Tonight was a combined meeting with the Pioneer Girls who also meet at NVEFC. It was “Movie Night!” and we all watched the “Story Keepers” Christmas special. Plenty of popcorn, cheezy-doodles and lemonade!
Following the movie, Ranger Stephen led a brief devotional discussion on the account of Nehemiah.
In the 20th year of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, (445/444 BC), Nehemiah was cup-bearer to the king. Learning that the remnant in Judah were in distress and that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down, he asked the king for permission to return and rebuild the city. Artaxerxes sent him to Judah as governor of the province with a mission to rebuild, letters explaining his support for the venture, and provision for timber from the king’s forest. Once there, Nehemiah defied the opposition of Judah’s enemies on all sides—Samaritans, Ammonites, Arabs and Philistines—and rebuilt the walls within 52 days…
Nehemiah recognized a need and an opportunity to do something very valuable and helpful. First, he prayed very reverently to God. Next, when the king asked Nehemiah what was troubling him and what could be done, he prayed and asked God for direction.
Ultimately, God and the king who was ruling the people, gave Nehemiah the task of rebuilding the walls which protect Jerusalem.
Nehemiah took this job very seriously and by planning and leading thoughtfully, managed to complete the task against steep odds (many of the neighboring nations didn’t want the walls rebuilt so Nehemiah had to guard against attacks while rebuilding the walls).
Questions for the boys and girls, have you, or friends/family ever had to cope with a big project? Did you pray and ask God for His help and direction? How did the project turn out? Do you feel that Nehemiah would have been successful if he hadn’t been reverent and trusted God fully?
The discussion helped to illustrate that we can make plans and do all sorts of things, but ultimately our efforts will be fruitless unless we start with God in a reverent fashion. Some verses that reinforce this notion include:
- Proverbs 19:21 – Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the Lord will stand
- Proverbs 16:9 – The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.
- Jeremiah 17:5-8 – Thus says the Lord, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the Lord. “For he will be like a bush in the desert and will not see when prosperity comes, but will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitant. [HOWEVER] “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.