Each day of this devotional series, we will consider key moments in God’s glorious plan to redeem us. We will understand both the overarching story of God and the highlights of all He’s done for us in Christ.
I stood in the ruins of my childhood home. In two days, the Tunnel Fire of 1991 destroyed over 3,000 dwellings in the Oakland/Berkeley hills. How could this barren, ashen landscape be the neighborhood where I played as a kid? How could this atmosphere of acrid charcoal ever be fragrant and familiar again? I couldn’t imagine it. So many moved away, but my parents chose to rebuild.
Some of us feel like we are beyond repair. Maybe you feel something in your past disqualifies you from usefulness to God, or to anyone.
Perhaps the people of God felt that way. God allowed them to reap the consequences of their actions. Jerusalem lay in ruins. The few pitiful stragglers who had not been dragged away as captives to Babylon had little hope.
Interspersed with the dire warnings of the prophets, God gave promising hints of restoration. A new generation who loved the Lord would rebuild the city and the temple and reestablish the worship of God.
After seventy years, exiles under the leadership of Zerubbabel returned and began to build the temple. A group led by Ezra brought spiritual revival and needed reforms. Another group, under Nehemiah, restored the broken-down walls, making Jerusalem safe and able to grow and prosper.
They restored the foundations of the city where, hundreds of years later, Jesus would come to reestablish God’s kingdom forever and die for the sins of the world. The exile may seem like a big mistake, but God’s redemptive plan was still unfolding. After they suffered for a little while, God would restore them.
God promises restoration for our lives as well. Very few people escape this life without hardship, loss and failure. In the ashes of defeat, we can have hope. Whether in this life or the next, God promises to renew, restore and rebuild.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:27, English Standard Version
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