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Book of Nehemiah: Rebuilding Our Faith

The Bible Teacher's Commentary

Paul J. Bucknell

Strength & Direction for Life
Nehemiah 9:1-38

Guidance Neh 9:1-38 | Intersections Neh 9:1-8 | Cry Out 9:9-15 |
God Guides Neh 9:19-25 | Warnings Neh 9:26-31 | Preparations 9:32-38 | Video

Nehemiah Theme | Nehemiah Outline and Index| Nehemiah Historical Background

Purpose: Strength & Direction for Life is an exposition of Nehemiah 9:1-38 which provides three key ways God prepares us for making right decisions in life so that we can follow and draw close to Him.

Significant Paths

Each of us cross significant paths which either lead us closer to God or to the world. Sometimes these decisions are seen as small and trivial, sometimes they appear as big and threatening. Crossing or intersection pathsIn any case, each decision made at that intersection of life is crucial because of the direction it leads one in.

An intersection by its very nature shapes what we will face in the future and how we will face it. This is because we make key decisions that lead us down those paths, though often not being very aware of them,

The paths sometimes look similar at the beginning stage. They are near to each other. Their diversify becomes apparent only after one has traveled on them a bit.

Remember the serpent’s words to Eve? That advice sounded good, but the path led away from God and into destruction. Such examples remind us to be so very careful. What is easiest is not always best.

What is most fun does not always make the best choice. Our choices in life affect not only temporal goals but spiritual ones.

Through this message we gain the opportunity to step back and gain God’s perspective of how He works with His people. God intervenes in man’s history by creating crossing paths where we can discover and experience His rich ways.

Understanding Intersections

When we approach these intersections, it is critical that we know what to expect before we reach those points.

I remembering several times crossing one of Pittsburgh’s big bridges over the Allegheny River only to be very frustrated by the driver in front who does not know which way to go. I agree that the four choices from which he must choose in the short time available makes it hard to properly maneuver.

The truck driver really needs to know ahead of time what decisions he would face so he could cautiously proceed to the proper lane. One time a truck driver just simply couldn’t decide. He stopped right between the left and right two exits.

I Wish it was Easier

We would like such decisions come at the easiest point in life. You know, when we are confident, know what we want and have resources to take those steps. What happens, however, much like in the case of this truck driver, these key life decisions happen when we are busy, have tests, are down sick, can’t think clearly, or are generally confused. This is part of the nature of God’s life paths. They come when unexpected and even unwanted. We feel vulnerable, confused and weak.

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God always wants us to make the right life decisions, whether big or small. The prayer in Nehemiah 9 reminds us how God prepares us to make those right decisions so that even though things might be confusing or busy, we can avoid temptation and rightly make those key decisions.

Three Guiding Points in Nehemiah 9

Nehemiah 9 records three guiding points or principles that help us make right choices.If we pay close attention to them, we with Joshua will be successful. If we, for one reason or another, choose to ignore God’s promptings, we will face the taste of pain at the end of our path such as the Israelite people had. Here are the three guiding points.

(1) God creates intersecting paths of grace in our lives (Nehemiah 9:1-25)

God is, because of His grace, intervening in history and time. If He merely came, judgment would finish all of us off. He is patiently working with us and creates these intersections of grace where we can step towards His good and kind ways. We will look at three situations on how The mighty God has intervened in the lives of His people in the past.

(2) Failures of others are used to warn us, not to guide us (Nehemiah 9:26-31)

Failures are placed as warnings to motivate us to see the end of certain choices. We should not allow us to think that we have to fall into such ways. God is only using these past scenarios to help motivate us to choose His good and gracious ways at these crossing points of grace.

(3) God quietly works with us ahead of time to prepare us to make those right choices (Nehemiah 9:32-38)

Various choices will regularly be placed before us. We will not have much time to decide what to do. We might even think it unfair, but God does give us opportunity to prepare us for these decisions. It is critical that we regularly spend time with God, seeking His will and purpose for our lives. These quiet moments will help us through these crisis decisions.

Each decision will lead us to other decisions which help us discern and refine our purposes. Remember that the Israelites here in Jerusalem had already made many key life decisions to get where they were at.

They had to forsake their young businesses and newly-learned circumstances, work hard on the wall, endure threats of the enemy and face rather humble lives. Things did not turn out easy or fun, but they have found significant progress on those things that count the most.

In an age when the foundations of strong lives has been stripped away, we need to return and make these key decisions or our lives, families, churches and communities will face difficult times like the Israelites.

=> Continue Reading: (1) God creates intersecting paths of grace in our lives (Nehemiah 9:1-25)

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