Nehemiah wants a do-over, it seems. By searching out the scriptures, he attempts to start once again in the Promised Land.
First he has someone recite a proclamation declaring the history of the Jews, and God’s faithfulness to them. Then he has all of the leaders sign a decree that they “are taking upon themselves a curse and an oath to walk in God’s law which was given through Moses.”( 10:29)
Next comes the division of land, just as when the Jews first entered the Promised Land.
They then gather together and dedicate the wall of Jerusalem – with great singing and rejoicing. “So that the joy of Jerusalem was heard from afar!”(12:43)
Finally, they search the law to see anything which isn’t being done correctly, and they try to straighten out the policies.
When comparing these chapters to the books of Moses, it’s easy to see that they are trying to recapture the first entrance into the Promised Land. Nehemiah and his gang are acknowledging all of the sin that has transpired, and they are trying to do it right this time.
When we read the scripture, it’s good for us to notice principles which are not being followed. We are no longer under the Mosaic law, but the New Covenant. Yet there are principles in this covenant which we have to follow.
For instance, Jesus talks a lot about forgiveness. Are we forgiving? He mentions alms and giving. What about that?
If our hearts are right, we will want to implement things which are God’s principles. We won’t be adhering to everything Nehemiah did, but we will have our own set of principles. In fact, our new set of principles are harder to implement than the old ones, because they are from the heart. (It’s not just that you don’t commit adultery, but you don’t even lust after someone).
Our principles are harder, but they are doable. Now, as born again believers, we have the ability to do what our Father desires because of the Holy Spirit who lives within us.
The new Peter even has the boldness to stand before the high priests and declare the truth of God’s Word – and the truth about Jesus. Starting with, “If we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well,”…and ending with, “there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.” Quite a sermon!
Their hearts must really be hard. After hearing all of the testimony of Peter, and all of the confirming scriptures, they still are angry and want this behavior to stop. To even make it more startling, these leaders admit that a “notable miracle” has taken place. They just want them to stop!
It’s hard to believe that leaders of the Jews, when seeing the Spirit of God now in the hearts of men, performing the same miracles that Jesus had done, don’t at least stop and think about their actions. But they don’t.
These leaders are so prideful and full of lust for power, that they have no compassion on a blind man who sees. They don’t care. They just want to keep their position and power.
Pride can cause unbelievable evil. Today, we wouldn’t deny Jesus and His healing power, but we still have to watch out for pride. With us it takes a different form.
It might be that we see people through judgmental eyes. Perhaps we judge based on education or status or ethnicity.
Any such judgment comes from a heart of pride. God doesn’t see us or them that way. He sees us through the eyes of Jesus. Using the prideful judgment, we never would have chosen Abraham, or David, or Gideon, or even Mary.
Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.
As we pursue God with everything that’s in us, let’s be sure to watch for pride trying to creep in. It’s sneaky and it’s dangerous.
Yes, Lord, I want to be humble before You.