While reading Nehemiah 3 this morning two important things leapt off the pages to me; two things that I have never noticed before. The first thing was how everyone pitched in to repair primarily all the gates of the wall surrounding Jerusalem…everyone except a few that is:

    “Next to them the Tekoites made repairs; but their nobles did not put their shoulders to the work of their Lord.” (Nehemiah 3:5)

The aristocrats of the day were too good to lower themselves to do some manual labor; this work was beneath them.

Sound familiar? “I’m sorry pastor, I know that you really need another hand cleaning the sanctuary, but service is not one of my spiritual gifts.” “Well pastor, as much as I know you need another Sunday school teacher, I don’t feel lead to teach.”

That’s right; we have aristocrats in our churches. Oh, they don’t get their nobility by birthright or social status, their nobility comes from their haughtiness of not wanting to be seen doing work around the church that would seem beneath them.

Or perhaps they do not want to be involved in politics because “we are in this world but not of it”; they use John 18:35 as their motto:

    “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.’”

America is in the state it is today because the church has given up right ground; not only in the culture but also in their neighborhoods. Another reminder of Charles Finney’s words is appropriate:

    “The church must take right ground in regard to politics . . . The time has come for Christians to vote for honest men and take consistent ground in politics, or the Lord will curse them . . . God cannot sustain this free and blessed country that we love and pray for, unless the Church will take right ground. Politics are part of religion in such a country as this, and Christians must do their duty to God . . . God will bless or curse this nation according to the course Christians take in politics.”

Notice that Finney did not choose a particular political party; his measure was honesty. When Christians choose pragmatism over piety; when they choose isolation over insulation, then God will indeed “curse this nation according to the course Christians take in politics.”

America’s city gates are destroyed; some are in worse disarray than others but all need to be repaired. The gates of our churches have become Christian hotels instead of hospitals for the hopeless. Christians live in Christian ghettos, deal with only Christians, partake in only Christian things, instead of voting and getting involved in affecting the culture in which we live.

There is much work that needs to be done by America to fix her walls. Of course America never had “walls” but our ideals and traditions were what protected her and no matter what the President or historians tell you; this nation was and is blessed because it once claimed to be “One Nation under God”. And this God was not just any god; it was the God in the Bible embodied by the incarnation and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

There is work to do America and if American Christendom does not get involved then her walls and gates will remain in disrepair. I know I promised to address how Nehemiah handled opposition; a type of opposition that keeps most American Christians out of the societal fight. However I felt it important to illustrate how a sense of nobility can lead a Christian to believe he or she does not need to “get their hands dirty” in work that is very tiring, exhausting, and most times unappreciated.

And when you do jump in to help you are immediately reviled by the culture.

When that happens, to whom do you turn?

Nehemiah turned to God; more on that tomorrow.

In Christ
Ps. 37:4

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