"And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, 'Let us rise up and build.' So they strengthened their hands for the good work."
Nehemiah was a servant; a faithful, diligent one; he was also a man of prayer. Because of his faithfulness he had earned a position of great trust; he was the cup-bearer to Artaxerxes, the great King of the Persian Empire.
When he asked the King’s permission to go and rebuild the city of Jerusalem, he not only got a leave of absence but a military escort, a letter of safe-conduct, and credentials from the King ordering the local officials, who hated the Jews, to help him.
God’s blessing was evident on this project.
But the people of Jerusalem were discouraged. They were so used to living in a burned-out ruin of a city and enduring the derision of their neighbors that they had come to accept it as normal. They were convinced that their lot in life was to put up the best they could with ashes, mockery and oppression.
But then Nehemiah arrived, with a secret. The most powerful man in the world was behind him and had given him both permission and authority to build and beautify the Holy City. When he finally revealed his mission to the leaders of Israel, he took care to tell them the story of God’s hand of blessing on this project, and they were inspired. “Let’s rise up and build!” they said. “What are we waiting for?”
What had changed? Their enemies still surrounded them and would continue to resist them in every way they could. The threats, derision and intimidation never relented. They would have to work at the construction armed to the teeth. The city was still a heap of rubble, but now the people were ready to go to work. They had caught the vision for what God was doing and they “rose up and built.“
God is with us. He has made His direction for us clear and the evidence of His blessing is all over us. We have the promises of His Word, including the one that says, “Lo, I am with you always...”
Let’s “rise up and build,” and make it beautiful, because God’s hand is on us for good.
Lord, You have called us to extend Your Kingdom in the hearts of men, women and children here where we are. You have put the tools and the materials to do that in our hands and have promised to be with us as we work. You have made Your blessing on us evident in so many ways. Help us to trust You and to be faithful to do Your work in Your way, for Your honor and glory, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles