New Testament Only:
Stay In God’s Word
Tomorrow we finish Nehemiah and the following day will proceed into Esther. If I’m reading the commentaries correctly Nehemiah is “chronologically” the last historical book in the Old Testament. This means that this is the end of the Old Testament’s tracking of the history of the Jewish people. When Judah went into exile Israel would never again belong to the Jewish people. Control of the area passed from one empire to the next. You remember, of course, that the Romans had control of the administrative area they named “Palestine” back in the days of the New Testament, and, in fact, maintained control until the Muslims conquered the area in the 7th century; by that time the entire area was “Christian”.
We will read Esther next and some may feel that this is chronologically the last book, but the story of Esther occurred during the reign of the Persian king Ahasuerus who is commonly identified as Xerxes I (485 – 464 B.C.). The story of Nehemiah is dated at approximately 444 B.C. This means that the story of Nehemiah occurred after the story of Esther even though the book of Esther comes after the book of Nehemiah in the Bible.
At any rate, as I read about the joy the Israelites felt as they dedicated the walls of the City of David, I can’t help but think sadly of how their joy in the Lord, and faithfulness to Him, will, once again, faded away. They’ve been through so much, and God has finally successfully called them back to Him with repentant hearts, and they have responded with such joy and faithfulness, its heart breaking to know the rest of the story. Why do we see over and over again the people of God wandering away from a joyful relationship with Him? I believe the answer to that question was answered in yesterday’s post.
We don’t feed our spirits on the right spiritual food. The whole reason I started this blog was because God laid on my heart the understanding that I needed to be reading His Word every day, and no matter how many times I started, I always fell away. My reading was sporadic at best. I needed something to keep me faithfully in the Word. God led me to the idea of starting a blog; something I had never done before. This blog has kept me in God’s Word every day this year, and it has done so because I know my fellow brothers in Christ will know if I miss a day. I would be surprised if I discovered that any of you have read my post every day. In fact, the point of this blog is not for you to read my post but read the Bible; my post is immaterial.
Still, if I don’t write a comment for a given day, some of you will know about it. It is my expectation that you will at the very least rib me about falling down on the job. Knowing you will be aware of my lapse is enough to keep me typing away every day even when I’d rather go to bed. I wonder; why isn’t the thought that God will know if I don’t read His Word every day enough to keep me reading in and of itself? Why isn’t the knowledge that my life will be darker if I don’t read the Word every day enough to keep me reading?
Reading Nehemiah has been eye opening for me. Seeing how far they had to come to return to God, and their surprise at what God’s Word says, has made me realize how important it is to stay in God’s Word. Knowing that they will still fall away once again has reminded me how vitally important it is for me to “abide” in Christ. Jesus Himself told us that a branch that does not remain in Him withers and dies. That’s what happens to us when we don’t remain in God’s Word. I am really beginning to believe that God’s message to the church today is “Get in My Word!” As men of God it is not only our job to ensure we are in the Bible every day but to teach our families to be in the Word every day as well. That’s an area in which I must confess failure. I must find a way to get us all in the Word every day.
I know of a dear brother who is getting up in the morning with his son to read the Bible together. How fantastic!!! He also looks for opportunities to discuss God’s Word with his family. I do look for those opportunities and do my best even in the face of rolling eyes. Still, I believe I must create a habit of daily family devotion; be it discussing the reading for the day, or picking a verse of scripture to discuss with my family. I am the spiritual head of the family; I have a job to do. That does not mean I am here to give orders but to point my family to Christ and once there ensure that they “abide” in Christ.
Guys, if any of you are aware of a guide or book discussing family devotions please comment and let me know about it. In fact if you have any resources you would like to recommend that can assist any of us men in executing our responsibilities before God as husbands and fathers please share that with us. If I get enough resources I will create a “Resources” page for this website. Guys, let’s help each other to stay in God’s Word and execute faithfully our responsibilities as the spiritual head of our homes. Whether anyone else knows we are living up to that standard or not, God knows, and that should be enough to keep us focused.
Stand up, step up, be strong; be the man God created you to be!
Have a blessed day!
Your brother and servant in Christ,
Dying to self, living to serve!
(Originally posted 5/30/10)