The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not flunk; He keeps me from lying down when I should be studying. He leads me beside the refrigerator for a study break. He restores my faith in study habits for my grade’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of borderline grades, I will not have a nervous breakdown, for You are with me. My prayers, my family and my friends, they comfort me. You give me answers in moments of blankness, You anoint my head with understanding, my test runs over with questions I recognize. Surely passing grades and flying …
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Israel as a part of an interfaith mission group. We met to discuss the parameters of our trip, recommended readings, and the all-important guide on what to pack. While the list made suggestions, I took it as an inventory of must-haves. Before our departure, I made the arrogant comment to a friend, “I know I have over packed and I am comfortable with that!” This statement would set the tone for our excursion and would come back to haunt me!
This chorus was sung by the Israelites while marching up to Jerusalem for worship! Because of their number, one can only imagine the rhythm of their footsteps as their movement created a beat. The road was perilous with hidden dangers or uneven terrain, but the knowledge of God – Creator, Helper, and Sustainer – strengthened their hearts.
Nehemiah’s story demonstrates the power of determination, focus, and courage. His people were captives, stolen away from their hearts’ home. Yet God remained with them; the people still had work to do. God granted Nehemiah influence with his people which sparked their will to complete the task set before them. And God even guided the king to give his approval.
For over three months our vocabulary has expanded to include a term we were far less familiar with that has now become a household staple for our conversations. Just like the waves of an angry, storm-tossed sea, the news of this virus has spread quickly leaving an overwhelming response in its wake. Unlike our predictable panicked answer to the threat of snow or sleet, our human survival instincts have shifted from overdrive to moving at the speed of fright. Typically, we are prone to purchase extra bread and milk just in case the weather conditions persist a bit longer than we would like.