But in Chapter 13, Nehemiah is called away by King Artaxerxes for an unknown period of time. The priest Eliashib immediately prepares a large chamber in the house of God for his father-in-law Tobiah, the enemy of Nehemiah, to live in! He does this by cleaning out the large chamber where all the offerings and contributions to the Levites and others who served full time in the house of the Lord were stored. Tobiah is not a Jew and so the house of the Lord is defiled in disobedience to the Law.
When Nehemiah returns, he literally cleans house in a rage and re-sanctifies the house of God.
I was not expecting a parallel to America here until the last few days when mayors of several large American cities announced the will openly defy the rule of law in America to protect criminal illegal aliens. The parallel to Nehemiah and Tobiah may not be obvious, but I suggest that in America there are powerful political figures that would rather foment civil war with paid protesters than comply with a rule of law they disagree with.
Why would I worry about civil war? Let’s have one last look at Judah.
As Nehemiah ends, we come to the close of the centuries-long chronological narrative of the people of God that started in Genesis. The remainder of the Old Testament records the words of Israel’s prophets who were inspired by God, starting with King David and continuing through Malachi, all of whom lived prior to or during the time of Nehemiah.
The biblical record then falls silent for 400 years until Jesus Christ appears. Why?
I suggest that sometime after Eliashib’s betrayal in Nehemiah 13, Judah again disobeys its covenants with God, likely after Nehemiah’s death. Perhaps God has seen enough and abandons Israel to their own devices until the day 400 years later when his never-ending love can stand it no longer and God sends his son Jesus in person to save them.
So I ask when might God have seen enough in America. Will it be when elected leaders openly defy the results of a democratic election and incite America’s enemies to riot through proxy anarchists?
Beware, America, of the lesson of Israel. Can you imagine a world engulfed in chaos devoid of American justice and strength?
Guard your unified heart, which is the rule of law, and bring about change peacefully in unity, even if it is less than perfect.
Moving on, this is a critical moment for this series “If My People”.
It has taken over two years of blogs to get here from Genesis. But by page count we are only 51 percent through the Old Testament. What remains is a vast body of prophetic literature written during the narrative period, from the Psalms of King David to the last recorded words of Malachi. I cannot wait to dive into Esther and beyond.
To date, we have classified 11,305 verses into the ten categories of the Cycle: unity with God, commands, temptation, disobedience, disunity, warnings, judgment, never-ending love of God, repentance, and restoration. There is an entire book in each of these stages of the Cycle!
We will now peek into the thoughts, prayers and inspirations of eye-witnesses to the disaster that was the collapse of Israel despite its special status as God’s children.
Please stay with us, and please encourage others to pick up this series and share it with those they love.
How does Israel’s disunity with God compare with the disunity of the Christian church, given Jesus’s prayer for perfect unity?