…
a city in trouble…

When Nehemiah heard… God stirred his heart to rebuild…
provided the means and the way…
so he went…

But it’s a battle to build anything in His name…

When the work was halfway… the enemy schemed…
threatened… stirred up fear among the Israelites…
they wanted to quit…

But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs and the Ammonites
and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the wall in Jerusalem
was going forward and that the breaches were beginning to be closed,
they were very angry. And they all plotted together to come and fight
against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it.
Nehemiah 4:7-8 ESV
In the face of opposition…
Nehemiah encouraged the people…
set guards in low places… 
each worked with a sword in one hand… 
and they remembered the Lord…
the building continued…

It’s a battle to stay on track…

Nehemiah faced distractions from the enemy…
fought to stay on track…
repeated his mantra… over… and… over…

“I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. …”
Nehemiah 6:3 ESV
The battle to complete the wall came to an end…
with dedication and celebration…
sacrifices and covenants…
And they offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced,
for God had made them rejoice with great joy;
the women and children also rejoiced. 
And the joy of Jerusalem was heard far away.
Nehemiah 10:43 ESV
Nehemiah’s job was done…
he went back to Babylon… back to cup-bearing…
but after a time… he was granted permission to return…
to check on Jerusalem… its wall… and its people…
What he found made him furious…
a foreign enemy being housed by a priest in the temple storerooms…
the Levites and priests out in the fields… because the people had neglected their offerings…
the Sabbath was profaned… with work… and trade…
and some had married foreigners… who they had vowed to be separated from…

It’s a battle for His people to stay focused on Him…

Nehemiah had gotten things set right before he left…
but he returned to find God’s people wallowing in sin…
living like the neighbors…
exactly what got them exiled in the first place…

It’s just a battle…
to build anything in His name…
to stay focused on Him…
and keep a whole community holy…

But in it all…
if we will stand firm…
He will fight with us…

“… Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome,
and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters,
your wives and your homes.”
Nehemiah 4:14 ESV

He is faithful to complete what He’s begun…

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you
will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:6 ESV
It’s a battle… but one worth fighting…!


This week’s readings…
Monday          Esther 4-5
Tuesday          Esther 6-8
Wednesday      Esther 9-10
Thursday        Malachi 1:1 – 2:9
Friday             Malachi 2:10 – 4:6

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