All of human history, sacred and secular, can be reduced to cycles. Devotion to God leads to power and prosperity. Prosperity leads to apathy. Apathy leads to debauchery. Debauchery leads to calamity. Calamity leads to repentance, and repentance leads to devotion to God. Such was the cycle that overtook the ancient Jewish people, such is the cycle that has overtaken us.
Nehemiah found himself at the bottom of the cycle in the Persian capital of Susa, employed as "cupbearer to the king". Reports from the ancient homeland of the status of the repatriated exiles left him grief stricken. The city walls had yet to be repaired and the people themselves were living in humilitation in the presence of their enemies. So what does Nehemiah do? He seeks the face of God in prayerful repentance and petitions the king to commission the rebuilding of the sacred city!
Nehemiah 1:5 “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. 7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.
8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’
What about us? As a nation once founded upon the principles of the Holy Scripture and the Christian faith, we have fallen from our height of power and prosperity for having rejected the One who established us. As individuals, we have become lukewarm in our devotion to God in deference to the priorities and values of our unbelieving neighbors, our media culture and the siren's song of materialism. As a result, our walls ahve been burned and our gates have been broken down.
For at least two generations, we have taught our children that the most important thing in life is to "get good grades, so you can get into a good college, so you can get a good degree, so you can get a good job" And guess what? They DID IT! Unfortunately, the foundation of success- the fear of God and devotion to Him have been neglected. The result is that the Church is weak, homes are broken, communities are dissolving into moral ghettos and the nation (once founded upon God's immutable principlels) is adrift- subjected to the transient whims of pop culture.
What are we to do? Do what Nehemiah did: REPENT, RETURN, REBUILD!
Revival is coming. Make sure you're on the right side of it!
"Love the LORD with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength"
"Fear God, and keep His commandments- for this is the whole duty of man."
"Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness."
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom."