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Nestled away in the jungles of Africa under a small group of mango trees, C. T. Studd listened to the monsoon beat against his canvas tent. Under the light of his swaying lantern, he began to passionately write out his heart’s desire for his generation to get stirred up in working for Christ. He was consumed with the lethargic and defeated mentality that so many had in his generation. His “Call to Action” commenced with: “Too long have we been waiting for one another to begin. The time for waiting has past. The hour of God has struck. War is declared. In God’s holy name, LET US ARISE AND BUILD!” Studd was referring to the legendary testimony of Nehemiah and how his life should electrify each of us to rise up and accomplish the work that God has called us to do for our country before it is too late.
Nehemiah was a cupbearer for the king. He did his job to the best of his ability. One day, some of his brethren came to Shushan the palace to visit him. I’m sure Nehemiah was excited to hear how things were going back home, and maybe he was even anticipating to hear how things had taken a turn for the better. However, they could only share with him their heavy hearts of the state his nation and his beloved Jerusalem was in. The gates had been burned with fire, and they still stood in disrepair. The walls were wasted away into heaps of rubbish. The people were living under persecution and in disgrace.
Sadly, the direction America is headed in could spiritually be likened unto the state that Jerusalem was in. I believe we can see the “gates” of liberty and morality being scalded by the fires of liberalism, lust, and lies. The “walls” of America that made this nation great (comprised of the building blocks of the church, the family unit, marriage, youth, and God-honoring Christians) are being weakened and broken down by the Adversary and his “armies” of liberal agendas all around us.
We have the luxury of reading the end of this Old Testament account. We know what happened in the book of Nehemiah. The walls were rebuilt and the city was restored. But what rallied a nation to commence the work with a renewed purpose? What compelled them to labor with such fervency that the gates and walls were completely restored in less than 60 days? It all began with one man having a real burden from God. But how did it all commence?
Nehemiah relates to us in the Bible (Nehemiah 1:4), “And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of Heaven…”
1.) Nehemiah was BOTHERED (“when I heard these words, that I sat down”).
As he went about to fulfill his responsibilities, what he had heard consumed him and would not leave him alone. He was emotionally and physically shaken up by the brutal reality of the situation. The connotation of the passage is that once he received this news, he went somewhere private and quiet – a place where he could get alone with God for a while.
Let us ask ourselves: deep down inside, when we look at what is going on around us in our country and communities, does it truly AFFECT us?? I am not a preacher of doom and gloom, but I just want to be transparent with you. I believe we have sugar-coated for far too long what is happening in America. We are living in a time when fundamental Bible preaching churches are compromising (over 800 Baptist churches even closed their doors in 2014); families and marriages are collapsing; young people are corrupting themselves with wickedness and worldliness; the lost are committing open and blatant sin before the face of God; and Christians are calling it quits. Let this consume us! Let it bother us! Let’s get somewhere alone with God and sit for while because we are so shaken up by the brutal reality of the situation we are in!
2.) Nehemiah was BROKEN (“and wept and mourned certain days”).
When is the last time that we were truly broken over the desolation of our nation and the destruction of our society? When is the last time that we wept and mourned as we witnessed the horrible living conditions and the type of life our young people have to endure on a daily basis? When is the last time that we wept over the lost around us in our communities and neighborhoods that God wants us to reach? Lamentations 2:11 should be a reflection of our brokenness, “Mine eyes do fail with tears, my bowels are troubled, my liver is poured upon the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my people; because the children and the sucklings swoon in the streets of the city.”
3.) Nehemiah was BURNING (“and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven”).
From verses 5-11, Nehemiah poured himself out to God in fervent prayer. He had this consuming mindset: “Oh, God! I will go! I will rise up and build! I will labor until the day I die even if I’m the only one doing all the work!” Oh, that we would see another generation rise up with this driving heartbeat! Nehemiah even fasted, showing God that he was very serious and sincere about his burning desire to be used in making a difference.
Dear Christian, “Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord: lift up thy hands toward Him for the life of thy young children, that faint for hunger in the top of every street” (Lamentations 2:19). Where are the Christians who will BURN for God? Burn with a burden to rise up and build!
Once Nehemiah caught the burden, God began to open doors and bless. He went to Jerusalem. In Nehemiah 2:17-18, he shoots straight with his peers: “Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.”
In conclusion, just as Nehemiah’s burden spread to the hearts of those around him, may the fire that burns within our hearts naturally kindle those around us to see the need and rise up to reach our society. Just as Nehemiah shared with them the king’s word he had received, may we compel our brethren to realize that our Heavenly King has commissioned us and equipped us to go forth and “build”! However, the work of God will never commence or succeed without first having a REAL BURDEN from God.
Are you going through the motions in the ministry God has called you to? Do you see it as a chore, a time filler, a good deed, an obligation? Or do you realize the eternal impact and importance that has been placed upon you in preaching Bible truth and becoming politically engaged? Our country is in dire need of courageous conservatives and Christians. The “walls of America” are collapsing. LET US BE BURDENED TO ARISE AND BUILD!