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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Building and Rebuilding: Nehemiah 4

This morning, we’ll revisit the topic of “context.” When we think about “context”, maybe a few different ideas come to mind. The first thought might be that we want to be careful about reading just one verse when we study. Bible verses might seem to have a range of meanings and the surrounding verses, even up to the book you are studying, will help you narrow down that meaning.

That one verse might contain the key idea of the passage or it might be spoken by a voice in opposition to the Gospel so another aspect of context is knowing who is speaking, and who they are speaking to. You’ll also want to know when a verse was written. For instance, you may not be sure if a prophecy is fulfilled in Christ already or if there is still a future fulfillment that could take place. Many Hebrew prophets will speak about both the coming of Jesus but also about the Day of the Lord.

Much more could be said, but the kind of context we are talking about today is less about studying itself and more about application. When I study, I want to not only consider the context of a passage, but I want to ask, “Where in my life do I see this passage?” or “Where do I see myself in this passage?” Am I the soldier that forces the subject to go with me one mile, or am I the servant that goes two (Matthew 5:41)? Am I the servant that sends others to prison for their unpaid debts or am I one that will forgive a debt (Matthew 18:21-35)? Trying to understand my context will help me see if I am more like the rich man or more like Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31).

This morning, we’ll take a look at a few passages that show that context changes. God will take His servants and use them in ways maybe they didn’t plan for or feel prepared for. But God has prepared you to accomplish His purposes. Sometimes you might feel like you’re “taken out of your context” when God wants to use you in new ways. It might make us feel like a fish out of water, but God’s plans for us will not fail (Isaiah 55:11).

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