Nehemiah 13:17-18 (NLT)
17 So I confronted the nobles of Judah. “Why are you profaning the Sabbath in this evil way?” I asked. 18 “Wasn’t it just this sort of thing that your ancestors did that caused our God to bring all this trouble upon us and our city? Now you are bringing even more wrath upon Israel by permitting the Sabbath to be desecrated in this way!”
Nehemiah was the king’s cup bearer and he was given news about the city of Jerusalem. The city lay in ruins and things were not going well for the people. Nehemiah mourned for the city and the people, but he had a vision for restoration. And so he went to Jerusalem and led the rebuilding of the city and the restoration of the people. After time Nehemiah returned to the king as promised. But once again the people of Jerusalem had begun to fall to sin so Nehemiah took leave and returned to confront those in charge.
On October 31st of a certain year, a group of people gathered. They separated themselves from those they considered to be foreign as they drew together. They clothed themselves in very unusual dress. They covered themselves in the dust of the earth as they came together for this unique day. They stood in silence for over three hours as one person read to them and then they stood for another three hours as they cried out in loud voices. No, these people were not celebrating Halloween; this was the account of the people of Jerusalem gathering to hear the Book of the Law of their Lord God read to them. They heard their trespasses and confessed openly to God about their sins. They committed to once again to worship and follow God. This was the account told in Nehemiah 9; but as seen in Nehemiah 13 the people had once again started to fall away from God. Nehemiah did what should be done; he confronted to leadership for their failure to keep their word. He reminded them of their promises and helped them understand their failures. Pray we might be able to confront our leaders when they fall away from their promises. Pray they will be the leaders they need to be.