Nehemiah: Day 3

We Prepared to Rebuild the Walls

by

Today's Text: Nehemiah 2:11-20, Isaiah 62:8-12, Ephesians 2:19-22, James 2:14-26

Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 2:11-20, Isaiah 62:8-12, Ephesians 2:19-22, James 2:14-26

Ask any of my friends and they will tell you this: I am terrible at the game of Jenga. It’s the one with wooden blocks stacked tall and intricately as a puzzle of sorts, criss-crossed in a stack that begs to remain unbroken. And yet, that is exactly the point of the game: taking turns slowly choosing just the right block to strategically remove, all while keeping the tower standing and intact. The first few rounds include some easy takeaways, but as the blocks continue to be removed the chances of the tower tumbling increase. And trust me, you do not want to be the one choosing the wrong block, causing the tumble, and ending the game.

Many days, it feels as if tragedy is looming and pain is just around the corner. Afraid, we don’t want to be the one to make our joys tumble into sadness, or witness our hopes disintegrating into ruin. No one wants to fall.

Jerusalem’s wall fell. Torn down and destroyed by fire, the walls and gates surrounding Nehemiah’s beloved city whispered a disgraceful story of shame and abandonment. Like standing beside a spilled tower of blocks, Jerusalem was filled with nothing but past memories and lost hopes. That is, until Nehemiah showed up with plans only God could have laid on His heart:

“You see the trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins and its gates have been burned. Come, let’s rebuild Jerusalem’s wall, so that we will no longer be a disgrace” (Nehemiah 2:17).

While we fear destruction and are anticipating all the ways we could mess things up, God has already planned restoration. Where we stand in ruin, He sees new creation.

Unfortunately, I have a hard time remembering this truth when I’m in the midst of painful circumstances. And every time I choose the wrong Jenga block, so to speak, I vow to never play again, wondering what I could have done differently to avoid pain. The thought that doesn’t cross my mind so easily is this: rebuild. I don’t see the point in stacking the blocks up again, only to fall once more.

But rebuilding is not an afterthought to God. Restoration and redemption are His priority. By God’s mercy, He allows our eyes to see glimpses of the restoration plan and invites our hands and hearts into the work. Nehemiah trusted in the good work God was doing through him, even when he could not yet envision the final product. He knew the God of the heavens would grant them success (v.20).

A new wall for Jerusalem meant much more than one more round of Jenga. The rebuilt walls protected a temple, creating a safe and sacred space for worship. In the same way, our God is always building us up to know and adore Him more. This is true restoration. Thanks be to Him.

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  • Kaydee Merritt

    It’s so awesome to know that God sees creation and newness when all we can see is destruction and loss in our life. He works all things for good. I loved Isaiah 62:12 that says the people of Israel (and us as adoption children of Israel) shall be called Sought Out. Even when we are far, God seeks us!

  • Thanks so much for these words Kaitlin. I’ve been stuck for a couple of years now scared to move forward in case I fail. I feel God’s presence nudging me forward but while I trust Him, I just do not trust myself. Reading these words: “While we fear destruction and are anticipating all the ways we could mess things up, God has already planned restoration. Where we stand in ruin, He sees new creation,” made my spirit leap.
    I have been meaning to get back to SRT and the Bible studies since Lent. I fell off about halfway through Lent for some reason. But I have been feeling the call the last couple of weeks but yesterday it was too strong to ignore so I jumped into Nehemiah and did the first 2 days which moved me and felt like Nehemiah is what I need, my life feels and is a mess right now and Nehemiah is about taking the ruins and rebuilding so I truly feel led by my Father. Today, reading your essay on Nehemiah I realize this is what He wanted me to see, where I see only ruin and despair, He has already planned my restoration and joy.
    Thank you so much, I just am totally overwhelmed at how on point this was.

  • Katie Brown

    I love when God shows us a glimpse of his Glory and our future glory with him!

  • Leslie B.

    I love the key scripture today and also echo what someone said about how Nehemiah continues to say “my God”
    I am struggling today feeling like my walls are
    Slowly crumbling around me and no one even notices or cares. I know “my” God loves me but we have had so much over the past 9 years mainly financially but it keeps us distracted and I feel even my marriage is being hurt, we work all the time very hard at our new business we seem to have very little if any left for ourselves or our family. Just asking for prayer today and that “my” God will hear my cries and send the encouragement we need. I won’t give up or let the enemy win . We just need some kind of reprieve.

    • Jasmine

      Praying for you guys!! God is with you, always.

    • Holly

      Praying for you and your family. God is amazing and so loving and is always with us.

    • Lacey Hundley

      Yesterday’s reading I feel like really talks to your struggle…how even in your disappointment, you have to “keep truckin” at work, in the home, etc. BUT GOD still sees each disappointment and struggle. He always provides blessings but it is our job to look for them. Nehemiah has the king ask him his desires and that was a blessing. I pray right now that God provides for your needs and that He will reveal those provisions to you, that your human heart and mind will find reassurance when you are discouraged. :)

  • Tamara B

    I love that Nehemiah is written with mentioning of “my God” vs 18: 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.
    It makes Me feel the presence of God even more!

  • Shelby Lynn

    While we stand in ruin, HE sees new creation—Lord let me see this earthly life through your eyes where I see rebuild vs destruction. For that’s was the devil wants us ya to fixate on turmoil, defeat, despair; I AM STRONGER THAN THAT! You created me and therefore I should be a stronger daughter of such a miraculous Father! Lord thank you for this message today and for the women/men helping to get your Word out to every corner of this world. Help me to facilitate that need of spreading your Word as well.

  • Carol Burnum

    After a horrible year in 2017 with clinical depression and anxiety, I am back to my carefree self. I rebuilt walls in my life through a long period of getting off benzodiazepines. Nothing happened over night, it was a day by day process. I’m so thankful I’m better now with the help of my psychiatrist and God’s hand on me. I thank Him for the antidepressants I take that pulled me out of a dark deep pit. I’m rebuilding walls now in 2018 and I am so thankful!!

    • cindyjof8

      Psalm 40 comes to mind. . Praising the Lord with you sister!

    • Katie Riegel

      I went through a really rough patch like that about 5 years ago. I thought I would never recover. But God is great! I’m thankful you are seeing healing in your life too!

  • Lindsey Froemming

    This is a reminder that we serve the God in heaven and not man on earth, He will bless our work that is for him even if others question or don’t believe in us!

  • Carley Guillorn

    The idea that while we fear destruction, god is already rebuilding and restoring is so overwhelming and something I wish I would remember more often.

  • Naomi Dibdin

    Wow, this is a time my husband I are in, trying to cling to the promise of restoration and rebuilding. That God is in our future.

    • Mary Foster

      Naomi——33years ago my husband and I were in that place too. Staring down divorce due to the brokenness that came because of sin and in particular the sin of infidelity. And here’s the word the Lord continued to speak in my heart…..BUT GOD! We chose to battle through all the pain and rebuild our foundations (because we had made a mess out of them even as believers because we were so busy building our own way….and not allowing God to give us the plan). We really did have to start from scratch, BUT GOD helped us build well this time. For His glory, and our good. And we celebrate 40Years walking together with each other following hard after Jesus. He ABSOLUTELY is faithful and if He can and did do that for us, He will for you too. Pain is a part of tearing out the bad parts…but hang in there. He WILL build a palace out of your marriage yet!

  • TerriJo Perry

    Me, too.

  • I love that God restores our walls and boundaries to give us a safe place to worship. His heart is always to bring us closer to him so that we can reach out in wholeness to others. Thank you God. Thank you Jesus.

  • Amy Pitman

    This fits right in perfectly with something I am dealing with today! God is so amazing. Thank you!

  • Danielle Merriweather

    Question: Why was it important in the first place to build walls around Jerusalem? What was the purpose for this? Was it for protection? Isolation?

    • Melanie

      Protection. They were vulnerable to attack from other nations. At that time, a city’s walls were a big part of what made a city safe, and often powerful. Comparable to Joshua leading the Israelites against Jericho. Jericho was untouchable by a normal army or attack. God demonstrated his power by taking the wall down in a way only he could.

  • Kristy Crites

    I’ve kind of been stumbling around the rubble of my life since 2014 just coasting along after I left an extremely abusive relationship. Rather than addressing my struggles with PTSD and depression, I simply started working and floated along, just going through the motions. Covering my pain with isolation when I wasn’t turning to all the sinful ways to cope. It’s only been in the past few that I’ve been called to draw myself closer to God. It started with church, and then diving into his Word throughout the week because I’ve been so so hungry for the Word of God. Working on my prayer life. Ministering to my mother about becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman of today so that we may grow into Titus 2 women for tomorrow. This message is so important to me, knowing that through God I am able to take the damage and ruins of my current life and rebuild it into something so much better in His name. So happy to be exploring this with you all <33

    • She Reads Truth

      Thank you for sharing Kristy. We’re praying for you and are so grateful that you’re here reading along with us! -Margot, The SRT Team

    • Julie

      I am affected by this as well. You are not alone. You are loved…God has already planned restoration. Where we stand in ruin, He sees new creation.
      I will pray for you. Blessings and Peace <3

  • I wonder how often we choose to embrace the ruin, rather that work together with God to rebuild and restore?

    I’m thinking of a friend today, whose wall is in shambles and it has opened herself and her family up to attack. The Deceiver has had a heyday, and I can’t help but think she has chosen to embrace the lies rather than stand firm for the truth. My heart is broken for her and her family, and I’ve been praying she will see truth, that someone will be able to speak truth in love and that her once Godly family will be restored. How many times do we open ourselves up for attack because we’ve let our walls collapse? I’m going to think on this a bit, and pray for the courage to do what needs to be done to facilitate restoration.

  • Jess Rivera

    I love this so much!❤️

  • Lori Dawkins

    Thank you, it’s so comforting to know that restoration and redemption is his priority ❤️

  • Sarah D.

    So thankful for a God who forgives our brokenness and see us how we will be. He is doing a good work in us. Today I start my chemistry class at the community college near me, since I had to withdraw from the chemistry at my college. Just feeling nervous to go to a new place, and I’m driving there on my own (been driving for a little while, but for some reason my thoughts go to the worst case scenario, which is horrible…just need to remember that God is protecting me). I go to a Christian college (Liberty University), and it will be interesting to see the difference at this community college. Prayers appreciated for this…praying that I will rest in Jesus and know that He will be with me every step of the way. And that I will do my best in this class and stay focused. Trusting in you Lord. You are in control.

    • Brenda

      God is with you. The first day is always the hardest. I will be praying for you. Hang in there! You and God got this!

    • Sonya

      Dear Sarah, please let us know how it went? Praying…

    • Sarah D.

      Thank you for your prayers!! So thankful for you all. It went well!! Definitely was nervous, but it all worked out, of course. I met some new people that were nice. I’m majoring in Zoo & Wildlife Biology, and there was a couple people from Virginia Tech majoring in Wildlife & Conservation and Pre-Vet!! Such a God thing!! Hoping that this Chemistry will be easier to understand and that I can do well in it. <3 And that I can reflect Jesus every day through it all. Love you SRT sisters!

    • truthseeker

      I pray for God’s blessings and protection for you. While CVCC is not far from LU it is traveling on Wards Road that is problematic. The traffic on that road is usually horrendous. Be vary aware and cautious while driving that short distance. Dr. Muriel Mickles Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs CVCC is a Christian – a very loving and kind woman whom you may feel free to speak to for guidance and help if you need such. Praying for your success in chemistry.

  • Caralee Lilly

    Restoration…what a beautiful word. Megan Blew….I am continuing to pray for restoration for your daughter even as I pray for my children to be restored! God is up to something good!

  • Ashley Lienhart

    Along with this study, I also have a daily devotional that I read. Today’s verse seemed so fitting for our study today and I wanted to share it with you all. “To shine on those living in darkness in the shadow I’d death, to guide our feet into the path of peace (Luke 1:79). As I read these in conjunction I was amazed again by our God. He has promised to walk with us, guiding us to peace, especially after our struggles. We fall just as Jerusalem’s walls have fallen. I pray that my heart and mind can be opened wider to receive God’s instructions during these times as Nehemiah has done. Have a wonderful day, y’all!! ❤️

  • I am always good at anticipating my shortcomings, but to hear and be reminded that God has already planned the restoration and is creating a place for me, that is downright comforting. Sometimes life just hurts and we need to fall back and remember that God is always with us and always has a plan.

  • Kristyn Timochko

    I love this!

  • I definitely feel that the walls of my life have come down. I come before God open and willing to have Him rebuild and restore. I will have trust and faith in the new creation.
    While we fear destruction and are anticipating all the ways we could mess things up, God has already planned restoration. Where we stand in ruin, He sees new creation.
    I will keep this in my heart as I go forward looking to God of the heavens who will grant me success! Nehemiah 2:20

  • This study has been amazing for me and today’s especially! The part, “while we fear destruction and are anticipating all the ways we could mess things up, God has already planned restoration. Where we stand in ruin, He sees new creation.” You see I live in a small community that is my ex husbands hometown and I have stayed because of my job. I will retire this year and since the beginning of this year I have had these uneasy, weary feelings that I cannot really explain. After reading today’s study of the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls, I feel like God has brought this study to me as a message of restoration. I could relate to so much of this commentary, Karen, thank you for sharing this enlightened story. I actually feel hope and restoration for me and when I grow weary, I now know Nehemiah is a great book to refer to. May God continue to bless you and the team of She Reads Truth and the mission God has laid upon your heart’s to bring comfort to so many!

  • I love the book of Nehemiah. I’ve done several studies on it. Kelly Mentor has a great study and one thing I remember from that study is; rebuilding/remodeling is much harder than a new build because with rebuilding you have to sort through the broken down things, the rubble, the irreplaceable throw out and repair to get to the finished work. Starting from scratch is much easier than rebuilding because everything is fresh. As we each go through the rubble in our lives and sort and throw out may we see the new refreshing parts God is rebuilding in each of us.

    • Julie

      Yes! I like this. As we go through the rubble in our lives and sort and throw out may we see the new refreshing parts God is rebuilding in each of us. Thank You!

    • Jackie Kousma

      So good!

    • Nikki Baab

      Thank you for sharing

    • Alexis

      I absolutely love this! Building from scratch seems so much easier; there is no wounds, no bitter words. But to rebuild is such work and you have get through all the junk to bring about something new from the old. Thank you so much for this<3

    • Danielle Merriweather

      This is good to recognize Janet, thanks for sharing!!

    • Michelle Emery

      So good, thanks so much for sharing!

  • Kristi L

    The Ephesians verses from today’s reading and the devotional reminded me of Audrey Assad’s song The House You’re Building. Here’s the link if you’d like to have a listen: https://youtu.be/NjX7c4sx8Pg

  • I am so thankful that God not only rebuilds walls, but he rebuilds lives – redeeming them and making them fit for service to Him and love to others. I don’t deserve and can’t imagine life without his grace. Y’all need something to sing today? Here you go!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBvU7arNhQs

  • Wow! The God of the Heavens is the one who will grant us salvation. What a promise and what a load off! I’m constantly fighting for success on my own, however what a burden that I don’t even have to carry. I still work hard, and it may not work 100%, but God works for our good 100% of the time, so either way, there’s no losing!

  • Lindsey CrystalZarob

    Powerful words, Lisa. Amen and amen!

  • Megan Blew

    Love the reminder that God is always there to rebuild, restore, and redeem when I am in the middle of ruins.

  • Gina Glennon

    Praising God that He specializes in redemption and restoration!

  • Liz Tardo

    I too feel like I’m in the stages of rebuilding. At times, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. This was right on to remind me to wait. Be still and know who is in control. Prayers and love to you all

  • YvonneBonnie Delgado

    Timely study with all the changes happening in Jerusalem and in my own life. Rebuilding is the phase that the Lord is taken me into. Thank you Jesus for your power, might and wisdom!

  • Kelly Chataine

    Listening and hearing. It seems my life, marriage, and family has been torn down with the hope of rebuilding in mind. Rebuilding, redemption, and salvation are God’s work. Even though I fear my husband has plateaued, I will pray for restoration. Even though I am tired, I will make sure my hands and heart are involved in this work. I will trust God for the work, even though I am afraid to envision the final product. God will grant me/us success.
    So thankful for the Nehemiah study!
    Our story, from the beginning, is on Caring Bridge.
    caringbridge.org/visit/dennisd.sienicki

    • Alexandra

      Kelly, I visited your site and read your story, and I’m praying for you and your husband. I can imagine the stress and loneliness you feel, you have not been given an easy path to take. As this study says, God RESTORES and REBUILDS. I pray that he restores your husband’s body and brain to what it once was. I pray that you feel unexplainable joy and peace in this time, so unexplainable that it can only come from God. Know that He has promised strength for this day. Meditate on this fact, and take it one day at a time. Thank God for the season you are in, because it’s exactly where He wants you to be. All things happen for His Glory, and someday you will look back and see why.

    • Pam

      Hi Kelly, I read your story too so thank you for sharing the site. Helps us know how to pray for you and your husband. This has to be so difficult but you are so strong – I know you are an inspiration to a lot of people. Will keep praying for you both.

    • Susan

      Kelly, I continue to pray for your family. I visited your site. Your story is a great blessing to others to see God’s hand through this journey. God IS rebuilding and restoring!

  • Lauren Coaston

    I feel like I am in the mist of rebuilding. I was laid off a while ago but just celebrated on year with my current company and am up for a promotion. It feels good but in the same respect I feel that I have so much more work to do. I am grateful and giving the lord all the praise and blessings.

  • Churchmouse

    When my eyes are on the rubble and the ruin, I think “Impossible!” But if I lift up my eyes and look beyond, I remember “With God, all things are possible” and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Rubble and ruin can be restored, transformed. Rubble and ruin do not have the last word. BUT GOD.

  • England Elsie

    This is just beautiful. We will feel opposition. The work – whatever that is for each of us that God has called us to do – will be hard, long and relentless, often messy and dirty, and we’ll feel tired and not want to do it at times. But God… But God will help us and supply what we need to complete it.

  • yingzhen

    Reading this as I am supposed to do my revision for tomorrow’s exam. Just like so many of the other woman out there, the walls of my family came down in 2015.. but my world seems to be tumbling down this year as I left home and came to study in Glasgow. Depression finally hit me in March but thanks be to God, I managed to seek help at a very early stage. And here I am not being able to study and focus due to family issues, moving into a new flat etc. But I shall be still, and trust that God is going to prosper the work of my hand, and rebuild all these! May we have the heaven vision – living this life with hope and joy! :)

  • Lorrie Bee

    For many years I have worked hard and waited for God to restore and rebuild. My ex husband left my life in ruins and ashes. It’s slow going, and the work feels like it will never be complete, but I can see God’s faithfulness ever step of the way. I’m sometimes weary that it takes so long to make visible progress.

    Nehemiah reminds me that the walls of Jerusalem were not rebuilt overnight. Oh, me of little faith! God is doing great things. I just need to cooperate with his plans and not give up.

    • Kristen

      Praying for you. Remember that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. God sees you, and you are the apple of His eye. May you feel His Love today that is way better than anything. May He renew you and give you joy. He has great plans for you and loves you deeply. In Jesus’ Powerful Name Amen

    • Lisa Shelton

      Just know the longer the process the stronger the wall. God is rebuilding a wall around you that, if like Nehemiah you trust in Him, your new wall can’t fall into rubble. He is the strength in which it is held up. He is currently rebuilding my walls and I see Him strategically placing each piece and I am in a season of wait as well. Just know that our season of wait is Gods season of work. Stay faithful to the process as hard as it may be.. and you will soon see your new wall surrounding and protecting you. God bless!

      • Nikki Doup

        Lisa, this response is so beautiful and perspective-shifting. I now want to wallpaper my house in the quote “The longer the process, the stronger the wall”
        Thank you

      • Julie

        I too like this response. Stay faithful to the process as hard as it may be.. and you will soon see your new wall surrounding and protecting you. God bless! Many blessings to you ladies. May we continue to feel God’s presence as He rebuilds our lives making us stronger!

    • Colleen W

      I get all of this Lorrie. I’m walking through divorce and my ex has left me and the children in ashes… and remember beauty for ashes. It will come! Our Faith says redemption will come! Sending prayers your way.

    • Deb Alexander

      I have lived through this too, Lorrie. The rebuilding and restoration is worth the wait. I will pray for you – and you, Lisa and Colleen – today.

    • Judy Holland

      And the good thing is God restores even better than it was before. I went through a similar thing, and God has restored and rebuilt to overflowing.

    • Judy Holland

      The thing that God is rebuilding in my life is relationship with the Church. He’s always been there, but my trust in the church was deeply wounded. But, like Jerusalem God is rebuilding what I thought would never be rebuilt. I love working alongside Him in the process, seeing the stones laid one at a time.

  • My family walls came down last year, when my younger sister told me I was no longer her sister because I had said she acted like a diva in a situation we, as a family, needed to resolve, to do with our mother’s care.
    Since that day in August she had not spoken to me or been in contact with me…

    But God …
    Through my prayers and cries out heard me, heard my cries for help in resolving this … in rebuilding the walls that hold us together. That keep us safe and connected as sisters… family..
    As some may know, last Saturday I met up with my sister… apprehensive, yet knowing a peace, we talked and hugged and chatted, laughed and planned…
    Yes the walls that were broken are being rebuilt hopefully stronger, and better than before.. because God has given us another chance and by His Grace and mercy, hope and love my sister and I will take care not happen again.
    Thank you Lord God for your having gone ahead with your plans and purposes for my sister and I. Thank you Lord God, that you have began a rebuilding of our hearts that will be better that than before.. Thank you Lord God for loving us enough and beyond, to be in our midst as we spoke and hugged and loved as sisters should.. Thank you Lord God for your counsel and wisdom..Thank hank you Lord God. Thank you in the mighty and most powerful name of Jesus… Amen..

    • Julie

      Thank you Tina for sharing your answered prayers. Much hope is given when we see how God is working in our lives! So happy for you and your Sister <3

    • Pam

      This is so awesome to hear Tina! Praise the Lord you and your sister are back! Praise Him for answered prayer! Thank you for sharing this with us.

    • Rachel

      Wonderful news! Praise God! Let him continue to build you two together as sisters in a Christ to worship Him!

    • Ash

      I’m so happy to hear that the walls in your relationship are starting to mend!

    • Susan

      Praise the Lord! I to need reconciliation with a sister and pray that it can start today.

    • Tina

      In my haste to get to work, I forgot to thank you sisters for your prayers last week when I mentioned this in another devo. Bless you each and every one for your prayers… love and hugs… xxxx

  • Thank you Jesus, I am so grateful that these truth of your word is coming to me at just the right time I need it the most . At the time Oh God when I need you to be my all in all. Thank you God for you are the one that gives us success.

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