How quickly we forget.
Nehemiah 13 reads like a reprise of Israel’s greatest sins. Upon returning from his visit with Artaxerxes in Babylon, Nehemiah found that those serving in the temple were being neglected to the point that they had no choice but to neglect their service. The Sabbath also was being neglected. The worship of the Lord had quickly slipped as a priority. The people, as we are prone to do, had apparently forgotten who they were and who God is, which makes Nehemiah’s prayers of remembrance helpful reminders for them and for us. “Remember” is the the refrain of Nehemiah’s prayers. Remember me. Remember this. Remember them. According to your steadfast love.
How quickly we forget, and how perfectly our God remembers–those who feel alone, those who are forsaken, and those who are prone to wander. “Remember me, O my God, for good.” This prayer of Nehemiah can be our prayer today. When others are forgotten, may God remember them and give us the courage to speak and act on their behalf. When love of God and neighbor is crowded out by the love of money, may God grant us mercy to see according to His steadfast love. And when the effects of the sin of some spreads to others, may God bring justice. “Remember me, O my God, for good.”