Nehemiah’s Omission

Nehemiah’s Omission

In Nehemiah and the Wall, we saw Nehemiah’s great leadership at work, stirring up a passive and floundering people to act, quickly accomplishing what had long been languishing. He also ushered in numerous reforms and ignited a spiritual revival.

Yet he lacked one thing. He did not train a replacement.

After leading his people for 12 years, Nehemiah returned to Babylon. The people quickly forgot all he had taught them and reverted to their old ways. Specifically:

  • They allowed foreigners access to the temple
  • The Levites were not receiving their assigned portions of food and provision, so they left Jerusalem (effectively, they quit their job)
  • The people were working and trading on the Sabbath
  • The men married foreign wives

These were all prohibited by the Law of Moses, which under Nehemiah’s leadership, the people had agreed to follow. But he left and they forget.

Although they still enjoyed the physical protection of the city wall that they had rebuilt, they retained little else. Nehemiah needed to return and straighten them out—again. Even then, there is no mention that he trained a successor.

Sometimes, even the best of people fail to learn from their mistakes.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Nehemiah 11-13, and today’s post is on Nehemiah 13.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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