Notes From The Cove - Page 4

Tuesday Devotions: A Study in Nehemiah

Welcome to our Tuesday devotions. Every Tuesday, we will offer a study in the book of Nehemiah. We hope you enjoy these devotions and will also follow us on social media at @thecovenc. We post encouraging Bible verses, upcoming events at The Cove, and much more.

Return to the Homeland

By: Patty Nicholas-Boyte

 “Now the city was large and spacious, but there were few people in it, and the houses had not yet been rebuilt.  So my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles, the officials and the common people for registration by families. I found the genealogical record of those who had been the first to return. This is what I found written there:  These are the people of the province who came up from the captivity of the exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had taken captive (they returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his own town” (Nehemiah 7:4-6)

The priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the musicians and the temple servants, along with certain of the people and the rest of the Israelite’s, settled in their own towns” (Nehemiah 7: 73).

Chapter 7 is an interesting part of Nehemiah’s story and contains many verses of genealogy. A wall now protects God’s holy city and Nehemiah has set guards in place, yet the city remains virtually uninhabited. In order to rectify the problem, Nehemiah conducted a census of all who returned from exile and compared it to the records of those taken away.

Bible Lesson: Returning to the Word of God (Nehemiah 7-8) | Free ...

Family groups, priests, gatekeepers, temple servants, and even gentiles grafted in to the faith are named in the passage. After seventy years of captivity, I wondered about those who were old enough to return to the land of their youth. Did they question if they would ever see their homeland again? Did they question God’s faithfulness or did they believe they would one day set foot on the Promised Land and worship in the temple of God as their ancestors did?

One other thing that struck me in the long list of names was God knew each person taken and who returned from their family. God kept the promises made years before. The listing of each name is the proof of his faithfulness.

In the uncertainty that we live in today, we can trust in God’s great character. If He was faithful then, He will be faithful today. As those who lived during the exile may have wondered where God was during the trials they endured at the hands of evil kings in an idolatrous pagan land, when they set foot in their long lost homeland, they were assured they were not forgotten.

We too can trust God sees the events of our day and has not forgotten us His children. He knows everything you are going through, and the promises He fulfilled for the ancient Israeli people, He will also fulfill in our day. He is faithful.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done” (Genesis 50:20, NASB).

What can we learn from Nehemiah?

  • God is trustworthy and faithful to His promises.
  • Even though we may not “feel” God’s presence, He has not left us, nor has He forgotten us.
  • God’s character never changes.
  • Look for the good in the midst of the trial

While it is true, God returned His people to their homeland after a long exile, He never promised things would be easy. The Israelite people had a daunting task ahead of them. The project took obedience to God, a commitment of all to work together, and Godly leadership to rebuild the walls of protection around the Holy City. Then, they could begin the process to move into the promise.

What questions can we ask ourselves that can affect change?

  1. What promises of God have I either forgotten about or given up on seeing an outcome?
  2. How can I be the hands and feet of Jesus to someone who has given up hope?
  3. What “land “is God telling me it is time to return and re-occupy?
  4. Where has God sent me that I did not expect the task to be so daunting?

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Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden. Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

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Weekly Bible Verse: Ephesians 3:16-19

Our weekly Bible verse comes from Ephesians 3:16-19:

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God

green mountains under white clouds during daytime

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Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden. Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

Follow us on social media. click map

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Tuesday Devotion: A Study in Nehemiah

Welcome to our Tuesday devotions. Every Tuesday, we will offer a study in the book of Nehemiah. We hope you enjoy these devotions and will also follow us on social media at @thecovenc. We post encouraging Bible verses, upcoming events at The Cove, and much more.

 

Build the Spiritual Walls

By: Patty Nicholas-Boyte

Nehemiah 6:15-16 

 “So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of the month Elul, in fifty-two days.  When all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations surrounding us saw it, they lost their confidence; for they recognized that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God” (NASB). 

In an amazing span of fifty-two days and in the midst of one attack after another, along with wave, after wave of trials, including a famine, the walls around God’s holy city were completed. Not only did Nehemiah and the Israelites finish the work in record time, the day they completed the work was on the 25th of Elul, which “happened” to be the Day of Atonement, otherwise known as Rash Hashanah.

Clearly, the hand of God was all over the project. Verse 16 tells us all of the enemies lost confidence for they recognized the work was accomplished with the help from God.

As I write this, we are in the midst of a global pandemic, plus, the American people are embroiled in an unrest that I have never seen in my lifetime. An unjust murder sparked peaceful protests and has intensified the situation and exposed racial division across our land like never before.

My spirit grieves along with the family of the lost, as well as with those whose businesses were destroyed. I wonder if we as a nation will ever recover. I wept for days, and days, and have travailed in prayer. I’ve cried out to God for His hand to cover this nation and to heal our land.

woman in brown sweater and blue denim jeans sitting on couch

As I prepared for this week’s study in Nehemiah, I was drawn to the fact that in a very short period of time, God’s people, from all walks of life, regardless of skill stepped in to do the work. Farmers, priests, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, and soldiers fortified the holy city, and build the walls of security around their homes. People from neighboring cities joined in the build. In less than two months’ time, and on the Day of Atonement, their work was completed.

If the Israelite people could do what they did, then why can’t we the Church rise up and seek God’s help to build the spiritual walls around this country? Imagine what we could accomplish if we each took a “section” and committed to prayer.

Philippians 4:13 

 “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (NASB). 

What can we learn from Nehemiah?

  • God’s timing was perfect. Not only did they finish in record time, they also finished on the holiest day of the year.
  • The situation may seem hopeless, but just as in the days of Nehemiah, there is power in working together with other believers.
  • Even when we do come together, it is God’s hand, along with our obedience, when impossible things are accomplished.

On the Day of Atonement God’s people found security not only in a fortified city, but in God himself when He atoned for their sins. Today, Jesus paid for our sins by nailing them to the cross. What a beautiful picture. When we come together in unity as the body of Christ, no matter our skin color, no matter our background, we fortify the spiritual walls of security for our families and our nation.

Let us be the ones who bring this nation back together.

 

What questions can we ask ourselves that can affect change?

  1. Who can I partner with in prayer?
  2. How can I serve others who are hurting today?
  3. What can I do to affect change on my section of the wall today?

_________________________________________________________________________

Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden. Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

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Weekly Bible Verse: Psalm 18: 1-2

Our weekly Bible verse comes from Psalm 18: 1-2 (NIV)

I love you, Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

body river surrounded by dress

 

As you begin your week, seek the Lord and open His Word. He will set your feet on a solid foundation. Let Him be your refuge and strength.
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Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden. Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

Follow us on social media. click map

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Pinterest

Tuesday Devotions: A Study in Nehemiah

Welcome to our Tuesday devotions. Every Tuesday, we will offer a study in the book of Nehemiah. We hope you enjoy these devotions and will also follow us on social media at @thecovenc. We post encouraging Bible verses, upcoming events at The Cove, and much more.

 

“Fake News”

By: Patty Nicholas-Boyte

 

Nehemiah 6:5-9 (NASB)

 “Then Sanballat sent his servant to me in the same manner a fifth time with an open letter in his hand.In it was written, “It is reported among the nations, and Gashmu says, that you and the Jews are planning to rebel; therefore you are rebuilding the wall. And you are to be their king, according to these reports. You have also appointed prophets to proclaim in Jerusalem concerning you, ‘A king is in Judah!’ And now it will be reported to the king according to these reports. So come now, let us take counsel together.” Then I sent a message to him saying, “Such things as you are saying have not been done, but you are inventing them in your own mind.” For all of them were trying to frighten us, thinking, “They will become discouraged with the work and it will not be done.” But now, O God, strengthen my hands.”

Last week Sanballat, under the guise of “friendship” sent messages on four separate occasions for Nehemiah to meet. With Godly discernment, Nehemiah refused the repeated invitations. Today, we see yet another tactic employed by the enemy, an open letter read to all the people of Israel, accusing Nehemiah of plotting to make himself king in Jerusalem. The letter further states that the real reason for rebuilding the walls was to keep King Artaxerxes and his men out of the city.

Nehemiah answered back in a message saying Sanballat invented the accusations in his own mind. Talk about fake news! He rightfully understood and fired back, the reason for the letter was to discourage the people and therefore, leave the work unfinished. Finally, Nehemiah prayed that God would strengthen his hands.

In the weeks to come, we will see even more attacks. In fifty eight days, just under two months, we’ve seen attacks come in many different forms, and it’s not over yet. Everything from rumors, to physical battles, to now, an attack on Nehemiah’s motives and personal character. Through it all Nehemiah remained focused and unwavering in the assignment God had given him.

At this writing, we are well past two months in the trial of the Coronavirus. I can’t help see the parallel between Nehemiah, the Israelites and the trials they endured, to what we are experiencing today.

We have seen everything from fear and anxiety to conspiracy theories, and anger. We have also seen amazing heroism, as well as the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed in ways we have never imagined before.

 

“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7, NASB). 

Nehemiah certainly did not have a spirit of fear or timidity but he demonstrated perfectly the power of discipline and a sound mind in the midst of a difficult situation.

What can we learn from Nehemiah?

  • As in the days of Nehemiah, the enemy will employ many tactics in an attempt to render us ineffective in our calling.
  • Combat deception and take a stand for truth. Do not let lies take us down.
  • Recognize the scheme and seek God’s strength in the situation.
  • I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

 

Speaking truth in love is easily said, but hard to walk out in practice. Nehemiah did not mince his words when he disputed the charge against him. I can’t even imagine the struggle he endured to keep the peace amongst the people, while still accomplishing the daunting task of rebuilding the broken down walls of the city.

 

What questions can we ask ourselves that can affect change?

  1. What do you do to stay encouraged when you encounter new trials?
  2. How do you walk out the practice of speaking truth in love?
  3. What can we do to build the walls around our relationships that cannot be broken?
  4. How do we combat lies, while showing Christs love at the same time?

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Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden. Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

Follow us on social media. click map

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Tuesday Devotions: A Study in Nehemiah

Welcome to our Tuesday devotions. Every Tuesday, we will offer a study in the book of Nehemiah. We hope you enjoy these devotions and will also follow us on social media at @thecovenc. We post encouraging Bible verses, upcoming events at The Cove, and much more.

Perseverance in the Midst of Persuasive Persistence

By: Patty Nicholas-Boyte

 

Nehemiah 6:1-4 (NASB)

“Now when it was reported to Sanballat, Tobiah, to Geshem the Arab and to the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall, and that no breach remained in it, although at that time I had not set up the doors in the gates,  then Sanballat and Geshem sent a message to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together at Chephirim in the plain of Ono.” But they were planning to harm me.  So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?”  They sent messages to me four times in this manner, and I answered them in the same way.” 

From start to finish, the bible tells us that the entire building project took a total of fifty-eight days. Imagine, in less than two months’ time, ordinary people, from all walks of life took broken down walls, and burned city gates and rebuilt them to their full height, but not without opposition.

We’ve seen the enemies of Israel employ several tactics to derail the work, up to and including armed hostility. Nehemiah and his men slept in their clothes with weapons nearby. They did their work with one hand and carried a weapon in the other.

Each strategy the enemy used, Nehemiah had to be creative to combat the attack. Today’s example is one of cunning, pretense and persistence. Nehemiah, however could see through the attempt to take him out and did what he could to avoid the confrontation.

The devil has not changed from the time of Nehemiah to today. When one tactic does not work, he changes gears and tries again in a different way.

Growing up my brothers and I played practical jokes on each other. For years, one of us was always plotting revenge for something, and one of us was constantly uttering the phrase “When you least expect it, expect it.”

In the same way, we need to be aware of the schemes of our old adversary the devil. We need to be on guard. Not everything is as good as it might seem, and not every open door is one that comes from God.

James 1:12 (NASB)

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

When the request came for Nehemiah to leave his task to come and meet. He spotted the plot, but he did not fight. No matter how many times they persisted, he stayed focused on the task that was before him.

What can we learn from Nehemiah?

  • Be on guard for all the enemy’s schemes. Don’t fall for what seems good.
  • Be submersed in the truth of God’s word so I will spot the lie when it comes.
  • Don’t worry about the enemy. Stay on task with God’s will, and watch Him work on our behalf.
  • The enemy is persistent but that doesn’t mean I need to change my answer.

Satan does not play fair, and we need to be aware of his tactics, one of which is persistence.

What questions can we ask ourselves that can affect change?

  1. What “good deal” am I in danger of falling for?
  2. In what way has the enemy shifted his tactics on me?
  3. What task has God given me to accomplish that the enemy would love to derail?
  4. Where am I trying to engage the enemy instead of staying on task?
  5. Where is the enemy wearing me down with his persistence?

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Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden. Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

Follow us on social media. click map

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Tuesday Deovtions: A Study in Nehemiah

Welcome to our Tuesday devotions. Every Tuesday, we will offer a study in the book of Nehemiah. We hope you enjoy these devotions and will also follow us on social media at @thecovenc. We post encouraging Bible verses, upcoming events at The Cove, and much more.

The Fear of the Lord

By: Patty Nicholas-Boyte

 

Nehemiah 5:9-13 (NASB)

 “Again I said, “The thing which you are doing is not good; should you not walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the nations, our enemies?  And likewise I, my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain. Please, let us leave off this usury. Please, give back to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive groves and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money and of the grain, the new wine and the oil that you are exacting from them.”  Then they said, “We will give it back and will require nothing from them; we will do exactly as you say.” So I called the priests and took an oath from them that they would do according to this promise.  I also shook out the front of my garment and said, “Thus may God shake out every man from his house and from his possessions who does not fulfill this promise; even thus may he be shaken out and emptied.” And all the assembly said, “Amen!” And they praised the Lord. Then the people did according to this promise.”

Along with a massive building project, threats of attack from enemies without, there is now an issue with an attack from within. A famine has taken the meager livelihood away from most of the people. As mentioned last week people were enslaving themselves to buy food. Nehemiah himself is lending money and grain to those in need.

In verse 9, Nehemiah asked the question, “Should you not walk in the fear of our God?” That is a great question to guide us in all of our dealings with people. If we had a healthy fear of the Lord, or a better translation would be a reverent awe of the Lord, then we would treat our fellow human beings with the compassion that Nehemiah was seeking the people of his day. If we took a step back and asked ourselves that same question before we speak, or act imagine how that would shape our interactions.

Let all the earth fear the Lord;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him” (Psalm 33:8, NASB).

In verse 13, Nehemiah shook his garment and said, ‘This may God shake out every man from his house . . . who does not fulfil his promise . . . May he be shaken out and emptied.” God takes our promises, and the way we treat one another seriously.

Today we live under the New Covenant of grace, but I believe many of the Old Testament principles still apply. We are to love one another, and treat each other with the love of God. Be the hands and feet of Jesus, and have a healthy fear and awe of Almighty God in the process.

What can we learn from Nehemiah?

  • When we see injustice, speak up. Do something.
  • When something we have done wrong, let our response be one of humble obedience to
    God Almighty
  • Follow Through on our promises
  • If we have the ability to help those in need, don’t waste the opportunity and expect someone else to do what God has called you to do.

God’s mercies are new every morning, and and we should have a healthy fear and wonder of Him. By operating in the awe of the Almighty we will see God’s people as He sees them. Allow the Holy Spirit to stir in you a compassion, and love for those around you.

What questions can we ask ourselves that can affect change?

  1. How am I treating others? Will my actions benefit or hurt others?
  2. How are we dealing with others? Is there anything we are doing that is unfair?
  3. How can I be more loving and Christ like in my dealings with others?
  4. What can I do today to stick to the promises I have already made?
  5. What kind of shaking have I received because I did not keep a promise?

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Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden. Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

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Weekly Bible Verse: Isaiah 41:10-13

Our weekly Bible verse comes from Isaiah 41:10-13:

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  “All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish.  Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all.  For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you” (NIV).

As we walk through this time of uncertainty, we can trust that God is with us. We have nothing to fear because His Word and His promises are true. We can trust Him. Today, as you seek the Lord, you can walk in confidence knowing that your security is in Him.

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Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden. Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

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Lisa Harper LiveStream at The Cove

On June 5–6, join women around the country for an online seminar about “The Connection Every Heart Longs For.” Lisa Harper will lead this livestreamed event, which features Biblical teaching, musical worship and a question and answer session.

Get live & on demand access to a two-day (June 5-6) women’s seminar

Lisa Harper Seminar Schedule

June 5

Session One

7:30 p.m.
Livestream Begins | Opening Remarks
7:40 p.m.
Intros and Info
7:45 p.m.
Worship with Michael O’Brien
8:00 p.m.
Session One Message
9:00 p.m.
Worship with Michael O’Brien
9:05 p.m.
Closing Remarks
9:10 p.m.
Livestream Ends for the Night

June 6

Session Two

9:00 a.m.
Morning Livestream Begins | Welcome
9:05 a.m.
Worship with Michael O’Brien
9:15 a.m.
Session Two Message

Session Three

10:15 a.m.
Worship with Michael O’Brien
10:30 a.m.
Session Three Message
11:30 a.m.
Livestream Ends for the Morning

Session Four

12:30 p.m.
Afternoon Livestream Begins | Worship with Michael O’Brien
12:35 p.m.
Q&A with Lisa Harper and Kendra Graham
1:05 p.m.
Worship with Michael O’Brien
1:15 p.m.
Session Four Message
2:15 p.m.
Commissioning by Lisa Harper
2:20 p.m.
Final Remarks
2:30 p.m.
Livestream Ends

Can’t watch live? You can still sign up and get on demand access to the session videos for 30 days after the event. The video on demand will be available on this page on June 8th.

Before you purchase your ticket, please read the following tips and instructions:
  • Remember the login method you use (Facebook, Google, or Email) when you buy your ticket. You will use this same login method and information to access the livestream here on the day of the event.
  • Bookmark this page and come here just before the event begins to login and watch the livestream.
  • Keep the email receipt you receive after purchase. If it does not appear in your inbox, check your spam folder. The email contains a link back to this page where the livestream will take place.
Just before the event begins:
  • Come back to this page and click the green “Login” button above. Enter the same login information you used when buying the ticket. If you’ve forgotten your password, click “Forgot your password?” on lower right of login screen to create a new one. Enjoy the livestream!
During the Event:
  • If at any time you don’t see the current session, make a hard refresh of your browser
    (On Windows: Ctrl + F5, Or On Mac:  Command +  Shift + R)
Technical Support:
  • If you are experiencing video, technical, or login issues please visit the FAQ and Technical Support page. Enter a support request and a person will respond within 15 minutes.

Contact Ruth’s Attic bookstore at 828-771-4800 (option 3) to order a copy of the seminar recordings on CD, DVD or flash drive. Purchasing the current seminar recording entitles you to receive half-off a second copy of equal or lesser value.

 

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Tuesday Devotions: A Study in Nehemiah

Welcome to our Tuesday devotions. Every Tuesday, we will offer a study in the book of Nehemiah. We hope you enjoy these devotions and will also follow us on social media at @thecovenc. We post encouraging Bible verses, upcoming events at The Cove, and much more.

What Next?

By: Patty Nicholas-Boyte

 

 

 

Nehemiah 5:1-8

Now there was a great outcry of the people and of their wives against their Jewish brothers.  For there were those who said, “We, our sons and our daughters are many; therefore let us get grain that we may eat and live.”  There were others who said, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our houses that we might get grain because of the famine.”  Also there were those who said, “We have borrowed money for the king’s tax on our fields and our vineyards.  Now our flesh is like the flesh of our brothers, our children like their children. Yet behold, we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters are forced into bondage already, and we are helpless because our fields and vineyards belong to others.” Then I was very angry when I had heard their outcry and these words.  I consulted with myself and contended with the nobles and the rulers and said to them, “You are exacting usury, each from his brother!” Therefore, I held a great assembly against them. I said to them, “We according to our ability have redeemed our Jewish brothers who were sold to the nations; now would you even sell your brothers that they may be sold to us?” Then they were silent and could not find a word to say” (NASB). 

 

The Israelites of Nehemiah’s time, much like the current circumstances we face during the Coronavirus, faced hardship from many fronts. Not only had they been in exile from their homeland for over seventy years, when they returned, their beloved city was in ruins. As they endeavored to rebuild, the threat from their enemy was serious enough that they needed to remain armed not only as they worked, but even as they slept. Now, before they can even finish the task, a new problem immerges. Famine.

Just like today, famine exacerbates the poverty of some, and enhances the wealth of others. During the time of Nehemiah, those who had nothing began to mortgage their land, and when that was not enough, they began to sell their own children into servitude to buy food for their family.

In verses 6-7, when Nehemiah discovered what was going on, the text said he was angry. I imagine there is not a strong enough word to describe the extent of his anger and indignation.

In verse 8 Nehemiah addressed the people. My paraphrase: “We just spent seventy years in slavery, at the first sign of trouble you put yourselves back into bondage. Why would you do that? What is wrong with you people?”

The text says the people were silent and could not find a word to say. I’ve been there before.

The real issue was the Israelites lacked faith in God. He had brought them home, He provided everything they needed for their building project, and God was in process of protecting them from enemy opposition, and yet, when the famine hit, they were ready to give up their freedom.

Do we not do the same thing? It seems like we can handle one hard thing, then another, but when there is a real storm in life, when trouble seems to come at us from all sides, we default into a lack of faith, which ultimately enslaves us to sin.

As I write this today, there have been weeks of empty shelves, and reports of food shortages on the way. I will be honest and say that I have to fight for my faith and war against fear each day.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NASB)

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I am thankful that God is big enough to handle all of my stuff, and if I allow, He takes all my fear and anxiety and in exchange He replaces with His peace, and guards my heart and mind. Praise God!

What can we learn from Nehemiah?

  • When problems hit from many sides, do not become part of the problem.
  • Treat our fellow co-laborers with respect. Remember we are all God’s children.
  • When fear and anxiety hit, try not to let them take hold. Lean on God who is able to help in our time of need.
  • Let our anger and indignation at injustice move us to help those in need.

When Nehemiah saw injustice, he spoke out. Through the truth of God’s word the people were brought into conviction as evidenced by their silence.

What questions can we ask ourselves that can affect change?

  1. Are we doing kingdom work, fighting the enemy on many fronts but neglecting our family?
  2. What am I mortgaging against my future for something that I should trust in God to provide?
  3. What do I do with the fear and anxiety I experience each day?
  4. Where do I look for peace?
  5. What is my response to injustice?

 

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Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden. Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

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