Ezra and Nehemiah
In one sense we have been delivered from exile by the arrival of Christ but in another sense the final exile will not be complete until we see Jesus again at the end of time. We’re still awaiting the final coming of Jesus.
When we come out of sin, we are restored, brought from death to life, brought out of exile. We don’t belong here, this is not the end, the final destination.
We can learn from the text in Ezra and Nehemiah about how you come out of exile and what God’s restoration looks like.
1. God works powerfully through imperfect people. Sometimes we may think we don’t have much to offer, that we aren’t good enough or talented enough. Not so. These people have come back home from exile and celebrate their return. They are excited to be back home. But they faced obstacles in their efforts to rebuild the walls, to rebuild the temple. There are often obstacles in our way also, in our own return from exile, on our path to restoration. It may take significantly longer than we had originally planned.
2. Restoration requires a “mind to work.” Neh. 4:6. These people may have not known exactly what they wanted, but they were seeking, they wanted to work for the Lord. It’s the same with us. As long as we are seeking, God will aid us in our efforts to find Him and to restore ourselves. The most effective thing we can do is to build where we are. That is what they did. Read chapters 3 & 4 of Nehemiah and notice how many times it is mentioned that they build right outside their front door.
3. Restoration requires long-term thinking. It took them 42 years to rebuild the temple and years and years went by when nothing was done. Restoration takes vision. And the people at that time had incredible faith. They kept at it. Other nations around them may not have understood why they were doing what they were doing but they knew it was what God wanted them to do.
Is it time for you to return?