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Friday, October 23, 2020

Trump and Nehemiah: Two Wall Builders the World Needed

I was discussing politics with my karate instructor after class one evening. I had sent him my columns about President Trump and Doug Collins, so we’ve had some interesting talks about related matters lately. He asked me if I’ve read Nehemiah, and I confessed that it has been a while. He had been reading it, and he began to explain that many parts of it jumped out at him as parallels to what we are seeing played out in our nation today. I must give credit to Master Haymore for the inspiration for this piece.

A little background is helpful to put the book of Nehemiah into perspective. The Jews had a series of wicked, unfaithful kings through the centuries. God’s people often lived under the thumb of other nations because of their rebellion to God. After the death of Josiah—one of the few good kings—there were several wicked kings who each reigned for short periods of time leading up to the fall of Jerusalem and the Israelites’ exile to Babylon, beginning in 597 B.C.

Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon burned the temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem. He killed many of the people of the city and took into exile those who escaped death. God’s people lived in exile in Babylon for 70 years until Cyrus king of Persia was anointed by God to rebuild the temple and send God’s people back to Jerusalem.

Almost 100 years after the exile ended and some of God’s people had returned to their homeland, Nehemiah came on the scene. He had made his way to the top ranks of the Persian empire—as cupbearer to King Artaxerxes I—so he was trusted more than most anyone to be faithful and loyal. When Nehemiah heard that his fellow Israelites in Jerusalem were suffering in part because they had no wall and no protection, his heart was burdened for them. The king noticed that he was troubled, so he asked Nehemiah what was wrong. Nehemiah boldly described his dilemma. The king granted him permission to go to Jerusalem and build the wall. He even sent an escort with Nehemiah and wrote letters on his behalf to smooth the way and provide the assistance and materials he would need. Within a miraculous 52 days, Nehemiah had mobilized the Jewish people, and the wall was completed.

It’s interesting that if we fast forward to modern times, the United States has also suffered greatly because of our lack of an adequate border wall. Our border hasn’t been secure, and thus we have been invaded by millions of foreigners, many of whom do not have the best interests of our country at heart. Countless dangerous gangs, drug dealers, thieves, and murderers are living their “best life” here in the U.S. In addition, our economy is weighed down by the exorbitant costs of illegal immigration—in the Medicaid program, in our schools, in the criminal justice system, and so on. Americans are paying a steep price—literally and figuratively. Those on the left who long for open borders seem to turn a blind eye to these devastating effects, all in the hopes of staying in power by buying votes with “free” amenities. One of President Trump’s campaign promises was that he was going to build a wall and secure our Southern border. Just like Nehemiah, he mobilized the people and the resources and has begun to make good on that promise.

Additionally, in Nehemiah’s time, taxes were out of control, and the people were having difficulty even affording food for their families. Some were taking advantage of others, and the financial conditions were dismal for God’s people. Nehemiah righted these wrongs. Likewise, past presidents have failed to put our country first in trade deals and in domestic matters. High taxes and burdensome regulations forced companies to leave the U.S. and set up shop in other nations. Many of us are still suffering the effects of the previous administration’s disastrous policies. President Trump has done a lot to “Make America Great Again,” but there is still much to be done. We are one administration away from tax hikes, disastrous trade agreements, gun confiscation, nationwide mask mandates, further shutdowns, socialized medicine, and the like, which will cause Americans to suffer and could even mean the end of our great republic as we know it.

Like Nehemiah, President Trump was a political outsider. Neither man seemed to have aspirations to lead their nations, until conditions deteriorated to the point that they felt compelled to step in and help. As is the case with President Trump, not everyone was happy about Nehemiah’s work and leadership in Jerusalem. While Nehemiah was working so diligently to build the wall around Jerusalem, his enemies “mocked and ridiculed” him. Tobiah, Sanballat, and Geshem taunted him and bullied him to try to make him stop. They even accused Nehemiah of trying to become king (chapter 6:6-7). Sound familiar? Enemies of President Trump have spouted the same nonsense about him. The examples seem to go on and on and on. Nehemiah’s retort to his enemies would be just as applicable for Trump’s attackers: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head” (Neh. 6:8).

Just like Nehemiah’s enemies tried to defame and discredit him, the mainstream media and the elected officials on the left tirelessly attack President Trump. Nehemiah responded about one such attacker: “He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me.” (Neh. 6:13). How many thousands of people in this country have been hired to attack and intimidate our president? They work overtime to give him a bad name and discredit him. Yet, he continues to fight for what’s best for this nation, day after day, with no financial compensation, because he loves America that much. I dare say that many of us would have given up by now and left the wicked to their carry out their schemes.

Through the ages, the enemy of God’s people —Satan—hasn’t changed. He is still recycling the same old tricks, and they are still working. When we fail to learn lessons from history, we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes that our ancestors made. Nehemiah was courageous and valiant in the face of his enemies. When they attacked him, He countered that “The God of heaven will give us success” (Neh. 2:20). I see many parallels between Nehemiah and President Trump. May we take comfort in the words that Nehemiah spoke to his people regarding their enemies: “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” (Neh. 4:14). We are in the fight of our lives for our families and for the very future of this nation today, but unlike those who take to the streets to ravage, burn, and loot, our fight is carried out in large part on our knees and at the ballot box. May we fight powerfully and courageously in the days ahead and encourage our friends and loved ones to do the same. Too much is at stake for our nation and the world to sit this one out. As Nehemiah encouraged his fellow countrymen, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10). 

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2020, Michelle Thomas
Michelle Thomas is a Christ follower, wife to Trevor Thomas, and homeschooling mom of four. Her books include Lord, I Need You, Through Deep Waters, and Debt-Free Living in a Debt-Filled World. Her website is KingdomCrossing.com, and her email is michelle@kingdomcrossing.com.

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