It’s been a year and a few months since I decided to memorize a full book from the Old Testament. Last year in Bible Study Fellowship we studied in the OT from Joshua to Solomon. In one of the first lessons we were encouraged to remember that to neglect studying the Old Testament (~60% of the Bible) is to leave a precious gift unopened. This exhortation spurred me to start memorizing the book of Nehemiah. Four chapters into it I started alternating and memorizing 1 Corinthians. By taking it slow and steady, I’ve recently finished Nehemiah 8 and started on 1 Corinthians 4.
I was pretty familiar with Nehemiah’s story and did a listen-through of the book before starting to memorize it, so it’s an exciting surprise that I still feel the suspense of his first-person account as I review it. Like I’ve found when I recite God’s answer to Job and Job’s confession there is something very impactful about audibly recounting these stories and words that have been written for our encouragement (Romans 15:4).
When Nehemiah learned that the walls and gates of Jerusalem are debris and ashes, he wept. I find myself groaning and crying with him. He subsequently fasted and prayed, confessing that the ruined city and scattered people are a result of he and his relatives’ sin. I join him in confessing my sin and also follow his example of asking God to show mercy according to His promises and faithfulness.
Although our callings and surroundings are very different, Nehemiah and I worship the same powerful and gracious King. He judges fairly and shows favor to undeserving people who call on His name. Fellow Christian, no matter what tasks He has called you to, He will sustain you as He did Nehemiah. He will show you where to devote your time energy and strengthen your hands as you seek to obey Him. He will protect you from enemies and remove obstacles – in His timing and for His purposes. May He be giving you hope today as you trust Him as the perfect Builder of all things (Hebrews 3:4).
In my current season it’s been difficult to find time to write (this post happened in four sittings with multiple interruptions each time) but over the next few weeks I’ll attempt to jot down more lessons that the Spirit is teaching me through Nehemiah.