“But because I feared God, I did not act that way.” (Nehemiah 5:15, NLT).
Nehemiah was the cup-bearer to the Persian king, Artaxerxes (465-424 BC). The cup-bearer was a trusted confidant of the king.
When Nehemiah heard about setbacks in the reconstruction of Jerusalem, he requested the king’s permission to return to Judea. Artaxerxes made Nehemiah governor of the province of Judea for twelve years.
“The Lord values those who fear Him, those who put their hope in His faithful love” (Psalm 147:11, HCSB).
In a classic pop song from the late 1960’s, Aretha Franklin demanded some respect from her man: “All I’m asking is for a little respect…”
I have two toddlers that I am trying to teach to mind me, to be respectful by doing what I ask them to do (or not do). We still have a ways to go and I suspect that we will probably be working on it for years to come!
Why do parents spend so much time, even years, training their children to be obedient and respectful?
“The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers” (Acts 9:31, NLT).
With the conversion of Saul (vs. 9:1-19), the Jewish persecution of the Church declined and during this hiatus the Church grew in strength and numbers.
There are three principles of church growth we can glean from this verse: