A Passage and A Prayer 9/18/19

“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.’” Nehemiah 2:17-18
            Building sites are a bit of a mess. What was first clean lawn is now dirt and mud, temporary fences and orange barriers. The lawn was quiet, but there’s nothing quiet now with generators running and air tools popping. It’s hard to see the change as progress.

            It was especially hard to see the progress and good in Nehemiah’s case. He was proposing to take the people back to rebuild the walls and city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem had been destroyed in 586 BC, over 100 years before Nehemiah’s time. That destruction had come because God had warned that His judgment would descend on Jerusalem. But now, Nehemiah was proposing that the people of Israel, leave their exile, and return to rebuild Jerusalem.

            But Jerusalem was still in ruins. Do you enjoy going to chaos? Do like to revisit the scene of a sharp argument? No, we avoid those, but Nehemiah wants to take everyone back to the ruins that could only remind them of God’s judgment. But Nehemiah insisted that God was for them and the building would go well. So they went, entered the ruins and built them up.

            God was for them, even in the midst of the rubble. God is for us even on difficult days. After all, the ultimate act of God for us was in the darkness of Good Friday when rough wood was raised and the world was saved. So also now, God is still for us and with us, even when building projects don’t, at first, show all the beauty of the finished product. Let there be orange fences instead of walls. Let there be noisy generators instead of quiet students. God works through every step and He is with us.

Prayer: Our Heavenly Father, thank you for being with us through every difficult step. Make us bold in the early days of building and faithful for the long effort. Remind us that all is built by your grace and mercy. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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