Why was Nehemiah so angry?
Nehemiah’s anger was eventually directed towards his own people. When mocked and threatened by Sanballat and his associates, Nehemiah prayed and acted wisely. Nehemiah organised the rebuilding of the wall. In that he was successful. It was completed in 52 days.
His other, more important, work was for the nation of God to renew their Covenant with Him. That was the difficult part of his ‘job description.’ It had to do with the people’s loyalty and devotion towards God.
When the wall was completed, Ezra the scribe read the Law of Moses,
‘When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns, all the people assembled as one man in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the scribe to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded for Israel.’ Nehemiah 8:1
When Ezra was finished the Israelites confessed their sins and renewed the Covenant with God. The leaders recorded it and added,
‘…all these now join their brothers the nobles [Nehemiah 9:38], and bind themselves with a curse and an oath to follow the Law of God given through Moses the servant of God and to obey carefully all the commands, regulations and decrees of the Lord our God.’ Nehemiah 10:29
After 12 years as governor, it was time for Nehemiah to return to Susa to serve Artaxerxes, as he promised’. When he later came back to Jerusalem, he found that the Covenant was broken and Eliashib the high priest was allied to two of the bitter enemies of Israel, Sanballat and Tobiah. Nehemiah 13:4-9, 28
Can we blame Nehemiah for his reaction? He knew the Book of Lamentations graphically describes the horrors that follow Covenant breaking. Nehemiah took to violent means to tell the Israelites: don’t challenge God because you will loose.
It was easy to repair a broken wall, but not that easy to mend a broken relationship with God. It is easy to break a wall, but to break a covenant with God leads to bitter experiences.
The lesson for us from Nehemiah?
To keep the Covenant with God was more important and harder than to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. In that President Trump has shown by his actions that he is favourably disposed towards God’s Church. It is no wonder that he is incessantly attacked. Many politicians are not that predisposed to the Church. All Americans and even non-Americans should savour an opportunity to be faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ.