This post is to help me remember what God is pressing upon my heart. Since my brain is "all over the place" sometimes, this may read that way also....so this is your warning! : ) I think I also need to give this other disclaimer: I am not a bible scholar NOR do I think I am close to one. I know that there is SO much more to know and learn and that when I blog about scripture that I could be totally screwing up. So I just ask for grace and know that this is what God is teaching me not necessarily what he is pressing upon anyone reading this. So I guess what I am saying is that this isn't meant to be a sermon just what I am learning and trying to apply in my life.
Ok, right now in my daily bible reading I am reading Ezra and Nehemiah, and SO MANY things are just being placed in my heart. I will try to make it all make sense as I write but like I said before it may not! : )
Ezra and Nehemiah are returning with other Jews back to Jerusalem after being exiled to Babylon. Jerusalem is a disaster! The wall around the city is torn down and so is the temple. They set out first to lay the foundation of the temple. After it is finished, there was great rejoicing except for the ones who had seen the former temple, they wept. I stopped reading and I wondered why? I thought maybe because they had realized the full effect of their rebellion against the Lord. When Solomon build this temple it was AMAZING! Almost everything was overlaid with gold. There is no way this foundation could of looked the same. God warned them again and again through His prophets about this. So I wonder if seeing this foundation brought those memories all back? (fyi...this is one of my side notes!)
There were enemies of the Israelites there and they sent a letter back to King Artaxerxes and told him to look in the history scrolls and see that these people were rebellious and wicked and would not submit and pay taxes once their walls were rebuilt and that the king should order them to stop. (Another side note) Isn't it funny that they called them rebellious and wicked? When they obeyed the Lord and He fought for them the other kings called them rebellious. Anyway.....so the king did order them to stop.
Now I am not sure how many years later but Ezra, who was a teacher of the Law of Moses, is given permission to go to Jerusalem. This is what is awesome and just shows how great our God is.....the king gives Ezra whatever he asks for because "the hand of the Lord his (Ezra's) God was on him." He is given silver, gold, wheat, salt, olive oil, etc. This is given to him out of the king's royal treasury. It just shows that God can change any heart he wants to. This king also tells Ezra that he is to teach everyone the laws of God and they are to be followed. There were still those in Jerusalem threatening the Israelites as they rebuilt but that didn't matter. Whatever God wants done, happens!
Like I said before I am everywhere with this blog...sorry. But this is what really got me on my knees, literally. I finish up in Ezra and Ezra finds out that some of the the people of Israel, including the priests and Levites have been marrying with the other nations. This is a huge sin. Ezra goes to the temple and weeps and prays for his people over this sin. (Remember this for later)
Then I start to read Nehemiah. This book starts out before the walls are all built. He is King Artaxerxes' cup bearer. It is in the fall and his brother and other men from Judah visit him (Nehemiah) and he asks how things are in Jerusalem. They tell him that it is horrible...the walls are broken and the gates have been burned. For days after this Nehemiah wept and fasted and mourned for his people. He prays for mercy from God for the Israelites. The next spring God does answer his prayers and the kings sends Nehemiah back to Jerusalem and also gives him permission to get timber from the king's forest for the temple, walls, and gates.
This is the big finale! : ) I stopped reading there and thought wow, do I pray like this for my nation? What about even for my state? My county? My city? My street? My court? What about even my neighbors on my left and right? Do I even cry out to the Lord for them? If I had that same passion for others what kind of difference would that make?! I even thought about the National Day of Prayer we have and that I don't make that a priority like I should. What kind of example am I to my children about the power of prayer? I can't even put into words the pressing feeling I had to just get on my knees and pray.
"Lord, I am such a "do-er" and I confess that I do not pray like I should. Your word says to pray continually. Lord let your Spirit inside me constantly bring to my mind all that I should be in prayer about. Let my mind not wander to things that cause anxiousness and worry, but keep it focused on you. Ignite in me a desire to pray for my neighbors. Let me never doubt the power of prayer. I want to be like Ezra and weep for the sin our nation commits. I want to come before you, humbly praying for this city I live in. Let their hearts be softened and use me to tell them of your Son. In Jesus name, Amen."