This Bible study was taught at Lakeside Advent Christian Campground, Belgrade, Maine, July 29th, 2021.
Session 4 – 20210729
I am going to be reflecting on some Old Testament verses that explain how our God demonstrates his love to us.
My overall theme is simple: God loves us. If you believe that, you will be cheering on these messages. But if your faith in the biblical God as a loving God has been challenged, I hope you will be encouraged by these studies.
Today’s text is Nehemiah 9:20-21 CSB
Nehemiah 9:20a You sent your good Spirit to instruct them.
God provided a visible means of guidance to the Israelites as they walked. He provides an invisible means of guidance for us as we walk the Christian walk.
• John 14:15-17 (NET) "If you love me, you will obey my commandments. Then I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he resides with you and will be in you. • John 14:26 (NET) But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you.
Another word that fits nicely as a meaning for paracletos in this context is discipler.
Nehemiah 9:20b You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst.
Jesus is our manna
John 6:48-58 I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that anyone may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” At that, the Jews argued among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life in yourselves. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day, because my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the manna your ancestors ate – and they died. The one who eats this bread will live forever.”
Jesus is our living water
John 4:3-14 he left Judea and went again to Galilee. He had to travel through Samaria; so he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar near the property that Jacob had given his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, worn out from his journey, sat down at the well. It was about noon. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. “Give me a drink,” Jesus said to her, because his disciples had gone into town to buy food. “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” she asked him. For Jews do not associate with Samaritans. Jesus answered, “If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would ask him, and he would give you living water.” “Sir,” said the woman, “you don’t even have a bucket, and the well is deep. So where do you get this ‘living water’? You aren’t greater than our father Jacob, are you? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and livestock.” Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up in him for eternal life.”
When John uses the word life, it is shorthand for the permanent life that Jesus promised at the resurrection on the last day. It is not a reference to some kind of spiritual life that is different from life as we know it today. The comparison between the manna in the wilderness and the life Jesus offers is that the manna prolonged the temporary lives of the Israelites. Believing in the death of Jesus enables us to live another life – a permanent one.
Nehemiah 9:21a You provided for them in the wilderness forty years, and they lacked nothing.
Deuteronomy 2:7 All along the way I, the LORD your God, have blessed your every effort. I have been attentive to your travels through this great wasteland. These forty years I have been with you; you have lacked for nothing.'”
They lacked nothing, but that did not mean they had everything. The Lord is our shepherd, we shall not lack – but there are all kinds of things we might want. Contentment in the Christian life comes from resting in the sufficiency of God’s love and appreciating his demonstration of that love.
Nehemiah 9:21b Their clothes did not wear out, and their feet did not swell.
• Deuteronomy 29:5 I have led you through the desert for forty years. Your clothing has not worn out nor have your sandals deteriorated.
God showed his love to the Israelites by protecting them from their own ignorance.
When they left for their journey, they did not imagine that it would take an entire generation. God added to their basic provision of food and water. He added protection for their clothing and their feet.
The God who loves us shows that love in little miracles along the way.
He’s not going to overwhelm us with obvious miracles all along the way, but as we look back on our lives we will see signs of his tender loving care.
I think we miss most of what God is doing in our lives because we are looking for the weird and dramatic, but God just wants to show us he cares about us. Unless we are determined to see those signs, they will go unnoticed.
As a spouse, you learn to see the little signs of attention and love. People outside your relationship will miss them. But you learn to appreciate them. The signs are different in each marriage, because people have their unique love languages.
In our relationship with God, he provides signs of his love too. As we reflect over our time with him in prayer, we can learn God’s love languages toward us, and it can become the basis for our personal worship and praise.