I have returned from sort of an unexpected break from the blogging world. I really enjoy blogging but made it very clear (to myself and my husband) that it would be very low on the totem pole of priorities. When life gets busy, it’s pretty much the first thing to go. So, after almost four weeks, I’m back! Yes, the house could use some attention, but I have this desire to share a little of what God has been teaching me over the last few weeks.
I’ve recently read through the book of Nehemiah – a book that, admittedly, I don’t know if I’ve ever just read straight through. Even still, I wasn’t all that excited to read about Nehemiah. Yeah, he was the guy who helped rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, but seriously, how exciting or applicable is this book of the Bible really going to be to me – a woman, a wife, and a mom?
As I read about Nehemiah, I was completely struck (once again) with God’s perfect timing. At a busy season of my life full of new adventures, full calendars, never-ending to-do lists, and particularly heavy burdens, God gave me a lesson on his faithfulness through the life of Nehemiah.
The Israelites were in a bad place both historically speaking (as they were in Babylonian captivity) and physically speaking (as they were displaced and dispersed from Judah and particularly their sacred city, Jerusalem). Eventually the Israelites returned to Judah, but little was done to restore what had been lost during their captivity. They had turned their backs on God by inter-marrying with women of other nations (who did not serve the one living God). They failed to worship God through the keeping of the Law and the practice of feasts, festivals, and Sabbaths. All of this greatly saddened God. When times got tough, the Israelites forgot the rich heritage of their forefathers and abandoned their faith.
Thankfully God inspired Nehemiah to take on the seemingly impossible task of uniting a fractured nation under the God who called them His own and had always protected and forgiven them time and time again. I like Nehemiah. He’s organized, a hard worker, and very bold. He saw the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem as a surefire way to, not only unite the Israelites as a people, but to unite them as believers in God.
Nehemiah worked hard, despite the opposition of neighboring nations, to ignite a fire under God’s people, and they successfully rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. But that’s not the end of the story. During the rebuilding of the walls, the Israelites were reminded of God’s never-ending love for them through his provision and protection. They returned to their faith, and a week after the walls were completed, the people gathered to their sacred city and listened to Nehemiah recite the Book of the Law. The people remembered and began following God immediately.
The Israelites had a renewed sense of who God was:
“You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.” (Nehemiah 9:6)
So as I came to the end of the book of Nehemiah, I found myself so encouraged that these people – God’s people – who had turned their backs on God, had doubted His love for them and His commitment to them, returned to God. How uplifting! But what’s more is what they discovered once they returned to God.
“Now, therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love, let not all the hardship seem little to you that has come upon us, upon our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers, and all your people… Yet you have been righteous in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly.” (Nehemiah 9:32-33)
The Israelites returned to God and realized that He was still the same. He had remained faithful, despite their circumstances (which were quite bad). He had kept His promises to them, despite their desire to secure their own future. He had remained perfect, despite their sinful actions and desires. The application for me (and for all of us) is simple because I fit in perfectly with the Israelites.
God remains faithful, despite my circumstances.
God keeps His promises, despite my desire to secure my own future.
God remains perfect, despite my sinful actions and desires.
My blog has been quiet for almost a month, but thankfully God has not been! God’s faithfulness has been so evident in my life, and I can’t help but overflow in thanksgiving – not just for what he’s provided for me (although for that I am grateful), but for the fact that despite all that goes on around me and all the wrong things I do, God is unchanging in his love for me.