Today’s reading: Neh 1:1–3:32, 1 John 4:13–15, Ps 108:1–13
Today’s Themes: Build The Walls
Today’s lesson is that we are called to build the broken down walls in our lives and God’s kingdom. Build the walls today.
Great and Awesome God
And I said, “O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, Nehemiah 1:5 (ESV)
Nehemiah’s prayer starts with worship and adoration of God. He declares and so shows his faith in God’s greatness.
Word Study: The word “awesome” in Hebrew is yare. The word means to fear, be afraid, to fear God, to be feared, be honoured, to be feared, terrible, dreaded, awesome and terrible.
So at it’s root this word awesome means to fear. We fear God and stand in awe of Him. God inspires fear of himself or is awe inspiring.
Before we can begin to rebuild we need to recognise and honour God for who He is. This is the first step to building lasting walls of defence in our lives.
We can take confidence in our great and awe inspiring God, because He keeps covenant with His people, so we can build with assurance in our hearts that God will enable and help us.
The Welfare of God’s People
But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant heard this, it displeased them greatly that someone had come to seek the welfare of the people of Israel. Nehemiah 2:10 (ESV)
The enemy will always resist those who seek the welfare of God’s covenant people Israel and God’s covenant people the church.
If we decide that we will advocate for Israel, seeking the welfare of it’s people and evangelise seeking their salvation, we will meet with resistance.
Equally if we seek the restoration of the church in a particular region we will also be met with resistance because the enemy is against God and his people. In particular he does not want to see God’s people grow and flourish.
We must be prepared for resistance and set our hearts to stay the course. Ephesians 6:13.
The walls we build are for the welfare of God’s people (I’ll elaborate in the next point).
Rise Up And Build
And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work. Nehemiah 2:18 (ESV)
The people inspired by Nehemiah, respond in faith and declare that they will rise up and build.
We must have the same response as the people today. We must turn to God and say we are ready to rise up and build.
What are our walls?
The walls for us can be the structures God has ordained for our lives which will bring growth and flourishing. These structures include the family, the church, ministries, organisations and businesses.
God wants us to build all these things as He leads us in faith, to the glory of His name, establishment of His kingdom and for the growth and prosperity of God’s people.
How do we build?
This is my own list and so is not exhaustive but is a start:
1. We can strengthen our arms to build by taking heed to God’s word (The Bible), Acts 20:32;
2. Praying with the leading of God the Holy Spirit, Jude 20;
3. Walking in love, 1 Corinthians 8:1;
4. Do everything to bring God glory, 1 Corinthians 10:23, 31;
5. Proclaim God’s word, 1 Corinthians 14:4,12;
6. Orderly worship, 1 Corinthians 14:26;
7. Through submission to our leaders, 2 Corinthians 13:10 and Ephesians 4:12;
8. Watching how we talk, Ephesians 4:29;
9. Encouraging others; 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
God The Designer
Then I replied to them, “The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem.” Nehemiah 2:20 (ESV)
God is the great architect and designer, we are the builders. We can’t just build what we want or do it the way we think is best, we need to build in line with God’s design.
Nehemiah knew the building was not the work of a man but God and had the boldness to resist the intimidation of the enemy.
We need to avoid the enemy’s attempts to intimidate and infiltrate God’s building work in our lives and church.
We need to guard the building of God’s kingdom. It is a holy commission for God’s people alone. We do not rely on man, we trust God to prosper us in our building.
We must be careful how we build, 1 Corinthians 3:10.
And next to them the Tekoites repaired, but their nobles would not stoop to serve their Lord. Nehemiah 3:5 (ESV)
The nobles were too proud to work, we need to avoid this horrible attitude!
Jesus said we are all brothers, we should all pitch in and work together. Matthew 23:8.
God’s men and women (see verse 12) are all fellow labourers and we should spur each other on in the work of the Lord. We should support the work of the Lord by humbling ourselves to work together for God’s Glory.
Are you just a church consumer? If you are then repent and get involved. Ephesians 4:16.
1 John 4:13–15
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 1 John 4:13 (ESV)
We have a great wall of assurance, God the Holy Spirit. This is our ultimate assurance in God. We can be confident that we abide in Him if we have the Holy Spirit living in our hearts.
God’s gift of Himself in the person of the Holy Spirit is a gift only given to those who belong to God.
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 1 John 4:15 (ESV)
Our faith is in no way random, our confession as Christians is clearly defined which is the confession on which Jesus said the church would be built.
We confess that Jesus is the Son of God just like Peter said.
Matthew 16:16–18 reads “Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
All cults and other religions alter this confession in some way. This is core to our faith, it is so core that without this confession there is no Christianity.
Oh grant us help against the foe, for vain is the salvation of man! With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes. Psalm 108:12–13 (ESV)
We humbly ask God to grant us help against the enemy. Through our God we will tear down the strongholds of the enemy and build the walls of God’s holy city in our lives.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
Desiring God on 1 John 4