Thursday, August 17, 2017

AUGUST 17 "DO THAT AGAIN AND I'M GOING TO BEAT YOU!"

     I think, God gave man an ego and I believe God gave man an ego so he could use them as leaders of his people, specifically, Shepherding his people. As you have heard before, Pastor's have ego's and God capitalizes on that to draw them into the call. Why else, would any man ever want to Pastor? I know, I know...it's rewarding, it's service to The Lord, it's "a calling" and it is "all that" BUT at the end it will also drive you crazy and cause you to "lose it" over and over.  I know you are more spiritual than Moses, but Moses would agree with me and so would Nehemiah, our subject at hand. Many young men have the glare in their eyes of one day being called "Pastor" and God will use that as bait. No doubt, God will also make sure there is a shepherd's heart and character in that man, but ego will play a big part. This statement is offensive to both receiving ends isn't it.  The people are insulted to be told they cannot serve God without a leader and the leader is insulted to be told he has an ego and that his motives are not pure as the driven snow. The war in the church right now is the constant struggle for power and individuality.  More and more people are trying to prove, today, that you don't need a Pastor to serve God and neither to you need a church, while the Pastor's are preaching constantly over the pulpit that you do.  The people rose up constantly against Moses, "what makes you think you're so great, you're not the only one that God speaks through you know!"
     The capacity for people to backslide without God's chosen leader is beyond belief. The state of affairs after Nehemiah's departure is unbelievable. He writes in Verse 8 "I was greatly displeased and threw all Tobiah's household goods out of the room"  Displeased....is an under statement!  But it doesn't end there...one of these Israelite men actually marries Sanballat's daughter. This nauseates my stomach just reading this.  These two men, Sanballat & Tobiah, the very two instruments of the devil, who fought and wickedly apposed and threatened Israel in their attempt to rebuild Jerusalem are now living there and Sanballat is actually a father in law to one of the Israelite men???
     To add to that, they have no regard for the Sabbath, which was part of the original problem. Nehemiah must be thinking, "I thought I took care of all this, I thought we got our hearts right, I thought we had reinstated the Sabbath?"  So Nehemiah locks the gates and puts at stop to the breaking of the Sabbath. So what do the men do..repent and ask God forgiveness? NO, they camp out at the gate to be the first ones in the next day.  Nehemiah's response, "Why do you spend the night by the wall? If you do this again, I will lay hands on you"  When Nehemiah says he will, "lay hands on them" he is not speaking about praying for them!  Nehemiah is slowly unraveling, bit by bit.  Verse 25, "I rebuked them and called curses down on them. I beat some of the men and pulled out their hair".  I'm not sure who has to repent here? The people or the Leader, perhaps both.  I don't want to be the one to judge, but perhaps it is safe to say that this was not the best Christian conduct here? Perhaps it's safe to say that this is not specifically how God told Nehemiah to deal with the situation, ie: beating them and pulling out their hair, ouch!!!
     We can never overstate the need for God's people to be led by a Shepherd and we can never understate the people's immense capacity to sin and drift when no leader is present. For this formula (so to speak) to work there really needs to be humility on both sides of the camp. When one side or worse, both loose their humility, this is a recipe for disaster.  The people need to be humble enough to understand they do need a leader and the leader needs to be humble enough not to Lord the fact over their heads and understand he cannot lead unless God helps him. No matter what side you are on today, allow humility to have it's work in you, as the Apostle writes, "why make it hard for them (the leaders) what benefits is that to you) and why as a leader make it hard for those you are leading. If the people see humility in the leader and the leader sees humility in the people, this can work.  God's plan in this is that as many people as possible make it to the promised land and that nobody GETS BEAT, along the way!