The Lord’s Unfailing Love Surrounds the One Who Trusts In Him

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NEHEMIAH 3:15-5:13 | 1 CORINTHIANS 7:25-40 | PSALM 32:1-11 | PROVERBS 21:5-7

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Nehemiah continues with his story of returning to Jerusalem with supplies to restore the broken wall and gates of the city.  He provides the resources and the motivation for the job to be completed despite the opposition that he faces from both within and without. 

And after all the gates are repaired, he goes one step further for the good of his people:  he helps the poor by charging the well-off among the community as follows:  “What you are doing is not right. Shouldn’t you walk in the fear of our God to avoid the reproach of our Gentile enemies? 10 I and my brothers and my men are also lending the people money and grain. But let us stop charging interest! 11 Give back to them immediately their fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses, and also the interest you are charging them—one percent of the money, grain, new wine and olive oil.” 

In this way, Nehemiah accomplishes what he had set out to do for his people who had returned to their homeland after many years in exile.

Turning now to our reading in the book of Corinthians, we see Paul continuing with advice to his readers on the joys and ills of marriage.  He notes without compunction that married life brings with it many troubles, and yet, it is up to each person to marry or not.  Paul himself chose not to, but did not advocate his personal choice as being superior to any others. 

However, he does note the marked differences in outlook between the married and the unmarried as he puts it here:  32I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.

Turning to our reading in the psalms, we find David, the psalmist, offering words of wisdom in these verses:

6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
will not reach them.
7 You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
8
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
9
Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.

 10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the LORD’s unfailing love
surrounds the one who trusts in him.

11
Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart!

Finally, two verses from the book of Proverbs which offer food for thought.  Honesty and diligence are virtues to be sought after, Solomon, the wise king of Israel exhorts:

5 The plans of the diligent lead to profit
as surely as haste leads to poverty.

6 A fortune made by a lying tongue
is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.

May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.

7 thoughts on “The Lord’s Unfailing Love Surrounds the One Who Trusts In Him

  1. Your words and the themes and images from the scriptures today (Nehemiah, rebuilding the city, returning from exile, Paul on the “joys and ills of marriage”) reminded me of that passage in Kathleen Norris’s The Cloister Walk in which she finds inspiration in the words of Jeremiah after the destruction of Jerusalem. It is the feast of St. Gregory and she is reflecting on this 6th-century pope and the overwhelming problems facing the dying city and empire of Rome. She connects that to her own life, her troubled marriage, and a lack of inspiration for writing.

    “I felt as hard and dry as the bristly grasses of early fall, as exhausted as the drought-stricken trees around me. Then Gregory reminded me of the greatness of souls, how their true strength can emerge in the worst of times, when the known world is collapsing. ‘My mind divided,’ he said of himself, ‘torn to pieces by so many problems.’

    “At vespers that night we had heard from Jeremiah: ‘I have loved you with an age-old love… Again I will build you, and you shall be built,’ words that renewed in me the stirrings of memory and desire.”

    So many times these days – with all the violence around the globe and the many ways we have to hurt one another and the vulgarity that passes for public discourse in the political campaigns – it seems like the known world is collapsing. But we look at our scriptures and we see that not only has it been much worse before but that God does not abandon us at these times. In fact, it is among the ruins that we find hope to rebuild – or, more accurately, God builds us. And rebuilds us.

  2. An extremely thoughtful and thought-provoking commentary from you today, thank you, friend. Yes, I do recall that passage from Ms. Norris’ book as well. She puts into perspective quite well one’s personal struggles that sometimes may even be justified a comparison to the destruction of Jerusalem…

  3. Thank you! I was referring less to personal struggles and more to larger problems in the world (“all the violence around the globe and the many ways we have to hurt one another and the vulgarity that passes for public discourse in the political campaigns”) and comparing them to the destruction and rebuilding of Jerusalem. Although it’s true that sometimes our personal struggles FEEL like the destruction of Jerusalem in spite of the difference of scale. But even here it’s helpful spiritually to connect to the movements and images of scripture to make sense of our lives and allow God to keep us on the right path. And maybe also to open our eyes to the things that are happening on a larger scale.

    1. I like all that – and agree. If I didn’t know better I might say you were a preacher-man. Are you? 🙂

      On Sat, Aug 13, 2016 at 9:33 AM, Smriti "Simmi" D. Isaac wrote:

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