- Renewing People
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When we began our journey through the book of Nehemiah, we looked at how God puts a burden on the heart of every believer. If he puts it there, then he expects that believer to act on the burden. Once the believer acts, then he becomes a leader. It’s the believer’s burden, so who better to lead the effort?
Nehemiah has led the people through the rebuilding of the wall, in spite of great opposition. He led them to rediscover God’s Word. That, in turn, led to a revival and a renewal of the Covenant.
After a great and joyous celebration of dedication for the wall, Nehemiah had to return, for a time, to the court of the Persian king. When he finally returned to Jerusalem, he found that the people had abandoned all the promises they had made to be faithful to God.
Nehemiah, although disappointed and angry, sets about making things right. In the midst of his efforts, he prays four short prayers. The first one, found in Nehemiah 13:14, goes like this: Remember me for this, my God, and do not blot out what I have so faithfully done for the house of my God and its services.Two of the other three are similar in asking God to remember him.
While these short prayers might seem a bit vain, they are anything but that. These prayers are a humble admission by Nehemiah that God will not evaluate his success on the basis of construction projects and law enforcement. Instead, it will be evaluated in light of his faithfulness to a merciful God. In other words, what matters most in the end is not what Nehemiah achieves, but rather his character and his relationship to God.
Nehemiah’s story also shows us that even though we mess up badly, it does not disqualify us from serving God or having a good relationship with Him. Everyone falls from time to time. What is important is to have the wisdom to know we’ve fallen and the courage to admit it. Then, we can take the steps to renew our walk with God.
I love these beautiful words of hope from Isaiah…
Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. – Isaiah 55:7 (NIV)