Ever get angry? We all do.
I feel for Nehemiah. He gave so much to the people of God. He was a great man of faith, prayer courage and skill. He was passionate for God’s people. He had achieved so much. God had achieved so much through him.
Yet here we meet him at the end of his book, angry and disappointed and desperately trying to stop his work from falling apart. I guess we ought to be grateful that the Bible tells it as it is, rather than as we’d like it to be. I admire Nehemiah’s zeal but here I cannot defend his behaviour.
God’s people are meant to be different. It’s easy to let that slip away, or to be different in a wrong sort of way. Nehemiah has clear ideas about how they should be different. He wants worship to be at the heart of the community. Didn’t the people promise not to neglect the house of God? How did it slip away when Nehemiah’s back was turned?
There are dangers in trying to be different and they should not be understated. This last chapter of Nehemiah, the ending we didn’t want, can, I hope, provoke us to think about the distinctiveness of the church. In what ways should we be distinctive? How do we stay distinctive?
More on Sunday …..