Nehemiah 2:20 (the message)
I shot back, “The God-of-Heaven will make sure we succeed. We’re his servants and we’re going to work, rebuilding. You can keep your nose out of it. You get no say in this — Jerusalem’s none of your business!”
Is there any part of your city that needs rebuilding today?
Nehemiah traveled to Judah from his post in Susa as the king’s cupbearer with a single purpose in mind and burning in his heart: To rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. In chapter one Nehemiah is told, “the exile survivors who are left there in the province are in bad shape. Conditions are appalling. The wall of Jerusalem is still rubble; the city gates are still cinders.” Jerusalem was the Holy City but lay in ruins. God’s people were suffering. Upon hearing the news Nehemiah sat down and wept. The Bible says he mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God of Heaven. During this time, as his heart was broken for God’s city and His people, Nehemiah caught a vision in his heart from God. And as we see in the short verse above, when he encountered opposition he gave the nay-sayers no say at all. He told them to back off! The servants of the God-of-Heaven would succeed in rebuilding and he set about his work.
How about you? Any area of your life in appalling condition? Marriage, relationships with children, family or friends? How about your goals and dreams? Attitudes and motives? Are you living a life built on a sure foundation with the security of God’s strength and promise surrounding you or when you awaken every morning do you see the landscape of chaos and rubble?
This morning, I am struck by a couple of thoughts. First, when Nehemiah heard of the terrible conditions of Jerusalem and God’s people he let his grief lead Him before God. And as Nehemiah poured out His heart to God, a vision for rebuilding was planted in the soil of his shredded heart. If your heart is in tattered shreds today, if your plans and dreams seem blown to so many bits, if your attitudes and motives about life are suffering, then I invite you to come before the Lord. Only when He has access to your heart can He plant a vision for rebuilding.
Secondly, I love Nehemiah’s response to the negativity. Those scoffing at his plans to rebuild. He told them it was none of their business! And I write this morning with an urgency in my own heart…we must decide who we will listen to in this life. We must decide if we are going to pay heed to God’s voice in our lives or the voices of those who will speak against His plans. God absolutely intends for success when His servants get to work on the vision. So we must be ready, as Nehemiah was, to come back against the devil and those that do not share our passion and faith with God’s Word. But only a passion and drive planted in our hearts by God will give us the strength to believe…to follow…to set out to work.
Like Jerusalem, the Holy City, you are holy and precious to God. If you have invited Jesus into your life, then you are a walking, talking dwelling place for the Spirit of the God-of-Heaven. When you serve Him, meaning let go of all the ways you think you have it figured out and just follow His lead, then no doubt He has a vision for your life. A plan for rebuilding the walls of that marriage, refinishing the beauty of your relationships, sanding down those splintered attitudes and re-setting those broken dreams. Our God has all the materials necessary to rebuild your life, your city.
Will you take that first step…will you allow your sorrow or disappointment or shame to lead you to Him? Will you decide to go sit in your room tonight, away from the television, and talk to Him? Will you decide to get up a few minutes earlier tomorrow morning and have some coffee in the dark of your kitchen so He can speak to your heart? Will you decide to check the deepest places of need in your life before you check your email? Will you decide, however hard your feelings fight you, to believe that just maybe God has a vision for the dead places in your life? Will you tell the nay-sayers of doubt and fear to stand down?
Somehow and most amazingly, the wooden beams of a cross, soaked in His blood so long ago, serve as the foundational pieces for rebuilding our cities. Let us be filled with a passion God pours into our hearts as we get away with Him. Let us let Him work His vision into our heart, our mind and our words. And then let’s get on with it.
Are you ready?