a.m.: Psalm 128 p.m.: Nehemiah 6

In this Psalm of ascent, the psalmist extols a godly father. A husband who fears the Lord, not in a way that one might fear a spider or a mouse, but acknowledging that God is above man and not on the same level. God should be respected, revered and worshipped, whilst being the only being worthy of our trust and praise. The fear of the Lord does not mean we shouldn’t also stay near to God, for he is our refuge in times of trouble.

A godly husband should be a diligent worker. Created in the image of the God who worked six days in the week, and rested on the seventh, man should also work. This is not to say that work will always be exciting and exhilarating. There will be times when it is tedious and dull, but it is in those times we should continue to work, that a husband and father can be relied upon to provide for his family.

A godly wife will care primarily for the home, looking after children. She will provide a haven for children to take shelter from the buffeting of life. Her husband should be able to tutn to her for wise counsel and be able to trust her completely.

The children of godly parents should be brought up to know the things of God, that they might know the Gospel. The family is to function as a unit, with communication – especially around the dining table – paramount.

This is not to say that godly parents will always get it right, nor will their children always be obedient and make the right decisions.

If the family is functioning according to the will of God, so will the body of God’s people, and if that is the case, the nation will be affected. Such a nation will be at peace with itself.

In chapter six, the walls of Jerusalem are finally completed. Despite the discouragements of neighbours and the spectre of in-fighting, after 52 days, the wall is complete.

Yet, even so close to completion Satan doesn’t stop attacking. Whilst the wall is complete, there is still work to do, and the neighbours try to flattter Nehemiah in order to coax him out of Jerusalem and delay further work. Nehemiah wisely declines their multiple invitations, citing the importance of his work.

False rumours are also started, with an open, unsealed message “delivered” to Nehemiah. This message contains rumours that Nehemiah is planning to become king, breaking away from the rule of Persia. This rumour was designed to cause Nehemiah to change his thinking and give up, but Nehemiah prayed to God to strengthen his hands.

Finally Nehemiah was told his life was in danger by some of his own people – the nobles of Judah, people who had conflicting interests. They intended to intimidate Nehemiah into running away and hiding, but Nehemiah openly rebuffed them.

Later on, Jesus would also exoerience similar difficulties. Jesus was told the work wasn’t necessary by Satan, but just bow down to him and the world would be his. Others made Jesus out to be an earthly king, with the intention of deposing Caesar. Still others had conflicting interests and would conspire to turn Jesus in. Yet, both Nehemiah and Jesus were doing the will of the Father, and so were enable to complete the work they had undertaken.

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