(March 31, 2013: The slideshow had disappeared. It’s added back now, as a gallery. That will make this post re-post. )
Those photos were taken mid-January in the afternoon. The sky, clouds and our oak tree (as usual) had caught my attention. When the photo files are sitting in their folder in nice rows visible by their icons, it’s the angles that I see in the clouds that intrigues me. The angles are most visible in the photos with the eave of the house in the picture. The eave of the house more than likely adds to it, but the angles in the photos are really neat viewed in a row.
Angles. I’m in Session 3, Day 03 of the Nehemiah study by Kelly Minter and continue to be blown away by Jehovah God’s amazing timing in the studies as I make my way through life and the studies one day at a time. Today’s lesson brings us to Nehemiah 6:1-14. This is the part where Nehemiah is undergoing more posturing by his enemies Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem. Lies have made their way from the hearts of those enemies into the hearing and vision of Nehemiah. First, a messenger from the enemies tells Nehemiah to get together with them. Nehemiah says, no, his work on rebuilding the wall is too great. Then Sanballat’s servant brings a letter for Nehemiah alleging the motives for rebuilding the wall as being the beginning of a rebellion in which Nehemiah is setting himself up to be king over his people and the newly refurbished wall. Angles. Lies. Schemes to get Nehemiah off-plan.
Daniel 9:24-27 lays out a calendar of events that starts and stops over thousands of years. Some have been fulfilled, some are yet to occur. The revelation in Daniel 9 is around 539 B.C. Nehemiah is rebuilding the wall circa 446 B.C., after Daniel’s vision. I always get this part messed up, but there’s wording in Daniel 9:25 that indicates that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. The part I get mixed up is the decree of Cyrus king of Persia, where the Temple is to begin being rebuilt (Ezra 1), and the decree to rebuild Jerusalem, which is given in Nehemiah 2. It is the second decree to rebuild Jerusalem that starts the calendar counting for Yehusa, Messiah the Prince.
Now, just how important was Nehemiah’s task? Very important. And, who exactly were his enemies? Does that give more credence to Ephesians 6:10-18 about the warfare of a believer? You betcha it does. So, we’re back to those lies and angles again.
Minter points out that things haven’t changed since Genesis, or that Satan’s tactics haven’t changed. In this case, I’m looking at those angles and agreeing, the angles of attack haven’t changed since Genesis (3:1-7).
The burgundy colored soft ribbon bookmark that’s in my Bible marks the place between Hebrews 11 and 12. Hebrews 11 talks about so many of those who walked before us and made it in faith. Hebrews 12 jumps in with
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
One of the angles that Tobiah and Sanballat took was to hire a prophet of the Temple. Minter pointed out a little verse that I read right past recently when I read the Book of Nehemiah as I got ready for the study. Why would Nehemiah realize that the prophet was false? Because he told Nehemiah to hide in the Temple, in a place where only the priests were allowed. The false prophet relied on scaring Nehemiah. Well, Minter points out that it’s lies and fear that are at work here. Minter provided Numbers 18:7 as the basis of truth for Nehemiah’s realization and rejection of that false prophet. We need to be familiar with the Old Testament. It’s so amazing what’s in there that lends and clarifies so much to the New Testament, and in our daily walk with God.
As I was reading along on Page 77 in the study, I jotted down Hebrews 4:16. Turning the page once and continuing to read brought me to the end of Day 03 on Page 79, where Minter referred to Hebrews 4:14-16:
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16 NASB
Well, you know I just love it when that happens and it seems to do that a lot in the studies I’ve attended: Esther, Breaking Free, James-Mercy Triumphs – Beth Moore; and now Nehemiah, A Heart That Can Break – Kelly Minter. Am I getting the message loud and clear? That God is watching out over me, teaching me, showing me … He is faithful! Am I learning that the angles of fear, lies and deception are old-hat and to stand like Nehemiah – doing my part to remove the rubble and build or rebuild the walls I need to build with the things God just seems to be handing me left and right? I think so, and I surely hope so.
There’s a set of verses in Nehemiah (9:38) that Moore utilized in Breaking Free, I think it was, where the people have realized their sin, confessed it and gathered with priests as witnesses to make a binding agreement . . . binding themselves to the LORD (Jehovah God). As believers, are we binding ourselves to the LORD through Christ? Are we focusing on Christ and setting aside the entanglements and sin that throws us off course? Oh, I pray I am. It is a journey that takes a lifetime, of that I am sure. Are you making that journey? God is faithful. Christ is faithful. Amen!
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 NIV