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R315 The God of The Bible and The People of God Pt.1

Encouraging Word / Don Wilton
The Truth Network Radio
April 20, 2021 8:00 am

R315 The God of The Bible and The People of God Pt.1

Encouraging Word / Don Wilton

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April 20, 2021 8:00 am

The Daily Encouraging Word with Dr. Don Wilton

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He was not a prophet or a teacher, but Nehemiah, the businessman, has much to teach us from God's encouraging word today. The Encouraging Word This is The Encouraging Word, featuring the Bible-based preaching of Dr. Don Wilton, well-known author, evangelist, seminary professor, pastor.

And in these next few moments, I pray you'd allow him to be your teacher-pastor as we gain insight from the book of Nehemiah. While we do so know that we're available for you, we'd love to connect with you on our website, It's a great place to sign up for The Daily Encouraging Word. Email from Dr. Don to discover more resources, even hear this program again or share it with friends. That's online at Or feel free to give us a call at 866-899-WORD.

That's 866-899-9673. Now today's teaching with Dr. Don Wilton. The Encouraging Word Please turn with me this morning in your Bibles to the Old Testament book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah chapter 1. We're going to begin a new series this morning. And some of you might say to me, well, pastor, how long are we going to be in Nehemiah? Ten weeks? Twelve weeks?

Fifteen weeks? I don't know. But we're going to let the Lord take control of that. Our overriding theme during this study is building on a faithful foundation. Building on a faithful foundation.

And our subject this morning is simply this. The God of the Bible and the people of God. The God of the Bible and the people of God. Now, my friends, before I even begin to read Scripture this morning, I want you to know that as we begin to study Scripture and as we have done so over many years, we're going to find some truths to be self-evident. We're going to find some inalienable truths. We're going to find some absolute truths that God's Word sets before us. One of those is that the God of the Bible and the people of God are inextricably linked together in God's sovereign grace. We're going to discover some wonderful things about the life of God's servant, Nehemiah. We're going to discover just how special God's people are to God. There is a wonderful relationship there.

A wonderful relationship. I want to read just the first four verses here in Nehemiah chapter 1. And if you would follow along with me, I hope that every person here has got access to the Word of God. If you don't have a Bible, there's one in the Purak right in front of you. We're going to be in Nehemiah, and some of you have come to me and said to me, Pastor, I've already read through Nehemiah.

I want to encourage you to do so. I'd encourage you every week to read through Nehemiah because it is going to intensify your own personal understanding of what God would have us to learn about this mighty servant of the Lord. Nehemiah chapter 1. The words of Nehemiah in the month of Kislev in the 20th year. Now let me just say to you that Kislev is the month of December, the latter part of the month of November going into December.

So we need to put this into its rightful perspective. I don't know if it was a blizzard month when Nehemiah was, but it could have been. But at any rate, it was around about December.

This is around Christmas time, if you please. And it's very important because later on when we get into the text and we begin to understand some things about Nehemiah, it's important to see how God's timetable kicks into gear. You know, I've had people say to me from time to time, God is not in a rush. God is not in a hurry.

He doesn't belong to the instant coffee generation. God does things in God's time. And that is so true. We are the ones who are in a hurry.

We're the ones who want everything to be done right now exactly the way we want it. Well, let's see what God's word says. The words of Nehemiah in the month of Kislev in the 20th year while I was in the Citadel of Susa. Hanani or Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men. And I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile and also about Jerusalem.

Let me pause here again. There are two things that Nehemiah is concerned with. And I think these two issues are very important. One is about the Jewish remnant, and I'm going to tell you about them in just a moment. Nehemiah was concerned about a group of people, flesh and blood, just like you and me. But the second thing that he was concerned about was where they lived. He was concerned about the city of Jerusalem.

He was concerned about the place wherein these people lived and operated. So I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile and also about Jerusalem. They said to me in verse 3, those who survived the exile are back in the province and are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates have been burned with fire. When I heard these things, I sat down and wept.

For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. May the Lord write His word upon our hearts. Now, some people have said that these are Nehemiah's memoirs.

It's kind of an autobiography, if you please. You're going to find that it's written in the first person. This is Nehemiah under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, recalling and telling us about what God was able to accomplish through Nehemiah's life. And it's going to find its focus in two areas. It's going to find its focus in the people of God and it's going to find its focus in who God is. That's why the message this morning is entitled The God of the Bible and the People of God.

Well, permit me to give you just perhaps a little bit of a thumbnail sketch, a little background to put this into context. We need to be reminded this morning that God is the God of covenant. God promises His people and then God stands by His promises. God never reneges on what He tells us.

He never turns back. He never allows something to slip by that He has written down and said to us as Christian people and as the people of God. He made many promises to Israel. He did the same thing to Solomon. And the remarkable thing is that when we begin to discover the sovereign work of God coming together with the people of God, we're going to find the consistency of God on one hand and the absolute failure of the people of God on the other hand.

We cannot help but come to that conclusion. Right throughout Scripture, beginning at Genesis 1, we're going to find the sovereign work of God always there, never changing, the same yesterday and today and forever. But we're going to find the people of God through whom sovereign God works but the people of God constantly and continually let God down. Solomon was an example. Solomon was the faithful king and yet we know that he began to get mixed up with foreign ladies and he began to worship foreign gods and he began to destroy everything that God was and is.

And yet when we come to the end of Solomon's life, a remarkable thing happens because Solomon ends off his career as the faithful king despite the fact that Solomon had disgraced the name of God. You see, there's the sovereign work of God. There's the covenant relationship with God. There's the fact that God never changes. God stands by his word. When you come to read at the end of Kings and the end of Chronicles about Solomon, gone are all reference to foreign wives, gone are all references to foreign gods, gone are all references to the anger of Jehovah, gone are all references to the desecration of the temple.

It is as though God had come down in his sovereign grace and he restored Solomon to his original status of being the faithful king. What a message and what a word of hope. I wonder if there's anyone here today who's messed up. I wonder if there's anyone here today who would say to me, Pastor, but I've done this and I've messed up and I've broken that and I've let God down.

Is there any hope for me? My friends, when we begin to understand the God of the Bible and the people of God, we're going to come to understand God's sovereign grace. And so what happened? Well, in 931 BC, the kingdom of Israel split. There was the northern kingdom, which comprised of 10 tribes, and they became ruled by a man by the name of Jeroboam.

The southern tribes, which were taken over into exile by Babylon, they were ruled by Rehoboam. But both the northern tribes in Assyria and the southern tribes in Babylon continued to displease God. They gave themselves over not only to idolatry but to gross immorality. And they refused to understand that the God of the Bible says, there is only one God and you will worship the Lord, your God, with all of your heart and with all of your soul.

And with all of your mind. And they refused to understand that God would never settle for second best. God's not willing to take a back seat. God's not willing to step back for anybody.

He is Jehovah God. And these people in the northern tribes who fell to Assyria, in the southern tribes who fell to Babylon, they continued to disgrace the name of God. Well, the northern tribes became assimilated. They just became amalgamated and assimilated with the Assyrian tribes and became one with them.

Almost to the point historians tell us that it was hard to distinguish anything different about the Jewish tribes that had become assimilated in the Assyrian peoples. But the southern tribes, it was not so. There were two southern tribes, Benjamin and Judah.

And years, years and years later, in fact, in 539 BC, the Medes and the Persians conquered the Babylonian Empire and they liberated the southern tribes. So guess what these southern people did? Like all good southerners, they went home. I mean, they needed some good grits, I guess.

They needed something real southern. These southern tribes, Benjamin and Judah, they made it beeline straight back to Jerusalem and they went back in two groups. Now you can read about that in Ezra, by the way. Ezra is the book that precedes Nehemiah. Ezra was also a prophet. But the first group that went back went under the leadership of a man by the name of Zerubbabel.

Imagine having a name like that. Zerubbabel, with apologies to anyone who's called Zerubbabel. They went back with Zerubbabel and they went back with him, you can read about it in Ezra chapter one. This was the group, by the way, that rebuilt the temple that God had promised to Solomon. And so back there in 515 BC, the temple of God was rebuilt.

You see, there was tremendous significance that surrounded the temple of God. The second group that went back was the group that was led by Ezra. The first group by Zerubbabel, the second group by Ezra, the prophet after whom this one book is named. And they went back under Ezra but they continued to live in sin. Bible says in Ezra chapter seven that there were two things that they were guilty of. First of all, spiritual and moral degradation and secondly, pagan worship, pagan practices. These were the people under Ezra who gave themselves over unapologetically to bowing down to foreign gods.

They disdained and discarded everything that they knew to be true. They literally, positively, openly and unapologetically began to worship the very antithesis of almighty God, Jehovah. Zerubbabel's group, Ezra's group. And so it is in 444 BC, 14 years after Ezra and his group of southern Israelites had come back to Jerusalem after the rebuilding of the temple that Nehemiah arrives on the scene. Nehemiah arrives on the scene. We're going to discover some things about Nehemiah. We're going to look at what he saw.

We're going to look at how he responded. We're going to look at who he was, how he did what he did, what his relationship was with God, what he believed about God, what God did through his servant Nehemiah. We're going to begin to understand somewhat of what God's word would teach to each one of us and there are two basic principles that we're going to discover. Number one, that the God of the Bible is sovereign in his purpose for his people. And number two, that the God of the Bible always, I love this one, the God of the Bible always has his people for the times in which they live.

Well, let's look at it first of all just briefly. The first principle we're going to discover in general terms is that the God of the Bible is sovereign in his purpose for his people. You see friends, God desires to reveal himself to us the same way in which he revealed himself to Nehemiah and to the remnant of exiles that returned to a devastated Jerusalem. I had the privilege of being in the hospital again and at one place in the hospital I saw some people that were very bereaved and I began to think about these people. I began to think about all the gamut of emotions that come upon us as human beings.

I began to think about some of the most penetrating questions that we ever ask of ourselves and sometimes when we're at our worst point. Does God desire to reveal himself to us? Are you telling me that God actually wants us to know him and to do what he wants us to do?

We're going to discover absolutely yes. God desires to reveal his will to his people. Consider the situation here in Nehemiah that we're going to get to know over the next couple of weeks. Humanly speaking their predicament was impossible. The walls of Jerusalem were broken down. They had no means to defend themselves. They had no place to worship.

They were scattered all over the universe. The people were torn apart. They had given themselves to ungodly pagan practices. They had drifted away from the sanctity of everything that God is and everything that God was and everything that God does for us. And yet God did something for Nehemiah through Nehemiah and for his people that boggle the mind.

Why did he do that? Simply stated because he tells us in Acts, all power is given unto me in heaven and upon earth. And that word power there means dynamite. It means because I am God. I'm the God of dynamite.

I'm so explosive that nobody can touch me and I have a habit of rearranging everything that I do touch because I am dynamite. I am God. I am power. I am grace.

I am sovereign. And there is nothing that is outside of the reach and the grasp of an eternal and holy God. You're listening to Dr. Don Wilton, our teacher here on The Encouraging Word. Don't go away.

He'll be back with more of today's message from Nehemiah in just a moment. But Dr. Don wants me to remind you that we are here for you, connecting keyboard to keyboard on our website 24 hours a day at If you haven't been by it lately, the website has been redesigned, It's filled with resources that perhaps would be just what you need to either share with a friend to encourage them or gain encouragement yourself. So many are asking about the brand new book, Saturdays with Billy, about Dr. Wilton's relationship with Dr. Billy Graham. The pastor had the joy of being his pastor for the last 25 years and some of the memories they have shared together are just priceless. It's all in the book that's available now on our website at

That's Now back to today's great teaching with Dr. Don Wilton. This is clearly seen in the Old Testament. You can go back with me if you like, go back in your own private time and study about Abraham and Isaac. You're going to understand that the God of the Bible is sovereign in His purpose for His people. You can go back to Joseph and Jacob. I mean, can you imagine the audacity of Joseph being turfed into that pit and being sold into slavery by his brothers? I wonder how many whys Joseph must have asked. Why, Lord? What am I doing here? What have I done? You know, Joseph added to that, do you know what his father called him?

Puffikins. That's just a rough translation of the Hebrew text. It means that he was his father's favourite son. He never did anything wrong. He was the one who washed the dishes after the meal. He was the one that was always there to serve his mother and father.

He was the one who always was the model child. His father loved him so much. And yet, my friend, the Bible says that his brothers in their jealousy came and cast him away and sold him into slavery.

What conclusion can we come to? Well, amidst all the whys, my friends, we come to the conclusion that the God of the Bible is sovereign in His purpose for His people. And so it is with Moses. This is not only clearly seen in the Old Testament, it's clearly, clearly taught in the New Testament. I don't have time this morning to go back to Ephesians chapter 2 and see how that we were once lost, dead in our trespasses and sins, but now because of Christ and the purpose of God in Christ, we have now been found. In Romans chapter 8 and verse 28, all things work together for the good of those that love God and to those who are the called according to what? His purpose. But there's a second truth. A second principle.

Here it is. The God of the Bible always has His people for the time in which they live. And so we come to Nehemiah. Nehemiah, what an incredible person. I want to introduce you just briefly today and perhaps somewhat rather scantily to this man whose name was Nehemiah. An incredible person he was.

He came right out of the court of Artaxerxes, the king. And there is so much that God wants to teach us about this man called Nehemiah. He was a remarkable person. He was someone upon whom the spirit of the living God descended. This man by the name of Nehemiah, no different from you and no different from me, did most extraordinary things under extraordinary circumstances all because he had a relationship with an extraordinary God, someone who loved him, someone who gave to him, someone who poured out his soul upon him. But there are three things that I believe that we learn about the God of the Bible who always has His people for the times in which they live. First of all, God implements His eternal purposes through people.

Now, folks, I don't understand that, but it's marvelous, isn't it? I love to read autobiographies and biographies and all these kinds of... God implements His eternal purposes through people. I preached on Luke chapter 15 and Luke chapter 16. At the end of Luke chapter 16, the rich man who had gone to hell begged for Abraham to send someone back from the dead so that he could convince his brothers that they needed to accept God as their Savior.

And what did the Bible say? The Bible said they have Moses, they have Nehemiah, they have the prophets, they have the preachers, they have the churches, they have the Sunday school teachers. Do you know why, my friends, sending somebody back from the dead is not God's chosen method of evangelism? You know what God's chosen method of evangelism is? It's the Word of God, the Spirit of God, and the man of God.

It's the most unbelievably exciting thing to know that God in His sovereign grace has chosen the Word of God through the inspiration of the Spirit of God fed through the heart of the man of God totally given over to the grace of God to bring about all the riches of God's grace. Consider this man, Nehemiah. He was one of the greatest men that ever lived. According to historians, he was a captive in Babylon just like all the others. He was chosen to fill a respectable office in the court of Artaxerxes the king. He lived in ease and comfort, but he couldn't continue in comfort because of the news that he received.

It's right there in those first four verses. You see, this man had everything, everything that opened and shut per se because he came to occupy, even as an exile, a privilege in the king's court, and yet he couldn't find any peace in his own heart. He couldn't just sit there and watch the world go by. He had to get into action.

He had to keep the main thing, the main thing. What had he seen? He saw that his people were distressed according to Nehemiah chapter one. The sepulchres of his fathers had been trodden, altars of his God had been overturned, the worship of God had been corrupted, and so he sought, he prayed, and he wept for Jerusalem. Look at verse four with me. When I heard these things, I sat down and I wept.

The Bible goes on and says, For some days I mourned and I fasted and I prayed before the God of heaven. This man, we have a picture of someone here who is absolutely pouring out his heart before the only one who could do anything about the unbelievable predicament in which they found themselves. You see, Nehemiah was willing to be that instrument. Willingness, isn't that an important part of who we are as we strive to serve Christ? Dr. Don's been teaching in Nehemiah, and there's more to come tomorrow.

I hope you'll join us. But this sense of being willing to step out as Nehemiah was to be that instrument in God's hands, you know, it starts with being a part of God's family. You've heard Dr. Don preach in these last few moments.

Open your heart to what he wants to share with you next as he comes into the studio. Are you ready to give your heart and life to the Lord Jesus Christ? Why don't you pray this prayer with me right now? Dear God, I know that I'm a sinner, and I know that Jesus died for me on the cross. Today I repent of my sin, and by faith I receive you into my heart. In Jesus' name. My friend, I welcome you today into the family of God.

This is exciting news. If you just gave your life to Christ, praying along with Dr. Wilton, you need to let somebody know, and Dr. Don would love for you to let him know. You can email him, Don, at T-E-W online dot O-R-G, and not only would he love to read your story and hear about what God's doing, but he will pray for you. Just recently, we had 147 people give their lives to Christ on one single day, and ever since that day, Dr. Don's been going and literally out loud praying for each of those people by name. He would love to pray for you as well.

You can call and let us know what's going on in your life and how he can pray at 866-899-WORD, that's 866-899-9673, or email him, Don, D-O-N, at T-E-W online dot O-R-G, and if you haven't signed up for the Daily Encouraging Word email, here's Liz with all the details. The Daily Encouraging Word is a daily devotional made available in a quarterly booklet or delivered each morning in your email inbox. If you would like to request this free devotional, please call 866-899-WORD or visit our website at We are confident that it will be a blessing to you. The Encouraging Word is a viewer and listener supported ministry. Thank you for listening today. Our time's gone for today, but be sure and join us tomorrow for more from the book of Nehemiah on this, The God of the Bible and the Principle of God. That's coming up with its conclusion tomorrow on The Encouraging Word with Dr. Don Wilton. Until then, stay connected on our website at
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-27 23:29:22 / 2023-11-27 23:40:10 / 11

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