TURNING BACK

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RECOLLECTION

After hearing the law Israel has recovered from their initial grief.  They have joy to know that they are forgiven, but aim to avoid sinning again now.  They confess and remember the sins of their past. 

Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them.  And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers.  And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.  Then stood up upon the stairs, of the Levites, Jeshua, and Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani, and cried with a loud voice unto the LORD their God.  Then the Levites, Jeshua, and Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, Stand up and bless the LORD your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.  Nehemiah 9:1-5

The Levites lead Israel in a prayer of repentance for their past ways.  They stand on the steps of the temple to be heard by all.  They remember Genesis and the promises God made to Abraham.

Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.  Thou art the LORD the God, who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gavest him the name of Abraham;  And foundest his heart faithful before thee, and madest a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Jebusites, and the Girgashites, to give it, I say, to his seed, and hast performed thy words; for thou art righteous:  And didst see the affliction of our fathers in Egypt, and heardest their cry by the Red sea;  And shewedst signs and wonders upon Pharaoh, and on all his servants, and on all the people of his land: for thou knewest that they dealt proudly against them. So didst thou get thee a name, as it is this day. Nehemiah 9:6-10

Now the Exodus and Moses are remembered in this continuing prayer.  They have preserved the writings and traditions of their faith well.  The captivity was a time to regroup, reflect, and preserve their experience.

And thou didst divide the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land; and their persecutors thou threwest into the deeps, as a stone into the mighty waters.  Moreover thou leddest them in the day by a cloudy pillar; and in the night by a pillar of fire, to give them light in the way wherein they should go.  Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments:  And madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant:  And gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them that they should go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them. Nehemiah 9:11-15

The priests relate the journey in the wilderness and all the deliverance God had provided.  They know the details and share all this with the people.  Israel did not have many copies of the word, and the common people were dependant on the priests for this knowledge of the Torah.

Yea, forty years didst thou sustain them in the wilderness, so that they lacked nothing; their clothes waxed not old, and their feet swelled not.  Moreover thou gavest them kingdoms and nations, and didst divide them into corners: so they possessed the land of Sihon, and the land of the king of Heshbon, and the land of Og king of Bashan.  Their children also multipliedst thou as the stars of heaven, and broughtest them into the land, concerning which thou hadst promised to their fathers, that they should go in to possess it.  So the children went in and possessed the land, and thou subduedst before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gavest them into their hands, with their kings, and the people of the land, that they might do with them as they would.  And they took strong cities, and a fat land, and possessed houses full of all goods, wells digged, vineyards, and oliveyards, and fruit trees in abundance: so they did eat, and were filled, and became fat, and delighted themselves in thy great goodness.  Nehemiah 9:21-25

They observe their success in conquering Canaan and observe how they prospered in the land.  In prospering they also became fat and rebellious.  Do the ways of ancient Israel remind us of any modern nations?

Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs, and slew thy prophets which testified against them to turn them to thee, and they wrought great provocations.  Therefore thou deliveredst them into the hand of their enemies, who vexed them: and in the time of their trouble, when they cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and according to thy manifold mercies thou gavest them saviours, who saved them out of the hand of their enemies.  But after they had rest, they did evil again before thee: therefore leftest thou them in the land of their enemies, so that they had the dominion over them: yet when they returned, and cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and many times didst thou deliver them according to thy mercies;  And testifiedst against them, that thou mightest bring them again unto thy law: yet they dealt proudly, and hearkened not unto thy commandments, but sinned against thy judgments, (which if a man do, he shall live in them;) and withdrew the shoulder, and hardened their neck, and would not hear.  Yet many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy spirit in thy prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands.  Nehemiah 9:26-30

Nehemiah looks back on the generations that rebelled against God and acknowledges the suffering that resulted.  He also recognizes the mercy of God for those who remember to repent.  The chosen sons of Abraham faced the perfect law of god with imperfect flesh.  In the end they still failed to produce salvation by good works of obedience.  It isn’t in our human nature to overcome sin.  We need God’s help to gain a supernatural nat

Nevertheless for thy great mercies’ sake thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake them; for thou art a gracious and merciful God.  Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who keepest covenant and mercy, let not all the trouble seem little before thee, that hath come upon us, on our kings, on our princes, and on our priests, and on our prophets, and on our fathers, and on all thy people, since the time of the kings of Assyria unto this day.  Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly:  Neither have our kings, our princes, our priests, nor our fathers, kept thy law, nor hearkened unto thy commandments and thy testimonies, wherewith thou didst testify against them.  For they have not served thee in their kingdom, and in thy great goodness that thou gavest them, and in the large and fat land which thou gavest before them, neither turned they from their wicked works.  Nehemiah 9:31-35

Looking back at the faithful forgiveness of God, Nehemiah asks for help with their latest troubles.  He admits that God is justified to ignore their troubles because of their past sins.  He is counting on God’s just record to indicate that he will not condemn them in this time though.

Behold, we are servants this day, and for the land that thou gavest unto our fathers to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof, behold, we are servants in it:  And it yieldeth much increase unto the kings whom thou hast set over us because of our sins: also they have dominion over our bodies, and over our cattle, at their pleasure, and we are in great distress.  And because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it.  Nehemiah 9:36-38

Other kings are eating the fat of the land of Israel.  They are slaves in their own home.  To assure the faithfulness of Israel their leaders will sign a contract with God.  They return to a covenant with God

Our prophets can turn our nation, but they need the participation of our leadership.  Enlightened leadership must be free of the confusion of Baal or his modern counterparts of religious confusion.  They must have a relationship with Yeshua, Jesus, the Messiah.

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JOY IN REUNION

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RECONCILIATION

These are the people who were willing to divorce wives of foreign extraction to comply with the law.  They are not the rebels who went into the captivity.  Like the second generation after the exodus, they are willing to serve God.  They ask for more understanding without being compelled.

And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel.  And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.  And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.  And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam.  And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up:  Nehemiah 8:1-5

The captivity has given the Jews time to write the law and new prophesies as well.  Yet the people had no central point of learning without the temple.  They gathered here to make that right.  These people want to hear the law.

And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.  Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.  So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.  And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.  Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our LORD: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.  Nehemiah 8:6-10

When the people hear the law, they are condemned by it, and their hopes are dimmed.  Israel had a similar minute when Joseph revealed himself to his brothers.  At that time they had hope in deliverance from the famine, but fear in discovering their host to be the brother they betrayed.  Now the priests and leaders encourage them not to mourn or weep.  The fear of the Lord is good, and they showed signs of promise in their repentance.  The Lord will not condemn them now, as Joseph did not then.  The gospel of John portrays the written word as Messiah, who was made flesh to live with us.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  John 1:1-4    And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, John 1:14

If the words of this bible live with us, then Israel again discovers a rejected brother which could condemn them.  So Israel did fear and reject Yeshua when he came to them once before.  Still some were repentant and received the joy of the Lord.  Our understanding of the bible is our relationship with Yeshua, the Son of God.  For those who are ready to learn there is no reason to fear.  The joy of the Lord is their strength.

So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved.  And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.  And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law.  And they found written in the law which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month:  And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written. Nehemiah 8:11-15

In their reading and learning, Israel rediscovered the feast of tabernacles.  In the fall they may remember the trials of the exodus and the deliverance God gave to Israel.  They are to live in booths outdoors for a week, and receive his joy there. 

So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim.  And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness.  Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner. Nehemiah 8:16-18 

The people of Judah find joy in obedience.  The feast of tabernacles is an act of obedience and it manifests as a time of rejoicing.  God meets them in their reunion, and he is forgiving and welcoming them.  We may experience a relationship with the word in reading and in acting out these opportunities for discovery.  The feasts are not for bondage or condemnation, but rather a remembrance of God’s promises. 

Messianic fellowships and many gentile churches observe the Feast of Tabernacles in some way.  We may have a tabernacle on the church grounds, or even enjoy a camping trip in the fall.  I enjoyed outings like this in Arizona and in Wyoming.  I have even slept in a shelter of branches.  God has a way of presenting his joy in the beauty of his creation.  You may discover a meeting with the joy of the Lord in your own exploration of his feasts and remembrances.

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SINGERS

DELEGATION

As the city walls are established, responsibility is delegated for the gatekeeper.  An effort is made to identify the tribes and their assignments.  Who has returned from the captivity?

Now it came to pass, when the wall was built, and I had set up the doors, and the porters and the singers and the Levites were appointed,  That I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler of the palace, charge over Jerusalem: for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many.  And I said unto them, Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun be hot; and while they stand by, let them shut the doors, and bar them: and appoint watches of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, every one in his watch, and every one to be over against his house.  Now the city was large and great: but the people were few therein, and the houses were not builded.  And my God put into mine heart to gather together the nobles, and the rulers, and the people, that they might be reckoned by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of them which came up at the first, and found written therein,  Nehemiah 7:1-5

How common was the name Hananiah?  Could this be the one who was also called Shadrach by the Babylonians?  This one was also faithful, and perhaps he was the one who walked in the fire.  And below we see one named Azariah; is this Abednego?  With few homes rebuilt they set out to learn who the people were, and where their inheritance lands and homes were to be.

These are the children of the province, that went up out of the captivity, of those that had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and came again to Jerusalem and to Judah, every one unto his city; 

Who came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, Baanah.

The number, I say, of the men of the people of Israel was this; 

The children of Parosh, two thousand an hundred seventy and two. 

The children of Shephatiah, three hundred seventy and two. 

The children of Arah, six hundred fifty and two. 

The children of Pahathmoab,

of the children of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand and eight hundred and eighteen. 

The children of Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four. 

The children of Zattu, eight hundred forty and five. 

The children of Zaccai, seven hundred and threescore. 

The children of Binnui, six hundred forty and eight. 

The children of Bebai, six hundred twenty and eight. 

The children of Azgad, two thousand three hundred twenty and two. 

The children of Adonikam, six hundred threescore and seven. 

The children of Bigvai, two thousand threescore and seven. 

The children of Adin, six hundred fifty and five. 

The children of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety and eight. 

The children of Hashum, three hundred twenty and eight. 

The children of Bezai, three hundred twenty and four. 

The children of Hariph, an hundred and twelve. 

The children of Gibeon, ninety and five. 

The men of Bethlehem and Netophah, an hundred fourscore and eight. 

The men of Anathoth, an hundred twenty and eight. 

The men of Bethazmaveth, forty and two. 

The men of Kirjathjearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred forty and three. 

The men of Ramah and Gaba, six hundred twenty and one. 

The men of Michmas, an hundred and twenty and two. 

The men of Bethel and Ai, an hundred twenty and three. 

The men of the other Nebo, fifty and two. 

The children of the other Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four. 

The children of Harim, three hundred and twenty. 

The children of Jericho, three hundred forty and five. 

The children of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred twenty and one. 

The children of Senaah, three thousand nine hundred and thirty. 

The priests: the children of Jedaiah,

of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy and three. 

The children of Immer, a thousand fifty and two. 

The children of Pashur, a thousand two hundred forty and seven. 

The children of Harim, a thousand and seventeen. 

The Levites: the children of Jeshua, of Kadmiel, and of

the children of Hodevah, seventy and four. 

The singers: the children of Asaph, an hundred forty and eight. 

The porters: the children of Shallum, the children of Ater, the children of Talmon,

the children of Akkub, the children of Hatita,

the children of Shobai, an hundred thirty and eight. 

The Nethinims: the children of Ziha,

the children of Hashupha, the children of Tabbaoth, 

The children of Keros, the children of Sia, the children of Padon, 

The children of Lebana, the children of Hagaba, the children of Shalmai, 

The children of Hanan, the children of Giddel, the children of Gahar, 

The children of Reaiah, the children of Rezin, the children of Nekoda, 

The children of Gazzam, the children of Uzza, the children of Phaseah, 

The children of Besai, the children of Meunim, the children of Nephishesim, 

The children of Bakbuk, the children of Hakupha, the children of Harhur, 

The children of Bazlith, the children of Mehida, the children of Harsha, 

The children of Barkos, the children of Sisera, the children of Tamah, 

The children of Neziah, the children of Hatipha. 

The children of Solomon’s servants: the children of Sotai,

the children of Sophereth, the children of Perida, 

The children of Jaala, the children of Darkon, the children of Giddel, 

The children of Shephatiah, the children of Hattil,

the children of Pochereth of Zebaim, the children of Amon. 

All the Nethinims, and the children of Solomon’s servants, were three hundred ninety and two. Nehemiah 7:6-60

Many were identified, but some could not be confirmed.  Some may have been of the other nations they had lived among. 

And these were they which went up also from Telmelah, Telharesha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer: but they could not shew their father’s house, nor their seed, whether they were of Israel.  The children of Delaiah, the children of Tobiah, the children of Nekoda, six hundred forty and two.  And of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz, the children of Barzillai, which took one of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite to wife, and was called after their name.  These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but it was not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood.  And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and Thummim. Nehemiah 7:61-65

Those who may have been of the Levites or priesthood could be at risk if they were in fact not of those tribes.  To partake of Holy things was potentially deadly for a gentile.  To be sure they waited for a priest with the emblems that revealed God’s discernment.

The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore,  Beside their manservants and their maidservants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and they had two hundred forty and five singing men and singing women.  Their horses, seven hundred thirty and six: their mules, two hundred forty and five:  Their camels, four hundred thirty and five: six thousand seven hundred and twenty asses.  And some of the chief of the fathers gave unto the work.  Nehemiah 7:66-70

The returned nation was small in number compared with the armies of David and Solomon.  But they had the joy of the Lord for song, and livestock to grow with.  Wealthy men were willing to finance their efforts too.

And some of the chief of the fathers gave unto the work. The Tirshatha gave to the treasure a thousand drams of gold, fifty basons, five hundred and thirty priests’ garments.  And some of the chief of the fathers gave to the treasure of the work twenty thousand drams of gold, and two thousand and two hundred pound of silver.  And that which the rest of the people gave was twenty thousand drams of gold, and two thousand pound of silver, and threescore and seven priests’ garments.  So the priests, and the Levites, and the porters, and the singers, and some of the people, and the Nethinims, and all Israel, dwelt in their cities; and when the seventh month came, the children of Israel were in their cities.  Nehemiah 7:71-73

With provision for rebuilding, the people were able to restore their lands and homes.  Jerusalem is again the home of Israel, and the Temple is a dwelling for the Lord again.  God does remember his people, and they will remember their God. 

DOUBLE AGENT

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Baal (ze boob)

Baal (ze boob)

DIVISIONS

When some of Israel decided to worship on a mountain in Samaria a division began.  Now these Samarians are sons of Abraham, but they are far from being friends of Israel.  Even to this day they still worship on their mountain, and are removed from the faith of our God.  One Samarian woman did meet Yeshua at a well and found life.  Sanballat is one Samarian who does not earn the trust of Israel though.

Now it came to pass when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates). That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief.  And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?  Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner.  Nehemiah 6:1-4

So Sanballat has come to Nehemiah with an offer for a friendly meeting.  But Nehemiah is aware that this is not a good thing.  He claims to be too busy for a meeting, but Sanballat keeps asking for the meeting, and is turned down again.

Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand;  Wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these words.  And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together.  Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart.  Nehemiah 6:5-8

Now the tone changes as Sanballat brings accusations against his Jewish brethren.  He charges them with rebellion, and Nehemiah denies these charges.  He calls Sanballat a liar.  He recognizes the intent to discourage the work by threats.  It might be a good time to find a friend.

For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.  Afterward I came unto the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabeel, who was shut up; and he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple: for they will come to slay thee; yea, in the night will they come to slay thee.  And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in.  And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.  Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me.  My God, think thou upon Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and on the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear. Nehemiah 6:9-14

So Shemaiah suggests that Nehemiah should hide in the temple from those who would kill him.  This is a call to surrender to fear, to abandon faith in God.  Nehemiah recognizes this as demonic attack, not of God.  This “friend”  may have been hired by Sanballat, but he and Sanballat were both in the service of Hell.  Nehemiah simply marks this invitation “return to sender”.  He calls on God to consider the sin revealed in this.  God is usually the one who reveals the threats to us in his wisdom, so he is well aware of the evil being done here already.  It will not stand.

So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days.  And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God.  Moreover in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters unto Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came unto them.  For there were many in Judah sworn unto him, because he was the son in law of Shechaniah the son of Arah; and his son Johanan had taken the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah.  Also they reported his good deeds before me, and uttered my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to put me in fear. 6:15-19

It is interesting to note that the enemies of God recognize his work.  They are without hope when they realize that they have opposed the living God, the true deity.  Even so leaders of Judah were writing to Tobiah who was actually their enemy.  He got favor by his daughter’s marriage, but not with God.  Tobiah was part of the conspiracy to weaken Nehemiah by fear and threats.

A true man of God must have perception and revelation from God, not from man.  A relationship with God will keep your feet from the snares of your enemies.  Any leader who believes that all religions are good is deceived.  From the beginning a few have deviated from the truth of God to their own destruction.  Some have both deviated and turned to attack their own brethren.  Come away from these. 

From the beginning of time men have deviated from the truth.  In the end times we are warned that even the elect may be deceived, as they were in the beginning.  Our friends may come to us with an invitation to leave the way too.  We have to have a relationship with Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to discern the right way.  We can have that through prayer, bible study, and Christian fellowship.  Prayer gives us the insight of Nehemiah, the bible offers the epistles to govern the church, and Christians like Nehemiah, who are spirit filled, offer sound counsel.  Fight against the spirits by prayer; but not against the flesh.  God will remove the weeds in his time.

A prophet who predicts an event that does not come to pass is a false prophet.  They may come to change your direction, but they would cause you to become an enemy of God.  Some will try to make you fear the end times, when God intends you to be fearless in trusting him.  We must build the temple and strengthen the walls and the warriors of the kingdom.  May God consider those who preach fear and falsehood according to their works, and also the false prophets by theirs.  In the name of Yeshua I ask you to bind this on earth as you do in heaven.

STUPORVISORS

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CEO COMPENSATION

The Promised Land is elusive to some of its new owners.  They are unable to possess the land because their own leaders are taking it from them.  They form an “Occupy Wall Street” movement for their own time.

And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews.  For there were that said, We, our sons, and our daughters, are many: therefore we take up corn for them, that we may eat, and live.  Some also there were that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth.  There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king’s tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards.  Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children: and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought unto bondage already: neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards.  Nehemiah 5:1-5

There comes a time when faith fails to manifest in the political system.  Those who are supposed to be our leaders, our “good examples”, are serving the enemy of our soul.  At a time when the nation is under a military threat a few opportunists are bleeding their finances.  Times are hard but the merchants of wealth are raising prices and making abusive loans to their brethren. 

Does any of this sound familiar to you twenty-first century people?  Major corporations fail and their leaders give themselves huge cash rewards for their failures.  Elected officials claim to share our faith while they are oppressing the people and living in sin.  Employers send jobs overseas and throw their employees away.  They “rent” contract workers and force them to live in poverty.  Credit cards and mortgages have “adjustable” rates; a license to steal!  What part of “Stick ‘em up!” don’t you understand?  God understands!

And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words.  Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them.  And I said unto them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, which were sold unto the heathen; and will ye even sell your brethren? or shall they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and found nothing to answer.  Also I said, It is not good that ye do: ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the heathen our enemies?  Nehemiah 5:6-9

Now Nehemiah makes the rulers face the angry mob.  He berates them in public for their greed and sin.  After Judah was rescued from foreign slavery, their own leaders are reinstating that slavery again!  The rulers are speechless in their shame; what a surprise!  (While our leaders are shameless in their speech!)  Now he delivers this basic teaching in letting them know that they are not doing a good thing.  He offers them the thought that they could fear God and not provide a testimony that validates their enemies accusations.  They deserved the reproach of man and God.

I likewise, and my brethren, and my servants, might exact of them money and corn: I pray you, let us leave off this usury.  Restore, I pray you, to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their oliveyards, and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money, and of the corn, the wine, and the oil, that ye exact of them.  Then said they, We will restore them, and will require nothing of them; so will we do as thou sayest. Then I called the priests, and took an oath of them, that they should do according to this promise.  Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth not this promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the LORD. And the people did according to this promise.  Nehemiah 5:10-13

Nehemiah commands the rulers to make restitution to the people and to end the abuse.  The priests too are called to take an oath, were they too a part of this conspiracy?  Is it good business for the clergy to “butter their bread” with the bankers and leaders of the community?  Elected officials allow us to have taxation with representation now, but is it that much better than without representation?  Until our leaders discover the fear of the Lord, we may be worse off now.  At least the people of Jerusalem did comply then.

Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even unto the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that is, twelve years, I and my brethren have not eaten the bread of the governor.  But the former governors that had been before me were chargeable unto the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver; yea, even their servants bare rule over the people: but so did not I, because of the fear of God.  Yea, also I continued in the work of this wall, neither bought we any land: and all my servants were gathered thither unto the work.  Moreover there were at my table an hundred and fifty of the Jews and rulers, beside those that came unto us from among the heathen that are about us.  Now that which was prepared for me daily was one ox and six choice sheep; also fowls were prepared for me, and once in ten days store of all sorts of wine: yet for all this required not I the bread of the governor, because the bondage was heavy upon this people.  Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.  Nehemiah 5:14-19

This leader is abstaining from taxing the people out of his fear of God.  He wants to be seen as a servant by God, not by the wealthy men of the land.  Today Lord please send us leaders and pastors who are not protecting the wealthy while oppressing the poor for their own greed.  I cannot care or vote for a candidate who claims to represent my faith when his actions offend my God.  How can I then be left only with another candidate who openly defies Godly morality while showing the charity we should be doing?

When I was in high school my mother bought me a coat made in Eastern Europe.  A few years later I was facing bullets in Vietnam which were made in the same country.  Do we now buy our spiritual enemy ammunition to use against us too?  When we vote for false Christians we allow their misdeeds to stain the testimony of our Lord Jesus.    

When our spiritual leaders point us towards failed candidates, they may be worse than these teachers who embrace the serpent.  Expect the same compensation:

Snake-handling preacher dies from rattlesnake bite in West Virginia

By Gil Aegerter, NBC News

West Virginia preacher Mark Randall “Mack” Wolford, who believed Christians should handle snakes to test their faith, died after a rattlesnake bit him over the weekend.

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/05/30/11956841-snake-handling-preacher-dies-from-rattlesnake-bite-in-west-virginia?lite

snake man