July 25, 2017
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 25 July 2017
Distractions have the potential to diverge us from what is truly important in our lives. Common diversions include the following: conflict, criticism, desires, financial pressure, gossip, pleasures, poor health, praise from others, social media, and unnecessary meetings. Any one of the typical distractions can result in us deviating from God’s perfect design for us.
We have all probably heard the timeless children’s rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me,” yet the saying is not entirely true because words do have a profound effect upon us. As much as we may attempt to ignore them, words affect us by either producing condemnation or exoneration, confusion or clarity, deceit or truth, despair or hope, hatred or kindness.
Difficulties and problems can arise even when seeking to accomplish the will of God. Sanballat and Tobiah both mocked and ridiculed Nehemiah and the Jews who were rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem. Nehemiah encountered a series of people and situations that could have debilitated the rebuilding project and even immobilized the work (Neh 4:1-4, 11; 5:1; 6:1). He was able to keep the people focused upon the task before them, by encouraging them to “remember the Lord who is great and awesome” (4:14). Nehemiah demonstrates the value of being single-minded. He reverenced the Lord and conscientiously applied himself to accomplishing the will of God. By focusing our attention exclusively upon God’s perfect design, our minds will remain unwavering (cf. 1 Kgs 18:21; Eph 4:14), despite any difficulties.
God wants to demonstrate his favor toward his people, and his blessing is always bound for those who are obedient to Him. Knowledge of this truth should grant us confidence in challenging situations and times (as it did for Nehemiah). Nehemiah also demonstrates the value of accountability for he was responsible to the king, who desired progress reports concerning the work being accomplished. All believers will one day appear before the judgment seat of King Jesus, and will then give an account for how the Lord’s gifts and resources were stewarded (1 Cor 3:10-15).
Finally, we also learn the value of consistency in praying. When the Israelites were ridiculed, they were unable to halt their opponent’s mockery. Mockery is always the language of the bully for it is a means to masquerade one’s insecurity, especially when the weakness of the intimidator is becoming ever more apparent. Refusing to engage in retaliatory actions, Nehemiah prayed and the people were inspired to continue their work. Prayer is not a discharge from responsibility; rather, it arouses creativity while awakening determination. As the plots of the enemies were exacerbated, Nehemiah turned to God because he was concerned – from the beginning of the project – with the honor of the Lord and his people. God not only provided his people with discernment, but also He frustrated the plans of the enemy (Neh 4:4-6, 15).
Nehemiah was a man of prayer and wisdom, which is evident in the ambitious project being completed in just fifty-two days of work (6:15). When heeding biblical examples as Nehemiah, we can be assured that God will accomplish marvelous things in and through us. Nehemiah demonstrated the value of being single-minded, obedient, accountable, and consistent in praying. Which of these character traits will assist you to overcome whatever may be distracting you?
P.S. Reminder: the Capitol Commission (interim) Bible Study is next week: 1 August 2017.
Grace and Peace to You,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia
Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.