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.” (English Standard Version)
Indianapolis is in a state of emergency. This is the worse condition I’ve seen our city face in the 30-plus years that I’ve called Indy home. Crime is rampant. A spirit of murder and mayhem hovers over our city. Schools are being shut down. The divide between the haves and the have nots is growing. Church attendance and affiliations are dwindling rapidly. And, it’s not even safe to mourn the dead without the fear of being caught in a crossfire between rival street gangs.
If you are on any social media platform you will find unparalleled hate and division constantly spewed across the airwaves. This state of emergency does not just exist on the local level. Nationally and internationally, we see the same patterns. Literally, the “walls are broken down and the gates are destroyed by flames.”
Nehemiah chapter one speaks of the same condition in regard to the Children of Israel. Upon inquiring about the wellbeing of his kinfolk scattered about in the Diaspora, Nehemiah is told in no uncertain terms, Jerusalem, the holy city, is in flames. Understandably, this was devastating news to Nehemiah, a fellow Jew who at the present time was himself scattered and under the authority of a foreign king. In that moment, after receiving that devastating report, Nehemiah knew he had a decision to make.
First,Nehemiah wept and mourned. Nehemiah 1:4 notes: “As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days...”He was so moved by the state of his people that he became overwhelmed with sorrow. Nehemiah took this news personally.If his people were hurting, he was also hurting. He could not turn a blind eye or a deaf ear. He could not go on with business as usual. And, he could not act as if the condition of his people wasn’t grave.
Secondly, he fasted and prayed. Nehemiah 1:4 goes on to say: “…and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” Nehemiah immediately began to fast and pray. He knew “the God of heaven” was the only One who could save his people. He denied himself the normal pleasures of life and turned his focus inward and upward with the goal of hearing from God.
Finally, Nehemiahdecided to personally make a difference. Nehemiah 1:17 notes: “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 didn’t just weep. He didn’t just mourn. He didn’t just fast and pray. Nehemiah took action. He sought the King’s support and resources with the intention of rebuilding the wall. He rallied like-minded people around his cause. He never compromised his own personal integrity or his faith. But he did come away from his daily comforts to bring hope and restoration to a city that was in flames.
Indianapolis, our city is in flames. You and I must personally do our part to rebuild the wall and end the suffering of our people. Like Nehemiah and his crew, we must “strengthen our hands for the good work.” Are you ready?
Dr. Preston T. Adams, III
Founder and Senior Pastor, Amazing Grace Christian Church (Indianapolis)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / Twitter: @DrPrestonTAdams