Nehemiah 1:3 And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.”4 As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
The Book of Nehemiah is a bleak reminder of how we can grow complacent with life and forget the realities of the hurt and afflicted around us. I often wonder why Nehemiah started to weep after he heard the news of his countrymen. Get this…Israel had been in turmoil for 150 years! That would be the equivalent of our city still in ruins because of the Civil War. That’s a long time. But why the sudden change of heart with Nehemiah?
I think the people had grown accustomed to the devastation and no one seemed to want to do anything about it. It’s kind of like that crooked picture in your home…you’re now used to it being crooked because it’s always been like that. Suddenly you have a guest come over and say, YOU’RE PICTURE IS CROOKED. It suddenly changes the way you view it and you want to fix the problem.
The people were hopeless and no one cared. Heck, not even Nehemiah…had a comfy job…he tasted wine for the king. And this wasn’t that cheap boxed wine you have in the back of your fridge. Why should he care? You see, It wasn’t until God opened Nehemiah’s eyes so that he could see the present reality of the despair of the people. At that moment reality set in and the comfort and contentment of his heart turned to urgency and mobilized him to action.
The dangers of complacency is that we can often be blinded by the reality of the conditions of our surroundings. It is easy to be comfortable and complacent, if we are okay…but that doesn’t mean that the community around us is okay.
My church put up a billboard recently that said, “Join our Story and Rebuild the City”. Do you realize that we have gotten a lot of backlash from that simple statement? “Our city is perfectly fine the way it is…we don’t need you rebuilding…isn’t that the cities job?”, they say. And on and on I could go…
You see...Rebuild the City means that God has opened our eyes to the true conditions of our community which is filled with hopelessness and devastated lives and we do something about it. We don’t walk with swag nor is our motive built with pride and arrogance. Our motive is that the present reality is that our city has often looked to the wrong things to bring hope and we want to turn its attention to the author of Hope. Jesus.
“Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.” – Nehemiah 2:17
Don’t allow complacency to blind you to the devastated lives around you.