One more book after this and my outlining escapade through this section of the Old Testament will be over. Today we stop in Nehemiah, and there were just a couple of thoughts that came to mind while I was reading this.
First, is Nehemiah the only book, apart from the Psalms, that is written at least partly in the first person? I had not really noticed this before (I couldn't tell you the last time I read Nehemiah, honestly).
The other thing is.. There is something that tweaks me a little about this book, about Nehemiah. And perhaps it says more about the nature of the Law than Nehemiah himself.
It seems to me that the kind of obedience that Nehemiah was trying to bring about, especially in chapter 13, is not the kind of obedience that God would want to bring about.
And especially in regards to how marriage was looked at and treated. Yes, the Jews married women from other nations and that was forbidden, but marriage was still marriage was it not? Is this not the behavior that Jesus is trying to correct in when He teaches on marriage in the Gospels?
It seems that here in Nehemiah we perhaps see the beginning of the "fencing" of the Law that has become our understanding of first century 'law keeping'. So much focus on the outward keeping of the law and no understanding.
My instincts tell me that Nehemiah is not a 'how to' model for good church life. Perhaps an example of what not to do? Or am I off base here?
How are we really supposed to read this book?
I guess I'll find out... classes start tomorrow.
I also get the sense that there may be a few Nehemiah's wandering around the Church these days as well...