Day 150: Picking up the pieces (Nehemiah)

Posted: August 28, 2010 in Uncategorized

“Now therefore, O our God, the great, mighty and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love, do not let all this hardship seem trifling in your eyes—the hardship that has come upon us, upon our kings and leaders, upon our priests and prophets, upon our fathers and all your people, from the days of the kings of Assyria until today. In all that has happened to us, you have been just; you have acted faithfully, while we did wrong. Our kings, our leaders, our priests and our fathers did not follow your law; they did not pay attention to your commands or the warnings you gave them. Even while they were in their kingdom, enjoying your great goodness to them in the spacious and fertile land you gave them, they did not serve you or turn from their evil ways. – Nehemiah 8:32-35

When Nehemiah entered Jerusalem during the third return to the Holy Land, what he saw was more than a series of broken walls – he saw broken lives. The walls that laid in shambles all around the city were a great metaphor to the condition of the Jewish people’s’ hearts as they continued to live in sin.

The broken down walls left them vulnerable to attack, and the broken down moral system had left them vulnerable to the attacks of their spiritual enemy – Satan. So Nehemiah, along with Ezra, rebuilt the nation, physically and spiritually.

The book of Nehemiah is quite encouraging, giving it a read through over the last couple of days. The beginning of the book is bleak, to say the least. Israel is in a state of complete disaster. The first and second remnant of Jews had already returned (as laid out in Ezra), and now Nehemiah comes in, ready to make some changes, and change they do!

As Nehemiah rebuilds the walls surrounding the city, his contemporary, Ezra, begins to teach, and declare God’s Word to the people, and they vow to change. By the end of the book, Israel is renewed, having repented of their sins, ready to serve and refreshed in the Spirit.

It’s yet another example of God’s love shining through when it seems that all hope is lost. Israel was a mess, and God turned the nation back to Him. In our own lives today, the same is true. Nothing is too bad to seek forgiveness for. No matter what you have done, it can be forgiven. You can still obtain that close relationship with God. Even if your life feels like a set of disassembled pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, God is the answer key to put the puzzle back together again!

I can’t let the book go by without commenting on the character of Nehemiah. Not only was   a man of prayer, he was a man of action – he knew how to get things done, and get them done well. He was organized, efficient and most of all, he was always in prayer. What a great example of how to walk the walk, and not just talk the talk. It’s an encouragement to me, as I go through this life, not to just say things just for the sake of saying them, but to follow-up on my words with action for Christ. I may not be building fortifying walls around a city, but in my own spiritual life, I will be much more effective if I actually live out what I am proclaiming to be true about the LORD. I can say all I want, “God commands us to pray without ceasing,” which he does, but if I don’t strive for that goal, what good is me saying that to someone else?

Overall, I saw the book of Nehemiah as a message of hope. No matter what befalls you, God can help you pick up the pieces of your broken life, and put them back together again. You are never too far away to return back to God. You are never too bad to turn your face upon Him again. You will never do anything terrible enough to never sincerely repent from. God is loving and merciful, and like the Israelites during their return to their homeland, He can ring that same forgiveness to you!

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