Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Joy of the LORD is my Strength

I just taught a Bible study to some ladies at my church about Nehemiah, chapters 1-8. He was the cupbearer to the Persian king, Artaxerxes. Nehemiah had a burden for the people of Jerusalem and felt called by God to help them rebuild their broken-down wall. This wall had been in disrepair for almost a century and a half! But through Nehemiah, God had that wall rebuilt in just 52 days!!!

I had all summer to prepare this study. It was a good thing, because I haven't really ever done this type of in-depth teaching and was a little intimidated by it. But the Lord spoke to me, and I believe, through me. Truly, as I prepared and taught this lesson, "the joy of the Lord was my strength." (Nehemiah 8:10b)

Throughout my time of preparation, I kept thinking about the significance of the wall. Why was the wall being rebuilt such an important goal? In my study, I found that the broken-down wall represented a lack of self-control, destruction, and sin! Nehemiah 1:3 even says:

They said to me, "Those who survived the exile and are back in the
province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of
Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire."

However, having the wall restored represented safety, boundaries, protection, strength, peace, and even salvation! I found several wonderful scripture verses describing this:

In your good pleasure make Zion prosper;
build up the walls of
Psalm 51:18
May there be peace within your
and security within your
Psalm 122:7
In that day this song will be sung in the land of
We have a strong city;
God makes salvation
its walls and ramparts.
Isaiah 26:1
No longer will violence be heard in your land,
nor ruin or destruction within your borders,
but you will call your walls Salvation
and your gates Praise.
Isaiah 60:18
We don't know a lot about Nehemiah. But what we do know gives us a great model to follow as we seek to follow God's call for ourselves, to face impossible situations, or to fortify walls in our lives.
  1. Nehemiah committed himself to prayer, as well as prayer and fasting, for some days, even months. (Nehemiah 1:4)
  2. Nehemiah confessed the sins of his people, his family, and himself. (Nehemiah 1:6)
  3. He meditated on the Word of God and listened for God's call to him. (Nehemiah 1:8)
  4. Nehemiah surrendered to the Lord's will; he stepped out in obedience and saw the Lord provide everything he needed. (Nehemiah 2:2-8)
  5. Nehemiah obeyed God's call and went to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall. (Nehemiah 2:11)
  6. When Nehemiah was confronted with sin among his own people, he dealt with it. (Nehemiah 5)
  7. However, when he faced repeated opposition from non-believers, he ignored it and refused to allow it to pull him away from the task God had given him to do. (Nehemiah 2, 4, 6)
  8. Throughout the process, Nehemiah relied fully on the Lord. He did all in HIS strength, not his own. (Nehemiah 8:10b)
  9. Nehemiah continually gave God the glory! When the wall was rebuilt, he worshiped and praised the Lord. (Nehemiah 8:12)

Think about this with me...
· What impossible situation are you facing today?
· What walls do you need to rebuild in your life?
· How is God calling you to obey Him?

Isn't wonderful that "nothing is impossible with God" (Luke 1:37)??!!


Celia Jimenez said...

What a great encouragment, Terri! Thanks for posting! :-)

Melanie said...

Wow Terri, I missed this post earlier in the week, but thank you! What wonderful teaching, I wish I had been able to take your class! I can't wait to read over your post again & then follow-up by reading in Nehemiah! What great lessons for ME & to teach to my children...I feel we all need extra work in the area of self-control.
Blessings on you my friend!

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