- Exodus 20:17 ESV
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.
- Psalm 23:1 NKJV
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
- Psalm 37:16 ESV
Better is the little that the righteous has
than the abundance of many wicked.
- Psalm 73:1-5 MSG
No doubt about it! God is good—
good to good people, good to the good-hearted.
But I nearly missed it, missed seeing his goodness.
I was looking the other way, looking up to the people
At the top, envying the wicked who have it made,
Who have nothing to worry about, not a care in the whole wide world.
- Proverbs 14:30 HCSB
A tranquil heart is life to the body,
but jealousy is rottenness to the bones.
- Proverbs 27:4 NIV
Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming,
but who can stand before jealousy?
- Ecclesiastes 4:6 ESV
Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.
- Matthew 6:33 ESV
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
- Luke 3:14 NIV
Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”
He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”
- Luke 12:15 HCSB
He then told them, “Watch out and be on guard against all greed because one’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions.”
- Romans 12:6 MSG
So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.
- Romans 13:13 NIV
Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.
- Romans 14:17 NASB
for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
- 1 Corinthians 3:3 NIV
You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?
- 1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
- Galatians 5:26 NASB
Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.
- Philippians 2:3-4 MSG
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
- Philippians 4:11-12 ESV
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
- 1 Timothy 6:6-7 NIV
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
- Hebrews 13:5 HCSB
Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you
- James 4:14-16 NIV
But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
- Deuteronomy 11:18-19 ESV
“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
- Deuteronomy 32:2 ESV
May my teaching drop as the rain,
my speech distill as the dew,
like gentle rain upon the tender grass,
and like showers upon the herb.
- Psalm 32:8 ESV
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
- Proverbs 1:2-5 ESV
To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
3 to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
4 to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth—
5 Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
- Proverbs 4:13 ESV
Keep hold of instruction; do not let go;
guard her, for she is your life.
- Proverbs 22:6 ESV
Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.
- Matthew 5:19 ESV
Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
- Matthew 10:24 ESV
A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.
- Matthew 19:14 ESV
but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
- Luke 6:40 ESV
A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.
- Romans 2:18-23 ESV
And know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; 19 and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law.
- Romans 12:6-7 ESV
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching;
- 1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
- Ephesians 4:11-14 ESV
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
- Colossians 3:16 ESV
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
- 2 Timothy 2:2 ESV
and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
- 2 Timothy 2:15 ESV
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
- 2 Timothy 3:16 ESV
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
- Titus 2:7-8 ESV
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.
- James 3:1-2 ESV
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.
I bought a backpack for my son, not that he has much need for it at the moment.
We’re on the final countdown to the first day of school. Every summer, we reach this place of finality and sadness mixed with celebration of the new. School Open Houses dot my calendar. Every daytrip might be our “last before school starts.” We pack in movie days, haircuts and ice cream outings because we want every last drop of summer, all while prepping school supplies and praying over new teachers and new classes.
We savor the now. We hope for good in the future. It’s both contentment and anticipation, this bittersweet place where one season ends and another begins.
That’s the same every year.
Of course, this year has the curious taint of “pandemic” on it, which means even with so much the same it’s all a little different.
I bought my son a backpack because the strap on his kindergarten bag broke in January. I mended it at the time and told him it was fine because he’ll have a new backpack for next year. Then I asked the all-important question: “What kind of backpack would you like for first grade?”
Usually, he’s a superhero kind of guy when it comes school supplies, but this time he announced he wanted a Jurassic World backpack with dinosaurs on it.
(Just to be clear, my six-year-old son has not actually watched Jurassic Park or any of its many PG13 sequels. But he does love dinosaurs. A lot. So, Jurassic World it was.)
Three weeks ago, I strolled through the school supply section of Wal-Mart on a whim. I felt a little moody that day as I walked past so many school supplies knowing we won’t need 90% of them since school is starting virtually this year.
I love school supplies. Not buying school supplies is hard for me. I am compelled to purchase pens, index cards, notebooks, and organizers of all sorts.
But I strolled past them all, exerting incredible self-control until I saw the Jurassic World backpack hanging on display, surrounded by superhero backpacks of all sorts.
I bought that backpack. Sometimes you just need the reminder that a season will indeed be a season and not forever. There will be a day when my son puts on his dinosaur backpack, steps onto the bus and heads off to school.
Sometimes you need to dig that anchor of hope down deep, deep, deep in the ocean floor.
For now, of course, the backpack hangs in our closet. Meanwhile, he has a pencil box, some composition books, and a cleared makeshift desk all prepped for the virtual start to our school year. My first grader feels excited that he won’t have to go to school on his birthday in October. My older girls are excited that they won’t have to get up before dawn to start the school day.
We rejoice about what’s beautiful now. We look forward to the beauty to come.
In the book of Jeremiah, the prophet continually urged the Israelites who were in exile to live in this same balance of contentment and hope, engage now and hope for the future. He told them to build houses in Babylon, plant gardens, get married, have kids. They were in exile and they would be there for a while, so settle in and make it count. Don’t long for the future so much that you miss out on all that God is doing in this present moment.
But then, Jeremiah would remind them that one day God would lead them back home to Jerusalem. It would come. Exile won’t last forever.
There is hope for your future—
this is the Lord’s declaration—
and your children will return to their own territory (Jeremiah 31:17 CSB)
We also have hope.
Eugene Peterson wrote:
“Hope acts on the conviction that God will complete the work that he has begun even when the appearances, especially when the appearances, oppose it” (Run With the Horses).
Even though exile is hard, even though it isn’t comfortable, even though it lingers, even though it is unfamiliar and even though it isn’t ideal, God is still with us in exile and He will be with us when we trek back to Jerusalem.
His presence makes the difference in both places.
So, here I am, doing my best to help my kids kick off an unusual school year, considering how to live “in exile” with celebrations and end-of-summer activities and virtual schooling set-ups, never forgetting that one day we’ll be back in Jerusalem.
There’s beauty now even in the hard things. There’ll be beauty then so we have hope.
- Exodus 33:14 CSB
And he replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
- Psalm 4:8 CSB
I will both lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, Lord, make me live in safety.
- Psalm 46:10 NASB
Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
- Psalm 62:1 CSB
I am at rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.
- Psalm 62:5 CSB
Rest in God alone, my soul,
for my hope comes from him.
- Psalm 73:26 CSB
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart,
my portion forever.
- Psalm 116:7 CSB
Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.
- Psalm 119:28 CSB
I am weary from grief;
strengthen me through your word.
- Psalm 127:1-2 CSB
Unless the Lord builds a house,
its builders labor over it in vain;
unless the Lord watches over a city,
the watchman stays alert in vain.
2 In vain you get up early and stay up late,
working hard to have enough food—
yes, he gives sleep to the one he loves
- Psalm 138:3 CSB
On the day I called, you answered me;
you increased strength within me
- Proverbs 3:24 CSB
When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
you will lie down, and your sleep will be pleasant.
- Isaiah 40:28-31 CSB
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the whole earth.
He never becomes faint or weary;
there is no limit to his understanding.
29 He gives strength to the faint
and strengthens the powerless.
30 Youths may become faint and weary,
and young men stumble and fall,
31 but those who trust in the Lord
will renew their strength;
they will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not become weary,
they will walk and not faint.
- Isaiah 41:10 CSB
Do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you; I will help you;
I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.
- Isaiah 50:4 CSB
The Lord God has given me
the tongue of those who are instructed
to know how to sustain the weary with a word.
He awakens me each morning;
he awakens my ear to listen like those being instructed.
- Jeremiah 31:25 NASB
For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes.”
- Matthew 11:28-30 NASB
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
- Luke 18:1 NASB
Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart
- John 16:33 NASB
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
- 2 Corinthians 4:16 CSB
Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.
- 2 Corinthians 12:9 CSB
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”
Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.
- Galatians 6:9 CSB
Let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.
- Philippians 4:13 NASB
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
- 2 Thessalonians 3:13 CSB
But as for you, brothers and sisters, do not grow weary in doing good.
- Hebrews 12:3 CSB
For consider him who endured such hostility from sinners against himself, so that you won’t grow weary and give
- Deuteronomy 4:29 ESV
But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.
- Deuteronomy 6:5 ESV
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
- Deuteronomy 10:12 ESV
And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lordyour God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
- Deuteronomy 13:3 ESV
you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
- Deuteronomy 30:6 ESV
And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
- Joshua 22:5 ESV
Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
- 1 Samuel 12:20 ESV
And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart.
- 1 Samuel 12:24 ESV
Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.
- 1 Kings 8:61 ESV
Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.”
- 1 Chronicles 28:9 ESV
“And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.
- Psalm 86:11 ESV
Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.
- Psalm 119:10 ESV
With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
- Psalm 119:34 ESV
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
- Psalm 119:58 ESV
I entreat your favor with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
- Psalm 138:1 ESV
I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
- Jeremiah 29:13 ESV
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
- Joel 2:12 ESV
“Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
- Matthew 22:37 ESV (also Mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27)
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
- Nehemiah 8:10 NIV
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
- Psalm 22:19 NIV
But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
- Psalm 27:1 NKJV
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
- Psalm 28:7-8 NIV
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.
8 The Lord is the strength of his people,
a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
- Psalm 29:11 CSB
The Lord gives his people strength;
the Lord blesses his people with peace.
- Psalm 37:39 NKJV
But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
He is their strength in the time of trouble.
- Psalm 46:1 NIV
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
- Psalm 118:14 NIV
The Lord is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.
- Psalm 119:28 NIV
My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.
- Psalm 138:3 NKJV
In the day when I cried out, You answered me,
And made me bold with strength in my soul.
- Proverbs 18:10 NASB
The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous runs into it and is safe.
- Isaiah 12:2 NIV
Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.”
- Isaiah 33:2 NIV
Lord, be gracious to us;
we long for you
.Be our strength every morning,
our salvation in time of distress.
- Isaiah 40:29 NIV
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
- Isaiah 40:31 NIV
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
- Isaiah 41:10 NASB
‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
- Habakkuk 3:19 NIV
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.
- Mark 12:30 NIV
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
- Ephesians 3:16 NIV
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
- Ephesians 6:10 NIV
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
- Philippians 4:13 NIV
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
- Genesis 1:2 CSB
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.
- Genesis 1:21 CSB
So God created the large sea-creatures and every living creature that moves and swarms in the water, according to their kinds. He also created every winged creature according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
- Job 38:8-11 CSB
Who enclosed the sea behind doors
when it burst from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
and total darkness its blanket,
when I determined its boundaries
and put its bars and doors in place,
when I declared, “You may come this far, but no farther;
your proud waves stop here”?
- Psalm 8:3-9 CSB
When I observe your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you set in place,
what is a human being that you remember him,
a son of man that you look after him?
You made him little less than God
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You made him ruler over the works of your hands
you put everything under his feet:
all the sheep and oxen,
as well as the animals in the wild,
the birds of the sky
and the fish of the sea
that pass through the currents of the seas.
Lord, our Lord,
how magnificent is your name throughout the earth!
- Psalm 89:9 CSB
You rule the raging sea;
when its waves surge, you still them.
- Psalm 93:4 NASB
More than the sounds of many waters,
Than the mighty breakers of the sea,
The Lord on high is mighty.
- Psalm 104:24-26 CSB
How countless are your works, Lord!
In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
Here is the sea, vast and wide,
teeming with creatures beyond number—
living things both large and small.
There the ships move about,
and Leviathan, which you formed to play there.
- Psalm 107:28-30 CSB
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
They rejoiced when the waves grew quiet.
Then he guided them to the harbor they longed for.
- Psalm 139:9-10 NASB
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
- Psalm 146:5-6 CSB
Happy is the one whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea and everything in them.
He remains faithful forever,
- Isaiah 43:2-3 CSB
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you,
and the rivers will not overwhelm you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be scorched,
and the flame will not burn you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, and your Savior.
I have given Egypt as a ransom for you,
Cush and Seba in your place.
- Jeremiah 31:35 CSB
“This is what the Lord says:
The one who gives the sun for light by day,
the fixed order of moon and stars for light by night,
who stirs up the sea and makes its waves roar—
the Lord of Armies is his name:
- Amos 9:6 NASB
The One who builds His upper chambers in the heavens
And has founded His vaulted dome over the earth,
He who calls for the waters of the sea
And pours them out on the face of the earth,
The Lord is His name.
- Micah 7:19 CSB
He will again have compassion on us;
he will vanquish our iniquities.
You will cast all our sins
into the depths of the sea.
- Habakkuk 2:14 NASB
For the earth will be filled
With the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,
As the waters cover the sea.
- Matthew 8:27 CSB
The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him!”
- Revelation 15:2 CSB
I also saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had won the victory over the beast, its image, and the number of its name, were standing on the sea of glass with harps from God.
There’s building. And then there’s re-building.
My son is a builder-of-Legos. They are the first item on any birthday or Christmas wishlist and they are his favorite presents to open and play with as soon as the celebration time is done. In just six years, he’s amassed quite a collection of super-hero, Star Wars, and dinosaur Legos.
(And this is what can drive me crazy).
He does not keep his Legos together, perfectly constructed, high on a shelf, all the pieces still in the right places. (How could we possibly have enough shelving to do that?)
No, as soon as the Legos are built, they are played with relentlessly. Pieces come off. Those pieces then become new creations with pieces from other sets, a mishmash of Lego bricks.
There are some of us (me) who like things to always look like the instruction manual, as if there is a “Right” way to build with these Legos. When a piece comes loose, we pull out the picture and put it back exactly where it is supposed to go.
My son is not that person. He swaps dinosaur legs and superhero bodies, and he combines kits relentlessly. He is silly at times and innovative at other times.
Sometimes I envision having so much free time that we can spend days sorting the Legos back into sets and then following those instruction manuals once again to put them all together the right way once more. This sounds like the ultimate project for me. Get everything “right” and all will be right with the world.
That hasn’t happened yet.
It would take extensive time and great effort, of course, because I truly think building is far, far easier than re-building. Building starts with such a clean space. The pieces are clearly sorted and separated. Building does not begin with confusion.
But re-building starts with brokenness and mess and rubble and has to restore what’s broken and re-make or even re-design what is lost.
In the book of Nehemiah, God’s people rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem that had been destroyed by their enemies and had lain in ashes and mounds of rubble for years.
During the rebuild, they were taunted, mocked, and threatened by new enemies, and yet they kept working. Some guarded while others built. Some built with one hand holding a weapon and the other hand laying bricks. They refused to be sidetracked, delayed, or stopped.
The rubble, however, almost defeated them. Nehemiah 4:10 says:
In Judah, it was said:
The strength of the laborer fails,
since there is so much rubble.
We will never be able
to rebuild the wall.
” (Nehemiah 4:10 CSB).
That’s what almost broke them.
Kelly Minter writes in her study on Nehemiah:
It was that exhausting rubble that just about took them down. What rubble in your life is presently the most discouraging and exhausting? (p. 56).
This year, it’s easy to be defeated by brokenness. Ministries, jobs, finances, churches, school plans, friendships and connections with others… all may be in need of rebuilding, and such rebuilding is exhausting and hard.
We can’t just jump in with a brand new vision, a clean slate and build. No, we need to re-build. There are hurts tangled up in this. There is sadness over what is lost. There is stuff we have to let go of and get rid of. There is letting go of the known. There is anger and frustration. There is uncertainty. There is a feeling of helplessness and powerlessness because we have no control.
There is a tremendous desire to just get things back to the way they were before, the way they are “supposed” to be—and then set those constructions high up on a shelf so they can never be changed again.
That is not our reality. So we need God to equip us for the rebuilding, to strengthen us to face enemies and strengthen us to clear out the seemingly never-ending rubble and start raising the walls again.
Nehemiah said to the discouraged, worn-out, battle-weary people of Judah:
“Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes” (Nehemiah 4:14 CSB).
Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome.
This is not too much for Him. That is the reminder I need. It may take time, it may take creativity, it may mean hard work and standing against the Enemy.
The truth remains, though: Our God isn’t just able to build; He is able to rebuild. He has done it before and He can do it again.
- 1 Chronicles 16:34 CSB
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his faithful love endures forever.
- Ezra 3:11 CSB
They sang with praise and thanksgiving to the Lord: “For he is good; his faithful love to Israel endures forever.” Then all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord because the foundation of the Lord’s house had been laid.
- Psalm 25:8 CSB
The Lord is good and upright;
therefore he shows sinners the way.
- Psalm 27:13 NASB
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
- Psalm 31:19-20 CSB
How great is your goodness
that you have stored up for those who fear you
and accomplished in the sight of everyone
for those who take refuge in you.
20 You hide them in the protection of your presence;
you conceal them in a shelter
from human schemes,
from quarrelsome tongues.
- Psalm 34:8 CSB
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
How happy is the person who takes refuge in him!
- Psalm 100:5 NASB
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.
- Psalm 107:1 CSB
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his faithful love endures forever.
- Psalm 119:68 CSB
You are good, and you do what is good;
teach me your statutes.
- Psalm 145:5-7 NASB
On the glorious splendor of Your majesty
And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate.
6 Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts,
And I will tell of Your greatness.
7 They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness
And will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.
- Psalm 145:9 CSB
The Lord is good to everyone;
his compassion rests on all he has made.
- Nahum 1:7 CSB
The Lord is good,
a stronghold in a day of distress;
he cares for those who take refuge in him.
- Romans 2:4 CSB
Or do you despise the riches of his kindness, restraint, and patience,not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
- 2 Peter 1:3 CSB
His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
- Exodus 14:13
And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again (ESV)
- Deuteronomy 31:
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
- Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened,and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
- Nehemiah 4:14
After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
- Psalm 23:4
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
- Psalm 27:1
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
- Psalm 34:4
“I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”
- Psalm 56:3
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
- Psalm 56:4
In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?
- Psalm 91:4-6
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
- Psalm 112:7
He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.
- Isaiah 35:4Say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, and do not fear,
for your God is coming to destroy your enemies.
He is coming to save you.”
- Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
- Isaiah 41:13
“For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”
- Isaiah 44:8
Fear not, nor be afraid;
have I not told you from of old and declared it?
And you are my witnesses!
Is there a God besides me?
There is no Rock; I know not any.”
- Isaiah 51:12
“I, I am he who comforts you;
who are you that you are afraid of man who dies,
of the son of man who is made like grass,
- Jeremiah 1:8
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.”
- Zephaniah 3:17
For the LORD your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.[a]
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
- Matthew 6:34
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
- Matthew 10:31
Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
- Mark 5:36
But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” (ESV)
- Luke 1:74-75
We have been rescued from our enemies
so we can serve God without fear,
in holiness and righteousness
for as long as we live.
- Luke 12:32
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
- John 6:19-20
They had rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified, 20 but he called out to them,“Don’t be afraid. I am here!”
- John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
- Acts 18:9
And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent,
- Romans 8:38
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
- 2 Timothy 1:7
for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
- Hebrews 13:6
So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
- 1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.