Nehemiah 7: What is your Spiritual Heritage?
1 Introduction: Everyone bring in their family tree.
There are various sources for building a family tree. There is a computer shareware program - Brother's Keeper that you can download from the web and try out to build your family tree. As a Mennonite - Grandma 7 published by Mennonite Brethren Archives, has my family tree well documented.
2 What was the last thing to be done once the walls were completely rebuilt?
The gates were put in place and people who were responsible for the gates were assigned.
3 What influence can our ancestors have on our current condition? What influence can we have on future generations in our family?
Our spiritual heritage has a lot of influence on us. Someone did a comparison of Charles Westley's family tree and a notorious criminal at the time of Westley to compare the resultant off spring and their occupations. From the criminal many descendants were evil but in Westley's family line there were godly leaders for many generations.
By creating a godly home atmosphere and seeking to influence our children and grandchildren, we have some possibility of being a blessing to future generations. We can never guarantee that our children or future generations will be godly but by being an example and making that a priority in our life, to leave a godly heritage, we can in some measure influence our descendants.
4 After the wall was completed, what did Nehemiah get organized? Do you think that this is a reaction to the rumours which were circulating about Nehemiah wanting to be King?
Nehemiah put others in charge of the daily administration of the city. He took a census. Only priests who could accurately trace their ancestors were allowed to serve in the temple. The priests were of the tribe of Levi and God forbade anyone else to serve in the temple ministry. They were set aside to be holy, learn and obey the law, teach the law and administer the sacrifices.
5 Why did Nehemiah gather the people together? What did Nehemiah attribute this next step to? (v 4)
Nehemiah wanted to determine who was in the city and perhaps where their homes would be if they would rebuild. He could also determine who was eligible to minister in the temple and receive funds from the people for full time ministry. He was rebuilding the spiritual leadership of the country.
6 Has God put something in your heart? Have you been able to successfully complete it yet? Could you share it with the group? Is there anything we as a group can do to see this "heart thing" become reality?
God has led me to build a web site called growingdisciples.org so that I can share the things God
is teaching me. He has also put in my heart to do more church planting. The web site is a
foundation for discipling those who God brings into my sphere of influence.
When someone has a vision, other people can be engaged to help along side to build the body of Christ.
7 What happened to priests who were not able to determine their family lineage? What were the excluded from? (v 64, 65)
Those who were not able clearly identify their ancestral heritage were excluded from the priesthood and to receive the most sacred food given to the priests - eat from the offerings.
8 What was purpose of the Urim and Thummim? What was it used for according to this section of scripture?
The Urim and Thummim were a part of the breast plate of the chief priests. These were created for Aaron and those who followed as chief priest. It was considered to be a way that could be used to determine the will of God. In this case it would have been used to ask of God whether the individuals in question were allowed to be included in the tribe of Levi.
9 How did this "census" help Nehemiah?
He knew how many people lived in the city and he determined who was eligible for spiritual leadership. He determined how many singers there were for the temple ministry. Interesting to note that there were men and women singers.
10 What was given to the temple for its ministry? What was the breakdown of the giving? What is the value of these gifts in today's terms?
The governor gave 1,000 drachmas of gold (8.5 kg), 50 bowls and 530 garments for priests.
Head of households gave 20,000 drachmas of gold (170 kg) and 2,200 minas of silver (1.2 m tons)
Other people gave 20,000 drachmas of gold, 2,000 minas of silver (1.1 m tons) and 67 garments for priests
(Oct 4, 2013: 1 gm = $0.70 of silver; 1 gm of gold = $42.73 Canadian)
3485000*42.73 = $148,914,050 of Gold
2300000 *0.70 = $1,610,000 of Silver
total = $150,524,050
11 What kind of spiritual heritage do you have in your family history? Do you think that your forefathers laid a good foundation for your family? What are you doing to lay a good foundation for those that follow after you?
My grandfather was a pastor and church leader. Lydia's grandfather was a pastor. Both have relatives that were a part of the original signing of the start of the MB church. I think that my forefathers helped build a legacy for me to follow. I am planning on helping my grandchildren to become faithful children of God. Of course I cannot force them to be strong Christians but I can be an example and seek to teach them godly truths which should influence their walk with God.
12 Think of your spiritual heritage. Who lead you to the Lord? Do you know any more about that spiritual lineage? How did your spiritual parent become a Christian? Are you leaving a spiritual family tree?
My pastor Henry Warkentin lead me to Christ after a message by J.J. Toews on Zaccaeus. I felt the call of God on my life for ministry as I watched a film on reaching jungle people with the gospel.