Faithfulness requires the ability to say “no.” Everything in life cannot be equally affirmed. A true leader who wishes to serve God needs to find the courage to stand against evil and error.
Nehemiah was an exemplary man of God. At the end of the book that bears his name he says, “Remember me, O my God, for good.”
He wanted the Lord to remember how he had stood against men like Tobiah. Tobiah was no true friend of the Jews. He managed to get himself a large personal chamber in the temple precincts. Nehemiah threw him and his furniture out on the street.
Nehemiah also reminded the Lord about how he had confronted leading officials concerning their negligence. Levites and other temple workers were not being adequately supported. Nehemiah gathered together the responsible parties and addressed the issue forthrightly.
He also took action against those who were violating the Sabbath. He challenged people with the facts. He applied the revelation of God from the Scriptures to their lives and gave them no room to wiggle away from God’s holy demands. He warned those who tried to ignore him, and even confronted violators physically who thought that their own desires for gain would be stronger than the governor’s desire for a holy Jerusalem.
Nehemiah also stood against those who ignored the Lord’s words concerning marriage. He reasoned with them based on sacred history. “Did not Solomon king of Israel sin on account of such women?”
In summary, Nehemiah disciplined the people under his charge according to the Word of God. Jesus disciplines the church in our day. He tells us that we need to hear what He says to the churches, or He will shut us down. (Revelation 2:5)
Does the Lord call us to obey Him because He hates us? Not at all. Jesus loves the church. He gave Himself for our salvation. He will not stand by idly when we wander from the truth. He will lead us back home. We would do well to follow His example. We need to seek the lost and rescue the one who doubts.
Remember us, O God, for good!
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Glorious God, give us attentiveness to Your Word. Help us to interpret it rightly. Grant us the courage to obey You. There are those who would horribly misuse the resources of Your church. Will we confront leading men who weakly submit to evil enemies among Your beloved bride? We must follow You. Thank You, O Lord, that Gentiles have now found a place in Your Kingdom through faith in Christ. Thank You for the rest that we enjoy in Christ. He is our great Sabbath. He bids us even now to draw near and to come to Him. We were weary and heavy-laden, but we have heard Your Word and have found true rest for our souls. Teach us to speak the language of Your Kingdom with great joy. Your true Word is the language of grace, the language of faith, and the language of grateful obedience. Cleanse us by the blood of Jesus, and build up Your holy Kingdom. Because of our one great Leader, remember us for good.