I recently finished preaching through the Book of Nehemiah on Sunday mornings at Lakeshore Baptist Church.
In 586 BC Nebuchadrezzar’s forces punched through the protective walls of Jerusalem and flooded the city with destruction. The Babylonian army demolished the temple, devastated the landscape, tore down homes, killed a good percentage of the inhabitants, and drug most of the residence off into captivity into a land they didn’t recognize. Nearly a century and a half later, Nehemiah learned that the walls of his ancestral city still laid in ruins. God placed a great task in the heart of Nehemiah. The strong leader sought to rebuild the devastated city under the wide canopy of God’s providence upon the sure foundation of God’s word.
The six month study led us to think about Nehemiah’s doctrine of God, his passion for scripture, his experience of prayer, and his example of leadership. No one could miss the parallels to our situation in post-Katrina Lakeshore as teams of volunteer construction workers seek to rebuild our community to the glory of God. Although we must be careful not to make illegitimate anachronistic analogies – Lakeshore is not Old Testament Jerusalem, and I am no Nehemiah – we do serve the same sovereign, omnipotent, supremely righteous, pervasively holy, humbly merciful, biblically vocal, covenant keeping God.