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  • Writer's pictureRev. Kim Taylor

Pastor's Ponderings: Old Testament bible study on Nehemiah 1:5-11 (April 25, 2024)

Thursday Bible Study on the Old Testament book of Nehemiah 1:5-11

Once again, I say to you, Happy Easter! We have too much to be thankful for. This week the water to the Parish Hall kitchen was finally repaired. The new custom over-the-roof water line arrived, and everything seems to be working pretty well.  As we approach the end of April, the evaporative coolers in both the parish hall and the church worship area are now working. Thanks to Robert for all of his hard work to get this all done. Our Foodies of Faith group is headed out to Cheddar's tomorrow at 11:30AM. We have 10 folks coming out with us for a great time of food and fellowship in Christ's Name.

Nehemiah holding an open book
Nehemiah Old Testament bible study

Today we are in the 1st chapter of Nehemiah, verses 5-11. I know this seems like a quick transition from Ezra, but we at once see similarities between the two OT books. They are on the scene about 100 years after the first group of Judahite exiles left Persia to return to the promised land, specifically Jerusalem and the destroyed temple.  A return to a war-torn area is never easy, and quite frankly, it is dangerous, as the people who have settled the land since the exile are now well established. The issues of intermarriage and economic blending have already been addressed, and there must be the acknowledgement of the broken relationship that existed at the time of the exile, but the zeal of both Ezra and Nehemiah for moving the Judahites forward in their confession and progress in rebuilding are evident in Nehemiah's prayer which acknowledges both his own culpability and the culpability of the first exile settlers and the current ones.  But as we should with all prayer, this prayer begins with a proclamation of the One Great God of all things, who is the Creator, the Just One of Heaven and Earth, the only Worthy God whose Truth and Commitment can always be depended on,  the Rightful Judge, the One who Loves all of His Creation, and most especially, His Jewish children.  God is the One who has the right to forgive, who continues to support and encourage them. who will protect them from their enemies. The problem is that God's children have too often forsaken Him and chased after other god's, gods that they can manipulate as they wish. So now Nehemiah implores God to restore His relationship with His children who are now in Jerusalem to rebuild if they will enter into this relationship with solid commitment.

When we offer our confession to God on Sundays at worship, and we lay claim to God's Great Love for us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, then we offer our confession which includes in it our desire to live as the forgiven ought to, with a willing heart to be wholly committed to Christ's Church, and to serving the Truth of Christ's Gospel news for the sake of the world.  Receiving Absolution through the merit of our Savior means that we too must respond. This two way relationship means that in forgiveness we are ready to make changes in our level of commitment to God's desires for our life, and though we fail from time to time, It is our whole hearted trying to do better, and sometimes succeeding, that moves us forward in our relationship with God.

In Christ's Love, Pastor Kim

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