Today’s Bible Reading: Nehemiah 3:15-5:13; 1 Corinthians 7:25-40; Psalm 32:1-11; Proverbs 21:5-7
Chapter 3 of Nehemiah is all about work. Nehemiah had returned to Jerusalem because he had a desire to see the walls of this city repaired. Although he was born in captivity in Persia and was not a political or religious leader, he asked God for the opportunity to go back to Israel and repair the walls. God answered his prayer.
Notice that there is not one professional carpenter or mason listed in this chapter. We read about priests, priests’ helpers, goldsmiths, perfume makers, and women. Here we see that God does not limit us based on our know-how. He is looking for willing hearts and available bodies. He’ll provide the on-the-job-training we need. Don’t let Satan convince you that you can’t serve God just as you are. You don’t need more training or more experience. God excels at using the unlikely to do great things. In fact, using such people only brings more glory to God.
Being mentioned in the BIble is a great honor and each of the men and women listed in this chapter deserve to be mentioned for the important and difficult work they did. But notice that the parents of many of the workers are listed as well. The hard work of a child is a reflection on the parents. The mothers and fathers of these people did a good job of raising their children to not only be unafraid of hard work, but to also honor God.
Reading this chapter should make us think about the spiritual walls in our lives. Just like these citizens of Jerusalem, we should repair any holes in our spiritual life that the enemy could use to attack us. Perhaps we have a friend who draws us away from Christ. Perhaps we have a job that is not pleasing to God. Perhaps we suffer from jealousy, or lust, or anger. Whatever holes we have – and we all have some – we need to get busy fixing them so our relationship with God is protected.
Nehemiah handles his critics in chapter 4. Since the Jews had legal protection for the rebuilding effort, all their enemies could do was mock and place seeds of doubt in their minds. That is all Satan can do to us. Any born-again Christian is legally one of God’s adopted children. Satan can never change that. But he can cause us to doubt with his lies.
Notice how Nehemiah deals with these critics. He doesn’t form a committee to look into the situation. He doesn’t even talk to them directly. He heard them. But he ignores them. He knew the truth and stayed focused on it.
Instead Nehemiah takes the issue to God in prayer. Nehemiah does what he can do (rebuilds the wall) while letting God do what He can do (defeat the enemy).
Paul continues to address marriage in today’s passage from 1 Corinthians. Since every situation is different Paul does not give an absolute command (1 Corinthians 7:25). Instead, each person should do as they see fit, although there are advantages to being single.
A single person can spend more time serving God whereas a married person needs to please their spouse and take care of their children (1 Corinthians 7:32-35).
Marriage is not bad. Neither is being single (1 Corinthians 7:38). There is no right or wrong here. God lets each person choose what is best for him or her. But if someone cannot control their sex drive, then they should marry otherwise they will almost certainly sin (1 Corinthians 7:37). We are all sexual creatures. But there is nothing wrong with living a celibate life in these human bodies, which are only our temporary dwelling places. It is not impossible to control one’s sex drive.
Forgiveness is freedom. That is the point of David’s words in Psalm 32. When we refuse to acknowledge our sin we are weighed down by life; everything seems more difficult; we have no strength. But once we experience God’s forgiveness our hearts become light; our outlook becomes bright. There is tremendous blessing in admitting our sins – to both ourselves and God – and accepting His forgiveness.
Don’t be afraid to confess your sins to God. He already knows about them anyway. Then you can experience freedom in God’s complete forgiveness.
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