By Rev. Gayle Claxton
Faith and Action are two powerful components, and when used together, can have a devastating effect on the kingdom of darkness. Nehemiah was a man who knew this potential and used it! Let’s look at how and what he did and see if we can learn some important keys for us!
We see some key elements in Nehemiah 13:15-22 where, upon his return to Jerusalem, he is now facing disappointment when he sees how things have gone. The excitement and spiritual “buzz” that was there before he left to journey to Persia, was now lacking and the people had lost faith and were in a state of apathy and rebellion. These people were reverting to the “old” ways.
So, what was a man like Nehemiah going to do, to again bring back faith into a population who chose to walk in the opposite direction. Nehemiah realised the only way he could re-establish this was to address the issues and make a stand for truth. Standing for truth will always ignite an element of faith in us.
How did Nehemiah bring faith back to the people?
So, Nehemiah makes a series of decisions and addresses “hard” but necessary topics to bring the people back to the place they were at before and even further! He must make them aware of some factual matters that need to be changed. These included things such as how their decision to work on the Sabbath was sin and the corruption that led to, and how they were open about what they knew to be wrong. Yet Nehemiah knew he had to address this by name. He had to make them aware that the Sabbath was a day of rest and not a day to make commercial and financial gain. Surely this was not easy, but without action Nehemiah would not have exercised faith.
Nehemiah confronted the people
So, he confronts the sin without covering it up with a nice excuse. He actually brings about an accusation of wrongdoing, and then he rises up in faith and asserts his conviction in front of the nobles of Judah who were supporting the activities. In his faith is action, which takes him to the source of the problem – the leadership. He knew that standing in faith and for the truth would not be popular or well received, but Nehemiah knew he had to stand in faith for the righteousness of his conviction. He refused to neglect his responsibility, because he knew such sin is not without consequences. He was determined to be part of the answer to see things change!
For Nehemiah to sit and watch a situation and offer his opinion or his complaint, was not a matter of faith, neither was it an answer to the problem. Instead, he acts in faith and action, and intervenes with a boldness and courage. He got involved for the righteousness of what he stood for and believed, but he did not forget one important element in this whole process and that was to pray and ask the Lord for His help. He knew to operate in faith he needed to engage with God’s help! He could not endure in his own strength because that is not faith!
What should we learn from Nehemiah?
You and I, just like Nehemiah, face similar situations in the world we live in today. So many things completely oppose the Word of God and we are forced to accept these things and compromise. This leaves us with two options – we either look the other way and pretend it does not exist, and in doing that negate any action or release of faith, or we realise someone needs to stand for truth, and take action. That someone must be you and me! If we don’t take action, what will the future be for our children and the coming generations? If we will stand in faith and take action like Nehemiah, and engage in the Lord’s help and wisdom, we too can make this world a better place.
The question is, “Will we be a Nehemiah for our generation”?