Lessons from Ezra & Nehemiah on Spiritually Balanced Living
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good morning welcome if you're new here Among Us my name is Jean I serve here at C3 Church as your lead pastor and I've been noticing that there are some people who are still adjusting to the time change from last week if you remember we had an 11 o'clock service last week a little bit of a time change and it's been said that we've gained an extra hour but truth be told we've just been given back that which has been taken from us right so but the question remains what have we done with that extra hour so we got used to not having it now we have it have we become more productive have we added anything maybe reading the Bible right I don't know but it made me think of a couple of things a few questions came into my mind so I'll share them with you now that I have a captive audience of course you can leave but anyway here are the questions that come to mind what if we had a whole extra day in the week what if we had eight days a week what would we do with it I know what the Beatles would do they love you that was John's part somebody had to pick up Paul's we would have a really tight Harmony there anyway what what do we do an extra day what would you do with it well a lot of people don't know that this has been tried but not just eight days a week not just nine but ten days a week French Revolutionary calendar that's what this was had a little help doing the homework on this one but ten days a week they said well we'll be more productive if we have 10 days in a working week and that was one of the stated purposes it'll increase productivity the other stated purpose was to do away with Christianity it was to secularize the calendar so they did away with all the holidays and everything gone basically totally dispensing with God and this was a stated purpose Christmas instead of celebrating Jesus they celebrated Isaac Newton I believe you can fact check me there it's okay unbelievable get rid of God God off this calendar so what happened well when you go against God it doesn't go right in fact they found that they were less productive it turned out that you need to take that day off to be more productive so it eventually ended I believe 10 or to 12 years this went on I think Napoleon got rid of it right but he's no hero anyway not what I'm trying to say they eventually got rid of it they were unproductive so they reluctantly realized that when you go against God it's not going to work out and so on God's calendar we have a day off God took a day off that was the pattern and so should we so this is going to be our topic this morning getting rest being balanced beings so we've been looking at the Historical accounts in the Bible we landed in Ezra which is a historical book of the Bible we see that prophets weave their way through the accounts we looked at different people in different roles zorubbabel and Yeshua so we saw the governor role which represents the Practical and Joshua the spiritual the priest and so today what we're going to do is we're going to try to bring some balance to both sides of the coin here so now what we're going to look at is Ezra and Nehemiah strangely Ezra in the book of Ezra comes into the account chapter seven a little late it's a little weird so I'm going to overview it for you but we'll look at them they resemble again these two types of people the priest and the governor the spiritual and the Practical and so today what I want to do is look at both sides of the coin kind of at the same time if that's possible so here they're given permission now this is later and I'll show you this from the text to go back artaxerxes gives them permission to go back they're sent kind of like the second wave to extra waves of these Exiles returning from Babylon to Jerusalem we've seen that first spiritual they're building the Temple now what you have to think it can be confusing they're rebuilding the city in its walls so that's the next task we have here again the Bible it's not in chronological order so if you've been here for a while you've seen these things the charts that we make I've been told they do it in the wrong direction is that the right direction so anyway I need more books but anyway we made these charts for you and you can see we land in Ezra and it's just like a verse and then some other stuff happens and what you got to do is look very carefully at the Kings reigning in these periods and you can put it together chronologically you may notice oh look there's Esther we're going to do that next week all right so it's not all chronological we're going to keep with the theme so I don't lose you here we'll do Esther next week but that's about ish where it would be we return to Ezra 4 finish that out and remember we did five and six last week so we're going to jump over that to get chronological Ezra seven through ten that's the rest of it so is the book of Ezra and then we're going to do Nehemiah the whole thing so you're going to be here for about three hours so hang tight don't worry we'll feed you if you need a snack you can go upstairs no just kidding don't get nervous so again we'll save Esther for next week so we see in the short snippet that there's some opposition during Xerxes Reign and so in your Bibles they'll sometimes have different names it gets really really confusing so Xerxes Reign and here we go Ezra four six years later so you can see there's like a time lapse here when Xerxes began his Reign the enemies of Judah wrote a letter of accusation against the people of Judah and Jerusalem now this is where Esther would go we're dealing with King Xerxes so we're going to skip that 4-7 even later it's marking off the time here probably after that even later during the reign of King are the Xerxes next king of pers are the enemies of Judah led by bishlim sent a letter to our Xerxes in the Aramaic language and it was translated to the king it's going to be one of those days so here's what happens they're writes and I say look the king should know that these Jews who came here to Babylon they're troublemakers they're no good basically if you allow them to rebuild this city it's going to be trouble you're going to lose the city they're not going to pay their tributes they've been a rebellious people year after year which is partially true the Jewish people were doing that right so you got to stop this so our Xerxes he gets the letter sends one back you know what I checked the records for myself and they are Insurrection and Rebellion are normal there so essentially he sends them to shut it down shut down the building so again this keeps happening to them so this is regarding again the city and its walls we skip forward a little bit Ezra 7-1 many years later during the reign of King artaxerxes of Persia there was a man named Ezra he was the son of Sarah Ayah son of Azariah son of hilkiah son of Shalom son of zadok son of a high tub son of amariah son of Azariah son of Marriott son of Zara Ayah son of uziah son of bukai son of abishua son of Phineas son of Eliezer and Son of Aaron the high priest okay yeah that's a lot so what is it doing it's tracing his lineage all the way back to Moses's brother Aaron so he's legit right so he's from the tribe of Levi he's a legitimate high priest and so the Bible will often do this they'll give lineages for people like that this Ezra was a scribe who was well versed in the law of Moses which the Lord the god of Israel had given to the people of Israel he came up to Jerusalem from Babylon and the King gave him everything he asked for why because the gracious hand of the Lord his God was on him this is why the change you might ask some of the people of Israel as well as some of the priests levite singers Gatekeepers and Temple servants traveled up to Jerusalem with him in the seventh year of King artaxerxes Reign so this gets interesting because he gives them like a letter of permission Provisions you see a list of tons of different provisions and he also gives him kind of a commandment he says to him hey Ezra you're to use the wisdom your God has given you to appoint magistrates judges who know God's laws right so they can govern all the people right teach the law to anyone who doesn't know it so this is the Persian king telling him to do that anyone who refuses to obey the law of your God and the law of the king will be punished immediately by death banishment confiscation of goods or imprisonment really interesting so you have these Persian kings now working for the Lord so what I'm going to do here is encourage you to read Ezra on your own I'm not going to read the whole thing as we'll see they did read the whole thing to you this morning just encourage you read it I'm going to do an overview because what we're going to look for are themes what's kind of nice if you have the time about reading a whole book of the Bible I've said it before in the past it's kind of like watching a movie all in one shot that's the way you're supposed to do it but we read the Bible in these little Snippets and we don't put together things very well or put things together very well that's the way the sentence was put together better anyway so we don't see themes often and so when I show you today is a theme we're going to see a couple of them but you'll see something very interesting so Ezra 8 you get the Exiles that had returned the journey back there's an interesting thing in chapter 9 the problem of intermarriage if you know the bible really well they're not supposed to intermarry with other people why the stated reason is because if you marry these foreign Brides who worship other gods they're going to draw you into their worship their system of worship and that's what happens so it's a bad thing that's why it's not you can't insert that or you can but you shouldn't insert that in today's culture and our culture today and our marriage is just fine but for them this time these people no bueno it's not good so it's interesting when you look at Ezra to see his reaction he pulls his hair out tears his cloak tears at his beard right so and he sits for a while he's like wait a minute all right so the people confess as we're ten Ezra again fasts you see him constantly taking time to be with the Lord think this through and another interesting thing He commands divorce both sides of the coins when you're reading the whole Bible a lot of people like to hang on like maybe Malachi or something like God hates divorce yeah it's not the ideal but you see that there are times for it in the Bible in times when it's appropriate times when it happens here this is where it happens or one of the places it happens and then Ezra ends strangely with a list I call it the tattletail list it's a list of all the people who are guilty imagine that imagine if you guys like we did that as a church not knowing we were writing the Bible right and then I made a list like I got up here and I'm like Ed and Lonnie and like all by they're all their names they're bad they're bad and Heather and this and that it gets put in a book and that book becomes like the best-selling book of all time you know so it's kind of funny to think about like these people are remembered etched in history is doing something wrong so I just laugh I call it the tattletail list it ends it ends there historically though Ezra Nehemiah they were set so of course it ends awkwardly you're supposed to keep reading into Nehemiah and we're going to see why today because you will see a theme here so if we go there it starts out with Nehemiah he says this a little later but I'll kind of rearrange it for you he's the king's cup Bearer so he has a close proximity and audience with the King of Persia at this time so that's the setup here that's why we're thinking so his brother hanani comes in he lets him know things are not going well in Jerusalem like the wall is getting destroyed stuff is all messed up and so Nehemiah doesn't like this like he's very upset about it he loves his people and so he prays that he'll have success praise the Lord please grant me success when I talk to the king about this so the king notices probably knows him real well that he's sat so he's kind of pouting a little bit and so Nehemiah 2 4 the king asked well how can I help you because he lets him know he's upset with the prayer to the god of Heaven I replied this Nehemiah speaking if it please the king and if you were pleased with me your servant send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried the king with the queen sitting beside him asked how long will you be gone when you will return after I told him how long I would be gone the king agreed to my request now if you're reading it I'll point out some details bless you you just got to pay attention though so he's also given provisions and given supplies but unlike Ezra he has one additional thing well there's some different things but it stands out to me he takes on a military force with him Ezra didn't do that so pay attention now when he gets there he has haters he has people who don't like him we get introduced to send ballet and tobiah so what he does he knows his mission is to rebuild the walls to help him to rebuild the city so he goes out at night and he inspects the walls like he waits about three days he goes out at night inspects the wall so he's kind of doing it a little covertly so then there's a list of people you'll see who start repairing different parts of the wall the gates but these enemies there's another guy now sent ballot tobiah and gesham they speak contemptuously about them they start making fun of them so they use accusation derision the subversion all these different techniques and so you're going to see the steam continue so it'll weave in and out of his enemies so what he does Nehemiah is very practical guy so he has the workforce split in two some people work on the wall the others are guards and eventually what happens is you see that even the workers have a sword strapped to him a bow chainmail so you get this view that they're all armored up and ready at any minute then they come up with a system for trumpets so if you guys over there in trouble blow the trumpets we'll go that way so very practical very systematic while they're doing the work that's how Nehemiah reads everything's very very detailed in here so they continue the building and again more mockery more opposition back and forth we see that Nehemiah does a lot of good stuff and it's written in his voice so you kind of got to keep in mind he's talking about himself and he's defending the oppressed again more opposition but by time we get to chapter six they finish the wall in record time 52 days they complete this wall so after the wall is finished he then appoints his brother hananite to be like the governor and also hananiah he's the commander of the Fortress he says he fears God than most people so they can be trusted and we see a huge registration of the people so it's like almost like reading the genealogies about 50 000 people there now Ezra arrives in Nehemiah now he's on the scene Nehemiah 8 1. all the people assembled with a unified purpose of the square just inside the Watergate they asked Ezra the Scribe to bring out the book of the law of Moses which the Lord had given for Israel to obey so on October 8th Ezra the priest brought the book of the law before the assembly which included the men and women and all the children old enough to understand the rest went in the kids area he faced the square just inside the Watergate from early morning until noon and read aloud to everyone who could understand all the people listen closely to the book of the law that's a long sermon don't get any ideas Pastor Gene okay but note something the people heard the word of the lord we see this in the Old Testament all the way into the New Testament it's like Paul Colossians first Thessalonians read this letter aloud to the church so it is another area where I like to point that out hearing the word of the Lord is a good thing gets in there in different ways so they react strangely at first they bow down They Mourn why because they realize they're not doing it right they're not they haven't been doing it so at first they're like no they're grieved but they say now it's time to celebrate they're encouraged by the leadership the leadership goes back and reads it further and they realize they're supposed to be celebrating three mandatory pilgrimage festivals right so you probably know about the Passover 50 days later or seven weeks later Pentecost the feast Pentecost the Greek name I mean 50 days so there's a third shelters a lot of people don't know about this one basically it's to remember how God protected the Israelites when they wandered around the Wilderness so they go out if they get like leafy branches and stuff and make these you know tents or Huts even to this day Jewish people will literally put a tent in their backyard and they'll stay out in the tent to celebrate this Festival during it as we see they read the love they read the law of Moses the first five books of the Bible and so that's what's really being reinstated here so Nehemiah 9 1 on October 31st so just under a month later the people assembled again and this time they fasted and dressed in burlap and sprinkled dust on their heads those last two things just symbolize you know being sorrowful mourning for what you've done wrong those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners as they confessed their own sins and interestingly the sins of their ancestors they remained standing in place for three hours while the book of The Law of the Lord their God was read aloud to them then for three more hours they confess their sins and Worship the Lord their God I'm getting a lot of great ideas I'm just saying like about what we might want to do on Sundays so yeah I wonder who yeah I don't know so anyway don't worry about it we'll have you out here in about an hour then the people confess their sins and they agreed to obey they make a document they look right by this document like contract this takes us through chapter 11 then the dedication of the wall and 13 we see reforms various reforms and what's really funny there's kind of a funny scene in here Nehemiah goes away it says brother is in charge he goes away but when he comes back one of those enemies is given a room in the temple and it's kind of funny this guy Elijah gives tobiah a room in the temple and Nehemiah does not like it like he's a hater so he takes his stuff and throws it out of the room so it's kind of an interesting scene there kind of makes me chuckle then we see the same problem of inner marriage Nehemiah is going to address it too but pay attention Nehemiah 13 23 about the same time I realized that some of the men of Judah had married women from ashdod amnon and Moab furthermore half their children spoke the language of ashdot or some other people and could not speak the language of Judah at all now if you remember the story of lot a lot of you know the story a lot what his wife do back pillar assault right so you may remember what lot's daughters do that is the origin of the moabites and the ammonites that's why they're not like so this is especially bad they're like disgusting people so I confronted them and called down curses on them Nehemiah is talking I beat some of them and pulled out their hair you get more ideas here I made them swear in the name of God that they would not let their children intermarry with the pagan people of the land wasn't this exactly what led King Solomon of Israel into sin I demanded there was no King From Any Nation who could compare to him and God loved him and made Kim Kang over all Israel but even he was led into sin by his foreign wives how could you even think of committing the sinful deed and acting unfaithfully toward God by marrying foreign women what's the big deal well what Nehemiah is doing is putting this all in perspective so if you've been paying attention to the the whole series this is where it all went South a lot of people don't realize this the reason for the Exile it starts with Solomon a lot of people don't know that right so because in our culture what we want to be like Solomon and have lots of money and be really successful the Bible says the opposite about him so all the way back in the law Deuteronomy 17 there's a list of things that and here's it's a concession if you guys want a king and you're going to reject God well here's a list of the things the King has to obey is to abide by these things people forget they forget Deuteronomy they read and they don't remember they get to Solomon and they're like yeah there's First Kings 11 and it's about all the brides and stuff like that but also the horses from Egypt all the money the king isn't supposed to be super wealthy the king's not supposed to get a stable of horses especially specifically stated from Egypt remember Egypt won't go back there right but Solomon his bride is Pharaoh's daughter and then he has 700 wives I get that right 700 wives and 300 concubines what one wife's enough right so you know I'll get myself in any more trouble than I already did this week so so 700 and foreign Brides he goes nuts his Palace is approximately twice the size of the temple and he takes like twice as long to build it so God tells him your family is going to be cursed the kingdom except two technically but one are going to be taken from you but not in your time because I loved your father David so your son's gonna get it and then all the other and that's what happens Raya Baum he doesn't do himself any favors but that's the only reason Solomon spared otherwise he would have been done and so people don't realize that they're like whoa Solomon look at what Nehemiah saying not great he messed up and that's what caused the whole downfall of the Kingdom started right there why he worshiped Solomon foreign gods they leave that out this is the rest of the story so Ezra and Nehemiah you might have picked up on this they represent both sides of the faith and works coin working together it's interesting Nehemiah likes zerubbabel before him he seems to be more concerned with the practical but doing things very practically Ezra like Yeshua is a spiritual leader note how Ezra has complete trust in the Lord so we're going to look at some contrasts Ezra so during the journey what happens I'll give you a window in and there by the Havoc Canal I gave orders for all of us to fast and humble ourselves before God we prayed that he would give us a safe journey and protect us our children our Goods as we traveled right so everything's under his protection for I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and Horsemen to accompany us and protect us think about it I was ashamed to ask the king for military protection God's gonna do it right from our enemies along the way after all we had told the king Our God's hand of protection is on all who worship him because Fierce anger rages against those who abandon him he's ashamed to ask for that assistance but Nehemiah 2 9 when I came to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River I delivered the king's letters to them the king I should add had sent along army officers and Horsemen to protect me Who ah nothing about God's hand of protection being on it so it's the opposite Ezra spiritual protection Nehemiah practical protection remember the swords they strap on inner marriage look at the different reactions Ezra 9-3 when I heard this I tore my cloak and my shirt I pulled hair from my head and my beard and I sat down utterly shocked that all who trembled at the words of the god of Israel came and sat with me because this outrage because this outrage committed by the return Exiles and I sat there utterly appalled until the time of the evening sacrifice Nehemiah 13 25 so I confronted them and called down curses on them I beat some of them and pulled out their hair I made them swear in the name of God that they would not let their children intermarry with the pagan people of the land opposite reactions interesting it also seems that Nehemiah is concentrating on himself quite a bit if you read the whole book of Nehemiah you're going to notice something and it gets a little comical because it's pretty repetitive as you can see on the screen we put it up there he's always reminding God to remember him it happens over and over and over again no less than like four times in the last chapter remember what I did for these people remember all my Deeds he's reminding God to remember him and accounting for it right knowing other people are going to read it it's kind of funny so again we see two sides of the same coin along this application of like spiritual growth and physical growth doing things faith and works both sides of the coin but I want to point your attention to one thing it's an event in the last chapter of Nehemiah so there's another issue aside from this inner marriage thing that's in that context the Sabbath there are people coming and going working trading on the Sabbath it's a bad deal so this is interesting if like I have you've read the whole thing is why I want to draw into your attention it's where it all comes together because here you have the Practical guarding the spiritual really interesting so let me explain the Sabbath you probably heard the word if you're a Christian you know what that is right the Sabbath day fourth of the Ten Commandments the idea here the idea here is it's not just a day like if I had to just someone doesn't understand Christianity of the Bible or anything it's your day off right it's the simple way of putting it right day off and in Christianity traditionally it's been Sunday Jews celebrated on Saturday so it was the seventh day of the week you're going through this cycle just kind of like mimicking God so but our work with this week we start on Monday right not Sunday and then we go through yeah go through and then take Sunday off so traditionally in the church they kind of like moved it over it's Sunday the Lord's day we talked about this so you can go to church right so they celebrated the resurrection at the beginning of the week every Sunday then they did their work but in a Jewish context that's going to be Saturday so they're going to take Saturdays off the real idea here is that you trust in the Lord you're putting your faith in him you're remembering what he did that's the idea it's a part of a pattern so seven days of creation on the six days and on the seventh day God rests and that's a stated thing here as I do did you do okay so you just were mimicking Godly behaviors it's a good system and pattern disclaimer Christians believe two things we're non-denominational church I'm gonna leave it up to you to believe in a literal seven-day creation Six-Day creation or not the OM is this period of time right that's up to you non-denom we don't argue about that stuff so if you believe in the literal you're probably still a Christian if you believe in the longer time you're probably still a Christian welcome to C3 it's okay but here's the thing if you argue about that all the time maybe not so the Sabbath is both practical and spiritual it's an issue of humility it teaches us that we're not God that he's Jesus said always working he's got it take the day off we need to rest physically and we need to spend time with God away from the busyness all the noise the work the world this is the idea now here is the thing I just want to explain in case you don't know very quickly because in Christianity there's all these different movements that come about this is actually a very old one now it's coming back in to popularity it's like Hebrew roots or something like that right so the idea here is foolish and heresy that you have to return to the law of Moses that we have to do all that stuff foreign first of all it's like the first heresy in the church read acts 15 you got to get circumcised a lot of stuff Jesus brother James deals away with it by the power of the Holy Spirit and the full Council of the Apostles there so read that again anyway you can't do it so the Ten Commandments represent the outline that's what that is and if you're reading Exodus that happens then the rest of the Torah there there's like 603 other commands that's the law of Moses and it cannot be done you need a temple you need a priesthood you have to be from the line of Aaron that no one else can do the sacrifices you have to have all of those so we have to be killing a lot of animals you cannot do any of it without the land without the priesthood without the temple it cannot be done it's impossible if there are people out kind of like being Pharisees being legalists forcing Christians into that so anyway just a disclaimer that so this is not what I'm talking about as we move forward the Ten Commandments can be seen as an outline right so here's the thing right we get to the Sabbath fourth command Okay so honor the day let's have a keep a Sabbath but what wait hold on well you know when does it happen okay but what do we do what is work what are we allowed to do what are we not allowed to do so all these questions are going to come into play right so don't gather sticks or will Stone you to death oh okay that's the punishment for not keeping the Sabbath don't even light a fire in your house so all those other commands they're just like details yeah it's like impossible to keep a real Sabbath and you get killed if you don't so details murder what is murder what is manslaughter so you get all these other commands literally like if you're chopping wood the ax handle flies off and kills somebody that's manslaughter so you're going to go to a City of Refuge and then the Bible details all the cities of refuge and what the details are there the rules about that so you get my drift so the Ten Commandments are just the initial list and then 603 commands are like the what ifs or like more about that that's a good way to think about it so here's the thing no we're not under the law of Moses but but the Ten Commandments have been the basis for Christian morality since the very beginning of the faith all of them and so here's a question what one of the other Ten Commandments is okay to break it's an interesting way to think that challenge you so if we went into the kids area right we went in there and we said they probably hear me like what one of the Ten Commandments is okay to break they'd be like none of them passed a gene right it's like that's not good just like that that's not good so think about it so we have other gods should we make Idols no no no should we take the name of the Lord and veins and we all do that but you shouldn't you know you shouldn't skip the Sabbath everybody does should you honor your parents yeah right should you commit murder adultery steal I or covet no no no no we know that but the Sabbath it's amazing so I've found as a pastor the Sabbath is the one of the Ten Commandments the only one that Christians are proud of breaking they're proud to break it look how much I do think what was the reason for the Sabbath again trusting God like Ezra did but look how much I do they do the they flip it look at what I'm doing I'm such a hard worker I'm such a good person interesting this is an area where for being very honest I'm going to be very honest with you this is an area where our culture has contaminated our Christianity this is because it's a mimicking of this culture by our work ethic not godly culture Godly culture is saying not me I'm just a vessel now here's an interesting point I want to show you and then you'll get more reasoning behind the Sabbath a lot of people don't know is that the Sabbath is actually commanded before the giving of the law it's interesting so there you Remember The Parting of the Red Sea you probably got that down right now they're wanding around the Wilderness the Israelites are immediately complaining immediately that water is too bitter we're thirsty for the new water right and we want food God provides like the quail come but there's the Manna what is it that's what it means what is it Manna so it's like this flaky substance comes in the do with the Dew in the morning like that on the ground it looks like coriander seed and it tastes like honeycomb or something good stuff the idea here is that God provides you with your daily bread give us this day our Daily Bread God provides it so there's two things to happen here God gives it spiritual practical you go get it and so they gather up about two courts every day because more than that if you gather more than that it gets all rotten with maggots and stuff why no trust that God's going to give you the man of the next day so that's the deal so every morning morning by morning new mercies I see so that comes out comes out sixth day gather twice as much why because you're not doing the Practical on the seventh day that's your Sabbath so now you get twice as much and it won't rot practical spiritual God wants us to work with him but to trust him so it'll stay good for two days but here's the thing Exodus 17 27 some of the people went out anyway on the seventh day but they found no food the Lord asked Moses how long will these people refuse to obey my commands and instructions they must realize that the Sabbath is the Lord's gift to you Sabbath it's God's gift to us when we don't take a day of rest we're rejecting God's gift I got it along with key to spiritual growth nothing sometimes it means doing less let's go back and read again what Ezra did so it's his journey 8 21 we saw us and there by the Java Canal I gave orders for all of us to fast and humble ourselves before God they're stopping we pray that God would give us a safe journey and protect us our children and our Goods as we traveled I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and Horsemen to accompany us to protect us from enemies along the way after all we had told the king Our God's hand of protection is on all who worship him but his Fierce anger rages against those who abandon him take a look at the next verse so we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us and he heard our prayer they relied on God and they stopped and this is interesting because a lot of people don't point this out through Jesus's Ministry and oftentimes he stops he stops he prays he fasts no one talks about that stuff especially the last one he would go off got that he would go off to be alone or he prayed Luke 5 15 but despite Jesus's instructions the report of his power spread even faster and vast crowds came to you and preached and to be healed of their diseases but Jesus often withdrew to the Wilderness for prayer and we see that he instructs the disciples to do the same for example Mark 6 he's rejected in his own Hometown then he sends the disciples out then Mark decides hey let me just recall during that time frame John the Baptist what happened to him beheaded right then the disciples come back story picks up Mark 6 30 the apostles returned to Jesus from their Ministry to her and told them all that they had done and taught and Jesus said let's go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest a while he said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his Apostles didn't even have time to eat so they left by a boat for a quiet place where they could be alone arrested now here's the thing um Jesus when he's rebuking the Pharisees he's not speaking out against the Sabbath you have to remember this in timing and context he is a Torah observant Jew he never sinned if he broke any of those laws he wouldn't be the perfect sacrificial lamb he didn't break any sabbaths he took a weekly Sabbath he went to the festivals we're going to continue seeing that we've talked about this all right so these festivals he can't work during certain times like a whole week he took his vacations let's put it in that context right so he took his weekly day off and went on vacation mandatory three times a year we're going to see as we continue in the series more than that a lot of time right taking time off the idea here is that Jesus is rebuking the extra traditions so a lot of people were hopped like Romans 14 Colossians 2 you read John 5 17 I think let me read these verses and it seems as if we shouldn't take a Sabbath but you have to read it in context and we see that Paul and Jesus are actually saying the Sabbath is a good thing they're defending the abuse of the Sabbath this is these Pharisees piling it's already hard piling in these extra Traditions things you can and cannot do he's healing people on the Sabbath that's work disciples grab a head of grain in the field that's work you know so it's cut it out you know what I mean they're being Pharisees right look at me look how awesome I am that's what's being rebuked here the Sabbath is a good sin what's being said here when we look at the whole thing full counsel of God's word is that when we refuse to take a Sabbath we're saying look at what I'm doing look at what I'm doing when we take a Sabbath in humility unto the Lord we're saying look at what he's doing look at what he's doing and we're trusting what he's going to do tell me Lord ask him on that day look at what God is doing so we can choose to follow God's path his pattern and trust and humility be like Jesus he did it or the prideful plan of man we must focus on the Lord follow his plan instead of the world's plan for us the world is constantly trying to convince you that you need to get it for yourself everything you're the hero you're going to save yourself you got it you got it what does it do you know the word says the opposite the word says God's got it God's got it slow down a little yeah you got to do your assignment you have to do what the Lord told you to do six days a week one for God listen we often try to make up for fear insecurities things like that we fall prey that's what the world tells us we become imbalanced and guess what the enemy is happy to use all of it he's gonna use all of it he uses this kind of thing and we talked about this in the past to divide us as a church to divide families but also the enemy uses it to divide us from God he wants us so busy we can't hear God we couldn't recognize him remember that secular 10-day Work Week how'd it work no didn't work well it's all about doing away with God that's what that was about that's what they're doing the enemy wins so we shouldn't turn our back on it we should guard that relationship that's where the other side of the coin came in think about it even though Nehemiah represents the practical he observed and defended the Sabbath so right so you got to think we got to build this wall in record time what do we say today like if I gave you a deadline I guess we're not taking any days off that's the first thing we come up with that's our solution to it that's any project house projects you know we have to get this finished before we go in because whatever it is okay you have a deadline oh that's it no more days off or at work we have this big project right here's a lot of big project at work so I can't come to church I'm like okay you know what I mean like no more days off that's our solution what was nehemiah's solution well we're going to take our days off and trust that God we'll get it done 52 days he got it done we need to find that kind of balance right we have to do our due diligence whatever that is and Nehemiah is doing it but we have to honor God in that process healthy healthy balance I've learned that nobody is smarter than the Sabbath nobody I've seen it take pastors out pastors refuse to take a day off take them out exhaustion hi I've seen it ruin their marriages because they got a wife maybe a kid at home spend time with me nope got to build a wall okay I've seen it totally on Ministries unbelievable either from physical spiritual emotional exhaustion regular people I've seen it and their lives their marriages I've seen it ruin their spiritual lives they're not praying they're not connected at all they're not listening it has consequences people have fallen from the faith now I've heard smart people say well if you have a job that's going to cost you your marriage quit the job right what about the job costing us a relationship with God which is actually the more important relationship you want to know a key it's relationships honored God before that person makes for a much healthier relationship because then you're doing everything by his commands my family we all love Jesus more than each other but that's the key to healthy relationship what about our relationship with God what if a job or something we're doing is going to cost us that Jesus warns where our treasure is there our hearts will also be so some encouragement we need to find balance so during especially this holiday season know that it's okay to say no to certain things you know people ask me how how you doing pastor and today I was honest tired tired because this is the time of year when all of a sudden what there's like all these insane social expectations if you work in retail I'm praying for you right so it's just insane it's insane all these man-made holidays Hallmark that you know Montgomery Ward they made it up but yet we fall right into it slow down take time with God like the reason for the season so here's the thing it's okay to say no and no is a complete sentence no to certain things you can say no to a job you can say no to a client you can say no to holiday parties I will give you a permission slip I'd be more than happy to do that for you don't have to go to every party or especially every fight you're invited to it's okay to say no it's okay to trust that the Lord will provide that's the point so this holiday season be encouraged be thankful be sure that you're spending your time with the Lord before you engage in all of these other relationships because the key to all good relationships is God I'm giving you that permission this season take the time to say look at what the Lord is doing remember that the Sabbath is God's gift to you let me pray for you Lord I Thank you for this church this time these people be encouraged I just encourage them to rest in you just take that time and set it aside as much as they possibly can so if they can be guided by your goodness make them vehicles of your grace your mercy your peace and your love especially during this busy time this busy season encourage them that you have given them the permission they need slow down spend time with you I ask these things in Jesus name amen