Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
When a Laodicean reads the two books of Ezra and Nehemiah as a narrative story, strange comparisons pop up. The Laodicean is already conscious of the Lord's rebuke in his life today, for He says, "Be zealous and repent" (Rev. 3:19). Now in reading these books, he re-lives the painful struggle of these Israelites to return from the 70-year captivity in Babylon.
As they try in spite of their enemies ridiculing them, the people of God under Nehemiah's direction manfully work to rebuild the walls of old Jerusalem, walls broken down by the Babylonians some 70 years before. Everything seems to go against them. It's not that the Lord Himself works against them, but He does permit their enemies to harass them.
Sanballat and Tobiah, for example, rise against the Jews continually. Their principal weapon is ridicule; they despise their efforts to rebuild the walls, saying that if a fox were to walk over their rebuilt wall it would fall down (Neh. 4:3).
So difficult is their work that with one hand the workers hold a sword or a spear and work with the other hand on the wall (4:17). It was a labor of repentance; the people of God were humiliated, yet they pressed on until the heavy task was completed.
It was the Lord's intention over a century ago that His people go forth with the most precious message that with His blessing should lighten the whole earth with glory; but modern "Sanballats" and "Tobiahs" rose up to oppose the work.
Now the consecration and devotion of the Lord's servants will be tried; we have come to the time when we must "gather warmth from the coldness of others." Faith in the Lord begets courage in the Lord; our task is not laying stones on stones to build a wall; our task is proclaiming truths on truths, demonstrating to the world that "the third angel's message in verity" is the truth that will lighten the earth; it will bring to a glorious triumph "the great controversy between Christ and Satan."
The books of Ezra and Nehemiah are often neglected, but they have an honored place in the Bible: to encourage the hard-pressed workers of the Lord in these last days.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 25, 2008.
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