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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Nehemiah 9:35

That's the verse that caught me this morning. To set up, the exiles have returned to Jerusalaem and fininshed rebuilding the walls. They've taken time to re-examine the Law passed down from Moses, and the Levites and elders are leading them in a long compact between the Lord and themselves. In this verse they announce four indictments against themselves and the repercussions of the crimes. These indictments can also be applied to our government, the Church (organized or otherwise) and to us as individuals. Follow as I dissect the passage. This is from the New Open Bible, NKJV.

" ...For they (our fathers) have not served You...
1. "...in their kingdom...
As a nation, we've activley distanced ourselves from God. As a Church, we seem to be distracted chasing after issues instead of leading the nation. As individuals, we must ask- are we doing our Christian duty as Citizens? And we each have to define 'our duty' for ourselves. Are we activists? Do we vote? Do we even care what happens in this nation?
2. " ... Or in the many good things that You gave them...
As a nation, we see the effects of rampant greed in Wall St. and Congress, the ill use of what we were given. As a church we have been led away by lavish building programs and feel-good ministries that don't really help our poorer neighbors. As an individual, we must ask- are we giving? Are we giving to honor God's instructions or create tax deductions?
3. "... Or in the large and rich land which You set before them...
As a nation, we waste resources on pork projects, strip malls and condos (harrison square) that lie untennanted, and the million luxuries that are more important than food banks and teacher/police/firemen salaries. As a church, too many are to busy being political activists, attacking the country instead of praying for it. As an individual, the indictment is twofold. First, are we thankful and appreciative; second, are we using the resources we have been given To Serve God's Kingdom, which is the whole point of this verse? (Also, the reason I decided to post this. )
4. "... Nor did they turn from their wicked works."
Self-explanatory.

The passage goes on to give the results of these charges: First, they had become like slaves in this land God had given them. Not that they were owned per se, but that all their labor was for someone else. Second, their land brought increase to "the kings that rule over us". From the Balance of international trade to the mortgage we can no longer pay, we are in the same boat. Third, these rulers have "dominion over our bodies and our cattle." Some people think banning smoking everywhere is a great idea, and are more than happy when the state proposes laws (as they did just this last week) to involve the government in a parent's disipline of their children (as long as it's someone else's kid, of course). And some even like the provisions in at least one of the health care bills controlling what a doctor can spend his own money on (!). But what happens when we get far enough down the path that they tell YOU what you can do? Which all leads to #4, "and we are all in great distress"

I'm not suggesting we go out and save the world. But are we doing our part? Are we doing our part as citizens, sharing our blessings, or using what we have for the service of God? Or are we part of the problem, yet complaining about being servants in our own land? Here's my step one.

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