Just recently I started an inductive study of the book of Nehemiah with Homeschool Moms (Plus... "L" and any other women that would love to join!) We meet once or twice a month at New Morning Bakery. It is such a blessing because ONE we are in the word together TWO we get to pray with one another and THREE God is glorified! It has been so healthy for me to have the accountability of leading the group. I find myself reading, reviewing and cross-referencing during the weeks. It has been a great amount of time to really reflect on what God is showing me. Amen! I LOVE IT!
Anyways, I have thought about "updating" what we cover every month. At least a few main points. Obviously for blog readers to enjoy, but most of all it will engrain it in my head all the more! If you are interested in doing the bible study yourself, you can find many directed studies at http://www.harvest.org/virtue/faith-hope-love.html (Look under Bible Studies, then Archive) It's an awesome resource!
I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us? Then I said, 'Here am I! Send me.'" Isaiah 6:8
We started out our lesson reviewing Israel's History. I have so much to learn! Have you ever tried to explain vocally any Biblical History? What a challenge. It was a great exercise in Narration for me!
The book of Nehemiah is the end of the historical count of the Old Testament. Pretty much upon King Solomon's death the nation of Israel was divided. Ten tribes to the South "Israel" and two tribes to the North "Judah". God later judged the nation and Assyria conquered Israel and years later Babylon conquered the rest of Judah. It was such a sad story after being slaves in Egypt before and now they are carried back in captivity again!
To sum it up VERY shortly: God truly had his purpose. He stirred the hearts of King Cyrus and King Darius seventy years later to start what is known as the Second Exodus back to Jerusalem. At different times three leaders: Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah lead Israel back to their homeland. One group included about 42,360 people (besides 7,537 servants). Not a small group! Nehemiah was the cupbearer to King Artaxerxes when he ask about the surviving Jews in Jerusalem. See, the temple was reconstructed under Ezra's leadership, but there was no wall of protection. Almost the first ENTIRE chapter is Nehemiah prayer after hearing of the great distress and reproach his people were in:
4 As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. 5 And I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that 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. 7 We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. 8 Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, 9 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.’ 10 They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. 11 O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”
Now I was cupbearer to the king.
A few points and questions we covered:
- what is our first response when we here unpleasant new of those we know and love? ( by saying "oh, I am sorry.. I will pray for you" Do we stop and pray then? Do we really pray even later for them?
- when you pray do you show adoration for who God is? confess your sins? or pray God word and promises?
- are we mindful to study scripture often? SMASH: What does it Say? Mean? Application? SHare it?
- Praying ACTS: Adoration Confession Thankfulness and Supplication
- any fasting and confession in our own life? Nehemiah's heart was burdened for 4-6 months for his relatives before he even heard an answer!
- where do our priorities stand as mothers? are they in the right order?
- do we have a heart that listens to God and cares for others?
God gave us good scripture answers and open our hearts to one another. Of course, time ran short but it was a blessed time! We are meeting again soon for Lesson 2. I am very excited to see God lead us through His word. If you are interested let in joining. Let me know and I can give you the details. :)
3If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,2As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
3If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.