Nehemiah, chapters 5-8

“Do not feel sad, for the joy of Jehovah is your stronghold.”
~Nehemiah 8:10

This verse has personally been one of the cornerstones of my faith.
But why did the audience feel sad to begin with?
“All the people were weeping as they heard the words of the Law,” (Neh. 8:9).
It was the month of Ethanim (mid-September to mid-October), the start of the Jewish agricultural year, a month that marks many biblical historically relevant events.
It was a month of festivals.
This day started out with special trumpet blasts announcing a holy convention (Lev. 23:24).
The Jews in Jerusalem had but a few days earlier, against all odds, completed rebuilding the city walls (Neh. 6:15).
True worship was finally and officially ready to go fully back into effect.
When the scribe Ezra read the book of the law, and the Levites explained it, the people took it to heart (Neh. 8:2,3,7,8).
They understood what Jehovah was trying to tell them.
They were compelled to tears of sadness because of the errors of their ways.
But understanding God’s word was reason to rejoice, not cry.
The Levites helped them to correct their attitude, “so all the people went away to eat and to drink and to send out portions of food and to carry on a great rejoicing, for they understood the words that had been made known to them,” (Neh. 8:12).
When I personally experience sadness, do I make Jehovah’s joy my stronghold?
Understanding his word and serving him are not small reasons to rejoice in.
It is a beautiful privilege to form part of God’s people.
There is no better place to seek refuge than in the stronghold of the “happy God,” (1 Tim. 1:11; Ps. 16:11).

2 Kings, chapters 12-15

“As some men were burying a man, they saw the marauder band, so they quickly threw the man into Elisha’s burial place and ran off. When the man touched the bones of Elisha, he came to life and stood on his feet.”
~2 Kings 13:21

Although the Bible mentions other resurrection accounts,* this is only one of two resurrections realized directly by Jehovah God (the other being that of Jesus) (1 Cor. 15:3-6).

Elisha had already been buried when this second cadaver was thrown into his grave, and since there is no consciousness in the grave, the resurrection should be credited to Jehovah, not Elisha, who to this day has no idea that his bones resurrected a man, because he is dead (Eccl. 9:5).

That Jehovah should be so merciful as to restore a random dead man’s life to him demonstrates God’s power and will to resurrect the millions of people who have been swallowed up by death (Ps. 141:7; Acts 24:15).

This will shall be carried out under Christ’s rule when his kingdom blessings have reached the earth (Matt. 6:10).

*The other resurrection accounts can be found at: 1 Kings 17:17-24; 2 Kings 4:32-37; Luke 7:11-17; 8:40-42; 8:49-56; John 11:38-44; Acts 9:36-42; 20:7-12.

1 Samuel, chapters 14 and 15

“[…] Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, and his armor-bearer was behind him; and the Philistines began to fall before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer was putting them to death behind him.”
~1 Samuel 14:13

By standing up to their people’s oppressors, Jonathan and his armor-bearer were demonstrating great faith in Jehovah, crediting him with the victory before it begun (1 Sam. 14:6).

There is another lesson in their actions: teamwork goes a long way.

They were obviously very coordinated, being able to carry out this extraordinary deed of striking and putting 20 men to death, despite being outnumbered 10 to 1 (1 Sam. 14:14).

Although as Christians we do not participate in deadly combat, we do need to collaborate extensively with other members in the Congregation on a weekly or sometimes daily basis.

The success we experience spiritually is directly related to our ability to subject to theocratic arrangements, which in turn is directly related to being humble (1 Cor. 14:40).

Like Jonathan’s armor-bearer, we need to be willing to sacrifice personal interests in order to demonstrate our unyielding loyalty toward God and our spiritual family (1 Sam. 14:7).

Then we will clearly see Jehovah’s blessings and his loyalty toward us (1 Chron. 16:34).