So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days. And it happened when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God. (Nehemiah 6:15-16)
Building Walls That Are Torn Down
Rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem was a herculean feat that was accomplished in fifty-two days. After the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC, the city lay in ruin for 142 years. A cupbearer for Artaxerxes, king of Persia, became the man to lead the people to rebuild the city walls and burned gates of the city of David. Nehemiah cared deeply for a city he had never seen but worshiped as the place where God dwelt. In the year 516 BC, the Temple had been rebuilt but the city still remained in shambles. Facing an insurmountable task and persecution from his own brethren, Nehemiah rallied the people to work on the repairs of the gates, towers, and walls. The fear of retribution was so great the builders had swords on their sides as they worked with watchmen keeping guard over the project. In the face of all the fear and opposition, the walls were completed in fifty-two days.
The efforts to rebuild the walls were not accomplished through the miraculous power of God. When Israel entered Canaan and came up against the city of Jericho, the city was taken through the intervention of the hand of God that at the sound of the trumpet the walls of the city fell flat. Nehemiah guided the hearts of the people to rebuild the walls through the determination of their will to show the world the glory of God. It was hard and difficult work that seemed at times impossible. Many tried to discourage the hearts of the workers. Nehemiah was targeted with threats to his life. Still, the workers labored in their sections rebuilding the walls. Some of the people refused to work. Others stepped in where others failed. The unity of the people was an incredible infusion of devotion to a cause, to a purpose, and a common goal. What became of the spirit of the people was a unity to accomplish what the enemies of God were unmanageable. Fifty-two days after they began, the people stood and gazed at the restored walls of Jerusalem.
The world took notice of what was happening in Jerusalem. When the enemies of the Jews and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of God. The hard work of the people had shown the world what kindred spirits can accomplish when united together as one. It was hard labor. The days were long and the work labor-intensive with massive stones being moved and timbers restored. Hanging the gates of the city was not easy but the people persevered. The purpose of restoring the city walls was for protection but the greater lesson was what people united under the banner of God’s will can accomplish. For many years the walls had remained crumbled and strewn about in piles of rock but when one man stood in the gap declaring the work of God as good, the people united and did the impossible. Hearts united with hands working diligently for a common cause produces incredible rewards. There was a feeling of exhilaration when the workers stood before the restored walls of Jerusalem. They could see the glory of God in their work and the world also took notice.
Nehemiah was only a cup-bearer but he found a purpose in his life to be remembered as the one who helped rebuild the walls of the city of David. His story is one of courage, faith, determination, and a will to show the glory of God to the world. When he died he may not have considered his life accomplishment as anything more than rebuilding the walls of a torn down city but the example of a simple man continues to move the people of God. He accomplished an incredible work because he believed in God. The world saw what the people did and took notice. Rebuilding the walls in fifty-two days disheartened the spirit of the enemies of God. They could see what the people of God could accomplish when united.
There is no greater task in the world today than the church to rise up and build the walls of the gospel to a lost and dying world. Fear, hatred, prejudice, and discontentment reigns in the hearts of men and the message of Jesus Christ will be the only answer that will solve the malcontents of a troubled nation. While things are being torn down the spirit of God’s people must rebuild with the grace of God. Light always dispels darkness and the light of God must shine in a dark world. If there is any hope for our country it will begin with Jesus Christ. He is the light and in Him is the peace that passes all understanding. His peace will change hearts. Let him live in your heart first and then share that message with your neighbor without regard to who they are. God loves the world. All of it. Jesus died for everyone because everyone matters. Roll up your sleeves and unite in rebuilding the walls of a tattered world with the faith and courage of Nehemiah. Let the world see what God’s people can do. Are you ready?