I woke up this morning reading Nehemiah 4.
Later when out for a walk at Moss bank park in Bolton, I saw the stone in the picture. It was obviously a stone that had been used for a part of a wall or a building.
Nehemiah was written 445 BC. It seems obvious when you are reading the bible that this is the word of God. Passages just spring out at you. The Jews had started to return to the city and everyone was seemingly doing their bit to rebuild the walls and the gates of the city. Everyone who is someone has there name written here telling how they rebuilt the walls and gates. Perhaps they just paid for the workers to do the real work, but what is certain was that it was in their interests to protect their city, to rebuild.
It seems clear to me that the book is about prayer to God, and not only that. Prayer to God for success in your work. But their is an important passage that seems to cry out to what will happen in 475 or so years – Jesus’ death and resurrection. As they were rebuilding they were being mocked by their enemies.
Will they fortify themselves?
Will they offer sacrifices?
Will they complete it in a day?
Will they revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish—stones that are burned?”
I want to spend so much more time on this reflection but I must get some sleep tonight. But let me say just a few things;
How do we fortify ourselves?
Jesus fortified himself in the desert praying and building His spiritual power. As fully human, He had the same power that was available to the disciples, and perhaps to us, but the first thing to do was fortify Himself. We can fortify ourselves through daily prayer to God the Father through Jesus and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice willingly.
This one act divided time into two halves and gave every one on the earth a chance to live with God. We have to choose which side we will stand for, as Jesus has not left it open for debate – either we think He was mad, or He was who He said He was; The son of God and one with God. And if we believe the second part then there is only one route; obey the Lord your God for you are a wondrous creation and He expects an awesome life and adventure. Jesus rose from the dead, for you, for all sinners.
Will they complete this in one day?
Jesus completed all this mocking rebirth in just one day. On the cross Jesus declared “it is over”. Just one day they thought they could put our Lord down and in just one day Jesus ended it all.
The Gospels and letters testify to the eye witness accounts of the apostles and disciples of Jesus.
Will they revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish?
Jesus rose from the dead and you can have a spiritual rebirth.
I feel like I am the heap of rubbish as somedays I sound like a child or I act only in my self interests. Jesus is the cornerstone and we are the stones of His bride, the church. Will we revive as stones.
This is the sternest message. That we are the stones and people are mocking us. We must go through this journey;
- Will we fortify ourselves with daily prayer? Jesus did in the wilderness and at various times in His day.
- What sacrifice will you offer the Lord? There is no other sacrifice that can compare to Jesus’ on the cross. He did this willingly and suffered mocking and insults. Was He crucified on a heap of rubbish, or is this just referring to the gentiles and Jesus’ Gospel to invite them in where the Jews left off, where the Jews failed to recognise God.
- Will you revive your stone, your faith through trust, through doing.
- Faith is the stone, and it takes trust (action to rebuild) to rebuild this connection with God.
- Will we be stones that are burned, with God in our hearts if we accept Jesus as our Lord and follow His commands? Do we trust God? John the Baptist said that there will be one that baptises with fire. But also spare a though for those suffering with pain, being burned in some cases just for being Christian. In history Christians where burnt by Nero.
The stone lies sitting in the mud, a perfect shape. It has faith but it can achieve nothing without trust. It needs to trust that it has a point in life, that God has shaped it for a reason, to fit into a wall or building.
Next to this lovely walk was a circus with flashing lights and fast moving exhibits!
All the names being entered on the records for who did what! Ignore the distractions, as God in heaven will know how you have prayed and what you think in your heart. Salvation is through belief but action is a natural extention of that belief.
I pray that this Lent we are honest about our aspirations and how we may achieve them.
I pray that we may not seek to have our names written for building things to be seen, but for building the walls and the foundations.
I pray that we realise that we have been designed perfectly to serve our creator and Lord; Jesus Christ.
We are this block, pick your faith up and rebuild the city of God.