Encounter With God 24th August 2020 – Religious Nominalism
TODAY’S TOPIC: RELIGIOUS NOMINALISM
Lord, thank You for single-minded leadership.
Read NEHEMIAH 6:15–7:3
15 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.
Opposition to the Completed Wall
16 When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.
17 Also, in those days the nobles of Judah were sending many letters to Tobiah, and replies from Tobiah kept coming to them. 18 For many in Judah were under oath to him, since he was son-in-law to Shekaniah son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berekiah. 19 Moreover, they kept reporting to me his good deeds and then telling him what I said. And Tobiah sent letters to intimidate me.
7 After the wall had been rebuilt and I had set the doors in place, the gatekeepers, the musicians and the Levites were appointed. 2 I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most people do. 3 I said to them, “The gates of Jerusalem are not to be opened until the sun is hot. While the gatekeepers are still on duty, have them shut the doors and bar them. Also appoint residents of Jerusalem as guards, some at their posts and some near their own houses.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Meditate: Encounter With God 24th August 2020
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father” (Matt. 7:21).
Think Further: Today we come to a turning point in the book of Nehemiah. Despite opposition, the wall has been rebuilt at remarkable speed (6:15). Internal despair and external opposition have been overcome by Governor Nehemiah’s prayerful, decisive and enthusiastic leadership.
But the governor’s problems are by no means over. Sanballat and his accomplices lose face (16), but they don’t disappear. The nobles of Judah are reluctant to break relations with Tobiah, who continues to exert considerable influence in Jerusalem.
Today’s Encounter With God 24th August 2020
Although Tobiah is a Samaritan official, his name suggests Jewish connections. The ending “iah” is a shorter version of Yahweh, God’s covenant name in the Old Testament, rendered LORD in most English versions of the Bible. Tobiah’s wife and daughter-in-law are Jewish (18). Sanballat is a Babylonian name, but he also has Judean links. His daughter is married to a member of the high priestly family in Jerusalem (Neh. 13:28).
The narrative suggests, however, that any religious links with Judaism must be nominal for both men. Indeed, they may be descendants of the foreign peoples settled in Samaria some 280 years prior. Recall that these settlers worshiped the Lord alongside their idols (2 Kings 17:24,29–41).
Being religious in name only involves divided loyalties, creating problems for Nehemiah then (17–19) and also for Christian leaders today. Spend some quality time today praying that nominal Christians in your country may find a life-transforming faith. Pray especially for those you may know.
Apply: Find an opportunity to reflect with others how you all might witness more meaningfully to nominal Christians.
Closing Prayer: Lord, we acknowledge that no obstacle can stand in the way of Your will and purposes.
ONE YEAR BIBLE READING PLAN
Ecclesiastes 1–3 / 2 Thessalonians 1
Thanks for reading Today’s Scripture Union Encounter With God 24th August 2020 – Religious Nominalism. Please share this topic with friends.