The God Who Rebuilds: 2 Chronicles—Nehemiah
May 14, 2019
“Where do we go from here?”
This question encapsulates where we are in our Bible Reading Plan. We’ve just finished 2 Chronicles: David’s kingdom has fallen, the temple’s been destroyed, and the people of Judah have been exiled in Babylon for 70 years.
Instead of embracing their identity as the children of Abraham, from whose lineage God would raise up His promised Savior, the Hebrews wanted to be like the rest of the world. They turned from God’s Word and mistreated one another for personal gain. They turned from God Himself to the idols of the nations in pursuit of wealth and prosperity. After centuries of warnings, God gave His people into the world’s hands to show them just how empty life is apart from Him.
Just think: The Bible could have ended here. But God wasn’t done with His people. His faithfulness outlasted their failure. Just as He saved them from slavery in Egypt centuries before, God had mercy on His people and carried them home from exile.
Ezra and Nehemiah pick up where 2 Chronicles ends. After capturing Babylon, the Persian king Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem (Ezra 1:2). He appointed Ezra the priest to lead the temple’s reconstruction, and Nehemiah was made Jerusalem’s governor to rebuild the city walls (Nehemiah 2:5). At every turn, God moved the hearts of world leaders to bring His people home (Ezra 7:27).
He also moved the hearts of the Hebrews. The same people who wouldn’t give God the time of day now gathered in the pouring rain to pray and confess their sins (Ezra 10:9). Those who’d given up on God’s Word now listened for hours as Ezra read Scripture in the town square (Nehemiah 8:3). God didn’t just bring the exiles home so they could rebuild Jerusalem—He was rebuilding their identity as His children.
“Where do we go from here?” The answer for Ezra and Nehemiah is God’s answer for us. No matter where you’ve been, no matter what you’ve done, your failure isn’t final and your hope is not lost. Jesus, the promised Savior, was crucified outside the city walls so you could be welcomed in. God’s not done with you and your story isn’t over. Come home to the One who makes all things new.
CLICK HERE to view Southeast's 2019 Bible Reading Plan.