Introduction

“And truly Jesus did many other signs
  in the presence of His disciples, which
  are not written in this book;  but these
  are written that you may believe that
  Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and
  that believing you may have life
  in His name.”- John (Jn 20:30-31)

John tells us that there are many miracles performed by Jesus which were not recorded in the gospel. He had specially chosen 7 for us to read. He did that so that we can believe that Jesus is indeed the Christ and we can have life through his name.

So far we have taken a look at these miracles 

1. Jesus turning water into wine (Part 1, Part 2)
2. Jesus Healing The Nobleman’s son (Part 3, Part 4)
3. Jesus Healing By The Pool Of Bethesda (Part 5, Part 6)
4. Jesus feeding 5000 with 5 loaves and 2 Fishes (Part 7 , Part 8)
5. Jesus Walking on Water (Part 9, Part 10)
6. Jesus Healing A Blind Man (Part 11, Part 12)

We have finally reached the seventh miracle. That is the miracle that we are most probably most familiar with

The Raising Of Lazarus

https://i1.wp.com/www.crestinortodox.ro/admin/_files/newsannounce/betania-lazar-16.jpg
           The Traditional Site Of Lazarus’s Tomb

Now when He had said these things,
  He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus,
  come forth!”” – John (Jn 11:43)

Jn 11:38-45 Records of Lazarus being dead and buried. During that time Jesus told the people to open the entrance to the tomb. Martha his sister told the Lord

“Lord, by this time there is a stench,
  for he has been dead four days.”- Martha (Jn 11:39)

Yet Jesus cried out with a loud voice “Lazarus come forth!” and Lazarus came out from the tomb and he was raised from the dead. There were many who were present, and many believed Jesus upon seeing this miracle. For no man had the power and the authority to raised the dead. For only God is the master of life. It is God who gave life to human being and it is only God who could resurrect the dead. Today as we read this miracle, are we willing to believe that Jesus is truly God?

Worshipping the Lord Of Life

Man ought to worship the God who created life, for he is the reason why we could live and enjoy our existence. That is why we need to be thankful to the God who had given us life. While we should be thankful for our parents for giving birth to us, but they are not the master of life and they did not create life. For only God has the power to create and Jesus is non other than the Lord of life the only true God.

Jesus performed this miracle on Lazarus who was dead for 4 days, he does it to tell us that he is indeed the Lord of life and he is the one that created life. He said it with his own words

“I am the resurrection and the life.
  He who believes in Me, though he
  may die, he shall live.  And whoever
  lives and believes in Me shall never die.
  Do you believe this?”- Jesus (Jn 11:25-26)

Today he tells us the same, but are we willing to believe him? One day Jesus will come and judge the world, and those who are dead will resurrect. At that time those who believe in him and have their sin forgiven, will be able to enter heaven and enjoy eternal life.

Jesus came to tell us that he had the power to raise the dead and grant eternal life. Those words are true and it is only though Jesus one can receive the forgiveness of sin and to enter heaven. Those who believe in him will be raised and will enjoy eternal life.

Jesus had used his authority to prove this by commanding Lazarus to be raised to life. This is an intentional miracle with a purpose to testify that he is indeed the Lord of life.

The Intentional Actions From Jesus

At the very beginning of Lazarus illness , his sisters sent men to Jesus asking him to come heal their brother. But Jesus did not go immediately but he just  said

“This sickness is not unto death,
  but for the glory of God, that the
  Son of God may be glorified
  through it.”- Jesus (Jn 11:4)

On the surface it seems to say that the sickness would not  kill Lazarus and he would not die from it. But the truth is, Jesus already knew that Lazarus will die of it.  This can be seen in his conversation with his disciples

(Extracted from Jn 11:11-15)

Jesus      : Our friend Lazarus sleeps, 
                   but I go that I may wake 
                   him up.

Disciples : Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.

Jesus        : Lazarus is dead.  And I am glad 
                     for your sakes that I was not there, 
                     that you may believe. Nevertheless 
                     let us go to him.

So was Jesus lying when he said that the sickness is not onto death? It appears as if he had shot himself on the foot by  saying it earlier. It is even more ironic to claim that Lazarus was sleeping and he needs to be woken up. It looks as though Jesus was unable to differentiate between the living and the dead.

But when Jesus says that Lazarus is sleeping, he already knew that he will die. When he said that he needs to go wake him up, he is saying that he wanted to wake Lazarus from the dead. He will  perform this miracle as if he is waking someone who is asleep.

He deliberately choose to perform this miracle  for the sake of the disciples. He wanted Lazarus to die for four days before he raises him out from the dead. He wanted to do it so that they will believe that he is the Lord of Life and the resurrection.

Death Comes To All And After That Judgement

Søren Kierkegaard once wrote a book titled “Sickness onto death” and from that book he claims that man is stricken with a illness onto death, and that is why many despair. For they know that whatever they do will lead to eventual death.

But here we read of Jesus coming  with a good news saying “This illness is not onto death, though you may die, I have the power to raise you up from death. Those who believe in me will live forever”

So we ought to believe in the words of Jesus and know that he will save us from judgement. We need to believe that he had the power to raise us up from the death and bring us to the kingdom of heaven. This is the greatest grace God had given to man kind

Indeed, all man must die and after death comes judgement (Heb 9:28) but those who believe in Jesus will be raised from the dead into eternal life. But sadly not everyone is willing to accept this.

Conclusion So Far

We know that Jesus performed this miracle by intentionally delaying himself. He wanted Lazarus to be dead for more than 4 days. This is because the Jews during the time of Christ have a superstitious belief saying that when a man dies, his spirit will hover around the body in the tomb for at least 3 days.  They think that the soul will depart from the person and after that it would start to smell. 

Jesus performed this miracles so that all of us who read of it today can believe of his power with assurance.

John recorded this miracle to tell us that Jesus is indeed the Lord of Life. Therefore we need to seize this opportunity to believe in him.

Introduction

The first week of 2016 had passed. Let us resolved to make our faith our priorities. Let us ask God to bless and watch over our resolutions and our family. We all hope for a new beginning in this new year. Many of us would repaint our houses and wear new clothes for the new year.

We all hope to renew our living environment. But as we renew our surrounding let us learn to renew our spiritual life as well. I would like to share 3 areas that need to be renewed.

Pt 1: Renewal In Spiritual Knowledge

Paul reminds us

“Do not lie to one another, since
  you have put off the old man with
  his deeds, and have put on the new
  man who is renewed in knowledge
  according to the image of Him who
  created him,” – Paul (Col 3:9-10)

Here it tells us to be renewed in spiritual knowledge, to put on a new nature. The new man is renewed in knowledge and  it in the image of his creator. That is why we must put off our old nature and its practice. ‘’

We all have experience taking showers.  We put off our dirty clothes, clean our body and put on a new set of clothing. It makes us refreshed and comfortable after a bath. We will not put on our dirty clothing after our bath. We will choose to put on new clothes and remain fresh.

In the same way, we must learn to put away our old self in our pursuit of faith.  The old nature that Paul is referring to is our desires of the flesh. They are the evil thoughts and evil passion within us. That is why Paul tells us to put these members on earth to death. He said

“Therefore put to death your members
  which are on the earth: fornication,
  uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and
  covetousness, which is idolatry.” – Paul (Col 3:5)

At our baptism, our old man(Rom 6:1-10)  was crucified and our life is now hidden in Christ and in God. That is why we must curb our desires. Paul tells us to put it to death, to treat it as if it is dead. A person who is dead cannot feel anything nor does he knows anything. We need to cut off these natures that corrupt our spiritual life.

To Remove Sin (Leaven)  In Our Lives

That is why Paul continues to tell us 

“But now you yourselves are to put off
  all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy,
  filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie
  to one another, since you have put off the
  old man with his deeds "- Paul (Col 3:8-9)

Paul had told us to remove these things that are filthy and prevent us from achieving perfection in faith. If we could remove them, we could put on this new nature in Christ. Indeed, at our baptism, our sin are forgiven. Whoever who is baptised in the name of Jesus had their sins forgiven and we are all born anew after that. But this does not guarantee that our hearts will remain clean and sinless until we die.

That is why Paul said in Titus 3:5

“not by works of righteousness which
  we have done, but according to His
  mercy He saved us, through the washing
  of regeneration and renewing of the
  Holy Spirit, “ – Paul (Tit 3:5)

Besides the washing of Regeneration (Baptism). We need the renewal of the Holy Spirit. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to renew us in our spiritual life. After we receive the words of God through hearing his words. We need to let it change our lives, then we will be a true Christian.

If we want to be a true follower of Christ, we need to put away our old nature and its practices. That is why Paul says “put off the old man with his deeds”

The Jews keep the feast of the unleavened bread. During that time, they will remove all leaven from their house. The leaven of the old testament is often described as sin in the new testament. When we are baptised, our sins are washed away and forgiven. But as we continue in life we commit sin once again

To Change Our Habits

Often, we allow sin to become a habit in our life. Likewise, we have cultivated many habits, the young children like to use their mobile device all the time. As a South East Asian, we love spicy food and we would eat everything with Chilli.

Once I have an Indonesian friend who went with me to a Ramen store. He ordered a Ramen that comes with a spicy sauce. The sauce is called, “The Volcano Sauce” it is so hot that I have the problem eating it with noodles.  But yet that friend of mine can finish the entire plate of sauce.

It is surprising that the same sauce will taste different to different individuals.

Indeed, our habits and taste had always been a part of our life. But if our habits damage our health, we would make adjustments in our life and our health. Even if we love food that are spicy,  we will choose to eat less of it.

These same principles apply to our life of faith. We want to pursue holiness, but our habits make us commit mistakes after mistakes. That is why we need to be renewed in the knowledge of the Lord. We need to move in the right direction and to align our goals towards it.

We may appear healthy and we do not feel sick, but we go for medical check up on the regular basis. If the doctor tells us to change our habits we would change it for our health sake. In the same way, whenever we listen to the word of God. and it tells us the direction and areas we need to change in life. We should change.

This is what Paul means by being renewed in knowledge. This is something that requires us to put in our effort. We need to work hard to take up the image of our creator. It is an image of true righteousness and holiness. It can receive the truth.

“But you have not so learned Christ,
  if indeed you have heard Him and
  have been taught by Him, as the truth
  is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning
  your former conduct, the old man which
  grows corrupt according to the deceitful
  lusts,  and be renewed in the spirit of
  your mind, and that you put on the new
  man which was created according to God,
  in true righteousness and holiness.”- Paul (Eph 4:20-24)

If we want to learn Christ, we must be heard and be taught by him. We need to know the truth that is in Jesus. Verse 22 remind us to put off our old nature, that is to change ourselves. This is important for if you have learnt the truth but did not change we will still be our old man.

We need to establish a good habit in faith, we need to start by learning about Jesus. We need to change our way of life and move out of our comfort zone. For we all have many bad habits, they are the result from our own laziness. As the result, we are the same day after day, year after year.

Let us strive to make improvement in our life. Let us renew our spirit and establish new habits. One of the first habits we need to cultivate is to attend service regularly. If we want to know Christ we have to continually strive and learn to know Christ. We need to come for service in order to renew this knowledge.

Pt 2: Renewal In Our Inner Nature

Paul once said.

“Therefore we do not lose heart.
  Even though our outward man is
  perishing, yet the inward man
  is being renewed day by day.”  – Paul (2 Cor 4:16)

Why would we lose heart? Sometimes we lose heart because we saw our body perishing day after day. We also encounter affliction and pressures in life. Sometimes we encounter difficulties as well. These difficulties prevent us from achieving our goal to enter the kingdom of heaven.

There are many things that worry us in life. They rob us of our heart to pursue God. That is why Paul tell us not to lose heart, for all these pain and suffering cannot outweigh the glory that God had prepared for us in heaven.

We often allow the things on earth to pull our faith down. We only notice the dark clouds that hang above us., we are unable to see the sun that is beyond the dark clouds. Those who had taken a flight will experience this. There will be times before take off we may encounter a storm or heavy rain.

As the plane takes off, it will rise and enter the clouds. The plane will vibrate and shake in the process but as soon as the plane rise above the crowds, we will be able to see the sun. Indeed, below the clouds, there are bad weather, storm and rain. But beyond the cloud, it is blue and beautiful.

God will not make the sun disappear just because of the black clouds above us.  The sun will always be there, let us not focus on the dark clouds only. Let us look further and behold the sun God had prepared.

I remember once I was learning driving back at home in Singapore. During the practical class, we are often taught to look far when driving at high speed. If we lower our head, we may not be able to see the dangers before us. At the same time, we would miss the beautiful sceneries around us.

The same applies in life, we need to develop the habit of looking up. If we do not lift our eyes to look upon God in heaven. We will find it hard to be joyful, we will always focus on our suffering and our problem. But if we have the faith to look upon God, we will find him ahead of us and watching over us.

That is why we need to renew our inner nature daily. That will prevent our spiritual life from withering away. Then we can continue our journey of faith with a joyful heart.

How Do We Renew Our Inner Nature.  

Paul once said.

“knowing that He who raised up the
  Lord Jesus will also raise us up with
  Jesus, and will present us with you.” – Paul (2 Cor 4:14)

The first thing we need to know is that our Lord who had called Christ to rise again will make us rise again as well. He will bring us into his presence so that we can be renewed daily. That is why Christians have the hope of Eternal life, it is a promise from God.  It is something we need to remember,

Just as Paul also writes 

“For we know that if our earthly house,
  this tent, is destroyed, we have a building
  from God, a house not made with hands,
  eternal in the heavens.” –Paul (2 Cor 5:1)

Paul says that if our earthly tent is destroyed. We will receive a building from God. This is something a Christian ought to remember. We need to tell ourselves that our lives on earth are just like living in a tent. It is temporary and it is not as comfortable as a house.

I remember that when I was 11 I went camping with my school mates. We need to pitch our own tent and we have to sleep in the open. It was fun and it is a novel feeling. Everyone looked forward to the camping trip. But those who have camped before know that it’s hard to sleep well in the tent.  There was one night where there was a major rainstorm, the teachers are worried that we would fall sick. So we have to sleep in the hall on the last night. While we are sleeping there are many mosquitoes that disturb our rest.  They are able to bite us even when we use insect repellent.

But as we lived in the tents, we know that one day we will return home. In the same way, our life on earth is like living in a tent. We would eventually return to our heavenly home where it is more comfortable. That is why we need to renew ourselves with this living hope.

As we live another year let us be one step closer to that living hope. For our life of faith is just like a race. There are a starting point and an ending line. When we depart from the starting point, we are one step closer to the finishing line. Unless we are running on the spot then there will be no progress.

That is why we need to progress in faith, we need to have this hope of enteral life in our heart. Especially when we remember the kingdom of heaven where God had prepared for us. Even though our body is perishing daily. Let us remember that we are one step closer to the kingdom of heaven. Then we will walk with more strength and with more energy. We need to be renewed in our life of faith.

 

Pt 3: Renewal Of Our Mind

Paul once mentioned in the book to the Romans

“And do not be conformed to this world,
  but be transformed by the renewing of
  your mind, that you may prove what is
  that good and acceptable and perfect
  will of God.” – Paul (Rom 12:2)

Here it talks about a renewal of the mind. This is important for the world around us is constantly changing. It usually does not change for the better. The more it changes the more unstable it becomes. Many things that were old in the past are now becoming trends once again. There is nothing new under the sun.

Whenever we read the papers, we often read of news that saddens us, we heard of wars, terrorist states, economy crisis, the falling oil prices. We read of companies folding, retrenchment looming. It is hard for us to remain at peace when we think about this news.

So how can we renew our minds? how can we be at peace? Most importantly how should a Christian look at this issues?

We need to know that no matter how difficult the situation on the world become. God is in control of everything on earth. He is the one that ensure the rise of fall of kingdoms and nations. The bible records of rulers and kings who were in the plan of God

“Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger
  And the staff in whose hand is My indignation.
  I will send him against an ungodly nation,
  And against the people of My wrath
  I will give him charge,
  To seize the spoil, to take the prey,
  And to tread them down like the
  mire of the streets.” – YHWH (Is 10:5-6)

“I have made the earth, the man
  and the beast that are on the ground,
  by My great power and by My
  outstretched arm, and have given
  it to whom it seemed proper to Me.

  And now I have given all these lands
  into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the
  king of Babylon, My servant; and the
  beasts of the field I have also given him
  to serve him. So all nations shall serve
  him and his son and his son’s son, until
  the time of his land comes; and then
  many nations and great kings shall make
  him serve them.

  And it shall be, that the nation and kingdom
  which will not serve Nebuchadnezzar
  the king of Babylon, and which will not
  put its neck under the yoke of the king of
  Babylon, that nation I will punish with the
  sword, the famine, and the pestilence, until
  I have consumed them by his hand. “ – YHWH (Jer 27:5-8)

“Thus says the Lord to His anointed,
  To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held—
  To subdue nations before him
  And loose the armor of kings,
  To open before him the double doors,
  So that the gates will not be shut:

  ‘I will go before you
  And make the crooked places straight;
  I will break in pieces the gates of bronze
  And cut the bars of iron.
  I will give you the treasures of darkness
  And hidden riches of secret places,
  That you may know that I, the Lord,
  Who call you by your name,
  Am the God of Israel.
  For Jacob My servant’s sake,
  And Israel My elect,
  I have even called you by your name;
  I have named you, though you have
  not known Me.

  I have raised him up in righteousness,
  And I will direct all his ways;
  He shall build My city
  And let My exiles go free,
  Not for price nor reward,” – YHWH (Is 45:1-4,13)

Can we see that the rulers of the world are all ruling under the watchful eyes of God?  The world, as chaotic as it is now is still under the control of God. That is why we must know the will of God. We must not allow the things in the world to affect our relationship with Good.

That is why a renewal of mind is to know the will of God. Not to allow the trends in the world to affect our faith. For human being are always changing. Let us make sure that our change is bringing us to the right direction and not drawing us away from God.

Concluding Thoughts

In this entry we studied 3 types of renewal we ought to have. We need to renew ourselves in the knowledge of Christ. That require us to put off our old man and put on our new man. It requires us to renew ourselves and to stop sinning.  It tells us to put on new habits and to listen to the words of God.

Secondly, we talk about renewal in our inner heart. It tells us to look beyond the troubles around us and to look upon God. IT require us to constantly remind ourselves that we have a home in heaven. It can give us the strength to continue in this heavenly journey.

Finally, we talk about renewal in the mind. We need to remember that God is in control of the events in the world. We need to keep our mind focus on the will of God and to head to the right direction and draw near to God.

In this new year, let us draw closer to God and strive to renew ourselves in these 3 areas. For God had prepared the kingdom of God and is there waiting for us. May we all be blessed in this new year.

Introduction

The modern men seldom look back nor do they look up. Today if we were to hit the streets, we often see them looking down. It doesn’t matter if they are in the mall or on the road. They will tend to look down all the time, with their eyes fixated on their phones. What is scarier is when they do that even as they are driving. In the Chinese language, we nicknamed this generation as “底头族” which literally translates to “A tribe that lowers their head”.

But if we choose to look back we may realise that we have lost a lot of beautiful sights which pass us by.  That is when we realise that time had passed quickly. The year 2015 is about to pass and we are about to enter a new year. That is when we realise that time had indeed passed us by quickly. That is when we become concerned and we regret not looking back or looking up.

How does that apply to us today? Especially as the current year draws to a close.  To some of us, it does not make a difference. But to many others it seems to matter a lot. Let us take a look at two reflections and learn from them

The Reflection And  The Song Of Moses

Moses reflected on his life as such

“The days of our lives are seventy years;
  And if by reason of strength they are 
  eighty years,
  Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow;
  For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
  Who knows the power of Your anger?
  For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath.
  So teach us to number our days,
  That we may gain a heart of wisdom.” – Moses (Ps 90:10-12)

As Moses looked back at the days he had spent on earth. He felt that life on earth is short and it is full of labour pain and sorrow. As he looked back, he saw the darker aspect of the life of men. But as he looks upwards, he saw his eternal home up in the heavens. He is able to see the bright future ahead of him.

That is why he said “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom”

The Importance Of Looking Back

As we step into the new year, let us take the time to reflect on how we spent our last year. Let us make new plans for our life. Have we used our time to prepare to enter our home in heaven?

These are important question for the kingdom of heaven is not open to everyone

“Not everyone who says to Me, 
  ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom 
  of heaven, but he who does the will 
  of My Father in heaven.
 
Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, 
  Lord, have we not prophesied in Your
  name, cast out demons in Your name,
  and done many wonders in Your name?’
  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never
  knew you; depart from Me, you who practice
  lawlessness!’”- Jesus (Matt 7:21-23)

This is why Christians ought to follow God now, let us not wait  until the door is closed before we knock. For right now, when the door is open for us, we could knock and enter. But if the door is closed no amount of regret could let us enter into the Lord.

That is why we need this heart of wisdom to prepare for our home in the future. We need to make use of our remaining time to draw close to God and to walk with him.

Reflecting On Our Past Mistake

Sometimes as we reflect on the year, we may encounter occasions that sadden us. When our health is not as good as before, when we encounter events that take away joy from our heart. When our hearts are weight with many anxieties, vexing problems that clause sorrows.

These are things which we do not want to encounter, it may happen in our work, in our families as well as our church ministry. They appear as if it is a black spot causing much sadness and regret.

That is when we need to look up and look at God. For only by looking upwards can we experience hope and comfort. For we are assured that there is a place of eternal joy and peace prepared for us.  We need to have the heart of Wisdom to prepare and enter that rest. For we know that Christ is at the door waiting to welcome us there.

But are we truly able to get to that rest? It depends on how we prepare for it today. In Psalm 90 Moses said

“Who knows the power of Your anger?
  For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath.” – Moses (Ps 90:11)

Today in church many pastors refuse to talk about judgement and wrath. They wanted to bring messages of love and hope, messages to give warmth and happiness. Many would not prefer speakers who talk about God’s wrath and judgment.

We believed that we have toiled hard for 6 days and were carrying lots of burdens. We need more messages of warmth and comfort and not words of rebuke and Gods wrath. We often think “God is Love, why would one talk about the wrath of God?”

It sound reasonable, but is that the only message from the bible?

Indeed, God is love and he wanted us to draw close to him and experience his love and be saved. But likewise, God is also a consuming fire. For when the day of Judgment is here, then we will see the fire and his wrath. Anyone who went against the word of God will be judged.

If everyone only wants to talk about the love and peace of God and no one is willing to talk about sin and judgement. How could one prepare for the coming of the Lord? Will it be too late if we start preparing only when he comes?

Therefore, the song of Moses reminds us that we will all face judgement from God. That will be a time when we are forced to look back and consider how we lived our lives. God will show us the things we did that incurred his wrath. Likewise, God will also reward those who did things that glorified his name.

The Importance Of Doing Right

That is why Paul tells us

All things are lawful for me,[
  
but not all things are helpful;
   all things are lawful for me,
  
but not all things edify.

  Therefore, whether you eat or
  drink, or whatever you do, 
  do all to the glory of God. “ – Paul (1 Cor 10:23,31)

It is true that we have the liberty to do everything we want. Back in the military, they often say, “Do but don’t get caught”. But Paul reminds us that “everything is lawful. but not all are helpful and edifying”. That is why on top of everything that typical man would review in his new year. Christian ought to consider if their actions brought glory or shame onto God.

Perhaps we may not be breaking the law, and the courts will not question our action. But God will definitely question us on the last day. That is why the preacher in Ecclesiastes tell us that we could do all our hearts desire and see what we want to see, but know this that we will be judged eventually.

That is why he concluded saying

“Fear God and keep His commandments,
   For this is man’s all.
  For God will bring every work into judgment,
  Including every secret thing,
  Whether good or evil.” – Solomon (Eccl 12:13-14)

This is why Paul reminded the church in Corinth that in everything they do, they must give glory to God.

Perhaps by now we would have recalled many things that happen within this year. The many occasions where we are tempted and we sinned against God. IT makes us sad and regretful. But we need to remember the lessons we learnt from these mistakes. Perhaps we may be able to rectify some of them, but there are many which are irreversible.

We need to know that a moment of folly can lead to years of regret.

Moving Forward With Repentance

That is why we must be careful and mindful over how we should lead this coming year. Let us not repeat these mistakes once again.

As we reflect on the year 2015, we would remember our mistakes and the areas we need to improve. We would also see the things that we have done well. Let us resolve to continue in the things that are right before God and let us have the courage to repent from our mistake and resolve not to continue in the error. For the only way to escape the wrath of God is to turn back and repent.

For God said

“Therefore I will judge you, O house
  of Israel, every one according to his ways,
  Repent, and turn from all your transgressions,
  so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away
  from you all the transgressions which you have
  committed, and get yourselves a new heart and
   a new spirit. For why should you die, O house
  of Israel?  For I have no pleasure in the death
  of one who dies,Therefore turn and live!” – YHWH (Eze 18:30-32)

This is why we must repent, and look back to check if we have sinned against God. For Jesus tells us.

And if anyone hears My words
  and does not believe,[ I do not
  judge him; for I did not come to
  judge the world but to save the
  world. He who rejects Me, and
  does not receive My words, has
  that which judges him—the word
  that I have spoken will judge him
  in the last day.”- Jesus (Jn 12:47-48)

Here Jesus tells us that his words will judge us on the last day. We often think that the word of Jesus is only the words of salvation. In fact they are more than that, they are also the words of Judgment. Let us not just call him “Lord Lord” and yet disobey his commands and instruction.

Those who are wise and God-fearing will choose to follow his words. For they know that his word will judge them. That is why we need to let go of our sins and receive a new spirit and a new heart. For why should we die? Why don’t we turn back?

It is our choice and God will not force us to repent. He hopes that we will turn back to him he hopes that he will repent by our own free will. He never desired the death of the wicked he would rather that they turn back and lived.

Looking Back At Our Direction And Goals In Life

Now let us take some time to reflect on the goals we have set for the year 2015. Sometimes we as adults are guilty of leading a life that is aimless.

That is why Paul tells us

“And everyone who competes
  for the prize is temperate in all
  things. Now they do it to obtain
  a perishable crown, but we for
  an imperishable crown.
  Therefore I run thus: not with
  uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as
  one who beats the air. But I
  discipline my body and bring it
  into subjection, lest, when I have
  preached to others, I myself
  should become disqualified.” – Paul (1 Cor 9:25-27)

When Paul looked back in his life, he can say with confidence, that he is not running aimlessly in life. He had the right goal and he is running towards it.

Today many Christian work hard and run their race with all their strength. But are our goals correct? Are we running at the right direction?

I remember six years ago I shared the lyrics of the song. “Nowhere Man”

Let us not be like the nowhere man who laboured so hard without any result. There was a Chinese Poet who describes this aptly. “ “采得百花成蜜后,为谁辛苦为谁忙”(Translated “After turning a hundred flowers into honey. for whom are they toil and suffer for? “)

Indeed, we work harder than bees, who are hard at work creating honey as we are sleeping at night. Just when we think we could enjoy the fruit of our labour, we encounter unfortunate events. That is when we wonder, “Why are we so busy all the time? What’s purpose does it serve?”

The Old Man And The Sea

This reminds me of the work of Mr Ernest Hemingway. He spent much of his life pursuing one objective after another. He achieved fame and status, he worked hard and played hard. He was a wartime reporter and he is known for his fighting spirit, especially against all the challenges he encounters in life.

At the end of his life, he wrote the book “The Old Man And The Sea”

The book talks about an old Cuban fisherman who went out into the deep to catch fish. While everyone says he is unlucky, he decided to venture out on his own to fish. On that trip, he caught a giant Marlin fish, one that is so huge that he was unable to put it on his boat. Therefore, he had to tie it at the side of his boat as he returns to shore.

He wanted to show the fish to those who mock him and he wanted to celebrate his great catch. But as he was returning to show, the sharks came and they wanted to eat his prize. He fought them off and used his oar to hit them. He scolded the sharks for being bullies, for they wanted to eat the fruit of his labour. He used everything that is in his disposal to fight off the sharks. He tried to row back to shore as fast as he can. But at the very end, he realised that his prized catch is merely a dead carcass and a huge skeleton.

Hemingway was referring to himself in the story. He had worked so hard his entire life and he caught a huge fish. After a while, the fish became bones and then he realise that all the things he achieves are temporary. In a twinkling of an eye, it will disappear. That is why he was disappointed with life and he cannot see the point behind his hard work.

We know that at the very end, he committed suicide. He felt as if his life was just like beating the air. At the very end, all that he received were fish bones.

Finding Meaning In Life Struggles

But Paul said that he was fighting not as one who beats the air. For he is able to see the values behind his struggles. He did not fight for the things of the world but for the things in heaven. He is not fighting to receive a perishable crown but he wanted to get the imperishable crown from heaven.

As the result at the end of his life, he can say with confidence.

I have fought the good fight,
  I have finished the race,
  I have kept the faith. 
  Finally, there is laid up for me 
  the crown of righteousness,
  which the Lord, the righteous
  Judge, will give to me on that Day” – Paul (2 Tim 4:7-8)

Here it presents to us two choices we can take in life. We all toil and struggle in life and sometimes we become tired. But what do we want to achieve in the end? Do we want to just receive fish bones, that will disappear in the twinkling of an eye? or do we want to be like Paul who sang the song of victory at the end?  For we know if we continue to strive in this race and to finish the fight. There will be a crown of righteousness waiting for us.

The Reflection And  The Prayer Of David

“Lord, make me to know my end,
  And what is the measure of my days,
  That I may know how frail I am.
  Indeed, You have made my days 
  as handbreadths, And my age is as 
  nothing before You;
  Certainly every man at his best state
  is but vapor.”– David (Ps 39:4-5)                                                

The prayer of David is similar to the prayer of Moses. For be it a prophet or a king, our work will finish one day and it will come to an end. The only thing that is eternal and will never end is found in heaven and not on earth.

That is why we need to have the wisdom from God to see it. We need to pray to God make us know our end. But as I read the two prayers. There is something that baffled me.  The fact is, everyone including children knows that life on earth will end one day. Why then did David and Moses ask God to let them know their end? Even if we know our end there is nothing we can do about it.

Both David and Moses is trying to know the measure of their days. They wanted to be reminded not to waste their time over vain pursuits.   For David continues saying

“Surely every man walks about like
  a shadow; Surely they busy
  themselves in vain; He heaps up
  riches,  And does not know who will
  gather them.” – David (Ps 39:6)

David wanted to adjust his direction in life. Perhaps in the past, he was busy chasing after riches, fame, status and success. Are these not the things we desire today?  We need to know that at the very end it would all be empty. Therefore, we need to have the same understanding as David. For he said

   “And now, Lord, what  do I wait for?
   My hope is in You.”” – David (Ps 39:7)

David mentioned in another psalm

“Arise, O Lord,
  Confront him, cast him down;
  Deliver my life from the wicked
  with Your sword,

  With Your hand from men, O Lord,
   From men of the world who have
   their portion in this life, And whose
   belly You fill with Your hidden treasure.
   They are satisfied with children,
   And leave the rest of their possession
   for their babes.

   As for me, I will see Your face in
   righteousness;  I shall be satisfied when
   I awake in Your likeness.”- David (Ps 17:13-15)

David wanted God to save him from the people in the world, from the ones whom God had filled their stomach with good things. Those who can leave their possession for their children. These are things we desire and things we hope for, but yet David wanted God to save him from these. He would rather hope in the Lord.

For one day we will know that when we leave the world, everything will be empty. It is a fact that we know, but we pretend as if we want to forget it. Therefore, let us be like Moses and David let us not be busy with our heads bowed looking at the things of the world. Let us learn to look up, for we are the citizen of heaven and we need to look upon our heavenly home.

For we are but sojourners on this earth, we came to earth as if we are travellers. We are a temporary guest on earth and one day we need to return home. Will the heavenly kingdom be opened for us? It depends on how we prepared ourselves on earth.

Looking Back At What We Prepared

As human beings, we often prepare for many things. What have we prepared in the past year? People in the world often prepare for many things in life.

Jesus once talked about a rich fool who had prepared many things in life. He was well prepared for retirement and he was contented. For he told himself

“Soul, you have many goods laid up for 
  many years; take your ease; eat, drink,
  and be merry.” – Rich Fool (Lk 12:19)

He thinks that he could enjoy the fruit of his labour it would be a waste not to enjoy. But God said to him.

“Fool! This night your soul will be required
  of you; then whose will those things be
  which you have provided?” – God (Lk 12:20)

A rich fool is a smart man, he knows how to prepare for life and he knows how to make money. But he had forgotten what he really need to prepare. Jesus reminds us through that parable and he asked, “What are you busy preparing for the past year?”

Actually, sometimes we prepare hard for old age and retirement when we are down doing that we even prepared for our own death. We draw up wills and we divide the possession among our children. This preparations are necessary.

But what is more, important is to prepare to enter the kingdom of God. Jesus reminds us of two things that we ought to prepare.

  “And while they went to buy,
    the bridegroom came, and those
    who were ready went in with him
    to the wedding; and the door was shut. 

  “Afterward the other virgins came also,
    saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’
   
But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly,
    I say to you, I do not know you.’

  “Watch therefore, for you know neither
    the day nor the hour in which the Son of
    Man is coming.” – Jesus (Matt 25:10-13)

In this parable, the 5 foolish virgins did not prepare extra oil. When the door was shut they were shut out of the door. The oil is often referred to the Holy Spirit, it is the spirit of God dwelling with us. It is something we need to pray for it is not received at the point of Baptism or when you believed.

That is why the apostles need to pray for it, even Mary the mother of Jesus needs to pray for it. It is the guarantee of our inheritance as Paul said it in Eph 1:13-14. 

Besides this Jesus reminds us of one more thing from the book of Revelations.

“Remember therefore how you have
  received and heard; hold fast and repent.
  Therefore if you will not watch, I will
  come upon you as a thief, and you will
  not know what hour I will come upon you.
  You have a few names even in Sardis who
  have not defiled their garments; and they
  shall walk with Me in white, for they are
  worthy.  He who overcomes shall be clothed
  in white garments, and I will not blot out his
  name from the Book of Life; but I will
  confess his name before My Father and
  before His angels.” – Jesus (Rev 3:3-5)

Here Jesus remind us to look back and remember what we have received and heard. We need to hold fast to that truth that we have learnt initially. Do we still believe in them or have we start to doubt the words of the Lord? Jesus knows who had held on to them and who had left the initial faith.

It is our choice to hold on to our beliefs or to leave them. But our choice will affect our future.

That is why Jesus reminds us to hold fast to what we have heard and to put on our white garments. If we choose to defile our garments we will be rejected. Those who overcome their obstacles and are victorious will be cloth in white and God will not blot his name from the book of life. He will confess him before the Father and before his angels.

Concluding Thoughts

As the new year approaches. We know that there are many uncertainties ahead. We are unsure of what lies ahead but we can ask God to guide us every day. We do not know what troubles we may meet or when we will be deceived and fall from our faith.

But we can ask God to preserve us daily and we can ask him to guide us every day in this new year,

As we celebrate this new year, let us reflect on the previous and let us continue to look up and remember God. May God guide us in this new year and bless us and keep us in the faith.

Introduction

So far we have covered 4 factors behinds the success of Nehemiah.

1st Factor : He realised his commission and he prayed to God to help him  (Part 1)
2nd Factor : He was able to seize the opportunity and he was well prepared.  (Part 1)
3rd Factor : Nehemiah visited the ground to gain a personal understanding (Part 2)
4th Factor : Nehemiah encourage the Jews To Work For The Lord (Part 2)
5th Factor : Nehemiah knew how to make everyone work together (Part 3)
6th Factor : Nehemiah relied on God in face of Internal and External Threat (Part 4)

Let us continue our study the 6th factor behind his success. We understood that as Nehemiah went on to build the walls of Jerusalem, he had to handle both internal and external threats that will destroy the work of God.

Our previous post talks about how his enemies mock at the Jews and discredited the work that they did. They wanted to use their words to destroy the faith of the Jews. We have discussed how Nehemiah responded by calling God to listen and to judge. As he prayed, he continue to lead the Jewish exiles to work on the wall.

Let us now consider the other aspect of the threat of Sanballat and Tobiah

Threat 1: Military Action From Sanballat And Tobiah

“Now it happened, when Sanballat,
  Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites,
  and the Ashdodites heard that the
  walls of Jerusalem were being
  restored and the gaps were
  beginning to be closed, that they
  became very angry,  and all of them
  conspired together to come and attack
  Jerusalem and create confusion.” – Nehemiah (Neh 4:7-8)

When Sanballat and Tobiah realised that their words failed to hurt the Jewish exiles, they decided to spread the word that they are planning to attack the builders. They did it so as to create confusion and to divide the people. If the exiles are divided, they will never be able to unite against their enemies. The threat of a military offensive is often effective tactic. For everyone is afraid of trouble, everyone is afraid of bloodshed and tears.  By issuing a military threat, they are able to threaten the Jews to stop the work.

Threat 2 : Resistance From The Workers

As the result of this external threat, Nehemiah now face the internal resistance from among the builders. These resistance came from many angles

“The strength of the laborers is
  failing, and there is so much
  rubbish that we are not able
  to build the wall.”- Judah (Neh 4:10)

“They will neither know nor
  see anything, till we come
  into their midst and kill them
  and cause the work to cease.”- Adversaries (Neh 4:11)

From here we know that the people had lose heart and their strength are failing. there are 2 reasons behind their discouragement

Firstly, they saw much debris and they needed more manpower to clear them. The builders needed more help, and now they face the threat of military action. These news brought grieve upon grieve. Sometimes as we serve in the church we will encounter a lot of debris and obstruction. They are hard and difficult to clear. Sometimes the more we try to clear them the more they will appear. These problems can make us weary and tired.

Secondly, their strength are failing and they are indeed exhausted . Every Project Manager will tell you that the midpoint of the project is the most trying time for the team. When a project is just initiated, it is often greeted with lots of enthusiasm and zeal. For the team is fresh and are eager to put in effort and to make sacrifices.  The same can be said when the project is close to completion, for everyone could see the light at the end of the tunnel and they will be willing to push forward towards the goal

But the midpoint is where most people are tired and discouraged. In the example of Nehemiah, the threat from the enemies discourage them even more. Some of the Jews wanted to stop working and they wanted to compromise with their enemies  

That is why some of the Jews reacted saying .

“From whatever place you
  turn, they will be upon us.”- Jews living near the Enemies (Neh 4:12) 

Nehemiah 4:12  talks about the Jews who lived close by telling Nehemiah to stop work. They approached him 10 times/ They are made up of residents living near the enemies, their numbers include the leaders and commoners.

These are the internal and external problems faced by Nehemiah. Let us learn how he responded to these problem.

Response 1: Nehemiah lead Israel To Focus On God

“Nevertheless we made our
  prayer to our God, and because
  of them we set a watch against
  them day and night.” – Nehemiah (Neh 4:9)

In face of all the threats, the first thing he did was to lead them to pray to God. He wanted to turn their focus away from their weariness,  away from the debris and he wanted to turn their focus towards Lord. Everyone is aware of the reality of the work before them. There were a lot of rubble and it is difficult to clear them.  There were people trying to stop the work fearing for their lives, they refuse to cooperate to complete the work.

If this were to continue , when  will the wall ever be completed? Indeed the surrounding is scary and discouraging. It seems no matter how hard they try to see, they are unable to see any glimpse of hope.

Therefore Nehemiah led them to look upon God.  Even though we cannot deny our disappointment and how weary and tired we are, but let us focus on the Lord, his temple and this city that belongs to him. For we are not working for our own sake, and we are doing the will of God. God will help us, and God will complete this work.

All we need to do is to acknowledge the problem and tell them to the Lord.

Sometimes as we serve God, we will meet with many problem and we will face the threat from our enemies. But we need to know that our Lord is greater than all these problems.

That is why we need to look upon the Lord. Just like how Nehemiah reminded the Israelites

“Do not be afraid of them.
  Remember the Lord, great 
  and awesome, and fight for
  your brethren, your sons,
  your daughters, your wives,
  and your houses.”- Nehemiah (Neh 4:14)

Nehemiah reminded them that their God is great and awesome. The enemies are obstructing the work of God and they  will not escape from the wrath of God. But if the Jews were to stop working on the wall because of them, they will have to face the wrath of God.

Therefore let us not  focus on the  frightening the enemies are, but let us be afraid of the wrath of judgement of God. Nehemiah reminded them of whom they should really fear. Therefore whenever we feel weak and are fearful in the situation, let us remember that our great and awesome God.

A spiritual leader need to have strength in order to lead. If Nehemiah appear weak before his enemies, then the work will be affected. The Jews would be confused and frightened, and they will tremble in fear. Let us not be part of the confusion and fear, but rather let u rely on God who is strong and is able to complete the work.

When Winston Churchill became the prime minister of Britain, it was during a difficult time. For Hitler had occupied most of Europe and was planning to invade Britain. On his first speech to the house of commons he said.

“I have nothing to offer
  but blood, toil, tears
  and sweat.”- Winston Churchill

It was his strength and conviction that unites Britain against Nazi Germany. Britain is the only country that did not fall to Hitler. From here we can see something that is common in all struggles, be it spiritual or worldly.  Whenever we face the threat of enemies, it is natural to feel weak, discourage or even fearful. But that is also the time we need to use our faith to understand that our God is great and awesome.

Response 2 : To Pick Up Weapons For Defence

Beside praying, Nehemiah led the people to do whatever he could at that time.  

Therefore I positioned men
  behind the lower parts of
  the wall, at the openings;
  and I set the people according
  to their families, with their
  swords, their spears, and
  their bows” – Nehemiah (Neh 4:13)

Nehemiah told the Jews to to pick up their swords and spear. They did that not to attack but to defend themselves.  They wanted the enemies to know that even if they were to attack, the Jews will not surrender. Nehemiah then reminded them to fight for their brethren, sons, daughters, wives,  and their houses,

He told them not to be afraid but to defend themselves. For even if they were to surrender, they enemies will still come and attack them. But if they knew that the Jews were not afraid of them and have armed themselves. They would not dare to attack.

And it happened, when
  our enemies heard that
  it was known to us, and
  that God had brought their
  plot to nothing, that all
  of us returned to the wall,
  everyone to his work. “- Nehemiah (Neh 4:15)

The enemies purpose for threatening the Jews is to make them lose their faith and willpower. They wanted to create division and to be fearful and confused. But Nehemiah is a spiritual leader who fought hard for the house of God. He understood their plot so he encourage the Jews to be strong and not to fall from it. 

God helped them and he disrupted the plan of the enemies. We read that the enemies did not come for God had brought their plan to nothing. The bible did not record of how God helped the Jews and how he disrupted their plot. But we know that God had brought their plan to nothing. Therefore we need to learn to entrust our problem to the Lord. Even though we do not know when God will help and how he will destroy their plot. But we believe that whoever who opposed God will be judged by his righteousness.

Let us not stand there and wait for God to act, we need to do what is within our ability. We need to pick up our spears and swords and show our enemies our determination to fight.

Response 3 : Making Plans To Defend The Wall

Besides arming the Jews, Nehemiah made plans to defend the wall from the enemies. He did not relax just because the enemies did not come. He continued to prepare for the defence of the wall.

“So it was, from that time on,
  that half of my servants worked
  at construction, while the other
  half held the spears, the shields,
  the bows, and wore armor; and
  the leaders were behind all the
  house of Judah.
 
Those who built on the wall, and
  those who carried burdens, loaded
  themselves so that with one hand
  they worked at construction, and
  with the other held a weapon. 
 
Every one of the builders had his
  sword girded at his side as he built.
  And the one who sounded the
  trumpet was beside me. “ – Nehemiah (Neh 4:16-18)

The arrangement seem to create a difficult work environment for his people. But we need to understand that just because the enemies did not come, doesn’t mean that they would not come in the future. If the Jews were to relax themselves and stop arming themselves, the enemies will take the opportunity to make a surprise attack and they will be caught unprepared.

That is why Nehemiah did not relax, and he further prepared the Jews to defend themselves. Half of his workers were working, while the other half held spears. The leaders were to stand behind them and to supervise and guard them. These are necessary preparation to deter the enemies from attacking. 

Such precaution will increase the faith of the workers, for they will not be worried if the enemies were to attack the wall.  Some may think that these additional arrangement will affect that speed and progress of the work. But if the Jews were not armed, the wall will be destroyed by the enemies,

That is why Nehemiah arrange that half would work while the other half would guard. The work of building the wall would continue and the defence will not be compromised.  Those who work, must work with one hand and hold a weapon on the other. For there was not enough soldiers, therefore everyone must do his part to protect the wall. Those who are doing heavy manual work that require both hands must grid the weapon on them.

This is a attitude necessary to complete the work.

There was once a village chapel that caught fire. The villagers are are rallying to use buckets to carry water from the river to put out the water. But some of the Christians felt that they ought to pray and ask God to help them. Therefore the leaders told them “Let us use the water to put out the fire, but as we put out the fire let us pray with our heart.”

That leader fully understood what Nehemiah meant to work with one hand and to carry the weapon with the other.

Response 4 : To Set Up Communications Between The Builders

“The work is great and extensive,
  and we are separated far from
  one another on the wall.
  Wherever you hear the sound
  of the trumpet, rally to us
  there. Our God will fight
  for us.”- Nehemiah (Neh 4:19)

Nehemiah planed for the builders to help each other in need. He gave them horns to signal each other if attacked.  If the enemies were to attack suddenly, it would be difficult to summon help by mere shouting. But if one were to blow the horn, it can send a signal far away and the defenders can rally and defend themselves.

Such arrangement will allow the Jews to defend themselves against their enemies. If you were to face a swift and stealthy  enemy alone, you will get tired easily. But if you know that help is coming, you will have the strength to fight on. That is why communication between the builders are important, even though the arrangement appear to be  unnecessary. But you will reap the benefit when the enemies were upon you. 

Besides working and carrying the weapon, we need the horn to call for help. 

Response 5 : Taking Turns To Guard The Wall

“Let each man and his servant
  stay at night in Jerusalem, that
  they may be our guard by night
  and a working party by day.
  So neither I, my brethren, my
  servants, nor the men of the
  guard who followed me took
  off our clothes, except that
  everyone took them off for
  washing.” – Nehemiah (Neh 4:22-23)

This is another arrangement by Nehemiah. Nehemiah told the guards to watch days and night. They did not take off their armour except for  washing. The Chinese bible also indicated that those who fetch water carried weapons as well. This arrangement was so because they do not know when the enemies will strike

Nehemiah made preparation that everyone must be armed. Including the cooks and servants who fetch water. Nehemiah considered all the possibilities and prepared with all his might. His preparation allow the Jews to remain watchful and to overcome heir enemies.

Conclusion

Today as we serve God, we would face the same internal and external threats. The problems that we will face will be similar to the problems faced by Nehemiah. We will likewise face people mocking us with their words, and we may even be threatened as we serve God.

Today we studied into the sixth factor behind success of Nehemiah’s work.  It reminds us that we need to rely on God whenever we serve him. At the same time, we ought to make whatever preparation that is necessary. Nehemiah did not relax even though God had helped the people. He continue to put in effort to prepare his people to defend themselves.

We need to be like Nehemiah, to lead everyone to focus onto God. AT the same time we need to set guards, hold up our weapons to defend ourselves. We need to carry the horn to call for help to defend ourselves.

Most importantly, we need to continue to work even in the midst of trouble. For that is the most effective way to deal with threats within and outside the church.

This was a sermon shared at my church sometime ago.

Introduction

Moses is a man who had ascended many mountain in his days. This study is not just about Moses, it also refer to our faith. We have all been to and seen high mountains in our lives.  Whenever we ascend a mountain we can behold a spectacular view and be in a beautiful surrounding. However if we do not work hard at climbing we will never reach the top of the mountain 

Similarly the mountain can also represent the pinnacle of faith. One must work hard to reach the top. . Let us consider the different mountains which Moses had climbed and what we can learn from it.

1st Mountain : Mount Horeb

“Now Moses was tending the
  flock of Jethro his father-in-law,
  the priest of Midian. And he led
  the flock to the back of the desert,
  and came to Horeb, the mountain
  of God.  And the Angel of the Lord
  appeared to him in a flame of fire
  from the midst of a bush. So he looked,
  and behold, the bush was burning
  with fire, but the bush was not consumed.

   Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and
  see this great sight, why the bush does
  not burn.” So when the Lord saw that he
  turned aside to look, God called to him
  from the midst of the bush and said,
  “Moses, Moses!”

   And he said, “Here I am.”

   Then He said, “Do not draw near this place.
   Take your sandals off your feet, for the place
   where you stand is holy ground.”” – Moses (Ex 3:1-5)

These verses talk about the choosing of Moses . God first called out to Moses from Mount Horeb.  40 years ago Moses thought that it was his time to lead Israel, but God had not chosen Moses at that time. That is why Moses had to flee Egypt and to live 40 years in the wilderness. During that 40 years God trained Moses. When God appeared to Moses in Exodus chapter 3, he was 80 years old.

It was his faith that make him climb that mountain . For he saw a bush burning afar. It was burning for a long time and yet it was not consumed. Moses wanted to find out why the bush was not consumed . He wanted to see it. But God told him not to come close,  for it is a Holy place.

That is when God chose Moses to lead Israel , for he had matured over the 40 years. Moses accepted that calling at Mount Horeb .

Related Article :  The God Who Dwelt In The Bush

What can we learn from this story?

As our faith matures we need to understand why God chose us to be his servants. We need to know that we must do our duty for the Lord. We must understand  what we are called to do, just like Moses.

In order to fulfil the will of God he is willing to forsake all that he had and return to Egypt.  That was because he had reach one of the pinnacles of his faith .

Today we ought to build up our faith and understand what we ought to do. We read of how Paul suffered for the Lord and how he knew God had chosen him for duty. It was that calling that make hm serve God .

This is something we ought to do, let us not look down on ourselves and claim that we are too young or too old to serve. We must serve God with all our strength. If we are youth we serve God with all our strength and our energy, if we are matured let us serve God by guiding the youth and advising them what to do,

For God had chosen us to serve him and let us do our duty diligently.

2nd  Mountain : The Mountain Of Rephidim

The Second mountain was recorded in Ex 17

“Now Amalek came and fought
  with Israel in Rephidim.  And
  Moses said to Joshua, “Choose us
  some men and go out, fight with
  Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on
  the top of the hill with the rod of God
  in my hand.” 1So Joshua did as Moses
  said to him, and fought with Amalek.
  And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up
  to the top of the hill.  And so it was,
  when Moses held up his hand, that
  Israel prevailed; and when he let
  down his hand, Amalek prevailed.”- Moses (Ex 17:8-11)

At that time Israel fought against Amalek and the battle took place in a place called Rephidim. God told Moses to go up to the mountain. As Joshua fought, Moses went up the mountain. At the end Israel was able to overcome Amalek and for then Moses was on to mountain praying for them.

During the time in the wilderness journey. Amalek came up against them from behind and they attacked the slow and stragglers at the back. Therefore God told Moses to stand ground and fight.

Who are the Amalekite in our life? Today they are just like the lust that tempt us to goes against the will of God.

How do we fight it? We need to look from the mountain and see our enemies. Therefore we must go out to the mountain to see the movement of the enemies. For if we do not destroy our enemies they will destroy us.

For example, there are still many things  that we lust for that is not in the will of God. Sometimes we choose to hold on to our weakness, we choose to go against God at times. But the bible tell us if faith is perfected we will be able to see our weakness.

There is something important that Moses carried with him as he ascended the mountain. He carried the Rod Of God onto the mountain. It was as if he had carried the power of God with him. For the Rod symbolises the power of God. Moses uses it to part the waters of the Red sea. Once when Israel was thirsty, he was able to use the rock and struck the rod for water.  So from here we know that the Rod of God is powerful.

What does the Rod of God represent in our present context?  It is now the power of the Holy Spirit.

IT can also represent the word of God. It is full of power just as Paul once told Timothy

“All Scripture is given by
  inspiration of God, and is
  profitable for doctrine, for
  reproof, for correction, for 
  instruction in righteousness, 
  that the man of God may be
  complete, thoroughly equipped
  for every good work.” – Paul (2 Tim 3:16-17)

Here it talks about uses of the scriptures. It can be used for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for  instruction in righteousness. It must be use as the foundation for our faith. it can tell us the areas where we can improve.

Therefore, how do we fight the Amalekites in our lives? We need to rely on the  Holy Spirit to fight against it.  for Paul once talk about it in the book of Romans

For if you live according to
  the flesh you will die; but if
  by the Spirit you put to death 
  the deeds of the body, you will live. “- Paul (Rom 8:13)

Here Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit can help us put to death the deeds of the body. That is why we need to rely on the Holy Spirit to put to death our carnal self. This is something we need to learn in our lives

For only by seeing the our enemies we can overcome them. That is why we need to increase our faith to see our weakness. If we see our weakness and want to change ourselves, we need to hold on to the Rod of God. so with the power of God we can overcome our enemies.

Related Article : Thoughts about The Battle At Rephidim

3rd  Mountain : Mount Sinai

“Then the Lord came down
  upon Mount Sinai, on the
  top of the mountain. And
  the Lord called Moses to the
  top of the mountain, and
  Moses went up.” – Moses (Ex 19:20)

Why did God call Moses to go up this mountain? For God wanted speak to Israel. He wanted to give them the 10 commandments so that they can keep and not trespass it. Therefore God said to Moses

“Now therefore, if you will indeed
  obey My voice and keep My covenant,
  then you shall be a special treasure to
  Me above all people; for all the earth is
  Mine.” –Moses (Ex 19:5)

If they keep the covenant and the commandment of God they will be a special treasure of God. Likewise today Christians are spiritual Jews and the special people of God. But we must obey his commandments.

Many a times people who are weak in faith will find it hard to see the will of God. For they did not put in effort to ascend the mountain and to increase their faith. It will help us keep the commandment of God and to become the special people of God.

4th Mountain : The Mountain Of God

“Then Moses went up, also Aaron,
  Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy
  of the elders of Israel, and they saw
  the God of Israel. And there was
  under His feet as it were a paved
  work of sapphire stone, and it was
  like the very heavens in its clarity. 
  But on the nobles of the children of
  Israel He did not lay His hand. So
  they saw God, and they ate and
  drank.” – Moses (Ex 24:8-11)

This is the mountain of God. This incident happened at the foot of Mount Sinai (ex 24:16). In this incident where they saw the God of Israel.  What can we learn from this?

From here we know that they are able to see the Lord because they had spiritual eyes. Today we can also behold the glory of God if we have spiritual eyes, Likewise we can see the glory of God within the church. That is why we see some rejoicing within the house of the Lord. For they can see the glory of God. For the spirit of God fills his church. That is why they must increase faith whenever we come to church.

Many who claim that going to church is a waste of time are usually without faith. but those who have faith will rejoice like others. They will be full of joy not only in church but in their daily lives. They will be able to rejoice even then life is bad. For they are able to behold the glory of God in all situation

5th Mountain : Mount Nebo

“Then Moses went up from the
  plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, 
  to the top of Pisgah, which is
  across from Jericho. And the
  Lord showed him all the land
  of Gilead as far as Dan,  all
  Naphtali and the land of Ephraim
  and Manasseh, all the land of Judah
  as far as the Western Sea,  the South,
  and the plain of the Valley of Jericho,
  the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar.  
  Then the Lord said to him, “This is the
  land of which I swore to give Abraham,
  Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to
  your descendants.’ I have caused you to
  see it with your eyes, but you shall not
  cross over there.” – Author Of Deuteronomy (Deut 34:1-4)

This is the last mountain that Moses have to climb. It is at Mount Nebo where God showed Moses the promise land. God wanted to show him that his faith in him is not in vain, for the promise land is real. What is most important  is that God had prepared a home for him in heaven.

Likewise when we have succeeded to defend our faith, God will bring us to the promise land in heaven. Why is it that some are unable to see it? It is because they have not grow in their faith and they have not ascended the mountain,

It is difficult for the faithless to see the promises of God. We need to increase in faith before we can see the promise of God.

Conclusion

The mountain represent the highest level of faith that one need to attend. Only by ascending the mountain we can see the promises of God, at the same time we could see our weakness and we need to rely on God to overcome them.

We have studied the 5 mountains which Moses had ascended. Let us learn from them and continue to climb up the mountain of our faith.

Recently, the Chinese version of this song keep coming to my mind. I remember that the original tune was Japanese. So I went to look for the background of the song. The original singer of the song is a lady known as Rimi Natsukawa. She was from Okinawa and she is best known for her 2001 single. 涙そうそう. The song title is taken from an Okinawan phase meaning "large tears are falling" 

The tune sound like a folk song and part of the song is played using Shamisen. The song was originally written by a Band called Begin for a singer known as Ryoko Moriyama. But it was Rimi Natsukawa’s version that is more popular.

The song reminded Moriyama of her older brother who died. The lyrics is talking about a person who was flipping through an old photo album looking at the picture of someone who died. She  was thankful to them for they have encouraged her often. It expresses a hope that they will meet again some day. The thought of it reminds me of the many funerals I have attended.

Interestingly, as a Christian we often comfort the bereaved family during the memorial service telling them that one day we would meet the departed again when we are gathered before the Lord. In fact Christian funerals are meant to remind the bereave that their departed had ended their work on earth and now there is a crown of life waiting for them. While we remember the sad for we are unable to see our departed for some time. But we know that this separation is temporary.  For we know we will meet them once again during resurrection.

Paul reminds us  so that we would not be overcome by grieve

“But I do not want you
  to be ignorant, brethren,
  concerning those who have
  fallen asleep, lest you sorrow
  as others who have no hope.
 
For if we believe that Jesus
  died and rose again, even so
  God will bring with Him those 
  who sleep in Jesus
 
  For the Lord Himself will descend
  from heaven with a shout, with
  the voice of an archangel, and
  with the trumpet of God. And
  the dead in Christ will rise first.

  Then we who are alive and remain
  shall be caught up together with
  them in the clouds to meet the
  Lord in the air. And thus we shall
  always be with the Lord.
  Therefore comfort one another
  with these words.” – Paul (1 Thess 4:13-15,16-18)

Therefore even though it is sad to see a loved one departing from us. But Christians will always have the hope of meeting them again at the feet of Jesus.

As I do not have expertise in Japanese language I just edited some part of the English translation slightly. .Kanji lyrics & Roumaji lyrics and English translation from
http://www.jpopasia.com/lyrics/9249/rimi-natsukawa/nada-sou-sou.html

 

Title: 涙そうそう Nada sou sou
Artist: 夏川りみ Rimi Natsukawa

Title : Tearful
Artist: Rimi Natsukawa
Stanza 1  

古いアルバムめくり
Furui ARUBAMU mekuri
ありがとうってつぶやいた
Arigatou tte tsubuyaita

As I Flip through an old photo album

I whispered "Thank you" softly in my heart

いつもいつも胸の中
Itsumo itsumo mune no naka
励ましてくれる人よ
Hagemashite kureru hito yo

To the one who is in my heart

Who is always there for me

晴れ渡る日も雨の日も
Hare wataru hi mo ame no hi mo
浮かぶあの笑顔
Ukabu ano egao

On clear days , on rainy days

I  think of your smile

想い出遠くあせても
Omoide tooku asete mo
おもかげ探して
Omokage sagashite
よみがえる日は涙(なだ)そうそう
Yomigaeru hi wa nada sousou

Though my memories fade into the distance

I’ll look for the traces you left behind

And remember you with my endless stream of tears

   
Stanza 2  

一番星に祈る
Ichiban hoshi ni inoru

それが私のくせになり
Sore ga watashi nokuse ni nari

I pray to the first star in the night.

It’s become a habit of mine

夕暮れに見上げる空
Yuugure ni miageru sora
心いっぱいあなた探す
Kokoro ippai anata sagasu

Looking up at the evening sky

And searching for you with all my heart

悲しみにも喜びにも
Kanashimi ni mo yorokobi ni mo
思うあの笑顔
Omou ano egao

It sadness , in happiness

I think of your smile

あなたの場所から私が
Anata no basho kara watashi ga
見えたらきっといつか
Mietara kitto itsuka
会えると信じ生きてゆく
Aeru to shinji ikite yuku

If you can see me from where you are

Then I’ll live on

Believing that we’ll meet again someday

   
Stanza 3  

晴れ渡る日も雨の日も
Hare wataru hi mo ame no hi mo
浮かぶあの笑顔
Ukabua no egao

On clear days , on rainy days

I think of your smile

想い出遠くあせても
Omoide tooku asete mo

Though my memories fade into the distance

さみしくて恋しくて
Samishikute koishikute
君への想い涙そうそう
Kimi e no omoi nada sousou

Its lonely without you
I am yearning for you

As I think of of you with my endless stream of tears

会いたくて会いたくて
Aitakute aitakute
君への想い涙そうそう
Kimi e no omoi nada sousou

I miss you, if only we could meet –

As I think of of you with my endless stream of tears

I found the M

I found an original clip featuring Ryoko Moriyama

Introduction

So far we have covered 4 factors behinds the success of Nehemiah.

1st Factor : He realised his commission and he prayed to God to help him  (Part 1)
2nd Factor : He was able to seize the opportunity and he was well prepared.  (Part 1)
3rd Factor : Nehemiah visited the ground to gain a personal understanding (Part 2)
4th Factor : Nehemiah encourage the Jews To Work For The Lord (Part 2)
5th Factor : Nehemiah knew how to make everyone work together (Part 3)

Let us study the 6th factor behind his success.  As the 6th Factor is quite long, we would study them in 2 post

6th Factor : Nehemiah Knew How To Rely On God To Resolve His Problems

When Nehemiah came to Jerusalem, he faced both internal and external threats to his work. The book of Nehemiah Chapter 4 tells us of how his enemies attacked him. In general, his enemies took a 2 pronged approach to attack him, and today we will study the first of this approach. The chapter begin with the introduction to that first approach

“But it so happened, when
  Sanballat heard that we were
  rebuilding the wall, that he was
  furious and very indignant, and
  mocked the Jews.” – Nehemiah (Neh 4:1)

Both Sanballat and Tobiah mocked the Jews and their words are meant to attack the Jews. There are 3 objectives that they wanted to achieve by mocking the Jews. Let us look closer into their words

1st Attack : To Make The Jews Lose Confidence In Themselves

“What are these feeble Jews doing?
  Will they fortify themselves?”- Sanballat (Neh 4:2)

These words are meant to make the Jews lose confidence in themselves. For the wall of Jerusalem was destroyed and the city was burnt with fire. This words are meant to make them faint hearted as well as to lose their will to continue the work. For they did not have the faith and courage to rebuild these walls initially. They found courage and strength after the return of Nehemiah. When they heard his encouragement it gave them strength to rebuild the wall. But the enemies wanted to attack their confidence by their mockery.

In another words, their comments will sound like this, “ Do you think you can protect yourself? If you are fortifying to protect yourself, your work will be in vain. For if you could indeed defend yourself, why was the walls destroyed in the first place? There will not be a need to rebuild this city.” 

Their mockery is meant to make the Jews doubt their strength to complete the work. For History had proven that they were unable to defend themselves as well as the city. That will mean that there is no need to waste time rebuilding this wall.

If the Jews were to accept their mockery, they will admit to their own helplessness. If they accept those comments,  they will never have the will to finish the wall and to continue working.

Likewise today as we are trying to rebuild the kingdom of God we will face mocking from others challenging us. “You claim you want to rebuild the apostolic church and you claim that this church will spread throughout the world. But what have you accomplished so far? Your success is miserable compared to others”

Indeed if we consider the weakness within the church and if we were to Google for comments against against Christianity, we will find a lot of mocking and jeering from many individuals. Indeed the church is full of weakness but we do not not rely on the strength of man to finish this work. We are relying on the Spirit of God. Even though we see our weakness but we know we have a God who is behind us. We believe that he will help us finish the work.

For the work is not started by us, it is the will of God and it is the Holy Spirit that moves man to work. God had promise his people just as he once spoke through Prophet Zechariah

During that time, the Jews were facing great difficulties in rebuilding  the temple. The Angel of the Lord pleaded with the Lord to have mercy on Jerusalem.  He pleaded saying

O Lord of hosts, how long
  will You not have mercy on Jerusalem
  and on the cities of Judah, against which
  You were angry these seventy years?” – Angel Of The Lord (Zech 1:12)

God answered with good and comforting words. in verse 13. The Angel instructed Zechariah to make 3 proclamation.

“I am zealous for Jerusalem
  And for Zion with great zeal.”-YHWH (Zech 1:14)

This is important as the zeal of God is different from the zeal of man. While mans zeal is limited and could be put out by mocking, jeering and a wet blanket. The zeal of God is continually burning and can never be quench. In that zeal the Lord proclaim

”I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy;
  My house shall be built in it,
  And a surveyor’s line shall be
  stretched out over Jerusalem”
  My cities shall again spread out through prosperity;
  The Lord will again comfort Zion,
  And will again choose Jerusalem.” – YHWH (Zech 1:16,18)

This tells us that the work of rebuilding Jerusalem is the work of God and he will see to it that it will be completed.  Our faith needs to be built on these promises of God. We cannot deny the weakness seen within the church, but we need to see the promises of God.

We need to see the abidance of the Holy Spirit and we need to be assured that his work will eventually be completed.

Today we read of this same message therefore let us not be discouraged by the mockery of others. Let us not give up for we have heard the promises of God and the abidance of the Holy Spirit. It will become our hope and comfort.

2nd Attack : To Make The Jews Lose Faith In God
“Will they offer sacrifices? Will they
  complete it in a day? Will they revive
  the stones from the heaps of rubbish
  —stones that are burned?”- Sanballat (Neh 4:2)

These words are made to make the Jews lose faith in God. Indirectly they meant

“Do you think by relying on God you can rebuild the wall in 1 day? Do you think you can fix the stones that are already burnt? If God had helped you, your walls would be still standing this very day. Even if you were to sacrifice to God he will not help you, he will not defend this wall. It is meaningless to sacrifice to him and rely on him. For History have proven that the Lord did not help you. Look at this wall? Isn’t it a testimony of God ignoring you?”

If the Jews were to listen to this and look at the fallen wall. They will begin to feel hurt and indignant in their heart. They will question why God allowed this to happen and they may even murmur against God saying “If God is with us, why are the enemies mocking us like this?”

The same thing happened during the period of the judges. Then the Israelites were oppressed by the Midianites and God sent An Angel to meet Gideon  at the threshing floor. The Angel greeted him and he said  ““The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”

But how did Gideon respond to that greeting?
“O my lord, if the Lord is with us,
  why then has all this happened
  to us? And where are all His
   miracles which our fathers told
  us about, saying, ‘Did not the
  Lord bring us up from Egypt?’
  But now the Lord has forsaken
  us and delivered us into the hands
  of the Midianites.”- Gideon (Judg 6:13)

Gideon did not thank God for allowing him to see an Angel. But he  questioned God’s power. He claimed that God had forsaken them and have delivered them to the Midianites. Indeed that was the time when the faith of Gideon as well as the faith of Israel are at  their low. That is why Gideon was unmoved even when God appeared before him.

Indeed the words of the enemies can make one lose faith in God. This is true especially when they see many misfortune and failure before them. They will ask “Why wont God work with us? Why wont God help us?”

This type of attack is worthy of our note and we need to understand how to handle such attack.

3rd Attack : To Make The Jews Lose Faith In Their Effort

“Whatever they build, if even a fox
  goes up on it, he will break down
  their stone wall.”- Tobiah (Neh 4:3)

These are the words of Tobiah and it is meant to make them lose faith and confidence in the work they do. Indirectly he is saying “Why are you putting in so much effort to rebuild it? You are wasting your time, your work will not withstand the test of time even a fox can topple this wall.”

The enemies wanted the Jews to think that their work is futile and they have laboured in vain. If one is unable to see the value of the work he is doing, he will not want to do it. He will not continue to pay the price and sacrifice to complete the work.

We all remembered how Elijah fled and pleaded with God for death. He had met a setback which makes him give up all hope in life.  He had just perform 2 miracles. His prayer allowed rain to fall on the land of Israel. He had lead Israel to slaughter the false prophet of Baal and Asherah. These are all work of great value and it had its great effect in reviving the faith of Israel.

But he had this misconception about the value and the effect of his work. He was thinking to himself. “Even though I did all these but what is the use? Jezebel wanted to kill me, and not a single man stood up for me.No one spoke against Jezebel or wanted to stop her from killing me”

As the result he fled on his own, and he felt that his work is pointless. So what if he had prayed for rain and so what if he had killed the false prophets. This is why he felt that he is useless.

“It is enough! Now, Lord,
  take my life, for I am no
  better than my fathers!”- Elijah (1 King 19:4)

When one is unable to recognise the fruit and the value of his work, he will not put in effort to work anymore. He will instead ask God to take away his life. The enemies of the Jews are aware of their weakness. that is why they used their words to strike down the confidence of the Jews.

they choose to attack and strike their confidence in all areas. be it in themselves, in God or the work they do.

Today as we read this story let us not neglect the effect of such mocking and jeering. For we know of many good and zealous Christian losing their zeal when they encounter such mocking and jeering. They ended up discourage and they gave up on their work,

Understanding Nehemiah’s Response

How did Nehemiah respond to these mocking and jeering from Sanballat and Tobiah?

So we built the wall, and the entire
  wall was joined together up to
  half its height, for the people had
  a mind to work.” – Nehemiah  (Neh 4:6)

Nehemiah did not allow their mockery to anger him nor does he contend with them and fight them. For doing so will make the situation worst and hinder the work that he is trying to complete. He choose not to be discouraged or to stop his work because of their jeering. Instead he took all their words and presented them before the Lord.

“Hear, O our God, for we are
  despised; turn their reproach
  on their own heads,”-Nehemiah (Neh 4:4) 

He told God of their mockery and jeering. This is something we do as human beings at times too. For we would often share our troubles with our friends and receive strength and encouragement from them. Indeed friends ought to stand by each other and support each other in times of need. But many a times our friends were unable to help, for they too have their problem to face, their pain to bear.

Therefore we need to remember to bring our problems before God but as we do so we must not stop working. For many after entrusting the matter to God just adopted a wait and see attitude to see if God will do anything to help them.

So when they do not see any response from God, they become disappointed, but Nehemiah is different  He did not just pray and wait to see if God will help him, he does not sit passively waiting for God to take action. After his prayer he continue to lead and mobilised the co-workers to focus on the work of building the wall. As the result the work continued and the wall was half its height.  For everyone focus on their work and not allow the jeering to affect them.

If they were to stop work and wait for God to act, then the work will be paused and they will have given the enemies what they want. Even though they may think “I am not stopping work, I am just waiting for the Lord.” But if they stop working they would have fallen into the trap of their enemies.

Their enemies can continue to say “Continue to wait, lets see if your God would punish us”

But Nehemiah did not fall for their trap , he just prayed and entrust the matter to God. Even though he is not sure how God will help them or when he will do it.  But since he had already prayed to God regarding it, they only need to continue working.

This is something we ought to learn as we face jeering and mocking as we serve God. We do not need to accept their bullying or suppress our emotion when being attacked. But if we allow their words to affect us and to depress us we would have fallen into the enemies trap and that is what they want.

So why must we allow ourselves to be trapped by them? Why must we allow their words to press heavily upon us?”

Was Nehemiah A Vengeful man In His Prayer?

We understand that there is no need to take revenge on our enemies but we need to tell them to God. We need to entrust the problem to God and to continue working. As we work, we wait on the Lord for deliverance. But yet Nehemiah’s prayer will have appeared hostile to us who are reading it.

“turn their reproach
  on their own heads,
  and give  them as
  plunder to a land of
  captivity! “- Nehemiah (Neh 4:4)

Do we think that it was a vengeful remark? Aren’t the children of God not to take revenge on their own? Why did Nehemiah use such vengeful words in his prayer?

Let us understand that Nehemiah is not the aggressor but a defender. For even as Sanballat and Tobiah continue in their mocking he did not challenge them or take revenge against them physically. He was praying to God to judge them with his righteous judgement.

This is similar to us receiving a parcel that we do not like to receive. Therefore we return the parcel back to the sender, for we refuse to keep what they have given to us. It was the enemies who started to slander and jeer the Jews as they worked. Nehemiah is merely returning what they have said back to them.

“Do not cover their iniquity,
  and do   not let their sin be
  blotted out from before You; for
  they have provoked  You to
  anger before the builders.” -Nehemiah (Neh 4:5)

Some would view this prayer as judgemental and it is a clear indication of Nehemiah’s unforgiving nature. Is that how a child of God ought to behave? Where is his forgiveness?

Let us understand the content of his prayer fully. He is not praying from the perspective of man but he is speaking on the side of God. For these people did not just insult and humiliate the Jews. they have attacked God. that is what Nehemiah meant by  “for   they have provoked  You to  anger before the builders”

These men were destroying the work of God and the Holy City. Nehemiah is merely judging them base on the fact that they have went against the will of God.  This prayer reminds us that we need to be watchful whenever we pray. We need to understand the boundaries that we ought to keep. Let us not speak out of anger but pray in accordance to Gods righteousness.

If we are just thinking from the perspective of man than we ought to let go and forgive. For it is a mere conflict between human. But if we were to look at the matter from Gods perspective, they are disrupting his work and going against his will. It is even worst as they are trying to destroy the temple of God. The children of God must never allow them to attack the Holy City and the temple of God

Indeed if these man are just making personal attack on us, we can forgive and let it go, we ought to forgive and not condemn them. For there will come a time we ill make a mistake and we desire the forgiveness of others. That is why we need to seize every opportunity to forgive others, so that we will be forgiven too.

But this is a different situation in Nehemiah’s case, for he saw them attacking the work of God. He is judging them base on the perspective of God. He is not saying those words because these men had humiliated and attacked him. But because they have went against God in their action.

That is why God is pleased with his prayer and is willing to work with him. This is something we must see whenever we read the story of Nehemiah.

Conclusion So Far

Today we only learnt half of the 6th factor behind Nehemiah success. We shared earlier that his enemies attacked him from 2 angles. Today we look deeply on one of the aspect of the attack which is their jeering and mockery to the Jews.

We have covered the 3 direction of their mockery, how they wanted the Jews to lose confidence in themselves, their work and in God.

We studied how Nehemiah responded to their attack. He did not attack and take revenge physically, instead he brought their words before God and he wanted God to judge them for the words they speak. After he entrust the matter to God, he did not stop working. He continue to lead the children of Israel to complete the work and the wall was completed to half its height.

We have also studied deeper into the prayer of Nehemiah to see if his action is done out of a vengeful spirit.  We understand that he is praying to God not because they have insulted and humiliated him, but rather he saw their attack as obstructing the will of God and going against God.

He is merely returning  their attack back to them by asking God to judge them for their sins. And their sin is not about them attacking and mocking Nehemiah personally, but it is about them going against the will of God and insulting God.

Let us remember this lesson especially today as we try to serve God and rebuild the church of God. For we will likewise face constant jeering and mockery within and outside of church. We need to realise the value of our work and be willing to continue to work with God to complete it.

We need to trust that it is God’s will to rebuild his church and he will finish the work . We need to continue to serve him and not allow the mockery and jeering of others to affect us.

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