Exhortation for Morning Prayer
Nehemiah 13:4-22, Rev. 12:1-12
Central to the task of walking in the wisdom of Christ is obedience that could be mistaken for being a crank without actually being one. Nehemiah cleaned the Israelite house. He kicked Tobiah out of his digs on the sanctuary grounds, he threw down the gauntlet on Sabbath keeping, and in the verses that follow, there’s going to be a mass divorce of Jews who intermarried with non-Jews. It may be surprising, but Nehemiah is one of the founders of what we know as the Pharisee movement. But Nehemiah is a good guy. He might have easily been accused being a crank, a legalist. But he wasn’t. But Nehemiah was the kind of obedient that might get him labeled as one. If you are never accused of being cranky, stodgy, a bit legalistic, you aren’t doing it right. But the key is to obey in such a way as to draw the charge without actually being guilty of it. In Revelation, John shows us the life of Jesus from a heavenly perspective, which culminates in the defeat of Satan, the dragon, the Accuser of the brothers. Satan is cast down, and now in his place, Jesus is our Advocate with the Father. This is the key difference between striving for true holiness like Nehemiah or becoming blinded like the Pharisees who killed Jesus. The difference is whether you are fundamentally an accuser or an advocate. Do you confront your friends, your roommates, your brothers and sisters in love, honestly wanting to do them good? Or do you despise them, secretly hoping they are shamed in the eyes of others? Are you an advocate or an accuser? You want to be the kind of faithful advocate that draws the charge of being a crank without actually being one.