I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me and also about the king’s words which he had spoken to me. Then they said, “Let us arise and build.” So they put their hands to the good work.
In Christian circles we hear much excited talk of revivals, in today’s verse we read of an ancient revival amongst the Israelites who were at a low point in their history. Israel had been sacked by the Babylonians, Jerusalem destroyed and many of the people carried off into exile. Those left behind and those who returned later with Ezra lived a precarious life, in a ruined city surrounded by enemies. These hard-pressed people were spurred on by Nehemiah (a cup bearer to King Artaxerxes of Babylon), who in verse 17 calls on them to rebuilt their city wall. He followed it in verse 18 with encouraging them by news of how God was at work in this business before them, even using the King of Babylon to achieve it. They were inspired by Nehemiah and answered his call to service “Let us arise and build.”
The above story is also applicable to the modern church, which in many places is a shadow of its former glory. Many churches are crumbling around the dwindling members, who are effectively silent in their communities. As a whole the worldwide church is surrounded by dangerous enemies, as Jerusalem was in our scripture and still is today. In all this our God is still recruiting Nehemiahs to lift the heads of His people, calling out “Let us arise and build!”
Some years ago a brother in an old church was inspired by a small book called “The Kneeling Christian” which he shared with a few of his brethren in church. A holy fire was lit by that wee book which saw the church buying more copies for all the members; a prayer ministry was born in that church which through time reapt a harvest that revived the small church.
Dear reader, revival begins with individuals! Are you down trodden by evil forces surrounding you in your community? Take heart, your Father God is still King over all things and longs to hear your plea for help. You could be a Nehemiah at home, in your community or your church – “Arise and build brethren!”