Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Restoration and Recovery - And Then...They Went Back to Their Old Ways

This is the conclusion of a several part devotion dedicated to the book of Nehemiah chapter 3.

Nehemiah 13:6-9
But while all this was going on, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I had returned to the king. Sometime later I had asked his permission to come back to Jerusalem. Here I learned about the evil thing Eliashib had done in providing Tobiah a room in the courts of the house of God. I was greatly displeased and threw out all Tobiah's household goods out of the room. I gave orders to purify the rooms, and then I put back into them the equipment of the house of God, with the grain offerings and the incense.
Nehemiah 13:15
In those days I saw people in Judah treading winepresses on the Sabbath and bringing grain and loading it on donkeys, together with wine, grapes, figs and all other kinds of loads. And they were bringing all this into Jerusalem on the Sabbath.
So, ready for the awesome ending to our restoration / recovery study from the book of Nehemiah? There isn't one. They went back to their old ways. After the wall was completed, after the gates were all in working order and repaired. They forgot. They forgot about when Ezra read them the Law of Moses and they wept and mourned because of their past sins. They forgot how hard this process was and how much time and effort it took to rebuild the walls and the gates, oh the gates they took so much work. They forgot how they had to battle. At one time they were working with only one had while the other hand held a sword. They forgot how the enemy taunted them and how hard it was to stand up to them over and over again. They forgot that they made promises to God. That they had told him they would not neglect the house of God again. They forgot how He pulled them out of the valley. They forgot how He helped them shovel all their trash out of their soul. They forgot what those cleansing waters felt like when they jumped in that time. They forgot how He fought for them when they were in spiritual warfare and they needed Him. They forgot that He said He was coming back. They forgot to keep inspecting their life and going back through the circle of restoration. They forgot what repairs needed made. They forgot what areas they had to guard. They forgot. They forgot God.

Nehemiah 13:30
So I purified the priests and the Levites of everything foreign, and assigned them duties, each to his own task. I also made provision for contributions of wood at designated times, and for the first fruits.
Remember me with favor, my God.
Starting over is what I take away from this last passage of Nehemiah. Getting rid of everything foreign and making provisions for the sacrifices to begin again to God.
Why would this great book of promise and restoration and accomplishment end like this? I think it is to remind us of how we are. How we are forgetful forgetters of what God does for us. How we are so much like the Israelites. Let this be a reminder to stay inside the city, to not get in this position where our lives have to be purified again.
This whole book of Nehemiah just represents the most admirable picture of God. He knew. He knew the whole time that they would go back to their old ways and this whole process would have to start over. But, He was still their. At every victory. At every win. At every repair. He was their. Rooting them on.
After all their work and commitment, they just went back to their old ways. Don't let that happen to you. Don't be like the Israelites of this story. Be like the Nehemiah of this story. Always a leader. Always organizing. Always making preparations. Always praying.
Remember me with favor, my God.
Thanks so much for reading!
I hope you enjoyed this study of Nehemiah as much as I did!
It was a really big spiritual commitment on my part and I am so thankful God gave me the strength and vision to carry it out.
I would love to connect with you!
Here is a list of every devotion that was written by me in this study of Nehemiah - Restoration and Recovery.

Sit Down. Weep. Mourn, pray, and fast - How to Handle Horrible News

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9