September 6

Nehemiah 7:2 (NIV) 2I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most men do.

Once the walls were completed and the gates hung, the enemies of Israel became discouraged because they realized the work was done with the help of God. (6:16) There were still spies within the city who regularly informed the enemies as to what was taking place. They sent letters to Nehemiah to intimidate him, but now the walls are up and so is Israel's confidence in the help of their God.

Nehemiah assigned his brother Hanani, along with Hananiah, to be in charge of the city. The reason that he was chosen was because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most men. Do you know someone like that? They are careful to obey the law even in areas most people consider unimportant. They are quick to make any offense right with others. They spend time in the Word, but are humble about their knowledge of it. They fear God more than most men do. If you need someone to be trusted in difficult situations, you want this kind of person. You know they won't compromise, for they fear God more than most men do.

And how about you? Do you fear God more than most? Are you a person of integrity because you know the justice of God, that it is not possible to do wrong and escape His justice in the consequences for evil? You know your sins are covered by the blood of Jesus, but is your sense of His justice still a motivating factor in your life? The Apostle Paul asked if we should sin that grace would look more wonderful by contrast. Of course not! (Romans 6:1,2) Sin still has consequences in this life; God disciplines the children He loves.

Remember: A person of great integrity fears God more than most men do.

September 6

2 Corinthians 2:14-16 (NIV) 14But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 15For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?

When the Roman army conquered a region, the commander would return to Rome for a triumphal procession. The captives and their treasures would be paraded down the main street of Rome so that all could see. Paul says we are always being led like captives. There is a great difference. Those led by the Roman army were sadly going into servitude or death. We are going joyfully into servitude and death.

Our Captor is none other than the King of kings. His intentions are for our good. The king we once served under was brutal. In some cases, it was the same with Rome. The people saw captivity to Rome as a better situation than the regime they lived under. Our situation is infinitely better. We go with great joy because we know the good intentions of the heart of our Captor. We call Him our Liberator, our Redeemer.

As we are led, we spread the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. Sometimes those watching the procession do not know of His great heart and fear being taken captive. They catch that scent of the knowledge of Him, but it smells like death to them. Others catch the fragrance and smell life. The perishing smell death. Those that are being saved smell life. Are you spreading the fragrance?

What a task we have! Sometimes we look like we are going into hard servitude. We certainly shouldn't. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Does the audience smell His fragrance as you pass? Do they see the joy of serving Christ, or a whining servant that is thinking of returning to Egypt?

Consider: Only Christ can make us equal to the task of spreading His delightful fragrance.