Better Together

When I was a boy, my dad would promise to play football or catch with me. I would say to him, Dad you promised. I’d remind him of his promise to me, time and time again. When my dad promised me something, he would do it. It is something I work very hard at with my own kids today, and here is why: God says in Isaiah 43:26~Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified. (KJV) When we are in need, it’s good to put God in remembrance of His promise to us. It encourages our faith to confess His promises, time and time again as we go before His throne of grace. Saints, maybe God has promised you something. Never let go of the divine promise, remind God, confess His word, let God know that you’ve not forgotten His promises. Let the Lord know that you believe He is faithful and true trusting in His promise.

Despite the fact that Nehemiah was at least familiar with the unfinished business in Jerusalem, the news from his brother and the other men seems to have devastated him. His initial momentary reaction turned into days, weeks fell even to months of fasting, repentance, and prayer. There is a measure of Christlikeness to be seen in Nehemiah. Although he was physically removed from the suffering of his fellow Jews, he identified profoundly with it. Nehemiah like His Lord who will follow in Luke 19:41~As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it. (NIV) Does what moves God move you? Jews normally only fasted on the Day of Atonement, but Nehemiah fasted for several days, indicating the depth to which he had been moved. His penitent prayer is powerful in that it is reminiscent of both Daniel’s in 9:5-6~we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled (NIV) or like that of Ezra’s 9:6-7~I am too ashamed and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you…(NIV). All three men identify with their people in using the pronoun we instead of they. Though Nehemiah was many miles separated from his kinsmen who had forsaken the Lord, he still approached God in prayer as though he were as guilty as anyone else. 

Beyond his own humility, there was a precedent for Nehemiah taking responsibility. When one man sinned after the Battle of Jericho Joshua 7:1~But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things…(NIV) It only takes one to bring reproach on all. This should be a great lesson for us today. It’s easy to take hard stands against national leaders for their ungodly decisions and policies, but we often overlook our own sin. Sin in the community of faith is very much responsible for the decay of a nation.

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