Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 7-13
I was working on a project one day and called a friend for help. I told him I was reading the directions and he said, “The first thing to do is to throw away the directions!” He offered to come and help me himself.
I appreciated his offer, but I soon found out he had only done this once before and the project was bigger than he thought. I decided it was time to pull out the directions again!
Perhaps the best advice I can give you for how to maintain what you’ve worked so hard to build is this: Read the directions! Pull out a copy of God’s Word and do what it says. The same directions that helped you to rebuild what’s broken in your life can help you maintain what you’ve built.
This is exactly what Nehemiah did when they finished rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. Nehemiah assembled all the people in one place and had Ezra the scribe, along with the Levites, read and explain God’s Word to the people. Nehemiah says:
“They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read” (Nehemiah 8:8).
The rest of the book of Nehemiah describes the effects God’s Word had on the people―the same effects it can have on you:
1) It caused them to weep for what they had lost, due to their own sins and the sins of their fathers. Nehemiah says,
“For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law” (Nehemiah 8:9b).
God knew how the wall fell into disrepair in the first place, and He knew how to put it together again.
2) It caused them to praise God for what He had done. Nehemiah knew they were heartbroken over what had been lost, but he lifted their spirits by telling them,
“Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
God wanted them to know what had gone wrong, but He also wanted them to get up and move on.
3) It caused them to recommit their future to God. The people said,
“In view of all this, we are making a binding agreement, putting it in writing, and our leaders, our Levites and our priests are affixing their seals to it” (Nehemiah 9:38).
After rebuilding the wall, they wanted to rebuild their lives in a way that honored God.
4) It caused them to dedicate the work to God. The party they held to dedicate the wall was so exuberant that Nehemiah said,
“The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away” (Nehemiah 12:43b).
They marked the occasion with an all-out celebration, dedicating the work of their hands into God’s hands.
Nehemiah did it, and so can you. He set out to achieve what God had put on his heart, then he followed through with the hard work to get it done. Even though the project seemed imposing, impractical and nearly impossible, God helped Nehemiah all along the way. God provided Nehemiah with the wisdom, resources, strength and people to pull it off, just like God will do for you when He gives you the green light to do something for Him.
The same God who helped Nehemiah will help you, too. God loves you. He is for you. And He wants you to succeed, not only for Your sake, but for His sake, and for the sake of all those who will be touched by the work of your hands in the future.
Just because our study of the book of Nehemiah is finished, it doesn’t mean that your study of God’s Word has to stop here. Don’t throw out the directions just because the project is finished! Keep reading and rereading God’s Word every day for the rest of your life!
I pray that as you read it, like Nehemiah, you’ll find that the joy of the Lord is your strength as well.
Prayer: Father, thank You for giving me Your Word to help me rebuild my life and maintain what I’ve rebuilt. Lord, help me to keep reading and rereading Your Word, and in so doing, help me to find that Your joy is my strength. In Jesus’ name, Amen.