July 22 – (Neh. 1-3)  The theme of Nehemiah is the Lord’s protection of His people and their need to be faithful in worship and in keeping the Mosaic law. During this week you will see six more specific themes in capital letters. These themes have not changed to this day! 1.THE LORD HEARS PRAYER (1:4-6). 2.THE LORD WORKS PROVIDENTIALLY, ESPECIALLY THROUGH POWERFUL RULERS, TO BRING ABOUT HIS GREATER PURPOSES (ex. 2:8)

            Name the two men who were not happy about the walls being rebuilt (2:10).  Can that relate to the rebuilding (renewing) of our mind, will, and emotions?

            It’s very interesting to me that not only did they rebuild the walls but had to protect and defend what they were rebuilding even as they were rebuilding it (chapters 3-4).  As you allow the Lord to renew your mind to line up with His Truth, are there folks around you who do not want you to change?  Does it make them uncomfortable? I recently reread a book called “Boundaries” by Dr. John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud.  It is helping me to “guard” the wall while it is being “rebuilt” by the Holy Spirit. 

July 23 – (Neh. 4—6) 3.THE LORD PROTECTS HIS PEOPLE. BECAUSE OF THIS, THEY NEED NOT BE AFRAID (4:14). How many times did Tobiah and Sanballat try to pull Nehemiah away from his work?  The worst way, I thought, was by paying Nehemiah’s prophets to prophesy fear.  Thank God Nehemiah saw it for what it was.  It reminds me to continually ask God to see all situations with God’s eyes and not just take things at face value.  

July 24 – (Neh. 7) “Then my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles and the officials and the people to be enrolled by genealogy (v.5).  What has God put in your heart to do… to be…to say?  Several weeks ago (6/30), Pastor Jeremy spoke on worship in the world. You can listen to the podcast on our website.  He encouraged us to begin each day with this prayer, expecting Jesus to answer:

            “Good morning Jesus, Thank you for creating this day.  Thank you for filling it with ways I can express your goodness in what I am about to do. I choose right now to make your glory the reason for everything I do today.  Grant me the grace to see how you can be revealed in all my activity today. Thank you for choosing to love me. Empower me to spread that love to anyone you put in my path today. Here we go!  Amen” 


            What was that first service like after the Israelites completed the walls (8:1-11)?  How was it different from Christian Assembly worship?  Is there only one perfect format of worship?  Sometimes we think a specific format of worship is “God’s chosen plan” for everyone when it really is just the format where we as individuals feel most connected to God.  God is so creative.  Let’s give room for all His ways, knowing that others enter into worship in their way.  

            Nehemiah and Ezra assembled the people in Jerusalem to hear the Laws of Moses.  Many of them wept when they heard the Laws of Moses.  What were the specific Laws of Moses?  Were they just the 10 Commandments?  As they were explained, the people wept.  The 10 Commandments show us sin.  Sin brings death.  The people realized once again what their disobedience caused.  They wept. 

What did Nehemiah and Ezra tell the mourners to do (8:9-12)?  Doesn’t 8:10-11 remind you of Thanksgiving and Christmas?   What does the Feast of Tabernacles represent (8:13-18)?

            What a range of emotions.  We see the Israelites hearing the Law and weeping. They are then instructed to celebrate (for that day was holy).  Then they were to build tents from tree branches (booths) and live in those and hear the Book of the Law of God and rejoice.  Next, we see them in sack cloth and ashes as they separate themselves from all foreigners and confess their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.  We will need to leave it there until tomorrow!  I picture in my mind a “season finale” on T.V.  It’s a bit of a cliff hanger as you see the people in sack cloth on one side and their foreign wives and children on another side being separated from them.  I can see and feel what their disobedience has led them to.  We do the same thing with worldly/fleshly sins.  Selah 


            People agreed to move to Jerusalem just to inhabit the place where God’s presence would reside.  What do we do so His presence resides in us?  Selah 


            Two large thanksgiving choirs were placed on the walls of Jerusalem.  Can you picture that?  What a glorious celebration of God’s mighty love and power must have risen from those mouths!  I wonder if it was just a “drop in the bucket” but exemplary of the worship around the throne in heaven!   Selah!

            Why was it written in the law that the Ammonites and Moabites could not go into the Assembly of God (Ne. 13:1-3; Jdg. 11:17; Deut. 23:3-6; Nu. 22-24; Josh. 24:9)?  Do you remember reading about that during the Israelites journey to Canaan?  It reminds me that I should always be kind to strangers. You never know when you are “entertaining angels” (or God’s chosen)!

            Now that the walls are up and consecrated, is Sanballat and Tobiah done making trouble (13:4-13)?  Reminder: Always watch and pray for attacks by self, by others, and by oppression.  The enemy can still sneak in just following a major victory when we have relaxed our focus on God when the pressure has been reduced. 

            Nehemiah needed to report back to Babylon.  While he was gone, did the people live so that they were not cursed (13:14-31)? 

July 28 – (Est. 1-4) What was Esther’s father’s name (2:15)?  What was her original name (2:7)?  How did these Benjamites come to be in Shushan (or Susa) (2:2:5-6)?  Do you remember that the tribe of Benjamin was a bunch of fighters?  When Israel was conquering Canaan, they would get offended if some other tribe went to war without them.  This does not seem to be Mordecai’s temperament however. He seemed to be more diplomatic in a good way.  Even though his great grandfather had been taken captive to this foreign place, he had developed a respect (?) for those over him.  We spend a lot of time studying Esther and what God would teach us about her but let’s spend a little time considering what Mordecai’s life can teach us about God. 

            Mordecai did not divulge his “God” until he was challenged to bow to another god (Haman).  I think it’s interesting that Haman didn’t want just Mordecai destroyed but – “the people of Mordecai” (3:6).  It sounds like Haman was thinking Mordecai had power over the Jews.

            What was a “lot” cast for (3:7)? Was that just to obtain access to the king?  Mordecai, upon hearing the decree tore his clothes and put on sack cloth and ashes.  He couldn’t go any farther than the king’s gate in that attire and refused Esther’s clothes.  That meant he didn’t run to the queen … yet.  When Esther found out from her maids, she sent Hathach (a eunuch assigned to her) to talk to Mordecai.  Then a course is set under God’s direction by both of them. How did Mordecai show his faith in God with his reply to Esther (2:10, 20; 4:12-16)? 4:14 is one of my favorite encouraging verses.  I tend to look for God to put us all in places that will show His Glory.  I believe God created each of us and allows specific times and places for “such a time as this”.  It can become a big adventure to see and realize all those little and mighty moments when we are used to show His glory.