Jesus did not answer their demands by giving them a sign immediately but foretold about His own death and resurrection that will be the ultimate sign of His authority given to everyone.
Nehemiah led with his heart rather than listening to the voice of God and always expected God to reward him for the sacrifice he was making in trying to rebuild Jerusalem, both physically and spiritually.
Real change can only be brought upon by the transformation of the heart and as we saw throughout the accounts of the post-exile writings, the Israelites only ever changed their words but never their ways. Like Nehemiah, let us not waste time in forcefully correcting the actions of our fellow beings but rather connect them to God who is the only one who can intervene and make real change in their lives.
Unlike the returning exiles, we must renew our faith in Christ everyday and not wait for such moments to make us realise the need for God in our lives.
The pattern repeats itself again later in the final chapters of the book, where Nehemiah thinks he has won over the enemy only to find the enemy had already infiltrated their camps.
We have a habit of not leaving anything to chance. We feel the need to plan for our future and have a five year plan for our personal and work lives but seldom for our spiritual lives.
Nehemiah got off to a rocky start and as he will learn the lesson the hard way, that his efforts of securing the city had no effect on the hearts of the people, as they had already fortified their hearts to keep God out.
Ezra, who was sent to teach the scriptures to the exiles, spent his first stint in Jerusalem, separating families to purify the people rather than letting God deal with His people.
When God guides our paths, all the arrangements are made for us. Ezra did not have to worry about the finances for his trip or the funds for the temple sacrifices and ornaments or even to gather his troops, everything was prepared by God.
Fifteen years after the work on the temple had been halted due to numerous oppositions that the exiles faced, God sent his word to the people of Israel. First through the prophet Haggai (Haggai 1) and then two months later through the prophet Zechariah (Zechariah 1), God spoke to the people commanding them to restart the work on the temple.
While the returning exiles continued work on the temple, the natives took notice of their new neighbors’ plans and offered help to Zerubbabel and Co.
Why did Jesus curse the Fig tree? Mark, in his account of the incident clearly states that it wasn’t the season for figs. This makes this incident even more puzzling and therefore it is often misinterpreted by many. Did Jesus curse the fig tree because he was famished ?
In the cool of the day two men from Emmaus were returning from Jerusalem. They had a seven mile journey ahead of them and plenty to talk about. Unrest was at an all-time high amongst the believers. Rumors were being spread, seeds of doubt and confusion were sprouting and fear of the unknown was overwhelming…