Monday Meditations: Nehemiah 4.14

“Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!” (Neh. 4.14 NLT)

This verse hit me like a ton of bricks at church yesterday. I think it is a really good verse to meditate on over a week because there is so much rich language here. So many words you can spend time with: remember, great, glorious, fight – even afraid and enemy are worth reflecting on. It is also to think of the men Nehemiah was speaking to. Half of them were always on guard, 24/7. All of them carried their swords at all times – even those doing the building. I used to work in construction with my dad. I still have my tool belt. I can’t imagine carrying a gun in that while trying to frame up a wall, but that is exactly what it was like (except swords are probably even more awkward to carry while trying to work).

As usual, I don’t want to steer you too much here because the Spirit will lead you better than I can, but I will share one thought. It really strikes me that two things were involved in fighting the enemy, being constantly ready to actually fight and at the same time building the wall. This led me to ask myself, am I constantly ready to fight for my family, my home, my friends? And am I building a wall of protection for them at the same time? You can ask this with regard to various aspects of your life: spiritual, emotional, economic, physical, etc.

You might ask the Lord this week to show you places where your walls are compromised or where you are not in a state of readiness for battle. He will show you and He will also guide you and empower you to shore up your defenses and make ready for the battle that is coming. Make no mistake, you will face battles. Let’s be ready.

Monday Meditations: Psalm 34.8

“Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him!” (Psalm 34.8)

You may already be familiar with the first half of this verse (especially if you like really old Petra) and if so you have probably heard or thought about it primarily in the context of evangelism – encouraging those who don’t know the Lord to give a relationship with Jesus a try (that was Petra’s take in that song). This verse works in that context, but I don’t think it’s limited to that.

Remember that David was writing, not to outsiders, but to fellow Israelites who were already in covenant relationship with Yahweh. He wasn’t encouraging them to enter into relationship, he was urging them to trust Yahweh more, as the next verse explains: “Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear Him will have all they need.”

These days the verse reminds me of all the times I try to get my kids to try new foods. They are already acquainted with food, but I want them to explore new tastes, I want them to widen their palate, becoming more mature in what foods they enjoy.

That is my encouragement to you today. If you are reading this, you probably already have a relationship with God (you may even be ‘godly’ as David said), but there is still more of the Lord to taste, there are still areas of your life where you can see the goodness of God breaking in (perhaps for the first time). Meditate on Ps. 34.8 this week. Focus on each word in turn and see what images or analogies occur to you. Reflect on those. Let the Spirit lead you into the depth of truth contained in this verse. And when you come to those moments of crisis, anxiety, fear, etc., repeat this to yourself, ‘taste and see that the Lord is good,’ and let Him be good in your life. Let Him supply all you need.