Opening Prayer Thoughts
Praise and confession.
- Praise God for the promise that his mercies are new to us, His people, every day. Praise God that His love is steadfast, and his faithfulness great, despite our wrestles with sin (Lamentations 3:22-23).
- Confess the sin of not pondering and dwelling on the promises of God and becoming overwhelmed with worry.
Truth for the Mind and Heart.
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question Q30 – How does the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?
Answer – The Spirit applies to us the redemption purchased by Christ by producing faith in us, and by this uniting us to Christ in our effective calling.
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
Comment – Faith in Christ is given to us and results in our Union with Him. This can and does only happen because of the work of God the Holy Spirit in our minds and hearts, when he calls us with such authority that it effects the necessary changes in our minds, hearts and wills, to come to faith in Jesus.
Memory Verses to lay into your heart and mind.
It is a privilege to lay into our hearts and minds the light and truth of God's Word.
James 1:2-5, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
James 1:12, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial,”
Please ask for the Holy Spirit's help as you read God's Word.
Please read Nehemiah 6:1-4.
Notes previously prepared by Rev. Dr. Tim Donachie, with slight amendments.
Seeking God’s Approval.
It is clear that the outstanding characteristic of Nehemiah was that he sought to live his life in the presence of the living God, which is brought out plainly in verse 19 of chapter 5. When he asks that God should remember him and all that he was doing for the cause of God, he was doing precisely what the Lord Jesus Christ urged in Matthew 6:1-4. He did not stand before the nobles or even the people who supported him to boast of all that he had done – there was nothing of the pride of the Pharisee of Luke 18:9-17 – he was opening his heart before the Lord in the place of prayer. He did not seek the praise of men but only the approval of his heavenly Father.
It is entirely right and proper that the child of God should, in his private times with God, seek to know that he has divine approval for the work that he is doing for the Lord. It is so easy to work hard on a project or undertaking thinking that we are going in the right direction without ever committing it to God to seek his blessing and direction. Nehemiah knew that the project of rebuilding the walls was God's will, but he needed to be sure that the details of his plan and work were also in accordance with the plan and purpose of God.
Whilst Nehemiah was not doing the work because he expected to be rewarded for it, he did nonetheless realize that faithfulness in the tasks assigned by the Lord are rewarded. The Scripture teaches that God's servants are given tasks to perform for the master and talents to use in His service, and will have to answer for the way these tasks are performed and how the talents are used.
Not only did Nehemiah have to cope with discouragement from within due to the greed of some of the wealthier citizens of Jerusalem, but he now had to deal with the continuing and intensifying opposition from Sanballat and friends. News of the progress of the rebuilding had reached the ears of the enemies of the work, and they were alarmed that the work was almost completed. If they did not take action before the doors were fixed in place, their opportunity to halt the work would be gone. Ridicule and threats had not worked, and so now they try to adopt a more subtle approach.
A message was sent to Nehemiah inviting him to a meeting in one of the villages in the plain of Ono, some twenty or thirty miles north-west of Jerusalem. The purpose of the proposed meeting was not stated, but the impression given was that it was to try to reach some kind of accommodation with Nehemiah. Nehemiah was not deceived, however, and immediately saw what lay behind the invitation. He realized that, although couched in friendly terms, their intention was to do him harm, and, although the invitation was repeated four times, he steadfastly refused to accede.
This is a situation that is not unknown to the child of God, and especially for those in any position of leadership. One commentator put it this way, "Whether you be a pastor or a teacher or evangelist or Sunday school leader, or whatever your position may be in Christian leadership, let me say that there will always be those who are friendly to your face, but who plan your downfall behind your back. Beware of the fawning, flattering Christian who is always fluttering around you, and who behind your back will be the first to rejoice when you go down."
Sing with joy in your heart to God.
Psalm 27D. Link to the words. Link to it being sung.
Thank God that we can seek Him every day of our lives, to help us see with wisdom whether what we have planned for that day, the week or the month ahead is bound within the realms of His will and desire.
Take care in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC