Living in God’s Kingdom
The people of God are always pilgrims. We are always living in exile if we are living in the kingdom of God. We may respectfully serve the magistrates of this world. We may obey their proper commands. Nehemiah honored the king and prayed for him. He was diligent to give civil obedience where possible without compromising the commands of God. He sought, as the apostle Paul did, to live at peace with all men.
There are always pagans like Sanballat the Horonite or Demetrius of Ephesus who seek the destruction of the work of God. Neither Paul nor Nehemiah responded to such pagans with hatred, but neither did they enter into unholy alliances with them.
Neither did Nehemiah lead a monastic retreat into the wilderness. Jerusalem was not a monastery, but a city set on a hill. The task of rebuilding the Holy City was not one of world withdrawal. Nehemiah understood that the home base of our mission is still the church.
The staging zone for the divine operation must be sound if the mission to the world is to be effective.
Coram Deo: What is your specific, God-given role in reaching the world with the gospel of the kingdom?
Nehemiah 4:6: “So we built the wall, and the entire wall was jointed together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.”
Nehemiah 6:15–16: “So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month of Elul, in fifty-two days. And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God.”