Friday, January 16, 2015
And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in. (Nehemiah 6:11 KJV)
A number of years ago several movies were made--and later remade--based on the life of a sheriff in Tennessee named Buford Pusser. The series was called, "Walking Tall," and chronicled Pusser's courageous fight against crime and corruption. It was based on a true story. The crooks tried to bribe the sheriff, to intimidate him, and even to kill him. Pusser, however, would not back down. He paid a price to stand his ground. He walked tall!
That movie could have been made based on the life of Nehemiah. His story in Scripture, though set in a different place and time, has remarkable similarities. In the evil days in which we live, this story demands to be studied so that we can be inspired to take a stand.
Sadly, ours is a day of noodle-backed Christians. We have heard that silence is golden--and sometimes it is just plain yellow. The church needs to speak out--to cry out against evil. Too many of the Lord's soldiers are fleeing the fight. Modern evangelicalism is increasingly compromising truth and becoming chameleons adapting to the corrupt culture. We are thermometers reflecting the moral temperature of the age, rather than thermostats setting it. Our spines have the consistency of Jello.
Not Nehemiah! He was a man of resolve. When the enemies of God's people sought to confer with him, he would not negotiate. His mission was to rebuild the walls, and he would not be distracted. We must hold to the truth. Ours is a proclamation, not a negotiation. Yes, we must speak in love, but the message is not for debate. Our task is to be heralds for our King. He makes demands, and not suggestions. Our heart is to be as wide as the world, but our message is narrow. The world says, "Be reasonable. Don't be so rigid." It is a seductive appeal. We must steadfastly resist it.
The enemy didn't back down in the face of Nehemiah's response--they just ramped up the pressure. Threats were made, lies were told, and these fierce foes sought to terrorize God's man. But he would not run. He stood firm in faith. I think of old Martin Luther--a little German monk, standing against the powers of his day. He said:
Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. May God help me. Amen
May God help us to walk tall when so many are cowering. Christ stands by our side!