Day 266

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Nehemiah 11-12:26; I Chronicles 9:1-34

Steve Schonberg, Elder

It is easy for me to have a rather passive view of the history of Christianity in our nation. I tend to think of our history as starting with a strong Christian foundation which gradually deteriorated over time. When I recently had the opportunity to tour the History of Evangelism in America exhibit at the Billy Graham Center on the Wheaton College Campus, I realized how wrong my perspective was.

It is rather a history of ebbs and flows from one generation or time period to another as various people answered God’s call to preach the gospel and pray. For example, Yale University was founded at the beginning of the 18th century as a Christian answer to the perceived liberalism of Harvard. By the late 1700’s there were almost no professing Christians in attendance. In fact, in the freshman classes of 1795 and 1796 there was a total of one believer. A few years later, through the preaching and leadership of the college president, about 50% of the student body had come to Christ.

What does this have to do with today’s chapters? The few Jewish descendants who made the perilous and courageous trek back to Palestine in Nehemiah’s day were the grandchildren and great grandchildren of a generation that had become so corrupt that God needed to completely destroy it. They returned to their ancestral land, rebuilt their homes, the temple, the fortified city of Jerusalem, and worshiped the one true God according to his directives from many centuries earlier.

What is the lesson for us? It is simply that each one of us, no matter our Christian heritage or lack thereof, is in a unique position and circumstance. We can either press forward and experience for ourselves God’s reality or alternatively, we can try to ride along on someone else’s faith and limit our experience of God to the tales of others. Our choices determine our destiny, directly affect those around us, and ultimately influence our entire culture, nation, and world.

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4 responses »

  1. No matter what our background is, either generational or personal, God gives each of us the opportunity to serve Him and to advance His kingdom.

  2. Father, thank You that You call us children. We are not grandchildren, nieces or nephews. You desire an fresh, new and personal relationship with each one of us. Our job is to model what it looks like to be Your child. Please help my walk to be so alive with You that others will desire to know You for themselves. Amen.

  3. Great thoughts, Steve! It brings to mind the importance of “guarding” our hearts to prevent the subtle erosion of our spiritual lives. These verses struck me this morning:

    “Shallum…along with his brothers in the Korahite family, were in charge of the services of worship as doorkeepers of the Tent, as their ancestors had guarded the entrance to the camp of God.”
    – 1 Chron. 9:19

    The Temple of God was guarded by a rotating team of 212 security guards who kept round the clock surveillance. It is obvious that the Temple was a very special Holy place…a place containing precious objects of worship as well as God’s very presence. In the New Testament we learn that our bodies are now the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

    “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” 1 Cor. 6:19

    It makes sense, then, that this “temple” we carry needs guarding as well. There are so many things that can defile our temples within and without: impure thoughts or motives, selfishness, pride, greed, envy, dishonesty, lusts of the eyes and lusts of the flesh. Oh Lord, help me clean Your temple this morning, and sweep out anything that doesn’t belong. Then may I place an alert guard at the entrance of my heart, so that nothing unclean will enter.

    • Agreed Lynn, and if I might add, Lord fill the empty spaces created from Your cleansing so there isn’t a clean empty place for these things to return to.

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