Daily Encouragement

August 13 – The foreman who refused his pay

August 13
Nehemiah 5:14-7:73
1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Psalm 33:1-11
Proverbs 21:8-10

Nehemiah 5:14 – Should Christian leaders be paid? Nehemiah had a right to eat (Nehemiah 5:15), he had an opportunity to profit off the work (Nehemiah 5:16), but he realized this would be a “heavy bondage” for the people (Nehemiah 5:18). Paul says the Christian leader has a right to be paid (2 Timothy 2:6, 1 Corinthians 9:11, 1 Corinthians 9:14, Galatians 6:6) and so did Jesus (Luke 10:5-7), but at times Paul taught it is better not to be paid (1 Corinthians 9:12-18). Les Bridgeman has a lengthy discussion on Paul’s financial sources for ministry. But it is interesting that Nehemiah, as foreman of a massive construction project, passed on some of the pay he had a claim to because of the specific needs of the situation.

Nehemiah 6:3 – I read about a pastor who had some naysayers criticizing his ministry. He simply replied to their voluminous attack with a simple reply. “Nehemiah 6:3.”

Nehemiah 6:9 – Notice Nehemiah again breaks into prayer! He has learned from the KIngs of Israel that failure to pray is the greatest predictor of failure. How many times has Nehemiah prayed in his short little book? From BridgePointe Church:

  1. Nehemiah 1:4-11
  2. Nehemiah 2:4
  3. Nehemiah 4:4-5
  4. Nehemiah 5:19
  5. Nehemiah 6:9
  6. Nehemiah 6:14
  7. Nehemiah 9:5-38
  8. Nehemiah 13:14
  9. Nehemiah 13:22
  10. Nehemiah 13:29

Of the 405 verses in Nehemiah, 51 are prayers. 12.6% of the book is about Nehemiah praying to God. In contrast, by my count only 45 verses talk about the work that Nehemiah did. Nehemiah the great builder lets us know its more important to be praying than it is to be working.

Nehemiah 6:18 – Commentators note that Shechaniah the son of Arah were one of the leading pioneer families (Ezra 2:5, and we’ll see him in Nehemiah 7:10) that returned with Zerubbabel.

Nehemiah 7:17 – Why does Nehemiah report the children of Azgad as 2,322 and Ezra 2:12 reports it as 1,222? Will Kinney thinks Nehemiah is just reporting the records he found, which were varied from Ezra’s record. CARM examines all the differences and thinks it was a copyist error. Lavista thinks Ezra recorded the departure count, and Nehemiah recorded the arrival count. GotQuestions concurs – thinking it was based on deaths/births in families. Jack Kelly addresses the subtotals but not the family discrepancies. He does give a good analysis of the bigger issue:

Skeptics look at apparent discrepancies like this and immediately conclude that the Bible is not the inspired Word of God but a flawed work of man.

But those who believe in the inspiration of Scripture assume that the discrepancy is caused by a lack of understanding on their part and dig deeper for the solution.

1 Corinthians 8:1 – Paul is asked to weigh in on the issue of meats offered to idols. He will in a future chapter give a very clear answer on this issue and make a conclusion that Jesus Christ himself will stand behind in the book of Revelation! If the question was merely theoretical, he would have gone right to the answer. But because it was rooted in a messy situation he had several other problems to work thru before he can make his point about meats offered to idols. His first point – showing love is better than having the right answer.

1 Corinthians 8:4 – The wanna be meat eaters said that idols aren’t real, so what’s wrong with meat offered to something that doesn’t exist? Paul acknowledges they have a valid point – but that is not the final point (1 Corinthians 8:7).

1 Corinthians 8:13 – Many people think that Paul’s teaching is limited to just not offending our brother. They have extended that theory to other things such as claiming that drinking alcohol is not addressed in the Bible and we can do it as long as you’re not offended by it. Contrary to their opinions, the Bible has clear warnings against the consumption of alcohol (Proverbs 20:1, Ephesians 5:18, Genesis 9:21, Leviticus 10:9, Proverbs 23:29-32, Proverbs 31:4, Isaiah 5:22, Hosea 4:11, Habakkuk 2:5, etc.). Paul’s point is something he has exemplified in his own life – even something legitimate like getting paid for ministry, I will waive and do without if it will cause problems for my brothers. Interesting that we read this passage today – for this was Nehemiah’s point in Nehemiah 5:18. Paul will continue to address meats offered to idols in the next few chapters.

Psalm 33:2 – What is a ten string instrument (Psalm 92:3, Psalm 144:9)?

Psalm 33:8 – Why should all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe? Because He made the world (Psalm 33:6).

Proverbs 21:9 – I am glad that the LORD has given me a Proverbs 19:14 wife, and not a Proverbs 21:9 wife!

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

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