TODAY'S WORD FOR Monday, January 14, 2019:
Immoral; wicked; harmful; bad; sinful; of the devil.
You have wearied the Lord with your words. “How have we wearied Him?” you ask. By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and He is pleased with them, or “Where is the God of justice?”
KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:
The book of Nehemiah closes on the theme of resisting evil. Nehemiah took a stand against evil. He was a Jew living in exile and employed by the King of Persia. When Nehemiah learned about the broken down walls of Jerusalem, he heeded the call of God to repair the damage done by the evil invaders.
Nehemiah prayed and then he went to the Persian King and got permission and the help to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls. The book of Nehemiah goes through the many struggles and blessings that Nehemiah went through rebuilding the walls.
When Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem he found not just broken down walls but broken down lives. The Israelites had turned away from God and backslidden into immoral and evil ways of living.
Along with the rebuilding of the walls Nehemiah knew that the people needed to rebuild their spiritual lives. So, under Nehemiah’s leadership the people returned to the Temple to listen to Ezra, the Priest, read God’s Word. Nehemiah knew the first thing he had to do was to make sure the people understood God’s law and what God desired of them. With God’s help the wall was completed in just 52 days. Seemingly impossible things can be accomplished by those who honor God and seek His help.
When the walls were rebuilt, we read about the dedication of the walls (Nehemiah chapter 12). Nehemiah appointed two great choirs. One went to the north part of the wall and one went to the south ultimately meeting at the temple. The people played instruments, sang and shouted praises to God in celebration of the completion of this task. So great was their joy that the sound of their rejoicing could be heard far away.
When Nehemiah left Jerusalem, the walls were rebuilt and the Israelites had repented of their sinful ways and were serving God with joy and thanksgiving.
And then with the passing of time the people began to return to their evil ways. Nehemiah had to return to Persia, and when he got there, he found the people breaking God’s laws. Eliashib the Priest in the temple had allowed Tobiah, a pagan and enemy of God who opposed Nehemiah in the building of the wall and all that he was doing for God, to move into the temple.
Nehemiah wept when he heard that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down. Just imagine how sad and even more upset he was when he heard that God’s temple had been desecrated. Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem and responded by saying as recorded in chapter 13 verse 8, “I was greatly displeased and threw all Tobiah’s household goods out of the room.” He literally tossed Tobiah out on his ear.
And that was not all he found. He found that the priests had been stealing and not paying the Levites who worked in the Temple, taking the money that belonged to them. Then he discovered that, throughout the city, people were violating the Sabbath. They were bringing in merchandise and selling it in the streets on the Sabbath. In verse 19 we read, “When evening shadows fell on the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I ordered the doors to be shut and not opened until the Sabbath was over.”
Then Nehemiah heard that some of the vendors stayed all night outside the gate hoping someone would let them in. In verse 21 we read, “I warned them and said, why do you spend the night by the wall? If you do this again, I will lay hands on you. Nehemiah had to take a strong stand against evil to keep out those who would break God’s law “to keep the Sabbath day holy.”
Evil will prevail as long as it is allowed to. Nehemiah took action when he saw evil. As believers we need to take a stand and attack evil just as Nehemiah did. Our world is full of evil and as believers we are not to stand by and ignore it. If we do not stand up against evil, it is as if we condone evil.
We read in the verse above from Malachi that the prophet is warning the people that were saying that evil is good. They had become so conditioned too evil that they couldn’t tell evil from good. They wearied the Lord.
As a parent have you ever found yourself saying to your rebellious child who has tried your patience, “I am sick and tired of your disobedience.” This is what it means when Malachi says, “You have wearied the Lord.”
Today’s society endorses all manner of evil, calling it good. It is bad enough that movie makers and rock stars extol the virtues of obscenity, pornography, lawlessness and produce movies and TV programs that mock God and degrade the family, but in addition many educators, politicians, judges and psychologists are equally at fault in promoting evil. We are all at fault when we do not take a stand against evil. Worse yet, even the Churches today are allowing evil to prevail. Oh how we weary the Lord. How long will He be patient with us?
We live in a culture that what God calls bad, society calls good -- and vice versa. We forget that the God of justice is still on His throne. There will be a day of judgment. As believers let us stay away from evil, stand up against evil and promote what is right and good by our words and actions.
Our memory verse for this week is found in I Peter 5:7.
Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Help me to clearly recognize evil when I see it. Help me to stand firm for good and fight evil. May my life be a guiding example for my children of being obedient and living according to God’s standards.
These Family Devotional thoughts are written by Dr. Ken Phillips, Executive Director of America's Hunger
Solution, and his wife Dottie. Ken has had ministry positions
with The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, World Vision, Youth For Christ, World Opportunities International,
and World Bible Society. He also has consulted for more than 30 Christian ministries in management and stewardship
development. They have published a book called No Problems Only Situations that discusses the journey of their family.
Ken and Dottie have been married for 60 years, and have 6 children, 20 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. Their
second book, TODAY'S WORD, includes 365 daily
devotionals and is now available for only $10.
Ken & Dottie Phillips
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