War On The Home Front



Lesson # 1


War has been declared on the family. At one time we enjoyed a social charter where you could trust the church and society, in general, to live up to a certain code of behavior. Although churches did not all preach the same message, there was a well-accepted set of basic values. However, in the last twenty years, there has been a significant change in the accepted values. The growing predominance of two-earner families; an increased emphasis on personal freedoms; the focus on financial performance; restrictions in government funding for social programs; and the removal of prayer and Bible material from the public realm have all contributed to a general decline in social values.

In this social revolution, the family has suffered the most casualties. Dysfunctional families abound; adolescent crime has increased, and school violence has increased. All of these are mere reflections of a much deeper problem. In many ways, the decay of our current social structure is comparable to the decay that had come upon Jerusalem and the Jews who had been in captivity in Persia. (Nehemiah, Chapter 1). While most of the Jews had been in captivity the city of Jerusalem had fallen into disrepair and the spiritual lives of the Jews had as well. It is easy therefore to associate with Nehemiah’s cry to fight for Jerusalem and its inhabitants. We should recognize the deterioration of the spiritual walls around our families. We need to cry out to God, asking him to bless our families. Hear Nehemiah’s sad words concerning Jerusalem, in Neh. 1: 1 – 3:

1.The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah: In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa. 2.Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. 3. They said to me. “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”

Our young people are suffering from a brutal assault launched against their values and their faith The lure of being popular, the search for significance among their classmates and the doubts about the validity of their faith combined to send mortar shells at their defense system. Their spiritual walls are being broken down. We have to be careful about our values. The world system is out for profit – the Christian is supposed to be outfitted for service. The world stresses sensuality and God desires spirituality. The majority scream, “to thine own self be true”, Jesus says to take up your cross and follow me. Our very expression before our families communicates a value. So we have to keep asking ourselves: Whose value system are we living by?

The gates and walls of the city of Jerusalem were its defenses at the time of the attack. We know God often fought for His people but many enemies also assaulted her walls and on many occasions, they were broken down. In this case, they were destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Whenever in her history the city was rebuilt, the wall and gates came first. Her survival depended on being able to be defended. Can we say the same for our homes and families? If godly principles are in place we have our first and best line of defense. But there also has to be a willingness to fight. Watch how Nehemiah began this battle: “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept, For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven” (Neh.1: 4). Nehemiah began to cry. He sat down and mourned. Rightly so since being seated on low stools was the posture of a mourner. Nehemiah also fasted. Fasting for Jerusalem during the days of the Exile was a common practice.

Mourning and fasting were not Nehemiah’s only actions. He also prayed a moving prayer to the God of heaven. (Neh. 1: 5 – 11) :

5.Then I said: “O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands. 6. Let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you. 7. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees, and laws you gave your servant Moses. 8.:”Remember the instruction you gave your servant Mosses, saying, “If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations. 9. But if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if you exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.” 10. “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11. O LORD, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” I was cupbearer to the king.

Points on Nehemiah’s prayer:

a. Nehemiah recognized the greatness and awesomeness of God who always keeps His covenant with those who love him and obey His commands. (V.50)

b. He asks God to listen to his prayer as he recognized and confessed the sin of the nation of Israel, his father’s house, as well as sin in his own life. (V.6, 7)

c. He recognized God’s judgment upon them in the form of the exile. (V.8)

d. Nehemiah reminds God of His promise to restore Israel (His people) if they returned to Him and obeyed Him. (V.9)

e. He recognized that restoration is possible only by God’s strong hand (v.10)

We too must recognize the sin in our land, in our homes and in our own lives and how it enslaves. Drugs and alcohol enslave many young people today. We must be ready to confess the sin to God and to repent of it. To repent means to turn away from sin and strive for obedience, determined never to commit that same sin again. We must reflect on the wrong of our behavior and feel genuinely sorry for our sin and then ask Jesus to forgive us and come into (or return to) our lives as our Lord and Savior.

Continued, unrepented sin results in slavery or bondage to sin. Until we recognize the wrong of our actions and have sorrow for our sin, we cannot come to a point of repentance. But when we come to God in repentance, He is faithful to forgive us, and give us cleansing and salvation. Putting it simply then “Sin process” involves:

SIN >>>SLAVERY>>>SORROW FOR SIN>>>>REPENTANCE OF SIN >>>FORGIVENESS>>>SALVATION -involving BAPTISM IN JESUS NAME , being BAPTISED IN THE HOLY GHOST with the evidence of speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance, and ENDURING to the end as taught in Acts 2;38, 39

Acts 2:38 (KJV) Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 2:39 (KJV) For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

How gracious God is depicted in Nehemiah. Even though the nation had fallen into sin, Nehemiah was conscious of the fact God would restore them by His strong arm. Nehemiah understood the character of God to care for His people because He had made a covenant with them. All they had to do was repent.

Nehemiah ends his prayer in Chapter 1 with a petition to find “mercy in the sight of this man”. Which man and why? Obviously, it was Artaxerxes the king of Persia. Nehemiah adds; ‘For I was the king’s cupbearer.” It isn’t a part of the prayer. In fact, it seems to be out of place but it illustrates two facts:

a. Nehemiah’s success in the royal court and his rise to such an important and trusted position had not dulled his spiritual appetite. He still longed to see the covenant people live in their homeland serving Yahweh their God.

b. As a cupbearer, he must remember he is a slave. He does hot have the freedom to go anywhere and take on special projects especially rebuilding the walls and gates of Jerusalem.

How could Nehemiah possibly succeed In the great task that burdened his heart so deeply? Perhaps a clue to the answer lies in the meaning of Nehemiah’s name. Nehemiah is the son of “Hachaliah” – a name that means “wait on God.” Nehemiah itself means “God has comforted.” Combined, the names can mean “WAIT FOR GOD AND HE WILL COMFORT”. The power of that thought had to give Nehemiah a determination to follow the path God has set him on.

When God sees an honest heart, whether it is a group of sorrowful Jews in Babylon or a cupbearer in the court of Artaxerxes or a woman at a well or a brakeman trying to raise a family – He responds. Don’t demand God to work our way, but trust Him and He’ll give every reason to take those harps off the willow trees and play a happy tune again.

Remember, God’s purposes always come with God’s grace and God-given ability. It is easy to lose heart. Nehemiah began right. He humbled himself before God and prayed, wept, fasted, and mourned. Then he waited for his opportunity and when it emerged he acted. He confessed his sins and picked up a brick to begin building. The point where most people are likely to call it waits, Nehemiah used his beginning.

How do we apply this lesson to our lives? The story is told of a young woman was abandoned by her husband. She was of course devastated at the betrayal and overwhelmed to see her dreams dies and to be left alone. She sat alone in the rubble of her life and contemplated suicide. She shared her feelings with a friend who counseled her, “If you take your life you will have to face Jesus. And, you will have to tell him, ‘You weren’t enough for my problems.'” She reconsidered and picked up the pieces and began to rebuild in the midst of the rubble. It is far better to face the Master having tried your best than to have given up when He is available through Faith to help us achieve the impossible.

People, we need to obey the Word of God, all of it and follow the simple plan of salvation. if we are struggling with any type of problem or have lost hope and given up seek Jesus and begin to rebuild the walls of your lives and the lives of your families. Our children and youth and others depend on us many times for help and we may be the only bible some read. Let our witness be that of a life lived in holiness before others and one that they can see Jesus in us and want what we have. My Jesus touch you this day and in the days ahead.

Thank you and God bless you

sister Phyllis


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