It is difficult for me to read the book of Nehemiah without making application to our own great nation. God has blessed our nation beyond measure, but we too have invited the Ammonites and Moabites into the house of God. We have married the values of the present age and our children speak the language of Ashdod (13:23-24).
God had not banned the Israelites from intermarrying and intermingling with their neighbors because of prejudice, or a hatred for non-Jewish people. His commands were designed to protect Israel from the pagan practices of their neighbors. A lesson we need to learn today.
As Christians we are to be light, and salt, and leaven in the world. In other words the objective is for Christians to change the nature of the world we live in – not conform to it. Just the opposite has taken place – we have learned to speak the language of Ashdod and lost our own voice.
The idea of tolerance towards the sinful practices of this world has been taught for so long and so effectively that “Christian communities” now embrace what we once condemned.
Nehemiah learned that Tobiah (one of those in opposition to rebuilding Jerusalem) had a chamber prepared for him in the house of God – he was livid. “And I was very angry, and I threw all the household furniture of Tobiah out of the chamber, then I gave orders, and they cleansed the chambers, and I brought back the vessels of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense” (13:8, 9). This gives us a little more insight into Jesus actions in cleansing the temple (Matthew 21:12, 13).
It is time for Christians to once again exercise some moral outrage. Over 800,000 babies are aborted in the United States every year. Self-proclaimed religious leaders are embracing the practices of the LGBTQ community – practices that the apostle Paul calls shameless and against nature (Romans 1:26, 27).
“Thus I cleansed them from everything foreign, and I established duties of the priests and Levites, each in his work; and I provided wood offering at appointed times, and for the first fruits” (13:30).
Nehemiah cleaned house! Sin had brought Israel to her knees. It was love and compassion that demanded restoration for what is right. Cleansing God’s house and restoring the law was an act of love, not hate, or mercy not division.
Trent Wheeler, July 14, 2021