In and Out of Community

 Handwritten page from the book of Nehemiah chapter 5 verse 18 through chapter 6 verse 10.
Nehemiah 5:18-6:10

Synopsis     Nehemiah 5:18-6:10     7/22/2020 

Nehemiah led the effort to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. As the project neared completion, the regional governor became aggressive with Nehemiah. His name was Sanballet. And, because he feared the Israelites, he plotted to kill Nehemiah. 

But Nehemiah did not fall into the traps. Instead, he artfully avoided Sanballet’s schemes.  

As a result, Sanballet shifted tactics. He threatened to report Nehemiah to King Artaxerxes as a traitor. But Nehemiah confronted Sanballet with the facts. And after this, the governor shifted back to plotting violence against him. 

In and Out of Community 

Sanballet was outside the Israelite community. As a result, he had to rely on the authority of the empire to control the Jews. So, when Nehemiah showed up, Sanballet’s authority was diminished. For, Nehemiah had both the authority of the empire and moral authority.

The Jews intuitively respected and followed him as their leader. Even when asked to accomplish great projects in the face of real hardship, they followed him.  

And so, Sanballet threatened and manipulated in order to undermine Nehemiah’s authority and break the Israelites resolve. 

Threats From Without 

There is a distinct difference between those in a community and those outside. This is especially true of the Authentic Community. I owe some allegiance to the synthetic community where I was born and where I live. 

But ultimate authority is vested in the Authentic Community alone. And Jesus Christ is fully vested as our Lord, Savior and Leader. This will always threaten those who seek to keep me under control. And so, like Jesus taught, I need to be as “shrewd as serpents and simple as doves”. 

“Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.” Matt 10:16 

July 23, 2020

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