I remember reading Jim Packer’s little book on Nehemiah (A Passion for Faithfulness: Wisdom from the Book of Nehemiah) years ago when we were studying Nehemiah at the church I attended in London. I found it helpful then, and am finding it helpful now as we look at Nehemiah at Bishopdown. The chapter that I found most helpful is called “Times of Refreshing” and is a bird’s-eye view of chapters 6:15-12:43.
Here’s one quote from the discussion on the revival (what else can you call it?) in chapter 8 of Nehemiah: “Grief for sin, and joy in God’s forgiveness and the assurance of his love, are not far from each other, for the God who convicts of sin is the God of mercy who saves, and repenting of sin and trusting Christ for forgiveness are two sides of the same coin. This two-sided, double-aspect turning to God is the basic discipline of each day’s Christian living, and it is in relation to one or the other facet of it that the most vivid realisings of God, and enlargings of our grip on him, are likely to be given to us. And while there needs to be a time for grief as well as a time for joy, expressing our joy from the Lord can reinforce our spiritual realizations every bit as effectively as expressions of grief can do. Not all service of God need be sombre.”
This Christmas, as we think of Jesus’ birth and why he came, may we grieve for sin, and find joy in God’s forgivness.
Luke 2:10-11: “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”