Reading through Nehemiah has been a struggle. But today, as we close season 7, this is such a great reminder… As a leader, I need to remember that I can not create Utopia. Not everyone will like me, not everyone will follow the rules. I must stay in prayer, and be bold when I need too.
This has been a tough year, miscinceptions, down right lies…. but God has been good. In the last couple of weeks, God has been telling me that I need not defeand myself. Today’s verse, was that he would fight for me, I just need to be still. And in the midst of the action of one staff member, He has given me peace.
REMEMBER ME, MY GOD
by Rebecca Faires
The Tower of London was built around the year 1000 AD, and it still stands on the banks of the Thames River today. But a castle that old needs tending to keep looking good, no matter how many famous ravens live there. The regular maintenance is never finished, and every task, once complete, needs to be done again every 75 years. The old castle is never really “finished.” It’s just going through its stages of the 75-year upkeep plan.
When Nehemiah returns to Jerusalem, the walls are still standing, but the people have fallen apart. They have forgotten who they are and what God has called them to do. It’s so discouraging after the celebration and commemoration ceremonies in the previous chapters. We all want a happy ending for these people who worked so hard and endured so much.
On this side of heaven, things will never be perfect. Because of the curse of sin, we will always struggle. But there are three things I think we can learn about the gospel from this passage.
First, notice what Nehemiah does before he lets his righteous anger fly. He gathers the whole community and reads the book of Moses. I think it’s safe to say that he read the Pentateuch—at the very least, the Ten Commandments, and at the most, he sat them down for hours and read the whole thing. Either way, before He brings them to justice for breaking God’s law, he reminds them of God’s law. He establishes their common ground. When we are struggling, we must return to God’s Word to remember who we are and to whom we belong.
Second, remember that Nehemiah is a man of prayer. He prayed before he even answered the king. He is a steady and continuous man of prayer. While he brings judgment to the people, he keeps stopping to pray. He cries out: “Remember me for this, my God, and don’t erase the deeds of faithful love I have done for the house of my God and for its services… look on me with compassion according to the abundance of your faithful love” (Nehemiah 13:14, 22). It’s clear that prayer is an integral part of Nehemiah’s actions. When we find that we are inadequate, when things have gone wrong, we must turn to God in prayer.
Finally, let’s notice that even Nehemiah, the guy who is known for prayer and Scripture reading, couldn’t get it perfectly right. He was a great leader and a true man of God, but he still wasn’t able to create a perfect city. He couldn’t totally stamp out corruption. He couldn’t get people to follow the rules. The people fell into the same sins that sent them into exile in the first place, and Nehemiah couldn’t fix them.
Christ is the only One who can complete the work. He changes hearts, He mends families, and He is making all things new. We are called to read His Word, submit ourselves to prayer, and realize that no matter how dedicated or good we think we are at self-maintenance, we cannot achieve a perfect utopia. We can barely keep the Tower of London from falling down! So we ought to do the work He has called to do, and rest in Christ who is the only One who can truly call a task finished.