LET'S START REBUILDING!
Pastor Sherri Drury
How often do you find yourself surprised by people . . . . . surprised in a good way? I have to admit, I am surprised by the response of the people in Chapter 2 in the story of Nehemiah.
When Nehemiah came to them and said, “let’s do this thing!” Or more accurately, he said, “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.” I also told them about the gracious hand of my God was upon me, and what the king had said to me.
[And their response?] Let us start rebuilding. (2:17-18).
I’m pleasantly surprised.
Of course, God’s hand was upon Nehemiah and God’s hand was in this rebuilding project. That helps us understand why the people agreed so readily. God’s hand and presence in this current campaign moved, inspired and convinced them. But you know what else could have moved, inspired and convinced them? Standing in the middle of the crumbling evidence, the visible consequence of what living away from God’s hand and presence can do to you! Feeling and living in “disgrace” is a great motivator.
I also love how Nehemiah’s rallying invitation to the people and their cooperative reply follows a thorough examination by Nehemiah of the broken and battered walls and gates. After his midnight ride around the perimeter, he was well aware of the size and scope of his “ask”. But he wasn’t discouraged by his inspection. In fact, it seemed to only fuel his passion and resolve.
WIth every paragraph of Nehemiah comes a spiritual connection. For every physical piece of rubble removed, for every human enemy’s threat thwarted, for every new stone placed . . . . there is a spiritual truth for all of us living under the New Covenant.
While we are so very far removed from this ancient story and these ancient people, still we can relate. Many of us know what disgrace feels like and intimately understand what happens to a life when it is lived far away from God’s love, grace, direction and protection.
And in our story, there too is an Inspector. And He knows all of the crumbling, weak, broken, battered and vulnerable places in our lives. Sometimes we have human inspectors in our life as well — good people who (hopefully in a loving manner) point these realities out to us. But even better, God walks the perimeters around our lives, and He sees and knows all. And just like Nehemiah — He is never discouraged by the size and scope of any rebuilding project.
Unlike the story of Nehemiah, God does not do this inspection alone in the dark. I believe he invites us to inspect our lives with Him, shining a spotlight on each area that has been decimated and whispering his plan to rebuild together.
Let’s be inspired by the people in this story. They could have fallen into the trap of becoming reconciled to their sad state of affairs, weary with even the thought of what it would take to rebuild. But instead, they were filled with renewed efforts. They rallied and full-heartedly joined the effort. In Chapter 4, it says that they worked with all their heart! Why? Because they trusted their leader.
Do you trust your leader, Jesus Christ? Do you trust that he would never ask you to do something hard without good reason? That He would never ask you to face threats unless it was worth it? That He would never ask you to give it your all, unless it was necessary and good?
He wants you to rebuild your walls and your gates. He wants you to be restored to full strength. He wants you to fully overcome any disgrace. And His gracious hand is upon you.
How awesome! I have no doubt that there are mighty rebuilding works going on all over our church and all over this valley. I’m praying that we can all say “Let’s start rebuilding” today!