Nehemiah 1:8-9 – Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, “If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.”
Throughout Nehemiah, God keeps revealing what is to be built, and who and how it is to be built. The word “build” in various forms shows up roughly two dozen times throughout the book. God clearly wants a wall built so that within those walls, God’s people can be built up.
The crisis is that there is no safe place for God’s people to gather for Bible teaching, worship, prayer, and relationship. God’s people were scattered, and like a fire where the logs are scattered rather than stacked, what once had heat and passion now had embers and smoke.
The same thing happened to the Church across the world not long ago during what was presented as a global pandemic. Churches were closed en masse for the first time, across the world. While people isolated physically, they suffered spiritually, emotionally, and mentally because God made us to be together and told us that it’s not good to be alone.
The most common Greek word used for the Church in the New Testament is ekklesia which means “assembly” or “gathering”. The Bible is clear that, just like the parts on our body need one another to function in a healthy way, so do the various people in the local church need one another to function in a healthy way.
Sadly, many pastors overreacted to the closing of the Church and scattering of the Christians, wrongly saying that we don’t need a place to gather as God’s people. Nothing could be further from the truth. God does not need a home, but His people do. Just like any family, God’s family, the Church, needs to meet somewhere together.
Anytime there is a concerted effort of politicians, lawyers, and the media to shut down places of worship, you know that Satan is behind it all. When God seeks to build a house to gather His family, Satan seeks to break it to scatter that family. This is on full display throughout Nehemiah. From beginning to end, he is harassed and threatened in every way. The old preacher Dwight L. Moody said, “Every true work of God has had its bitter enemies – not only outside, but also inside – just as in the days of Nehemiah.”
What must you walk away from to pursue God’s calling?