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  • Writer's pictureRev. Kim Taylor

Pastor's Ponderings: Old Testament bible study on Nehemiah 1:1-4 (April 18, 2024)

April 18, 2024:  Thursday Bible Study on the Old Testament book of Nehemiah 1:1-4

May the Joy and Peace of Christ's Resurrection fill all of your days.

Today please pray for Letitia who was in a three-car accident on Houghton Road.  She is headed to the hospital to get checked over.  She has lots of Pain and soreness already, and as far as I know, her car was substantially damaged.  Her service Dog, Candy, was in the car, but uninjured. 

Please remember our Yard Sale at American starts tomorrow at 9am - 2pm, and then again on Saturday.  Thank you all for your donations, and for the time and effort too.  God bless each and every one of you.  Come see what we have, it might be something that you really need or want, or just come to say hello.  We are hoping to send a generous gift to the Kartchners in Hawaii. 

Nehemiah holding a book
Old Testament book of Nehemiah

Today we step into the Old Testament text of Nehemiah.  This book and Ezra are often handled together.  In fact, they are present and contemporaries of one another about one hundred years after the first group of exiles headed back to Jerusalem so they could begin and hopefully complete the large undertaking of rebuilding the city and the Temple.  As we know, the biggest issue with which Ezra dealt was the blending of the peoples of the region in marriage and economy.  When Nehemiah receives word of the terrible conditions in Jerusalem, He too, like Ezra, prayers to God in distress over the lack of movement to restore the city and Temple.  Now thirteen years later, the protective wall is down, and some of it burned, and gates to the city are nearly destroyed.  I wonder if we will see in Nehemiah what became of the large sums of money and the furnishings of the temple which Ezra brought back with him.  It really does seem that by now, it should have been encumbered to do the work and hire laborers too.  But for Ezra the issue of purity of the faithful was the most important thing to be rectified.  In the opening of Nehemiah, we discover that even in the most western province of Persia, that little had been known about the struggles in Jerusalem.  Though it sounds, in this passage, like the condition of the city might be from it's destruction from the time of the Persian conquering of over 100 years ago, it may have been from really current regional and tribal issues. and since the entire region was under that hand of Persia, even the near west of the Persian kingdom had not yet heard the news about the Judahites, the bans on marriage and even foreign spouses and children who in recent years had been removed from the people of Israel's exile population, and then, knowing the tribal and regional issues, there were plenty of battles around Jerusalem, including those which may have come from families who's partners and children had been summarily removed from the population.  As we know from our own experience with our own southern border, and current masses of people who are coming north from South America and Central America to find hope and life improvements, there is such a wide and varied opinion about these people here in our nation, and yet in spite of what some Christian communities may think politically about this problem, or blessing, we must, in order to find the Word of God through Christ for these situations, realize that historically failing to treat immigrants humanely caused a breach between Israel and God.  Israel failed, and Judah too, because they chose dismissive and derisive care for the immigrant peoples in their midst.  But perhaps we will see through Nehemiah what must be done to overcome this failure.  But first, like Ezra, Nehemiah must come to God on the knees of his heart, broken and humbled before God due to the failures of leadership and faith on the part of the exiles.  What will come next as the people of God's election try again to get the resettlement right?

Happy Easter once again.   

In Christ's Love,    Pastor Kim

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