Read Jeremiah 2:11-18
|11 “I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days 12 I set out during the night with a few others. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no mounts with me except the one I was riding on. 13 By night I went out through the Valley Gate toward the JackalWell and the Dung Gate, examining the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire. 14 Then I moved on toward the Fountain Gate and the King’s Pool, but there was not enough room for my mount to get through; 15 so I went up the valley by night, examining the wall. Finally, I turned back and reentered through the Valley Gate. 16 The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, because as yet I had said nothing to the Jews or the priests or nobles or officials or any others who would be doing the work. 17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” 18 I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me.They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.” |
It was nighttime when Nehemiah set out to tour the city and see the damage done. The destruction was devastating, too much in places even for his horse to navigate. Walls knock down, gates burned, it was a sign of more than the physical destruction of a city, but the broken spirit of a people.
We have all seen pictures of cities all over our nation damaged and destroyed by the fear, pain, and anger of our past. It is easy to hear the cries for justice, reform, and those that want to assign blame and guilt both for the damage and for the cause. But what we need is a Nehemiah. What we need is a Leader that sees what needs to be done, has the ability to bring people together to undertake the task, and God given ability to see it through to completion.
It seems way too easy to become overwhelmed by the need. Decades, generations had passed since the exile and destruction of the city. Many had never seen the city before its ruin and it would have been easy to point a finger, assign blame, and dodge any responsibility in rebuilding it. Nehemiah simply stated, “You see the trouble we are in” (Nehemiah 2:17). He reported that the city was in ruins, and the protecting city wall had been rendered useless.
Many parts of our cities lie in ruin. Structures where people once lived, worked, provided for their families and played are now destroyed. But beyond that many more lives, the hearts and hopes of tens of thousands of people are badly broken and in need of restoration. It doesn’t amaze me really that our God can find ways to rebuild both, and even at the same time. He is ready, willing, and wanting to unite us in a single purpose. Not just to rebuild a community, but rebuild His community, where people from all over find common ground, purpose and calling. Where we set aside differences that don’t matter to accomplish a task, to build a community that does.
We need a leader that after having sat in the seat of reflection, repentance, and readiness will stand up and proclaim the goodness of the Lord, and to call out His people to come to work, plan, and strive together so our communities are rebuilt from the inside out. And I pray that we too would be energized to take on the task unselfishly when we hear “about the gracious hand of my God . . .” May we also immediately respond, “Let us start rebuilding” (v. 18).
With faith in God and not in ourselves, or our party, or an agenda, but in God alone, unified in an all-out effort may we step through the doors of this opportunity a new nation of every people, race, creed and language. May we together, unified by God’s call in our lives take on this seemingly impossible task and rebuild not just the buildings in our community, but the lives of those living in them, around them, and just like them all across this great nation.
As you look at your world, your circumstance, your situation, you may see things that you believe God wants to make different, remove, rebuild, make new. You may have been seeing them for a long time, or they may be brand new. But as the call for change, the call for something new comes to your heart don’t back down. When hecklers and doomsayers talk against what we have set our hearts on, hear the call of the Lord. “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).
But to do this, to do this right, to complete the task that lies before us we must make ready. Showing up will not be enough. We too must take the time to sit with the Lord to seek anything in our heart, minds or plans that will not line up with His plan for us, our community, and our nation. We must as individuals hear the voice of God as He speaks correction into our hearts first. Our hands and our hearts must be empty of personal sin and agendas. There is no room or place for that in the Kingdom work.
As Nehemiah and his community did we need to seek the will and the way of Almighty God, not to ask Him to bless our plans to but join Him in His (2:4-5). Then we need to look long and hard at the issues and the best way to restore them. It doesn’t make any sense to rebuild a broken system with walls that keep people out, excluded, but we should strive to rebuild with purpose, systems that restore, reunite and serve all that live in and around them (vv.11-15). And we should never lose sight that it is God Himself that has not only made us aware of our plight, but has unified us in this fight. For if we ever do, we will once again be a divided people, us and them, and will again find ourselves destroyed in heart and mind, living without the protection and provision the Father has for us all (v.18).
The damage, the destruction has been building up for decades, generations. The waste lies before us, undeniable in its effect on us as a people on both sides of the wall. But this is not the place or time to point out the faults and causes of others, but the time to unite for the will of the Lord, and time to restore, rebuild, a better tomorrow, a better nation. It is the time for us to Listen, Learn, and Lend a hand. Let’s get busy!
(The lesson I heard this morning, June 15, 2020 from the Daily Bread.)