Nehemiah had just heard some dreadful news about his homeland. It hurt him so deeply that he could not hide his sadness (Neh. 2:1-2). He knew he had to do something, so he asked the king for permission to return to Jerusalem to rebuild and repair the damage caused by past destruction and years of neglect and for the necessary paperwork to travel safely (Neh. 2:3-8). He met his opposition before he even entered Jerusalem, but he kept moving forward (Neh. 2:9-11). Upon arrival, he did not consult the leadership (Neh. 2:16) but took a few men into his confidence and went to see how bad the situation really was. He found the walls not only in disrepair, but in some cases needing to be completely rebuilt (Neh. 2:12-15).
If you had been in Nehemiah’s shoes, when you saw Jerusalem in distress and saw her walls as rubble, would you have seen a reason to quit or a reason to get busy working? Nehemiah saw the latter and called his fellow Jews together and said, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach” (Neh. 2:17). The situation was dire. There was no doubt about it. But the answer, as far as Nehemiah saw it, was to get busy—not to give up. Therefore, when the people saw Nehemiah’s commitment, they responded in kind, saying, “‘Let us rise up and build.’ Then they set their hands to this good work” (Neh. 2:18b). They had a lot of work before them, and they had political opposition against them (Neh. 2:19), but they knew that they had God on their side, and that was all that mattered (Neh. 2:20).
We are facing some dark days in our country; there is no denying it. We can see morality crumbling all around us in society. We can see the constitutional protections we previously counted on being rocked and pushed over by a militant opposition. We can see obstacles along our way and the charred ruins of a society we no longer recognize. But this is not the time to give up! This is the time to get busy working! The more Satan introduces darkness into our society, the more opportunity we have for our light to shine. The more immorality invades America’s consciousness, the more our commitment to holiness will stand out. The more the religious world compromises with the devil and his angels, the more our uncompromising stand for truth will give voice to the message that we will not capitulate. Therefore, let us speak now—not as Americans, but as Christians—in unison with God’s people of old, and say with a conviction that does not waver, “The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build” (Neh. 2:20).