Monday, June 13, 2011
Today’s Topic: From Ruins to Restoration
Today’s Text: Isaiah 44:24, 26 I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself…who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited,’ of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be built,’ and of their ruins, ‘I will restore them,’
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of Nehemiah as he leads the people of Jerusalem in the rebuilding of the city walls. In fact, that story is the basis of the two-year leadership development program we initiated at our church. It is a story of redemption – from ruins to restoration. It is the story of our lives.
Isaiah prophesied the literal restoration of Jerusalem some two hundred years before it actually happened. He named Cyrus by name in verse 28 and again in chapter 45 about 150 years before he actually took office in Persia. Many scholars believe that Cyrus actually read this prophecy when He was in office and was so moved by it that he chose to fulfill it. We know that it was God who moved Him.
When Isaiah wrote this, Jerusalem had not even fallen captive to Babylon yet, so the people must have thought Isaiah’s prophecy of their flourishing city standing in ruins to be absurd. But God was revealing His plan to Isaiah, and it has implications to our lives today.
First, the things you say to people today on behalf of the Lord are the very words that God will use later in their lives to restore them when they have made a mess of things. It took two hundred years for Isaiah’s words to come true, but at just the right time in God’s plan his words were used to move Cyrus to action. Your words today will either hurt or help others. May what we say be words God can use to move them to action according to His will.
Second, even though everything seems great with your life today, there may be a time coming when it’s not. It may be the consequence of your own choices or it may be the result of unforeseen circumstances, but either way a time is coming when you will consider your life to be in ruins. When that moment hits, and it will hit hard, remember the word of the Lord. Fill your mind with it right now so you are prepared. God said of your ruins, “I will restore them.”
Third, maybe everything is already in ruins. Trust the God who loves you and sent His son to die for you. He will restore you. Already there is a Cyrus in your life who is the agent of change. God has sent an Ezra and a Nehemiah to facilitate the rebuilding. God does not intend for you to fix your own life by yourself. He has sent you an incredible gift – people who love Him and serve Him – and they are there to help you rebuild and to experience God’s restoration. Let them help you.
God, we acknowledge that you are LORD, and have made all things. By your mighty power that brought everything out of nothing, you are also able to restore our ruins. Let the rebuilding begin. Amen.”