Survivors in Great Distress
And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.” - Nehemiah 1:3
The people of God were greatly distressed. Even though they lived in the city of Jerusalem, they were not right spiritually and the city remained wasted. Nehemiah was used like a type of the Holy Spirit. He came to assist and help rebuild the peoples’ lives. First, we see there was a remnant in Jerusalem ––about fifty thousand Jews had returned to the city––a relatively small number. Second, we see the ruin––the city was such a mess. Third, the people suffered reproach, their condition was one of constant shame and disgrace––they were despised by their enemies.
Before the people were taken captive they were farmers but in Babylon they had become infected by the world system. They became excellent business people and lived comfortably with all their wealth. God wanted to restore the place of worship in Jerusalem but as they returned to their homeland, their priorities were messed up. As they sowed and reaped from the land, they became more concerned about making money.
Remember, through the prophet Haggai, God reminded His people to consider their ways––the Lord allowed their money to blow away as if a hole was in the bottom of their money bags. They needed to realize that from sun up to sundown they were not gaining ground financially. Then God used Zerubbabel to stir the people to rebuild the temple and Ezra to bring spiritual reform. Now God would use Nehemiah to rebuild the wall.
Life can be hard––many people are in great distress. They try to survive, often living from pay-check to pay-check. But it is good to examine our lives to see if spiritually our priorities are on track The Holy Spirit is the one who convicts, comforts and assists us in rebuilding our lives.
It is the method the Holy Spirit takes, first to convince,
and then to comfort.
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