Opening Prayer Thoughts
Praise and confession.
- Praise God that He is holy in character and in His work, Psalms 62:3, 111:9, 149:17.
- Confess the fact that you are not holy, and that we can only have a relationship with God through Christ.
Truth for the Mind and Heart.
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 33 – What is justification?
Answer – Justification is an act of God’s free grace in which he pardons all our sins and accepts us as righteous in his sight for the sake of the righteousness of Christ alone, which is credited to us and received by faith alone.
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
Comment – Justification is a term from the law courts and means to pronounce a person not guilty. It is an act, and thus occurs once. God declares us justified – not guilty, solely on the basis of Christ’s finished work at Calvary. Without faith in Christ, no one can enter heaven, for they remain guilty.
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, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
Please ask for the Holy Spirit's help as you read God's Word.
Please read Nehemiah 6:15-19.
Notes previously prepared by Rev. Dr. Tim Donachie, with slight amendments.
Ch 6:15-16 – Job Done.
The statement in verse 15 is truly remarkable! It only took Nehemiah fifty-two days to rebuild walls that had been in ruins for one hundred years. It wasn't that nobody was aware that a problem existed; it was simply that nobody was willing to do anything about it. It was not until a man came who did more than wish that Jerusalem had walls, “he grieved, he ached, he prayed, he planned, he asked boldly, he went, he fought, he encouraged, he stood strong, he saw the job through to completion.” (David Guzik).
Here there is a demonstration of what God can do through those who are committed to Him. God was pleased to use Nehemiah to deal, in less than two months, with a situation that had existed for one hundred years. Although the wall was completed in fifty-two days, it must never be forgotten that when Nehemiah was first made aware of the situation in Jerusalem, he prayed for four months before the plan of action was put in place. God's work often requires hard physical effort, but it will never be successfully concluded without prayer. Those who had tried unsuccessfully to prevent the work being carried out were quite disheartened when they saw that all their efforts had been in vain. What an encouragement it is for God's people to see those who try to undermine the work of God being frustrated and discouraged! Perhaps the greatest of all encouragements for Nehemiah was that even his enemies recognised that God had been at work, and when God works, nothing and no-one can prevent it. It is so important that any work or outreach that is planned by the church should be done in total dependence upon the Lord. People may see some great project carried out and be impressed, but it is only when man works under the direction of God, and for the honour and glory of God, that there can be any expectation of seeing God work, and it is only when God works that the enemy is discouraged.
Ch 6:17-19 – Wrong Priorities.
One of the most difficult things for spiritual leaders to face is half-heartedness and compromise from within. There is a staggering example of this in verses 17 to 19. The very nobles of Judah who had committed themselves to the work of building were, at the same time, in communication with one of the men who was seeking to stop the work, v. 17.
In chapter 3:4,30 Meshullam, son of Berechiah, v. 18, is mentioned as helping with the work of rebuilding, indeed, he appears to have been willing to do more than many others, and yet he was maintaining contact with Tobiah, no doubt passing on information to him about how the work was progressing. It is hard to reconcile how he could be dedicating himself to work on the wall, whilst corresponding regularly with a man who was attempting to destroy the work!
It seems that the reasons for this treacherous behaviour were that there were family ties between Meshullam and Tobiah, and that many of the nobles had binding financial and commercial relations with Tobiah which meant they were 'bound by oath' to him. It is a stark reminder of how easily the work of God can be undermined when family and financial concerns take priority over commitment to the work of the Lord.
James Philip makes a very pertinent and helpful comment when he writes, “The lessons of this chapter are very relevant for the spiritual life. Perhaps the chief is that we should note just how deeply penetrated the work of God can be with the influence of the evil one, and how very necessary it is for those who would do the Lord's work effectually to be able to discern and 'smell out' the devil's wiles, and expose them, and roundly challenge them in the Lord's name”.
Sing with joy in your heart to God.
Psalm 27D. Link to the words. Link to it being sung.
Thank God that we can serve Him; but pray that, as you do so, God would enable you to be alert to the reality of Satan’s quiet but disruptive presence.
Take care in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC