“Didn’t your ancestors do the same things, so that our God brought all this calamity on us and on this city?” (Neh. 13:18)
Reading: Nehemiah Chapter 13.
Give thanks and praise to the Lord that we are opening up in Ottawa and pray for those that are still in lockdown.
Pray for a thorough work of renewal to be done in your life and the lives of our brothers and sisters in the church.
Ask the Lord if there is any sin that is camping outside your gate, waiting for an opportunity to slip back in.
Ask the Lord for an opportunity to stand with a brother or a sister in prayer over an issue they are facing.
Reflection on Nehemiah.
In this final chapter of Nehemiah, things begin to settle back down to normal. The city is beginning to function and business is kicking off. The people are prospering once more. Yet, how quick they were to forget the Word of God and fall back into the old ways of doing things. There was still a disconnect between spiritual renewal and application to everyday life.
As we reflect back upon the darkest days of the past sixteen months, the Holy Spirit has been speaking to the Church in Canada and indeed the Church globally. Like the city gates of Jerusalem, we felt like we only escaped as if through fire. We thank the Lord that restrictions are lifting, businesses are opening up and we are able to gather in church buildings in greater numbers. This is not the case in every country. Many other cities like Sydney, Australia are going into lockdown. How easy is it to forget the lessons we have learned and go back to business as usual?
"In those days" of opening back up, the people started trading on the sabbath. These were the same people that only a short while before promised that they would obey the Law of God. When the city gates were shut, foreign traders would camp outside the walls. How long before the gates would be opened to them on the sabbath again? How long before they would intermarry with people from other nations in prohibition to the Mosaic Law?
This is a picture of how easily we let sin back into our lives. We have spent 2 weeks consecrating ourselves, mourning over the disconnection of our hearts to the Lord, fasting, and praying. As we loosen some of the restraints and head into the relaxed rhythms of Summer, this is not a time to retire the watchman on the walls. Sin is camping outside of your gates. Unless you banish it entirely, it won't be long before you let it in your gates and little by little things will encroach on your sabbath rest and your heart will grow cold. As the Lord said to Cain; "If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” - Gen.4:7.
Our final thought; If there is a disconnection between your spiritual life and your secular life, you have not been spiritually renewed. Spiritual renewal is not just a feeling, it's not just Holy Ghost goosebumps. Spiritual renewal is when Jesus Christ is seated on the throne in every sphere of your life, and your whole person is in submission to the Holy Spirit.