TODAYS BIBLE READING:
Nehemiah 3:1-5:13; 6:1-7:3
Reading Time: 15-20 Minutes
BREAD CRUMBS COMMENTARY FOR TODAYS READING
with Krista Smith (5 minutes)
SEPT 18, 2023
DAY 261 IN THE APP
THIS WEEKS MEMORY VERSE
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ~Philippians 4:13
A FEW THOUGHTS...
There is a fictitious story which begins with a man stuck on his rooftop during a flood. He was praying to God for help. Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the man shouted to the man on the roof, "Jump in, I can save you." The stranded man shouted back, "No, its OK, I'm praying to God and he is going to save me." So the rowboat went on. Following this both a motorboat then a helicopter came by on separate occasions offering to save the man. Both times the man replied as he did to the man in the rowboat. Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, "I had faith in you but you didn't save me, you let me drown. I don't understand why!" To this God replied, "I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?" Our walk with God must be an active one. Prayer is a pivotal part of our relationship with Him, but there are times that He then calls us into action. At these times, we must stop requesting and start doing.
As work was proceeding quickly on the wall, their enemies began to take notice. What started as mocking in Nehemiah 4:2-3, when ignored turned into direct threats as we read in 4:8, "and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion." We then see the response of Nehemiah in 4:9, "Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night." As the threats intensified, we see Nehemiah intensifying his response in 4:13-14, "Therefore I positioned men behind the lower parts of the wall, at the openings; and I set the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears and their bows. And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, "Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses." He goes on the explain how he both intensified the building and his defense at the same time. We see this in 4:17, "Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon." Notice Nehemiah didn't just pray and let it go, but he took practical steps after his prayer. It's the combination of prayer and taking action which Nehemiah exemplifies so well, that we need in our own lives.
Many Christians fall into the camp of prayer and presumption, like the story of the man on the rooftop in the flood, rather than prayer and action like Nehemiah. So many pray for their loved ones who do not know Jesus but fail to take action. Jesus said in Matthew 7:7, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." These action words: ask, seek and knock in the Greek do not mean a once and done but a continual process of "keep on asking, keep on seeking, etc."
We have to ask ourselves how seriously we really consider the implications of a life without Christ both on earth and for eternity. If we truly realize just how bad it is, then it is time to pray and act. Some individuals after repeated attempts have blocked you from their lives in which case prayer is your only option. But for those who you still have an open dialogue, may we like Nehemiah, both pray and step into action. This also goes with serving. If God directs you how He wants you to serve as His ambassador on earth both in a church body or anywhere else, then obediently respond to His direction and experience the joy of living the life that God has planned for you.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
"God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supplies."
- Hudson Taylor