Nehemiah 2:17 Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. 18 Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work. 19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king? 20 Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.
Rise up and build. The words build and build again are used a lot in Nehemiah. Israel’s glory days were over because of their sin. They followed other gods taking the temple and their Holy City for granted. God allowed Babylon to take over their mighty temple taking it and the walls of the city down. It was nothing but a heap. The people were carried into captivity and remained that way for 70 years. The stragglers left behind never made anything of themselves or did any rebuilding.
Sanballat was a Horonite. Another was an Ammonite. They had moved into the area. There was a spirit of discouragement in the stragglers as well as those in captivity. They had hung their harps in the willow trees and sang no more. They had given up.
Looking back on this year we have more blessings than we can count. We can see where we fell short in serving God. We think of personal resolutions this time of year. The past is past. There is little more than 24 hours left in 2018. We can’t go back. Israel couldn’t undo the damage done. There was no rewind. God had a plan for them. With God it is never too late. If you failed in your service for the Lord, you have to build and rebuild. When we look at God we see no loss. He has never failed. In spite of the devil, He works. We can’t say that of ourselves. Israel couldn’t.
Nehemiah was a Jew under servitude of King Artaxerxes. He was under slavery, but he loved the Lord. He saw how they all had failed and it bothered him. It ought to bother us when we fail. Here at the beginning of another year the devil will say “why try?” We must.
Looking at Jerusalem was like looking a tornado damage. When Nehemiah saw the distress, he saw an opportunity to rebuild. Not with new ideas or new blueprints but with the old broken stones. Some laughed at him for thinking he could build it all back with rubbish. But he said they were doing a good work and relying on God. He told the people they would rebuild the old with the old. He knew if they did their part God would do his. Some still laughed, but the people set their heart to do it and did it in 57 days.
If you’ve lost ground, lost any footing in your spiritual life, take this opportunity to build back. We might not be like we used to be. Our mind might not be like when we were younger. Our body might not be as able as it used to be. God can still use us. We can build again.
Nehemiah could look at the city as a disaster or as an opportunity to build again. Abraham and Sara hoped against hope and Isaac was finally born. We can look at the New Year and say “with God we can do all things.” We can still kick up our heels and praise the Lord. We can witness. Our testimony should burn like a torch in the night. Get the flame going!
Nehemiah was asked time and again if he was going to use those old stones. They were using them. Quit listening to the world and its derision. Don’t keep your eyes on the rubble and determine in your heart to serve the Lord and help others. Do it. Have the thought that God has his hand on you to do good. The Spirit of God is in us. Let’s fellowship with Him to serve God with a renewed spirit. Leave your sour attitude in 2018. Don’t look at the cup as half empty. Work on it so it is running over again.
The people said let us rise up and build. They set their hands to work. Sometimes when we make such statements we mean ‘you go first.’ I can’t serve God for you and you cannot do it for me. We’ve got to each do our part. Every person helped build that wall. We can’t help whether others get on the wall and work or not. They said “let us” and the key word is us. When “us” did it, it was done. When God’s hand is upon ours we can accomplish great things. 2019 can be our best year. Rise up and build.