Christian life

Nehemiah: Faith Plus Force

We see Nehemiah’s FAITH all through his story as a hands-on governor amid the suffering of his people. During the rebuilding of the Jerusalem wall (and surrounded by relentless troublemakers), he often prayed things like “Remember me, O Lord” and “Hear us, O our God, for we are despised.” I love Nehemiah’s action of praying plus posting a guard (Nehemiah 4:9). Chapter 9 is the longest prayer in the Bible. Though it’s not clear exactly who was praying that prayer, it is clear that Nehemiah was always aware of the Lord, always in prayer mode. Those around him surely saw his faith daily.

We really pick up on Nehemiah’s FORCE in chapter 13. He was furious because some guy had given Tobiah a “studio apartment” within God’s temple grounds. This is the same Tobiah who’d schemed against Nehemiah to stop the rebuilding (chap. 4, 6). So Nehemiah literally tossed Tobiah’s belongings out onto the street. Nehemiah also gave orders to have that room “purified.” I’m sure this was a Jewish religious purification, but I kinda picture spraying Febreze to get Tobiah’s smell out!

In this same chapter 13, Nehemiah got so mad at the men who had married pagan wives, he hit those men and pulled out their hair! (v. 25; It’s funny that in that situation in Ezra 9:3, Ezra the priest pulled his own hair.) But remember, marrying pagan women and then mixing their pagan practice with true worship was what had gotten the country into this destruction in the first place. What were they thinking?!

Every time Jesus was angry, it was this same kind of righteous anger—not anger over a football game loss or a slow traffic light or because the supermarket was out of guacamole, but anger because God’s plans/ways were being undermined.

Nehemiah’s FORCE in defending God’s ways attested to his FAITH in God’s ways. What a man! If you know teenagers who need a hero . . .

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