Nehemiah 10-11, Psalm 51
The Bible is full of stories about individuals who faced incredible obstacles and difficult goals, only to backslide once that goal was attained. Consider Noah who faithfully built the ark in the middle of dry land, being mocked and belittled throughout the over 60 year process. After completion, he and his family then withstood a year on this vessel before landing on dry land. Soon after we read in Genesis 9:21, "Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent." We read of the incredible man after God's own heart, David, who faithfully withstood the attacks of King Saul. The nation prospered under David's leadership while he continued to stay close to God. Then when it seemed like he had accomplished all, he stepped back and chose not to accompany his men to war (2 Samuel 11:1). That was the first mistake which led him to backslide in the adulteress relationship with Bathsheeba and the murder of Uriah, her husband (2 Samuel 11).
We have to admire the commitment of Nehemiah and recognize his example as one who was not guilty of resting after achieving his goal. In Neh 6:15, we read, "So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days." In Neh 7:3, we see that he did not rest, "...Do not let the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot; and while they stand guard, let them shut and bar the doors; and appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, one at his watch station and another in front of his own house." He next turns his attention to the disrepair of the houses in the city in Neh 7:4. The reading of God's Word then occurs in chapter 8, followed by a return to celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles. After the people confess a covenant is made and sealed by the leaders, his being the first one to place his seal in Neh 10:1. We see revival now taking place in Jerusalem in Neh 10:29-30, "these joined with their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse and an oath to walk in God's Law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord, and His ordinances and His statutes: We would not give our daughters as wives to the people of the land...". The results of this revival were: a unification of the people, a renewed dedication to the Word, a separation from the world (not isolation but insulated from it's influence), and a renewed determination to worship God which we see in the remainder of the book.
Joseph Farrar wrote a wonderful book called, "Finishing Strong". In it he describes the continued walk of the man of God in every area of his life continuously so as not to backslide, therefore maintaining his legacy as a man of God. Goals such as reading through the Bible in one year is wonderful, as long as we don't sit back and rest once the year is over. Our goals on earth are all temporary. Our ultimate goal is heaven, where our true citizenship lies. Each and every day we make a conscious decision to make a step forward or backward on our marathon walk with God. Every day the attacks will come and if we are resting from our walk with God we will find ourselves unprepared. Paul knew this and therefore instructed us to, "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." He says again to take up the armor of God, "that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." (Ephesians 6:11,13). Let us maintain the mindset of the race of faith recorded in Hebrews 12:1-2, "Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,...".
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: