January 17, 2013 – Nehemiah 7

Click here to read Nehemiah 7 on BibleGateway.com

gate.4I can deny it no longer; I have somewhat of a Bible-crush on Nehemiah. As we’ve seen elsewhere, Nehemiah was a genius when it came to city administration, but I have to admit that even with my rose-colored Nehemiah-shaded glasses I’ve never noticed this particular gem of his until today. In today’s reading, notice how Nehemiah gives specific directions to the city leaders about when the city gates should be opened. Normally, the gates would be opened when the sun came up, when the city was just waking up, and closed when the sun went down. However, in this case, Nehemiah considerably shortened the business hours of Jerusalem. It seems that there may have been several reasons for this.

KNOCK KNOCK

1) Security
The best times for an enemy to attack would be either early morning before the whole city is awake and active or late in the evening when everyone is settling down for the night. Nehemiah’s plan insured that the gates would remained closed until the majority of the city was awake and alert, and that they would close before people started drifting off to beddy bye time.

2) Correct Priorities
It’s easy for the busy-ness of life to take over our lives before we realize it. By making sure that the gates, and by implication the city business sector, did not open until later and closed early, Nehemiah made sure that people had time to attend to their spiritual lives first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Bookending the day with prayer and devotion is good model for us to emulate today as well.

3) City Development
The Jews had just returned to Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s time, and it make sense that he would want the people to be working on cleaning/rebuilding the city as much as possible. This is similar to when people take off early during the summer work day so they can get home to mow the lawn, paint the deck, fix the torlet, or restock the lawn gnomes in the front yard. The more time people have, the more likely they will give at least some of it to fixing up the city.

Think this doesn’t apply to us today? Oh, how very double dip with chocolate chip wrong you would be.

SET A GUARD

Having trouble finding time for God in your busy schedule? Studies have shown that the best time to study is early morning or late at night. In other words, if you are struggling with your devotion time, perhaps getting up a little earlier or turning off the TV a little earlier would open up some time for you to spend in the Word.

Secondly, if you want to protect your spiritual life, beware the early morning or late night hours The Bible says that sin loves the darkness, and Internet traffic analysis shows that piracy, cheating, and porn traffic all go up when the sun’s down. Work while the sun’s shining, and be very careful when it’s not, or you may find yourself under attack.

Finally, make sure to take time away from work to spend on your own backyard. And I don’t mean the daffodils. Make sure that whatever your line of work, you make time for your family. If the house is rundown, the castle won’t stand long.

Nehemiah knew a small change in schedule could change the future of the whole city. What small change can you make today?

 

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