Sunday, June 9, 2019

Learning from Nehemiah’s Prayer

I came across this prayer by Nehemiah in the context of praying for America. It was a departure from my planned reading of Scripture, which has me re-exploring the book of Luke in the New Testament. Instead, the Lord directed me to this Old Testament passage:

The Present
32 And now, our God, you are the great, mighty, and awe-inspiring God.
    You faithfully keep your promises.
Do not consider all the hardships
    that we have been going through as unimportant.
        The hardships have come to our kings, leaders, priests, prophets,
            ancestors, and all your people
                from the time of the kings of Assyria until now.
33 But you were fair about everything that has happened to us.
    You have been faithful, but we have been wicked.
34 Our kings, leaders, priests, and ancestors didn’t obey your teachings.
    They didn’t pay attention to your commandments or the warnings
        that you gave them.
35 When they lived in their own kingdom and enjoyed the many good things
    that you gave them in a vast, fertile land
        which was set in front of them, they didn’t serve you
            or turn away from their wicked lives.
36 Look at us now. We’re slaves!
    In the land you gave our ancestors,
        they could eat its produce and enjoy its good things.
            But now we’re slaves!
37 The many products from our land go to the kings you put over us.
    This is because of our sins.
        These kings have control over our bodies,
            and they do as they please with our livestock.
                We are in agony.
Nehemiah 9:32-37 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

“Do more with less!” is a common saying I hear as people become more and more enslaved to their jobs in fear of impending lay-offs. The shrinking middle class and unimaginable wealth of an ever-shrinking few is used by selfish politicians to further their own selfish and ungodly agendas. Racial tensions increase as we focus on differences and privileges rather than uniting around a common fight for inalienable rights of every person – every person who bears the image of God – every person whose blood runs the same color as the One who bled and died for our freedom from sin and the wages of death. The Church has been corrupted with a new gospel, one of social justice, that perverts the understanding of Scripture with a more palatable yet less truthful interpretation. 

Who is to blame? Is it our leaders in government, business or the church? Is it the Entertainment industry? The News Media? Education? Who is to blame? As Nehemiah described it in verse 37 above: “The many products from our land go to the kings you put over us. This is because of our sins. These kings have control over our bodies, and they do as they please with our livestock. We are in agony.”

We looked to our government as our provider instead of God. We set our places of work up as idols. We shopped for churches that filled our desires rather than our needs, drifting away from our own responsibilities to grow the Kingdom. We chose to be entertained rather than to grow more fully into the people God desired us to be, and we chose the convenience of listening to talking heads tell us what to think rather than exerting the effort to learn by the leading of the Holy Spirit. 

We are to blame and we need to return to the God of the Bible. Ultimately, we know from Scripture that there will be a great falling away and that Our Lord and King will return, but we who believe should live in purity, love and truth in either preparation for His coming or to push back the tide until that Day.

copyright ©2019 Mitchell Malloy http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/