Repent Rubbish

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18 July, 2021Pastor Mark SchultzRoad to Recovery

The most watched hour of TV in the last month? State of Origin? No. Ash Barty’s Wimbledon win? No. It’s the 11a.m. daily briefing by the Premier & State Health officials on the current state of the Coronavirus that has sent us into lockdown.  The nation stops, watches and holds its breath to see if infection and community transmission numbers are climbing falling or holding steady. We drop into suspended animation, hoping there’s an end in sight to the lockdowns; waiting for someone to lay out a road to recovery that isn’t cut off by a new variant or breakout. We’re alive but not fully living…like the disastrous conditions facing the Jewish remnant who returned from exile to Jerusalem. They were trapped in a captivity mindset far from the vision God had for their lives.

Nehemiah was still in Babylon but his heart was burdened for those who were free but not living in freedom. He was heartbroken for those who had settled into complacency amidst the chaos. But rather than blaming or shifting responsibility; Nehemiah accepts his part in the situation and lives the truth of Isaiah’s words, “In repentance & rest is your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength…” – Is 30:15. The Road to Recovery begins with Repenting of the Rubbish and turning our eyes to the one who alone is faithful to all his promises and can help this nation and his church truly recover. 

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Nehemiah 1:1-11

The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah:

In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.

They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”

When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Then I said:

“Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments,let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.

“Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’

10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.”

I was cupbearer to the king.

'…but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’ Nehemiah 1:9

The burden you bear often reveals the purpose God is calling you to passionately pursue.

  1. When life gets hard, what’s your “escape”? What do you do for “comfort”?       
  2. “Rubble” happens when our protections/securities fail. Where would you say there’s “rubble” in your life right now?
  3. What is the 'burden' in our community or world that is heavy on your heart or causing you to weep?

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