November 27 – Today’s Readings – Nehemiah 4-6 and Psalms 147
“When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, ‘What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?’ Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, ‘What they are building—if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones!” [Nehemiah 4:1-3]
“Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, ‘The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.” [Nehemiah 4:10]
This was the state of the city of Jerusalem. It was burned with fire – its walls were broken down – there was only rubble everywhere. People were openly mocking the work of God because the job seemed humanly impossible. Yet God called His people to take those burned out rocks, bricks and timbers and rebuild. I can imagine that one crew would be responsible for separating the materials – another crew would wash and scour the large stones – still another would reshape any bricks that were broken. Someone would mix fresh mortar and a fifth crew would mortar the materials into place.
1 Peter 2:4-5 says, “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house…”
We too may have been burned out, broken-down pieces of rubble, but God got a hold of us and began to clean us up – reshape us and build us into a “spiritual house”. Our job is to submit to the master “bricklayer”. Because we are “living stones” we have to hold still long enough to be built into God’s wall. In North America many of God’s “living stones” are refusing to be built into a spiritual house for the Lord. They insist on removing themselves from the wall – trying to make their own walls – deciding on the shape they should be so that they can place themselves in the most visible spots in the wall – making sure that they don’t carry too much weight in the wall – etc.
God’s Church is and has always been built by Jesus and upon Him. He takes those who are willing and places them. The end result will be a beautiful “Jerusalem”, fit for the King. No doubt the enemy will fight hard to keep this spiritual house from being built but, just as God has determined, there will be a New Jerusalem – a dwelling place for The Most High. If at times you look around in Church, and all you can see is a heap of rubble, then you need to see through the eyes of faith. Each “stone” is being transformed – built into the house. Lets enjoy the process.
1. Tell about an incident where you felt the master builder pick you up, perhaps knock a sharp edge off and place you in His wall.
2. Give an example of how you were once a burnt out brick, but God began to clean you up.