Summary: We are constantly surrounded by injustice in our world today. It has been that way since the fall and will continue to be that way until Christ returns. So how should we deal with it? As a leader, you are called to respond to injustice like Nehemiah di
You don’t have to look very far to see examples of injustice in the world, do you? Just the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen car dealerships being arbitrarily shut down. When you hear the stories of what’s happening, one thing comes to mind—it’s not fair. When you read of the Spencer Auto Group in Roane County and others, you see exactly how unfair it is. The Spencer Auto Group is the largest employer in Roane County. They have employed families for generations. And now all those people are going to be out of work within just a few weeks. That one arbitrary act has the potential to put Roane County in an economic tailspin. I don’t care what you think about the current economic policies—that’s just not fair. But do you know what? Life isn’t fair. Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. It’s all part of living in a fallen world. And it’s not just a recent thing. It’s been that way forever. Job is probably the oldest book in the Bible. He saw how unfair life was. In Job 21:7 he said, “Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power?” Later on during the heights of Jerusalem’s power and glory, the Psalmist saw that things still weren’t fair. In the 73rd Psalm, he wrote, “Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.” Later on, he wrote, “When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me.” Right before the exile, Jeremiah saw the problem of injustice in the world. He wrote, “Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?” Later, the prophet Habakkuk saw the problem too. He wrote, “O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.” Injustice abounds. It has always abounded. It will always abound until the Lord returns. We might as well get used to the idea that life isn’t fair. So what do we do? Do we just throw up our hands in helplessness? Do we just give up? We could. But then we wouldn’t be doing what God calls us to do in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, would we? In those verses, we are called to be ambassadors for Christ. We are called to a ministry of reconciliation. Just as Jesus provided a way for us to be reconciled to God, we are to be reconcilers. Part of being reconcilers is that we have to deal with injustice in the right way. Now there are all kinds of ways people try to deal with injustice. People protest. They riot. They rebel. That’s not what we’re called to do. On a broad national level, we’re called to submit—even to injustice. And at the same time we’re submitting, we preach the Gospel. But injustice doesn’t just happen on a national level, does it? Injustice happens right in front of us. It happens with the people we work with. It happens with the people we live next to. It happens in our families and in our neighborhoods. Sometimes, it even happens with the people we are called to lead. In almost all cases of injustice, the best thing we can do is humbly evangelize with a submissive heart. But when the Lord puts us in a place of leadership, it requires much more than that. Just like it did for Nehemiah in our passage tonight. God had called Nehemiah to lead the remnant to rebuild the wall. So anything that got in the way of them accomplishing their mission was disobeying God. When forces outside the walls tried to get in the way, Nehemiah defended against them. But he wasn’t really too worried about them. Because he knew that as long as the remnant was obedient in working toward accomplishing the mission, God would fight their battles. Nehemiah’s biggest concern was always with what was going on inside the walls. He had dealt with discouragement and got it squashed. But now came a different kind of enemy. Now he had to deal with the universal problem of injustice. The problem was that the injustice was happening among the people he was called to lead. Injustice in the world is frustrating. And focusing on our mission is the best thing we can do to deal with it. Jesus will take care of the injustice in the world when He comes back. The problem is, what do you do when injustice hits closer to home? What do you do when those you are called to lead are cheating others? What do you do when they are taking advantage of others? What do you do when they are using their positions to intimidate and curry favors from others on your team? Do you just have to live with it? If you do, then you’re part of the problem. But as a leader, you’re called to be part of the solution. That’s what Nehemiah was.