Am I the only one that spends entirely too much time (if that’s even possible?) reading the New Testament and not enough time in the Old Testament? Maybe I’m the only one that feels that way? Although , I guess it’s not entirely a bad thing.
The New Testament, to me, is one of the best places to receive instruction on how to live a good, Christian life. Paul’s letters to the churches and to certain individuals are rich in encouragement, warnings, and just general instruction. It’s because of this that I often forget the same things can be found in the Old Testament by reading and studying the lives of the Saints of Old.
Recently, I’ve been spending some time in Nehemiah. The Book of Nehemiah is a great book full of determination, encouragement, and fight. When the adversary came hard at Nehemiah and the Children of Israel, they continued on with their work for the Lord– a sword in one hand, a hammer in the other.
The third chapter of Nehemiah left me with some food for thought. This particular chapter details all the different people that helped restore the city of Jerusalem. Have you ever heard people ask the question, “If the Bible was written in your day, what would it say about you?”
I’ve often wondered this. Nehemiah 3 made me wonder about the answer to this question even more. Would the writer of the book I appeared in describe me like the fearless leader, Esther, who fasted, prayed, and worked hard to save her people from destruction? Would I not be named at all? Only described like the woman at the well who meet Jesus on that life changing day in John 4? Or would I be described like the complainers of the Children of Israel when they wondered in the desert?
If I’m being honest, it might be a mix of all three.
We can presume Nehemiah took the time to record his own story, based on clues from the text. But Nehemiah in Chapter 3, also described the people working alongside him to restore Jerusalem. Most people are simply recorded as having worked on a particular portion of the city. Nehemiah, though, takes the time to describe the Nobles of the Teokites and Baruch.
And next unto them the Teokites repaired; but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their Lord. (Nehemiah 3:5).
It’s pretty clear that the nobles did not help at all. I’m sure there were many reasons, but Nehemiah records it so harshly, I can’t help but wonder if the Nobles were like those that claim to be Christian, but rarely ever do the work of God. You know, the ones that like a title, but don’t want to work or sacrifice for that title.
Nehemiah states that Baruch “earnestly” repaired the piece he was assigned (Nehemiah 3:20). I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure Nehemiah only used the word “earnestly” to describe Baruch. I wonder what made him stick out from the rest? Did he have a smile on his face while doing the work of the Lord? Did he encourage others along the way? Did the spark inside him light a fire in the hearts of others?
I don’t have the answers to those questions. But I do know that whatever it was did not go unnoticed by Nehemiah and by God. It was enough to get Baruch recorded in the Bible in a positive light.
What about you, dear reader? What do your actions and demeanor say about your Christian walk? Is it enough to be noticed positively by others?
Keep the faith-