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A House In Need Of Repair


This past spring we attempted to sell our house.  Spring is usually the best time of the year to sell a house but the economic downturn has made this spring a slow market.  Our house didn't sell and is now off the market. 


Our real-estate agent says our house needs too many updates.  At this point I'm tired of hearing those words.  Our house has been updated in the important areas, which our agent admits to. There is the new furnace, new gas fire place, updated electric wiring and plumbing, and new porch among other things.  People don't seem to want to take the time and energy to make cosmetic changes these days.  I guess there are too many reminders of the 1970's in our house for those living in 2009.     


I know that our house could use some updates to bring us into this new century, but once you've lived in a place long enough, and in my case 23 years, you tend to overlook the outdated things.  You know they're there, but they don't bother you.  You're comfortable with the 1970's.  You'd rather spend your money on new guitars, new cameras, and new computers.  The problem is that you may not see the things needing to be updated any more, but those entering your house for the first time with the intent to buy certainly see them. 


All this reminds me of what I'm studying in the book of Nehemiah at the moment.  Nehemiah heard that the holy city of Jerusalem was in need of much repair, obviously more repair than our house.  He was deeply saddened about this.  He was so sad that he uprooted himself from his life of luxury in the king's palace to live in the shambles of Jerusalem.    


If you read Nehemiah 2 you'll note that he gathered a few leaders of Israel together and took them on a tour of Jerusalem.  This took place about 95 years after the original Jewish exiles returned to Jerusalem from Babylonian captivity to rebuild the city.  As is often the case with humanity, they got side tracked with less important things and the city never did get rebuilt to anyone's satisfaction. 


The men who took the tour with Nehemiah grew up in the shambles of Jerusalem. They were used to their city in disrepair.  They were comfortable with mediocrity, but not so with Nehemiah.  When he saw the ruins for the first time, he was appalled and saddened to see God's city in such bad shape.       


Nehemiah didn't tell the men why he took them on the tour of the city at first. He just pointed out the things needing updating as they walked by them.  These men would have walked by these places on a daily basis with little thought of fixing them up.  They had either forgotten or didn't know what God had intended their city to be like.    


Nehemiah wasn't a prophet but his tour was prophetic.  God used him to point out the things that needed fixing. It finally dawned on these men that things needed to change.  Once Nehemiah told them of God's rebuilding plan their eyes were opened and they were up to the challenge to rebuild.  It took an ordinary man, Nehemiah, to speak the Word of God to these men to bring the needed change.   It also took a spiritual revival a few years earlier in order for these people to want to make the needed repairs that Nehemiah pointed out.


I'd like to suggest that our present day western Christianity, with all of its various factions, is in the same need of repair as the city of Jerusalem was in Nehemiah's day.  Most of us have grown up in the state of disrepair so it doesn't bother us.  Some of us know there's need for repair, but are simply too comfortable to make the needed change.  Others don't even know there is a need for repair because that's all they know.  They think that western style Christianity is what God intends it to be.  I've said this before, but many of us are so far removed from Biblical thinking on this issue that we don't even know we are removed in the first place. We think the status quo is what is meant to be, but that's not so.


I believe the Lord is raising up Nehemiah's for our day.  Ordinary men and women are being used prophetically  to expose the ruins of our day with the Biblical blueprint in hand.  God's New Testament blueprint is much different than most of what we see in the Christian world around us.  Pray that God would give us a spirit of repentance as He gave Israel in Nehemiah's and Ezra's day so we can make the needed repairs to our Lord's New Testament city.

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