God will ‘REMEMBER’ us ‘FOR GOOD’: "Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God, and for its services! Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of Your mercy! Remember me, O my God, for good!" (Neh 13:14, 22, 31)
Nehemiah was a layman who loved Jerusalem and the temple and wanted the city to glorify God. He is a good example for us to follow in his devotion to duty, his discipline in planning and doing his work, his dedication to God’s Word, and his dependence on prayer. He did not use his authority selfishly but humbly and sacrificially served God and the people. He did not run from difficulties or dangers but trusted God to help him face them honestly and solve them successfully. He was a man who wanted to please and obey God and his life was characterized by constant communion and prayer. As a result of his intense relationship with God, Nehemiah was truly an effective leader of the children of Israel.
The book of Nehemiah ends with a brief summary of Nehemiah’s ministry in the community of Israel with the purification of the people from heathen practices, and the restoration of regular worship. His final words are a prayer indicating once more of his constant reliance upon God for all things at all times and we are reminded of the importance of prayer in the life of Nehemiah.
Normally prayer is offered to the Lord before or during an event. In this case, Nehemiah’s prayer followed his good deeds. Nehemiah was literally saying, “What I did, I did in accordance with Your will; now preserve it and protect me”, and his prayer using the word ‘remember’ is recorded six times in the book of Nehemiah (5:19; 6:14; 13:14, 22, 29, 31). In fact, prayers to God using the word ‘remember’ is a common petition in the Bible (see Deut. 9:27; Psalms 132:1; Jer. 14:21). Nehemiah asks God not to forget that he has tried to do right and reward him for his labor in the future.
Throughout his rule Nehemiah was a man of action and the zeal for the things of God totally consumed him (Psalms 69:9). He became angry at everyone who transgressed the law of the Lord. He warned, admonished, reprimanded, contended, struck, pulled out hair, and generally made things difficult for the ungodly! He was a courageous man and a tenacious general in the front lines of the fight against evil. He was also a tireless worker and a great builder for God!
Charles Swindoll closes his commentary on Nehemiah, ‘Hand Me Another Brick’, with a challenge to us all: “I think it is significant that the final scene in Nehemiah’s book portrays him on his knees asking God for grace. He had fought hard for the right, but he had kept his heart soft before the Lord. What a magnificent model of leadership! He was a man of honesty, conviction, and devotion.”
Nehemiah’s testimony was that he had done everything he knew how to bring about righteousness in the priesthood and among the Levites, including their offerings and service. Nehemiah’s last recorded words (“Remember me, O my God, for good!”) would serve well as the last words of any person of faith. Nehemiah concluded his memoirs by summarizing his efforts to bring about reform, and he prayed that God would bless him for his faithfulness (13:30–31).
Like Nehemiah, let us faithfully and boldly do the work that God has assigned us during our lifetime before we rest from our labors (Heb. 4:10). Let us be assured that God will ‘remember’ us ‘for good’ one day in the future!
"For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister." (Heb 6:10)