“Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders.”
Last time we listened in on the first part of Nehemiah’s reply to the mockery of Sanballat and Tobiah. We decided following Nehemiah’s example of tattling on our enemies to God is the best way to deal with shame and mockery toward us. From there, we can advance in His power and love.
Today we see the second part of the governor’s prayer. Because he’s not done with his anger toward those mocking God, His people, and His plans. He goes on to ask God to not cover up their guilt. Cover up is kasah – conceal, hide, clothe, forgive. And guilt is avon -iniquity, blame.
There is a part of justice to which God calls us when it is time to call sin sin. When blame needs to be laid squarely on the responsible party. No more concealing or hiding or covering over in fear or unholy compliance. While our enemy is always the enemy, we at times make ourselves available to evil purposes.
I believe this is true of systemic sin as well. There comes a point where it takes more faith and imagination to believe nothing is wrong than to admit Truth. Clothing guilt with lies never works. Truth always comes out. God makes sure of it. Better to confess and admit our part in it than cover our eyes.
Because the liberating truth is confession always leads to joy and lightness. God also makes sure of that. May we be willing to open our hearts to His penetrating light, resting in the knowledge it leads to freedom on the other side.
Aaaand…Nehemiah is still not done. The next section of his prayer asks Yahweh to not blot out their enemies’ sins from His sight. Blot out is machah – abolish, destroy. As New Testament Believers we can only go to a certain point with Nehemiah on this one. For if Yahweh had not come in the flesh to abolish sin and destroy death forever, none of us would stand a chance before a righteous, holy God.
But when we feel betrayal upon betrayal, better to vomit it out before the Just King. Usually when we do that, His Spirit inside helps us sort out subjective feelings for objective truth. When He gently, lovingly reminds us of what we are guilty of, it can become easier to ask for His mercy for those who hurt us. Every one of us needs Someone to remove our junk as far as the East is from the West. Never to meet it again.
From this forgiven and freed position, we can even consider insults directed toward us and build anyway. We can stand on His approval and authority and move forward with our calling. Saying what He’s told us to say, loving how how He’s loved us.
The part we can travel with Nehemiah in his petition is our need for God to see injustice and not ignore or gloss it over. We need to know He cares and will uphold our cause when we give it over to Him. That His heart beats for those who have been belittled, horrifically treated, labeled, abused. That He isn’t going to erase it all and not deal. We have to know He’s the Perfect Judge.
And He is, friends. In this chaotic world, we can trust His heart to be both righteous and kind. And as He makes us to be more like Him, we can build with justice and mercy.