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Nehemiah Chapter 7

June 25, 2014

We have been studying the book of Nehemiah and it is been a rich time in the word of God. My community group has had a lot to discuss, digest and apply to our lives over the last several months. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us in chapters 9 to 13.

But I must address a grievance that was brought to my attention on Sunday. It was pointed out to me, in a friendly manner, that I had skipped the entirety of chapter 7. True. I did skip it. Why, you might ask? Is it because you were nervous about pronouncing all of those Hebrew names? No, not entirely. To be honest, I am not quite sure why I passed over it, but it is certainly not because I find it unimportant.

The New Testament states that ‘All scripture is God-breathed and is useful…’ and I believe that even applies to the long lists of foreign names found in the Old Testament. Therefore, here is one brief devotional thought on Nehemiah chapter 7:

Nehemiah chapter 7 has one of my favorite verses in the whole book. In verse 2 the scripture reads, “I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most people do.” I love this description of Hananiah!

I have heard integrity described as ‘the integration of our public and private selves.’ Who we are on Sunday is who we are on Monday, who we are at home is who we are away from home, we don’t have a parade of images we project outward depending on our audience in the moment; our lips and our lifestyles are preaching the same message. Hananiah could be trusted, he is faithful; he does what he promises to do – in short, a man of integrity.

Hananiah also feared God more than most people do. He had an awe, a reverence, a respect for God that was noticeable, that made him stick out from the crowd. Hananiah really cared about what God thought more than what other people thought. I would love to be a man who this could be written about, wouldn’t you? Could it be said of us that we are people of integrity who fear God more than most people to do?

I pray that by the grace of God, and by the work of the Holy Spirit, and by the application of the Gospel to our lives, this would be true of us.

 

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