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Tag: Israel

The Promise of Restoration

Today we begin a new series of messages from the Book of Nehemiah. I’m guessing that most of you wouldn’t list Nehemiah in your top five favourite books of the Bible, and in fact, it’s quite possible that some of you who couldn’t even tell me who in the world Nehemiah was. So it’s probably a good idea before we start, to briefly have a look at the history and background of Nehemiah. And there is a lot of history to this story – Nehemiah is one of the last stories recorded in the Old Testament – so basically the entire Old Testament is the history and background to Nehemiah. Now I won’t take you through the entire Old Testament, but we really need to go way back and have at least a basic understanding of the history of the nation of Israel.

So I want to start today about 1000 years before the actual story that we’re going to look at. Basically we want to start with the formation of the nation of Israel. As most of you know Jospeh brought his family of about 70 to Egypt to escape a famine – you can read about that in Genesis 46. Well, this visit to Egypt turned into a 400 year stay – and during that time, they grew from a family of 70 to a family of about a million. These people would be the founding fathers of the nation of Israel.

So we’re going to pick it up just after God freed them from slavery in Egypt and led them out towards the Promised Land. Now when God did this, he made a covenant (or an agreement) with them. This was the deal – if they were to obey the terms of the covenant – which include all the instructions you find in Exodus and Leviticus – basically summarized by the ten commandments – but if they were to obey God in all these things, God promised to bless them like crazy!

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Ehud

The Bible is a grand story book. It has some of the most fantastic, movie-worthy stories that you will ever read. Some of them have become quite famous – like the story of David & Goliath – but there are many other stories just as fantastic, that many people haven’t even heard of. For example, how many people here know the story of Jael & Sisera? Or the story of Abimelech? Or Jephthah?

These aren’t exactly the most recognizable names, are they? But I’d like to change that. For the next few weeks we’re going to be looking at the book of Judges. And while we’re looking at some of those famous stories like that of Gideon & Samson, we’re also going to find some of those undiscovered stories in the Bible – like Ehud, Jael, & Deborah –  Because their stories are no less important than these other famous ones.

I’ve labeled this series “Heroes… and Zeros” because I’ve found that most of the characters in the book of Judges fall into one or the other of those two categories. Either a hero or a zero. Some characters fall into both categories. Quite often God takes a zero and turns them into a hero. And that’s the case in our first story that we’re going to look at today.

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