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September 21, 2016
“The city was large and spacious with only a few people in it and the houses not yet rebuilt.” – Nehemiah 7:4, The Message.  This verse continues to draw me in. It is like the entire book of Nehemiah: rich with untapped revelation from the Lord, and deep in meaning.
The house in Bible times was the central place for family life.  It was a place of safety and shelter.  The flat roofs were used for three common purposes: sleeping when the temperatures were hot plus where food was grown, and laid out to dry.
This verse makes me wonder where the people were living that had no house to live in.  Were they living outside the city? in tents? sleeping under the stars? in a completely new city?   The city had to feel almost empty to those who had lived there all their lives.  Now their city was in ruins and many of their friends were gone.  I would think the inhabitants might have felt defeated or depressed.  In fact I could understand if they were too discouraged to begin the process of rebuilding.
Yet I wonder with all that open space along with the quiet, could they also have felt peace in the midst of the devastation?  An eerie sense mixed with calm might have pervaded.  It was now no longer overcrowded, noisy, or bustling.  Arguments and fights would possibly have been fewer.
How would I have processed all of that?  Would I have been thankful for the little I had? Would I have cried out to God for help? Or would I only have focused on the good things from the past and sunk into a sense of hopelessness?   Well…let me take a look at my current status.  That is a fairly good indicator of what I might have been like if I had lived in Jerusalem then.  I would tell you more, but I will leave you hanging so you can let God shine His flashlight into your soul (your mind, will, and emotions).  There is no way I can show you anything about yourself, but He can!
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”- Proverbs 23:7, Amplified Bible, Classic Edition.  (Ouch!)
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