Study from God’s Word… Nehemiah, Chapters 11 – 13 (especially the latter passages) … Passage for Reflection: Nehemiah 13: 22 … NIV Remember me for this also, O my God, and show mercy to me according to Your great love.
My Journal for Today: When one reads what was chronicled by Nehemiah (probably by a scribe or maybe even Ezra), Chapter 13 reads somewhat like a eulogy. In this last chapter of the historical book by his name, Nehemiah has written about a number of failures by God’s people, which he discovers after he had returned to Susa and had been released by Artaxerxes to go back, possibly permanently, to Jerusalem to be the permanent governor. And when Nehemiah returns, to his chagrin, he discovers that the people, in the time he had been gone (we don’t know how long) had desecrated the Temple, began intermarrying with the non-Jewish peoples again, and were not observing the Sabbath properly. And in a historical picture of the Messiah, Who would come to cleanse the Temple some centuries later, Nehemiah was enraged and struck out against God’s chosen people with righteous anger.
And apparently identifying with the heart weakness of these people, in today’s highlight passage in Neh. 13: 22, we read of Nehemiah praying to God for the Lord to have mercy on him, remembering what he had done to cleanse the Temple and set the people on a path which could/would honor God. I can almost read Nehemiah’s mind, possibly remembering the words of Jeremiah, who had come before him with the prophetic description of the deception in any man’s heart (see Jer. 17: 9). I can imagine Nehemiah, returning to Jerusalem again to see the Temple desecration and the worship of idols again, and saying to himself, something like, “There, but for the grace of God, go I;” and then taking righteous action to cleanse the Temple and drive the people to follow God’s law.
And yes that would be the “M.O.” of our Messiah as well, who would come into His Father’s house centuries later to see similar desecration and idol worship, grieving at the hearts of God’s people, and then overthrowing the Temple tables and dispelling wickedness from His Father’s House.
How about you and me, if you’re reading with me here? Do we see desecration in the Temple of our own hearts; and are we angry enough – with a righteous anger toward our sinfulness – to strike out and cleanse our own hearts and rid our own lives of idol worship as well as become more vigilant about guarding the walls of our hearts – i.e., God’s Temple – against the onslaught of evil in our world?
Will we be eulogized when we go to be with Jesus, by someone saying, “This man was driven, Lord, to honor You and to maintain the Temple of his heart pure to honor You and shine a light for all to see Your glory.” That, most certainly, is something I would want said at my home-going. I pray that it will.
What about you? What do you want said to God and to the world as your life is honored when God brings you home?
My Prayer for Today: Lord, may my life be a pure worship for Your glory. Amen