A Mind to Work! #5

Friday, May 24, 2019

So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work (Nehemiah 4:6 KJV).

It is a verse from Israel’s ancient records, but the underlying principle is most beneficial to us if we are willing to hear and believe it.

Nehemiah chapter 4 continues, “[7] But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth, [8] And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.

“[9] Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them. [10] And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall. [11] And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease. [12] And it came to pass, that when the Jews which dwelt by them came, they said unto us ten times, From all places whence ye shall return unto us they will be upon you. [13] Therefore set I in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places, I even set the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows.

“[14] And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the LORD, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses. [15] And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work.”

In the face of intensifying opposition, God’s people were determined to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls. Satan would not be successful in deterring them….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Are Matthew 3:11 and 1 Corinthians 12:13 speaking of the same Spirit baptism?

A Mind to Work! #4

Thursday, May 23, 2019

So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work (Nehemiah 4:6 KJV).

It is a verse from Israel’s ancient records, but the underlying principle is most beneficial to us if we are willing to hear and believe it.

The Jews under Nehemiah’s direction build the sections of the wall of Jerusalem (chapter 3). Also, they reconstruct the various gates or entryways. In spite of the opposition and snide remarks from their enemies (2:19), God’s people are not deterred. They have determined not to let Satan get the advantage.

Watch how chapter 4 opens: “[1] But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews. [2] And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned? [3] Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall.

“[4] Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity: [5] And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee: for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders. [6] So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.” (Here is today’s Scripture, please notice.)

Sinful Gentiles, men cooperating with Satan, continue to make fun of God’s work. The LORD has ordered Jerusalem and its walls to be rebuilt, so the Devil has naturally taken the opposing view. Verse 7, “But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth,….” Satan is relentless….

A Mind to Work! #3

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work (Nehemiah 4:6 KJV).

It is a verse from Israel’s ancient records, but the underlying principle is most beneficial to us if we are willing to hear and believe it.

Nehemiah chapter 2 continues: “[9] Then I came to the governors beyond the river, and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me. [10] When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel. [11] So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days….”

“[17] Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. [18] Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work. [19] But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king? [20] Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.”

When Israel’s enemies (Arabs, Palestinians) heard that a man, Nehemiah, had returned to Jerusalem to seek Israel’s best interests, those adversaries became willing tools of Satan. They laughed at Nehemiah and his Jewish brethren, attempting to discourage them from rebuilding the city wall. Nehemiah correctly responded, “The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.” He had already trusted God’s Word, and they were heartened to rebuild….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is it permissible for us to be proud of our accomplishments?

A Mind to Work! #2

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work (Nehemiah 4:6 KJV).

It is a verse from Israel’s ancient records, but the underlying principle is most beneficial to us if we are willing to hear and believe it.

Nehemiah, a Jew, lived 450 years before the Thessalonians of Paul’s ministry. He was in Persia (modern Iran), born there after the Babylonians captured and exiled Judah nearly 150 years prior. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had ransacked Jerusalem, and burned its walls and Temple. Nehemiah is despondent, depressed to learn that Jerusalem still lies in ruins after all these decades. (Read Nehemiah chapter 1.)

Persian King Artaxerxes asks Nehemiah why he is unhappy. Chapter 2: “[3] And [Nehemiah] said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire? [4] Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven. [5] And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.

“[6] And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time. [7] Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah; [8] And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.”

The LORD God has granted Nehemiah favor with Artaxerxes. Now, Nehemiah can return to rebuild Jerusalem and especially its walls….

The Mischievous Minister of Music #6

Thursday, February 1, 2018

“Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created (Ezekiel 28:13 KJV).

Who is this musician, and how did he destroy his ministry?

There is one more major Bible passage about satanic music. Read Daniel chapter 3, when the exiled Jews lived in Babylon circa 600 years before Christ: “[1] Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image [idol] of gold, whose height was threescore cubits [90 feet, or 27 meters!], and the breadth thereof six cubits [9 feet, or 2.7 meters!]: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. [2] Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

“[3] Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. [4] Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, [5] That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: [6] And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

“[7] Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.” Wow! Music was used in idolatry again. Satan indeed knows how to rob JEHOVAH God of praise and worship….

Bible Q&A #360: “Is reciting a list of names ‘vain repetitions?’

But If Not

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up (Daniel 3:16-18 KJV).

Notice the “but if not!”

After King Nebuchadnezzar set up a golden image for all those in Babylon to worship; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refuse to participate in that vain religious service (verses 8-12). Nebuchadnezzar, although very angry, gives them another chance to worship. He tells them that if they refuse to bow before his image, he will throw them into a burning fiery furnace. Taunting them, he says, “And who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?” (verse 15). They refuse again (today’s Scripture).

It is fascinating that these three young men did not worry about the matter. They told Nebuchadnezzar that if their God wanted to deliver them, He would. But—and here is the really neat part—they said that even if God would not deliver them, they would still not worship Nebuchadnezzar’s image! Here is confidence in morals, men with strong convictions, not afraid to risk their lives for upholding the truth of the God of the Bible.

Nebuchadnezzar commands his officers to heat the furnace seven times hotter than usual (verse 19). He will mercilessly exterminate these three young Jewish men for rejecting his religion. Tied up, they are thrown down alive into the flames. Nebuchadnezzar sees an amazing sight. There are four men, walking around unharmed! That fourth man “is like the Son of God” (verse 25). Nebuchadnezzar finally sees the truth—the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is the “most high God” (verse 26).

Their God has indeed delivered them from Nebuchadnezzar’s weak hands. Those three young men escape totally unscathed, having “[through faith]… [q]uenched the violence of fire” (Hebrews 11:34). The lesson? God will be faithful in preserving Israel forever, no matter how violent and extreme her persecutions!

Daniel, His Friends, and Separation #5

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself (Daniel 1:8 KJV).

Every Sunday School child knows about Daniel and his three companions (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). Unfortunately, today, few adults practice what these precious children knew!

Rather than “cause trouble” by holding to and defending specific doctrines, many “Christian” people today have chosen to allow anything and everything in their local assemblies. It is said in ecumenical circles, “Doctrine will always divide us. We need to quit focusing on doctrine and just ‘fellowship’ around ‘Jesus Christ.’” Despite good intentions, they are so woefully ignorant of a common Bible theme. From Genesis chapter 3 (Satan and Eve’s perversion of God’s words) until the final chapter of the Revelation (a warning not to add to or take away from the divine words), doctrine is of utmost importance in the mind of Almighty God. Sitting between these two “bookends” are Daniel and his three friends—sound doctrine caused them to believe separation from error was tantamount to serving JEHOVAH God.

Paul the Apostle exhorted us in 2 Corinthians chapter 6: “[14] Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? [15] And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? [16] And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. [17] Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. [18] And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

The evil religious system that Satan tried to utilize to defile Daniel and his friends exists even today, and future Israel needs to be warned….

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