May 29, 2021
Daily Reading: Nehemiah 12-13
And it grieved me sore: therefore I cast forth all the household stuff of Tobiah out of the chamber.
It gets worse. Or perhaps it gets better. Which one depends on your point of view. Before moving on, consider this question. Have you ever heard anyone preach or teach anything negative about Nehemiah? Probably not. Like Joseph there is nothing negative about Nehemiah in Scripture. None of his sins are mentioned, although he certainly sinned as all have. His leadership is not questioned except for the old ugly Sanballat and Tobiah. But there are always Sanballats and Tobiahs around challenging anything they cannot understand or control.
However, while nothing negative is said, as there are no negatives, Nehemiah did some things that would make the average Christian today stop and take notice. In fact, there are some who would hold Nehemiah up as a strong and fair leader. Then there are those who would criticize him for being too authoritative. Consider all that he did in chapter 13 of this story.
In verse 8 he threw out all of Tobiah's household stuff from his chamber in the Temple. While Nehemiah was in Babylon to report to Artaxerxes, the king, Eliashib allowed this enemy to move into the temple. Nehemiah dispatched him unceremoniously.
In verse 11 he contended with the rulers of Israel about their forsaking of the house of God.
In verse 17 he contended with the nobles of the people because they profaned the sabbath day.
In verse 19 he commanded the gates of the city to be closed during the sabbath, locking all merchants outside so they could not sell their wares on the day of rest.
In verse 21 he warned the merchants that if they continued to lodge around the wall, no doubt as a challenge to his leadership, he would lay hands on them. This not for healing.
In verse 25 he contended, cursed, smote, and yanked out the hair of certain of them.
In verse 28 he chased away from him the son in law to Sanballat.
Beyond any fear of contradiction it can be said that Nehemiah was a strong leader, authoritative and willing to deal swiftly with wrongdoers.
As we started with a question, let's end with one. Would the average Christian, so called, accept this type of leadership today? Would you?
Nonetheless, Nehemiah was concerned about his legacy. Oh, not in the eyes of the people but in the eyes of the Lord God. Three times in this one chapter he asked the Lord to remember him for the good he did (14, 22, 31). He was obviously a man who stood for God and stood opposed to any who opposed God. A strong civil leader that took on a herculean task and completed it in record time and against all odds.
Until tomorrow, live for Christ today.