Friday, June 3, 2016

Fight for Right

Nehemiah 4:14 "And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses."
Nehemiah had it laid on his heart by God to rebuild the city of Jerusalem years after it had been destroyed by the Babylonians. At that time the Persians ruled under King Artaxerxes. It would appear that Artaxerxes and his predecessors were "godly", but their religion was one of tolerance. They were Zoroastrian; believing in good thoughts, words, deeds; one path to truth and to do the right things for the doer of good will have good returned to him. As followers of Ahura Mazda, their god was not the One True God, but the Persian kings were used by JHVH to procure the promises made to Abraham for the prosperity of his people.

With that said, Nehemiah, in tandem with the priest Ezra, rebuilt the city of Jerusalem, all the while standing vigilant over their workers so that the restoration could be completed (and it was in 52 days)!

The Hebrew people who were assigned to rebuild the city were protected by the LORD, but their role was to "fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters. your wives and your houses". The peoples of the land resented the presence of the Hebrews back in "their city" and made every attempt to abort the completion of the restoration. (In the below picture is the artist's conception of the walls of Jerusalem destroyed by the Babylonians being viewed by Nehemiah):

Gustave Doré, Nehemiah Views the Ruins of Jerusalem's Walls, 1866

Nehemiah had reason to be there (the King's decree), he was there for good (rebuild the city) and there were those who sought vengeance against the Hebrew people and their God. Because of danger the LORD protected the Hebrews, but to facilitate safety the people were prepared to fight for their loved ones!

Many people today are outright pacifists. Among them are Mennonites, Quakers and others. I was told by a Mennonite that God would protect them. They were not to do violence. It's easy to see from Nehemiah, that God does protect his people, but they are to be the army! Unfortunately, because sin came into the world, evil does exist, and evil men will always persecute to the extent of murder!

God doesn't expect his people to stand before the enemy with empty hands. Of course he is their whole armor, but his "sword" says to fight for right! It was necessary to fight for restoration of the religion (Ezra's role), so that the Hebrew people would again be God's chosen people. The Jews were scattered in the diaspora. Because of the "Abrahamic Covenant" the scattering of the Hebrews did not align with God's will. It was necessary for Jerusalem to be rebuilt and the worship of One True God restored because God's will was to fulfill his promise to Abraham.

In other words, Jesus came because these brave people put their lives on the line in front of the enemy. It was God's plan that Jesus be of the seed of Abraham and these early people made the plan happen. Sometimes we must fight for what's right! We must fight so that there is hope!

It's ironic that "the Prince of Peace" was born to save mankind from destruction using the LORD's protection facilitated by the sword and violence! The LORD made safe his people so that all mankind could be saved!

Jumping ahead many centuries a poor country boy had a dilemma. He didn't believe in fighting because he was a Christian. After days of prayer Alvin York came to the conclusion that he must fight in World War I. Why? To save many lives a few must be sacrificed. With that direction from God, he was the Nehemiah of WWI. He is a hero, not because he killed, but because he saved lives of others! Evil was destroyed and the LORD used Sgt. York for what's right!

We must continue to fight for the LORD's will because it is a fight for justice. War isn't of God, but it's his will that evil be defeated!

Now this nation is not only in an actual war, but a spiritual war as well. They cannot be separated. ISIS is evil and this war must be fought. We shall lose for a time because of the sins of the world, but in time the LORD shall return with a vengeance and this curse on mankind will be defeated. The army of the LORD will rebuild Jerusalem and Jesus shall reign for a thousand years! There will be many battles until then.  It is principalities warring against God, but the LORD will win out! Until then we are to be warriors, both in a spiritual sense, and to fight for right!

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