The service will also include communion
and reception into membership
led by Robin Brenchley
our minister in training
Your attention is momentarily drawn, and as you turn your back one of your possessions is stolen! Distraction is one of the “oldest tricks in the book” and it was experienced here by Nehemiah at the halfway point of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. We shall consider the distraction under three broad headings:-
1 – The reason for the distraction = RUINATION (v 1 – 5.)
The Nobles and officials of Jerusalem were “bleeding the people dry” the result being starvation, servitude and financial ruin for the ordinary people. Nehemiah knew only too well that God had a heart for the poor so work on the wall was temporarily suspended so that the distraction could be addressed.
When a local church has a vision to grow and develop then distractions are inevitable. It happened in the early church, who were concentrating on preaching and discipling etc, only to be distracted by the deceit of Ananias & Saphira (Acts 5 v 1 – 11) and the complaint of the widows regarding the food distribution (Acts 6 v 1 – 7.)
2 – The response to the distraction = REMEDY (v 6 – 11 & 14 – 18.)
Nehemiah realised that the distraction had to be remedied rather than ignored and “swept under the carpet” and his measured response to it was as follows:-
A – He was cross (v 6.)
He was angry to the point of righteous indignation at the behaviour of the nobles and officials towards their fellow Jews.
B – He considered (v 7a.)
He pondered his options so as to align his heart with his head rather than making a rash response that he would later regret.
C – He confronted (v 7b – 11.)
Both privately and publically he accused the nobles and officials of not fearing God and of being a poor witness to the surrounding people.
D – He contrasted (v 14 – 18)
The behaviour of previous governors with that of his own; in that while they had made excessive demands, he had not demanded his rights; shades of Jesus himself (Luke 22 v 27.)
Distractions need to be remedied, but in a calm and considered manor, minus any whiff of hypocrisy.
3 – The result of the distraction = RESTITUTION (v 12 – 13.)
The nobles and officials acknowledged their guilt and agreed to make restitution for the damage done (c.f – Zacchaeus – Luke 19 v 8) sealing the matter with an oath. The people responded by praising God that unity and harmony had been restored and they returned to completing the rebuilding of the wall.
When we are clearly in the wrong, then for the sake of church unity and harmony (Ephesians 4 v 3) we must acknowledge our wrongdoing and commit to change, becoming more than peace lovers, but “peacemakers” (Matthew 5 v 9) enabling God’s blessing to rest upon the church (Psalm 133 v 1 & 3.)
Challenge – Let us be on the lookout for issues that will distract us from our primary vision; being prepared to quickly work through them that we might grow in unity and harmony.
Theme: “Driven to distraction!”
Reading: Nehemiah 5 v 1 – 19
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Chris Hughes