Day 74: The Way Of The Warrior - The Warrior's Journey®

Day 74: The Way Of The Warrior

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The Way Of The Warrior

We’ve been studying Nehemiah, and his endeavor to help the people of Jerusalem to build the wall to their city.  It had been in ruins for almost 200 years, and the people had settled for a languishing life.  Nehemiah arrived in the city and in 52 days rebuilt the walls of the city!  He enlisted people to capture a vision of doing this great work.

So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. (Neh. 6:15).  Throughout the venture the people vacillated in doing the work, since adversaries tried to frighten the people: For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.” (6:9).

However, when the wall was completed: And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God. (Neh. 6:16).  Enemies lost their courage, and they became fearful.  This seems odd, that people with an army, resources, manpower, religious allies, wilted.  The Lord flipped the script.

With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes. (Ps. 108:13).

Is this the end of the story?  Did everyone live happily ever after?  No.  Next the Lord will move to a more important endeavor – to deepen his people in faith.  This was one of the reasons the Lord, gave the people of Jerusalem safety, to move them to the process of spiritual maturity.  God does not just want his people to experience safety, he desires to pour spiritual truth into them.  Spiritual vitality had declined.

And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the LORD had commanded Israel. (Neh. 8:1).  There was a movement by the citizens to learn the Word of God.  The people had not sought spiritual maturity, since they had been harassed by external threat and disunity.  We noted earlier, that maximum impact for God’s work came from maximum involvement by God’s people.  This happened in the rebuilding of the wall.  Now the people were intrigued by knowing more about the things of God.

So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard… (8:2).  Spiritual faith is built upon the Word of God, not by sweet homilies, or by musings, philosophies of man, or by chants, or any external traditions of religious rites…

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Rom. 10:17).  The Lord makes this very simple.  This is the nuts and bolts of spiritual life – God’s Word.

And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. (Neh. 8:3).

And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people… (8:5).  The Bible became the focus.  Not the congregation, not Ezra, not the event.

And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. (8:6).  The first item on the agenda is… Ezra blessed the LORD.  What does that mean?  At the beginning of the New Testament, when baby Jesus was brought to the Temple to be dedicated, a mature, godly man, Simeon took him and: he took him up in his arms and blessed God… (Lk. 2:28).  What is blessing God?

The sense of the phrase means that one wants to bring joy to the Heavenly Father.  When you bless someone, you want to transfer good wishes and intentions to the receiver, and you want them to experience delight, and wholesome enjoyment.  Ezra wants God to receive benefit by the gathering of people.  Do you ever ‘bless’ God?  Did you know you can enhance the Lord?  Though God is complete in himself, he can experience an added thing that he himself does not have!  You give that to him!

In Genesis 1, God created the Universe.  He had done much creating, before mankind: So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (Gen. 1:21).  Okay, so?  And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” (Gen. 1:22).  Blessing is a form of creating.  You create a new thing, a sense of goodwill, which is added to the physical item itself.

God then created mankind.  And God blessed them. (1:28).  God transfers something to mankind after he gave them physical life.  He targeted them with goodwill and good intentions.  He gave them natural life, then added enjoyment and satisfaction to that.  Man was not an automaton, a robot, rather a being who could experience delight and robustness that fueled their emotional and spiritual well-being.  God was the first to introduce ‘blessing’ into the Universe, and that was a good thing.

Ezra wanted God to receive a blessing: Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands.  (Neh. 8:6a).  Can you do that?  It is the beginning of a new era for the citizens of Jerusalem.  Spiritual energy had languished in their lives. God restored their physical well-being, now it became natural for them to: they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. (8:6b).

Then what?  The Levites, helped the people to understand the Law… (8:7). Mature godly men explained the meaning of the Law.  The Bible needs explanation.  It is simple so the youngest can understand, yet it is profound so the spiritually sophisticated can glean  deeper meanings.  They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. (8:8).  Sounds like a modern church service.

This is life.  450 B.C. God’s people were doing what 21st century believers do.  It’s a solid approach to life and spiritual growth.  God’s people yearn for deeper spiritual truth, they pursue it, they worship the Lord, they work to understand the Law. How are you doing with this?  The citizens languished before this.  They reengaged to experience a sanctified life, a life of wholeness and meaning, with a direction that was meaningful, and fulfilling.

The Warrior’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for blessing me.   You have been most kind to me, even in challenging times.  You have reached out to me, giving me assurances from your Word that you are present and available. Listen to me in silence, O coastlands; let the peoples renew their strength; let them approach, then let them speak; let us together draw near for judgment. (Isa. 41:1).  Thank you that I can approach you at any moment, without reservation, without appointment, and come running into your presence. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matt. 11:28).  I want that ‘rest’ Father.  I want to lay my burdens down.

Let me experience your ‘blessing’ Father.  Knowing first that you have issued it, then understanding that I just need to accept it.  There is no duty or performance to earn it – I can just receive it.  What a mystery!  I don’t experience it, not because you’ve withheld it, rather because I have not accepted it.  Thus, grant me spiritual insight to know I can just take your blessing, without cost.  The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Ps. 23:1).  He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. (Ps. 23:2).  He restores my soul. (Ps. 23:3).  Your blessings to me go on and on, and with humility with joy, I take those as a good gift, from a gracious God.  Thank you.  I pray this in Jesus’ precious name.  Amen.

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