October 10 Nehemiah 3,4; Luke 23

These are a few of our SOAP notes from today’s reading. We encourage you to read and journal on your own first, then join us in conversation about what God revealed to YOU today. Click HERE to go directly to the daily reading if you wish.

Printable reading plan: Life Journal Reading Plan

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Lots of Hands Make Little Work | Luisa Penaherrera

S~ Meremoth son of Uriah and grandson of Hakkoz repaired the next section of wall.  Beside him were Meshullam, and then Zadok son of Baana.  Next were the people of Tekoa, though their leaders refused to help.  Nehemiah 3:4,5 (NLT)

O~  The wall around the city was being repaired and throughout this chapter there is verse after verse of this family having this section, then that family having the next section.  It made me think of the saying, “Lots of hands make little work.”

A~ I have a neighbor that has lots of needs, more than I can take of for them by myself.  I’m thinking if this person agrees to it and if people at my church can help then it’s a win win!

P~ Dear Father, this sounds like a good idea in my head.  Please give me wisdom and guidance and prepare hearts if this is your will. And please provide the opportunity for this conversation.

Shallum’s Daughter | Tara Wiley

S~ “Beside him Shallum son of Hallohesh, ruler over half the district of Jerusalem, made repairs – he and his daughers. Nehemiah 3:12

O~ The sun was nearing its descent, sending bright glare directly into Rebekah’s line of vision as she worked. She squinted, and the motion drew beads of sweat through the furrows of her brow, running between her eyes and down her browned nose. The strong grunt she let escape her lips with the next heave of stone was more of exasperation than effort. She paused to lean back on her heels for a moment and inspected her hands. Where once the soft, pampered skin of a woman of royalty shone, bleeding cracks fissured under layers of dirt and clay.

She was not alone in this strange transformation. She looked to her left where her sister Deborah squatted deeply to lift another stone with her father Shallum’s assistance. Rebekah admired Deborah’s strong, broad frame. She wished for such a build, but she had her mother’s body type: winnowy, lithe, supple – beautiful, but not made for this backbreaking work. As she let her mind wander, a sharp voice from the field beyond the wall brought her back into focus.

“What are these pathetic Jews doing? Can they restore this wall by themselves? Weak – feeble. Look! They even resort to using little girls for hard labor!” The foreigner pointed directly at Rebekah. “This wall of rubble won’t stand for a single day!” (Neh. 4:1-3) Sudden tears mixed with sweat as Rebekah leaped down and crouched behind the half-built wall, shuddering in shame and anger. Above her, her father took a deep breath as if ready to shout, but then bent his head and continued with the mortar work in front of him. Deborah knelt by her sister.

“Courage, sister!” Deborah wrapped an arm around Rebekah’s shaking shoulders and listened to her sister’s complaint.

“He’s right, you know. We will never be able to rebuild the wall. We think we can bribe God into making this work, but we can’t. We’re just a bunch of women, and goldsmiths, and government officials. None of us even know what we are doing! We cannot succeed.”

Deborah was silent. Internally, she had the same thoughts, though she brushed them away with focused hard labor, intent on letting work overcome her fears. Still, they lingered, far underneath, and now her sister Rebekah had put them into spoken words. The anguish was contagious, and Deborah gulped.

Shallum joined his daughters, taking a long drink of water from the clay jug they kept in the shadow of the wall. His face was red not from heat but from fury.

“Don’t listen to those foolish men. They are trying to dissuade us from God’s work.” His voice cracked as he spoke. Even his anger could not disguise the fear and discouragement he also felt. He slid down against the wall and drew his daughters into an embrace. What was he doing, inviting his daughters into harm’s way? The taunting would lead to killing, he had no doubt. How could he protect his girls and work at the same time? His anger turned towards Nehemiah. How dare he ask such things of his people? This was impossible work.

Just then, a trumpet sounded, calling the Israelites to gather outside the temple court. The family of father and daughters rose and joined the throng, grateful to get away from the taunting voices and hard labor.

Nehemiah stood at the temple entrance.

“They come at us with taunts, and yes, with dagger, spear and sword, but we come against them in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel’s armies!” The Israelites heard the echo of David standing in defiance against the taunting Goliath. (I Samuel 17) “They have defied Him, but the Lord is with us. Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the great and awe-inspiring Lord, and fight for your countrymen –“ Shallum looked over to his neighbor Malcijah. Rebekah turned her head towards Hasshub – yes, she would fight for him! “Fight for your sons and daughters, your wives and homes!” Shallum squeezed the shoulders of his girls. “Remember, the victory is ours, for the hand of the Lord our God is with us!” (Neh. 4:4-14)

“The hand of the Lord our God is with us!” The throng took up the battle cry, clapping their hands and shouting ever louder, drawing strength from the truth of the words and the power of their praise. As Nehemiah gave new instructions for the people to divide into shifts of guards and workers, Shallum regained his confidence. Yes, this could be done. Rebekah and Deborah smiled as they listened. Though they had been daughters of a ruler, they had also learned excellent battle skills, for Shallum had no sons. He had taken it upon himself to teach his girls, both to defend themselves and to defend their country. These young women were not your average Israelites. They knew they could do this.

The next morning, Rebekah clothed herself in the armor Shallum had ordered specifically to suit her. (Neh. 4:16) She settled the helmet on her head and thought of the salvation of her God. She draped the chain mail over her frame and remembered the covering of righteousness she received as a daughter of the Most High God. She fastened the belt around her waist and recalled the truth shouted by her countrymen the day before – the Lord their God was with them! She pulled on her shoes and breathed a prayer for peace. She took up her shield and mouthed, “The Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart trusts in Him – I have faith! – and I am helped…The Lord is the strength of His people; He is a stronghold of salvation for His anointed.” (Psalm 28:7-8). She took up her sword, small but perfectly weighted for her body. “I stand in the name of the Lord my God! I will declare His goodness. I will dwell on His faithfulness. And in His truth, power, and protection, I will defeat my enemies!”

Yesterday’s frightened, defeated Rebekah was replaced by today’s warrior woman as she stood proudly beside her father. Her armor glinted in the morning sun. Today, she was reborn. Today, she stood in victory.

And the enemy was silenced. (Neh. 4:15)

A~ Focusing on my weakness… Listening to the enemy’s taunts… Isolating myself and feeding my own frustration, fears, and resentment… leads to defeat.

Focusing on God’s power… Listening to the truth of His word… Drawing into community with those who speak truth and strength and courage… leads to victory.

Just like the Israelites, I have a choice: I can focus in on defeat, or on truth. I can cower behind my weakness, or I can stand strong in the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). I KNOW the hand of the Lord my God is with me as I strive to follow this Christ-centered life. I know the enemy loves to throw his darts at me every chance he gets, but victory is mine when I focus on the right things, draw in with a band of Christ-followers, arm myself, and use wisdom in the way I conduct myself and use my time, talents, and energy.

P~ Lord, today I choose to stand firm in your truth. I refuse to nurse my own fears, weaknesses, and resentments. I choose instead to focus on Your strength and power, made available to me through Your Spirit. Help me to stand firm and fight with the weapons You have given me. Help me encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ when they get overwhelmed by the enemy’s attack as well. You are good, God, and You reign victorious. Your hand is with me. I stand in that truth today.

This is what it’s about | Nikki Metzger

S~ Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust My Spirit into Your hands!”  And with those words He breathed His last. Luke 23:46 (NLT)

O/A~ Jesus has died.  Willingly.  For me.  For all of us.  He trusted His Father and chose His will over His own. Truly, truly this is what really matters.  Jesus.  Dying for us to live.  But to live whole, complete lives!

I sinned yesterday with some pretty hurtful words.  Words spoken in the privacy of our home, but if spoken outside our home, sound like arrogance and have the potential to hurt and damage a relationship.

That was not my heart behind the words, but I can easily see where they would lead to hurt.  Then I worried all day about my words.  Fretted about this relationship.  I failed completely as a lover to Jesus in this relationship to someone who doesn’t know the Lord.  What if they decide to hate Christians forever because of my words?

Then I read about crucifixion and TRUTH readjusts things in my head and heart.  He died for my sins!  I’ve confessed and repented of them and He has forgiven me!

And is Jesus not bigger than the pain I’ve caused?  He is!!

P~ Father, thank You!!  For so much!  I am sorry about my words!  Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross and taking all of my sin away.  I can’t imagine living with the heaviness and burden of all my sin.  I LOVE YOU!

Our team would love the privilege of praying for you! Please share how we can lift you in prayer at prayer@DiscoverOneThing.com

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Posted on October 10, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. i enjoyed your writing, Tara. Thanks for taking time to make the scripture come alive.

  2. Beautiful writing Tara!

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