Building in troublesome times
This letter asks you to do something that runs against the grain of all current wisdom…
It asks you to ignore all of the images of dread. It asks you to do what some would consider ridiculous in this time of crumbling stocks and skyrocketing fuel prices. This letter is saying build, build, build. How can this be right? Given all the trouble, this is a terrible time to build but I say that the trouble does not count!
My letters and emails tell me horror stories of fear and retreat. Dreams are being postponed or cancelled outright. Expansion is now guilty until proven innocent. Young people are acting like they are old and afraid. Once bold leadership lions are retreating and looking for safe landings.
This revelation begins with the story of Daniel. This man of God wept bitterly and gave himself to fast and pray forIsrael. His nation was destroyed. The temple was obliterated. The people were taken back into slavery. Despite the glory and wealth thatBabylonhad heaped on Daniel, he could not find comfort over the judgment of God on his homeland. The only thing that pained Daniel more than this was the sin ofIsrael. It was his need to repent on behalf of his nation that drove Daniel to an extended time of fasting and prayer.
It is his prayer that enlightens us to the man. Daniel 9: 13 should be eerie and convicting in its accuracy to us right now! “As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth. 14 Therefore the LORD has kept the disaster in mind, and brought it upon us; for the LORD our God is righteous in all the works which He does, though we have not obeyed His voice.” I believe that the fact is that America did not repent after 911 and Christians have not prayed for mercy has extended our misery and delayed revival.
I thought this was an encouraging word about building? Yes it is! Read on. Daniel grieved at the loss of the presence and glory of God inJerusalem. Nothing meant more to him than to storm heaven with pleading prayers for its restoration. The city must be rebuilt! The temple must be restored. You cannot overstate the passion of Daniel for the rebuilding of the City ofDavid. Over and over he asked “When Lord, When?”
Daniel’s prayer punctures the hold of that the demonic Prince of Persia held on the angel Gabriel and he arrived with the answer to Daniel’s prayer. The city will be rebuilt and the glory of the latter temple will be greater than the former. However, it is what Gabriel said about the times that matters to us most in this letter! He said, “Daniel 9: 25 “ Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The streetshall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.”
If you think for one moment that this is not important then you do not know Nehemiah. He was one of the bravest men in the Bible. He left security and came to a desolate, divided and devastated city. Why did he come? He came to rebuild! He was the fulfillment of the angel’s prediction about the walls and the streets. Regarding Daniel 9:25 the pulpit commentary says, “This was certainly fulfilled in the days of Nehemiah; one has only to read the book of Nehemiah to see that.”
Nehemiah had to find a formula for success. He was beset these formidable foes in Nehemiah chapter 4.
1. The grinding insults of the enemy. “2 And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they complete it in a day? Will they revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish—stones that are burned?” 3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, “Whatever they build, if even a fox goes up on it, he will break down their stone wall.”
2. A terrorized people: 8 and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion. 9 Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night.”
3. An overwhelmed workforce: 10 Then Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is failing, and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall.”
Nehemiah found the boldness and fervor to build in the face of a demoralized workforce and an angry and bloodthirsty brood because of the prophetic power of Daniel! He was the heir to Daniel’s intercessory prayer! These were the times of trouble the prophet predicted! He realized that this was not just a good time to build it was an excellent time to build!
Because of this prophecy Nehemiah learned the lesson we must learn. Trouble is not an excuse stop building it is the prophetic cue to build! This is why Nehemiah thundered out in Nehemiah 4: 14 “And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.”
Joining in this chorus of building in troubled times are Haggai who said in Haggai 1: 2 “Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying: ‘This people says, “The time has not come, the time that the LORD’s house should be built.” The people kept saying this is not a good time to build!
The reason that they gave is very illuminating. They felt that it was not a good time to build because of their trouble. They had economic trouble. They had weather trouble. They had political trouble.
However, God was about to violently turn the tables by showing them why they had trouble! 7 Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways! 8 Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the LORD. 9 “You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?” says the LORD of hosts. “Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house. 10 Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. 11 For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”
Here is the word of God for them and for us: It is not because the times are troubled that we do not build, it is because we do not build that the times are troubled!
What are we supposed to build? We are supposed to build families! We are supposed to build businesses! We are supposed to build films, books, inventions and yes buildings. Most of all we are to build character and integrity that can change the world. The shock and awe of Satan is meant to paralyze, atrophy, and shrink vision. So again I say build, build, build! Build excellently. Build joyously!
Build through your trouble: The greatest vessels of God have appeared in times of calamity and confusion. Trouble is your opportunity to be your best, to be more than you ever imagined you could be. If God has honored you to live in troubled times then trouble will only make you stronger. The conditions will never seem right to the timid soul. The Word of God says
To build in troubled times is the most eloquent act of defiance against fear: If you face your fear with a plan of escape you will only gain a gnawing sense of defeat. The moment you decide to stand, fight and build you will release the power of the Holy Spirit. Unknown reserves of courage will well up within you!
Build because this will all soon be over: In heaven, you will only regret what you did not leave on the field of battle. It is the bold steps untaken, and the challenges avoided that will pang you in that day. This will soon be over and the threat that seems so big now will look so puny there! What are you saving your courage for? What are you withholding your talent, resources and dreams for? Surely they are all for such a time as this!
Build now because the conditions are right: The conditions will never seem right to the timid soul. The Word of God says, “Ecclesiastes 11: 4 He who observes the wind will not sow, And he who regards the clouds will not reap.” If you wait for all of the objections to be answered nothing will ever be attempted.
You have a clear choice! You can believe headlines or the Bible. If you believe the headlines you should hunker down and prepare for a life of ever-decreasing hope; a life of limits and dread that will place you among the living dead.
The experts say that we have lost our youth and that we can only expect them to get worse. Joel 2:20 says “I will pour out of my Spirit on your sons and daughter and they will prophesy” If you believe the news media then you will only expect them be lost. If you believe Joel then you will build toward a worldwide youth revival!
The news media warns of violent convulsions in man and nature and the end of the world. Jesus said that it cannot end before one event: Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. If you believe Jesus then you know why we must build to order to contain the greatest harvest of souls in the history of mankind!
The greatest enemy to building is the feeling that says, “What’s the use?” In a world where it seems that every good thing has been taken and every great thing has been done despair comes easily. No doubt this spirit gripped the people Haggai preached to. Why build another temple it can never compare to Solomon’s yet Haggai 2:3,4 says “Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing? 4 Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ says the LORD.”
Haggai goes on to say in verses 8,9 “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the LORD of hosts. 9 ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the LORD of hosts.”
God is saying in essence, “I know how you feel but wait there is yet something awesome left for you to build. Now get up and build! Amen.