Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 25 July 19:
Nehemiah 1:6-9 — I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’
Nehemiah was in great despair and mourning because he understood the implications of the fact that after God had miraculously moved the heart of king Cyrus to support Zerubbabel in rebuilding the temple, and after God had miraculously moved the heart of king Artaxerxes to support Ezra in leading a large body of exiles back to the holy city and in teaching the people of Israel the Law, the Israelites had returned to the same sins that led them to their exile in the first place. As a result, the restoration of the Promised Land was in jeopardy. Nehemiah understood that restoration depended on true repentance.
Nehemiah was so distraught over the sins of his people that, despite being personally unaffected directly by what was going on in Jerusalem, he “wept and mourned for days and continued in fasting and praying before God…. confessing the sins of the people of Israel,” even taking personal responsibility for contributing to the culture of sin. Nehemiah was driven to intercessory prayer, but he was also convicted to risk his career and his life in order to personally help his people return to the Lord.
– 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 — All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
Having been entrusted by God with the message and ministry of reconciliation, how passionate are you to spread the Gospel and to make disciples, and what are you willing to risk in order to accomplish this mission?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 25 July 19: Pray God will give you a heart for the lost and wayward like Nehemiah had for his people, and pray that God will give you the courage to take personal action to spread the Gospel.