February 7, 2020
15 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. 16 When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.
We come to the close of our reflection on Nehemiah. Despite setbacks and threats, Nehemiah and the people of Israel complete the repairs in 52 days. It was an unbelievable feat of engineering, determination, and grassroots effort. In fact, it is so unbelievable, the surrounding nations realize that the only way the work could have been done was with the help of God.
In Nehemiah’s story we’ve looked at sorrow, conflict, fear, determination, faith, and the importance of community. The thread tying all of these things together is that God used each of them to bring His character and glory to the forefront. The process is uncomplicated. Every time something goes wrong, Nehemiah prays. God answers, and the work continues. That doesn’t mean it was easy. It doesn’t mean everything went smoothly. But at the end of it all, something amazing happened, and everyone could see God’s hand at work.
Do you believe that God wants to do something amazing in your life? Think back to Nehemiah 4:2. “Can they bring these stones back to life from these heaps of rubble . . . ?” Do you believe, standing in the midst of your rubble, that God wants to bring it back to life? Think of the one area in your life that feels hopeless. Addiction. A pending divorce. Estranged children. A dead-end job. Depression. Do you believe that God is working even now to make His glory evident there?
There’s a bit of a catch, of course. God is working to make HIS glory evident. Not yours. If your hope is that at the end of it all, everyone will marvel at your ingenuity, discipline, or strength, then you haven’t actually invited God into the process at all. Similarly, if your plan is to “white-knuckle” it until the trouble has passed, God doesn’t have much room to work there either.
My hope for you is that you are convinced of your insufficiency, and convicted of your pride. Dare to pray for God to reveal your weaknesses so that his strength can be demonstrated.