Radical Enough to Protect!

In reading Nehemiah 13:1-14 today, I was struck at the radical measures Nehemiah took to protect and purify the people of God.

Worshipping and celebrating often leads to direction and guidance—and that according to God’s standard. That is what happened to the Israelites—as they drew near to God they became aware of His standards and areas they needed to work on in their lives. But what is more, they had the boldness to carry it out. Nehemiah 13:3

If they were like me, I’m sure they would have thought of 20 sound reasons why NOT to do what the word of God plainly told them to do.

  • “That command was made long ago, and speaks to a different time.”
  • “Perhaps there is a mitigating factor involved that we didn’t read about that provoked that rule.”
  • “Things are different now.”
  • “That totally violates my PC sensibility.”
  • “That was written to a different culture.”
  • “Let’s not go overboard.”
  • “We should assign a task force to examine the issue!”

But these folks just plainly, outright, forthright obeyed. (Surely I’m not the only one convicted by that 🙂

Nehemiah went back to his post in Persia for about 10 years after the revival in Jerusalem. When he came back, boy was he surprised to see that ole Ammonite enemy named Tobiah (Nehemiah 2:10) not only living amongst the Israelites, but he actually booted God out of His own house so he could camp out there. Is that something similar to hiring someone who is actively opposed to God to be your elder or deacon?

And though the spiritual leader Eliashib disagreed with Nehemiah, I stand in admiration of that bold leader Nehemiah as he had
the wisdom to not confuse love with being “nice” and
the wisdom to know when to take bold action.

I don’t want to get tangled into the thinking that
Nehemiah was overreacting or that
he was being insensitive or
accuse him of missing an opportunity to “win someone to God” by being their friend.

Rather, Nehemiah saw the situation for the danger that it was—someone is in the Temple courts of Jehovah, openly opposing His purposes and His people.

I’m wondering if I could rise to such integrity if I were confronted with the same kind of situation that Nehemiah or Jesus (remember? He cleansed the temple out twice…once at the beginning of His ministry and once at the end of His ministry) found God’s people in. Or would I take such radical steps to protect just one of God’s people? Myself? Hmmm.

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your patience. And that while You do love us, You are also jealous for us and will take radical measures to protect us from ourselves, sin and any other kind of harm. I pray that You will grant us discernment to know how to interact Christ-like with others. I invite You Lord to come and be a Nehemiah to cleanse my life of any tobiah-like behavior. In Jesus’ name. Amen

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Trinka on August 23, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Your post today made me think of that verse in Romans that says it’s “the kindness of God that leads us to repentance.”He sees sin as it really is – a destroyer of His beloved ones. I wish to develop more of His mind in the matter!


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