But I warned them and said, “Why do you spend the night by the wall? If you do this again, I will arrest you.” From that time on they no longer came on the Sabbath. (Nehemiah 13:21)
It is believed that Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.” Sadly, the great temptation of many good men and women is that they do nothing when there is apparent evil taking place in areas where evil shouldn’t have any authority.
Nehemiah was bent on protecting the Israelites from the sins of prior generations – inviting in the customs and gods of surrounding nations. As painful as it was to address the issues, Nehemiah knew that refusing to address them would only lead to great trouble for his people. He loved his nation and his God so much, that we was willing to do the hard thing and confront the evil that was taking place within Israel’s ranks.
When we apply this to our lives as Christians, there’s a sense in which we, also, must be careful to protect ourselves from outside influence. We, like the Israelites, are prone to wander and allow ourselves to be enticed by foreign gods. We must be vigilant at defending what’s right and standing firm in what we believe. To do so, we need the help of each other. This is a battle that can’t be fought alone.
Who is helping you to defend what’s right in your life? Who has permission to ask you hard questions and to challenge your actions? If you don’t have someone, then perhaps the wisest thing you could do would be to invite someone in to play that role for you.
Lord, help us to learn from the errors of the Israelites in the ways they were not vigilant in defending what was right in their world. Help us to be willing to root out the sin in our lives and in the lives of those around us who are Christians so we may stay ever close to You.