Don’t fence me in
Nehemiah 7: The city was large and spacious with only a few people in it and the houses not yet rebuilt.
Security issues aren’t solved once the walls and gates of Jerusalem are rebuilt. The enemies of the returning Jews are still their enemies and the area is still partly untamed. Because of that Nehemiah has to create a national guard to oversee security within the walls of Jerusalem. Seeing the statement that this ancient Jerusalem “was large and spacious with only a few people in it” makes me think of the coming New Jerusalem. Leaving end days theology out of it, we still have a picture of a huge city, the city of God. This heavenly Jerusalem is even more spacious than the city Nehemiah defended. I pray that the population will not be only “a few people” but instead will be, to borrow from John the Revelator, “a vast number, more than anyone can count.”
Take Away: There’s enough room in the plans of the Lord for all of us.
Crossroads in time
Luke 19: All this because you didn’t recognize and welcome God’s personal visit.
It’s the Triumphal Entry. As many cheer, giving Jesus a royal welcome into Jerusalem others harden in their opposition to him. In less than a week Jesus will be dead. Our Lord weeps, not for himself but for Jerusalem. This city is at a crossroads in time. This day could have been much more than the Triumphal Entry. It could have ushered in a new, transformed age of peace on Earth, good will to men. This week could have been a week without a cross. Instead, the results of these days for Jerusalem will be horror, pain, suffering, and destruction. It’s a moment in time. Listen, I don’t claim to grasp the theology of all this but Jesus says it didn’t have to be the way it was. He wept as he considered how different things might have been. As I deal with this passage from a devotional perspective I wonder how often people come to such pivotal moments. I wonder how aware they are that they’re about to walk into a trip wire that will change their lives forever. My consolation is that in the case of the passage before us Jerusalem has had hundreds of years of opportunities to prepare for this moment. It’s not in ignorance that they’re about to step off this cliff. I have to believe that in smaller, personal ways that it’s the same for us as we arrive at our crossroads in time.
Take Away: I may not always recognize the significance of life events so I must rely on the help of the Holy Spirit as I negotiate life.