Opening Prayer Thoughts
Praise and confession.
- Praise God that He is holy, in His name, character, work and dwelling. Psalm 22:3, 111:9, 147:17, 93:5.
- Confess a specific sin in your life and ask God for His help to mortify it
Truth for the Mind and Heart.
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 35 – What is sanctification?
Answer – Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace by which we are renewed throughout in the image of God and are enabled more and more to die to sin and live to righteousness.
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
Comment – Unlike justification, which is a one-off act by God whereby He declares the person right in His sight, sanctification is a lifelong work involving both the activity of God the Holy Spirit and the individual towards their increasing holiness.
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.
Philippians 4:6,7. “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Please ask for the Holy Spirit's help as you read God's Word.
Please read Nehemiah 7:1-3.
Notes previously prepared by Rev. Dr. Tim Donachie, with slight amendments.
The Reason Behind It All.
When the wall of the city had been completed, there was still work that needed to be done. The city had to be made secure. They could not ignore the fact that there were those nearby who would have taken any opportunity to undermine the work. So, Nehemiah made sure that the gates were put securely in place, and gatekeepers appointed to make sure that the gates were not left unguarded. It was of fundamental importance that the city and its people should be kept safe from external enemies.
The rebuilding of the wall, however, was not an end in itself. The whole purpose of making the city secure was so that it could be returned to what it should be; a place wherein the people of God could live safely and worship God as they had been instructed in the law of God. The singers and the Levites were there to lead the people in worship; the walls were not rebuilt so the people of Jerusalem could look at nice walls. They were rebuilt so they could worship God with greater glory and freedom than ever before.
It must always be remembered that central to any work that is undertaken by the people of God within the church must be worship and praise. Any work that is done that does not exalt the Lord Jesus Christ and lead the people of God to praise and glorify God is of questionable value. It is very significant that the first act that Nehemiah did when the walls were completed, even before appointing a civic leader for the city, was to appoint those who would be responsible to lead the people in worship, praise, and prayer. This demonstrates that Nehemiah understood that he was engaged in a work of tremendous spiritual significance. To have ruined city walls was sad; to have the city of Jerusalem without the worship and praise of God was a disaster!
Ch 7:1-3 – The New Governor
The reason that Nehemiah had taken the enormous step of returning to Jerusalem and dedicating all his energies and abilities to the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem was not for his own political glory or the advancement of his own career. He had been called by God to do a particular work, and when that work was completed, he was quite willing to hand it over to somebody else. It was not that he was giving up the work nor that he was unwilling to play any part in seeking the stability and progress of Jerusalem; it was simply that he did not think, as some church leaders do, that he was the only one capable of doing the work.
Nehemiah decided to hand over the responsibility of governing the city to two men. One was his brother Hanani, the man who had first travelled to Susa to tell Nehemiah about the sad condition of Jerusalem. This was a potentially dangerous appointment for Nehemiah could have been accused of favouritism and nepotism in appointing such a close relative to such an important task. It is always important in the work of the Lord to make sure that there is no suspicion of favouritism, but sometimes it is necessary for the good of the work that we be prepared to risk misunderstanding so that the work is not held back. Nehemiah had always acted for the glory of God and in the 'fear of the Lord', 5:15, and that is precisely how he acted in the appointment of Hanani. It is obvious from the little that we know about Hanani that he was a man who was well qualified for the onerous task of governing Jerusalem. He was so concerned about the state of Jerusalem that he was prepared to make a difficult and dangerous journey to inform those who were still in exile with the hope that there would be those who would do what Nehemiah did. He had a heart for the people of God and the city of God; he was courageous and resourceful, just the kind of man needed for the work!
Sing with joy in your heart to God.
Psalm 102A. Link to the words. Link to it being sung.
Thank God that we can worship Him together, and pray that He will help us grow closer together as a body.
Take care in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC