Page 11 - October 2020 - Truth & Tidings
P. 11

individuals accompanied him as he read   caused the people to become demoralized
        and gave a faithful exposition so that “the   and  to  compromise  with  the  nations
        people understood the reading” (8:8). It is   around them. Forgetting their identity,
        no surprise that the people were moved   they inevitably forfeited their purpose,
        to action, repenting of past failure (9:1-3)   lost their song and left the service of God’s
        and committing themselves to renewed   house.
        faithfulness (9:38).                    The tragedy of this is accentuated when
          Like Nehemiah, godly overseers      we recall God’s purpose for them. Isaiah’s
        appreciate the need when nursing sick   portrait of Jehovah’s Perfect Servant is a
        Christians  to  patiently  encourage  an   description of everything Israel should
        appetite for God’s Word, and when     have been – “a light for the nations”
        nourishing hungry Christians to diligently   (49:6). Sadly, they had become a byword,
        teach the authority of God’s Word with   bringing shame rather than honour upon
        clarity and integrity.                God’s Name.
                                                Having confessed collective failure,
        Honesty in God’s Presence             Nehemiah began the work of restoring
          Integrity does not just refer to the   both the people and place that were called
        validity of what is taught but honesty   by that Name. His approach to this is
        in those who teach. The Lord Jesus was   instructive but beyond the scope of this
        uncompromising in condemnation of     article. Sufficient to say that it addressed
        religious hypocrites. Whereas persecution   essential issues of Personal Sanctification
        invariably makes the work of God      and of Priestly Service.
        blossom, hypocrisy makes it wither.     Abandoning  actions and attitudes
          Nehemiah’s personal integrity is seen   which produce defilement and distress,
        in his accountability for the people’s   and adopting others which promote
        sacrificial contributions for the work (7:70-  discernment and devotion to the Lord, the
        72). Equally noteworthy is his readiness   outcome was impressive. “They offered
        to share responsibility for their sinful   great sacrifices that day and rejoiced, for
        condition and its consequences. Privately,   God had made them rejoice with great joy
        Nehemiah confessed, “I and my father’s   …. And the joy of Jerusalem was heard far
        house have sinned” (1:6), and publicly, he   away” (12:43).
        headed the signatories to the confession
        that the land’s “rich yield goes to the kings   Continuity of God’s Work
        whom you have set over us because of    Nehemiah was clearly concerned that
        our sins” (9:37). During the present crisis,   the work of the Lord should continue
        many have prayed that the world will hear   after he was gone, seeing to it that the
        God’s voice. Overseers should pray that   territory around Jerusalem was possessed
        God’s people will reflect upon our own   (11:1) and ensuring that the service of the
        fruitlessness and failure, and not say as   sanctuary was provided for – joyful hearts
        the hypocrites, “I thank thee that I am not   make for generous hands. Whereas the
        as other men are.”                    people would not support a corrupt and
                                              abusive system, now they gladly gave
        Sanctity of God’s House               their tithes and offered their firstfruits to
          The burned gates and broken walls   the Lord.
                                                               -Continued on p. 312
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