Great Affliction and Reproach (b)
And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.
FLICTION AND REPROACH b
When Nehemiah asked the men how things were in Jerusalem, they gave him the bad news—the walls are broken down, and the gates are burned. The people there are in great affliction and reproach. In other words, things aren’t going too well.
Many people find themselves in the same situation. They used to have walls, but they have been broken down. There was a time when they were happy, close to God, but now God seems so far away. They find themselves in great affliction. Their life is in turmoil. Marital problems, financial problems, problems at work or school, with the family and neighbors—it’s more than they can bear. Life has gotten so complicated; they don’t think they can ever find the way out. There was a time when life was easy—even enjoyable. Now, they dread for the day to come, and then they dread for the night to come. It seems that tragedy is going to strike just any moment. They are in great affliction.
They are also in great reproach. They have made wrong decisions, and feel reproved for doing so. They have said hasty, unkind and untrue things, and have hurt people whom they should be loving. Everyone is justified in reproving them for the mess they have gotten into. And, when they look in the mirror, their image looks back at them in a reproachful way.
Satan is always looking for a reason to accuse us. I’m ashamed to admit that he finds plenty of reasons when he looks at me. Keeping our hearts right with God is a daily battle. We must die daily to the pull of the world, self, and sin. You may be saying, “I’m allowing sin in my life that never used to be there. I’ve stopped doing the godly things that I used to do. My life once was happy. My walk with God was a daily blessing. Now, things aren’t going too well.’ The way to where you are may be complicated, but the way back to God is simple.