Thanksgiving in Tribulation, Part 2
TEXT: Nehemiah 11:17
17 And Mattaniah the son of Micha, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, was the principal to begin the thanksgiving in prayer: and Bakbukiah the second among his brethren, and Abda the son of Shammua, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun.
Chip Ingram said, “We should pray with thanksgiving – not just when we feel like it, but as an act of our will and obedience. When you thank God in your prayers, God changes your perspective and gives you peace.”
Nehemiah Chapters 11 and 12 show the repopulation of the city and the dedication of the restored wall of Jerusalem. Jerusalem had been without a wall for 142 years, from the destruction of the city by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. until the arrival of Nehemiah in 444 B.C. The lack of a wall left the city unprotected. It had been reduced to rubble and repeatedly looted of all its valuables. Now, despite the opposition from the surrounding heathens, Nehemiah and the returning Jews had worked hard to rebuild the temple under Zerubbabel and the return of the people to God’s commandments through the reading of the Law by Ezra. The new wall of Jerusalem was finished, and we are told in Nehemiah 11:1 that one-tenth of the people were chosen to repopulate the city. Nehemiah 11:12 tells us there were 822 priests who did the work of the temple. Verse 13 tells us that there were 242 “chief of the fathers,” or heads of families. Verse 14 tells us of 128 “mighty men of valour” who were probably the defenders of the city. Verses 15 and 16 tells us of the Levites who maintained the “outward business of the house of God.” And then verse 17 names a very interesting person: Mattaniah, who “was the principal to begin the thanksgiving in prayer.” Nehemiah 12:8 repeats his name and office, “Moreover the Levites: Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah, which was over the thanksgiving, he and his brethren.”
The giving of thanks to God was a matter of prime importance. The newly restored Jews felt it necessary to have an official director of thanksgiving, and put Mattaniah and his fellow Levites in charge of leading all the people in an outpouring of gratitude to God for restoring them to the promised land. Matthew Henry said, “It is said of another that he was the principal to begin the thanksgiving in prayer. Probably he had a good ear and a good voice, and was a singer, and therefore was chosen to lead the psalm. He was precentor in the temple. Thanksgiving is necessary in prayer; they should go together; giving thanks for former mercies is a becoming way of begging further mercies.” One of the big issues that God had with the Israelites was how their ungrateful mindset led them to rebel against Him and refuse to acknowledge Him. Rather than worship the God who had brought them out of bondage and into the promised land, they repeatedly broke the covenant and went after idols. The prophet Isaiah cried out on God’s behalf in Isaiah 1:2-4, “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.” Due to their forsaking of the Lord, God punished the Israelites with captivity in Babylon. And now, in His great mercy, He had heard the cries of His people and brought them back to the land that He had promised them. The Israelites had much to be thankful for. They were grateful for the mercy that God had shown them in returning them to the promised land, and they expressed their gratitude in public thanksgiving.
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Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.