Rising From The Ruins

Go up the mountains, bring wood and rebuild the Temple,…” ~ Haggai 1:8

Rebuild. Honestly? It’s one of my favorite words in the entire Bible. But in order to fully appreciate its power and impact you need to first understand the situation. So, sit back and prepare yourself for a short but very important Bible history lesson.

For centuries God’s people had flirted with idolatry and apostasy. For a while they would passionately pursue God. But without any warning they would do a complete turn-about and begin embracing the false idols of the surrounding nations. Their faith was something akin to a spiritual roller coaster of devotion and fidelity. The highs were high but the lows were low. Really low. Back and forth they went. One year hot for God. The next? Just as equally cold. And through it all God graciously and continually reached out to them in His mercy and love, warning them of the dangers of their duplicity and seeking to draw them back into intimate fellowship with Him.

But in the end it didn’t matter. No different from us, their stubborn and rebellious nature persisted until their pride and unbelief prevailed. Finally, after generations of patience, God allowed the Babylonians to bring discipline and judgment to His people. In 587 B.C. King Nebuchadnezzar led the armies of Babylon in triumph against the people of God. The city of Jerusalem was laid waste, the people carried off into captivity, and the Temple was destroyed. Torn down. Burned to the ground. Left in a pile of ash and ruin. Damaged. Devastated. And left desolate. End of story. Or at least, that’s the way it seemed…

Now, fast forward to the book of Haggai. They year is 520 B.C. Decades have passed and the people of God have moved on. They have returned to Jerusalem from their Babylonian captivity. They have set up shop, rebuilt their homes, and resumed living. There was only one problem though. The Temple was still in ruins. Now, I don’t blame them in that regard. I can understand their reluctance. In their minds they had failed God. Miserably. His repeated faithfulness had been rewarded with their own moral ambiguity. His mercies and grace had only brought forth repeated idolatry and insolence. God had given them His best. And in return they had given Him their worst. There was no way He could want them any more. The thought of a second chance just didn’t seem real or even remotely possible.

But then God in His grace speaks forth a word filled with beauty and hope. “Rebuild.” The sins of your past are forgiven. “Rebuild.” Your failures are not final. “Rebuild.” The shame needs to be released. “Rebuild.” The hope for a new day has come to fruition. “Rebuild.” What you thought was the end was only a transition. A new season has come. A second chance has been granted. A brand new chapter is being written. From the ruins will arise a testament to the faithfulness of a God who longs to forgive His people. “Rebuild.”

What about you, my friend? Is there anything in your life that currently lies in ruins? Anything that has been torn apart, torn down, and left desolate? Anything in need of repair? Renewal? Restoration? Anything in your life that you desperately want to see rebuilt? If so, take heart. I want to remind you today that our God loves to rebuild. Where we see ruin, He sees the chance for a new beginning. Where we see desolation, He sees the hope of restoration. When we think it’s impossible, that our sin was too great, that our failures were too frequent, that our rebellion was too intentional, God sees second chances. And thirds. And fourths. And as many as a limitless, unconditional love requires to bring His children back to Him.

What lies in ruins in your life can be rebuilt. Give the failures to God. Confess your faults and ask for His forgiveness. Let His grace heal you. Let His blood cleanse you. Let His love renew you. What you are feeling and facing right now is not the end. Yes, you got it wrong. Yes, you made some bad decisions. Did some things you shouldn’t have done. Said some things you shouldn’t have said. But it’s not too far gone. It’s not over. God can take the desolate and transform it according to His power and grace. Look to Him and in His mercy discover the God who loves to rebuild on ruins.