Devotional: ‘Are You Resisting God’s Will?’ 

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Jonah 1:1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” 3 But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD.

 God told Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh and command them to repent. Yet Jonah refused to go. His fear was that if they heard such a message, they might indeed turn from their sin and escape God’s judgment. Therefore, instead of boarding a ship that would take him to Nineveh, Jonah boarded a ship that took him the opposite direction. But God was not through with His prophet.

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Devotional: ‘When Jonah Went in the Opposite Direction’

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The LORD gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.” But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the LORD. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the LORD by sailing to Tarshish. (Jonah 1:1-2)

During the days of Jonah, Assyria was one of the most powerful and wicked nations upon the earth. I remember a professor once telling us how the Assyrians would torture their prisoners just outside of the walls of their city in order to intimidate all who were watching. Therefore, like many of the Jews of his day, Jonah hated the Assyrians and wanted God to judge them. That being the case, one would think that he would welcome the opportunity to tell them of God’s coming judgment; yet instead, Jonah went in the opposite direction. Why did Jonah refuse to go and preach God’s judgment to Nineveh?

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Devotional: ‘Celebrating a Miracle’   

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“So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.” (Nehemiah 6:15)

Nehemiah took on an impossible task. He set out to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem that had been in ruins for nearly a century. To add even more drama to his story, two other groups had already attempted the task and failed. Yet as the great missionary William Carey once said, “Attempt great things for God and expect great things from God.”

As we bring this week’s brief study of Nehemiah to a close, let’s do a quick survey of the events that led up Nehemiah’s success.

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Devotional: ‘Experiencing a Miracle’  

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The king asked, “Well, how can I help you?” “How long will you be gone?  When will you return?”  After I told him how long I would be gone, the king agreed to my request.  (Nehemiah 2:4, 6)

Many consider the book of Nehemiah to be a great source of instruction on the area of leadership. If that is so, what can we learn from Nehemiah’s example?

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Devotional: ‘Expecting a Miracle’   

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In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before; so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill?  This can be nothing but sadness of heart.” I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” The king said to me, “What is it you want?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven . . . (Nehemiah 2:1-5)

Many years before the time of Nehemiah, the Babylonians had invaded Jerusalem and during their siege, many Jews were carried off into captivity. In addition, the city of Jerusalem had been destroyed. Prior to Nehemiah, two separate groups of Jews tried to rebuild the city, but with little success. When Nehemiah heard of the condition of Jerusalem, the Bible says that he ‘mourned, fasted and prayed’ for many days. Then one day, perhaps when Nehemiah least expected it, God opened some great doors. The king asked Nehemiah, “What is it you want?”

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Devotional: ‘Praying for a Miracle’  

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Yesterday we began looking at the book of Nehemiah and considering how Nehemiah responded to his negative news. “When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:4) Nehemiah’s beloved Jerusalem was in ruin and the people living there were in despair. Such news brought great sadness to Nehemiah, but rather than responding in a negative manner, Nehemiah chose to go to God in prayer. Let’s take a moment and consider some of the elements of his prayer.

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