Until the Lord comes again to put an end to sin and establish righteousness as the standard for society, righteousness will be difficult. We know that it is always better to respond to evil with righteousness, but sometimes righteousness seems to draw out more evil from evil-doers. There is often a sigh of helplessness after a day of doing the right thing in the right way every time.
This was certainly the case with Nehemiah. He is known for his noble character, strong convictions, and great accomplishments, but at the end of many a day in his life he uttered a mere sigh to God asking for his righteousness of that day not to go unnoticed.
After the financial abuse scandal in which he had set aside his rights and expended himself with integrity and generosity, he prayed “Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people” (Neh 5:19).
Later, after the temple abuse scandal Nehemiah again dealt with the issue and put in place more trustworthy treasurers. Although he was the governor, it seemed like he was the only one trying to do things right. Again he prayed “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 his service” (Neh 13:14).
He had maintained his integrity, dealt with all things in a righteous manner, but the evil just seemed to find a new expression every time. The covenant breaking scandal was next, and again Nehemiah stopped that evil. His prayer at the end of the day was again a prayer of frustration over the abundance of evil, but still strong faith in God who remembers the righteous. “Remember this also in my favour, O my God, and spare me according to the greatness of your steadfast love” (Neh 13:22)
But there was just another evil that popped up again. This time the prayer goes two ways. “Remember them for their sin” (Neh 13:29), and “Remember me, O my God, for good” (Neh 13:31).
When your righteousness seems to be sticking out like a sore thumb, with one evil popping up as soon as the previous one was corrected, do not lose heart. Maintain your integrity. Do the next right thing. And join with those who have gone before us in the familiar sigh of righteousness. God remembers us, and He remembers us for our good.