Summary: Now that tragedy has hit the country, what will we do now? That is the question.
On 911, 2001 our country was struck by something that changed the lives of many people. Our nation was struck by something that destroyed the lives of many people. The act of terrorism that struck our country will forever change the lives of many if not all Americans.
The acts of terrorism that our country witnessed left many Americans asking the questions of “why” this happened and “how” something like this could happen in America. Over the last couple of weeks we have looked at the questions of “Where is God in times of trouble?” and “Why do bad things happen to good People?”
Today we are going to look at the question, “What now?”
The recent acts of evil perpetrated on our nation can do one of two things to our nation, they can destroy us or they can make us a stronger nation.
In your life when you face the difficult times in life, you can allow those difficulties to do one of two things to you. You can allow the difficulties to destroy you with hate, bitterness, fear all that goes with it. Many times we can end up turning into what we hate. When we do this, Satan wins. The other option is that you can pick up the pieces and with God rebuild something wonderful.
The most important question we have to face when ever we face tragedies in our lives or when we face evil perpetrated against us is, “Now what?”
What are we going to do? Our great nation has to ask itself that question just as you and I need to.
Today, I want to take you to the Old Testament to the book of Nehemiah.
Nehemiah was a layman, cupbearer to the great “Artaxerxes,” who ruled Persia from 464 to 423 B.C. Nehemiah means; “The Lord has comforted.”
A cupbearer was much more than our modern “butler” (see Gen. 40). It was a position of great responsibility and privilege. At each meal, he tested the king’s wine to make sure it wasn’t poisoned. A man who stood that close to the king in public had to be handsome, cultured, knowledgeable in court procedures, and able to converse with the king and advise him if asked (see 41:1-13). Because he had access to the king, the cupbearer was a man of great influence, which he could use for good or for evil.
The Southern kingdom (Judah) (Northern by Assyria 722 BC) (Split 931 BC) had been taken captive by the Babylonians starting in 605 BC.
539 BC the Babylonian empire fell to the Persians.
538 B.C., Cyrus of Persia allowed the Jews to return home.
536 B.C., about 50,000 returned from captivity to Jerusalem.
535 B.C., the Temple reconstruction began.
515 B.C., the Temple was completed.
458, Ezra returned
445, Nehemiah returned to rebuild the walls of the city.
The nation was not very strong after the return. Moral was low. The city was left in ruins. The opposing nations wanted to keep Jerusalem in bad shape. The world was against Israel.
What was the nation going to do? Were they going to let the tragedy of their defeats in earlier years leave them vulnerable or were they going to do something about it? For almost 90 years the city lay in ruin until Nehemiah decided it was time for a change.
As we look at how Nehemiah picked up the pieces of his fallen nation, let us learn how to respond in a positive way to the tough times in our lives.
I. PICKING UP THE PIECES REQUIRES PEOPLE WHO CARE. C-1
1. Nehemiah cared enough to ask. (1:1-3 READ)
Brother came back from a visit. When his brother coma for a visit from Judah, Nehemiah cared enough to ask how things were going back home.
How many times have we sensed something wrong with someone and never asked how things were going? GALATIANS 6:2 tells us, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”
Had Nehemiah not asked, he would not have known just how bad things were back home.
Sometimes we think we are too busy to ask people how their lives are going.
His concern did not stop there however.
2. Nehemiah cared enough to weep. (1:4 READ)
Nehemiah cared so much for the situation at home that he wept for days.
As our nation has faced one of its’ darkest hours, there have been many caring people who have wept for those who had been affected by the acts of evil.
All of us will not shed outward tears, but we will hurt inside. Have you ever hurt inside for another? I think that we all have. Nehemiah certainly did. But his caring did not end with the weeping.