Page 5 - July 2020 - Truth & Tidings
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Babylonian captivity. Engineering world   It was the fall of 446 B.C., but it was
        history, God overturned kingdoms and   the chilling tidings, not the cooling
        powers and raised up Cyrus the Persian   temperature, that made him shudder to
        to shepherd the people of God (Isa 44:28),   his soul and sent him to his knees.
        immediately putting it into his heart to   Warren Wiersbe wrote, “Like large
        initiate a program to rebuild the temple   doors,  great  life-changing  events  can
        in Jerusalem. So in 536 B.C., according to   swing on very small hinges.” Nehemiah
        God’s prophetic plan enacted by the decree   (meaning “the aid of the Lord”) was going
        of Cyrus, Zerubbabel led an expedition of   about his usual business as the king’s
        almost 50,000 people to Jerusalem to begin   cupbearer when he happened upon his
        this  great  and  noble  work.  Heartened   brother, recently returned from Jerusalem.
        when Cyrus returned the temple vessels   “Hanani! How was Jerusalem? How are
        which Nebuchadnezzar had plundered,   God’s people there?” he asked.
        they wasted no time in restoring the altar   Hanani (meaning “the mercy of God”)
        and its associated service.           hung his head.
          The reconstruction work had begun
        in Jerusalem just over a year after their   “Awful!” was his heavy reply.
        return  and  continued  for  the  next  15   As Hanani poured out his heart for his
        years, until the persistent attempts by   beleaguered brothers in the homeland,
        their adversaries to frustrate it finally   Nehemiah was as broken as the walls of
        brought the work to a standstill. Then,   Jerusalem – and God had His man.
        after a delay of around a year, building   These are crisis days – socially,
        resumed, stimulated by the diverse yet   economically, physically and spiritually.
        complementary ministries of vocal Haggai   As the COVID-19 pandemic terrorises the
        and visionary Zechariah. That phase of   globe, the unimaginable is unfolding daily
        the project was finally completed, and the   before our eyes. There are real, existential
        temple was dedicated in 515 B.C., around   threats to Christian testimony, and there
        20 years after it began. Tellingly, the wall   is the grave danger that the Lord’s people
        was not rebuilt at that time.         will become confused, vulnerable and
          With burned gates and broken-down   demoralised. In our generation, there has
        bulwarks, the people’s security had been   likely never been a more urgent need for
        compromised and their identity confused.   godly men of prayer to feel the burden to
        Cheated of dignity and surrounded by   lead and care for God’s dear people – for
        debris – constant reminders of previous   their good, and His glory.
        defeat and unrealised ambition – they   Who will heed the urgent call? Who will
        felt defenceless and demoralised. With   cry, “Now these are thy servants and thy
        mounting opposition and increasingly   people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy
        impossible circumstances, instead of   great power, and by thy strong hand. O
        turning to God, they had become selfish,   Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be
        godless & joyless – a people in deep crisis.  attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and
          Nehemiah could show you the spot.   to the prayer of thy servants, who desire
        The moment  was etched in  his mind.   to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee,
        Susa the Palace. The month Chislev. That   thy servant this day, and grant him mercy”
        fateful day.                          (Neh 1:10-11 KJV)?

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