Sunday, April 17, 2011

Strengthen My Hands

سلام لكم في هذا اليوم
Sometimes, the Old Testament can be really annoying for me. It's all about the Jewish people and their ridiculous cycle of fail-repent-fail. The law was a killer system, and it killed a lot. A lot of it is just flat depressing. I have to admit I'm sort of dreading reading through the minor prophets again. I just did that.

But there is one very important thing we can learn from the old testament, and that is that God will never fail us. Even when it seems like everything is going completely wrong, God knows. He has a plan. And yes, he might have to send us through something terrible to get our attention, but he'll be right there all the time.

Anyway. Today I finished up Ezra and went into Nehemiah. These two books are...pretty boring. I'm looking forward to reading Esther tomorrow. Esther is one of my favorite Bible people. Anywho.

To give you the context of Nehemiah: the Jewish people have been taken captive into Babylon. Several years pass, and the Jews are informally set free, though many of them decide to stay put in their cushy Babylonian/Persian homes. During this time, Queen Esther reigns in Persia with her husband, Xerxes/Ahasuerus. So Nehemiah hears from somebody that Ezra has rebuilt the temple, but that it's unprotected, because the walls of Jerusalem have been completely broken down. So Nehemiah gets into his head that that sounds like something he could do.

He asks for permission to go build it, the king gives it, and Nehemiah heads off. After a rather boring catalogue of everybody who was working on the wall, Nehemiah proceeds to tell about the many setbacks that came their way, mostly instigated by the neighboring kingdoms who, understandably, were a bit upset about this ancient superpower trying to make a comeback. In chapter 6, Sanballat the Horonite decides he's going to start spreading some nasty rumors, in the hopes that the Persian king will shut Nehemiah's building efforts down.
Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart. 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.
I can't help but appreciate that stubborn response. Nehemiah basically says - "Okay, Sanballat. You're saying we're going to fail. You're saying my God can't succeed. Well, sir, sit back and watch my God work."

Sometimes, we need to pray for God to strengthen our hands, our minds, our bodies to stand up to things that are going on. I know that I do. And God has never ceased to be faithful when I ask.

This is very disjointed, I know. I don't think I got across fully what I was trying to say. But take from it what you will.


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