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Let us therefore repent before the Lord

Let us therefore repent before the Lord

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Published by Timothy Berman
The Book of Nehemiah contains thirteen chapters. Each chapter will have a brief devotional presentation, along with a downloadable study guide, as well thoughtful questions to ponder and the ability to record one’s impressions and thoughts. The hope of this thirteen week study is to help facilitate change and restoration within our own homes, communities, and eventually within our own nation. Change does not come over night, nor does it come without a struggle. And, if we want to see change happen in our own lives, in our own homes, in our own communities, and within our own nation then we must make the commitment to apply the principles of the Book of Nehemiah in our lives. This is not a casual participation to gain knowledge about the subject matter, but to impact and change our own perception and thinking in how we can make the necessary improvements and repairs that is necessary.
The Book of Nehemiah contains thirteen chapters. Each chapter will have a brief devotional presentation, along with a downloadable study guide, as well thoughtful questions to ponder and the ability to record one’s impressions and thoughts. The hope of this thirteen week study is to help facilitate change and restoration within our own homes, communities, and eventually within our own nation. Change does not come over night, nor does it come without a struggle. And, if we want to see change happen in our own lives, in our own homes, in our own communities, and within our own nation then we must make the commitment to apply the principles of the Book of Nehemiah in our lives. This is not a casual participation to gain knowledge about the subject matter, but to impact and change our own perception and thinking in how we can make the necessary improvements and repairs that is necessary.

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Published by: Timothy Berman on Jan 01, 2013
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The Book of Nehemiah Devotional Study 1
L
ET US THEREFORE REPENT BEFORE THE
L
ORD
 
We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the
 statutes, nor the judgments which thou commandest… ~
Nehemiah 1:7 
 The Savior
 – 
Jesus Christ
 – 
spoke to his disciples and instructed them with what we nowunderstand to be the
 Beatitudes
, or the Sermon on the Mount.These beatitudes have come to be defined as the eight steps to spiritual maturation in the life of those who call themselvesChristians. The first step is that of humility:
blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is thekingdom of Heaven
. The second step to spiritual maturation is a contrite spirit that mourns oversin:
Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted 
. Humility and mourning are allaspects of what we discovery in the scriptures where an individual comes to the realization of thenature and devastation sin has had on their own lives and the lives of the people they serve. Infact, humility and mourning precede the confession of sin and is the beginning process of repentance.Through this process of humbling ourselves, mourning over the sins and acts of transgressionswe have engaged in, there is great comfort and joy when we come before our Lord and Savior toseek forgiveness and to find a renewed hope within the confines of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.Nehemiah chapter one contains the process of what true humility, sincere mourning andrepentance constitutes. Whether we are humbling ourselves and repenting of our owntransgressions and sins, or that of our family, community, and even our own nation
 – 
the processis simplistic in light of how Nehemiah responded to the report of those remnant people of theHouse of Israel.As we begin this devotional study, prayerfully consider the past year and make an inventory(mentally or by writing it down) areas where one may have caused offense, harm, injury, orwhere one has not been as faithful in fulfilling their duties and obligations within their family,work, school, and even within their local Church.
 In great affliction and reproach
 When we have engaged in sinful acts, there is the inevitable consequence of affliction andreproach. This can range from being disappointed with ourselves over something very minor andhaving a brief moment of disappoint in ourselves to the more serious transgressions andconsequences that create mental anguish within us and those that our very moral agency affected.Reading the first few verses of Nehemiah chapter 1, we find that the consequence of thedestruction of Jerusalem caused great affliction and disappointment among the people.The Book of Nehemiah is approximately dated to about 445
BCE
when the King of Persia
 – 
 Artaxerxes I
 – 
reigned (which is considered modern day Iran). The destruction of Jerusalem andthe Temple of Solomon occurred approximately 140 years previous during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. This is evident in the opening passages of the Book of Mormon:For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of 
Zedekiah, King of Judah … that … there came many prophets prophesying unto
 
The Book of Nehemiah Devotional Study 2
the people that they must repent, or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed.(1Nephi 1:4).Because of the wickedness of the Jews, the desolation and destruction occurred, many weretaken captive into Babylon and many others perished. The Jews no longer had a place toworship, no longer had any national pride and were carried off as prisoners. Our own sinsbecome our masters and we become the slave to our sinful desires. The Apostle Paul reflectsupon this as he wrote the following:Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants yeare to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience untorighteousness?(Romans 6:16
KJV) Speaking unto his sons, Lehi shared this thought:Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given themwhich are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life,through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, accordingto the captivity and power of the devil.We have the capacity and the rightful moral agency to choose for ourselves whether or not wewill allow ourselves to become captives or liberated men and women. This includes how we
allow ourselves to react to situations where it was another individual’s moral agency that has
caused affliction to come into our own lives.In relating the understanding of the destruction of Jerusalem, there were probably innocentpeople that did walk in obedience to the commandments of God. Individuals that observed andworshipped according to what they were taught. Much like today in our society, there are manypeople who hold fast to the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, yet come under afflictionbecause of the actions of another individual.No matter where we find ourselves
 – 
we all have faced some form of afflictions, as well asdisappointments, in the past year. Whether we were the direct cause of those afflictions, or theycame by another
individual’s choice, we must come to terms with those things that have caused
us to be in great affliction and reproach. Because of these great afflictions and reproach, we findthat our walls have crumbled and are broken down and our gates are burned with fire:The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month of Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, that Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning theJews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.And they said unto me, the remnant that are left of the captivity there in theprovince are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is brokendown, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.(Nehemiah 1:1-3; KJV)  In his sermon
 – 
 – 
Ray Stedman provides this commentary:
 
The Book of Nehemiah Devotional Study 3
Notice the description of Jerusalem. The people were in trouble. They werefeeling a great sense of disgrace and reproach. The walls of the city were brokendown (Nebuchadnezzar had started that many years earlier). The gates had beenburned with fire and were no longer usable.
If we take Jerusalem as a symbol of our own lives, there are many people … who
fit this description.Stedman continues with his observation:You look back on
your life this New Year’s Day and you see there are places
where the walls have been broken down. There is no longer any ability left toresist destructive attacks. You have fallen victim to sinful habits that you now finddifficult, if not impossible, to break. That is the kind of ruin that is described here.The ruin of Jerusalem that is described in Nehemiah is about a life that has becomeunmanageable because of sin. Unmanageable for us who have committed the act and continuedin the engagement of such sinful desires; as well as life becoming unmanageable for those whoare affected by our own choices and the contention that arises out of this unmanageable life.Parents who are dealing with children that have become rebellious, angered, and even violentdeal with an unmanageable lifestyle. Husbands and wives that deal with infidelity, pornographyaddiction, abuse, or even substance abuse and addiction have an unmanageable marriage that isstrained to the point of falling apart and being dissolved through divorce proceedings. Teens who
engage in bullying create an unmanageable life for their victims as well as the victims’ families
because of the bullying. More somber is the act of violence that took the lives of 27 people,majority of them who were young children. The effects of such a violent act is still being talkedabout through social media networks about whether or not we as a society ought to adopt strictergun control
 – 
to include banning particular weapons. Other aspects of an unmanageable life cancome as a result of the loss of employment, or home, or the inability to meet the basic needs of maintaining a home: all being the result of particular choices that have direct and indirect effectupon our lives.Questions to ponder:
 
Where in my life has it become unmanageable?
 
How did my life become unmanageable?
 
How have I reacted to how another person’s decision caused my life to become
unmanageable?
 
Have I ignored the causation of my own actions, the actions of others, and theconsequences that ensued because of my own moral agency
 – 
or the moral agency of another?
 
In what way am I or those around me (family, friends, neighbors) are in great afflictionand reproach?

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