David insisted on paying the full price for Araunah’s threshing floor. The idea of making an offering to God with no personal sacrifice involved repulsed David. His God was entirely too holy and worthy to be offered a cheap sacrifice.
Many Christians are looking for the “bargain table,” where they can serve the Lord with little or no personal change in their lifestyles or comfort levels. The Bible tells of many such people, who desired the environment of religion without the demonstration of true love for God or man.
All love is shown by personal sacrifice. Jesus vividly portrayed His love for us by paying the full price for our sin. He took no shortcuts or easy roads to purchase our redemption. Willingly, He drank the full cup of God’s wrath. He’s asking us today, “Have you resigned everything to Me and counted it as loss that you might gain Me? Are you willing to pay the full price?”
God takes seemingly insignificant sacrifices and uses them to build His mighty kingdom. David had no idea that his little seed of sacrifice at the threshing floor of Araunah would ultimately lead to the establishment of Solomon’s temple at that very site (2 Chronicles 3:1).
What have you offered to the Lord in loving sacrifice?
How proud and cocky are those who seek to oppress believers! Paul aptly describes their actions: “Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their speech is filled with lies. The poison of a deadly snake drips from their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. They are quick to commit murder” (Romans 3:13-15).
Christians need not worry, however, for the boasting of such evildoers against the righteous incites the Lord to action: “Now I will rise up. . . .”(Psalm 12:5). God’s remedy for persecuted, defeated believers is simply to supply them with the words of the Lord. God’s Word is flawless, like “silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over” (Psalm 12:6).
In your battle, stop running to God to complain about your problem. Find His pure Word that He gave you to defeat your enemies, and rise up in victory over them. Others’ advice may be helpful, but only the Word of God will put the devil to flight, as it is “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). Employ the sword of God’s Spirit, and watch your proud enemies flee in terror!
Heman’s fourteen sons were given to him through the promises of God to honor him (1 Chronicles 25:5 NIV). The Bible records that Heman’s children were the product of his faith in the promises of God. Heman received these gifts by believing that God would give him children and that they would be a blessing. These fourteen sons were all gifted in music, and their excellence served to honor their father (1 Chronicles 25:5-7).
In the New Testament, we also see this same pattern of godly children that are a blessing to their parents. Philip had four virgin daughters who prophesied and whose ministry was a great reflection on Philip’s family and life. His children, like Heman’s, brought honor to their father’s name.
The children of the godly are a blessing (Psalm 37:26). They are a gift—not a curse! Our children have been given to us by the promises of God, and Satan cannot use their lives to bring us shame and dishonor. Secure in the promises of God, we should expect our children to honor us, not to embarrass us.
Let us expect all our children to know and serve the Lord and to bring us great delight as they walk before Him with all their hearts!
The King James Version of this verse says Abraham was “fully persuaded” (v. 21). When you are dealing with something as impossible as having a child at the age of one hundred, your faith must be rock-solid! Abraham faced the fact that his body was dead (Romans 4:19), but he did not allow that consideration to weaken his faith. He came to a point in which his beliefs did not waver and he was “fully persuaded.”
When confronted with an impossibility, you must face the facts with the truth, which is embodied in the promises of God. As you spend time meditating on the promises of God, you will become “fully persuaded.” His promises will so saturate your mind and thinking that you will no longer waver in doubt when looking at outward circumstances. Rather, your heart will be convinced and remain fixed, regardless of what your mind thinks. Your heart will overflow with a faith that knows God has the power to do what He has promised. At that point, nothing the devil can do or say will move you from your position of faith.
Keep reading, studying, and digging into God’s promises. Persist in tearing down any area of unbelief, until you are “fully persuaded.”
Giving is based on motives, and in 1 Chronicles 29 David listed the right reasons for giving to God. First, he spoke about his own giving (vv. 2-3). Leaders have no business instructing others to give if they themselves have not given!
Second, David challenged the leaders under him to give, and they responded willingly. Joyfully they provided an abundance of gold, silver, bronze, iron, and precious stones for the construction of the temple (vv. 7-8). Because they had given freely and generously from their hearts, King David was filled with joy (v. 9).
Third, David motivated the congregation to give. David reminded them in his prayer before them that everything comes from God (v. 14) and that they were only giving back to Him what He had given them in the first place. He then recalled the fact that they were only aliens passing through this world, using their earthly resources for a limited time called life (v. 15).
Finally, David revealed that he had given with pure motives in the integrity of his heart, with no desire to impress or manipulate others (v. 17). That made his giving acceptable to God.
Why should we greedily grasp for the passing things of this life when they will only slip through our fingers on the day we enter eternity? If our giving follows the guidelines David laid out, the Kingdom of God will be financed properly, sacrificially, and abundantly!
At night, when our hearts are still, God speaks to us. To Solomon, God appeared with a fantastic question, one that we could only dream about someone asking us: “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!” (2 Chronicles 1:7).
Solomon’s request should forever instruct us in what is truly important. Instead of asking for riches, long life, or the destruction of his enemies, his simple request was for more wisdom to care for the people of God. Anyone who puts the purposes of God and His people ahead of his own personal fortunes and fame will instantly win the favor of the Lord.
“And he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern” (Matthew 6:33). Let us ask God for wisdom—not to make money or to control others, but to be able to administrate His kingdom with precision. When our hearts are separated from the world, God will give us the finances, physical health, and other things we need to help us accomplish our heart’s desire for Him.
In music, sounds that blend together are called harmony, or symphony. If individual tones and instruments do not blend, they clash, producing cacophony. Imagine the awful noise if all the instruments in an orchestra played their own notes in completely different keys! But when all the instruments work together, the result is a beautiful piece of music that uplifts the human soul.
God has called each of us, with our individual tones and ministries, to blend into one body. The result will be as it was at the dedication of Solomon’s temple: a beautiful display of unity—not one individual note or instrument that clashes with others, but a conscious blending of our gifts and callings with that of others.
Psalm 133:3 expresses it perfectly: “Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the mountains of Zion. And the Lord has pronounced his blessing, even life forevermore” (Psalm 133:3). Whatever calling, church, or ministry we are involved in, we must walk in unity with everyone else. Then we can watch the effectiveness of our ministry multiply and see the glory of God displayed for a listening world.
Solomon prayed that God’s promises to his father David would come to pass. The King James Version says Solomon wanted God’s promises verified. The word verify means “to establish as a fact,” or “to prove true.” Scientists verify their hypotheses by hundreds of tests. Detectives verify evidence by examining it from every conceivable angle.
Faith means to believe God to establish His promise as a fact. You build your faith by searching out the promises of God until you have established, or verified, them as facts in your mind, not just as promises. When you establish God’s Word as fact, He will then establish your life by fulfilling His promises: “Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established” (2 Chronicles 20:20 KJV).
Whatever crisis you are facing, make the effort to verify the promises of God that pertain to that situation. Find every shred of biblical evidence that fits your case. Meditate on that evidence until it turns from a promise into an established fact in your heart. As you establish God’s promises, He will establish you!
The Holy Spirit has come to dwell within us as the “first installment of everything he will give us” (2 Corinthians 1:22), or as the guarantee of our eternal inheritance (2 Corinthians 5:5). He is the “down payment” of our heavenly inheritance, where we will receive the full manifestation of our sonship and adoption (Romans 8:19).
All that happens to us in this life is “training for reigning,” mere preparation for the time when we will rule and reign with Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit within us is our Helper, the One preparing us to reign with Christ. When we encounter spiritual attacks, the Holy Spirit helps us to pray and overcome. Therefore, everything we are going through now is simply maturing us and preparing us for dominion in eternity.
If we have identified with Christ’s sufferings and fought life through, the eternal day will come when we will share His glory. We will be seated on thrones with Him. “I will invite everyone who is victorious to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne” (Revelation 3:21).
David recounts how God gave him overwhelming victory over any and every enemy that attacked him. He did not enter into agreements with his attackers—he defeated them!
You must begin to see your spiritual enemies as they truly are— already defeated in Christ and subject to your spiritual authority. Make no compromises and take no prisoners! Be ruthless against every high thought that exalts itself above the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5), never wavering in your spiritual warfare against God’s enemies.
Paul states that in all these things you are more than a conqueror through Him who loved you (Romans 8:37). Declare with him, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (vv. 38-39).
Go forward against your enemies, and don’t stop until they have been crushed under your feet!
How sad it is to see a person move from having a tender heart and complete trust in God to having a cold, hard heart and an analytical mind that calculates every move.
Unfortunately, that is just what happened to Asa. He began his reign with a mighty victory, totally relying upon the Lord to defeat the Ethiopians. At the end of his reign, however, when he had grown old and was no longer childlike in his faith, he hired mercenary soldiers to fight his battles. The prophet rebuked him for his unbelief, reminding him that “the eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
Asa’s unbelieving attitude was also evident in his latter years when he “developed a serious foot disease. Even when the disease became life threatening, he did not seek the Lord’s help but sought help only from his physicians. So he died in the forty-first year of his reign” (2 Chronicles 16:12-13). How far Asa had strayed from the time when the whole nation sought the Lord and God gave him “rest from his enemies” (2 Chronicles 14:6)! He now focused his hope on the efforts of man rather than the power of God. Asa was not wrong to seek the help of physicians, but he did err in placing his trust in them rather than in the Lord.
Let us purpose to stay simple, trusting, and childlike in total dependence upon God for all our days.
In this scripture, Paul reveals the connection between your mouth and your heart in the expression of your faith. Jesus said, “For whatever is in your heart determines what you say” (Matthew 12:34). Clearly, Jesus is the Word (John 1:1); therefore, when you speak the Word, you are speaking Jesus into your situation.
Faith begins in the heart, a heart that is fully persuaded that the promises of God are true. Once such faith is deep within your heart, your mouth will begin to reflect that faith by the words you say.
Whatever you believe in your heart about Jesus, you confess with your mouth. You believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, and you confess, “Jesus is Lord.” You believe that Jesus paid for your healing, and you confess, “Jesus is my Healer.” You believe that Jesus is your Provider, and you confess, “Jesus is my Shepherd.”
If you call upon the name of the Lord in faith, you will receive that promise for salvation, blessing, healing, or deliverance. After you receive the promise, speak the Word and watch Jesus show up on the scene!
Jehoshaphat received a bad report! A negative report can knock you down, as illustrated through the bad report given by the ten spies in Moses’ day. Your response to a bad report is critical, as it often determines the outcome of the situation.
Jehoshaphat’s response teaches several lessons. First, don’t respond in fear, but in faith (2 Chronicles 20:3). Second, find a promise that fits your case and stand upon that promise, using it as the basis of your prayer (v. 9). Third, based upon that same promise, claim your inheritance and stand your ground, resisting all “claim jumpers” (v. 11). Fourth, turn the battle over to God (v. 15). Finally, praise God for the victory in advance (vv. 21-22).
The world views a bad report as the definitive statement of fact regarding a matter. As a Christian, however, you know that you can reverse an evil report. Jehoshaphat’s ordeal was transformed from the dreadful fear and alarm of the first report to the joyful, triumphal return to Jerusalem.
The same battle plan that Jehoshaphat used will work for you. Fear not, find a promise, claim your inheritance, turn the battle over to God, and praise Him in advance. You will surely win!
All of us get “out of joint” occasionally—with our spouses, with the Church, with other people, and sometimes even with the Lord. We don’t mean to be that way. We don’t anticipate our actions or feelings, but we find ourselves in dissension with others to whom we really are connected.
In speaking of the human body, Paul said, “The whole body is fitted together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love” (Ephesians 4:16). When we get out of joint with the rest of the Body of Christ, we no longer supply what others need, nor do we submit to the Head, who is Christ. We cause ourselves, as well as those to whom we are connected, much pain.
The remedy? One who “is overcome by some sin” (Galatians 6:1) should be restored gently by those who are spiritual. Such a person is still part of the Body of Christ, and we need him. We must always remember to deal in the spirit of meekness with one who is out of joint, because our Lord Himself paid the price when His bones were all out of joint!
Get back “in joint” with your spouse and Christian friends. Jesus is the “Joint” that joins you!
Amaziah learned the lesson of unquestioning obedience. He had already invested one hundred talents of silver to hire ungodly mercenary troops from Israel for help in the battle against Edom. Then the prophet instructed him to refuse any allies that were not on the Lord’s side, even if they had already been paid. Amaziah faced a tough choice: to lose his investment and follow God, or keep his investment and be on his own.
Losing a job, money, or investments is never as great a loss as that of losing the presence of God. Paul admonishes, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is” (Romans 12:2).
Life is full of tough decisions in which you must choose between God’s will and apparent wealth, fame, or strength. In actuality, the Lord can give you much more than anything you sacrifice for Him (2 Chronicles 25:10). Never value any worldly thing more than you value being in the peace and rest of God. Choose God’s way, for as Romans
8:31 promises, if God is for you, who can be against you?
We can almost always trace our successes and failures to our seeking of God. When we are humble and childlike, we sense our total dependence upon and hunger for God. Prayer becomes easy and natural because we are so dependent. When we become proud and self-sufficient, however, we stop praying and start acting.
The Lord helped Uzziah “wonderfully until he became very powerful. But when he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall. . . .” (2 Chronicles 26:15-16). Satan trapped Uzziah in the same snare that he himself had fallen into in eternity past. Pride had caused Satan to be cast out of heaven, and pride caused Uzziah to be cast out of the temple. As a result of his arrogant attitude and defiant spirit toward the priests of God, Uzziah developed terminal leprosy. If only he had remained childlike, humble, and dependent!
Our prayer lives reveal our heart attitudes. Therefore, we need to keep seeking the Lord, even if our minds tell us we have “made it.” God may be checking out our dependence attitudes!
What should we do when two Christians’ convictions differ and each person’s heart is pure? Paul teaches us to defer to our convicted brother in order to avoid offending him. We are not to look down on a brother whose conscience bothers him in a certain area, even though our conscience does not bother us in that same area. Instead, we are to accept him whose faith is weak.
Why should Christians or a church break fellowship with someone over things that are only earthly or temporal? We should major on what the Holy Spirit majors on: righteousness, peace, and joy (Romans 14:17). We must let our brother or sister follow his or her conscience, and we must follow ours without brazenly displaying our actions for the purpose of argument. The important thing is the person, not the issue in question. “And if another Christian is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died” (v. 15).
“Those whose hands and hearts are pure” (Psalm 24:5) are allowed to “climb the mountain of the Lord” (v. 4). One day in heaven, the temporal disagreements of earth will be forever settled, and Jesus will be the only thing that matters.
Jesus spent His life bearing the insults of those who insulted God. King Hezekiah’s messengers received much the same reaction in the tribes of Israel when they presented the invitation to return to the Lord and celebrate Passover (2 Chronicles 30:10).
To the backslidden Israelites, the archaic idea of a Passover in Jerusalem was absurd. The messengers sincerely tried to turn the Israelites’ hearts back to God, but the results were the same in village after village: “But most of the people just laughed at the messengers and made fun of them” (v. 10). However, the Scripture records that “some . . . humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem” (v. 11).
If we just want to please ourselves, we will not venture out into the stream of evangelism where our feelings may get hurt. The burden of evangelism, however, belongs to God, and if we love Him, we will be willing to “bear the disgrace he bore” (Hebrews 13:13). We must realize that we are simply messengers delivering an invitation that others can either accept or reject. If Jesus was reproached, so must we be.
Rejoice if men ridicule you. You are bearing the insults of God!
Prayer is the key that overcomes the enemy in battle. Hezekiah prayed on two different occasions and thus overcame tremendous struggles. First, he and Isaiah prayed against the invasion by Sennacherib (2 Chronicles 32:20), and God sent His angel to completely destroy the enemy’s army. Then, in a struggle for his life, Hezekiah sought God, and God healed him in answer to his prayer (v. 24).
Manasseh, too, experienced the power of prayer to change a difficult situation. While in a Babylonian jail, he prayed to the Lord, and God miraculously delivered him and restored him to power. What powerful illustrations of prayer and its ability to release God’s deliverance these examples are!
Paul understood this principle of prayer when he asked the Romans to struggle with him in prayer that he might be “rescued from those in Judea who refuse to obey God” (Romans 15:31). David voiced a similar prayer: “Protect me! Rescue my life from them! Do not let me be disgraced, for I trust in you” (Psalm 25:20).
Your spiritual leaders need your prayers. Pray diligently today for them to be protected, fruitful, and refreshed. Your prayers may save their lives!
You are promised victory! God is the God of peace, and it is His desire for you to have peace like a river in all areas of your life. Satan comes in to interrupt that peace and tranquility, but God is with you to help you crush Satan. Not only will you bruise him, but you will actually crush him!
Besides being promised that you will ultimately crush Satan, you are promised it will happen soon. This word means “quickly,” “in haste,” “speedily,” or “shortly.” God will not leave believers fighting Satan forever, but “will grant justice to them quickly!” (Luke 18:8).
Finally, the Holy Spirit describes the position in which Satan belongs: under your feet! Jesus told His disciples, “I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you” (Luke 10:19).
Pursue the devil until he falls, and then crush him under your feet! Then you can boldly proclaim with the psalmist, “I have taken a stand, and I will publicly praise the Lord” (Psalm 26:12).
This is a promise of God’s faithfulness to His own. All day—day in, day out, year in, and year out—God’s faithfulness is great. Man, in his stubbornness and rebellion, may drift away from God, but through it all, “He remains faithful” (2 Timothy 2:13).
No matter what difficulty life throws your way, God has promised to “keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). David was so convinced of the faithfulness of God that he could say, “Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will know no fear. Even if they attack me, I remain confident” (Psalm 27:3).
On the other hand, God is faithful to execute His judgment upon those who reject Him even after He has repeatedly warned them to repent. Gradually, but surely, He tightens the screws of justice until the person repents or brings about his own destruction.
As hard as it is to believe, some people actually do choose the path of destruction. In 2 Chronicles 36:13, we read that “Zedekiah was a hard and stubborn man, refusing to turn to the Lord, the God of Israel.” Following his example, the people of Israel grew more and more unfaithful, ignoring God’s repeated warnings until finally “the Lord’s anger could no longer be restrained and there was no remedy” (2 Chronicles 36:16).
If life is uncertain right now, cling to the one certainty: God is faithful! You can be sure that “He will keep you strong right up to the end” (1 Corinthians 1:8).
How difficult it is for our flesh to sit and wait! This proverb implores us not to take matters of revenge into our own hands and say, “I’ll pay you back for this!” God’s pace of justice is far slower than ours. He is long-suffering and full of grace, while we, on the contrary, are quick to judge and swift to repay.
David said, “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14). Had Abram waited on the Lord for his miracle son, he would not have ventured into the fleshly union with Hagar (Genesis 16). The result of his impatience remains with us today in the ongoing problems in the Middle East.
The two lessons we must learn in order to obtain a promise are faith and patience (Hebrews 6:12). A large part of faith is simply refusing to yield to the thought that God somehow will be late. Though he may have felt nervous on the outside, David stayed confident on the inside. He waited patiently for God to act and said, “Yet I am confident that I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13).
You, too, will see the Lord’s goodness if you learn to patiently wait upon Him in faith.
What a sight it must have been when the song of the Lord was again sung in Jerusalem for the first time in almost a century! Seventy years of captivity in cruel Babylon gave way to a restoration of praise and worship. With praise, thanksgiving, and shouting, the people of God jubilantly rejoiced, saying, “He is so good! His faithful love for Israel endures forever!” (Ezra 3:11).
Even today God is restoring praise and worship to His Church. Ezra 3:13 tells us that “the joyful shouting and weeping mingled together in a loud commotion that could be heard far in the distance.” And so will our praise be heard by a lost world that is waiting for some sound of the joy of the Lord.
Satan hates the praises of God, for they represent a regathered people, a determined people, and an evangelistic people. Also, some people will not understand our praise because the man without the Spirit does not understand those things that come from the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:14).
Praise releases the waiting hand of God. Decide today to stay in the “praising crowd.” After all, that is your destiny throughout all eternity!
Ezra and his companions labored to reconstruct the temple at Jerusalem. When their actions were brought to the attention of Darius the king, he approved the building project. Furthermore, he supplied all the necessary materials for construction, while the people provided the work.
Ezra worked to rebuild a physical temple, but you are working on a spiritual temple (1 Corinthians 3:10). God Himself has provided the foundation, the equipment, and the materials in His Son, Jesus Christ. You are God’s fellow worker, laboring to build on this foundation the types of works that will stand the test of time and eternity. “If the work survives the fire, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builders themselves will be saved, but like someone escaping through a wall of flames” (vv. 14-15).
Your work for God will become the most important thing to you the moment you stand before the judgment seat of Christ. If your work on earth was hasty, superficial, and self-exalting, it will be destroyed. If it was deep, rooted in love, and glorifying only Christ, it will last.
This spiritual temple you are building is all that is worthy of your life’s work, so give it your all. You will enjoy the rewards of your work for eternity.
What a stewardship we have! Paul said that he was Christ’s servant, entrusted with the secret things of God. Similarly, Ezra and his men were told to deliver unto the God of Jerusalem those things that were entrusted to them for worship in God’s temple (Ezra 7:19).
Just as the precious gold and silver articles of the temple were entrusted to Ezra, so we have been entrusted with the deep secrets of the doctrines of God: justification, sanctification, and glorification.
“Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful”
(1 Corinthians 4:2), and we are to treasure the truths we have been given by the Holy Spirit.
No careless hands touched the precious temple articles, but they were carefully preserved and protected until they reached Jerusalem. We must reverently carry the truths of the Christian faith, viewing them as more precious than gold, silver, or diamonds.
Let us hold the gifts, doctrines, and ministries we have received with faithful hands, and one day we will deliver them safely to the New Jerusalem and present them to the One who entrusted us with them.
Ezra realized that if he tolerated the intermarriage of Israelites with foreign women, eventually the holy seed would become extinct and the Messiah would never come (Ezra 9:2). Just as Ezra was appalled at the Israelites’ terrible breach of God’s law, Paul was equally horrified that sin had crept into the church at Corinth. He ordered the excommunication of the one who was in open, unrepentant sin so that the Body of Christ could participate in a pure Passover feast.
Just a little bit of yeast will cause the dough to rise, and a little sin mixed into a church will cause it to be filled with the “bread of wickedness and evil” (1 Corinthians 5:8). We must separate ourselves from any so-called brother who continues to sin through immorality, greed, thievery, or idolatry.
Separating ourselves from unrepentant sin benefits not only us but also the whole Church. The end result? The Church will be protected, and perhaps the offender will repent and be saved (1 Corinthians 5:5).
Your body is a temporary house that you occupy before moving into eternity. The body itself is not evil, only the sinful nature that manipulates it. Concerning the human body, Paul first taught the Corinthians that their bodies were “actually parts of Christ” (1 Corinthians 6:15). It would be unthinkable to take Christ’s body and place it in an immoral situation! In the same way, you must consider your body as respectfully as you would Christ’s own body.
Second, Paul stated that the body is the “temple of the Holy Spirit”
(v. 19). To use it in outward sin, therefore, obviously grieves Him. If you consider an earthly temple as holy, how much more should you respect a temple where the Holy Spirit is physically present!
Finally, Paul says, “You were bought at a price.” Your body is worth the highest price ever paid for anything—the blood of Jesus. If God sets such a high price on your body, how much more should you cherish it!
Value your body, and don’t cheapen it with immorality. Refuse to yield it to the desires of the sinful nature. Keep it pure, and one day it will be glorified like Jesus’ body.
Nehemiah found a waiting enemy in Sanballat. As soon as Sanballat heard about Nehemiah’s intentions to rebuild Jerusalem, he and his cronies mocked and ridiculed Nehemiah (Nehemiah 4:1-3).
Whenever you launch out for God in obedience to His Word, the devil will be right there to tell you how foolish you are to even consider such an idea. He points to those who have tried the same thing but failed. He questions your motives, accusing you of only wanting recognition. He laughs at you in hopes that you will never start, for he knows that when you are resolved to finish, “the God of heaven will help [you] succeed” (Nehemiah 2:20).
For Nehemiah, when the battle was over and the wall rebuilt, he could say with David, “Praise the Lord, for he has shown me his unfailing love. He kept me safe when my city was under attack” (Psalm 31:21).
Whatever you are doing for the Lord, “be strong and take courage, all you who put your hope in the Lord” (Psalm 31:24). Let the enemy ridicule, scorn, and mock, but God will have the last laugh!
Have you ever been in a pitched battle? Nehemiah was! As he neared the end of constructing the wall, he remained ever vigilant. He never took off his armor in the day of battle and kept his weapon with him at all times. Relaxation was not an option.
At times the spiritual warfare in life can reach a fever pitch. Satan knows when you are approaching a breakthrough threshold in the advancement of the Kingdom of Christ. But just like a sports team that fights hardest in a goal-line stand, you’ve got to hold steady and remain firm in the fiercest moment of battle.
As Paul said, “Use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm”
(Ephesians 6:13). When you are facing a crisis and engaged in spiritual warfare, don’t stop battling the devil until the breakthrough comes. There will be plenty of time for rest when the battle is won!
Integrity is the missing ingredient in many leaders today. Nehemiah, however, taught and modeled a sacrificial lifestyle that was above reproach. Although he had a right to be pampered, he refused to place a heavy burden on the people (Nehemiah 5:15). Although others had lorded it over the people, Nehemiah devoted himself to the work on the wall (v. 16). In addition, he never demanded the fine food allotted to him as governor (v. 18). He was a man of rare integrity who led by his example.
A life of integrity demands a lifestyle of accountability that involves one’s money, priorities, and motives. God was so blessed by Job’s integrity that He described him as “the finest man in all the earth—a man of complete integrity” (Job 2:3). In the New Testament, Peter reminded the elders not to be greedy for money, but eager to serve; not to lord it over those entrusted to them, but to be examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:2-3).
Those you lead can tell if your heart is influenced by the work or the benefits of the work. If you aspire to leadership, seek integrity. God will be sure to make a place for you!