Pocketsized God

Wayne Cordeiro

"Now the leaders of the people settled in Jerusalem, and the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of every ten to live in Jerusalem, the holy city, while the remaining nine were to stay in their own towns. The people commended all the men who volunteered to live in Jerusalem." (Nehemiah 11:1)
In 536 BC, the return to Jerusalem began, but the people were not able not live there. We must remember that it was burnt with fire and devastated by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC. So the people made their homes and built farms on the outskirts surrounding Jerusalem.

Although the main walls were rebuilt in a speedy 52 days, the temple wasn't dedicated until 516 BC. By this time, many had built farms and lifestyles were established. However, there were very few inhabitants within the walls of Jerusalem proper. Nehemiah then had the people cast lots, or a lottery system was employed, to bring one out of every ten families to repopulate the city. It would be a massive lifestyle change from the country to the city, from rural to urban, from growing your own food to purchasing it ... from space to roam to no room to move.

Yet the people complied, and when their names were picked, they volunteered. He willing takers were commended and the city was reestablished.

No civil wars. No grumbling martyrs. No resentful rebels with attitudes.

I wonder if it would be the same today if people were asked by lottery to volunteer for a job in the church or a task that needed to be done. Maybe I'll try that, but the results might be a bit risky. Lots of reasons why one couldn't comply, why another couldn't afford it or why a third just ‘didn't hear the Lord' to move. If we were asked to leave a farm to live in another place in order to serve the temple, why it would be "Showdown at OK corral."

We are different today. Why?

It may be because we no longer teach that we exist for His purposes. We teach that God exists for ours ... He exists to advance our cause, our plans, our desires. Then when God's will or desires are proposed, we decide whether He fits into our plans or not, and if not, too bad... After all, doesn't God want me to be happy? Life is about us, isn't it? Our advancement? Our pleasure? Our purposes?

We have now pocketsized God.
I am sobered by conference speakers, Christian musicians, religious leaders, even pastors who have a coy way of representing themselves by presenting God. But He is more of a lead in to us rather than the one we lead people to. It is obviously not taught or spoken. Only exampled and modeled.

If this kind of motivation has ever bothered you, I hope by the end of this article, you're aggravated even more.

God now fits in our pocket to bring us good luck and prosperity. He's supposed to make us bullet proof and always safe from harm. He's not supposed to make us change our lifestyles!

I wonder how it would work today. I wonder if it will cause a joy to where those who volunteered were commended, or would it cause those who were chosen to rise up and picket?

I think I'll try it.

Nehemiah did. At least we'll be in prison together and I'll be in good company.
Dear Father,

Please help me to live for Your purposes daily. I know that I can drift back and forth, but please keep me walking in Your pathway and not mine. May I sublimate my plans to Yours and my goals for Yours. This is my plan! Mentor me daily until it takes firm root in my soul. IJN

Devotions for October 14

Nehemiah 11,12
Psalms 1
Acts 3

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