Devotional: Rebuilding — Where Do I Start?
How is your marriage? Your family? Your business? Your church? Your home school? Is anything in your life broken and in need of repair or even rebuilding? Life would be so much easier if we could just snap our fingers and make everything new again. The good news is that our God is in the business of redemption.
When setting out to rebuild something, it’s easy to become discouraged before you even start. Often this is because the original, once-glorious structure is now in such a state of disrepair. And as you approach your rebuilding project, it may be difficult to know where to begin.
Consider the people of Israel, who had been exiled until the Persian king Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon and permitted the Israelites to return to their homeland. The people of Israel made their way back to Judea in three waves. The first group of about 42,000 were led by Zerubbabel, who returned to Jerusalem on a mission to rebuild the temple of God.
Lesson one: When rebuilding, dig deep and ask the tough questions. Only 42,000 of the 2 million Israelites in captivity returned in this first wave. That’s a little over 2 percent of the population. Remember, 100 percent of the Israelites had followed Moses out of Egypt! Of course, in Egypt, they had been slaves, whereas they were merely exiles in Babylon. Plus the journey back to Jerusalem involved walking hundreds of miles—not exactly a luxury vacation. So here are a few questions to consider carefully: Are you content living in exile? Do you really want to be free from the world and take on a Kingdom rebuilding project? What kind of life do you want to live? Are you up to the task at hand?
Lesson two: When rebuilding, start with the right priorities. The initial focus of Zerubbabel’s rebuilding effort was the altar, which represented the heartbeat of the Hebrew faith. The rhythms and routines of life ebbed and flowed with sacrifices, offerings, and feasts. Once the altar and temple were ready, then Ezra would concentrate on rebuilding the people, and finally, Nehemiah would spearhead the rebuilding of the city walls.
Lesson three: When rebuilding, you’ve got to fight for it. The total time involved in this work was twenty-one years. Yet nothing was accomplished for fourteen years when the Israelites took an extended break because of opposition. They started strong but threw in the towel after a couple of years. Then, after a fourteen-year hiatus, they finally got back to work and finished the job in five years. Whether you are rebuilding a marriage, a family, a church, or a home school, don’t give up too quickly. Be fully aware that this project won’t be easy and your efforts will meet resistance.
Lesson four: When rebuilding, pray for God’s favor. In the end, any rebuilding effort should be about bringing glory to God. Therefore, you will need to divert attention and praise from yourself in order to direct all glory to the One who deserves it: God Almighty. In Ezra chapters seven and eight, this phrase appears multiple times: “for the hand of God was on him.” God knows what’s best, and His ways are not our ways. But He also intervenes in the affairs of your life. Therefore, don’t be shy about asking Him to make something good happen.
You probably already know what needs to be rebuilt in your life. Now you need to commit and practice what you preach. Stay focused on the main mission, keeping your eyes on the goal and your heart aligned with that of your heavenly Father.
Heavenly Father, I know what needs work. As a matter of fact, this area of my life has been in need of repair and rebuilding for some time. Forgive me for being afraid to start this big project—it seems so overwhelming. But I want to begin making things better as of right now. So give me the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual fortitude to work hard, resist opposition, pray for your favor, and commit all the work to you and you alone. By your grace, I will see this to the end. For your glory, I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
If you enjoyed this devotional by Davis Carman, enjoy reading his devotional entitled Historic Route 66.
Davis is the president of Apologia Educational Ministries, the #1 publisher of Creation-based science and Bible curriculum. He is also the author of four illustrated children’s books designed to help kids learn a biblical worldview. He believes that if there was ever a time to homeschool, it is now! Davis’s four books include: Good Morning, God, based on Deuteronomy 6, A Light for My Path, an ABC book based on Psalm 119, In the Beginning, based on the Creation account in Genesis, and Psalms to Know Early.