Opening Prayer Thoughts
Praise and confession.
- Praise God that He knows us better than we know ourselves, which makes His commands and rules so invaluable to us, Psalm 139.
- Confess the sin of knowing this but believing it in a limited way. A fact which gives rise to the sin in our lives.
Doctrine for the Mind and Heart.
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 47 – What is forbidden in the first commandment?
Answer – The first commandment forbids the denial of, or failure to worship and glorify, the true God as God and our God; and it forbids giving that worship and glory to any other which is due to God alone.
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
Comment – Worship is key to the human heart. Man, in his sin, wants to worship himself but he will never be satisfied, or be at peace doing so. He therefore seeks others to worship; gods, people, or things, but again finds no peace in doing so. What is forbidden in this commandment is therefore a great blessing to man, if only he would understand it.
Verse to memorise.
It is a privilege to lay into our hearts and minds the light and truth of God's Word.
Deuteronomy 31:8. "It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Pray and ask for the Holy Spirit's help as you read God's Word.
Please read Nehemiah 11:1-36.
Notes previously prepared by Rev. Dr. Tim Donachie, with slight amendments.
Ch 11:1-9 – Leaders.
Although most of the activity mentioned so far in the book of Nehemiah has taken place within the city of Jerusalem, there were many of the people who were living in the towns and villages surrounding the city. Nehemiah now instituted a plan to ensure that the Holy City was adequately populated.
The temple had been built under Ezra and the wall rebuilt under Nehemiah, but the city still needed more people. There was a great deal of work to be done to rebuild a city that had been so extensively destroyed, and willing people would be needed for the work. The wall had been built but there was a need for people to man the defences in case of attack.
The leaders of the people had set a good example by residing in the city. It is always important that leaders, especially spiritual leaders, set an example for others to follow; if the leaders were not prepared to live in Jerusalem, they could hardly expect the people to do so! Christian leaders should never expect the people to do something they are not prepared to do themselves.
Nehemiah and the rulers of the people decided to cast lots and bring one tenth of the population into the city. This displayed an amazing commitment on the part of the people to be willing to leave the comfort and security of their own surroundings and begin a new life in what must have been a strange and alien environment. These people were going to do something new in order that the work of God would not be hindered. They had a willing spirit, even though they may not have chosen themselves to live in Jerusalem.
Are Christian people as willing to leave the comfort of their own congregation to begin a new work or to strengthen a weak congregation as the people in this passage were?
Ch 11:10-36 – A Pioneering Spirit.
As well as those chosen by lot to move into Jerusalem, there were some who voluntarily decided to move into the city. It certainly appears that verse 2 is referring not to those chosen by lot, but to these other individuals who saw the need and decided to act. These volunteers were commended or blessed by the rest of the people. These people demonstrated the same kind of characteristics and courage needed in all times by those who seek to do a work for God, such as:
a. A willingness to give up previous comfort and security, and embrace a new way of life in different circumstances.
b. Those who moved to Jerusalem had to change their social priorities – they left friends and families behind in their old towns and villages, and had to find a new social circle in Jerusalem.
c. To live in a city that had been abandoned for seventy years would be to face challenges and hard work, and possibly a struggle to make ends meet.
d. Although Jerusalem had restored walls, it was still going to be a target for many enemies round about, and there would be many dangers that would have to be faced by those who were residents of the city.
The volunteers going into Jerusalem needed to be imbued with something of a pioneering spirit that would enable them to endure a measure of hardship and discomfort so that the work of God would progress and not be hindered.
There is a challenge here for every child of God! We may never be asked to leave our homes or even to move out of our congregation to begin a new work, but do we have the pioneering spirit of these volunteers and the willingness to put up with discomfort, danger, and hardship for the sake of the kingdom of God?
Sing with joy in your heart to God.
Psalm 104A. Link to the words. Link to it being sung.
Thank God for the privilege, by His grace, of being alive in Christ, and therefore in a position to make 'sacrifices' for the Kingdom of God. Pray that God would reveal to you the specific sacrifices He would have you to make.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC