“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.
“And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments came forward with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the Lord, according to the directions of David king of Israel. And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord,
“For he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.”
And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.” (Ezra 3:10-11)
The Israelites were in exile, away from their homeland. Then, they were allowed to go home and slowly but surely groups of people began to go home. With this began the rebuilding of lives and family in what was to them the promised land. This included rebuilding of the temple. When they had laid the foundation for the temple, they took time to sing praises to the Lord. They had a lot to be thankful for as they had endured so much. But God was always there and God provided for them in exile and when they returned back home.
It is good to remember and be thankful for all that God has done. When we go through tough times and get beaten down, it’s good to praise God for helping us get through it. As the foundation for a new year approaches, let us give thanks for all that God is done and all he will do.
Sometimes the most introspective thoughts can come out of the most random locations….
I write a weekly column for a website run by some friends. They also have a weekly podcast that I have appeared on several times. One of these times, there was a song played to open the show that got stuck in my head. That song was “Pompeii” by Bastille. It’s a very catchy tune.
The lyrics really got me to think, especially the bridge of the song. The bridge goes like this:
Oh where do we begin?
The rubble or our sins?
Makes you think doesn’t it? When things are a mess in our lives regardless of the circumstances, it brings us to the point of reflection and introspection. It also makes us assess where we are in the rubble. Before any rebuilding can take place, we have to assess the damage. Sometimes it can seem like a daunting task. Where do we begin? It is important to deal with our sins. We need to confess them to God and ask for forgiveness.
There are those times when we’re in the rubble because of circumstances beyond our control. Living in a fallen world, there are times when we are hurt when we do nothing wrong. In those moments, we have to watch our hearts and not be tempted to get angry and want vengeance. Forgiveness is paramount.
The rubble may look daunting but the awesome thing is that Jesus forgives us of our sins when we confess them. He also is there to help us through the rubble and rebuild. That is some encouraging stuff.