31 March 2012
30 March 2012
23 March 2012
And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the LORD did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.
Exodus 12:51 KJV
Most people know the story of Moses; the faith of his mother, the care of his sister, his childhood in Pharoah's household. He murdered and fled. He shepherded and returned to lead the Israelites to liberty. If you don't know his story, you can read it in Exodus - and there are several movies about him. He's really quite famous. I'm not so sure why it's Moses that is so famous, because frankly, he wasn't so great.
He was an outcast of his own family. He was wanted for murder. He couldn't talk right. Maybe that's because he had conversations with plants in the desert. He talked to inanimate objects.
He couldn't control his anger. He questioned God. He took things into his own hands. When God gave specific instructions, he chose another way.
Moses wasn't so great. He sounds like a lot of people I know - ordinary people. Flawed people. He sounds a lot like me. Where's my movie deal?
But Moses is credited for, among other things, leading the Israelites to freedom. That's a great thing, right?
Absolutely! That's a great thing. But Moses didn't do it. God did.
...the LORD did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt...
Moses had a part in all of this, but he is not the great one here. God is the Great One. It is He that did it.
Moses heard God. Moses answered God. Moses obeyed God - most of the time.
Sound like anyone you know?
We are not great - God is. And He can do great things through us - just like He did with Moses.
18 March 2012
06 March 2012
In these previous posts, we talked about how when there is a work to be done, distractions will come.
We talked about how one of those distractions is sin; represented in the story of Nehemiah by Sanballat.
Let's move on now to the next distraction that will come: Tobiah. It is found in the same passage; Nehemiah 4:1-3
From the Web Bible Encyclopedia:
Tobiah - pleasing to Jehovah, the “servant”
Tobiah is the believer; your co-laborer in Christ. Tobiah is the one that is supposed to be on your side. Tobiah is the one who says "Praise the Lord!" to your face, and talks about you behind your back. Tobiah is your fellow laborer sneaking around to get in the other door before you and then smiling at you once you're in the room together.
This is not to say that fellow believers should never be trusted. On the contrary, we are supposed to be of the same mind. (1Cor 2:16). But Tobiah-minded believers say that even though you are doing the work, it will fail. They wish you failure. I do not understand this at all. Why, if indeed they claim to have the same interests at heart, the same goals to achieve, would they wish failure upon you?
I accept the fact that perhaps they may not agree with the method, or the plan, but to wish failure upon your co-laborer is plain wrong.
"Well, John", you say. "Tobiah wasn't a co-laborer." Yup. You're right. However, Mr. Pleasing-to-Jehovah was an Ammonite.
Ammonites were descendants of Ammon, the son of Lot. Along with the Moabites, this tribe hired Balaam to curse Israel. They were, through Lot, closely related to the Israelites through blood and language.
And God is using the one named Tobiah to draw a picture for us today. He wants us to have an understanding of His Word. He is making it plain.
Let's move on.
So after Nehemiah prays, we see this verse:
So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.
Why is it that the wall was able to be built, halfway completed, even though there were these distractions and oppositions? Because the people had a mind to work
You can get a lot done if you have a mind to work. You can get even more done if those that are with you have a mind to work. You can get people to do extraordinary things as long as you and they have a mind to work. You can beat the oppostion if you have a mind to work.
You can reach the unreachable.
You can do the impossible.
You can beat the enemy.
You can overcome every obstacle...
if you have the mind to work.
When the people have a mind to work, they can.
01 March 2012
OK. Let's move on to Chapter 4.
Sin will distract you and take you off course.
Sin will distract you and take you off course.
But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we built the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews. And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned? Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall.
Understand this: When you start doing a good work, someone will always oppose you. Don't ever think that you will get away with completing anything noble without some sort of opposition. We have seen this play out in our own nation. You've probably seen it in your own lives; if not, your own struggles. But stand firm because righteousness brings a righteous reward. Righteous action may attract opposition. So what?
Now you need some name research.
From Jewishencyclopedia.com: "Sanballat," according to Sayce (in Hastings, "Dict. Bible," s.v.), is connected with the Assyrian "Sinballidh," and means "Sin has vivified."
Sanballat means 'Sin has given life'. We are not talking about (a)sin, like gossip, murder, fornication and the like. We are talking about (b)Sin, a Sumerian god. Now, (b)Sin was a false god because we know that there is only one God. That is the belief to which we ascribe here. Without getting into too much depth on this note, let's say that all (a)sin is some sort of false god or worshipping of some sort of false god. So, for our purposes, (a)sin and (b)Sin are one in the same, if not very closely related. Follow me?
Be assured that there are many things that will try to get in the way of your righteous endeavors. And as sure as that is, it is also sure that one of them will be sin.
Sin seems to be able to distract you at any given time but especially when you are making some headway. It can be something as subtle as despising the actions of another or the person themselves, or as loud as some addiction.
Sin will creep up on you and do what Sanballat did. It will mock you. As soon as you get anything accomplished, sin is right there to mock you; to bring about feelings of worthlessness and doubt about yourself and your task at hand.
Tobiah was Sanballat's henchman: "Yeah, boss. What you said boss. Heh." Tobiah will further point out your failures and shortcomings.
Wait until you hear what Tobiah means!