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Arise and Build

Isaiah has always been a builder. Sandy has been very conscientious in the education and development of our children and recognized early that he had a mind for putting things together. She had plenty of manipulatives (e.g. puzzles, stacking blocks, etc.) to help develop Isaiah’s fine motor skills in early childhood and so he naturally took to building various creations out of Legos. He will spend hours assembling hundreds of Lego pieces to make a helicopter or Star Wars space ship, etc. He hoped we would be able to visit LEGOLAND when we were in southern California for meetings. Thanks to the generosity of a church in Las Vegas we were able to spend a day at the theme park in Carlsbad, CA. It was Isaiah’s favorite part of our trip out West.

The park is Lego themed with many of the rides appearing to be built out of Lego bricks. There is also a Lego miniland with model cities and landmarks from around the world made from millions of real Lego bricks that took dozens of workers hundreds of hours to build.

I was reminded of a builder in the Old Testament named Nehemiah. The restored Jewish remnant had been back in Judea over 90 years when Nehemiah came to Jerusalem in 445 BC. The moral and spiritual conditions in Jerusalem had been drastically corrected by Ezra but when Nehemiah arrived the walls and gates of Jerusalem were still in ruins and the people were in great affliction and reproach. Nehemiah’s special objective was the rebuilding of the city walls.

The books of Ezra and Nehemiah are closely connected. Both are in two main parts. In the first part of the Book of Ezra, under the leadership of Zerubbabel, we are concerned with the rebuilding of the Temple. In the second part, under the leadership of Ezra, we are concerned with the restoring of worship. Similarly Nehemiah is in two main parts. In the first part we are occupied with the reconstructing of the walls. In the second part we are occupied with the reinstructing of the people. Ezra is the book of restoration. Nehemiah is the book of reconstruction. Ezra is a book about communion with God. Nehemiah is a book about a wall of separation from the world.

The spiritual message of this great builder Nehemiah was concisely exposited by J. Sidlow Baxter as he wrote in Explore the Book, “There is no winning without working and warring. There is no opportunity without opposition. There is no ‘open door’ set before us without there being many ‘adversaries’ to obstruct our entering it. Whenever the saints say, ‘let us arise and build,’ the enemy says ‘Let us arise and oppose.’ There is no triumph without trouble. There is no victory without vigilance. There is a cross in the way to ever crown that is worth wearing.”

I pray our “little builder” will be like this godly hero of old and be resolute in his service to God and resistant to compromise and spiritual laxity.

“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.” Nehemiah 2:18

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