Friday, January 7, 2011

Faithful Friday Faves: Nehemiah

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I love Nehemiah...somewhere in our video archives, I have a very, very amateurish video made during Vacation Bible School something like 18 years ago in which my junior high class enacted several scenes from Ezra and Nehemiah in hastily thrown-together costumes. One of my favorites was of 'Nehemiah' throwing 'Tobiah's household goods' out of the 'temple' of the kids heaving anything we could lay our hands on that could withstand a little rough treatment out of one of the church side doors. Nehemiah was quite a contrast to Ezra...where Ezra fasted and prayed and mourned over the people's sins, Nehemiah...well, Nehemiah took a more, um, forceful approach.

But the verse in Nehemiah that always makes me smile is chapter 8, verse 10:
...Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, [KJV: eat the fat and drink the sweet] and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

We tend to associate Christianity and living a properly disciplined lifestyle with a continual denial of pleasure; this verse is a reminder that we are to enjoy life as we live it. Strength doesn't come from strict discipline...strength comes from a life lived in joy and celebration of God's goodness.

There is a time for fasting and denial, that's true, and we are heading into that season at church; Monday beings a 21-day time of prayer and fasting. I'm not sure how I will be participating this year; I'm currently taking some medication that requires food (just an antibiotic that I'll finish in a week and a half; doggone sinus infection!), so I won't be doing a really strict food fast, not in the beginning, anyway. But I will be doing my annual geek fast...staying off the 'net for everything except email and weather reports.

This is a fast that I *need* on so many levels...but, as Nehemiah reminds us, I will be celebrating God's goodness again with joy after the time of fasting.


  1. Nehemiah continually inspires me, on so many levels. This is one I sometimes miss. Thanks.

  2. I love the "geek fast" - may you find it truly refreshing. I gave up computer solitaire for Lent one year, and found myself building great connections with people instead. I was so surprised to find the joy happening in the middle of the fast! Blessings to you in 2011!