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Exemplifying Godliness

September 2, 2015 by Pastor Nic 0 comments

Nehemiah 5

Preserving the Unity of God’s people and Preferring Others is what Nehemiah chapter 5 is all about. It is in these two ways Nehemiah is a clear Christ-like figure for us. When the community of God’s people turn on each other and begin to exploit one another Nehemiah responds quickly, and clearly as he see’s the immense risk division can cause. He calls God’s people to give towards the needs of one another and repent of the evil they are guilty of. He calls for those who had been exploiting others to give back what it is they have taken wrongfully in order that the community of God may set an example to the other nations for how they love one another, meet each others needs, and sacrifice for God’s work. (5:9) One can’t help but notice the parallels for the church today. Didn’t Jesus tell us, that “they will know you are my disciples by your love for one another.” (Jn.13:35) Didn’t Jesus lay his life down for a people for himself? Is not our Lord building for Himself a house of people that are as “living stones” and are not these people called to love one another to the point of being willing to lay their lives down for each other? (1 Jn.3:16) What place does unforgiveness, gossip, rudeness, and selfishness have among the people of God. Does not 1 Cor.13.5 tell us that “love does not insist on it’s own way.”? And why does Nehemiah, Jesus Christ, and ourselves see Preserving Unity among God’s people as so important? Is it not because the Church is called to display the perfect unity among the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? So what is on the line when we don’t seek unity and end up promoting division but an inaccurate view of the God who has saved us.

Nehemiah also shows us how he Preferred Others over himself, and isn’t this again a picture of how Jesus has preferred us and what he calls for us to do so that He may be glorified? Nehemiah himself said that he did not take what was rightfully his because it was too much of a burden on the people (v.14,18) because of his “fear of God.” (v.15)What does the fear of the Lord keep you from doing? What does it encourage you to do? For 12 years (v.14) Nehemiah set an example of putting the needs of others before his own. And God Himself has set an example of putting our need of forgiveness of sin as priority. Philippians 2 tells us that Jesus did not count equality with God something to be grasped but humbled himself to the point of death on a cross so that we might be reconciled to God. Have we done the same, or do we still prefer ourselves over others?

Nehemiah was an example of godly character, specifically Jesus’ character, in the way that he Preserved Unity and Preferred Others. As ones who have been united with God in Christ let us be willing to do the same!

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