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Expect Problems

Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die.
–Revelation 3:2

In Nehemiah chapter 13, Nehemiah used three principles to solve problems. First of all, he expected problems. Look at verse 6: “But during all this time I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I had gone to the king. After some time, however, I asked leave from the king.” This is important in order to understand what was going on here. After Nehemiah had finished his work in Jerusalem, he went back to Artaxerxes, just as he had promised to do. It was while he was back in Persia that one day he went to the king and said, “I want to go back to Jerusalem.” Why did he want to go back? For the same reason the apostle Paul after founding the churches in Asia Minor decided to go back and visit them again: he expected problems. Nehemiah understood what every one of us has to understand if we are going to face and solve problems in life, and that is everything in life ultimately disintegrates. In physics, we call it the law of entropy. Basically, it says everything in the universe tends to go from order to disorder unless it has an infusion of energy from the outside. Everything in life wears out and winds down. The law of entropy explains why batteries run out of juice. It explains why attendance in your Bible study tends to go downward rather than upward. It explains why marriages tend to deteriorate after a period of years, if not months. It explains why your New Year’s resolutions rarely see February. Everything tends to move downward. The Bible says the reason is because of sin. Sin destroys everything in this world. Nehemiah understood that. Although the people in chapter 10 had made this great commitment to God, Nehemiah said, “I better go back and check on those Israelites and see how they are doing.”

If you are a leader, you are always checking the temperature of whatever or whomever you are leading. If you run a business, you are always checking the sales trends. You realize that even if you are in a growth pattern for a while, eventually that is going to turn downward. If you are a husband, you are always taking the temperature of your marriage, knowing that the tendency is for a marriage to cool down, not to warm up. If you are a parent, you are always checking the attitudes and behavior of your children. You are checking their e-mails, their text messages, and who they are running around with because you understand that the slope of everything, including your children’s spiritual development, is downward, not upward. If you are a Christian, you are always looking at your own relationship with God, knowing that it tends to deteriorate over a period of time. A true leader is somebody who remembers that nothing remains as is. In Revelation 3:2, Jesus said to the church at Sardis, “Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die.” You cannot just sit and expect things to remain as is. You have to infuse every system with energy in order to keep it going upward instead of downward. Nehemiah understood that, and so he expected problems in the Israelites’ lives.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Eating Problems For Breakfast” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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