“And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved.” And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.” (Nehemiah 8:9-12)
The people were returning to Jerusalem. The temple was rebuilt. The walls around the city were rebuilt. But more importantly, hearts were turning back to God. The people realized their wrong and wept for it. But the great thing was that God forgave. Nehemiah and Ezra told the people to worship and celebrate God for all that He had done. He had protected them in their time of exile. He brought them back to their home. And He stood ready to forgive them. Because of this, the people could eat and drink and celebrate, because they had something to truly celebrate.
This week, remember all that God has done. More importantly, remember that He stands ready when you want to repent and turn back to Him. He is waiting with open arms.
“When our enemies heard that it was known to us and that God had frustrated their plan, we all returned to the wall, each to his work. From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. And the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah, who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other. And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built. The man who sounded the trumpet was beside me. And I said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “The work is great and widely spread, and we are separated on the wall, far from one another. In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” (Nehemiah 4:15-20)
Nehemiah headed up the efforts to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem. However, there were some discouraging times and there were forces trying to keep the Jews from rebuilding the wall. But that didn’t stop the people. Nehemiah and the people worked hard and defended the workers as they went about the work. More importantly, they had God fighting for them and protecting them.
This week, there may be some discouraging times. There may be those that are enemies that try and discourage the good work you’re doing. Remember that you are not alone. God is there to protect you and watch over you while you do the work He’s called you to do. Be encouraged and keep fighting the good fight.
“Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.” And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work.” Nehemiah 2:17-18
Jerusalem had been destroyed, the people sent into exile. Many years later, the Jewish people were able to begin to return to their homeland. They slowly began to rebuild. However, by the time of Nehemiah, there still wasn’t everything rebuilt. The walls to the city still laid in ruin. Nehemiah felt called by God to leave his job as the king’s cupbearer for a time and to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls.
Nehemiah speaks to the people in Jerusalem, those that had returned to the homeland. He rallies them to the cause of rebuilding the walls. It would be tough work. But God was with them.
There are times in our life when we need to rebuild. In those times, we need to turn to God to provide the strength, the ability, the means in order to rebuild. This week, let us be like the Israelites in saying “Let us rise up and build” and strengthen our hands for the good work we have been called to do.