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Day 274 – Perseverance in Opposition


Thoughts and Reflections

Today we read that every mission of God is going to experience opposition. The Jews are being ridiculed and attacked as they rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. The response is to pray to our God and set a guard as protection. Nehemiah shows that he trusts the Lord but he is also practical. Half of the people build the wall and the other half are assigned to guard it. They sleep in the walls they are building. He invites people to participate in the work instead of taxing them to pay for it. He isn’t perfect but he is consistent and generous.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

Nehemiah 4

1 When Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that repairs to the walls of Jerusalem were going forward — that the gaps were beginning to fill up — they became very angry,

2 and they all plotted to come and attack Jerusalem and upset my plans.

3 We, however, prayed to our God and organised a guard day and night to protect the city from them.

4 But in Judah the saying went, ‘The strength of the carrier falters, the rubbish heap is so vast that by ourselves we cannot rebuild the wall!’

5 And our opponents said, ‘They will never know or see a thing, until we are in there among them, and then we shall massacre them and put a stop to the work.’

6 Now when the Jews who lived near them had warned us ten times over, ‘They are coming up against us from every place they live in,’

7 men took up position in the space behind the wall at those points where it was lowest, and I organised the people by families with their swords, spears and bows.

8 Aware of their anxiety, I then addressed the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, ‘Do not be afraid of them. Remember the great and awe-inspiring Lord and fight for your kinsmen, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your homes.’

9 Once our enemies heard that we were forewarned and that God had thwarted their plan, they withdrew and we all went back to the wall, each one to his work.

10 From then on, half my own retainers went on working, while the other half stood by, armed with spears, shields, bows and armour to protect the whole House of Judah as they rebuilt the wall.

11 The carriers were armed, working with one hand and holding a spear in the other.

12 Each builder had his sword strapped to his side as he built. Beside me stood a trumpeter.

13 I then said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, ‘The work is great and widely spread out, and we are deployed along the wall some way from one another.

14 Rally to us wherever you hear the trumpet sounding; our God will fight for us.’

15 And so we went on with the work from break of day until the stars came out.

16 At the same time I also told the people, ‘Let every man, with his attendant, spend the night inside Jerusalem; we shall spend the night on guard and the day at work.’

17 Neither I, nor my brothers, nor my attendants, nor my bodyguards, ever took off our clothes; each one kept his spear in his right hand.

Nehemiah 5

1 There was a great outcry from the people, and from their wives, against their brother Jews.

2 Some said, ‘We are having to pledge our sons and daughters to get enough grain to eat and keep us alive.’

3 Others said, ‘We are having to mortgage our fields, our vineyards and our houses to get grain because of the shortage.’

4 Still others said, ‘We have had to borrow money on our fields and our vineyards to pay the royal tax;

5 and though we belong to the same race as our brothers, and our children are as good as theirs, we shall have to sell our sons and our daughters into slavery; some of our daughters have been sold into slavery already. We can do nothing about it, since our fields and our vineyards now belong to others.’ 

6 When I heard their complaints and these words I was very angry.

7 Having turned the matter over in my mind, I reprimanded the nobles and the officials as follows, ‘Each of you is imposing a burden on his brother.’ Summoning a great assembly to deal with them,

8 I said to them, ‘To the best of our power, we have redeemed our brother Jews who were forced to sell themselves to foreigners, and now you in turn are selling your brothers, for them to be bought back by us!’ They were silent and could find nothing to say.

9 ‘What you are doing’, I went on, ‘is wrong. Do you not want to walk in the fear of our God and escape the sneers of the nations, our enemies?

10 I too, with my brothers and retainers, have lent them money and grain. Let us cancel these pledges.

11 This very day return them their fields, their vineyards, their olive groves and their houses, and cancel the claim on the money, grain, new wine and olive oil, which you have lent them.’

12 ‘We shall make restitution,’ they replied, ‘we shall claim nothing more from them; we shall do as you say.’ Summoning the priests, I then made them swear to do as they had promised.

13 Then, shaking out the fold of my garment, I said, ‘May God thus shake out of house and possessions anyone who does not make good this promise; may he be shaken out thus and left empty!’ And the whole assembly answered, ‘Amen’ and praised Yahweh. And the people kept this promise.

14 What is more, from the time when the king appointed me to be their governor in Judah, from the twentieth to the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes, for twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ever levied the governor’s subsistence allowance,

15 whereas the former governors, my predecessors, had been a burden on the people, from whom they took forty silver shekels a day for food and wine, while their attendants oppressed the people too. But I, fearing God, never did this.

16 Also, not acquiring any land, I concentrated on the work of this wall and all my attendants joined in the work together, too.

17 Furthermore, magistrates and officials to the number of a hundred and fifty ate at my table, not to mention those who came to us from the surrounding nations.

18 Every day, one ox, six fine sheep, as well as poultry, were prepared for me; every ten days, skins of wine were brought in bulk. But even so, I never claimed the governor’s subsistence allowance, since the people already had burden enough to bear.

19 To my credit, my God, remember all I have done for this people.

Proverbs 20:27-30

27 The human spirit is the lamp of Yahweh — searching the deepest self.

28 Faithful love and loyalty mount guard over the king, his throne is founded on saving justice.

29 The pride of the young is their strength, the ornament of the old, grey hairs.

30 Wounding strokes are good medicine for evil, blows have an effect on the inmost self.


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