"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Monday, February 26, 2024


INTRODUCTION: In the midst of the severe and devastating judgment of GOD upon rebellious Israel, the prophet Jeremiah wept; he was deeply grieved at seeing his homeland destroyed due to his people’s obstinate rebellion.

Yet in the midst of this judgment, the prophet was inspired by the Spirit to write the following:
22 Through the LORD'S mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness
His Word of Truth was declared, that though He knew Israel would be unfaithful, fall into apostasy, prefer other gods to YHWH, still He promised to regather His (wholly undeserving) people back into the land according to His grace. He Himself would come to restore and reign over His sheep; bless, keep, and protect them all (DEUT. 28:24-28; ISA 1:2-9; HOS 5:15; EZEK 36:22; ISA 11:11; ZECH 10:10).

We see the same with the life of David: It was in 2 SAMUEL 7 that GOD established His unconditional covenant with the King of Israel, and it wasn’t until four chapters later that he committed adultery with Bathsheba and made arrangements to have her husband killed! Yet GOD’s promise to David remained intact, even though there were dire consequences because of his sin against GOD and Him alone (PSA 51).

Here in Nehemiah, the LORD is demonstrating His lovingkindness, in bringing His people back, using His man to bring about not just the restoration of the Holy City, but the Holy (sanctified, set apart) people of GOD.

In this second half of Chapter Nine, Nehemiah continues where we left off in Part One of this study, extolling the LORD in the record of history where GOD proved Himself faithful at every turn!
NEHEMIAH 9:21-23
21 Forty years You sustained them in the wilderness, they lacked nothing; their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell. 22 "Moreover You gave them kingdoms and nations and divided them into districts. So they took possession of the land of Sihon, the land of the king of Heshbon, and the land of Og king of Bashan. 23 You also multiplied their children as the stars of heaven and brought them into the land which You had told their fathers to go in and possess

There could well have been as many as two or three million Hebrews that Moses led out of Egypt, through the barren, bleak wilderness, and to the promised land. Just think for a moment about all of the logistics required to provide for this many people with the sort of resources required – in a desert, for forty years! Yet “they lacked nothing”!!

Think GOD can’t possibly provide for ALL of your needs, even when you have no resources of your own? THINK AGAIN! Our GOD is the same yesterday, today and FOREVER (HEB 13:8; 1 COR 10:1-4)!

There are scores of examples in the Scripture where numbers are significant. 3 for example is often associated with the Triune nature of GOD: the angels are seen frequently declaring “Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD…”. That could be a simple matter of emphasis, underscoring the supreme holiness of GOD – or it could be a declaration of reverence directed towards each member of the Trinity.

7 is the number for completeness (the seven fold Spirit of GOD, denoting His absolute perfection), whereas 6 is the number of man (he is incomplete in his current state without GOD). 8 is often seen as the number of new beginnings.

Here we see the number 40 – and what does that number mean (if anything. Note: TTUF does not necessarily agree with everything stated at the preceding link)? It’s associated repeatedly with the idea of “judging, or testing”. We know that it rained forty days and forty nights in GOD’s Flood Judgment. The LORD Jesus Christ was in the desert for forty days as well where He was tested.

Nehemiah, in addressing GOD states that He sustained Israel in the wilderness for forty years and GOD proved Himself faithful to them on a daily (and nightly) basis, but during that time Israel as a nation proved herself unfaithful (HEB 3:9,17).

A testament to GOD’s faithfulness to Israel – their clothes did not wear out; a forty year journey traveling through the desert would see their clothes ruined in short order. But remarkably they were preserved as were their shoes (DEUT 29:5)! Their feet didn’t swell up; what with all that walking and in the extreme heat, it would be natural for their feet to experience this discomfort – but they didn’t!

These ex-slaves of Egypt took on the most valiant kingdoms of the wilderness region, and by the power of GOD they defeated them, both Sihon and Bashan. To say nothing of Jericho!

When GOD called this man from the land of Ur, his name was Abram – “father of many” who was at the time, the father of none. Then after so long a time of waiting on GOD (and failing to wait faithfully, and took matters into their own hands, Abram and Sarai’s handmaid Hagar produced Ishmael – a child GOD didn’t recognize as the fulfillment of His promise! GEN 22:2: “your only son” referring to Sarah’s son), Isaac was finally born. But Abram still wasn’t “the father of many” – only of two, and one of them was an outcast, but he was nevertheless blessed by GOD (GEN 21:10-13). It was then that GOD changed this man’s name and called him Abraham – “the father of many nations”??!

GOD promised that Abraham’s seed would be as the stars of heaven and as the sand on the seashore. And the LORD kept His promise! By the time Israel reached Canaan, they were a nation of vast multitudes.

I personally believe that the ultimate fulfillment of GOD’s promise to Israel will occur during the Millennium when the people of Earth, including the Jewish people, will have extended lifespans like in the days of Enoch and Methuselah. And Israel will be especially blessed in their fruitfulness, far exceeding any of the Gentile nations, and then they will truly be as “the stars of heaven and sands of the seashore”!

That’s the promise for the people of Israel; for the land of Israel itself, this will also know its ultimate fulfillment during the Millennium. Their size today is roughly the same as New Jersey. When GOD fulfills His promise that He gave to Abraham (GEN 15:18) Israel will encompass the land east of the Nile River and West of the Euphrates, making them as large as the state of Texas (over 30 times bigger than New Jersey!).

Nehemiah continues in his praise of GOD’s goodness which leads one to repentance (ROM 2:4; 2 THESS 1:11), and that was GOD’s intention for the Jews in Jerusalem at this day!

We do well to maintain a thankful heart in recalling GOD’s goodness and many (innumerable in fact) blessings He loads us with daily (PSA 68:19), lest our hearts grow hardened, be lead astray into sin that hardens us even more (HEB 3:12-13) and find ourselves estranged from GOD and utterly vulnerable to the merciless enemy of our soul, the god of this world (2 COR 4:4).

NEHEMIAH 9:24-25
24 So the people went in and possessed the land; You subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gave them into their hands, with their kings and the people of the land, that they might do with them as they wished. 25 And they took strong cities and a rich land, and possessed houses full of all goods, cisterns already dug, vineyards, olive groves, and fruit trees in abundance. So they ate and were filled and grew fat and delighted themselves in Your great goodness

If I were a Hebrew in those days, marching through these strange wilder lands, heading to a land that this awesome, amazing, Almighty GOD has promised us, I’d be thinking: Well, one thing is for sure: when we get there, there will be A LOT of work to be done! Houses to build, vineyards to plant, corrals to set up, etc.

Yet just look at the goodness of GOD: All things were provided for them already! Houses ready to move into with all sorts of goods in store, cisterns in place, groves and vineyards aplenty and fruit trees. Entire cities ready for population!

Of course there were inhabitants who weren’t all that keen about giving up their homes and livelihoods; these were the same people that GOD spoke to Abraham about: the Amorites, who for hundreds of years plus committed obscene sins (the article at the preceding link is rather lengthy, but very informative) in the face of their Creator GOD Who is Holy. GOD gave them space to repent, but they failed to do so (GEN 15:13-16, esp. vs. 16). Then in His Sovereignty as the Righteous, Eternal Judge sentenced these Canaanites and used His people Israel as the executioner!

Critics of the Bible who view these deeds perpetrated by Israel at the command of GOD as offensive fail to realize or recognize that GOD is the Author of Life: He gives life, it is His prerogative to take what He gave anytime He desires (JOB 1:21). Not only is He Sovereign over all that He had made (that includes everything!), but He is Holy and requires righteous judgment against all criminal activity that defies the authority of His Law!

What He doesn’t judge in the here-and-now, He will most certainly judge at the Great White Throne Judgement (REV 20:11-15) and will render to the guilty (who rejected His Gospel of grace, thus their names are not written in “the Book of Life”) will be consigned forever in eternal perdition, commonly called hell, but in reality is Gehenna or the Second Death.

Because Abraham “believed GOD and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (ROM 4:3) he and his seed are blessed of GOD, and that included that generation which entered into the land He promised them: “…[they] filled and grew fat and delighted themselves in Your great goodness” (ISA 55:2b). Had not the first generation that left Egypt hardened their heart, they too would have been enjoying the blessings of GOD, but because of their willful unbelief, they fell in the desert (PSA 95:8; HEB 3:17).

26 "Nevertheless they were disobedient and rebelled against You, cast Your law behind their backs and killed Your prophets, who testified against them to turn them to Yourself; and they worked great provocations

In my early years as a Christian, I would marvel at the hard-heartedness of the Hebrews, thinking, “After all that GOD did for them, what with the miraculous intervention that saved them from the angel of death at the first Passover, how GOD showed Himself strong on their behalf when He laid low the ten primary false gods of Egypt, displaying His awesome glory and power! And how they were blessed by the Egyptians who practically threw their wealth at them as they left Egypt; how GOD again delivered them at the Red Sea! Then how He marvelously provided for their every need in crossing the Wilderness of Sin for forty years (interesting name, no? Considering the conduct of these people!).

All of that, only to see that “…they were disobedient and rebelled against You, [and] cast Your law behind their backs…”!?!?!

But as I grew in my Christian walk and saw how time and time again I had failed the LORD, was shown to be unfaithful; how I murmured and complained about my various situations (which the Sovereign GOD allowed into my life for His purposes!), and how neglectful I’d been of my LORD and Savior who revealed Himself to me, granted me the full counsel of Scripture (when I bothered to read it), provided me complete access 24/7 at the throne of GOD for the purpose of prayerful fellowship (when I wasn’t too busy), and understood that the LAMB of GOD willingly died for my sins, and delivered the Spirit of GOD to indwell me personally, empowering me to live godly (if only I was obedient and yielding!).

Then I could see that I was guilty of greater sin than they!

Once in the Promised Land, the LORD Himself was their King (a theocracy) – and He provided judges for them for the purpose of testimony and also to lead Israel in battles against their enemies. But that wasn’t good enough! They wanted a human king like all of the Gentile nations! GOD even warned them that if they craved a human king, he would oppress and abuse them; nevertheless, that’s what they wanted.

So the Judge and Prophet Samuel went to GOD about all of this, broken-hearted at the attitude of the people, and what GOD said to His prophet breaks my own heart every time I read those words:
1 SAMUEL 8:4-7
4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, 5 and said to him, "Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations." 6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us." So Samuel prayed to the LORD. 7 And the LORD said to Samuel, "Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them
I see the tender heart of Abba, Who refers to Himself as a kind of “husband” to Israel (ISA 54:5), our faithful Creator GOD Who took Israel by the hand and led them gently, tenderly, miraculously out of Egypt (JER 31:32) being despised and rejected, exactly as was His Son (ISA 53:3). And I shed tears for GOD Who daily today is despised, mocked, ridiculed – even denied His existence (in the minds of unregenerate souls), and all of this post-Calvary!

GOD is hated and despised still by the world He created along with all of the souls that are His (as a matter of created beings; EZEK 18:4). I’ve said it many times before: if you want to see how evil this world is, look at the Cross – that’s what they did to Love Incarnate!
And if you want to see the love of GOD, look at the Cross – knowing full well how much and to what degree He would be rejected by the majority of humanity, He suffered and died the death of the Cross, being our sin bearer and redeemer any way!

Israel was no different, killing the prophets that GOD sent to her!

Therefore You delivered them into the hand of their enemies, who oppressed them; and in the time of their trouble, when they cried to You, You heard from heaven; and according to Your abundant mercies You gave them deliverers [judges] who saved them from the hand of their enemies.

I’m convinced that many of the trials and tribulations we suffer are of our own making. That if only we would yield to the LORD and follow Him, obeying Him from loving, adoring hearts, then GOD wouldn’t have to send trouble our way!

We could remain blessed in His presence, and enjoy intimate, blessed, joyful fellowship with our King! But all too often we forget about GOD or we allow ourselves to become distant from Him, and so He has to send trouble our way – to “shake us to wake us” sort of thing. Just as we see here in vs. 27!

Then of course there are other circumstances when we are doing everything we should, but encounter troubles nevertheless as a test of our faith. King Jehoshaphat was a just and godly king (sure, he made some blunders along the way, but his heart was towards GOD!) and while he was leading the nation in a revival, the Moabites, the people of Mt. Seir and the Ammonites joined forces to attack Israel (2 CHRON 20).

And what was Jehoshaphat’s response?

2 CHRONICALES 20:10-12
10 "And now, here are the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir-whom You would not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them and did not destroy them- 11 "here they are, rewarding us by coming to throw us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit. 12 "O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You."

Way to go Jehoshaphat! That was a man of faith, and GOD rewarded that faith with His answer to the problem:

'You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!' Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you."

He brought confusion to these allies so that (as the KJV says it) “they helped to destroy each other” (vs. 23)!

The conduct of Israel during the times of the judges was very much like a yo-yo: first they were faithful, then they were not. And just as GOD clearly indicated to Israel in DEUTERONOMY Ch’s. 28 and 29, if they were obedient, they’d be blessed; if they were disobedient, they’d be cursed! And if they repented, GOD would restore and bless them and take away any curses (2 CHRON 7:14)! Check out PSALMS 107 and 136!

NEHEMIAH 9:28-30
28 "But after they had rest they again did evil before You. Therefore You left them in the hand of their enemies, so that they had dominion over them; yet when they returned and cried out to You, You heard from heaven; and many times You delivered them according to Your mercies, 29 and testified against them that You might bring them back to Your law. Yet they acted proudly and did not heed Your commandments, but sinned against Your judgments, 'Which if a man does, he shall live by them.' And they shrugged their shoulders, stiffened their necks, and would not hear. 30 Yet for many years You had patience with them and testified against them by Your Spirit in Your prophets. Yet they would not listen; Therefore You gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.

The Law proves we are all sinners, but it also demonstrates what a holy GOD requires of His people. It’s only if we truly obey all the Law, flawlessly in deed, in word and in thought we would find life in them. But our own sin nature makes this impossible.

And because we aren’t capable of perfect, sinless obedience, the need for spiritual rebirth is evident, and provided for in the Person of Christ.

When left to ourselves, we can beseech the LORD for mercies, make promises, behave ourselves in a show of ‘good faith’ when we find ourselves in trouble. It’s the old ‘foxhole faith’ that says, “GOD I promise You, that if You get me out of this, I’ll go to church every Sunday for the rest of my life” – or some equivalent. And the LORD comes through, delivers us from our dilemma and danger, and once we are in the clear, we, like Israel “[have] rest again…” we resort to our old sinful ways.

The LORD in His wisdom knows when it’s time to leave us “in the hand of [our] enemies, so that they [have] dominion over [us]”. We get to the point where we become so desperate that we get painfully honest with ourselves before GOD. We become truly broken before the LORD, and confess our sins with all sincerity, while at the same time admit that we don’t have “the right stuff” to follow Him and remain faithful.

That’s when we realize our real danger: not the troublesome circumstances we find ourselves in; those are the mere tools GOD uses to draw our attention to Him. Our real danger is our own sin nature. Unless something is done, it will overrun us and destroy us (Indeed, “the wages of sin is death” (ROM 6:23a) in all of its terrible varieties: ruin, devastation, abject spiritual poverty, depravity, death not just of physical life, but in our family life, in our finances, in our integrity, etc.).

The LORD would be perfectly justified in leaving us in the mire of our own sinfulness until we are destroyed; or even if He were to consume us by His holy fire – but He keeps His covenant and His mercy, as we read in the following:

NEHEMIAH 9:31-33
31 Nevertheless in Your great mercy You did not utterly consume them nor forsake them; For You are God, gracious and merciful. 32 "now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and awesome God, Who keeps covenant and mercy: do not let all the trouble seem small before You that has come upon us, our kings and our princes, our priests and our prophets, our fathers and on all Your people, from the days of the kings of Assyria until this day. 33 However You are just in all that has befallen us; for You have dealt faithfully, but we have done wickedly.

This is what we must all come to terms with: that everything that falls upon us is either our fault directly, or the fault of the head of our race, Adam, who because of his fall into sin, has doomed the entirety of humanity as well as this earthly creation to absolute, total and irrevocable ruin! GOD deals faithfully according to His Truth, and His Justice. He is blameless for His part, but we most certainly are not!

Israel was warned by GOD that judgment would come upon them for their rebellion if they didn’t repent and turn back to Him. In His mercies He sent prophets to issue warning of impending judgment for more than one hundred and fifty years, beginning with Isaiah. Stubbornly, Israel rejected the warnings of this prophet, as well as those by Jeremiah, Amos, and others.

People haven’t changed. Today, as much as ever, people rebel against GOD (to ever increasing degrees) and oppose the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Many times I refer to this world as ‘Planet Rebyl’ because we are a planet of rebels; it’s in the very fiber of our nature. We have all sinned (ROM 3:23) and committed trespasses and transgressions (2 COR 5:19; EPH 2:1; 1 JOHN 3:4). For us as saints to expect sinners to act any other way would be as unnatural as we might expect a fish to tweet, a bird to breath water, a cat to bark and a dog to purr.

But such a sin nature is not what GOD intended for us. To view human nature in its perfection is to view Jesus Christ, the Son of man, who has a perfect, sinless, innocent human nature (just as Adam did before his fall). Yet the LORD Jesus also has the divine nature that He transfers to our account when we receive Him as LORD and Savior and are thus born again.

Only then can any of us begin to conduct ourselves faithfully before our GOD!
We can be assured that just as GOD is faithful to His Word concerning Israel, He is just as faithful to you and I as Christians, His spiritual children.

NEHEMIAH 9:34-35
34 Neither our kings nor our princes, our priests nor our fathers have kept Your law, nor heeded Your commandments and Your testimonies, with which You testified against them. 35 For they have not served You in their kingdom, or in the many good things that You gave them, or in the large and rich land which You set before them; nor did they turn from their wicked works.

Whatever our station in life, whether we are CEOs, Executives, Federal or State level politicians, professionals in academics or skilled labor, or authors, entrepreneurs, homemakers, janitors; husbands, wives, parents, children, etc., we’ve been given these things by our GOD Who doles out positions and powers according to His grace.

We are responsible to fulfill our calling in life, using the positions we’ve been given to serve GOD in our respective roles [“kingdoms” as it were]. We will all be held in account for what we’ve done with those things the LORD has granted to us.

Fathers will be accountable for how they raised their family; judges for how they presided over court cases, CEOs for how they ran their company, janitors for how well they cleaned the areas they’re responsible for.

I cringe when I think about how politicians and people in power and government believe that they are exempt of impunities for their unlawful acts; that they can treat those they are called to serve anyway they wish, and no one will hold them accountable. This is far from the truth!

While Gentile nations haven’t had the sort of exposure to GOD’s revelation as Israel has had, they must realize that there is a LORD in Heaven Who is the KING of kings and the LORD of lords – and that they will answer to Him for their misdeeds and corruption. I’m especially troubled for our political leaders here in America, for we have had the complete revelation of GOD in the Holy Scriptures, entirely accessible in various formats – even so much as Scripture inscribed over the doors of the halls of power!

We’ve been given much by way of revelation as well as Divine blessing – and to whom much is given is MUCH REQUIRED!

I used to pray that America would repent and turn back to GOD; I’m not at all convinced that this is still an option open to us. ROMANS 1 describes a nation that’s gone too far and beyond reclamation. If you read that chapter, it sounds like contemporary America!
I truly believe that we are witnessing TWILIGHT’s LAST GLEAMING of our nation!

But if America in her best spiritual state, when there was at least some semblance of a godly nation apparent, was a gleam of hope that like a small candle flame is quickly dimming, we saints are looking for GOD’s Kingdom which by comparison is a blazing sun of glorious grace, holiness, hope and peace!

HEBREWS 12:22-23
22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels
(DEUT 33:2; PSA 68:17; GAL 4:26; PHIL 3:20; JUDE 1:14; REV 3:12; 21:2,10) 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect (PSA 94:2; LUKE 10:20; PHIL 3:12; 4:3; HEB 11:40; JAMES 1:18; REV 13:8; 14:4) 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

Let us keep our eyes to the skies and not believe the lies: the LORD Jesus Christ returns soon from on high!!

NEHEMIAH 9:36-38
36 "Here we are, servants today! And the land that You gave to our fathers, to eat its fruit and its bounty, Here we are, servants in it! 37 And it yields much increase to the kings You have set over us, because of our sins; also they have dominion over our bodies and our cattle at their pleasure; and we are in great distress. 38 "And because of all this, we make a sure covenant, and write it; our leaders, our Levites, and our priests seal it."

GOD is all about restoration, and while so many Gentile nations have faded into obscurity, and even into the dusty pages of history, Israel has unshakeable promises by GOD Who cannot lie, that their restoration will happen, and in fact IS happening superficially by way of a restored national state (as of May 14th, 1948). That date as well as 1967 are of vital importance prophetically!
ISAIAH 11:11 states,
It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left, from Assyria and Egypt, from Pathros and Cush, from Elam and Shinar, from Hamath and the islands of the sea.
The first regathering we see here in our current study under Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah occurred in the 6th century B.C. And Israel remained there in the land until the coming of the Messiah who was nationally rejected, crucified but then rose again from the dead and will one Day receive His eternal Kingdom. Forty years after that in 70 A.D. Israel was once again dispersed and remained among the Gentile nations for more than 1800 years, and finally regathered “the second time” in 1948.

Scripture says nothing about a third regathering, or a fourth. For this reason, Bible scholars and prophecy experts believe that this event of Israel regathered into the land for the second time is the starting gun to launch the eschatological prophecies regarding the last days before Christ’s return.

So how long will it be before Israel is restored to the extent that GOD desires? How long before He blesses Israel during the Messianic Kingdom (aka the kingdom of David, aka the kingdom of Israel) when the ultimate fulfillment of the Abrahamic, Davidic and Land (‘Palestinian’) covenants are actually fulfilled?

We don’t know the day or the hour – yet! But we do know the times and the seasons for the Lord’s Second Advent! And the signs are all around us! Therefore…
MARK 13:32-33
32 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 "Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is
(MATT 24:42; 25:13; LUKE 12:36-40; 21:34; ROM 13:11; 1 THESS 5:6).

1 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you
(MATT 24:3,36; ACTS 1:7; 1THESS 4:9). 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.

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