When Nehemiah heard the news that “The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire”, what did he do?
Nehemiah said, “As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”
His response to the news shows that Nehemiah was not willing to ignore the tragic results due to the apathy and sin of Israel.
- Are we willing to face the music and admit that America is in disrepair primarily because of its neglect of God and our many sins against Him?
He heard, he sat down and he wept for days over what he had heard.
- Our culture won’t sit still for a moment. We are just too busy. Will we, like Nehemiah, take time to stop our business and consider the real problems before us? There are babies being murdered by the thousands. Women and children being trafficked for sex around the globe; including in our own back yards. Drugs, alcohol, gangs and pornography are in our schools. Divorce is rampant even among Christians. Children are being neglected by their own parents. Are you willing to sit down for a moment and weep over this? Our walls are breaking and burning and it seems that no one is really noticing, sometimes, not even the Church.
Nehemiah prayed, “O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments,”
Thank God Nehemiah was there to stand in the gap for Israel; a man who recognized the holiness and the greatness of who God is. He understood the nature of the covenant God had made with Abraham; that though it was a covenant implemented and upheld by a perfect covenant-keeping God, the people with whom God made this promise were to commit to its keeping. He understood that only a God of steadfast love would covenant with and redeem such an unworthy people. It is only right that such an undeserving people should love Him supremely and seek always to keep His commands.
- Jesus is this great God in Heaven. He stooped down to earth and wrote a greater covenant in His own blood. Through Jesus we see the commitment of God to His people, so much so that he was willing to give His own life for theirs. His death brings forgiveness and salvation to a people whose righteousness, on their best days, is as filthy rags. What we need today is a Nehemiah. We all need to be "Nehemiah’s" and recognize the great sins of the human race, not that we might lose hope over it, but that we might learn to approach him as a faithful Redeemer, Covenant-Maker and Keeper, and plead with sinners around the country and our globe to enter His rest through faith in Christ.
Nehemiah confessed “the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned.”
Nehemiah was a humble man who recognized his own faults and did not seek to immediately blame others. The walls were broken and burning, and though his hands took no part in it, he did not remove himself completely. He joined in it so that he, too, might benefit from the gift of repentance.
- The first step to our nation's renewal is going to be the repentance of every individual man, woman and child who names the name of Jesus. Should a Christian repent? We should be the best at it. Not one of us is exactly where we need to be. None of us pray, seek, and knock as we should. We keep blinders on of various kinds. We have all sinned. We all ignore real problems as we continue on in our comfortable “Christian” bubbles, all but totally removed from the Great Commission. But if the individuals of a nation repent, the whole nation repents. When the nation repents and turns to God, it heals. It begins with the Nehemiah’s of our day. It begins with you; with all who at this very moment can see and admit, like Nehemiah, that not only has our nation sinned against God, but so have we.
Nehemiah remembered the word of the Lord, “If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.”
- We claim to be a nation “Of the people, by the people and for the people”, but when the majority of that people are unfaithful to the God of Heaven who made them and blessed them with their land, that people will soon scatter like chaff in the wind. God will do this and will be justified in his doing. But when a people, no matter how far they have wandered, turn to the Lord, He will gather them in like a loving hen over her brood. He will put His name upon us. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”
“O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”
As I write this closing paragraph there are men and women all over this country who are in fear. What do they fear? They fear November. They fear Trump and Clinton. They fear the border. They fear ISIS and Al-Qaeda. They fear that their rights are being stripped from them by a tyrant. But do they fear rightly? Israel had enemies more fierce than you can imagine. They conquered cities where the odds were never in their favor. Bread came from Heaven when they needed it and waters gushed forth from a desert rock to quench their thirst. In all of this they were told to fear NOTHING, but God, Himself.
Do we delight to fear His name, or would we rather fear the security of all those things which he could remove from us at any moment? Let us plead and beg God for mercy again. Let’s be His servants and not serve our sinful and fickle appetites. As we step up to begin rebuilding the walls, beginning in our own hearts, our own families and Churches, there will be opposition. Many will jeer at you and fight against you but God can frustrate their plans. Lay one beam at a time. Pray. Repent. Delight in God. Continue the work of rebuilding, rescuing, restoring and loving your neighbor. Bring others in that they might know this great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.