MONDAY, DECEMBER 31
“Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the citadel, that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.”
Nehemiah 1:1-3 ESV
REBUILDING: ASKING GOOD QUESTIONS
In his book, The Short List: In A Life Full of Choices, There Are Only Four That Matter, Bill Butterworth tells of the time when he came home to his family after another weekend speaking engagement when his then youngest son decided to start talking at the Monday evening meal. ‘Hey, Ma!’ were his first words. Then, turning to Bill, he said ‘Hey Bob!’ Butterworth was stunned. Says Butterworth, “His mom and I looked at one another blankly. She broke the silence by saying somewhat facetiously, “You’ve been on the road too much.”
The encounter left him to realize that all of his weekend trips (he was booked at one point to speak 38 out of 52 weekends) plus his 50-hour workweek had created a situation in which his youngest child was becoming a stranger. He made some changes but a divorce eventually (and unfortunately) took place. But it forced him to ask this question, ‘How Will My Children Remember Me?’
In the book of Nehemiah, the Jewish people are preparing to return to Jerusalem after a time of Babylonian captivity. There had come a time in the spiritual life of the nation where they had gotten so far from God that God allowed a time of captivity in order to discipline the nation and rebuild their lives. God used the prophet Nehemiah to lead the efforts to rebuild the walls around the city of Jerusalem. Nehemiah’s work started when he asked the right questions about the condition and health of his homeland.
Walls are designed to keep destructive things out and valuable things in. The rebuilding work in our own lives begins when we start asking the right questions as well. We would all do well as we end 2018 and head into 2019 by asking the right questions about key areas of our own lives. Have you allowed any destructive things into your life? Are you letting any valuable things slip away? Ask God to show you areas in your life that He wants to do a rebuilding work in this year.