Nehemiah 7:73-9:21; 1 Corinthians 9:1-18;
Psalm 33:12-22; Proverbs 21:11-12
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Finally, Nehemiah encourages them to go and celebrate to the Lord. Instead of being sad, they are to have the joy of the Lord be their strength. They have learned from the Law that it is the time of year to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. This pictures Jesus Christ as our Tabernacle, in whom we dwell in the presence of God. As the psalm says, their mourning turned to dancing and for seven days the Israelites celebrated in their booths made of branches. Jesus is our branch and we are the vines on the branch. As they dwell in the shelter of the branch, this beautiful picture of their future Messiah is complete. They can celebrate because they are trusting in the future work of their Messiah to shelter them from the punishment that their sins deserved. He will take their punishment with His death.
Next, we see the people return for another observance that allows for confession of sin. At this time, the Book of the Law was read for three hours, and then the people confessed their sins for three hours. An important part of revival is to not just feel sorry for sin and rest in Jesus' work, it is also to actively confess your own sin by examining your life and forsaking those behaviors that displease God. This is where sanctification begins. After this confession, a call to praise the God of heaven and earth is given. We see a recounting of God's great works on earth.
All good revivals have certain characteristics:
- They are based on the reading of God's Word.
- They create sorrow for sin.
- They inspire confession of sin.
- They promote repentance from sin.
- The Messiah is the focus and the solution for sin.
- Sorrow is turned to joy.
- God's mighty works are declared.
Are you willing to pray for revival in our time? With the advent of the Internet, God's Word and the study of its truth are more available than ever. Please pray with me for genuine revival to occur during our lifetime.
1 Corinthians 9:1-18
Paul stands on his authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ to teach these things. Paul argues that Christian workers should be paid for their work. He uses the Old Testament example of God mandating that an ox that is treading out the grain should be allowed to eat the grain. This means that Christian workers, who are bringing people into the kingdom of God through their study and work, should not feel bad about being paid for this work. It should be noted that Paul and Barnabas never were paid by other people. Paul earned his money by being a tent maker. Paul considers this a distinction. This is very similar to Nehemiah's proud declaration that he did not profit from the public coffers. This is a sign of good character in both of these men.
Paul indicates that he is not such a great fellow, it is just that God has compelled him and chosen him to work in this way. Paul says that his pay for all of his work is the satisfaction he gets from preaching the Good News without expense to anyone, even though it is his right as a preacher.
Do you feel that preachers should get paid for their work? Do you begrudge their salaries?
This is a psalm that speaks of the Lord looking down on the whole human race and understanding everyone's heart. Do you realize that He knows you?
A wise person learns from instruction, rather than punishment. We see the Israelites in revival behaving this way.
What did you learn today?