Jesus’ mandate in coming to earth- he came to rebuild lives, culture, society, religion, government and so much more. Isaiah 61 verse 4 speaks of ruins- which areas of your life are in ruins? Is it your family? Your marriage? Your career? Are you prepared to rebuild all that has been torn down and lies in ruins? Nehemiah didn’t just rebuild the walls of Jerusalem he rebuilt the lives of the Israelites.
From Nehemiah’s life, we see that we can be unafraid to rebuild.
1. If we ask God to break our hearts with what breaks His - Nehemiah was broken in spirit when he heard the condition of Jerusalem after its captivity. He asks God to intervene and save his people, he also asks God to give him favor in the sight of the King who he will need to approach in order to help his people. When God breaks our heart for what breaks his we will be incapable of being apathetic or inactive. We will be spurred into action as he gives us a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26-27) which is a heart changed by God. When we have Christ in our lives- he first rebuilds our lives- That happens when we are conscious of our sinfulness, confess, and repent. He then uses us to rebuild the lives of those around us. He does this by directing and leading our heart according to his will. 2 Thess 3:5 says that the Lord direct our hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. This is evident as he gives us a heart for our family, our career, certain people, certain social issues, certain religious issues, certain environmental issues - because the Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. That’s what happened to Nehemiah when God broke his heart for his land and his people.
2. If we plan ahead and do our due diligence - Nehemiah went fully prepared before King Artaxerxes asking him for provision for safe passage, letters to authorities, and materials needed for the rebuilding. Nehemiah didn’t stop there. Once he got to Jerusalem he went alone and inspected the ruins in order to see for himself what the reality of the situation was rather than relying on hearsay.
3. If we choose our battles wisely - When we rebuild, the opposition is real- so how we respond is very vital to the rebuilding effort as encountered by Nehemiah on several occasions. Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arab were three enemies that rose up and opposed Nehemiah repeatedly. They issued death threats, they intimidated the common people, they ridiculed Nehemiah and spoke hopelessness over their future. Joel Osteen says that “The reason many people miss out on God’s best is because they’re distracted fighting battles that don’t really matter. We need to choose our battles wisely”. Nehemiah did just that. Each time they opposed him he dealt with it differently. On one occasion when they mocked Nehemiah and his companions he answered them by affirming who God was. He said, “ The God of heaven will give us success” (Chapter 2:19-20). On another occasion of ridicule, Nehemiah unburdens himself on God by asking Him to turn their insults back on their heads (Chapter 4:1-5). When they issued death threats, Nehemiah, armed all the people with weapons and assigned people to keep watch both at night and day (Chapter 4:11-15). When faced with intimidation Nehemiah prayed specifically that God would strengthen their hands for the task ahead.
The reality about rebuilding is that, it's hard work since we have to deal with the rubble of the past. Nehemiah had a huge amount of physical rubble to clear from the invaders’ attack on Jerusalem. In our lives, abuse, loss, and failure can cause much rubble to accumulate. We need God’s help to clear the rubble up as we begin to rebuild.
It’s for the long haul- Nehemiah not only rebuilt the walls, he reinstated the temple of God, instituted reforms in society for generations to come. As we step into rebuilding the things God is calling us to rebuild we will need to commit to a lifetime of rebuilding. We will need to journey with people for years on end trusting God to do the heavy job of transforming them.
It will look impossible but with God’s help it will make - It took 52 days for the whole wall to be rebuilt. The dimensions of the wall was approximately 4018 meters in length, 39 feet in height, and 8 ft in thickness. This was no small feat. As we work to rebuild the ruins we will find that the task is bigger than it seemed to begin with. With each new obstacle and setback comes fresh grace and strength for the task ahead.
Rebuilding can create something better and stronger than what existed before. The walls that were built were imposing and structurally sound ready to stand for many more years. As we rebuild people’s lives, our churches, our families we can be sure that when we rebuild alongside Christ that the finished product will be way better than it ever was, to begin with. What a hope!
Are you prepared to be unafraid to rebuild? Are you ready to work on the rubble and to deal with all the opposition that will come with it?