DEVOTION:This Is Unquenchable Zeal For The Lord!
There is no doubt Nehemiah loved The Lord. He was a godly man whose fear of the Lord was evident in how he led the rebuilding of his nation. Nehemiah also possessed one other rare characteristic – he had an unquenchable zeal for the Lord. His reaction after receiving the news about the condition of the city of Jerusalem and those who had escaped the exile is evidence of his zeal.
The news he received:
The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah: In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” Nehemiah 1:1-3
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Nehemiah 1:4
Later, Nehemiah has another zealous reaction to the state of the exiles:
Moreover, in those days I saw men of Judah who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. Half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod or the language of one of the other peoples, and did not know how to speak the language of Judah. I rebuked them and called curses down on them. I beat some of the men and pulled out their hair. I made them take an oath in God’s name and said: “You are not to give your daughters in marriage to their sons, nor are you to take their daughters in marriage for your sons or for yourselves. Was it not because of marriages like these that Solomon king of Israel sinned? Among the many nations there was no king like him. He was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel, but even he was led into sin by foreign women. Must we hear now that you too are doing all this terrible wickedness and are being unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women?” Nehemiah 13:23-27.
In this portion of scripture, Nehemiah reacted in the same way that Jesus did when He found the temple being used as a market place.
When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” John 2:13-16
Jesus’s reaction was in fulfillment to prophecy.
His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” John 2:17
Now you can understand what was driving Nehemiah – Zeal for the Lord!
1. Have you ever been driven by zeal for Lord? What was the occasion? What did you do? What was the result?
2. Zeal for the Lord is usually seen when people rise up to protect the interests of God. Jesus drove people out of the temple because they had made the house of the Lord into a market place. He wanted the house of the Lord to be used for its rightful purpose.
3. Those who possess this quality also have complete confidence in God.
David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and asked his brothers how they were. As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. Whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear. Now the Israelites had been saying, “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his family from taxes in Israel.” I Samuel 17:22-25
David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” 1 Samuel 17:26
4. Is it possible that you are facing a situation where God’s interest is at stake? Can you rise up to protect God’s interest? You can rise up when:
a. The house of the Lord is used for that which is not worthy
b. The properties of the church are misused and abused
c. The servant of the Lord is falsely accused and you are aware that this is a false accusation
d. A Pastor’s family is barely getting anything to eat because the pastor is not paid any salary
5. For those of us living in the western world some of these questions might sound irrelevant. But a pastor from Kenya responded to yesterday’s devotion with the following statement: “I am one of the Levites who currently does not receive salary, yet I have a family and furthering studies. Our state is not worthy. My wife and I hire shamba to cultivate but cannot make it. I have taken the longest time in studying (5 years instead of 3) due to luck of funds. But God is good.”
Definitely, there is a need for more men and women with the Zeal for the Lord. Will you be one of them?
The Church of Christ is desperately in need
Of more people like Nehemiah who are
Driven by the zeal for the Lord.
This Is Unquenchable Zeal For The Lord!
–Pastor Shadrack Ruto