Read Nehemiah 1 : 1 - 3
Have you ever been in a place where your expectation is far from your reality? You have done everything you are supposed to, met every requirement, but the results simply do not add up to what you would have predicted. If yes, then you can understand some of the emotions Nehemiah goes through with this report from Jerusalem. The Jewish remnant had returned to Jerusalem with great fanfare and high expectations. They were going back to rebuild the city. They were returning based on the promise God gave Jeremiah, a promise that after their time of exile, they would be restored.
“This is what the Lord says : ‘I will restore the fortunes of Jacob’s tents and have compassion on his dwellings; the city will be rebuilt on her ruins, and the palace will stand in its proper place. From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sound of rejoicing. I will add to their numbers, and they will not be decreased; I will bring them honor, and they will not be disdained.’” Jeremiah 30:18-19
Hanani reports the remnants were in great trouble and disgrace. There was no protection from enemies. They lived in a constant state of fear and vulnerability. These people who were called by the name of the Most High could not even afford to rebuild the walls of the city. The new temple that had been rebuilt paled in comparison to the old. The city was destroyed and despite the passage of time and what we believe must have been a lot of attempts to rebuild, “The wall of Jerusalem is still rubble; the city gates are still cinders.” (Nehemiah 1:3 MSG)
Many years ago, I sold my possessions and left all that was familiar to pursue a master's degree in the United States. I believed that I had received a word from the Lord that He would provide for my degree, and I took a great leap of faith to pursue my dreams. As time went by, my resources dwindled, and I could not see a path forward to raising the money I needed. I was in great trouble, and ahead of me was the prospect of returning home in disgrace.
But my story did not end there. Just like me, the children of Israel did not know God had already turned their situation around. In faraway Babylon, God was raising a Nehemiah to provide direction and help rebuild the wall.
Word of the Day : Opportunity
Look for the things around you that you fully expected to have moved further than they have now. Are you dealing with some trouble or is something giving you cause for shame? Any one of these situations may be an opportunity for you to grow in your leadership.