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Week 4 March 2023, Devotion Part 2

Remember me, O my God, for good. Nehemiah 13:31

“Yea, I and my father’s house have sinned.” He moves from foundational confession to relentless reconstruction. When curtain time comes, Nehemiah is not played out. Chapter 13 is rocked by verbal explosions. “And I was very angry, and I threw all the household furniture of Tobiah out…So I remonstrated with the officials...Then I remonstrated with the nobles… And I contended with them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair….”

Counterpoint to the theme of unrelenting people-pressure runs the theme of Nehemiah’s abiding God-passion. “Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and wipe not out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God and for his service.” If we try to picture his memorial service, we wonder what the mourners and dignitaries remember most about this larger-than-life man. It really matters very little. Nehemiah played to God only and He does remember for good. (Part 2 of 2)

Comment: When one of my kids hated turning 40, I consoled him with the promise of not calling him middle-aged – provided he would never call me “elderly.” The older I got, the less nice I became. Now my tune was, “I’ll whack with my purse the first person to stick me with that detested moniker.” Well, at least I rehearsed that line in front of the mirror while plucking a hair on my chin, and invariably cracked myself up. However, I also remembered much-provoked Nehemiah “for good” on Sunday, November 12, 1989. I was part of a small group praying earnestly for Revival. Our desire was to function as an “Acts 29 Church,” taking off where Paul and the believers had left off in chapter 28. Interestingly, the word “love” is not mentioned in the “Acts of the Holy Spirit” as Luke chronicled them, but “repent” and “repentance” show up 11 times. This prompted me to begin drafting a manuscript to put a contemporary spin on it, and a missionary friend asked to borrow it. On this particular Sunday he entered our small room in the church basement embarrassed and remorseful. While waiting for his bus, he had placed the envelope on a bench and forgotten to take it with him. As leader of the group, I had stressed my habit of reading Scripture before praying, lest my agenda or imagination put words in my mouth. As soon as I was by myself again, having had his book open already, I saw Nehemiah 6:9 jump out at me and I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.” Within an hour a church member walked in and said a certain young man had come looking for me in the sanctuary, saying it couldn’t wait. Soon he stood before me with my manuscript. “I saw it lying on a bus bench and knew it had to be returned to you. Somebody gave me bus money and directions to your church.” I gave him all the cash I had, and Shane Peoletti - the name stuck - left with my glad benediction upon him. I did briefly wonder whether the young man was an angel, having no recollection of his physical appearance. The draft on “Revival” stayed just that. But the yearning for “times of wonderful refreshment from the Lord” as in Acts 3:19 never went away. I draw strength and hope from Psalm 85:6, “”Will You not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in You…?” Nehemiah 1-13


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