On April 4, 1968, I and 222 other students attending Bowie State University (College at the time) were taken into custody and carted off to the Anne Arundel County Detention Center, in Annapolis, MD, for refusing to leave the State Capitol building by 5:00 P.M., closing time. You see, we were protesting the poor conditions at our predominately black college, feeling like our previous efforts at drawing attention to deplorable conditions had been ignored. We wanted improved dormitories, equipment and other resources. That very night, Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated. When I watch news events from Ferguson, MO, I feel compassion for the parents and those suffering loss but am saddened by the misguided actions of some of the protestors.
History often repeats itself. In the book of Nehemiah, chapter 5, we find God’s people trying to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, a city destroyed by fierce enemies. God had provided supplies and people to get the job done. God’s people faced many obstacles, but their knees buckled when famine hit the land. They began acting like their enemies: Complaining, charging the poor astronomical interest rates, borrowing money and using family members as collateral and treating others with disrespect.
Nehemiah was outraged and gave strong correction. He urged his brothers and sisters to stop their bad behavior and return what was stolen. The people respected their leader and gave back what they had “stolen.” Nehemiah also required the leaders to take an oath, a promise to do what they agreed upon.
At the end, the whole assembly said, “Amen, and praised the Lord.”
It’s easy to follow Christ in good times, but what about bad times? What happens when money, sickness, divorce, bankruptcy, foreclosure, job loss, unexpected bills, false criticism, and other unexpected events occur? I wish I could honestly say I go immediately into praise, but I often follow the pattern of my biblical friends:
1. Focus on the problem.
2. Try to solve the problem on my own.
3. Realize I can’t solve the problem.
4. Turn to God and remember what He has done in the past.
5. Go to His Word and find scriptures to help me.
6. Thank and praise Him and develop a positive outlook.
7. Worship Him for who He is!
Let’s get to number 7 faster! We can avoid a lot of misery in between.
Memory Verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, IN EVERYTHING give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
WEEK NINE ASSIGNMENT: Using the GROW METHOD (G- God first-pray; R- Read the passage; O- Observe key words and phrases; W- Write your thoughts), read Nehemiah 5:14- 19 and answer:
1. What was Nehemiah’s challenge now?
2. What did he do differently?
Be blessed and let’s continue growing together!