READ Nehemiah 13
After this joyful dedication, Nehemiah returns to his post as servant to the King of Babylon. Don’t you think that is strange? Here he was, the governor of the land of Judah, leaving his position of authority and affluence, his life’s work, to return to Artaxerxes. He was a hero in Judah; in Susa he was a servant. Also surely his return to the King of Babylon would be seen as abandoning both God’s call on his life and God’s people. No doubt many misunderstood his motives.
But the simple truth of the matter was this; Nehemiah was honouring a promise. 12 years earlier in Nehemiah chapter 2, he agrees with the King that he will come back some day. Though this promise was made a long time ago, and though I am sure he did not want to keep it, Nehemiah was a man of honour and integrity, and if he made a promise he would not break it, regardless of the personal cost.
We live in a world of broken promises, a world were people say they will do lots of things but never follow up. God calls his people to a higher standard. He calls us to be people of our word.
That means if we tell someone we are going to be there, we are there. We aren’t texting at the last minute to cancel plans. We show up even if it costs us.
God’s standard means that if we say we will do something for someone we don’t just forget. We do what we promised we would, when we promised we would do it.
These choices may seem small and meaningless. I’m sure it was the same for Nehemiah. I mean he had been gone this long, the King could easily replace him and he could have made a million godly sounding excuses for why he should break his word. But he knew, as we should, integrity matters to God. If we claim to follow the Promise-Keeper we must be men and women of our word no matter how trivial the occasion. So how are you doing with your promise keeping?
Lord, help me be known as a person who does what they said they would. Amen.