There are so many examples of persistence in these three chapters. To mention a few, (1) Nehemiah stands firms when false claims are made against him in order to frighten him and stop the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls. By God’s help, (2) Israel completed the wall and over 42,000 Israelites gathered together to worship the LORD, confess their sins and hear the Law read with great joy. We also hear of (3) God’s persistence in forgiving and restoring His people when Ezra gets up to proclaim God’s faithfulness in previous generations.
This incredible story of God’s faithfulness and Israel’s worship is so practical for us in our fight of faith (Eph. 6:10). Not only should we read the stories of Scripture as historical events, but we also must hear from God in these stories how to live holy lives that please Him.
(1) When we are walking in God’s ways, Scripture promises that opposition will come (2 Tim. 3:12). It is in those moments of opposition that we must choose to love our enemies, stand firm in the truth, and continue steadfast in the Lord’s will as Nehemiah did.
(2) Life is hard, and the fight of faith is exactly that… a fight! Just as Israel persisted in the work of rebuilding the wall, we must be steadfast in the work of the Lord, that we may not fall to sins and temptations. One of the ways we fight for faith is gathering together regularly to worship the Lord. I love the language used in chapter 8 concerning their worship––“Ezra blessed the Lord,” “the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” “they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground,” “They read from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.” Corporate worship is a means of grace we must choose to persist in to honor and love God more and grow in godliness.
(3) Just as Ezra reminded the people of God’s faithfulness to forgive, love, and redeem, we must remember to remember God’s love and faithfulness by meditating on His Word. We also have the awesome task of reminding one another––our church family, our children, our neighbors––of how God is “ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” and does not forsake those who turn to Him (9:17).
The song below is the beautiful testimony of our God’s salvation put to music.
Listen and be encouraged.
“Song of Moses” by Aaron Keyes
(Song begins at the 1:50 timestamp)
Though the storms of hell pursue,
In darkest night we worship You
You divide the raging sea,
From death to life You safely lead!