The Trumpet Sounds: Rebuilding Ruins

By Barry Pettit - Religion Columnist

I’ve found in my life that there are basically three kinds of people in the world: 1. People who make things happen! 2. People who watch things happen, and 3. People who wonder what happened. If you’re the type of person that wants to make things happen you need to know you probably won’t be able to fix things all by yourself.

If you are going to make things happen you will need some help! One of the things I love to do in life is reading inspirational quotes. Someone once said that seven powerful words are: “I have a problem. Will you help?” Someone else said that the word team stands for “Together Everyone Achieves More.” Another quote I love is, “None of us is as strong as all of us.” Oh, and I can’t forget this one, “A star can win any game but a team can win every game.”

Have you ever been in a place in your life that you feel like things are just broken? Maybe it’s your career, the friendships you used to have, or even your family. We live in a world filled with brokenness. Have you ever just felt broken but wanted to do something about it? If so, do you know how to put together a team to help you rebuild what is broken?

In Nehemiah 2 there is a broken situation. The walls of protection and strength had simply become ruins upon the ground. However, Nehemiah decides he wants to do something about it. If you ever want to learn about restoration Nehemiah is the book for you. He teaches us some lessons of how to rebuild from ruins. First, we learn that we need to motivate people to help by clearly defining the problem. In Chapter 2 verse 17 Nehemiah says: “You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned by fire.” Morale was at an all-time low. Discouragement permeated the ranks of Israel. His greatest challenge was to convince the people to tackle this project. It’s one thing to get excited about a difficult challenge when things are going well; it’s another thing to get excited when you’re discouraged and ready to give up.

We also learn in order to rebuild that the solution must be simply stated. In verse 17 Nehemiah says “Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach.” The job a great team builder and motivator is to take a complex problem and boil it down to a simple and easily understood solution. As we continue in chapter three we learn that the work must be evenly shared.

Nehemiah tells them, “look at the bad situation we are in. Come let us rebuild so that we will no longer be a reproach. Then they said, Let us arise and build.” It is interesting to note that Nehemiah assigned each group to work on that part of the wall which was nearest to where that group member lived. Many were assigned to rebuild portions of the wall in front of or directly adjacent to their houses. No time would be lost in going back and forth, or in going home for lunch.

One of the most important steps for rebuilding is found in verse 18 which teaches us that we need the Lord to help us. Nehemiah tells the people “the hand of my God has 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.” They knew they needed God and his help for it to work. They knew Nehemiah was telling the truth. What other explanation would there be for his presence in Jerusalem? Furthermore, he had evidence—official letters signed by the king himself. And somewhere a group of military men were stationed—the king’s horsemen who had escorted him all the way to Jerusalem.

Finally, as you begin to rebuild understand that discouragers will come. You must learn how to discourage the discouragers. In Verse 19 it tells us “But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard it, they mocked us and despised us and said, What is this thing you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” They tried to use outdated information to achieve their own selfish goals. Discouragers will always show up to discourage you in some way.

But Nehemiah responded “”The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no portion, right or memorial in Jerusalem.” Nehemiah was not intimidated by discouraging people. He faced their verbal abuse with bold words of his own. Even though Nehemiah knew they didn’t approve he remained undaunted. He knew he was about to tackle a gigantic project that others before him for almost 150 years had been unable to complete.

The rest of the story is they succeeded and the walls were rebuilt! The task was accomplished by rulers and citizens, sons and daughters, and priests and merchants. They stuck together side-by-side and seized control of the project themselves. The children of Israel were “servants” of God. Their dependence was not primarily on their human abilities, their human resources, or their personal genius. Their hope was in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. What do you need to rebuild in your life today? Whatever it is, the good news is you can absolutely rebuild just like Nehemiah and Israel. This Sunday at South Side at 10:45 during worship we will look at the parable of the talents, and learn how to build a strong spiritual life! I hope to see you there!

In Christ,

Barry Pettit

Lead Minister

South Side Church of Christ

By Barry Pettit

Religion Columnist