August 30, 2016 – Nehemiah 9:34-35

Nehemiah9-34-35Our kings, leaders, priests, and ancestors did not obey your Law or listen to the warnings in your commands and laws. Even while they had their own kingdom, they did not serve you, though you showered your goodness on them. You gave them a large, fertile land, but they refused to turn from their wickedness. Nehemiah 9:34-35People always find it difficult who to choose to love.  And choose we must.  Our relational God created us to live a life of love.  John 15:12 gives us the commandment — This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.   How often we forget to love like God loves us.  We want to love ourselves first, and yet we are never satisfied.  We wonder why.We are born self-centered and spend a lifetime learning to be God-centered.  We learn You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.   Matthew 22:37.  The Israelites during the Nehemiah’s time knew that same commandment in Deuteronomy 6:5.The Israelites forgot God had given them fertile land to live.  They thought they knew more than God, and followed their own ways, set up their own gods and laws.   They became slaves in their own land.  There is a high correlation between following God and learning to love Him.The Lord your God will delight in you if you obey his voice and keep the commands and decrees written in this Book of Instruction, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.  Deuteronomy 30:10.This is how to avoid slavery…and the worst slavery is being enslaved by our earthly desires of self-centeredness.  In a college class in 1973, a professor told us to repeat, “If it feels good, do it.”  It was if I heard Satan that day. Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.  Romans 12:2“So now today we are slaves in the land of plenty that you gave our ancestors for their enjoyment! We are slaves here in this good land. Nehemiah 9:36