What would you do if you went back to visit your old hometown and saw that it was dying. Most of the businesses have closed or re-located. Your favorite restaurant growing up closed. The local grocery store is down to just a few sparse shelves of products.
Your school is struggling to stay open with just a handful of students. The church where you went to Sunday School only gets a few elderly people in attendance each Sunday. You get the picture.
Most of us would feel really sad and disappointed. We may even donate some money to the local church or school, but who would say; I am going to move back there and help that town thrive again?
It is interesting that we find the Jews in a very similar situation after their years of captivity in Babylon. A man named Nehemiah learns how Jerusalem has been destroyed and abandoned. He leads a group of people to go back and rebuild the walls and revive worship but we learn in chapter 7 that “the city was wide and large but the people within it were few, and no houses had been rebuilt”.
Then something amazing happens in chapter 11. For the sake of their city and for the glory of God many of the Jews who had already been settled in the country for a number of years “willingly offered” (vs.2) to live in Jerusalem…others were chosen for this task. This was not a safe or stable place to live yet. The people prayed God’s blessing on these men because they were willing to “Go” to help revive God’s city and people.
I can’t help but think about our hometown that is struggling. Our local churches that could be full if we were willing to “GO” and make a difference for God right here. It might not be comfortable or easy but we should have a heart like Nehemiah’s. He could’nt bear to see God’s people or Jerusalem deteriorating. He had to do something.