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Rebuilding the WallRebuilding the Wall
by Ron Rose

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    Almost a century after Zerubbabel led the first group back to the homeland, the Jews in Jerusalem were still discouraged and weak. Something was missing. There was no sense of identity and no security against their enemies. When Nehemiah, who was still in Babylon, heard of the miserable conditions in Jerusalem, he cried, fasted, and prayed, and God honored his prayers. King Artaxerxes not only sent Nehemiah to Jerusalem with a commission to rebuild it, but Artaxerxes provided him with army officers and letters to guarantee his safe passage.

The LORD says, “You have said terrible things about me. ‘But you ask, ‘What have we said about you?’ You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God. It did no good to obey his laws and to show the LORD All-Powerful that we were sorry for what we did. So we say that proud people are happy. Evil people succeed. They challenge God and get away with it.’” Then those who honored the LORD spoke with each other, and the LORD listened and heard them. The names of those who honored the LORD and respected him were written in his presence in a book to be remembered. The LORD All-Powerful says, “They belong to me; on that day they will be my very own. As a parent shows mercy to his child who serves him, I will show mercy to my people. You will again see the difference between good and evil people, between those who serve God and those who don’t.”
MALACHI 3:13-18
    Upon his arrival Nehemiah secretly surveyed the condition of the wall. Then he met with local leaders and the priests to tell them the reason for his coming. Nehemiah wanted to restore Jerusalem, beginning with the reconstruction of the walls around the city. The leaders and priests agreed, and the work began with everyone contributing wholeheartedly.

    Despite ridicule and threats from the leaders of surrounding regions, the work went well until the wall was completed to half its intended height. Then the enemies of the Israelites threatened war. Nehemiah and the people prayed and scheduled guards on the wall both day and night. In less than two months the wall was completed. There was no doubt, even in the minds of their enemies, that God had protected them and granted them success.

    As long as Nehemiah was governor of Jerusalem, he took care of the poor and encouraged the people to follow the Lord, but something was still missing. When Nehemiah returned to Babylon, the people once again ignored God’s commands. The prophet Malachi reminded the people that God still loved them but that he would also judge them for their wickedness. The closing promise of Malachi pictures the time when the heavenly Father would send his prophet “Elijah” to change the hearts of his creation, to turn the hearts of fathers toward their children and children toward their fathers. That’s what had been missing — changed hearts.

Reflection: It’s easy to get discouraged when God doesn’t respond to our beck and call, when things don’t happen as we think they should, or when life seems unfair. ‘When we struggle with discouragement, it usually means we have let our focus slip from God to ourselves. But if we turn our hearts toward his fatherhood, his unquestionable and unending care for his children, then our courage and hope grow — despite our circumstances.

 
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      Text copyright © 1997, Multnomah Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

      Title: "Rebuilding the Wall"
      Author: Ron Rose
      Publication Date: March 30, 2003


 
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Ron Rose is a noted author and Director of Faith in Families. For more details, click here.

 

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