I really love the description of the workers who rebuilt the walls of the city of Jerusalem, recorded for us in Ezra and Nehemiah. They were unskilled in the building trades but their bravery and sense of purpose was steadfast and could only have come from God. They were mocked, attacked and worked until they thought they couldn’t lift another stone or take another step. Did they complain? Of course. Did they fear that all their work might be in vain? More than once. It would seem that the three-part message of God, recounted for us in Nehemiah chapter two was their rallying point and the foundation upon which they would proceed. It also can form the foundation and provide the inspiration for a marriage relationship in need of rebuilding.
The first point is that by rebuilding, instead of giving up, the “disgrace” of having failed will be removed and replaced by the grace of God, which is His unmerited favor. What Nehemiah told them was that “the gracious hand of God” would be upon them to guide and direct their work. Am I suggesting that a failed marriage is something that brings shame to one or both parties? You bet I am, but I’m only repeating what God has told us in His word. “God hates divorce” is the unambiguous teaching of Scripture and to try to minimize it is not only foolish but self-defeating (Nehemiah 2:17-18, Malachi 2:16). So what was the response by the people when they heard Nehemiah’s motivational speech? They replied, “Let us start rebuilding!”
The second rallying point was really a description of the work before them, “So they began this good work.” But how do I know it is the right thing to do? How can I know that my efforts will be rewarded if I stick it out and begin to pick up the pieces and begin to put them back where they belong? If you are doing it only for your well-being, then you better take another look at God’s blue print. You are to rebuild for the benefit of your spouse, your children and the glory of God, not out of selfish ambition or to build your self-esteem. Only then will you reap the reward for your work and enjoy the grace of your heavenly Father and the respect of others. Respect of others, what does that have to do with it? The whole reason for your marriage, your family and your very existence is to glorify God and to lead others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Without the respect of those you hope to influence for Christ, your words will be like the Pharisees in Jesus’ day. Jesus warned his disciples in Matthew 7: 5, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brothers eye.” Repairing and rebuilding is a “good work” because it is God’s will and of His design.
The third rallying point is what Nehemiah said to his detractors when he announced the plan to rebuild, “The God of heaven will give us success. We His servants will start rebuilding.” It is God who not only provides the means and method, but also the courage and inspiration when it appears that your work maybe all for naught. It is God who will give you success because it is for God’s glory that you’re doing it. Sometimes we get it backward in that we look at God as if He existed to serve us and provide for us because we are needy or think we deserve no less. We exist to serve God and others. Jesus put it this way in Mark 10:44-45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” It is for this reason we are to rebuild and protect those who are most dear to us and be willing to sacrifice and become a servant to them and Christ. So if you have some work to do on your marriage, get started and look to God in Christ for the method, means, courage and inspiration. Your success is guaranteed with Christ.
Tool #292 Remember what Jesus told the man who doubted His power to heal and cast out demons, “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Mark 9:23