Rebuilding the City- The Work of the Church in the 21st Century

September 8, 2008

Then I said to them, ‘You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.’” -Nehemiah 2.17

‘Whoever is among you of all his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the LORD, the God of Israel- he is the God who is in Jerusalem.’” -Ezra 1.3

Over the past week I have begun reading over what is probably my second favorite book of the Bible, and definitely my favorite in the Old Testament, that being the book of Nehemiah. In reading it my attention has been turned once again to Nehemiah’s call to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and his efforts to cleanse the city of all of its’ impurities, be it from within the Israelites or from without. This, of course, is great biblical history, but I can’t help but seeing something more when I read it.

The something more I see in Nehemiah is this: Nehemiah has been called to return to God’s holy city, to rebuild its walls and to reestablish his people there. For over a hundred years the Israelites were beat down and derided in this place, but in the years of his ministry Nehemiah (along with Ezra and others) saw to it that Jerusalem would once again stand out as the city on top of the hill, shining down the glory of God to all the nations. In the same way, as we stand, the church in America has been ravaged, attacked from all angles, inside and out, and subjected to ridicule and hatred in the public square. It has fallen from the shining city on a hill which led the foundation of this country and has become a place of scorn or of “useful idiots” for advancing secular agendas. Just as Nehemiah came and rebuilt Jerusalem, so must we rebuild the church in our nation (This of course, is not specifically a flaw in America, but in all Western societies in general. Refer back to my posts on The Laodicean Project for more).

So, what I propose to do with my posts over the next couple weeks is to extract a few principles that we see revealed in God’s Word in the books of Nehemiah and his contemporaries (Ezra, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi) and to discuss what I think it says to us as Christians about how we should act in moving towards rebuilding the church in our nation.