{November 7, 2021}






Heartland Community Church


THE JOURNEY

MONUMENTAL: Rebuilding A People

By Molly Fisher

Nehemiah in many ways is just one more story in the Bible of God using ordinary people, those without special training or superhuman abilities, to do great things. Rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem in 52 days was a God-inspired dream and a monumental achievement, that actually tells us more about God, than it does Nehemiah. I wish I were enough of a scholar to know exactly how many times God (or God’s prophets) said something like, “The Lord is with you when you are with Him.” And, “If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.” Those are from 2 Chron 15, but God says it A LOT in scripture, and most Biblical stories are about those people who seek God and what happens when His people forsake God.

Clearly Nehemiah seeks God, waits on God and is called by God. He is given a burden for a task that he remains focused on amid countless ways he could have been distracted. Nehemiah sought God, and God remained faithful to His promises. God remained faithful to His promises, even when forsaken by His people over and over again. He always provided a way back. Nehemiah was the person this time that would physically show the way. Even in our unfaithfulness, God remains faithful!

Nehemiah led the way to rebuilding a wall, so that God could do what only God can do and rebuild a people. The Persians had allowed the exiled Jews to return home, but they were not a community of God’s people until shoulder to shoulder they all worked to rebuild the wall. Then, when it was built, it was time to celebrate!

A celebration to me, might not start with reading the Law for hours, but this had most likely not happened in their lifetime, and it was an act of unifying a people and creating community. They made temporary housing and partied for a week or more, celebrating God’s faithfulness. They also (on the 24th day) repented, confessing their sins and the sins of their ancestors. As a people they were convicted. They fasted and wore sackcloth, but this was about more than just a show of outward appearances, it was a sincere, communal experience, and in their conviction, they worshipped the Lord. As a people they understood what God had done, His faithfulness and promises fulfilled for them, and they were rightfully in awe.

We could so easily change a few words in Nehemiah and it could read as a current event: people in quarantine, not allowed to gather (exile), beginning to come together but unsure of safe places, the cultural influence (surrounding them or the wealthy in their midst doing what was legal if not ethical), broken relationships with God and others, fear, division. Thankfully, then and now, God’s faithfulness is not dependent on our faithfulness. His desire remains to bring His people to Himself, and through Jesus have a full and complete relationship with us! Nehemiah may be an ancient story but ithas incredible current relevance. A story of transformative redemption that needs to be heard again – God providing a way back, of bringing His people together.

 

{sunday 11.7.21}

Read Nehemiah 8-9

Observe, Reflect, Apply: God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. His faithfulness endures. How have you experienced God’s faithfulness? Is worship for you an expression of awe and wonder?
Rebuilding the wall set the stage for God to do the real work of rebuilding a people (relationships, identity, mission.) A church building is just that, a building, but it is also a place where people can gather and be a community of God’s people. How are you experiencing community today? How can you invite others to be a part of your community? Are you sensing God’s tug on your heart to be part of a people? Is Heartland that place for you? (There is no one place, but place can facilitate community.)

Just as Nehemiah is a history text, so are the Chronicles. As you read these verses this week, I hope you get the full picture of the history of God’s people and their leaders. In the following verses we get a brief History lesson of 6 kings, continuing the story of God: “The lord is with you when you are with Him, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.”

 

{bible reading plan}

By Molly Fisher

{monday 11.8.21}

Read 2 Chronicles 20:24-37

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Jehoshaphat both seeks God and forsakes God. He seems easily distracted by befriending other powerful people, even if they do not know God. When he seeks God first, God is with them, and even when threatened, it is prophesied to “…not be afraid or discouraged …the battle is not yours, but God’s.” Still, after a while, he made an alliance with a wicked leader, that failed. How easily are you sidetracked, or tempted to take matters into your own hands? Can past answered prayers and God’s faithfulness carry you through these times of temptation to do it your way?

{tuesday 11.9.21}

Read 2 Chronicles 21:1-22:9

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Jehoram is evil from the start. He put his brothers and others to death as soon as he became king. “He passed away to no one’s regret…”. Ahaziah became king for only a little more than a year, he too “did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” How often does it seem like the wicked prosper? That life is not fair? How hard is it for you to let go of your desire for revenge or retribution, and give it to God to sort out in his timing? Do you trust even at those times, that God is faithful, and that he can use all things for good?

{wednesday 11.10..21}

Read 2 Chronicles 23:1-11

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Joash is saved from death as an infant by his aunt. He is hidden for 7 years until Jehoiada, a priest, gathered the Levites and made a covenant with the king at the temple of God, kept the lineage of the house of David, crowned the young king, and seated him on the throne. “All the people of the land rejoiced.” A king led by priests is seeking God first. He is young but puts his trust in wise leaders. Do you have those who have gone before you, who help lead you? Do you have wise leaders, who love Jesus, as resources to help navigate life’s difficulties?

{thursday 11.11.21}

Read 2 Chronicles 24:1-14

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Joash fully restores the temple, according to its original design. He led with integrity, letting the priests make the needed decisions, and by accepting offerings instead of heavily taxing people, and they gave generously. Is integrity lacking today – doing the right thing because it is the right thing and not just what brings personal gain or recognition? How does integrity manifest itself in your life and in the lives of people you respect and follow? Does that character trait play a role in who you listen to?

{friday 11.12.21}

Read 2 Chronicles 24:15-27

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Jehoiada dies, and soon after officials from Judah pay homage to Joash, who decides now, that he should be honored and quite quickly abandons the temple of the Lord to worship idols. Here again in Chronicles, it is prophesied that if you disobey the Lord’s commands you will not prosper, “…because you have forsaken the Lord, He has forsaken you.” “Because Judah had forsaken the Lord…judgement was executed on Joash.” I’d like to ask, what didn’t you learn from the kings before you? But, I’d really have to ask myself that every time I do something that clearly is not in God’s will, and that is way too often! What trips you up from following God – wealth, praise from others, success, disappointment, etc? How easily do things get in the way of you putting God first? "Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and (then) all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33

{extra journey resources}

CLICK HERE to visit The Bible Project site and explore their super simple, super informative Bible videos (and other resources).

CLICK HERE to get the Read Scripture App, from our friends at The Bible Project.

CLICK HERE for more on how to use the observe-reflect-apply approach to getting the most out of your Bible reading.

The Bible App Get the free YouVersion Bible for your phone, tablet, or computer. Experience the Bible anywhere, with options to highlight, save notes, and share what you are reading with others.

The Bible App For Kids YouVersion partnered with OneHope to develop the Bible App for Kids, designing it specifically to engage children with Bible stories on an age-appropriate level. The Bible App for Kids is a free app for Android, Apple, and Kindle devices, available in over 60 languages.

Bible Gateway Provides advanced Bible searching capabilities, which allow readers to find passages in scripture based on keywords, phrases, or scripture reference.

 

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© 2021 Heartland Community Church

12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

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