Summary: After the desolation of Jerusalem, Nehemiah rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem. How do we rebuild after a pandemic?
FROM THE RUINS, WE WILL RISE
"17 Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.” 18 And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me. So they said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to this good work." Nehemiah 2:17-18.
When the Babylonian army besieged Jerusalem and destroyed the city, they completely destroyed the Temple and the city. The children of Israel were forced into exile. Those remaining in the city were suffering as a result of hunger and oppression by enemies around. Jerusalem was no longer safe as her wall had been destroyed. The walls once served as a source of refuge, security, protection and stability. But now it lay in ruins. There was nothing left in the once beautiful glorious city than broken dreams, long lost memories and shattered hopes. Jerusalem was a shadow of its former glory! The foundation stones of the city were overturned, the gates burned, and anything of importance had long been stolen by scavengers. That is, until Nehemiah showed up on the scene. He was not an expert builder, but God used him to restore the glory of the city because he had a willing heart. The condition of Jerusalem and its Temple broke his heart. The pride of the Jewish people had deteriorated. So he inquired and was granted permission by King Artaxerxes. After making a thorough survey of the walls of the city at night, he rallied a team, and went to work. Despite oppositions, Nehemiah and his team rebuilt the wall.
Just like in the days of Ezra, Zerubbabel, Haggai and Nehemiah, we're in the midst of a worldwide crisis. Most parts of the world are in lock-downs! The slump in the economy has affected everyone. Those gainfully employed are unable to go to work. Students are not able to attend school. Many cities are abandoned as people stay indoors, either by choice or by government directive. Churches, offices, shops, theaters, restaurants and bars are closed. Even the International Labour Organization estimates that 25 million jobs could be lost. Maybe you’ve been without a job or a source of income for months. The doctor report isn’t what you had hoped. Perhaps you’ve tried without success to resuscitate your failing business. You may have suffered a change in fortunes or it may seem as if your aspirations have been cut down. Perhaps you’re in the middle of a setback that you cannot see a way out of. The socio-economic effects of this pandemic is likely to be severe. But soon COVID-19 will come to an end. Even the darkest night come to an end. "For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, but [a]joy comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5.
“And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.” Job 42:10.
Job was living a very successful life. Then suddenly, it was all over. In one day he lost everything! Job is left bankrupt, homeless, and afflicted. But his story does not end there. The fortunes of Job were restored. "For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity." Proverbs 24:16. There's a comeback after a setback! Even if you're ever swept off your feet by the storms of life, you can come over the waters again. “For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its tender shoots will not cease. 8 Though its root may grow old in the earth, and its stump may die in the ground, 9 Yet at the scent of water it will bud and bring forth branches like a plant.” Job 14:7-9. The hope of restoration of a tree is not in its leaves but in its root. The future may be uncertain, but we must remember that whatever happens, God will never abandon us. Deuteronomy 31:6. "He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps." Psalm 40:2. God is always present, reaching down to give you a helping hand in the raging storms of life.
YOU CAN'T STAY DOWN:
“23 The steps of a good man are [a]ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand.” Psalm 37:23-24.