We will not forsake the house of our God. Neh. 10:39

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1 We will not forsake the house of our God. Neh. 10:39 We will not forsake the house of our God. Times of God s blessing had descended upon His people in Jerusalem. There had been city-wide repentance of sin and God s people again were caused to recognise the depth of His mercy and grace that had brought them out of bondage in Babylon. These were great times, - times they thought they would never see. God was so good. He had proved His power was greater than all the might of the Babylonian king and his armies. God s people had again returned home, - they had built again the wall round the city and they came before God and made a sure covenant, sealed by all the leaders of the communities (9:38-10:1ff.). They made a promise to God, a promise that committed themselves over to Him. Yes, they called it a sure covenant, and they covenanted, we will not forsake the house of our God. (10:39) Why we must not forsake the house of our God. Let s see how some of the Psalms would teach us as we consider this important subject for God s people. THE HOUSE WITH A SOVEREIGN INVITATION Ps. 5:7 As for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple. This is the first reason God s people must not forsake the house of God. God in His Sovereign mercy opens the door and offers the invitation freely to those who are His to come before Him. If the letter fell through your letterbox and if you saw the royal mark, you would open that letter most carefully. You would be excited as you read the invitation to come to the Palace to meet the Queen. She was inviting you to put on your best clothes, to travel to London, to book the hotel, and to come to Buckingham Palace. I would dare to say that even if you would not be an outand-out monarchist you would still be excited,

2 D.G. 2 No matter what activities you had arranged for that day you would cancel them all because of the sovereign invitation. How much greater is the Sovereign invitation of the King of kings! Ps. 101: 4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. When Buckingham Palace will be long forgotten, God s people will be dining at the House with a Royal invitation. And if anyone was to say to you, What are you doing here? You would reply to them, I m here by Royal invitation! God s house, in which you are seated this morning, is pointing forward to a greater occasion when God s people from all the four corners of the earth will be gathered, Here, in this world, our skins are different coloured, we speak different languages, outwardly we are all different, but when Christ comes back again for His redeemed Church I Cor. 15:53 this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. We ll all be speaking and singing in the same heavenly language around the Throne, We ll all have Jesus Christ as our eternal Focus. This is a house with a Sovereign Invitation. THE HOUSE WITH A SYMPATHETIC LISTENER Ps. 18:6 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. God hears the cries of His people when they come into His house. This is another reason why we must not forsake the house of our God, - too much of what we have to contend with on a daily basis can threaten to wear us down. Here is the experience of the psalmist, In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. I don t have to tell you that God s people are real people with real feelings and real hurts.

3 D.G. 3 When the Christian faces the hospital appointment he/she often faces it with the same natural fear the non-christian faces it with. But the great difference is that the Christian has a sympathetic listener to run to in order to seek an extra help that the unsaved doesn t have. The believer has Christ to call upon, even in the most difficult circumstances. When the unsaved is faced with something he can t cope with, where is there he can run to? Some run to the bottle, - but sure we know the alcohol never saves you from problems, it gets you deeper into them! Some run to the drugs, - same scenario, no respite. Some run into the arms of another man s wife, or another woman s husband, - how does that sort out your problem? The psalmist understood the best place to go, In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. Yes, that s another good reason why we must not forsake the house of our God, - this house has a Sympathetic Listener. THE HOUSE THAT IS SET APART Ps. 26: 8 LORD, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth. The temple of God that had been in Jerusalem prior to Nebuchadnezzar razing it to the ground had been a special building, - there wasn t another one like it in the whole of the land. This building was created for God! All the plans had been directed by Him, from start to finish. In all its grandeur the worshipper saw the greatness of its Resident. There wasn t the likes of this house anywhere else on the face of the earth, - this was a building made for God and for the worship of His Name, and for no other purpose. Of course, it was only bricks and mortar, made by human hands, but it was the place where God was worshipped.

4 D.G. 4 This was a building where God s people would come in from the ordinary tasks of the day and lift their worship up to God and they would feel His presence, and sense His glory. Yes, only bricks and mortar arranged in an elaborate style, but it was the presence of God that made it His temple, the place where thine honour dwelleth. And leading us on from there we see that it is THE HOUSE THAT DRAWS US NEAR TO GOD Ps. 27: 4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple. Yes, I know there are people who tell me they don t have to come to church to worship God, and that is true enough, to a certain degree, but you see this building was given over totally to the worship of God. You tell me that you can worship God in your own home without ever coming out to a church service; well, I would reply to you that many another one has tried it and all the busyness of their life has pushed their worship out. Yes, of course you can worship God in your own house, but still He expects you to come into the house that He has had especially set aside for the purposes of worshipping Him with other believers, Heb. 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another. You neglect at your own peril coming before God with your brothers and sisters in Christ. David here has a heart to follow after God and, as in Ps. 23:6, he is looking forward to dwelling in the house of the Lord, to beholding His beauty, and to enquiring in His temple. Nothing else will be on His mind, - only God!

5 D.G. 5 THE HOUSE THAT POINTS TO GOD Ps. 48: 9 We have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple. You see, nothing else ought to be on our minds, because when the worshipper came into the temple in Jerusalem he wanted to fully concentrate on the One Who had saved him out of all the nations, - God loved me so much that He reached down in tender mercy and lovingkindness and through grace He lifted me up and brought me unto Himself, - that was why the worshipper worshipped his Lord. He came to the house of God knowing that he had a free entrance into His most precious presence. He didn t have to come with a weighty bank balance or dressed in the robes of the self-righteous, theologicallyeducated Pharisees. The worshipper came as he was, humbly before an awesome God, and in the temple he knew he would meet Him. You see, again, this is another reason why we must not forsake the house of our God because it points to Him, To the people who live round here this building points to the fact that people called Christians meet here, and our meeting points to God. Here in this building we consider together the lovingkindness of God, and His tender mercy, His beautiful grace, His undeserved attention poured out upon His people. His temple points to God! And it s no wonder, then, that the temple is THE HOUSE WHERE GOD BRINGS SATISFACTION Ps. 65: 4 Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple. It s a privilege to come before the King of kings, - and it s a privilege like the letter sent out from the Queen, - it s a privilege that only is afforded to some. We are here this morning at the invitation of the King, and He knows by name all those whom He has invited, and He promises to them His blessings, - Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee.

6 D.G. 6 The beauty of salvation is this, that we are here not because we chose Him, but because He chose us! How would I dare demand an audience with an ordinary king or queen?! and yet I have satisfaction in enjoying the door that is always open into the presence of the King of kings just by closing my eyes, bowing my head, and speaking to Him as a Father. When you have an audience with the Saviour He brings a contentment and a satisfaction that is obtainable nowhere else but from the heart of God, we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple. And the enemy knows it! and that is why it is A HOUSE THE ENEMY WOULD SEEK TO DEFILE Ps. 79:1 O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance; thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps. I was standing in a Post Office the other day and I saw a church notice regarding a Christmas sale, - bric-a-brac, bargains galore, Christmas raffle! Is that what a church is for? I know many other churches where the only time there is any life about them is when a classical orchestra is playing, - and nothing of God/Christ is on the agenda. This house of God in Jerusalem was set apart for the sole purpose of the worship of Almighty God. There wasn t the likes of it anywhere else on the face of the earth, - this was a building made for God and for the worship of His Name, and for no other purpose. And yet, many places that had once upon a time been separated unto God has been defiled, - God s Name is no longer held in respect, it has become a church in name only, - it has become a house that the enemy has defiled. How did it get like that? The Word of God became no longer heralded from its pulpit; it no longer considered the things of God of any use to its listeners. God has been replaced by a message that doesn t include Him. When the enemies of Babylon tore into Jerusalem they replaced the God of Israel with the all the gods of idolatry.

7 D.G. 7 It should serve to us as a warning that we must not forsake the house of our God for fear that our God would forsake His people. A HOUSE OF SHELTER Ps. 84: 3 Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God. Where could I God? Where could I go? Seeking a refuge for my soul; needing a friend to help me in the end. Where could I go but to the Lord! Even the wee sparrow, - a penny a dozen, - God uses to show how precious His people are to Him. Again the psalmist said, Ps. 61:3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. Yes, every one of us here needs a shelter at some time or another, - here is a shelter that even the sparrows had the privilege of using. Around the altars was for a special type of person, - the priests, - but God even gave shelter to the most humble of His creation. We must never forsake the house of our God for it is the shelter God s people need when all types of storms blow around us. and finally A HOUSE WHERE GOD S PEOPLE ARE BUILT UP Ps. 138: 2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. As a Christian you cannot be built up apart from a personal striving after the knowledge of the presence of God. You could go to a Bible College or a Theological Faculty but it can never give you the confidence that can be gained by coming into the presence of God and truly worshipping His most Holy Name. You don t need much of what passes for worship nowadays; you need to have a living relationship with God through His Son the Lord Jesus, - He is the Key to worshipping God!

8 D.G. 8 Through His Name all the glory and honour is brought into the holy temple. When you hear of His lovingkindness and the truth that comes from His Word it just warms your soul, and you re glad you belong to God. The psalmist said, thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. Does God s Word thrill you? not my simple preaching of it, but His Word that tells you of Him? Does it leave you wanting to learn more of Him? When you read His Word do you see how much He loves and how much we must love Him in return? The Holy Spirit is here this morning, and He is looking into our hearts, and He is looking to see what is your response to His Word today. 13 when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. That is the purpose of God s people drawing aside together into God s temple, - to meet with God and for God to be glorified in their service. That is another reason we must not forsake the house of our God. CONCLUSION. Nehemiah and the people were experiencing great times of blessing from God, when they drew aside from the world and from all the demands of the world. No matter how busy you are there is a reason for you, believer, to be faithful in the house of God, - it is for the glory of His Name, it is the desire to draw aside into His presence, and for this reason, we will not forsake the house of our God.

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