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God’s People in a Day of Crisis I - Part 2 of 3

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.
The Truth Network Radio
September 4, 2020 12:00 am

God’s People in a Day of Crisis I - Part 2 of 3

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.

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September 4, 2020 12:00 am

“And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire” (Nehemiah 1:3).

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Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing, my great Redeemer's praise, the worries of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace.

This is L. S. Bradley, Jr., welcoming you to another broadcast of the Baptist Bible Hour. We'll be continuing today with the message entitled, God's People in a Day of Crisis. I have a little book that dovetails with this truth entitled, Things Can Be Better Today. I'd like to send you a copy of it if you'll just write and request it.

Now, I know that sounds like a tall order. I say, how can things possibly be better today? But I think you'll see what we mean as you read and understand that by our trust in God, things can be better for us even today.

Just request it when writing the Baptist Bible Hour, Box 17037, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. How could it be that a people who were chosen of God, favored by God, blessed by God, who had been promised that when they came into the land, they'd be blessed above all other peoples of the earth. God had cared for them, delivered them from Egyptian bondage, fed them, and given them water to drink all through their wilderness wanderings, parted the waters at Jordan so that they came into the land, brought down the walls of Jericho, drove out nations before them when they would move forward by faith, trusting God, and said, I'm going to give you the best of the land.

You're going to be prospered in every category. How did they finally reach this day of crisis? How did it finally happen that the enemies overrode them? Knocked down their walls, left the city in such a desolate state. Well, after Nehemiah had wept and mourned and fasted and prayed, we began to see a confession was made.

Now see, some people, once they see the plight, they take the first step and quit. They weep and they mourn, but they don't do anything else. And there's a place for weeping and mourning, but there's a place to stop weeping and do something about the situation. He wept and mourned and fasted, but he prayed. He prayed before the God of heaven and said, I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments, let thine ear now be attentive and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now day and night. That phrase of itself no doubt would condemn most of us.

Do we really pray day and night? We may look at the situation and say, I'd like to see a change here. I'd like to see an improvement. Some might say from time to time, I'd like to see a revival in the church.

I don't want to be satisfied just with the thought of surviving. I'd like to see a revival. I'd like to see a spiritual awakening. I'd like to see the Lord pour out great blessing and many be in gathered. And yet, even as you might start to pray such a prayer, you see, you know, maybe I better not pray too earnestly about that because if the Lord sent a revival, I'm too busy to get involved. I wouldn't be able to fit one into my schedule. This wouldn't be convenient for me at all.

And so we don't really earnestly pray day and night. Nehemiah was concerned enough about this situation. He wasn't going to turn his head. He wasn't going to ignore it. He wasn't going to spend the rest of his days just weeping and mourning about it. He was going to call upon God and he says, Let thine ear be attentive and thine eyes open and hear the prayer of thy servant and for the children of Israel thy servants and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee, both I and my Father's house have sinned.

How did they get to this desolate state? They had sinned. Nehemiah confesses his own sin and he confesses the sins of his people. I have sinned. My people have sinned.

We have failed. We have not honored thee. We have not respected thy word with sin. We have dealt very corruptly against thee and have not kept the commandments nor the statutes nor the judgments which thou commandest thy servant Moses. Nehemiah immediately addressed the problem.

He knew what the issue really was. We've been brought to this place not because God is weak, not because God was unable to protect the city and unable to defend us, not because God is unable to restore it, but because we have sinned. Somebody might say, yeah, there it goes. That's the way preachers always are. They got this simplistic view that they think the sin is at the heart of every problem and if they could just talk about something more positive.

It is positive when we deal with things in an honest way. And sin is at the heart of all of our problems. But the wonderful news of the gospel is there is a solution for it. When sin is confessed, there is forgiveness.

When sin is acknowledged, there is grace supplied that we can overcome it and live righteously and godly in this present evil world. We have dealt corruptly against thee because we have not kept thy commandments nor thy statutes nor thy judgments. Remember, I beseech thee the word that thou commandest thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations. Should they be surprised that they are scattered?

No! Because, he says, when you transgress, I will scatter you. When you look at maybe a crisis that comes in your own life, is it really a surprise? Oh, it may be when abruptly some great trouble sets in and you've been so oblivious to it all, you've had your head in the clouds, you've been so enamored with whatever your project of the moment is and whatever is of greatest interest, you weren't thinking about it, but when you really come to grips with the reality of the situation, can you expect anything else but a crisis when God's word is neglected and his commandments are ignored? When you dig your heels in with the attitude, I'm going to do what I want to do. I've set my goals, I know what I want to do with my life, I know where I want to be, and these things are important to me, I've got my list of priorities, and while you wouldn't write it down in this order, in your heart, God isn't first. Now, if somebody were to ask you, you know what you're supposed to say, and they say, What about your priorities? Oh yes, the Lord is first, but can you go to the Lord right now and say to him, Lord, you're first in all things in every part of my life. I recognize thy lordship. I want to be totally submitted to thee, every decision, everything I do, the use of my time, my abilities, my resources, whatever, I want to be totally committed to thee.

Can you say that for truth? Nehemiah saw what the problem was. It was sin. They had neglected the word of God. They had not heeded his commandments. God had told his people that they were to have the word perpetually before them. They were to write scripture on the door facing, so that as they moved about the house, it was constantly in front of them, and they were reminded and knew this is what God says. This is what God says. The psalmist says, Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee. You can't expect to come to a service on Sunday and hear the word of God preached and leave that meeting and never think about the word of God again, never read it again, never meditate on it, and expect to have spiritual strength to overcome the battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil. You can't do it.

It's impossible. God has provided many spiritual benefits for us. One of them is obviously the public worship service where we come and exhort one another and we hear the word of God preached and we sing praises to Him, we worship our Heavenly Father, but He also gives us the benefit of His word that we personally and individually can be involved in it and reading it and growing in it and applying it in our lives. Do we neglect that? We're going to be spiritually anemic.

We're going to be weak. We can't stand up against the many storms and trials that come our way. So just as these people had neglected the word of God, is that not really the cause of the crisis that comes our way? Now, I recognize that in God's providence there are difficulties, there are afflictions that touch our lives, that He suffered to come our way as a means of chastening us and teaching us and making something out of us. I recognize that. I'm not saying that every heartache, I'm not saying that every sickness, I'm not saying that every trial is a direct result of some specific sin and disobedience on our part, but I'm talking about when we've reached this place of real devastation, when the walls are down and the gates are burned and it looks like everything's fallen apart and you say, my life is in chaos.

Why? How did it get this way? It's because there has been a neglect of applying His word. We've done things our way. And our way proves not to be nearly so wise as we assume it is when we start out on that course. You get the feeling like, you know, I've lived a while now, and you don't have to get very old to get to that attitude. Somebody gets to be about fourteen and say, I've lived a while, I know a few things, I can make some decisions here. And we go on with that attitude in life and I can handle my own decisions. I don't really need the word of God to influence me.

I don't have to be studying the book all the time to know what to do. We make a mess out of things. A failure to use His word, a failure to put God first, have our priorities as they should be. Failure comes because we began to think like the world.

And as we think like the world, become influenced by the world, what the world says sounds good to us, we continue to move in that direction. Now, many people might agree that the pattern set by Nehemiah here is tremendously important, that in the day of crisis we need to pray. And I hope that all of us would agree that that is an appropriate approach and that prayer is essential. But I want you to see, connected with that praying, it wasn't just a prayer for help, it wasn't just a prayer for deliverance, it was a prayer of confession. And if sin and the neglect of God's word has been at the basis of our trouble, we can't expect to go to the Lord in prayer and say, Lord, deliver me, lift me up, give me joy, make me strong, send spiritual revival and ignore what brought us to the place of trouble and devastation to start with. The sin has to be confronted. The sin has to be acknowledged.

It has to be confessed. There has to be true repentance. Somebody may say, well, wait a minute here, I thought repentance is an experience that occurred way back there in your early life when you first committed yourself to the Lord. Let me tell you something, repentance is an ongoing lifetime experience. You never graduate from the school where you can say, I don't need to repent anymore.

And not a person here today but what needs to repent about something. Calls for change, constant change, turning from evil, turning from error, turning from the flesh, turning to God to that which is righteous, committing ourselves to Him. How easy to fall into that snare of relying on our own emotions, our own feeling, our own thought patterns rather than to go to the word of God. So unless when we come to ask God's help, we're willing to get rid of the sin that brought us to the trouble, our prayer is going to be empty and in vain. The psalmist said, if I regard iniquity my heart, the Lord will not hear.

And yet the wonderful promise is that if we confess our sins, He's faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And so we see the crisis, we see the cause of the crisis and what about the cure? A lot of people can talk about problems, but many of them seem to be at a loss when it comes to the solution. I heard a psychologist on the radio last night as I drove home and she said, you know in my profession we all like to claim to have the answer. But she says when you go to a convention of psychologists, everybody there feels like he's got the answer and none of them agree on what it is.

And she said probably in most cases you'd get along just as well sitting in the waiting room and never seeing the psychologist as if you came in to talk to one of us. Now that was a psychologist, that wasn't an old Baptist preacher saying that. Friends, the world has a lot of different opinions, but it doesn't have the answer. God's Word does.

You're not just speculating here. When we go to God, who is the creator of heaven and earth, and God, who is the author of this book, which is the only book that is totally reliable and absolutely true, which we can depend upon, we can find an answer and know how we ought to respond in the day of crisis. What's the solution? Well, the first thing we've observed here is prayer and connected with prayer was confession.

And I tell you, Nehemiah was a man that prayed, as he said, day and night and he prayed about every situation and every circumstance. Now you can understand that in this very special position of cupbearer, that if he walks into the king's throne room someday and he looks depressed, that's going to be a little disturbing to the king. If my cupbearer is depressed, there must be a reason. Is there something going on he hadn't told me about? He's getting paid off and he's about to give me a cup that's got something in it I shouldn't drink.

I mean, that's going to cause a lot of suspicion and anxiety. So, no doubt Nehemiah was very careful to have a pleasant countenance, but one day this burden got to be so heavy that the king looked at him and said, what's the problem? Chapter 2, verse 2, Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? What's the matter with you anyway?

If you're not sick, why do you look sick? Why is your countenance sad? This is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then was I very sore afraid.

Now what's going to happen? The king's questioning me. Why have I got this sad countenance? And said unto the king, Let the king live forever. Why should not my countenance be sad when the city, the place of my father's sepulchres, lieth waste and the gates thereof are consumed with fire? Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? Well, if that's what's caused you to have a sad countenance, if that's what's on your heart, then what request do you have? And you know what most of us would have done?

We would have blurted out two or three things real quick. But you know what Nehemiah did? So I prayed to the God of heaven. My, what a lesson to learn. In the moment of crisis, we generally are trying to figure out our own solution. Whatever we feel, we think we're entitled to say it. If I've got trouble, let's see if I can find somebody to blame and let me go tell them off. And when we speak in the flesh, we only increase our troubles.

We don't resolve them. When Nehemiah felt the pressure of the moment, the king is questioning him. He's wondering, Why do you have a sad countenance? And before Nehemiah answered, he prayed. And then I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favor of thy sight, that thou would ascend me to Judah, unto the city of my father's sepulchres, that I may build it. Now he sees that God's hand is upon him, God's opening a door of opportunity.

And he says, If it's pleasing to you, I want a leave of absence. I'd like to go. I'd like to travel back to Jerusalem, that I may build the city. Now how many other people knew about the condition? How many other people had grieved over the fact that the city was desolate? But when Nehemiah heard it, he took the matter to the Lord. And he was willing to become involved. He was willing to do what was required. And he was praying for God's direction. And so he says, King, if you're going to give me the permission to go, sign a letter so that anybody I meet is going to know that I've got your approval. I'm not trying to undermine you.

You know what's going on. I'm sure I'd be glad to sign that. Would you sign a second letter? I'm going to need some timber to build the gates out of.

How about letting me cut the timber out of your forest? And he said, Well sure, I'll sign that. See, now there's nothing wrong with advanced planning. Some people have the idea that if they're praying, they've got to quit planning. It's alright to plan as long as you're praying. And as long as you're planning is in harmony with what the Word of God teaches. That you're not in violation of His Word. You make your own plans and your own schemes and you may complicate the matter. But you plan biblically according to God's truth and praying all the while and the door just continues to open and the way unfolds. So when we're talking about the cure for the crisis, what is it? It's prayer.

Well, that's as far as some people want to go. You ask them about a problem and say, You know, I'm just really distressed over this. Well, what have you done about it? Well, I've prayed about it. Well, that's great.

What else have you done? Is that all the Bible teaches? Is that the only thing the Lord ever says in His Word to pray about it? Or, they see a crisis in somebody else's life and they'll say, You know, I'm really concerned about this. Well, what have you done about it? Well, I'm praying for them. Is that all?

No, there's some work to be done. If it's the crisis in our own life, there's some things that we need to do in addition to prayer. If it's a crisis in somebody else's life, there's some things that need to be done in addition to praying for them.

One's going astray, go to that one and seek to restore them. In the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. If there's a crisis in your life, somebody may say, I've got financial problems and I'm praying about it. Now, if you're praying about it but you're still adding charges to your visa that you can't pay, you might as well quit praying because you're praying a hypocritical prayer. You're praying, Lord, intervene in a problem that you're continuing to create as you go on. If you're praying, Lord, help me in this situation, then cut up your credit cards. And if you're sitting at home twiddling your thumb saying, Lord, send me something, go out and get a job. They won't work or not to eat. Occasionally you'll talk to somebody and say, well, you know, I haven't had a job for I don't know how long. Well, I see all these signs around town, help on it. Well, they don't pay enough.

Well, a little bit of pay is better than none, isn't it? And so, not only do we need to pray, we need to work. We need to work. Now, when it comes to the resolve of spiritual matters, I'm not saying that just any kind of work will do.

It needs to be the right kind. It needs to be godly work. It needs to be good works according to Biblical principles. But when Nehemiah ultimately made that trip, came there to the city of Jerusalem and began to explore the situation and see for himself the devastation that was there, it says in the second chapter, verse 17, Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how that Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire. Come and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem that we be no more reproach. We got a problem? The wall's down. What do we need to do?

We need to put it back up. We need to build the wall. I didn't say go out there and lay hands on the wall and pray that God will raise it. I said build the wall.

Build it. Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me as also the king's words that he had spoken unto me and they said let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work. They prayed and they worked.

That's the way you get a wall built. You work at it. You say well I'm weak, yes, but I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. There are particular things that the Lord has designated we ought to be doing. You say well I've just got too much on my schedule. Then maybe some of the things you are doing need to be removed from your schedule.

Maybe you're spending your time in futile, empty vain efforts. And the work you need to be doing is that which is focused on that matter that brings honor and glory to God. Working to strengthen your marriage, working to strengthen your family relationships, working to minister to other people. A lady came to me yesterday and said, I just want to share this with you. Several years ago I had been really struggling a lot with being depressed and I heard you preach a sermon in which you said one of the ways in which we can deal with depression is to quit focusing on ourselves and start trying to minister to other people. She said that just hit me as being really much of my problem.

I was so caught up with myself and my own problems I was constantly thinking about me. And she said from that day forward I began to pray every day, Lord give me the opportunity to minister to somebody else. And she says I can tell you it's made a dramatic difference in my life.

She said I have really come out of that pit of depression that I was in for a long period of time. Now I recognize that there are a variety of reasons as to why people may be depressed. And there are many biblical solutions as to how to approach the problem.

But I certainly believe that's one of them. We spend all of our time thinking about ourself, about how miserable we are, how bad we feel, how we've been mistreated, how nobody pays enough attention to us. You talk about something that will get you miserable. You can just be down for the count the more you focus on yourself. But you start trying to reach out to other people, minister to them, help them. What a difference it makes. See there's a work to be done. So after prayer comes work. I hope the message today has been a blessing to you. If so, tell others about this broadcast where they can tune in each day and hear a message from God's Word.

And if you can help us with the support that we need to stay on the air, we'll be grateful for it. Our address is the Baptist Bible Hour, Box 17037, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. Now until we greet you next time, this is LeSara Bradley Jr. bidding you goodbye and may God bless you. Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. Oh, what a poor taste of glory divine. Heir of salvation, purchase of God.

Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood. Perfect submission, perfect delight. Visions of rapture now burst on my side. Angels descending, brink of above. There comes a mercy, whispers of love. This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long. This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, all is at rest. I am my Savior, I'm happy and blessed. Watching and waiting, looking above. To live this goodness, lost in His love. This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long. This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Savior, praising my Savior, praising my Savior all the day long.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-17 21:28:48 / 2024-03-17 21:39:17 / 10

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