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30 May 2014

She Shares Truth: Camp Decisions + Nehemiah

I was TOTALLY one of those Christian camp girls who 'got saved' year after year. I rededicated my life to Christ pretty much every summer. I remember coming home and being so excited to have my quiet time with God every single day, I was gonna invite every person in my school to church with me, I was going to obey my parents and not fight with my siblings...basically, my plan was to come home and be a perfect little angel for Christ.


I remember one specific year, I had done an especially good amount of "rededicating" and "recommitting", unfortunately I had also decided that I would wear my pajamas all day every day instead of the lovely outfits my Mother had packed for me.

No sooner had my parents stepped out of their mini-van to pick us up, did I hear "RACHEL NOELLE! WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU WEARING?!" And rightfully so, I mean, I literally looked like an 11 year old hobo.

Almost instantly, all of my excitement and passion to 'start living for the Lord again' went right out the window. I was so mad at my Mom for not being able to look past the fact that I was wearing pink leopard pajama pants, one of my Dad's old t-shirts and hair that hadn't been washed all week, and see that I was clearly a changed girl.

All throughout my teenage years + adult years I have had spiritual ups and downs. I have had weeks where I had recommitted my life to the Lord and was having my bible study every single day, waking up feeling 'so close to God'. I have had weeks where I was living in sin, and feeling like the Lord was lightyears away.

In studying the book of Nehemiah for the past few weeks, I have seen that my spiritual pattern is unfortunately very similar to the Israelites. Nehemiah chapter 9 goes on to re-hash how many times the Israelites have rebelled and how the Lord has had to deal with them. What seems crazy to me is how the Israelites recognized their sin and their rebellion, recommitted to obeying God, and then they went and rebelled again

As I was reading chapter 13, I couldn't help but think "Come on Israelites! Get it together!" And then, the book just ends. 

There is no recorded merciful hand of God.
There is no "But then.."
There is no repentance.
There is no happy ending.
Just a whole bunch of Nehemiah running around trying to restore His people + clean up the mess.

This ending was no over-sight. As the women of She Reads Truth put it, "these final verses of Nehemiah are not accidental. God inspired the text—His Word—this way." So what does God want us to learn from this book? Here are my thoughts. 

Just because He is "ready to forgive" (Nehemiah 9:17) and has "dealt faithfully [even though] we have acted wickedly" (Nehemiah 9:33b), does not excuse our sin. It is not an excuse to revert back to our old ways + patterns. 

When I finished the book of Nehemiah I was so disappointed in the Israelites, I was frustrated for Nehemiah. They had just made this big hooplah of a rededication to the Lord and obeying the Law and they didn't seem to last very long.

It seems like they made a 'camp decision'. Heightened by their excitement and new-found passion, they made great decisions. But they made compromises in their faith which led to being okay with some of the bigger compromises. Somewhere along the road their passion to live for God went right out the window. 

I read the cliff-hanger that is the book of Nehemiah, and I placed myself in God's shoes. I felt the disappointment that I'm sure my sin + unfaithfulness causes my Savior. 

For me, the lesson to be learned in the way this book ends is this; I need to be always on guard against the enemy. Even in my good intentions + excitement, the temptation to compromise will always come. 

I am reminded that even though the 'wall of my salvation' is secure, to never let my guard down. 

"Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."
I Peter 5:8


  1. So true Friend, its a daily repentance/worship/recommitment process! No by my own strength, but His alone.

  2. This is great. As a whole new season (both in life and in it being summer) rolls around for me, I've been almost overwhelmed by how many new temptations and opportunities for compromise there are-- I've changed a lot since last summer, and the change has me realizing just how much I need to guard my heart at all times. Lord, help us to be on watch and guard! Lead us to make decisions that do not compromise our love and faith in You, but strengthens it! Remind us of who you are. Blessings, sister! Thank you for this insight. :)