Instead of shaking their fists at their enemies, they fell to the ground in sackcloth and ashes and mourned how they had disobeyed God. Then they rose up and celebrated “as one man” how God had delivered them.
In Chapter 9, they spend days reading the Law of God aloud to all the people. Then the Levites stand on the stairs of the “Capitol” and cry out to God on behalf of all the people. In summary they confess aloud that:
- Israel was chosen long ago by God, because Abraham was faithful.
- God made a covenant to give them a homeland and kept his promise.
- God heard the cries of his children.
- God performed signs and wonders to lead his people to the Promised Land.
- God gave them his Law through Moses.
- Over and over the people rebelled against God and disobeyed his Law God.
- But while God exerted judgment on them, his never-ending love sustained them.
- Yet the government now ruling them has made them slaves with taxes too high to pay.
- This judgment is all because of disobedience against God.
- Walk in God’s Law and observe all his commandments.
- To honor the Sabbath in front of all people.
- To give away all crops and forgive all debts every seventh year.
- And most of all, to never again neglect the house of God.
In America this week, God has reversed the political tables and used a very flawed and unlikely man to wake us up. Donald Trump (I fully expected to write this same blog about Hillary Clinton!) now has the opportunity to do the same thing – shore up our security in a dangerous world while using the common danger to reignite our unity as a nation.
God has spoken in America. It is no coincidence that Nehemiah’s biggest issues were security against invasion and crushing taxes. It is also no coincidence that Nehemiah completed his project with great urgency and that Donald Trump is a man of great urgency.
But note carefully: Nehemiah did not stop once his project was complete. His ability to bring unity to the people came from what followed immediately upon the success of his physical structures: Repentance.
It is time for America to repent, but this would look different in America – we are a nation founded on religious liberty, not on a single religion.
Just as Israel used the Law of God to repent, America must also repent of forgetting our founding documents that were heavily inspired by God – the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.
This is the moment.
I saw much encouraging unity in America on Wednesday right after the election. Sadly, as I finalize my draft blog on Friday, organized riots with identical pre-printed signs and buses hauling in professional protesters from outside are raging. These protesters do not want unity in America.
I propose a different “demonstration” in light of Nehemiah’s example:
I propose that Donald Trump and Barack Obama (before leaving office) read the Declaration and the Constitution in their entirety from the steps of the Capitol in Washington and then sign a covenant symbolically for all of us to respect the rule of law among us in perfect unity.