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They Will Return – Nehemiah 7:4-6
One long, prayerful, obedient act of faithfulness.
That’s what the Lord is looking for from us.
Nehemiah looked around at the finished work. The walls were rebuilt, the doors were set in place, and the people were assigned to protect and serve the city, but hardly a soul was living in the newly refurbished “city of salvation”, as Isaiah called it, this city of Jerusalem.
So in Nehemiah, Chapter 7, God put it in his heart to count those who had come back from exile. Over 42,000 were listed. 42,000 potential residents, yet most who had returned went back to their old, familiar ways of living.
Think about it. As the Church, we are the modern “city of salvation”, because we house the hope for mankind. Jesus is the only place of safety, strength, security, and salvation. Yet too many around us look at that hope and strength and yawn, shrug their shoulders, and go about their lives as if they were fine, all the while not realizing they are living in extreme danger and vulnerability to the attacks of the enemy of their souls.
So what are we to do? What is the one thing we need to add to our daily spiritual discipline that will help draw them back, those lost loved ones, those wayward souls, those Prodigal sons and daughters, those hardened hearts, those seemingly hopeless cases?
Read on to find the answer.
Noah was a righteous man given a very important task by God. Build an Ark. So he did. But it wasn’t a quick task. Some say it took around 100 years to complete the job. Noah exemplified for us one, long, singular act of obedience.
He was one of the folks listed in the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11. These people the Bible says, were faithful to what God had called them to do. And it says something about all of them that makes it really hard for us “modern day” Christians to embrace. Through all their hardships, sufferings, and pain, none of them, not ONE, experienced the culmination of the promise from God. They all died without seeing those things come to pass for which they had believed God.
This surely wouldn’t fly in our modern theology of cheap grace and quick fix and name it and claim it. But read Hebrews 11 and see for yourself. They believed God, but didn’t see it come to pass in their lifetime, yet one clue is given that should drive us – verse 13 says, “they only saw those things and welcomed them from a distance”.
THAT’S faith. Trusting God with the big picture. Knowing He’s working it out.
You see, we’re more concerned about the destination, while He has the journey in mind. We want the answer now, while He’s working in us patience and faith and trust.
We’re more concerned about our comfort, while He’s more concerned with our character.
We work in a lifetime. God works in eternity.
So let me ask you this, as you’ve been praying for these folks, are you getting weary, discouraged, frustrated? Does it seem like there’s no change and your prayers aren’t making a difference. Do you feel more times than not like giving up?
Let me encourage with this one thing to add to your daily life in Christ as it relates to the salvation of your sons, daughters, husband, wife, parents, co-workers, friends, whoever.
As so many modeled for us in God’s Word, do this one thing –
Walk in prayerful faithful obedience.
Let your life be one, long act of singular, prayerful, faithful obedience.
Then trust God with the rest. Be okay with the possibility that you may not see these things come to pass before you breathe your last, and place everything in the Master’s hands.
Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
That’s faith in God.
Pray, pray, and pray some more, then never, never, never give up!
Trust God that they will return!
I encourage you to take the time to listen to the entire message from this past Sunday as you click on the link below.
Be blessed and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!