Things are just falling apart!
Words we have all uttered, perhaps, or heard spoken by someone close to us.
When things appear to be caving in around us, we tend to want to do something, anything to salvage what we deem important and necessary to us. Often, we do not even pray and ask questions like,
“God, are You trying to change something in my life? What are You trying to show me, Lord?”
There are many times when parts of our lives should be condemned or demolished because they do not fall within the will and plan of God, but we continue to fight to hold on to what never should have been allowed in our lives in the first place. There are instances where it is possible that we need to stop trying to keep it all together and let the broken pieces fall. After that, we will be in a position to allow God to work through us to rebuild the shattered fragments.
Let us take an excursion with Nehemiah for a bit.
Nehemiah 1:3-4 (NLT) says,
3 They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.” 4 When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.
Nehemiah hears a discouraging report and turns to God in prayer.
Nehemiah learns that the wall of Jerusalem has been torn down and the gates have been destroyed by fire. When he was informed of this, he sat down and wept. In fact, for days, he mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven. He did not just go running in to the situation trying to resolve things on his own. He grieved over the chaos that had been allowed because of the sin and eventual exile of God’s people.
Nehemiah did what we should do when things have fallen apart. He sought the direction of God.
That needs to be my first response when I hear discouraging news. I must go to God in prayer.
The reason for the destruction of the wall was because of the Israelites continued disobedience. They were taken captive by the Babylonians and were in exile for 70 years. This happened during the time of the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah was to bring God’s words to nations and kingdoms (“to build and to plant”). His work was to warn not only the Jews but all the nations of the world about God’s judgment for sin.
To make a long story short, God’s people would not take heed to the warnings that God spoke through Jeremiah. As a result, there were some things that the people had to go through. When we fail to take heed to the warnings that God sends our way through His Word, the Bible, or through messages or sermons we may hear or read, we are in for some tough times ahead.
But God! He promises restoration when we repent and turn back to Him.
Jeremiah 29:10-14 says,
10 This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”
God promised that what had fallen apart, He would put back together again.
Moving back from our little side trip with Jeremiah, let’s see what is going on with Nehemiah.
Nehemiah 1:5-9 (NLT) says,
5 Then I said, “O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, 6 listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! 7 We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses. 8 “Please remember what you told your servant Moses: ‘If you are unfaithful to me, I will scatter you among the nations. 9 But if you return to me and obey my commands and live by them, then even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth, I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored.’
With the opening words of his prayer, He describes God as the God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands. We, too, need to remember to ascribe God’s attributes to Him when we begin our prayers.
God is faithful, he is omnipresent (ever present), omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), mighty, way-maker, alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, truth, victorious, worth the glory and honor and praise. He is this and so much more.
In his prayer, Nehemiah recalls God’s curse on sin and his promise of restoration.
Approximately 5 to 6 months passed between Nehemiah hearing the bad report and then making a request of the king. During those intervening months, Nehemiah was praying. During our difficult seasons of life, we must also take time to pray and commune and connect with God. We must continue to build up our personal relationship with Him.
God is sovereign. He has a plan for us, what He wants to happen, and He is involved in the details of our lives as he works his providential will; setting up and connecting/intersecting things to make things happen in our lives.
So, what was Nehemiah’s current occupation during the time that he had learned that everything had fallen apart? Nehemiah was the cup-bearer to King Artaxerxes. He had a very important position, but how many of us know that when God calls us to do something, our other agenda’s sometimes must be put on hold so that God can bring about change in our lives and situations.
For me that meant relinquishing some of my television time to read God’s Word and to be still and hear what my next steps should be. I had to let go of some friendships, not because I did not love or care for them anymore, but I needed to be set apart so that God could make some alterations within my heart and soul. He needed to get my attention so that I would focus on Him and be prepared when He called me to rebuild what Satan attempted to destroy. I’m still rebuilding one step and one day at a time. I don’t always know what’s before me, but I know WHO is with me.
Nehemiah 2:4-6 (NLT) says,
4 The king asked, “Well, how can I help you?”
With a prayer to the God of heaven, 5 I replied, “If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.”
6 The king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked, “How long will you be gone? When will you return?” After I told him how long I would be gone, the king agreed to my request.
Nehemiah was given permission by the King to return to Jerusalem. Nehemiah’s direction from God: Rebuild the Wall.
In Matthew 5:10-11, Jesus says,
“God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blessed you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.”
Enemies will oppose your rebuilding process. Not everyone wants to see you delivered and set free and doing God’s will.
When things have fallen apart in our lives, after we have sought the Lord for direction, He may instruct us to rebuild what we once thought to have been completely destroyed.
It may look hopeless and as if restoration is not possible; but if God is in it, He can make anything new.
In everything that tried to come against Nehemiah, He responded with prayer to God. When others came against Him and opposed the plan of God for his life, Nehemiah remained faithful and left all judgment in God’s hands.
Deuteronomy 32:35 (NLT) says,
35 I will take revenge; I will pay them back.
In due time their feet will slip.
Their day of disaster will arrive,
and their destiny will overtake them.’
In the face of severe adversity, Nehemiah expressed that the people should place their focus on the Lord. When opposition and distractions tried to personally deter Nehemiah, he described the work he was doing in Jerusalem as GREAT WORK.
Nehemiah 6:2-3 (NLT) says,
2 So Sanballat and Geshem sent a message asking me to meet them at one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But I realized they were plotting to harm me, 3 so I replied by sending this message to them: “I am engaged in a great work, so I can’t come. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?”
When we face daily situations that come to get us off track, we too, must place our focus on the Lord. If we do not keep Him in view at all times, we will be subject to get off track. But like Nehemiah, we have a great work to do and we cannot come down.
Ephesians 2:10 (NLT) says,
10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Colossians 3:23-24 (NLT) says,
23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 24 Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.
Nehemiah 4:14 (NLT) says,
14 Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the nobles and the rest of the people and said to them, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!”
When Nehemiah’s, and those who were building the wall’s, enemies and the surrounding nations heard that the wall was finished, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of their God.
When God finishes rebuilding our hearts, and our attitudes, as well as the way we think and live, we must be careful to not allow anyone to destroy the amazing transformation that God has made in our lives. We must stay on guard and arm ourselves with the things of God. We must daily read God’s Word, pray, and continue to follow His leading.
God wants to rebuild our dreams, our households and relationships with spouses, children, grandchildren and even ministries. But part of that process may mean allowing God to break down our stubborn wills and get to the root of our brokenness and rebuild us from the inside out.
When things fall apart, turn to God in prayer, and let Him rebuild what is in His will. It’s never over until God says so.
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Psalm 89:1 NLT
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