Becoming Repairers of the Breaches
Over the last week, I have felt the Lord speak to me about Nehemiah and the need for the local church to not just be a group of worshipers and prayer warriors, but to also become a church filled with men and women of action. We are in an age where it seems that the “thing to do” is to follow movements all around the country and post “hashtags” on social media outlets in hopes of bringing about change.
Don’t get me wrong, these are all good things to do, but I want to propose that more needs to be done as awareness will never bring about change without an action attached to it.
In the book of Nehemiah, we read about how Nehemiah saw the brokenness and destruction of his beloved Jerusalem and felt great sorrow and remorse. I imagine he was not alone in what he was seeing and feeling, but for some reason nothing was being done about it. He then begins to fast, pray, and cry out in repentance to God about the moral and physical state of his nation. He then ends his time of prayer by asking for God’s favor to be upon him as he had decided to approach the pagan king he was serving with a bold request.
In chapter 2, we see Nehemiah before the king who recognizes that Nehemiah was not himself that day. So the king asks Nehemiah “What would you request?” At this, Nehemiah rises up and asks to be sent to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls. He also boldly asks for the king to write letters to the governors of the provinces to help provide the supplies needed for the rebuild. At the end of verse 8, we see the King granting his request “because the good hand of my God was on him.”
Reflecting on what took place throughout the remainder of the book of Nehemiah, I cannot help but think that none of it would have happened without the events of chapter 2 and the boldness and actions of Nehemiah. Keep in mind that several years had already passed since Cyrus released the people of Judah to return to Jerusalem to rebuild it. (See Ezra 1) However, despite Cyrus’s decree to also help fund the rebuilding of the city, it remained in ruins as no one had been willing to take action to rebuild. Had it not been for Nehemiah becoming a man of action, it is highly possible that Jerusalem never gets rebuilt.
Something else that caught my attention about this story is what takes place after the walls are built. Not only are the people experiencing a greater sense of unity due to the process of building the walls together, but revival also broke out. In Nehemiah 6, we see Ezra standing before the people, reading from the book of law. The people then respond with an “Amen, Amen” with their hands lifted high before bowing down and worshiping the Lord. (v6)
I want to propose through this blog that if the American church wants to truly see revival and Kingdom transformation take place in our beloved nation, that we need to go beyond the “revival services” and “hashtags” and begin to take actions. We need to begin to understand what is happening in the communities our churches are planted in and begin to take actions against the injustices taking place. We need to invest into our communities and rebuild the walls. Much like Nehemiah saw a need and did something about it, we too need to find what those needs our communities have and ask God to anoint us to become a part of the solution.
“Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up age old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell.” Isaiah 58:12
Maybe it is opening a community center in an impoverished community that provides tutoring for the children, resources for their schooling, and parenting strategies for the parents. Maybe it is opening a rehabilitation center for those who are struggling with addictions. Maybe it is moving the lawn of your elderly neighbors. Maybe it is cooking dinner for a family in need. Or maybe it is opening a home for battered women and their children. The key is to take a fair look at your communities and ask God to show you where the injustices are taking place that are breaking His heart. Once you see it, the next key will be to take a step forward and like Nehemiah, become a part of God’s solution.
Church, it is time to leave our buildings and get our hands dirty. The question is, are you willing to take the risk and necessary sacrifice for it to happen?
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2