A couple months ago the Lord began impressing on my heart Ezra & Nehemiah. My son, Ezra, from time to time, asks about Ezra in the Bible. So we have spent much time reading and watching teachings on Ezra-Nehemiah due to his namesake.
Recently, I felt the Lord say to my heart to read through the entire book of Nehemiah in one sitting- not to study- just to meditate. I felt this anticipation knowing in my heart He was going to speak to me, but I had no idea the Word was going to open to me the way it did.
As I read through the book, the Word of the Lord opened to me as if my mind/understanding had been enlarged with spiritual understanding. It was as if every word of the text made sense, past, present, and future. I have previously felt understanding of the Word opened to me but this was different. It felt as if the Lord removed a shield or veil that was blocking me from seeing clearly and I felt like it was a direct result of the deep repenting He had led me in while I was in the IHOP-KC prayer room the previous three days. I felt the Lord invite me into a revelation that comes with humble repentance.
I thought to myself from this time on things were now going to be different daily, meaning that I would be in the Word daily, more, and with more revelation. That I would grow daily in hunger for the Word and the previous dullness was now broken off of me.
In less than one week, the dullness was back, I began being filled again with bitterness and confusion, anger and hardening in my heart. I couldn’t wake up in the morning, the fervor and awakening was sleepy again. I was so distraught. Even now, asking the Lord, what did I do wrong? How did I end up back in this dull, hard place? And most of all, what do I need to do to get out of it?
So I went back to Nehemiah to process these passages that were so clear to me. These areas of the human heart- softening, hardening, opening, closing, awake, dull, all the shifting! My, are we fickle creatures!! What an object lesson the Lord opened to me about the "watchmen on the wall" through my own heart in just the last several months.
If you want a brief (30 minute) background/overview of the book before you dive in, you can watch this video by David Pawson: CLICK HERE
If you want to read a brief synopsis of the book and background on the Historical Figure Nehemiah I suggest this short article by Chuck Swindoll: CLICK HERE
Each day we will read 1 chapter of Nehemiah and I will highlight a few key things I feel like God is saying to us in this hour. I'd love it if you contributed by sharing your thoughts on my post and your own on the chapter highlights you are also personally getting.
You'll notice some questions for journalling at the bottom of each day. No need to post the responses to them, but these are to help you digest and meditate on the passages you've read. One of the most important things about reading the Word, is that is gets hidden deep inside us (Psalm 119:11). That it becomes a part of us. We need to chew it slowly for that to happen, not just read through it just to read it (Ezekiel 3:3- "eating the scroll"). So be careful as you go through each day to chew. If you find yourself short on time one day, just read the passage I've highlighted and spend your time "chewing". All right! let's get chewing!
DAY 1: STUDY TIME!
Read Nehemiah Chapter 1. [click here to read it online: NEHEMIAH CHAPTER 1]
1. What do we learn about Nehemiah? What kind of a man is he? What is in his heart?
Nehemiah was greatly troubled by the news of the people being scattered and the walls being broken down. (They had already been built back up and were now torn down again!) He was moved to the point of fasting and prayer over his compassion for God's people to come back and dwell inside the city, but the city wasn't safe. He desired the people to be restored to God's intent of living around the temple, and the temple being he center of their culture once again, but with the people scattered everywhere and the walls broken down he knew the city would never come back to the heart God had for it without the walls being completed.
He was also fully aware of the sins of the people and took on that responsibility in confessing to the Lord in verses 6 & 7. Take a minute to consider the heart posture on Nehemiah, in regard to how he viewed Himself and the Hebrew people.
2. How did Nehemiah view God? How did the way He viewed God affect the way He approached God?
"And I said: “I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments" Nehemiah 1:5
Nehemiah reminded the Lord that He knew WHO God was and that He had been faithful to keep the Lord's commandments. Those commandments could have been the ten commandments, the feasts, and the order by which to live (eating, kosher, etc.) because in verse 7 he adds "statutes" and ordinances".
Now, the Lord keeping His "Covenant & Mercy" translates in Hebrew to the word "mitzvah" and it means "faithful, devotion, devout, favor, kindness, loyalty, unchanging love, mercy, righteousness, and goodness." In other words, the character of the Lord, recognized by Nehemiah, is that if God's people are faithful to His Commandments, then God will be faithful to His people."
REFLECTIONS for today:
What did this passage say about God?
What did this passage say about Man?
If this passage is true, how does that change my view of God? How does that change my life/behavior?
Journal your thoughts and ask yourself: Am I faithful?
Allow the Lord to work in your heart and lead you in any area(s) of repentance.
Are you ready to dig deeper into the heart of God? Keeping our hearts clear and pure before the Lord is the Key to going deeper. Wont you join me in seeking purity of heart today?
Father of Glory, thank you for opening my eyes to see the areas of my heart that need to receive a touch from You today. Please forgive the area(s) I have been unfaithful to you in. (Tell the Lord any specific areas that come to mind) Father, help me to keep a clean heart daily, that there would be no road blocks in hearing from You or for You to hear my prayers. I dedicate my life to You completely, have Your way in my life. I surrender to You. In Jesus Name, Amen.