Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them. [Nehemiah 8:12]
Total hopelessness. That’s how the book of Nehemiah starts. All of Israel is in deep gloom over the future of the nation. Their cities are utterly destroyed, their Scriptures have been forgotten, the walls of Jerusalem lie in ruins, and their morale has hit absolute rock-bottom. They’re convinced there is nothing good ahead for them.
Then Nehemiah shows up. He says God has sent him to help them rebuild both the physical walls and the spiritual walls of their nation. With a burst of enthusiasm, and despite fierce opposition, all of the men, women and children get to work. And within just 52 days, the ruined wall of Jerusalem is rebuilt. In fact, the people use the rubble of the ruins to fortify and thicken the new wall, so that it is higher and wider than ever before.
More importantly, the people rediscover the Scriptures. Their priests explain to them the meaning of their Bible. They gain a new sense of destiny. In just 52 days, after years of neglect, their situation completely changes from hopeless to hope-filled!
Then Nehemiah tells them to celebrate what has happened to them. And as you read in today’s verse, after 52 days of hard work, they spend some time in serious celebration!
Well, we have just spent approximately the same amount of time doing something very similar: Rebuilding the walls of our lives. Remembering Scripture that was, perhaps, forgotten: Rediscovering that God has a future hope for us! And now it is time to celebrate! If you can, follow the Israelite example and have a dinner party. Share with others, perhaps in your small group, what God has done in your life.
And remember, God transforms our lives by changing what we think. This book has been an attempt to compare what the world tells you with what God tells you. Which one you choose to believe — every day — will make all the difference between having genuine hope and feeling hopeless. Now that you have started, continue your new, hopeful way of thinking!
Question to Consider
In what ways have you been changed for the better during this study? What can you do to continue those good changes?
Lord, thank You for Your hope! Help me to continue to grow in hope and to spread hope to those around me.