It Is Time to Rebuild Our Lives and Take Back What Sin Has Stolen
In the Old Testament, there was a man named Nehemiah. He was an ordinary man of no special import, and yet he was a remarkable man because of his extraordinary courage and faith in God. His people, the Jews, had been conquered by the Babylonians and taken captive in 586 BC. It was not that God was unable or not strong enough to defend them. It was that they had sinned against the Lord, they had created alliances with the neighboring pagan nations. They had put their trust in ungodly people and had rejected the Lord who would have gladly saved them. As a result, Jerusalem was sacked, its walls were broken down, and it was left as nothing more than a heap of ash and rubble. There was almost nothing left, and their lives were in ruins. They were taken far from their homes, some of them were separated from their families, and they were under the control of their captors.
Still, a remnant of God’s people cried out to the Lord and repented, and God heard their cries. He graciously allowed some of them to return to their beloved home, the Holy City of Jerusalem, but when they arrived there they came face to face with the consequences of their sin. About this time, Nehemiah who was working for the king of Babylon as a cup-bearer, received word from some fellow Jews that the situation in Jerusalem was dire and that the people were in deep despair. Nehemiah broke down and wept. He prayed and he fasted.
Nehemiah realized what he had to do. God needed him to be a change agent for his people; to go and encourage the Jews to rebuild their lives and to live for the Lord once and for all. This was no small task, since he was in the service of the most powerful king at that time – but He did not let that hold him back. After saying a quick prayer to the Lord for favor, he requested the king’s help and safe passage for the journey home. In God’s mercy, the Lord softened the king’s heart, allowing Nehemiah to not only have safe passage, but the king also gave him supplies and timber for the task of rebuilding.
When Nehemiah arrived, his fellow Jews were so distraught and brokenhearted that they had no hope in rebuilding. Nehemiah also encountered opposition with some of the pagans who had repopulated the area. They mocked and jeered that the Jews could never rebuild. The situation looked bleak. The Jews didn’t have the heart to rebuild and their enemies were going to do their best to hinder any progress they might make.
Nevertheless, Nehemiah encouraged the people to get started, to put their hope and trust in the Lord. They got to work and, pretty soon, the wall was built up to half of its original height. Their enemies schemed and plotted to stop them but, under Nehemiah’s direction and encouragement, they continued to work with enthusiasm. At one point, the Jews worked to build with one hand while holding their weapons of defense in the other! Soon, word came that their enemies were going to swoop in and attack them from all sides, killing them in an attempt to put an end to their work.
Nehemiah stood up boldly and called all the people, nobles, and elders together, declaring “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!”
In 455 BC. they succeeded in rebuilding Jerusalem, changing the lives of thousands and they did it in only 52 days! A little over 400 years later, Jesus was born and walked the streets of this rebuilt Jerusalem, which would also become home to the first Christian church.
The destruction of Jerusalem reminds us of how our sins have stripped everything good from our lives. Sin has stolen from us just as it stole from God’s people, Judah. Some of us ended up in jail or prison, separated from our families, our children taken from us, and everyone involved was/is left broken and hopeless in the aftermath. Our lives are destroyed by the sins that make us captives. Many of us have grown up in the all-pervasive cycle of dysfunction and have never seen a better way or knew that it was even possible. Many of us grew up surrounded by poverty, addiction, neglect, and abuse. For many, this was all we knew.
I am asking you, if you have cried out to the Lord and repented for your sins and surrendered to Him…. will you have the courage to be a change agent for good? Will you decide for yourself to stop the cycle of dysfunction and rebuild? It only takes one person to turn things around for generations to come. You can be a Nehemiah for your family and your community. You can start rebuilding today!
“Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!”
For questions about my journey to freedom feel free to email InHis.Word@yahoo.com
In His Grip ~ Melissa Davis