Which wall will you build?
Nehemiah 6:15 – 16: So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.
Nehemiah looked upon the broken city of Jerusalem and grieved, not because it had lost its former glory and splendor, not because it lost its ability to defend against foreign invasions, but because it had lost the presence of God. That's why he focused on building the inner wall protecting the temple before any of the residential or commercial areas - he wanted Jerusalem to be a place where God's presence dwelled. Moreover, Nehemiah desired this despite the threat of foreign armies, internal division, and personal struggles.
He asks us today: will you seek the presence of God before anything else? Will you make God your top priority amidst the busy-ness, stress, and worries of your day? Before fixing all your gates, may your heart be a place where the Holy Spirit dwells by placing your trust in Jesus Christ.
Finding the Found
Matthew 15:21 – 28: 21 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon.22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly
Wander with the King
Numbers 14:30-34, "Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected. But you — your bodies will fall in this desert. Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the desert. For forty years — one year for each of the forty days you explored the land — you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.'"
Through Israel's wandering in the wilderness due to their lack of trust in God, we can see that there are indeed consequences to disobedience, and that the defining characteristic of those who entered the Promised Land were those who had faith in God.
However, we cannot say that the 1st generation was entirely cursed. Moses, who himself was unable to enter the Promised Land, said to his people: 2 And you shall remember the whole way that them Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. 3 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word[a] that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4 Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you.
The 1st generation was being humbled, learning that it is God and nothing else that sustains them. They were learning grace; in fact, God was disciplining the Israelites as His sons! What a blessing it is to be (even in the wilderness) with the Father, the King of the Universe. Its okay to wander in confusion, suffering, and pain, if I'm wandering with God as my father.